Life in Turkey – Is Turkey a good place to live – All you need to know

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We start this article with an overview of Turkey’s geography, Turkish climate, type of government, regional divisions and major cities of Turkey, and atlas-like information, then move on to more detailed topics about life in Turkey, such as Turkish culture, customs, lifestyle, cuisine, and urban life in Turkey, Work and investment status in Turkey, Turkish working days and public holidays, Turkish transportation system, Turkish education system, Turkish health care system, cost of living in Turkey and housing cost.

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Turkey’s geography

Turkey is a vast country, surrounded by the sea on three sides.

The country’s northern border is covered by a large area of ​​the Black Sea, half of the country’s southern border is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, and almost all of the country’s western border is blue because of the Sea of ​​Marmara.

Turkey’s land borders lie mostly to the east and southeast of the country, and it has extensive land borders with Iran and Armenia to the east, and Iraq and Syria to the southeast and south.

It also shares a land border with the European country of Bulgaria to the northwest and the European country of Georgia to the northeast.

In addition to the land and sea borders from the west with Greece.

In addition to its capital, Ankara, Turkey has three large and densely populated cities, Istanbul, Izmir and Antalya, which we will discuss in more detail below.

Weather in Turkey

Turkish cities enjoy diverse climates in every season due to their geographical size, abundance of mountain ranges, and their proximity to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

In general, Turkey is a country of four seasons.

Some Turkish cities, which are built on the coast, such as Antalya, Izmir and Istanbul, have cool, rainy winters and relatively hot and dry summers.

Spring, fall and summer are the best times for tourists, especially in the coastal areas of this country.

Other Turkish cities follow a similar pattern, except that they may have cooler winters or warmer summers.

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The political system in Turkey and the national currency

  • The political system in Turkey is republican, hence its original name, the Republic of Turkey.
  • The capital of Turkey is the city of Ankara which is located in the central part of the country.
  • Turkey’s currency is the lira, which is known by the abbreviation TL.
  • The entire red flag with the crescent symbol and the white star is the symbol of this country.
  • The official language of Turkey, as the name implies, is Turkish.

Below you can see a summary of the political and geographical information of Turkey:

  • Type of government system: republican system
  • Population: 84,225,000 people
  • Area: 785,347 square kilometers
  • Currency: Turkish Lira (TL)
  • Capital: Ankara
  • Area Code : 90+
  • Official language: Turkish

The main provinces and cities of Turkey

Turkey is divided into seven regions or climate areas (Turkish: bölge) by decrees passed by the 1941 Geography Conference.

This division was formed based on the climate and geographical conditions of the regions, and each region has several provinces.

In general, Turkey has 81 provinces.

Among the most famous and most populous Turkish cities are Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Antalya, and the following is a brief description of each of these cities.

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Istanbul

With a population of 15,067,724, Istanbul is the most famous and most populous city in Turkey, with a large number of tourists visiting Istanbul’s tourist attractions every year.

This city is located in the westernmost point of Turkey, and in the European part of Turkey, on the shores of the Black Sea and the Sea of ​​Marmara.

It is also the largest city in Europe and the second largest city in the Middle East after Cairo in Egypt, which is very popular among tourists due to its large and famous historical monuments.

Hot and humid summers and cold, rainy and snowy winters are characteristic of Istanbul’s climate.

The climate of this city is temperate and usually in a suitable temperature range in winter or summer.

Read more about life in Istanbul

Ankara

Ankara is the capital and political center of Turkey, with a population of 5,445,026.

Ankara is a strong economic base in Turkey and can be considered one of the best destinations for foreign investment in Turkey.

Ankara can see four seasons, hot dry summer and cold dry winter.

The average annual temperature in this city is 11.7 degrees Celsius and the rainfall in this city is generally low.

Winter temperatures in this city rarely drop below 10 degrees.

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Izmir

Izmir is the third most populous city in Turkey with a population of 2,938,546.

This port city is located on the shores of the Aegean Sea and is one of the commercial and industrial centers of Turkey.

Izmir is also famous for tourism and its beautiful beaches attract many tourists to this coastal city every year.

Izmir also has a mild Mediterranean climate, with hot summers reaching a maximum of 31°C (although 46°C is recorded for the city).

Winter in this city is often accompanied by rain, and the winter temperature in this city rarely drops below 12 ° C and it usually does not snow.

Read more about life in Izmir

Antalya

Antalya, with a population of 1,311,471, is the seventh most populous city in Turkey, located on the beautiful shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

This city is one of the most important tourist destinations in Turkey, with its world-class beaches.

