Investor Hint

  • Istanbul’s population is 14,377,019, but if we were able to count all the people in İstanbul at a certain moment, it probably would be close to 20,000,000… Istanbul’s population doubled, compared to 20 years ago.. Istanbul attracts millions of foreign and local tourists every year. Since it is a huge production and financial center, millions of people come for business to the city. It is also a transportation passage to Europe and Asia. Istanbul is well known with its top Hospitals and many people come to the city for health purposes. Some European countries’ (i.e., Germany, England) public authorities have their citizens get medical treatment in Turkey.
  • 17th – Turkey’s rank in world tourism (2002)
  • 6th – Turkey’s rank in world tourism (2014)
  • Turkish economy had #1 growth ratio in the world (11.6%), passing China in Q1 of 2011
  • Turkish economy had #3 growth ratio in the world (3.7%), Q2 of 2011
  • Turkish Economy grew in straight 16 quarters including Q3 2013.
  • ‘2012 will be the year of Turkish Lira’ – The president of Central Bank of Turkey… ( After a year, The president of Central Bank of Turkey, Erdem Başçı, was picked as the central bank president of the year by The Banker)
  • Turkey attracted 12.7 bil. USD-direct investment in 2013 (15.9 bil USD in 2011), taking 24rd ranking in the direct investment league, compared to 29th in 2010.
  • Multinational companies made 150 greenfield investments in Turkey 2011 (10.3 bil USD).
  • Buyout and emerging transactions increased by 258% in 2011 reaching 7.3bil USD.
  • Having many expats in İstanbul, a number of banks offer expat banking, servicing in major languages. Many banks have Call Centers in English and some in German. Many companies in different sectors also offer service in different languages and operators have at least English speaker option.
  • Turks are famous of hospitality. You will feel safer than home.
  • Look like a foreign tourist, hold a map and pretend lost. Probably, at least one person will run to you without asking help, or  you will feel some help offering eyes. If no one notices you, just ask a person for help and see the difference.
  • 14,377,019 – Population of Istanbul,  (18.5% of Turkey’s total population, 77,695,904) , (#1 in Europe, considering Municipal borders) , (more than 118 countries of the world).
  • 29,6 – average age of Turkey’s population
  • 2,74% – Population increase ratio of Istanbul vs. 1,35% of Turkey vs. 1,18% of the world.
  • 2,767 – people per square km in Istanbul (compared to 97 people for Turkey, and 50 for Europe)
  • 23% – Istanbul’s share of Turkey’s GNP (Turkey is the 16th largest in the world)
  • 55% – Istanbul’s production share of Turkey
  • 45% – Istanbul’s commercial share of Turkey
  • 35% – Istanbul’s share in Turkey’s total deposit accounts
  • 32 – number of billionaires in İstanbul (fourth city in the world)
  • 7th – Best economical performance in 200 largest metropolitan cities of the world ( %5.3 increase in income and %5.6 increase in employment during 2011). Izmir has also the 4th best performance and Ankara has the 6th. Turkey is the only country that has 3 cities in top ten. – Global Metro Monitor, The Brookings Institution
  • 6% – Expected increase in Construction & Real Estate Sector in 2012
  • 15% – Expected increase in Turkey’s Mortgage Loans in 2012
  • 893,427 (house holds) – number of tenants in İstanbul. 4 out of every 10 families live in rental homes and İstanbul has the highest tenant ratio of Turkey due to high migration to the city.
  • 118,62% – Foreign investment (Istanbul) increase in 2010 compared to 2009 (Top three countries that invested in İstanbul are Spain, Holland and England)
  • 16,170 – multinational companies in İstanbul
  • 42,228 – number of foreigners who live in İstanbul, 2007 (this figure does not reflect the current number and who do not have residential permit, many stay in the city with tourist visa)
  • 11.6 million tourists visited Istanbul in 2012. Making Istanbul worlds fifth most visited city.
  • First 7 months of 2012, Turkish Airlines increased number of passengers by 19% to 21,600,000 and reaching 76,4% occupancy rate, increasing 5,3 points.
  • 69,962,717– number of people landed on Istanbul’s two international airports.. 51.320.875 Ataturk Airport (%14 increase) and 18.641.842 Sabiha Gokcen (27% increase). Sabiha Gokcen Airport was the World’s #1 growing airport terminal three years in a row.
  • 555,505 – plane traffic at Ataturk Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport in 2013.
  • 27th of April 2012 – Daily airplane traffic record of Istanbul Ataturk Airport (1,036 departure & arrival)
  • 35% – Istanbul Ataturk Airport’s share in total airplane traffic of Turkey.
  • 22% increase in passenger traffic at Istanbul Ataturk Airport for first four months of 2012 ( 12,737,618 vs 10,456,966 of 2011)
