Living in Turkey as an expat

Living in Turkey as an expat – that will be the topic of today’s article.

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Living in Turkey is a good choice for many expatriates. Thanks to its modern infrastructure, low cost of living, and simple procedure of applying for a work or resident permit.

Turkey, located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, holds a critical position between East and West. The country’s economy is characterized by vitality, with a burgeoning tertiary sector that provides expats chances.

Living in Turkey as an expat

This country is a large and diverse land rich in drama, history, tradition, and culture. It’s also becoming a popular location for those looking to escape their daily routine and explore something a little more exotic. Many people have been afraid in the past because of misconceptions about Turkey’s religious or political position. Nonetheless, things are changing and will continue to change rapidly.

Turkey boasts a modern infrastructural system, a solid social security system, and a reasonable cost of living. Aside from the business environment, the country is exceptionally business-friendly, with a sound tax system and a broad market stretching from Asia to Europe.

Turkey is well-known for its people’s friendliness toward foreigners who come to live and work there. Living in Turkey might be considered a very advantageous alternative for families seeking second citizenship.

In big cities, you may find anything you want to do: theatre performances, sports of any type, trekking, fishing, horseback riding, nightlife, museums, festivals, and so on. There is almost nothing in the inland countries, and time appears to have stopped.

In this article, we will walk you through the pros and cons of living in Turkey as an expat. Not only that, but we have compiled this article to explain the cost of living, interesting facts about this country and many others to mention a few.

Interesting Facts About Living in Turkey

Living Expenses

While the cost of living in Turkey has risen year after year, it is still feasible to get fantastic deals. You can get good deals on real estate, pay inexpensive rentals, and buy cheap, high-quality fresh food.

Living a high-quality, low-cost lifestyle, especially compared to many Number nations. A new apartment on the South Western shore can still be purchased for less than £20,000 (€25,000 or $32,000). However, there is a drawback.

It is difficult for a self-sufficient non-Turkish citizen to obtain a work permit. If the law is broken, there are severe penalties (including immediate deportation). Many foreigners who reside in Turkey without being sponsored by an employer will have to rely on their savings: Turkish banks have meager interest rates (around 10 percent as of June 2012).

Even in Istanbul, the country’s commercial and financial center, the cost of living in Turkey remains significantly lower than in the United States and Europe.

The cost of living in Turkey for a family will vary depending on their size, level of demand, and the geographical area in which they live.

Although Istanbul is the most expensive city in Turkey, living here is still significantly lower than other major cities in the United States and Europe.

Because a family of four may live comfortably in Istanbul on $1,000 without renting a home or paying a mortgage.

Other locations in Istanbul will have roughly 20% lower costs. In Fethiye, for example, 500 USD is sufficient to cover the demands of a middle-class family.

Immigrant families who already own homes. The costs of housing, transportation, and food in Turkey are acceptable and cheap, even for new immigrant families, compared to what they pay for comparable quality in the US and Europe. Renting a house in Turkey is far less expensive than in the United States and Europe.

Social Security and Health Care

In Turkey, a thorough health reform program has been implemented during the previous decade. This raises the ratio of private to state health supply and makes comprehensive health care available to all.

As a result, anyone relocating to Turkey can join the state healthcare system (by paying regular contributions) or use the expanding network of great private hospitals and clinics.

A growing number of health tourists are flocking to Turkey’s coasts, drawn by high-quality service and low pricing.

Anyone who participates in the Naturalization Investment program and becomes a Turkish citizen is eligible for state healthcare. Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu is the Turkish government’s healthcare initiative (SGK). After registering for this scheme, residents will obtain a textbook of health insurance cards to use some services at public hospitals.

Private hospitals and clinics with more lavish facilities, well-trained staff, and fluency in English. Turkish people are entitled to free public education from preschool to high school.

High  Exchange Rate and Savings Interest Rate

Many expats currently get pensions from their home countries in currencies such as pounds, euros, and dollars. It can be changed to Turkish TL at a favorable exchange rate and used to live a more comfortable life in Turkey.

