Living in Turkey
Colin Guest firstname.lastname@example.org
My home is in a small Turkish village on the outskirts of the Mediterranean resort town of Kemer. This area Ex President Ozal once described as being the Monte Carlo of Turkey. Once you have visited here you will know why he said this.
I came to Turkey after being offered a very good contract, to work on a hotel complex that was under construction on the Turkish Mediterranean coast near a village named Kemer. As my contract was married status, my wife Jenny came out to join me a month after I arrived in Turkey. Before going to Turkey, like many expats my wife and I had been thinking of moving to Spain to live. Therefore, it was a shock when after her only being in Turkey for five weeks, she said, “After you finish your contract why don’t we buy a plot of land and have a house built.” I said, “I thought that we were going to live in Spain.” “No! I love it here she said, Turkey is much better than Spain.”
After mentioning this to a colleague at work he later introduced my wife and I to Amhed a Turkish friend of his who was also looking for a piece of land to build a house on. A few weeks after agreeing to buy land between us, Amhed who along with his two brothers owned their own construction company, took my wife and I to see a plot of land in a village approx 9 km out from Kemer. It was 2,500sm with a number of orange trees growing in it, and had beautiful mountain views of the nearby pine forested Taurus Mountains.
“What do you think of the land Jenny” Amhed asked, she replied “This is perfect it’s really beautiful.” We bought the land with Amheds company designing and building four 3-bedroom houses. This was over twenty years ago and I still live in the same house.
On completion of the house, we arranged with an international transport company to send various items from our house in England over to Turkey. The company promised delivery within two weeks of our goods leaving the UK. In fact, it took nearly three months before our goods were finally delivered to our house. It is strange that while some foreigners have trouble shipping personnel goods into Turkey, others do not.
Buying property in Turkey is not as complicated as you might imagine. The procedure is often far simpler than in most other European countries. Many English and local estate agents will inform you that you do not need to use an avukat (lawyer). However,by using one, you can rest assured that the property has a Tapu (title deed), and will become legally registered in your name. The charge for using an avukat is approx £800, but certainly well worth the money. You can obtain a list of English speaking Avukats from your Consul/Embassy.
Property prices here are very reasonable compared to say Spain and Cyprus, with your normally getting more for your money. According to various international financial institutions, Turkey is highly recommended as the place to buy property. They are of the opinion that values will rapidly increase here in the next two – three years.
With an ever-increasing influx of tourists each year, more and more foreigners are buying property for both personal and rental purposes. There is a wide choice of both new and resale houses and apartments for sale, with many Norwegians and English now owning holiday homes in and around the Kemer area.
Luxury buy-to-let properties constructed near golf course can offer exceptional returns, along with increased potential for short-term tenants, in what is presently one of the top tourist destinations.
If you decide to buy a plot of land and have a house built on it, first check to see if it has building permission, and if any restrictions apply to it.
Another option is to buy a cooperative property, which can usually be bought at a very good price, when compared to equivalent “tourist” style properties. However, before buying this kind of property always, ensure that you have thorough checks made before committing to buy.
On the outskirts of Antalya is a company that builds prefabricated concrete and steel houses. These houses are very well finished and exceptionally good value for money. The company has several different models to choose from, with your being welcome to visit their factory to see how they manufacture them. However, remember that the total cost of your house will depend how much you have to pay for the land to put the house on.
At present the Turkish Military are the authority that gives permission for foreigners buying property in Turkey. The time scale to get your new property registered in your name and for you to receive the Tapu will depend on the amount of applicants at that time; this process can sometimes take up to three months.
1. There is no time restriction for reselling property, after having bought a property and had it registered in your name, you can resell it the next day
2. House mortgages up to 70% of the purchase price are available from various banks.
3. When buying a property in Turkey, you normally find that you have to pay a 3% buyers’ fee, with an additional 1.5 % paid by both the purchaser and the vendor as purchase tax.
4. To reserve a property you are normally expected to pay a 10% deposit.
5. The extra charges involved for a freehold or leasehold purchase payable by the purchaser amount to approximately 10% of the purchase price paid.
