Moving to Turkey
Turkey is a popular and vibrant expat destination that rewards those making the move with an enriching and surprising experience.
Expats relocating to Turkey find wonderful contradictions are part of a daily life that flawlessly marries the ancient and the modern, and where Europe and Asia meet across the Bosphorus.
The country has a population of over 77 million people, 99 percent of which are Muslim. Despite this, the constitution states that Turkey is a secular republic and the army is a fierce guardian of secularism in Turkey. Other religious beliefs are respected and expats are welcome to practise their own religion.
Turkey's most popular city and the centre where most expats are based is Istanbul, although there is much more to the country than just one city. Turkey has a wide range of landscapes, sights and characters that will readily appeal to history buffs, nightclub fanatics, archaeology nuts, sun-worshippers, city-lovers and shopping addicts. There is something for everyone in Turkey – with no end to the fascination and excitement.
Those moving to Turkey should ensure they have all the relevant paperwork in place. Many foreigners used to live in Turkey by making “visa runs” by leaving and re-entering Turkey every 90 days to extend their tourist visa for a further three months. This is no longer accepted and authorities are clamping down on the practice. Visitors are now only able to stay in Turkey for a total of 90 days in any period of 180 days and visas need to be applied for before entering the country. Those wishing to reside in Turkey long-term need to obtain a relevant work or residence permit.
Expats will find the cost of living in Turkey more reasonable than in neighbouring European countries. It has yet to be admitted into the EU and those expats with foreign purchasing power can make their money last longer and reach further, even if choosing to live in the largely popular expat areas or in the coastal resort towns.
The country’s healthcare system may not be up to the standards that many Westerners are used to, but good private healthcare facilities can be found in the major cities of Ankara and Istanbul. Many doctors in these facilities will be able to speak English.