Many expatriates also put their money in a savings account to get high-interest rates (8 to 10%) and live off the interest they earn each month. This is a terrific technique for anyone with a substantial personal fortune to cover living expenditures on a budget.

Furthermore, savings interest rates in Turkey are incredibly high (8-10% per year). Immigrants can ultimately enjoy a pleasant and plentiful life in Turkey with income from abroad in valuable foreign currencies (USD, EUR, or GBP) and high-interest rates on savings.

Culture and Language

Turkey is a tourist destination that everyone should visit at least once in their lives. The Turkish people are really polite and welcoming. As a country with an established tourism sector, most tourist attractions have people who can speak various languages, including English, German, French, and Russian… On the other hand, knowing Turkish will enable local immigrant families to assimilate and adapt to life rapidly.

Turkish is a dynamic language, yet it is tough to master. Many Turks in more developed places are fluent in English. Others speak various languages (German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Russian), but don’t expect the proprietor of the downstairs shop to know more than a few words of English.

So, plan to reside in Turkey for an extended period. It may be beneficial to begin studying Turkish because you will undoubtedly need it at some point.

 Wide Range of Doods

The majority of Turkish cuisine is based on meat: beef, lamb, and chicken. Typically, the garnish is served with beans, vegetables, rice, bread, and greens. Pork is not technically prohibited, yet it is not available in stores. Animal entrails are eaten, including stomachs, brains, intestines, and livers. Finely diced offal is used to make soups. Doner kebab, which is similar to shawarma, is a popular dish.

Turkey’s Religion

Living in Turkey as an expat

Religion is accessible throughout the country. Islam was legally separated from the state in 1928. Turkey was declared a secular country by Kemal Ataturk, but Muslims outnumber other religions in the country.

Muslims in Turkey do not follow as stringent restrictions as Muslims in other countries: instead of five prayers and prayers, just two are required; women are allowed to wear trousers and remove their burqas (although headscarves must cover their heads); moderate alcohol consumption is permitted.

Turkey Offers an Excellent Investment Opportunity

The Turkish citizenship by investment program provides health/educational/business benefits and freedom of movement.

Visa-free travel to more than 110 countries. Turkish citizens can quickly come to the United States, thanks to the E2 Treaty. The E2 visa allows you to travel to the United States to study and work.

Simply invest a minimum of 250,000 EUR in any Turkish real estate project over three years. Investors are entitled to a refund after three years.

To market real estate (Among naturalization investment plans, this is the lowest investment). The investor needs to be at least 18 years old and is accompanied by a spouse and minor children.

Important Categories of Living Expenses in Turkey

Household Expenditures

The Turkish government compensates for the high cost of rent by granting meager household expenses. The monthly fee covers the following services: power, water, sewer, phone, internet, gas, and cable TV.

People who live in apartment buildings with six or more apartments must also pay an additional flat fee for communal services. To keep your household running smoothly, budget 400 to 600 TL every month (equal to 57.02 to 87.73 USD) to cover all of your household’s needs.

Insurance and Council Tax

These annual charges may no longer startle expats because they are included in fees in countries like the United Kingdom.

The official price range for your house, as well as the number of persons who own the property where you live, are used to compute council tax.

Earthquake insurance is also necessary and is based on the square footage of your home. You can also add theft and fire protection to your insurance policy. The average is between 400 and 700 TL per year (equal to 57.02 to 100.89 USD).

Food and Drink

A simple dinner costs 25 Turkish Lira (equivalent to 84,000 and). The price of a meal in a middle-class restaurant will be roughly 100 TL (equal to 14.82 USD).

Beer prices in supermarkets range from 10 to 15 TL (equal to 1.49–2.19 USD), but in a bar, it can cost up to 20 TL (similar to 2.98 USD).

A mid-range bottle of wine will cost 50 TL (equivalent to 7.41 USD).