6. To have the contract document translated into English, costs approx £100.
7. On new buildings you may have to pay for the electric & water to be connected, cost approx £100.
8. House insurance varies according to size and location of the property, with it being mandatory to purchase State earthquake insurance.
9. You have to register your property with the local Belediye (council), after which you will have to pay council tax that is paid in two installments, cost vary depending on size and location approx £60.
10. If your property is part of a complex, you will have to pay communal charges. These vary depending on size and value of the property, but generally start at around £150.00 per annum.
11. It is advisable to transfer funds for the purchase of property into the country through a Turkish bank, and specifically identified for that purpose. This process normally takes 3-5 working days. The foreign currency should be sufficient to cover both the purchase cost plus other costs incidental to the purchase. You should keep all receipts to prove the original purchase to enable easy repatriation.
12. If you later wish to sell your property real estate company’s costs can vary from between 3 - 10%.
13. Capital gains made from the sale of a property will be taxable in Turkey if the owner is a Company. Individuals do not have to pay capital gains, provided they have owned the property for five years.
a. In all areas controlled by the Belidye property may be sold to Turkish, or foreign nationals without restriction. For other areas, it is best to seek the advice of an avukat.
b. Before a real estate sale contract is drawn up, an inquiry should be made at the relevant Land Title Registry Office as to whether such immovable is subject to restricted real rights, mortgaged, or any other situation exists which prohibits its sale.
c. Foreign nationals who wish to buy real estate in Turkey are advised, not to sign legally binding sales contracts or make any payments before obtaining information at the correct Land Title Registry Office about the immovable involved, - not to initiate procedures before investigating the sales persons or agencies involved, and to refrain from conducting business with persons or agencies who are not able to provide sufficient proof of their credibility.
1.The gas supply in most of the country is by the use of gas cylinders, and normally used for cooking. A standard refill cylinder costs approximately 60TL, which when used for cooking purposes will normally last for approximately a month.
2. Electricity is cheap approximately £0.05p a kilowatt. Bills are payable monthly at a local bank or directly at the Turkish Electricity Board. Supply is 220v
3. Water costs are approximately £0.75p per ton (1,000 litres on mains supply)
Most houses and apartments have solar water heating panels installed, which makes virtually all your hot water free of charge. An electrical element fitted into the tank supplies hot water on the rare days when there is no sun.
4. Telephone installation is by Turk Telekom, with connection normally within a few days. Lines are generally good and Internet access easy and well serviced.
An increasing number of people now use a Dongle to connect to the internet, which in most locations is ideal, if you do not have a landline. The various cellphone companies offer these either by purchase, or on contract.
5. There are several mobile phone services available with Turkcell and Vodadacom being the main servers. If you bring in a cell phone from abroad, then you must get it registered with a local server before one month or it will be cut off.
6. Television reception is good with a subscription to Digiturk Satellite system giving you 52 channels including MGM, Movie Max, BBC Prime, Discovery Channel, Euro sport, CNN world news, etc. The cost for the basic package is approx ₤11 per month.
7. Another option is to take out an online subscription and download television programs direct from the internet to your television. Charges for this vary depending on which company you use, but are available from around £5 per month.
8. Household refuse must be put into plastic bags before being deposited into large bins provided by the Belidye, which are placed at intervals along the sides of the roads. These bins are emptied by the Belediye on a regular basis.
9. Sewage is either my mains or as in many villages by the use of septic tanks.
If you wish to bring your own car into Turkey, you can do so, but it can only remain here for six months, after which it has to leave the country, and not brought back in again until six months later. However, remember that here you drive on the right hand side of the road, plus unless your car has air-conditioning I would recommend against bringing it as the summer months here can be very hot. Due to changes in the laws re importation of cars you should check for up todate information with the Turkish Motoring Club at www.touring.org.tr
Car prices here are more expensive than in the UK with second hand cars being very much higher than in the UK.
When buying a new car that has been manufactured in Turkey, like various models of Renault and Toyota, there is much less tax to pay than on solely imported cars.
