Attracted by the low cost of living, we often receive enquiries from families who want to buy a home in Turkey with the aim of moving to Turkey with children. Turkey’s larger towns (such as Fethiye, Bodrum and Antalya) are spick and span. Efficient local government programs keep everything running smoothly, from rubbish collection to the grooming of public gardens. Put that together with the marvellous climate, friendly culture, outdoor lifestyle, gorgeous beaches and of course the healthy Turkish cuisine for the perfect base to raise a family. Naturally, we receive a lot of questions, so let’s discuss them some more.
Moving to Turkey with Children
1: Is Turkey Safe?
Turkey, like anywhere else in the world, has its problems. There are petty crime and burglary, just like everywhere. But it helps to look at statistics. Let us compare Turkey to the US and the UK, where last year there were 5 and 4.1 reports of crime (ranging from petty to serious) per 100,000 people respectively. Turkey came in at 3.3 per 100,000. Smaller coastal resorts (where most foreigners like to buy properties) are generally safer than Turkey’s bigger cities, but this trend occurs worldwide. If you are yet to decide, if moving is the right move to make, we talk more about the pros and cons here.
2: International Schools in Turkey
Ideally, look to big cities like Istanbul, Ankara, Bodrum, Antalya and Fethiye if you want your child to attend private institutions. Tarabya, a popular choice for families choosing Istanbul, also teach in English and do not just stick to the Turkish curriculum. If you do not plan to stay in Turkey long term, look for an IB school that offers international certification, so in adult life, your child can easily prove his or hers education. Yearly fees generally start from about 40,000 TL but can depend on the school’s reputation and whether they offer extracurricular activities. Bonuses are plenty, with excellent recreational and sporting activities. Pupils also spend a lot of time outdoors with teachers learning about nature, and history.
3: About Local Schools
Parents who put children into local schools generally recommend the primary Turkish educational system; however, some parents in teenage years, take kids back to their home country. The only obstacle parents face with local schools is helping their children with homework and understanding the curriculum. In larger towns, ex-pat parents create homework clubs to help address this. Please note, home-schooling is not an option in Turkey as every child must be registered.
4: Making Friends and Being Part of the Community
This is a common concern amongst prospective expats. Uprooting children (and the rest of the family) from everyday lives with their support networks is a daunting prospect. However, the Turkish emphasis on family and community means you could end up forging stronger links than you ever did at home. Friendly Turkish people help most newcomers, and if they see the effort, welcome strangers with open arms. Learning Turkish helps, but most locals in tourist towns speak good English. Expat groups in larger towns also help you make friends from all over the globe. When it comes to the kids, they will settle in and make new friends quickly if they learn Turkish.
5: Turkish Language Barrier
It is commonly known (and documented by linguistic scientists) that children immersed in a culture with a language other than their own learn languages quickly. If they go to school and make local friends, you will be surprised at how much they know. They will undoubtedly learn faster than the average adult. Children over 10 (more or less) still find it easy to pick up Turkish but may need a little extra tuition.
6: What about Healthcare?
Your family’s healthcare in Turkey is vital. Some foreign residents join the state SGK (public health) program. This form of health insurance allows access to excellent medical care. However, it is a public health service with waiting lists, so others choose private health insurance for their health plan, just in case of accidents and a desire to avoid waiting times. Excellent and affordable Turkish medical facilities ensure you and your children are well cared for.
7: To Rent or Buy Property
This personal choice depends on finances and how long you plan to stay. Many foreigners own their property simply because the cost of housing is extremely affordable compared to Western countries. If you plan to buy a family apartment or villa, get in touch with us today because our extensive portfolio covers all major areas including Izmir, Bodrum, Fethiye, Antalya and Istanbul. If you choose to rent, make sure you get a contract. Rent costs vary depending on where you choose to base yourselves. In the coastal holiday resorts, they start at roughly 1500 TL per month, rising to as much as 7000 TL in Istanbul, Turkey’s most expensive city.
8: Residency Permits and Citizenship
To stay longer than 90 consecutive days, you need to apply for residency permits. This will also entitle your children to enter primary and secondary education until 18, in which case if they do not have citizenship, they will need a student visa to continue education. The fast track to citizenship for you and your family is to buy property worth at least $250,000 and agree to keep it for at least three years. Highly skilled foreign workers should also investigate the Turquoise card program, (Turkuaz Kart) that legally entitles you, your spouse, and children certain rights.
9: Where is the Best Place to Live in Turkey?
Once again, this depends on budget and lifestyle preferences. Many working expats with children stick to large cities like Istanbul, Izmir, or Ankara, simply because of better career and schooling choices. Non-working expats tend to gravitate towards the beachside lifestyle in coastal resorts along the Mediterranean and Aegean. Find out about eight popular places in this article, and reasons why they stand out.
Things to Do Before Moving: When moving to Turkey with children, the last thing to do is simply up sticks and go. This time needs careful planning to ensure a smooth move with as less stress as possible. So, we have come up with 27 things to do before getting on a plane.
About Us: We are Property Turkey, a relocation and investment property specialist with offices all over the country. Our local agents have helped many home buyers to get their feet on the housing ladder and settle into their new life in the country. Contact us today, if you want to enter the housing market, and a local agent will answer all your questions.
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