Smoking and Consuming Alcoholic Beverages

If you smoke a pack of cigarettes and drink a glass of alcohol every day, you will pay between 900 and 1,000 TL per month, depending on the type of tobacco and alcohol used.


Moving to Istanbul will be expensive, and using public transportation would cost you roughly TL205 per month (equivalent to 30.48 USD).

Driving and Automobile Maintenance

Although gasoline prices are not as high as in European countries such as Greece or Portugal, they are still twice as high as in the United States and other countries. As a result, many Turks prefer to drive diesel automobiles because they are less expensive.

On the other hand, vehicle owners should budget around 5,000 TL per year (equal to 745.72 USD) for maintenance, insurance, and inspection by the Ministry of Transport.

Buying Groceries

Singles and couples on a tight budget might save a lot of money in this aspect. Shop at local booths rather than large stores for commodities such as fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. It will be less expensive. The average weekly expenditure is around 100 TL (equivalent to 14.87 USD).

Prices of Groceries and Other Necessities

Food in tourist centers is more expensive than in rural places. Market prices are typically 20% lower than supermarket pricing, and the quality of goods is higher.

The following are the average prices for the essential products:

Beef and lamb1kg5-9 euros
Fish1kg2.5 euros
Chicken1kg2 euros
Bread1 piece13 cents
Milk1 piece90 cents
Potatoes1kg45 cents
Eggs10 pieces60 cents
Cheese1kg2 euros
Sugar1kg90 cents

Lunch at a low-cost cafe will cost roughly 2.5 euros, and supper at a restaurant costs around 13 euros. A Turkish meal always consists of at least three courses.

Residency and Healthcare

To stay in Turkey for more than 90 days, you must get a residency permit. If you are under 65, you must also participate in the mandatory health care regime.

A foreign couple purchasing a long-term residency permit and enrolling in the Turkish state health insurance plan will be required to pay approximately TL 7,000 per year (equivalent to nearly 1,052.79 USD).

Working in Turkey

The good news is that working legally in Turkey is entirely doable; all you need is a work visa. The bad news is that they are challenging to obtain. There are numerous limits and requirements to be aware of. Some irresponsible folks don’t bother. There are far too many examples of foreign nationals who either do not grasp the regulations or bend them to their advantage.

There are several limitations on the kinds of jobs that foreign nationals can perform. There is a massive list of vocations that are simply out of reach. Doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists, veterinarians, pharmacists, opticians, judges, lawyers, security guards, notaries, and most other ‘professional’ activities fall under this category. Working as a travel company’s executive director is likewise illegal, as is anything linked to diving, maritime navigation, or working on ships.

Other restrictions must be completed if a foreign national wants to work in Turkey, which relates to quotas for employing Turkish nationals in the same business. As an example:

“At least five Republic of Turkey residents must be employed at the workplace for which a work permit is requested.


“For foreigners employed by enterprises operating in the entertainment and tourist sectors…there will be no separate quota application provided that at least 10 Turkish citizens are engaged in these firms.”

Expect your application to be handled in about two months. Once you have received the all-clear, you will be required to visit your consulate to collect the all-important work visa stamp. When in doubt about your eligibility, consult with an expert; please get guidance before beginning.

Job Seeking

Employers in Turkey tend to prefer applications from Turkish nationals. At the same time, there are some apparent exceptions, particularly when English is required. Most people find work before moving to Turkey. However, vacancies can be found by searching internet job listings, English-language media, college websites, and classified advertisements.

Major international corporations that do business in Turkey frequently seek foreigners to join their overseas staff and are primarily swayed by submitting resumes from recent grads.

Take, for example, Unilever and Microsoft have operations in Turkey. Several major clothing stores such as Hennes, Marks & Spencer, and Next. When it comes to finding potential jobs, online trade directories can be valuable. The British Chamber of Commerce in Turkey’s online membership directory is a great place to start.