If you have a Turkish residence permit, which you must have to enable you to purchase a car, then you are required to have either an International driving licence, or a Turkish driving licence. Providing you have a valid English driving licence you can obtain a Turkish driving licence quite easily, you do not have to pass a driving test, but you must have a basic medical.
The cost of petrol in Turkey is very high, with it being more expensive than the UK.
The general standards of roads here are good, with an ever-increasing number of them made into dual carriageway. However, you have to be more diligent than when driving in the UK, as unfortunately the death toll from road accidents here is considerably higher than in other countries in Europe. This situation is generally due to drivers driving at too high a speed (both in and out of town) in dry and rainy conditions.
Public transport is quite cheap with the bus fare from Kemer to Antalya, a distance of approx 50km, costing 6TL or €2 and takes approx 1 hr. The buses are comfortable, clean and have air-conditioning. There are a variety of companies operating long distance coach services between all major cities, namely, Varan, Ulusoy and Kamil Koc. These I have found to be more comfortable than services in the UK, with very reasonable prices. The cost of a ticket from Antalya to Istanbul is approx 55TL; with a journey time of approx 12hrs.
From Antalya International airport you are able to fly to many destinations, with connections from Istanbul to virtually anywhere in the world.
It takes approx one hour to fly from Antalya to Istanbul, with various companies offering tickets from approx 89TL. There are direct flights from Antalya over to Northern Cyprus, which take approx 45mins. The cost varies but can be as low as 50TL one way. Check out Pegasus and Skylines airlines.
For flights to and thro to the UK one of the best companies to check out is www.flythomascook.com They offer flights to several destinations in Turkey from a variety of airports in the UK. Flights take approx 4.5 hours from Antalya to Stanstead or Gatwick. Prices vary depending on availability and time of year.
If you are not coming to Turkey with one of the tour companies, then there are plenty of taxis available at the airport with prices marked up on a notice board to various destinations. In general, the majority of taxis are quite new with fare meters and air-conditioning.
Car hire here is more expensive than in the UK so it is best to shop around to get the best price. It is compulsory that all hire cars carry insurance, with the necessary documents inside the car when you hire it.
Visas are available on entry into the country with a three month visa (for English people) costing £10. Residence permits are easy to obtain with the cost varying depending on which countries passport you are using. A residence permit for English passport holders as of 1st April 2011 costs $95 for a one-year permit.
To obtain your first residence permit you must apply for it in your own country, after that you renew them here.
Importation of household goods
There are a few important points to consider when importing goods.
First there is a tax charge of 10% on all personal imports while the tax on electrical goods is 18%.
Also anyone importing into Turkey needs to have a residency permit in order to take possession of their goods.
Residents in Turkey benefit from a system called temporary import. This means that household goods can be imported without having to pay the normal customs duties of 10% of the total value, provided you can present a residence permit that is valid for at least one year.
In order to be eligible for temporary import, you have to present your Tapu, (house title deed) or the rental agreement for the property the goods will be shipped too.
Bear in mind that if you have just bought a Turkish property and are moving immediately to Turkey; you can’t get a residency permit without first having a tapu – which can take three months to obtain.
Anyone importing goods to Turkey must have detailed inventory containing the brand name and serial numbers of electrical items, all items must be listed, owners must have their original passport which has the last entry stamp into Turkey; the goods must arrive in Turkey 2 months before or 6 months after last entry into Turkey and finally the goods must be used. Foreigners with a work contract must provide work and residence permit; letters of applications and guarantee from employer and a financial guarantee for customs tax (appr.%30 of total declared depreciated value)
For latest regulations check out.
Health care in Turkey is very good, with many people coming here for operations rather than having them in their own countries. Both quality of care and facilities are very good, with costs much lower than in many countries. Here after consultation with a doctor, there is virtually no waiting time for a patient to have an operation. Unless it is a highly specialist operation they are normally carried out within a few days. Many new private hospitals here are fitted with the latest technology, with all doctors speaking English; and the standard of nursing very good. The larger State hospitals in Antalya have both specialist professors and doctors on hand with a full range of facilities. Dental work here is far less expensive than in the UK with the quality of work being very good. Ophthalmologist eye care is also very good with both specialist laser and lasik treatments widely available.