  • 12% increase in passenger traffic at Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport for first four months of 2012 ( 4,190,686 vs. 3,744,122 of 2011)
  • 101 – number of Shopping Malls (Large size) in İstanbul (plus 550 year-old Grand Bazaar, many shopping streets, many small size shopping centers)
  • 219 – number of hospitals in Istanbul (51 public) , 2010
  • 11,571 – private and public health institutions in İstanbul
  • 28,000 – public health personnel in Istanbul
  • 12,927 – number of expert doctors in Istanbul
  • 7610 – number of nurses in Istanbul
  • 7,214 – number of dentists in Istanbul (2010)
  • 34,595 – number of hospital beds in Istanbul, 2005
  • 396,000 – number of beds registered to Ministry of Culture and Tourism (2002)
  • 749,000 – number of beds registered to Ministry of Culture and Tourism (2013)
  • 4,846 – number of pharmacies in Istanbul
  • 584,168 – number of surgery in İstanbul, 2011
  • 109,678 – number of foreigners who received health treatment in İstanbul (2010, 20% increase compared to 2009) ,(40 different countries, top countries are Germany, Holland, France, England), (Most popular treatments in Brain Surgery, Cardiology, Orthopedy, Retinal Surgery), (Also, cancer treatment demand has been increasing)..
  • 500,000 – number of foreigners who received thermal and spa-wellness treatment in Turkey.
  • 650,000 – number of people had health treatment in Turkey (2011), 2015 target is 1,000,000.
  • Turkey is one of top ten countries for health treatment tourism.
  • Turkey is one of top five countries for dental tourism.
  • 2,834 – number of Bank branches in İstanbul vs. 9,757 in Turkey
  • Turkish Banks had the highest Capital Adequacy Ratio(CAR) in G20 Countries in 2010 (19.0% compared to 16,7% of Japan, 16.1 of Germany, 15.9 of England, 15.3 of the USA, 12.3 of France) . Turkish Banks also had the highest Return on Equity ratio.
  • 13,300,000 – number of foreign tourists visited Turkey (2002)
  • 36,800,000 – number of foreign tourists visited Turkey (2014)
  • 10,474,867 – number of foreign tourists visited İstanbul, in 2013 (11.7% increase compared to 2012,  2011 (15.8%) and 2012 (16.4%)) (Top 5 countries: Germany, Russia, USA, England, and France; 50.6% increase from Arab countries).
  • 5- Istanbul is the 5th destination city of the world by international visitors according to MasterCard Report in 2012…
  • 34,910,000– number of foreign tourists visited Turkey, in 2013 (9.6% increase compared to 2012)
  • 29,283 – Number of companies with foreign capital (2011)
  • İstanbul was listed as UNESCO’s World Heritage in 1985
  • Istanbul is the sport capital of Europe in 2012
  • Istanbul’s history (as a port city) started 8500 years ago, human foot prints go as far as 350,000 years ago
  • 62 –  sister  cities of İstanbul
  • 362 – number of congress held in İstanbul
  • 7 – Istanbul is the 7th ranking in the world, holding 109 International Congress in 2010
  • 2,736 – number of schools in İstanbul
  • 29  – number of universities in İstanbul
  • #1 – The oldest university system of the world was established in Istanbul
  • #3 – The world’s 3th  oldest Technical University is İstanbul Technical University (1773)
  • 123  – number of active churches in Istanbul
  • 26  – number of active sinagogs in İstanbul
  • #1 – Istanbul Aquarium is the world’s largest Thematic Aquarium. Cost USD 100,000,000. There are 1,500 kinds of 15,000 species in the aquarium and will increase to 20,000.
  • 5 – number of islands in İstanbul which people live. They are called Princes Islands and you will love them.
  • 79 – number of museums in Istanbul
  • 17,000,000 – number of motor vehicles in Turkey (18.2% in Istanbul)
  • 24,300,000,000TL – what has been spent for Istanbul’s traffic infrastructure, 10,000,000,000 TL of it was spent for subway/metro system since 2004.
  • Istanbul is among the five most populous cities proper in the world. The city’s annual population growth of 3.45 percent ranks as the highest among the seventy-eight largest metropolises in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
  • 8,333 km – Turkey’s coastline – rounded by 4 seas (75% of total
  • 1 square feet = 0.09290304 square meter (1m2 = 1,07639104sq ft)
  •  Import/Export: 57% of national export and 60% of national import was made in Istanbul
  • IstanbulCommercial firms: 267.248 (63.31 % are Limited), 29,5 % of total firms of Turkey are in Istanbul
  • 47% of Istanbul’s land is forested area…
  • 35% of Istanbul’s population  lives in the Asian side (Anatolia), 65 % in the European side (Thrace)
  • 51% of Istanbul’s population is male (compared to 50% of Turkey)
  • 62.24% of the population are born outside of Istanbul
  • Istanbul’s literacy rate: 93.39% ( compared to 87,32 % in Turkey)