 Before opting to relocate to an eastern country, consider all of the benefits and drawbacks. Because life in real Turkey is different from a short holiday, you may have a mistaken view of it while vacationing at a nearby resort. To adapt to the new norms, it is vital to comprehend the characteristics of the local mentality, customs, cultural, economic, and political spheres of life.

The Turkish Way of Life

Turks welcome foreigners and value other people’s cultures. The Turkish people are generally generous, good-natured, and welcoming. Only when they’re behind the wheel, do the Turks transform into savage creatures.

Turks are much friendlier and more civilized than many individuals in Western countries. Hospitality is one of the characteristics shared by all Turks.

It’s simple to create new acquaintances. You’ll quickly become friends with your neighbors and local shops. Neighborhoods in Turkey are small communities where everyone looks out for and assists one another.

Superstitions derived from pre-Islamic heritage are still prevalent in Turkey. As a result, the Turks protect themselves from ill-luck by wearing a boncuk, a blue eye symbol.

In addition to secular holidays (such as Republic Day on October 29 or Labor Day on May 1), One of the most popular pastimes among Turks is simply conversing with friends and neighbors over tea, a hookah, or a plate of tea. Dedikodu (gossip) is a national sport, according to a playful mind.

The hammam (a steam bath with various body treatments) has long been a meeting and socializing venue for women.

The Benefits of Living in Turkey

People migrate to Turkey for the following reasons:

  1. Favorable climate: warm air, clear water, and plenty of sunlight
  1. Inexpensive housing: the average price per square meter is 1000 euros.
  1. The government spends money to enhance air quality by promoting tourism.
  1. All-year-round fresh produce: vegetables, fruits, milk, and meat; established infrastructure and transportation networks.
  1. Residents follow decency norms, and there are no drunks on the streets.
  1. People are sincere, courteous, and warm; medical care is of high quality
  1. Living expenses are low.
  2. Excellent cuisine.
  3. Opportunities for starting your own business, a straightforward procedure for forming an individual entrepreneur, and a limited liability company (LLC) for foreigners
  1. The Local factories make low-cost clothing, shoes, cosmetics, and home products. Local manufacturers manufacture clothing, footwear, cosmetics, and home items
  1. A simple method exists for acquiring a residency permit.

Disadvantages of Living in Turkey

The following are the drawbacks of living in Turkey, which you need to take into consideration;

  1. Finding work in Turkey might be challenging. To get a successful job, you must be a specialist in your subject and fluent in the language. There are few low-skilled openings, and preference is given to local applicants.
  1.  Since Turks do not follow traffic laws, there are many highways, and the traffic flow is chaotic.
  1. Exotic regional food, a scarcity of pork, Russian cereals, and other familiar things, and exorbitant alcohol prices
  1. Turkish learning challenges
  1. In Turkey, privacy and private life are non-existent. A challenging existence for the reserved
  1. A dictatorship with obvious dictatorial tendencies
  1. The economy is in decline, while inflation is on the rise.
  2. Corruption

5 Tips to Survive in Turkey

To swiftly adjust to life in turkey, I recommend that you;

  1. Learn to speak Turkish. It aids communication in normal circumstances and a short talk.
  1. Spend more time with locals. Visit cafes, eateries, and so on.
  1. Join the community of your original language in Turkey. There, you can share your experiences, get advice, and make new friends.
  1. Make acquaintances with your neighbors. They will aid in recognition of local traditions.
  1. Investigate local legislation, history, culture, and customs.
  1. Choose a tourist city as a place to live. Foreigners are treated with more courtesy. You can work in the tourism sector.
  1. Before entering houses, remove your shoes. The Islamic religion is the source of this tradition.
  1. Eat everything on the table so as not to anger the hostess.
  1. Prepare to eat at the table while seated on the floor.
  1. You can help the hostess clean the dishes after supper.


Turkey has much to offer foreigners who are planning to live and reside in the country. While there are big cities to live an exorbitant lifestyle, you can see multiple cities where you can live on $1,000 monthly. Nonetheless, refer to this guide for more information about moving to Turkey.

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