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What to Expect When Moving to Turkey?

Posted on 24 July 2020
Updated On: 27 July 2020

Having a glance at the life of anyone of us nowadays will be enough to give an idea of how Globalized have we been.  While the idea of Globalization, which started thousands of years ago when the first caravans began to transport the precious goods east and west, while it was only a privilege for the wealthiest class of the community, it became the theme of everyone’s life in our century. Wherever you are staying, and no matter what time of the day it is, you are most probably using a device that has been made in Asia, drinking coffee from South America, enjoying a Mediterranean meal maybe, or putting jewelry coming from Africa.

The last two decades made this connection and dependence relationship even deeper with the Internet. The invention of the internet came to help us communicate, work, and live remotely, without the need to stay in one place to manage our lives.

Living this reality opens the doors for us not only to get introduced to the other parts of the world but to live the whole world with fine details at the same time wherever we are.

Your decision of moving or relocating your business to Turkey might be caused by many reasons or motivations, but it also has a history


Being part of the midland between Europe, Asia, and Africa, along with the Mediterranean, Turkey’s land has always been an important stop for all Military campaigns, trade convoys, or immigrating groups from the surrounding countries. And while passing by, many of those people found in the Turkish land a place for settling down and building a life in.

Entering Turkey as a tourist would be generally the beginning, and while touring around, the question would come to your mind “why don’t I live here?”.

And while passing by, many of those people found in the Turkish land a place for settling down and building a life in.

Entering Turkey as a tourist would be generally the beginning, and while touring around, the question would come to your mind “why don’t I live here?”.

You are not a stranger

As we discussed a bit earlier, Tukey has always been a cosmopolitan. You will meet in the Turkish community many generations of the grandsons of immigrants or travelers who decided to settle down in this land. And you will find that “Where are you from?” is a common question among Turkish people themselves.


In this article, and to help you in settling down easier, we will discuss some facts and information that will contribute to rebuilding your expectations about Life in Turkey and the Turkish community. We will discuss guided by three main directions: Lifestyle wise, Financial wise, Community wise.


1- Lifestyle Wise

Vacation like Life

Extending the tourism trip to be a lifestyle might sound like a dream more than a true, but this is what Turkey can offer you.

Whether you are planning to retire in Turkey, or you are an entrepreneur who is managing his work remotely, or a freelancer enjoying a free way of life, you may find what you are looking for in here.

The fair weather most of the year’s time helps in making life easier. No snow shoveling or Sun strikes, this will make your daily routines more enjoyable and will fill your calendar with tens of outdoor destinations to visit or explore.

Far Enough, Close Enough

Enjoying your stay in Turkey doesn’t disconnect you from your home, because you are only a few hours away from all parts of the world. After all, you are almost in the center of the world.  Whether you are traveling to Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, or America, Turkey would be a great location that would ensure you shorter, easier, and lower cost traveling.

At the same time, you can make sure to stay connected with the digital world through good, reliable, and cheap internet services in Turkey, either at home or on your mobile phone.

“Moscow and Istanbul have the cheapest internet in the world and if you’re FaceTiming from these two cities to Dubai it will be 9-12 times cheaper on one end of the call to the other.”

Deutsche Bank ‘Mapping the World prices 2019’ survey


2- Financial Wise

Housing Expenses

You might start your stay in Turkey booking a hotel room, which -for sure- won’t last long before you rent an apartment.

Renting a flat in Turkey can be a bit challenging for a foreigner in the beginning, especially in the high seasons of tourism, because of many factors, first of which could be the language, but basically, because the foreigners would prefer renting furnished apartments for a short time (1 or few months), while the property owners, in general, would prefer letting their properties with basic appliances for a long term rental (1 or 2 years). The appearance of booking websites is changing this reality a little bit, even though its reliability is not always high.

Renting an apartment on a daily or weekly basis can be a bit expensive especially in summer and in the central locations, but it goes more than affordable when renting for one year or more.

The average monthly rent for 2 bedroom apartment is about 369$, according to Deutsche Bank ‘Mapping the World prices 2019’ survey.

Taxes in Turkey

Turkey applies many taxes, like “income, VAT, or special consumption” taxes.

VAT Value Added Tax is applied to all purchasing or payments inside the country. VAT value may vary between 1%, 8%, and 18%. For example:

  • Food or consumable products VAT is 8%.
  • Flight tickets VAT is 18%.
  • Real Estate VAT can be 1% or 18% depending on the location or size.

Income tax is also applied in Turkey and its value is about 22%.

Special consumption tax is applied on Tobacco and Alcohol products.

Despite the fact of applying VAT and other taxes, life expenses remain reasonable and affordable in Turkey compared to other countries in Europe or other big and global cities like Dubai or New York.

“Milan has replaced Copenhagen as the most expensive city in the world followed by Zurich, Madrid, Vienna, and London. Istanbul continues to be the cheapest on the list helped by the large FX fall of late.”
Deutsche Bank ‘Mapping the World prices 2019’ survey

Local Products

Turkey has a developing and growing industrial sector, and both people and governments are supporting the local products.

Starting from Food and Nutrition products, to smartphones and electronic devices and appliances, reaching cars and buses, thousands of products are being made or assembled in Turkey, so mostly you would be able to find a local substitute product for the one that you may have used to in your country and with competitive quality. You will still be able to find the globally famous brands and products, but it will be more expensive due to additional taxes on imported goods.


3- CommunityWise

Working Power

According to the most recent statistics by (UN population division) in 2016, Turkey has an average person age of (29.9 years), which means it is a young country with big working power. You will notice that Turkish people like to work, and have long working shifts. This active working atmosphere brings life to the countries and makes it easier for new businesses to grow.

“The average working hours per week is 47.9hr, which is the highest the world”  Yeni Safak news website

Civilization with Culture

Turkish people would give the seat for elder people in Public transportation and would kiss their elder family members or relative’s hands when meeting them. They also love children and pay them extra care. You may see some parents carrying their children’s school bags for example.

Governmental Services

The Turkish government is making a continuous effort in improving its establishment’s performance, fighting corruption, and lower bureaucracy.

Many of the governmental services are available online as well through the E-Government website and mobile application, making it easier to get some certificates or documents, or applying for some services.

Smoking Cigarettes

Smoking is a common habit in Turkey, especially in the bigger cities like “Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir”. The Turkish government is paying great efforts to control and fight this habit.

Advertisements of Tobacco and Alcohol products are banned, and smokers are paying a special consumption tax for their cigarettes that measures 87%, which is the highest in the world.

Challenges You Might Face

  • The first challenge that you might face when going out of the circle of the touristic place is Language. Most of the Turkish people may not have the courage to speak a foreign language with you, although they study English, French, or German languages as a second language in schools.

Staying for a long time in Turkey means you have to learn some Turkish at least. However, this challenge can soften as you can do almost everything you need Online.

Nowadays in Turkey, like other parts of the world, people are depending on technology more and more and every day more than the day before. Online shopping became the first option for some people when buying fashion, electronic devices, furniture, or even daily needed groceries.

  • Another challenge you might come across especially when living in Istanbul. Traffic if you are driving a car, and Crowds if you are using public transportations, are something you need to learn how to avoid, adapt with, or enjoy it.

Starting early in the morning, remaining for few hours, and repeated in the evening, Heavy traffic from both sides of the city [east and west] heading to the center of Istanbul is a daily routine during the working days.

You may be able to avoid getting stuck in any traffic by rescheduling your movement to the less crowded times of the day.

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