99% of workers are in private sector:
1% are in State offices (30,5 % of total workers of Turkey are in Istanbul)
53.3 % of the population work in service sector,
32.2 % in industry,
8.1 % in agriculture,
6.2 % in construction.

Cultural Facts of Istanbul

Libraries: 72
Cultural centers: 62
Fair/Congress centers: 8
Concerts halls: 28
Movie theaters: 70
Theaters: 23
Art galleries: 68
Newspapers: 337 local and 28 national papers
Media: 15 TV stations and 130 radio stations

Sports Facts of Istanbul

Licensed sportsmen: 105.009 (61.708 active)
Stadiums: 16 with grass (139.729 capacity) and 11 with firm ground
Olympic shooting range: 1
Bowling saloons: 9
Golf courses: 3
Football (Soccer) teams: 5 teams in League A, 11 teams in League B, 10 teams in League C (2008-2009 Season)
Sports clubs: 470 football clubs, 190 basketball, 92 volleyball, 16 handicapped, 251 karate/judo/tekwandoo, 68 boxing

General Statistics About Turkey

  • 166 universities, 104 of which are public universities
  • Internet access per household : % 41.6
  • 61.8 million mobile phone users
  • 21 national, 14 regional and 229 local TV channels
  • Non-permament member of the United Nations Security Council 2009-2010
  • A candidate for the European Union since 2005
  • A member of United Nations since 1945
  • A member of Unesco since 1945
  • A member of Council of Europe since 1949
  • A member of Nato since 1952
  • Turkey’s negotiation process with the EU began on October 3th 2005.
  • Number of 3G mobile phone subscribers : 19.407.264
  • Number of mobile internet users): 1.448.020
  • Number of internet subscribers) : 8.672.376

General Statistics About the Turkey Tourism Capacity

  • 48 airports with annual 50-million- passenger capacity
  • 16 airports open to international flights,
  • 1.000.000-bed capacity
  • 8 airlines carrying passengers with scheduled ve nonscheduled navigations
  • Turkish Airlines with 130 planes, one of the youngest fleet in Europe
  • 28 Marinas with 8800-yacht capacity
  • 9000 Licensed Tourist Guides
  • 5600 travel agencies
  • An amazing historical heritage of civilisations , 5522 recorded archaeological sites under protection
  • 258 beaches and 13 marinas with blue flag since 2008
  • 34 Thermal Tourism Centers in 17 Provinces
  • 20 Winter Sports Tourism Centers
  • 22 Highland Tourism Centers in 10 Provinces
  • 33 official National Parks
  • 16 official Natural Parks
  • 58 official Nature Monuments
  • 35 official Natural Protection Areas
  • 14 Clubs and hotels with golf fields


Facts for Visitors

A • Antiquities

Please note that it is strictly forbidden and a serious crime to export antiquities or antiques from Turkey and there are severe penalties for those who attempt to do so. In order to export such items legally it is necessary to obtain a certificate from a directorate of a museum.