If you decide to bring your pet with you then this is not a problem as there is no quarantine period, with formalities quite straightforward. Your pet has to have a certified health check before leaving your own country. This rule applies to pets coming from the UK. (other countries may vary) Many excellent veterinary clinics offer both general health care as well as full medical services. Kennel facilities are available with costs very reasonable being from around 15TL per day.
Pet owners have to register their dogs with the municipality.
To prevent uncontrolled births, the animals have to be neutered.
Dogs must be vaccinated against rabies.
If you enjoy exploring ancient ruins Turkey is full of them, including two of the Seven Wonders of the World. One is Ephesus, The Temple of Artemis, which is near Izmir and the other being The Mausoleum, which is in Bodrum. There are various beautiful and interesting ruins around the Kemer region that are well worth visiting, including Olympos, Phaselis, Perge, Aspendos and Termessos. Termessos is famous as being known as the only place in Turkey that Alexandra the Great never conquered. He apparently took one look at the city high up a narrow twisting mountain trail and decided against attacking it.
Approx ½ hour from Kemer is one of the longest and highest cable car rides in the world. This will take you up to the top of the Tahtali Mountain which is at a height of approx 2,365-meter. From the summit, there are spectacular 360-degree panoramic views of the mountains, with a sea view from Finike as far as Side.
Cappadocia is a top tourist attraction with its fairy style shaped pinnacle rocks, and underground cities that once provided safety for Christians.
Pammukala, with its glistening white cascading travertine pools that are heated by thermal springs is another place to add to your must visit list. A number of the hotels there have spas heated by the thermal springs.
Of course no visit to Turkey would be complete without a visit to Istanbul, which is the only city in the world to straddle two continents. There is so much to see, that you need at least two days to see places like, Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahce Palace and the Blue Mosque. These are just a few of the many interesting places to visit.
Climate & Activities
There is very little crime in this area, with it quite safe to go walking around, even at night. It is a real pleasure to be able to go walking both in town, and around the various outlying villages without worrying if you‘ll be mugged. It is more likely that you are invited into either a shop or a village house for a glass of çay (tea). As Turkish people are so friendly and hospitable, you are sure of a warm greeting and made to feel welcome wherever you go. The regions climate is excellent with mainly blue skies and sunshine for around 300 days a year. However, in July and August, the temperature can sometimes be in the 50s, so for protection, a hat and sun cream are a must. An average winter’s day here is similar to a spring day in the United Kingdom, although quite cold early mornings and evenings.
There are various activities for you to enjoy, including sailing, swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, white water rafting, walking, cycling and mountain bike riding. For the skiing enthusiast there are the ski slopes at Saklikent, which is about 11/2 hours away. There are four ski lifts there, with the snow normally deep enough for skiing from December to April.
For those who prefer a more active lifestyle the mountains are ideal for trekking and mountaineering. An English woman by the name of Kate Clow has laid out a number of trekking routes to follow and published several books on these routes. See her web page www.lycianway.com for information on both treks and mountaineering trips.
There is a horse ranch in the area named Berke Ranch, which claims to be probably one of the best in the world. This seems to be a high claim, but it certainly is a beautiful place, with excellent horses, accommodation and restaurant facilities.
There are close to three dozen marinas currently (2010) operational in Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. See www.en.wikipedia.org//Marinas_in_Turkey. Many are located both in large cities as well as those tucked away in beautiful sheltered bays. One of the best such marinas being in Gocek for details see www.marinturk.com
There are over 10 top quality golf courses designed by the likes of Jack Nicholas, Arnold Palmer and Jack Faldo at Belek, which is approx 11/2 hours away from Kemer and only ½ hour from Antalya airport. For an idea on costs check out www.golfholidayturkey.com
Turkey is currently undergoing preparations to becoming the next European golf tourism hotspot. Major expansion plans for a dozen new 18-hole golf courses are in the planning stages, which will rectify the present lack of operating courses in comparison to typical golfing destinations such as Spain and Portugal.
Guide section: Generalities
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