If you are asking is Turkey good for expats, a good place to look is TUIK stats. TUIK is the Turkish Statistical institution, and they collect information from around Turkey, including how many foreigners live here. In 2020, just over 2 and half million foreigners resided in Turkey. They comprised of more than 100 nationalities. That says a lot that all these people choose Turkey as their home.
However, break down those expat stats because people have different reasons for choosing Turkey as their home, and your experience will differ according to your lifestyle preferences and needs. For example, nationalities varied from people who need to work to support their families to Brits, who generally move here to retire on pensions. Indeed, life in Turkey for foreigners is varied depending on circumstances. So, in this article, we look at pros and cons for retirees and people wanting to work in Turkey and popular areas where expats live.
Is Turkey Good for Expats?
8 Pros of Living in Turkey
Low Cost of Living: One big lure that entices people to move to Turkey is the low costs of day-to-day expenses. Granted, running a car is expensive, but otherwise, people save money with cheap water, low council tax, no TV licence, and shopping at local farmer’s markets.
Affordable Property Prices: Take one look at property prices in Spain, Portugal or France compared to Turkey to understand why people buy property here. Homebuyers get a lot more for their money, the potential for capital growth is more significant, and new modern housing presents excellent architectural styles.
Easy Residency Process: To stay in Turkey long term, expats need to apply for a residency visa, but they are cheap, straightforward to apply for, and quick to process. The first application is a year’s approval but two years after that.
Excellent Healthcare: All foreign residents must have healthcare coverage, either Turkey’s government-run SGK scheme or private. Regardless, residents receive outstanding healthcare. People come from all over the world for processes like dental work, while doctors such as those in Izmir are renowned for being the best.
Excellent Air Transport Network: One aspect potential expats always look at is how easy it is to get back to see friends and family. Over 20 years, Turkey has invested billions into its air travel network, which is evident in the new Istanbul airport and Antalya, Bodrum and Dalaman.
Gorgeous Weather Climate: Turkey has several different geographical zones, and expats living on the Aegean or Mediterranean enjoy roughly 300 days of sunshine a year. Winters are mild as well, and apart from a couple of rainy months, the weather is simply delightful.
Outdoor Lifestyle: The gorgeous weather also lends weight to an outdoor lifestyle that all doctors say is good for our health. Head to the beach, indulge in sports like golf or enjoy rooftop alfresco dining, regardless the outdoor lifestyle certainly puts a smile on our faces.
Traditions, Culture and Society: Altogether, Turkey blends into a delightful blend of welcoming hospitality, solid traditions and a cultural society based on family and friendships. Whether you indulge in Turkish food, learn the language or history, the cultural identity is easy to fall in love with.
5 Cons of Living in Turkey
Finding Work: Retirees in Turkey with a pension or alternative source of income are in a better position than those who need to work. However, finding legal work, getting a work permit, and adjusting to Turkish workspaces is a hurdle for those who do not adapt to change and do things the hard way—more about working in Turkey.
Language Barrier: While it is true, expats live in Turkey without knowing Turkish, on occasions, they struggle with day to day living. Many expats use online translators or fixers in resorts, who translate, but we advise learning at least one word a day.
False Expectations: This one mainly happens to retired expats in Turkey. Having holidayed here for many years, they assume the lifestyle to be precisely that. Some expats spend day after day in bars, which impacts their well-being, health, and financial status.
Home Sickness: We have not encountered many expats who experience homesickness. That must be a testament to Turkey. However, occasionally, it happens, especially to retirees who miss grandchildren back home. The good news is technology like Skype and Facetime makes keeping in touch easier.
Time Keeping: People from a fast-paced lifestyle need to adjust in Turkey. Turks have their version of the Spanish tomorrow and might do DIY at 10 p.m. or deliver that item you have been waiting for all day at 8 p.m.
Prominent Regions Where Expats Live
As a general trend, expats in Turkey who must work gravitate towards large cities like Istanbul, Izmir, and Ankara. This is understandable because there are more chances to further their careers, especially if they are not working in holiday industries.
Istanbul: Even though it is not Turkey’s capital ruling city, everything happens in Istanbul, and it is the primary hub of education, tourism, business, economy, and finance. Many expats live on the European side of Istanbul.
Izmir: Heading down from the Marmara region, we arrive at Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city that maintains a westernised atmosphere. This region includes the city centre and outskirt resorts like Alacati, Cesme and Foca.
Ankara: Heading inland to the Anatolian region, Ankara is Turkey’s capital city and central education hub. While the expat population is smaller than Istanbul or Izmir, residents enjoy a good standard of living if they can get around urban aspects.
Meanwhile, retired expats head to the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, and certain places stand out.
Antalya Region: Covering the eastern Mediterranean, the Antalya region includes prominent places like Belek, Side, Alanya, Kemer, Kas, Kalkan and the city centre. Life must be good here because Antalya constantly ranks for foreign house sales and is Turkey’s top beach destination.
Fethiye Region: Sitting further up the Mediterranean, this region includes prominent places like Calis beach, Oludeniz, the city centre, Hisaronu and Ovacik. Many expats choose Fethiye because it is affordable and home to many areas of natural beauty.
Bodrum Peninsula: Heading over to the Aegean coast of Turkey, the Bodrum peninsula maintains a strong reputation of non-conformity. As a significant sailing hub, places like Yalikavak earns fame from their mega-yacht marina, while other prominent resorts include Gumbet, Turgutreis and rustic Gumusluk.
Summary for Living in Turkey
So, as you can see, life in Turkey for foreigners can be very good, but there will be hurdles to overcome at other times. It is very much a case of what you make it. So, if you are thinking of moving to Turkey, and buying property, get in touch with us today. We can answer all your questions and give helpful advice. Also, browse our portfolio of property for sale. It includes apartments and villas in many areas of Turkey, including Istanbul, Antalya, Bodrum, and Fethiye. Each listing contains price, location, home features and contact details to find out more or arrange a viewing. Otherwise, carry on reading our blog to find out why we think Turkey is suitable for expats and tips on making a move.
This panoramic sea view mansion is for sale at the edge of the water in the Sariyer district of Istanbul and is one of the best homes in the area – suitable for those wanting to live in Turkey on a permanent basis with their children.
Completely furnished as seen and ready to move in immediately, this designer property is located in the Ortaalan area of Kalkan and is just a short walk away from the town centre full of life and things to do daily.
Rare bungalow style property in a peaceful area of Uzumlu in Fethiye, located within easy walking distance to the town centre and amenities – this house has its own private garden and large swimming pool to enjoy.
Uniquely located in Gumusluk to maximise on sea views and peaceful surroundings, these villas are built to modern contemporary standards and are suitable for those wanting to live with their families in a desired location in Turkey.