C • Children • Currency • Customs Regulations

Family is very important to Turkish people, and you will find that children are welcomed everywhere, which makes for a very relaxing and enjoyable holiday. It is perfectly normal for even very young children to eat out in the evening with their parents. Many restaurants do provide high chairs, and those that do not seem to be very good at improvising. Formula milk and nappies are easily available, although if you want a specific brand, then it is probably best to take it with you. It is not always easy to find baby food in jars, but restaurants and hotels are very accommodating and will usually be pleased to puree food for you. Again, if your child is used to a specific brand it may be better to take it with you. UHT milk is widely available in small cartons, with a straw, which is useful for toddlers and older children. Most hotels will provide cots if these are requested in advance. These can vary quite widely in standard, however, so it is a good idea to check in advance what type of cot is being provided and whether or not it is suitable for your child – some have lower sides than those common in the UK, for example, so are fine for a baby but not suitable for a more mobile toddler.Many of the larger hotels have children’s clubs and are able to arrange babysitting services. There are also some tour operators who provide these services.

In general, Turks and Turkey have a welcoming, relaxed approach to children and will go out of their way to be accommodating and helpful. As long as you are flexible, you should have no problems.

Turkish Lira is available in the following denominations: Banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50 &100 TL Coins: 1, 5, 10, 25 & 50 Kuruş and 1 TL You can obtain currency before travelling to Turkey or upon arrival. Exchange rates are usually slightly better in Turkey and all international airports have exchange facilities. Usually, cash can be exchanged without charging commission in exchange offices, banks or hotels. Please note that Scottish notes are not accepted in Turkey. Travellers’ cheques can be exchanged in banks only. Cash point machines (ATM) are available in most areas, which accept major credit and debit cards and give instructions in English. It may be a good idea to inform your bank in advance that you are travelling to Turkey as some will automatically put a stop on cards after the first usage in an attempt to combat fraud. Exchange rates are published daily in Turkish newspapers. If you are planning to exchange currency back from TL before leaving the country, or are making a major purchase, which may need to be declared to customs, you will need to keep your transaction receipts in order to show that the currency has been legally exchanged.

Customs Regulations
Please note that the following information is intended to give an idea about customs regulations, and our portal does not accept any responsibility for inaccuracy or misinformation.

On Entry:

It is permitted to bring the following items into Turkey as duty free goods:

Wines, Tobacco & Other Luxury Items
EU Regulations applied.

In order to avoid any problems when leaving the country it is recommended that you register valuable items with the customs office on entry to Turkey. All personal belongings and articles made of precious stones or metals (with no commercial purposes) worth under US$ 15,000 may be brought into and taken out of the country. Jewellery worth more than this amount may only be taken out of the country providing it has been registered on entry or that you can prove that it was purchased in Turkey with legally exchanged currency.

Sports Equipment
Two partitioned camping tent; one diving suit for underwater diving sports (The quality and efficiency of the suit to be determined by the undersecretary.); glider (a pair); one boat; one surfboard with sailing equipment for water sports; flippers (one pair); other personal belongings one apiece (except for sea motorcycle and sledge); chess set; Draughts set; five packs of playing cards.

Medical Items
Beds belonging to a patient; motorized and non-motorized wheelchair; drugs for personal treatment; gas mask and similar protective clothing (maximum 2 pieces).

On Exit:

For valuable gifts and souvenirs, such as a carpet, proof of purchase is necessary, together with receipts showing that any currency used in its purchase has been legally exchanged.Please note that it is strictly forbidden to export antiques from Turkey. Minerals can only be exported with a special document.
Please note that it is strictly forbidden to export antiques from Turkey. Minerals can only be exported with a special document.

Up to US$ 5,000 worth of Turkish or foreign currency can be taken out of the country, provided it can be shown that the currency has been obtained from authorised banks. Larger amounts of foreign or Turkish currency must be transferred abroad through banks. Cash brought into the country to be exchanged for export out of Turkey must be declared on entry.