Its beautiful beaches and many tourist destinations have made Antalya one of the most important tourist destinations in Turkey.

The climate of this city is hot and humid.

Its summers are hot and average, and the temperature in summer is between 28 and 36 degrees Celsius, sometimes rising to 40 degrees Celsius.

In winter, the temperature of this city is more balanced and averages between 9 and 15 degrees Celsius, and snow is rarely seen in this city.

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Turkish people’s culture and customs

The Turkish people are very hospitable and patriotic people, and the Turkish flag is a sacred symbol of the people of this country.

Turkey is an almost religiously unified country, with 99.8 percent of its population being Muslim, 75 to 85 percent of Turkish Muslims being Sunni and 15 to 20 percent Alevi, and other religions in this country are a minority.

The most important demographic difference for the Turkish people is the language.

Turkey consists of the majority of the Turkish and Kurdish-speaking regions in the southeast of the country, on the borders with Iraq and Syria.

About 70% to 75% of the population of Turkey speak Turkish and 18% speak Kurdish.

The Kurdish regions in Turkey are generally considered disadvantaged provinces and have not developed like other provinces in Turkey due to their minority status.

A very good culture among Turkish people is respect for animal rights and animal welfare.

Almost all tourists who have traveled to Turkey note the Turkish people’s love and respect for animals.

Feeding and sheltering animals is a common practice among the Turkish people, and animal abuse is reprehensible.

Because of this culture, the municipalities of large cities treat animals very well and, in addition to protecting and numbering the animals, they also vaccinate them.

Respect for the elderly and other popular cultures of the Turkish people can be mentioned.

Kissing the hand of an elderly person is common in this country and is considered a sign of respect.

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People usually use the titles (Abla/Abi), meaning older sister and older brother, even when they are completely strangers to each other.

It is very common in Turkish culture to use these two titles to address strangers regardless of age.

The culture of marriage in this country is similar to the culture of marriage in Arab countries.

There are slight differences in some customs and one of these differences is that a woman uses her husband’s surname after marriage.

In terms of surname, there were no surnames in this country until 1934.

After 1934, when it became mandatory to have a surname in this country, people began to use the surname of the father, so that the family letters have the word Oglu (meaning son) (like Ahmetoglu meaning son of Ahmed).

In 2013, statistics were published about the most common family name in Turkey, which was presented (Yilmaz) as the most common family name in Turkey.

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The way of life and food of the Turkish people

The way of life and food of the Turkish people in the eastern regions depends on meat and foods rich in spices, and the further we go to the west in this country, the less vegetarian food and the use of spices.

Breakfast is a very important meal for Turkish people.

The three-meal diet includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, but in some residents the diet consists of only two meals, and lunch is omitted because of the preferred breakfast, and is replaced by fruits and snacks.

Among the famous dishes in this country, the most popular types of soup are among the Turkish people. Turks eat different types of soup almost before every meal and even before breakfast, and the type of these soups varies according to each season of the year.

Among the drinks, tea is very popular among the people in this country, and the people of Turkey drink a lot of tea and like to pour the tea into small cups and drink it sweet by dissolving the sugar inside.

Mall of Istanbul

Urban life in Turkey

The services that city dwellers receive in urban life can be an accurate description of urban life in any other country.

Most Turks have access to services such as water, electricity, telephone and even gas, which we will try to explain briefly below.

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Domestic gas pipelines in Turkish cities

As you know, Turkey does not have large sources of gas and fossil fuels, and imports most of its gas from neighboring countries such as Iran, Iraq and Russia.

Therefore, the price for Turks to obtain natural gas may not be as cheap and easy as it is in some countries.

Natural gas pipelines cover nearly 78 of Turkey’s 81 provinces.

In fact, gas in Turkey is mostly used to generate electricity in power plants.

Domestic use of natural gas in Turkey often involves cooking and is not usually used for home heating. 

To heat homes in Turkey, different methods are used with coal, piped gas, capsule gas, diesel, electricity or even firewood, and they can be seen in major cities in Turkey.

In areas where there are no gas mains or homes that are not connected to the city’s gas system, people buy gas cylinders for home use.

These gas cylinders can be purchased at supermarkets and other stores and can even be delivered to your door within an hour by calling a company.

The cost of refilling these capsules is about 85 TL.

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Electricity system in Turkey

Electricity is also an expensive energy in Turkey.

As mentioned, electricity production in this country is mostly done by imported gas, which is why electricity production requires a lot of money.

For this reason, the price of electricity in Turkey is a bit high.

Most domestic and commercial energy consumption is for electricity, and in homes, heating water and heating appliances have a higher priority.

