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 75 million people, 99 percent of which are Muslim, and Istanbul has a significant minority of Jewish Turks compared to the rest of the country. Despite the religiously biased facts and figures, the constitution states that Turkey is a secular republic and the army is a fierce guardian of secularism in Turkey (For example, headscarves are banned in schools, colleges and government offices, and only civil marriages are recognised by law).
Turkey's most popular city and the centre where most expats are based is Istanbul, though there is much more to Turkey than a mere 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 wishing to move to Turkey should ensure that 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 in order to extend their tourist visa for a further three months. This practice is no longer accepted, with authorities clamping down on this; visitors are now only able to stay in Turkey for a total of 90 days in any period of 180 days. Those wishing to reside in Turkey long-term need to obtain a residence permit within a month of their arrival in the country and before they start working.
Expats will find the cost of living in Turkey more reasonable than in neighbouring European countries. The country has yet to be admitted into the EU and it follows that those 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.
Turkey has no national health system available to expats, and it is essential that expats have comprehensive medical insurance in place. The country’s healthcare system may not be up to the standards that many Westerners may be used to, but private healthcare facilities of a good standard can be found in the major cities of Ankara and Istanbul. Many doctors in these facilities will be able to speak English.