D • Disabled travellers • Driving •     Drugs • Duty Free See: Customs Regulations

Disabled Travellers
If you have any queries relating to any special needs for your holiday, it is best to check direct with us and/or your tour operator before booking your holiday. The resorts, which are located in relatively flat areas, and are, therefore, better suited to wheelchair users are: Marmaris, İçmeler, Dalyan, Fethiye/Calig Beach, Side. Anyone who has difficulty in walking should certainly avoid resorts on steep hills such as Kalkan and Turunç. Obviously, hotel locations vary so do check before booking. Some of the newer and larger hotels have rooms specifically designed for wheelchair users, however, even where hotels do not have specific facilities they will usually try their best to be helpful by, for example, allocating a ground floor room. Many Turkish resorts and cities are not planned for wheelchair access, which can make life difficult, however, you will find that Turks always try their best to be helpful and will gladly improvise to find a solution.

You can drive in Turkey with EU, US or International driving licence. You should have your driving licence, your passport and insurance documents of the vehicle with you in the car at all times, as you will need it if you are involved in an accident. All of the major international car rental companies, as well as a number of local ones, have offices at airports and all major centers.

Driving in Turkey is on the right, as in continental Europe. Turkish road signs conform to the International Protocol on Road Signs and archaeological and historic sites are indicated by brown signs. Turkey has a good network of well-maintained roads. There is a 50 km per hour speed limit within urban centres (meskun mahal) and 90 km outside urban centres (120 km on Motorways). Petrol stations are fairly easy to find and on main highways, they are often open 24hrs and have restaurants and other facilities attached. Unleaded (kurşunsuz) petrol is easily available. Garages for repairs are often concentrated on certain streets within a town (sanayi) or can be found on highways.If you are planning on driving to Turkey, as well as your passport, you will need to take your international driving licence, car registration documents and international green card (insurance card) with the TR sign clearly visible (NB: This can be purchased on arrival at the border). You can bring your own car into the country for up to six months. If you wish to keep you car in Turkey for more than six months, you are liable to pay import tax.

Please note that bringing into or out of the country, together with consumption of, marijuana and other narcotics is strictly forbidden and is subject to heavy penalty. If you have prescribed medication, which you need to take on holiday with you, you will need a doctor’s note and/or a copy of your prescription, which can be sent to our office for translation. Please call our office for further details.

E • Electricity • Emergencies, Police, Medical Treatment see Useful Numbers, • Exports see Customs Regulations

The mains voltage for electricity is 220V and 50Hz. Central European type wall socket (two-pin plugs) is standard in Turkey.

F • Ferry Services •Filming in Turkey

Ferry Services
Local ferry services operate from Istanbul across the Marmara Sea.

The other ferry services and routes are as follows:

Between Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus:
Alanya – Girne;
Mersin – Gazimagosa (Famagusta).
Taşucu – Girne (Kyrenia);

Between Turkey and the Greek Islands:
Ayvalık – Lesbos;
Bodrum – Kos;
Çeşme – Chios;
Datça – Symi.
Kuşadası – Samos;
Marmaris – Rhodes

Between Turkey and Italy:
Çeşme – Ancona
Çeşme – Brindisi

Filming in Turkey
If you are planning to film in Turkey for commercial or broadcast purposes, you will need to obtain the relevant permission in advance. The process usually takes a minimum of two weeks.

Members of the Press do not need filming permission or filming visas to follow news stories in Turkey. They need to inform the Press Office of the Turkish Embassy, which will inform the Press Office at the Prime Minister’s Office, prior to going to Turkey.
L • Language • Living &Working