Turkey’s water system

City water quality in most cities of Turkey, including Istanbul, is suitable for washing only, and for cooking and drinking you have to buy drinking water from shops.

In fact, this is a common system in many European countries, and the municipal water supply system is used for washing only.

This system reduces water treatment costs and prevents wastage of drinking water for washing and cleaning.

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Working days and public holidays in Turkey

Working days in Turkey are from Monday to Friday, and Saturday and Sunday are public holidays in Turkey.

The duration of annual public holidays in Turkey is 14 days, divided into three parts: official holidays, national holidays and religious holidays.

Religious holidays in this country are governed by the lunar months, and thus are holidays that change during the annual calendar, but other official and national holidays have a fixed date.

You can learn about holidays in Turkey, holiday occasions and number of holidays in Turkey below.

Celebrating the New Year (the first day of the new year)An official holiday of one day
National Sovereignty Day (Anniversary of the founding of the Turkish National Assembly in 1920)National holiday on April 23 and its duration is one day
Labor Day and SolidarityNational holiday on May 1 and its duration is one day
Commemoration of Ataturk and Youth and Sports DayA national holiday on May 19 and it lasts for one day
Eid al-FitrA religious holiday that lasts three days
Eid al-AdhaA religious holiday that lasts four days
Victory Day (victory over the invading forces in 1922)A national holiday on August 30 and its duration is one day
Turkish Republic Day (anniversary of the proclamation of the Government of the Republic of Turkey in 1923)A national holiday on October 1 and it lasts for one day

Work and investing in Turkey

Turks usually work 9 hours a day, which is 45 hours a week, more than European countries by 5 hours a week.

As mentioned in the previous section, Saturday and Sunday are closed in this country and in fact there are official working hours 24 days a month.

The main industry in Turkey is tourism, and Turkey earns a lot of income from this industry every year.

In addition, industries such as fashion, apparel and machinery parts manufacturing are very active in Turkey and are likely to bring a lot of income to the country in the coming years.

In the table below you can see the highest paying jobs in Turkey with their average monthly income.

Type of employmentAverage monthly income
Specialist doctor/surgeon29,000 liras
Judge24.500 lira
Lawyer19.800 liras
Bank manager18.600 lira
Executive Director17.500 lira
Financial Manager16.300 lira
University Professor14.000 lira
Pilot12.000 lira
Marketing manager11.000 lira

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Tax and investment system in Turkey

Residents of Turkey will be eligible to pay taxes if they reside in the country for more than 6 months in a year.

Of course, if you are in the country temporarily for more than 6 months, you can be exempted from possible taxes.

Also, all people who own real estate in Turkey will be taxed and whether they reside or not, it will have no effect on tax laws.

Turkish income tax is levied on employment or on the amount of rent received and profits from investment, and it does not matter the source of the profit.

The most important taxes in Turkey include the following:

  • Income tax: up to 35%
  • Investment tax: 35% max
  • Property tax: 4%

Investing in Turkey can bring advantages such as obtaining permanent residence and a citizenship, and one of its disadvantages is the relatively high tax rate in this country.

Turkish public transport system

In Turkey, daily use of private cars is considered uneconomical due to the high cost of fuel.

And this is why the use of the public transportation system is very common in Turkish cities.

In this section, we intend to compare the public transportation systems of different cities in Turkey.

Subway

The use of facilities such as the subway can only be seen in major cities such as Istanbul (with 9 lines and 73 metro stations), Ankara (with 4 lines and 45 metro stations), Izmir (1 line and 17 metro stations)

And for example a large city like Antalya, No, it doesn’t have an active subway line so far.

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Buses and taxis

Buses and taxis are one of the public transportation vehicles available in all Turkish cities.

Traveling by taxi in Turkey is very expensive, which is why many people try to use other facilities available such as city buses.

The high cost of taxis, which is often calculated using a taxi meter, is due to the high price of fuel in this country.

Dolmos (Minibus)

It is actually a special name for Minibuses.

The use of these generic vehicles is very popular in Turkey due to its abundance and reasonable price.

Public boats

Public boats are common in coastal cities in Turkey such as Istanbul or Izmir.

Unfortunately, the major Turkish cities suffer from congestion, and with these boats, you can bypass the city traffic.

Tram

Trams in Turkey are not a means that can be seen in all cities.

Trams can only be seen in cities with high tourist attractions.

Turkish education system

The education system in Turkish schools is 4-4-4.

The student enters primary school at the age of 6 or ilk Öğretim, after primary school he studies from the age of 10 to 14 in middle school and at the age of 14 he enters secondary school.

Education in Turkish schools ends at the age of 18 with a diploma.

Preschool is not mandatory in Turkey but it is recommended.

Turkish schools are divided into public and private.

The Turkish academic year begins in September and ends in June.

Turkish school holidays include 3 months of summer holidays and public holidays.

There are several secondary schools in Turkey, including:

  • Anatolian high schools with more foreign language courses.
  • Imam Khatib High School, and its courses in the field of religion and the Arabic language.
  • Secondary science schools that focus on science courses.
  • Technical and vocational high schools that focus on training certain professions.
  • Industrial, vocational and private secondary schools that are active in all the fields mentioned above.

After the fourth year of high school, students take a final exam and must pass a test to enter university.

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Turkish higher education system and universities

Turkey’s higher education system, or Yüksek eğitim, includes both public and private universities.

Students must have a diploma to enter universities and obtain an acceptable score on the national university examination.

Turkish universities are very popular among foreign students, due to the high quality of education and affordable cost.

Turkish universities also have an acceptable international ranking.

Turkey’s health care system

Turkey has grown significantly in the health sector over the past decade, with around $120 billion invested in the Turkish health sector.

The status of the health care system in Turkey has changed compared to the past, and the most important sign of this is the low costs of medical services in this country.

41% of the medical and health expenses of the Turkish people are covered by taxes, 31% by insurance companies and people pay an average of 28% of the value of these expenses.

In Turkey, thanks to the General Health Insurance System (GSS), health services are provided to all citizens, and thus many medical and care costs are covered by the government.

The government has opened a special account to cover these expenses on various taxes, including automobile taxes.

The approach to healthcare delivery is similar to the American one, where the doctor initially has the authority to prescribe any drug to the patient, but from the third drug onwards, more money is charged to the person receiving the drug.

Foreigners can also obtain citizenship by buying a house in Turkey, and they and their families can enjoy the benefits of the health system for life in Turkey.

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Cost of living in Turkey

Turkey is a developed country, but due to the depreciation of the lira against the dollar, the living and entertainment expenses are very suitable for foreigners compared to other European countries.

In general, you can enjoy a good life in Turkey with 6000 liras per month.

Renting a house in Turkey

The cost of housing in Turkey varies according to the city in which you live, for example, the cost of renting a house in Istanbul starts from approximately 1000 lira.

Of course, renting a house in each city of Turkey has its own forms. In some cities, rent for one year may be collected. In some cities, payment is made every two or three months, and in some it is paid on a monthly basis.

In general, the cost of renting in Turkey starts from 600 liras per month and fluctuates up to 2500 liras per month.

Buying a house or property in Turkey is allowed for foreigners and it is a good way to immigrate and obtain a residence permit in Turkey.

You can obtain a Turkish passport by buying a property worth 250 thousand dollars.

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Living in Turkey

Turkey is actually a country that has many cultural similarities with Arab countries, and it has its urban style and life, which is a mixture of ancient traditions and European modernity.

If you are planning to live in Turkey, you must be fully aware of all the advantages and disadvantages of living in that country.

In this section, we want to briefly explain the advantages and disadvantages of Turkey.

Advantages of living in Turkey

  • Favorable weather in most parts of the country
  • Delicious food (if you’re not a vegetarian!)
  • Adequate cost of living
  • The growing and strong economy
  • Diversified transmission system
  • Beautiful culture
  • The presence of a variety of tourist areas suitable for any taste
  • Easy accommodation

Disadvantages of living in Turkey

  • The depreciation of the lira against the dollar
  • High tax rates
  • Congestion and traffic in big cities
  • The difficulty of the Turkish language
  • Low salaries compared to other European countries
  • Higher working hours compared to European countries
  • Fuel is expensive

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10 amazing facts about Turkey that you may not know

  • Turkey’s beaches are the most beautiful beaches in the world.
  • The historical monuments of Turkey are not only related to the mosques and churches of the Ottoman Empire, but Turkey also has ancient monuments and the ruins of the great Greek and Roman civilizations.
  • Some of Turkey’s historical monuments date back to 129 BC.
  • The legendary city of Troy is not actually in Greece, but in Turkey.
  • Istanbul is the only city in the world located on the continents of Asia and Europe.
  • Turkey is the third country in which the metro was opened.
  • Istanbul, with a population of 15 million, is the most populous of the 177 countries in the world.
  • The famous Santa Claus legend originates from Turkey.
  • The first Christian church was established in Turkey.
  • The Grand Turkish Bazaar has more than 64 streets and 4000 shops.
  • Coffee was first introduced to Europe by the Turks.