The official language is Turkish. English and German are widely spoken in major cities and tourist resorts, and you will find that most Turks welcome the opportunity to practise their language skills and will go out of their way to be helpful. Foreign visitors who attempt to speak even a few words of Turkish, however, will definitely be rewarded with even warmer smiles. It is not an easy language to learn, however, it does have one huge advantage in that it is completely phonetic and also grammatically logical. Unlike English, each letter of the alphabet has only one sound and is always pronounced in exactly the same way, apart from in combination with ‘y’ or ‘g’. Even foreign words used in Turkish are adapted into Turkish phonetic spellings, which can offer some clues towards pronunciation – try saying the following out loud: ketçap, taksi, futbol, ofsayt. There is no ‘q’, ‘w’ or ‘x’ in Turkish and there are some additional characters. The accent usually falls on the first syllable in the word. The following should give you a rough guide to pronunciation:
a a cross between a long and short
‘a’ somewhere between the ‘a’ in
‘man’ and the ‘a’ sound in ‘are’
c pronounced ‘j’ as in ‘jam’
ç pronounced ‘ch’ as in ‘church’
e a short sound as in ‘egg’
g a hard ‘g’ as in’go’
ğ this character is silent but elongates the vowel to either side of it
ı pronounced ‘er’ in ‘number’
i a short sound as in ‘ink’
o pronounced as in ‘off’
ö pronounced as in the ‘or’ sound (with a silent ‘r’) in ‘word’
s is a hissing sound as in ‘seven’
ş pronounced ‘sh’ as in ‘shut’
u pronounced ‘oo’ as in ‘cool’
ü pronounced ‘u’ as in ‘fuse’
y is generally used to separate vowels and creates some slightly different sounds in         combination as follows:
‘ay’ pronounced ‘eye';
‘ey’ pronounced as in ‘they';
‘iy’ pronounced ‘ee’

Living and/ or working In Turkey
If you wish to stay in Turkey longer than the three-month period allowed to tourists or to set up a business with or without a Turkish partner, you will need a residence visa. You will need to apply to the Turkish Consulate in your country for your visa and it is advised that you submit all documents relevant to your application at least eight weeks before your intended date of departure. Your application will be referred to the relevant Turkish authorities for their approval.
After obtaining the visa, you are required to register with the local police within a month following your arrival in Turkey in order to obtain a residence permit. If you wish to extend your permit for a further period, you should apply to the same police headquarters before the permit expires. Household items may be taken into Turkey through a system called “temporary import” provided that the validity of the residence permit is at least one year. For details of the relevant regulations please contact the Office of the Finance and Customs Counsellor at the Turkish Embassy in your country which can also provide information on the regulations concerning the temporary import of a car into Turkey.
Those who wish to apply for a work permit will need to supply various additional documents to the Turkish Consulate including proof of a job offer, normally in the form of a letter from the prospective employer.

M • Medical Treatment • Medication see Drugs • Mobile Phones • Museums

Medical Treatment
You will need to pay for any medical treatment you receive in Turkey. For this reason, it is advisable to take out medical insurance before travelling. It is not difficult to find English-speaking doctors in all but the most remote areas. There are also international hospitals in many of the larger towns and resorts. There are pharmacies in most places with trained pharmacists who are able to offer advice on minor illnesses.
Mobile Phones
The major GSM operators in Turkey are Turkcell, Vodafone and Avea. You can use your mobile phone in Turkey if your provider has enabled international roaming. However, if you intend to stay for a long time in the country or make several calls, it may be preferable to buy a local prepaid SIM card. Take your mobile phone and passport to a Turkish mobile phone shop where your new SIM will be registered along with your handset’s IMEI number and your personal information. (Unregistered phones will be blocked and unable to receive or make calls.) Turkey has very wide mobile coverage networks so you should not have any problems in the main cities and tourist resorts.

Most museums and palaces are open every day of the week except Mondays. There are a few notable exceptions: Topkapı Palace is closed on Tuesdays instead of Mondays; Dolmabahçe Palace is closed Mondays and Thursdays and the Chora Church is closed on Wednesdays.

 P • Phone see Mobile Phones • Police • Post Office Services • Public Holidays • Public Transport

There are two types of police in Turkey – civil police (polis) and military police (jandarma-gendarme). In many areas, you will find that there is just one or the other, and that both fulfil the same function. In some places, there are also specialist tourist police. If you need to report a crime, you should go to the nearest police station. In tourist areas there will usually be someone available who speaks English or you can request a translator. You will usually be asked to submit and sign a statement. It is advisable to request a copy of any documents in case you need them at a later stage.

Post Office Services
Turkish post offices are easily recognizable by the yellow and black ‘PTT’ signs. Major post offices are open from 08.00-00.00 Monday to Saturday and from 09.00-19.00 on Sundays. Smaller offices are open from 8.30-12.30 and from 13.30 – 17.30 and may be closed at weekends.
As well as selling stamps and telephone tokens and cards, some post offices will provide cargo services, international phone calls and fax services, exchange cash (PTT Bank) as well as international postal orders and travellers’ cheques.

Public Holidays
There are two types of public holiday in Turkey: those which are decided by the government and which fall on the same day each year; and the religious festivals, which change according to the lunar calendar and, therefore, fall on different dates each year.

New Years Day, 1 January
National Sovereignty and Children’s Day, 23 April
Ataturk Commemoration and Youth Sports Day, 19 May
Victory Day, 30 August
Republic Day, 28 (half day) 29 October

Religious Holidays

Ramazan Bayramı (Eid)
This is the festival, which falls at the end of Ramazan, a period of fasting. Traditionally, sweets are exchanged as gifts. In more rural and conservative areas, you may find it more difficult to eat or drink in public during Ramazan period.

Kurban Bayramı (Great Eid)

Traditionally, a sheep or cow is sacrificed at this time and the meat distributed to the needy and friends, family and neighbours.

Public Transport
The preferred means of transport in Turkey is by coach, and the air-conditioned intercity coach services are comfortable, fast and inexpensive. Each town has a bus station (otogar), where each bus company has its own office, where you can make reservations and buy tickets. Alternatively, you can buy tickets from local travel agencies.

There are good services, between Istanbul and Ankara and the overnight sleeper services are both comfortable and convenient. You can buy tickets and make reservations at local train stations or through travel agents based in Turkey.

Within towns and between local villages, there are local bus services as well as the dolmuş services. These are shared taxis, usually a minibus, and sometimes a large car, which operate along set routes, picking up and dropping off passengers as they go. There is a set fare depending on how far you are travelling and you pay this to the driver. They are an inexpensive way of getting around. The name “dolmuş” literally means ‘stuffed’ – from the fact that they do not have a set timetable but wait until they are full before setting off.

S • Student & Youth Travel

Student & Youth Travel
All students and young people holding ISIC, IYC and IYHF cards or travelling through member organisations of BITS, FIYTO or ISTC may take advantage of the youth holiday opportunities available in Turkey.

T • Taxis • Time Difference • Trains see Public Transport • Turkish see Language

Taxis are easy to spot as they are all bright yellow in colour. All have a meter, and you should ensure that this is switched on at the beginning of your journey. If you are travelling outside the city boundaries, it is common practice to agree on a fixed rate in advance.

Time Difference

Turkey is GMT+2, that is to say two hours ahead of the UK and one hour ahead of Central Europe.

U • Useful Numbers

Useful Numbers
Emergency                           112
International Operator            115
Directory Assistance               118 80
Police                                  155
Jandarma (Gendarme)            156
Fire Department                    110

V • Visas

While planning your trip to Turkey do not forget to check your passport if it is valid for at least 90 days. Depending on your nationality, most probably your stay as a tourist is limited up to 3 months (for one entrance).For tourist visas for many countries, there is no need to apply in advance or to fill in any forms. However, please check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for updated information and information on which passport holders may require a visa before leaving their country. You may also check with the Turkish Embassy in your country for the latest visa updates.

The visa for UK passport holders currently costs £10 and must be paid for with a Sterling note. The visa fee for USA and Australian passport holders is $20/€15. Canadian passport holders need to pay $60/€45. The visa fee for New Zealand passport holders is gratis. The visa for some EU state-passport holders currently costs € 10 and must be paid for with a Euro note.Visas are multiple entries and are valid for three months. Each passport-holder, including infants, must purchase a visa. With tourist visas, you will not have the right to take up paid or unpaid employment or to reside, or to study (including student exchange program) or to establish yourself a business in Turkey

W • Water

Although tap water is chlorinated and, therefore, safe to drink, bottled water is recommended, which is readily and affordably available.