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Colin Guest

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Retirement in Turkey
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Living in Turkey
by Colin Guest   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, July 09, 2011
Posted: Saturday, July 09, 2011

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This article covers various aspects re living in Turkey

I was working in Jordan when I received a phone call from my wife back in England saying that a recruitment company had called wanting to talk to me. The result was that I received a very good contract to work in Turkey on a hotel complex down on the Mediterranean coast. Until moving there I had no knowledge of Turkey and what life was like living there. For the first time my contract was married status, with my wife joining me a month after I arrived in Turkey. At the time of going to Turkey, my wife and I were thinking of moving to Spain to live. Therefore, I was very surprised that 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, Turkey is much better than Spain. “ After mentioning this to a colleague at work he said, “A Turkish friend of mine is also looking to find a piece of land to build a house why don’t you and he buy a plot of land between you.” He later introduced my wife and me to Amhed his Turkish friend, who along with his two brothers owned their own construction company. A few weeks later after agreeing that we would buy a plot of land between us, Amhed took us to see a plot of land in a village approx 9 km out from Kemer. The land was approx 2,500sm with a number of orange trees growing in it, with beautiful mountain views. My wife’s first reaction on seeing the land was, “This is perfect it’s really beautiful.” We bought the plot of land with Amheds brothers; with their company then 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 for an International removal company in England to send by lorry, various items from our house in England over to Turkey. The company told us that our shipment would be with us in two weeks from the time it left the UK. In fact, it took several months before our goods cleared customs in Istanbul and delivered to our house. It is strange that while some foreigners have trouble shipping personnel goods into Turkey, others do not.


From my personnel experience, I would not recommend bringing goods into Turkey, but since my last problem with the customs, the law has changed with it now being easier to bring in goods from abroad. Before doing so, it is advisable to first check with the Gumruk (Customs).


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 tell you that you do not need to use an avukat (lawyer). However, by using an Avukat, you can rest assured that the property has a Tapu (title deed), and becomes 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 the quality quite good.  According to various international financial institutions, Turkey is highly recommended as the place to buy property as they are of the opinion that the values of property will rapidly increase in the next two – 3 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 here.

Luxury buy-to-let properties constructed near golf course enable exceptional returns in an already sought-after destination. Owners of properties in preferred locations can expect higher than average yield returns, along with increased potential for short-term tenants

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 be usually be bought at a very good price and represent excellent value 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. Remember however that the total cost of your house will depend how much you have to pay for a piece of land to put the house on.

There is no time restriction for reselling property after having bought, as once registered in your name, you can resell it the next day.


The present situation is that 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.


Property charges

1.      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.

2.      To reserve a property you will need to pay a 10% deposit.

3.      The extra charges involved for a freehold or leasehold purchase payable by the purchaser amount to approximately 10% of the purchase price paid.

4.      To have the contract document translated into English, costs approx £100.

5.       On new buildings you may have to pay for the electric & water to be connected, cost approx £100.

6.      House insurance varies according to size and location of the property, with it being mandatory to purchase State earthquake insurance.

7.      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 approx £60.

8.      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.

9.      If the property or land is outside the Belediye controlled area, long leases are available via a leasing facility designed by two of Turkey's largest banks, Koc Bank & Garanti Bank. In this way, the bank purchases the property in the banks name who then leases it to the purchaser. There are no restrictions on subsequently transferring the lease to a third party if he/she wishes.  

10.  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.  

11.  If you later wish to sell your property then Freehold resale costs are between 5% (comprising sales tax, local documentation and legal fees).

12.  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.

13.  In all areas controlled by the Belediye property may be sold to Turkish, or foreign nationals without restriction. For other areas, it is best to seek the advice of an avukat.



  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..

3.  Water costs are approximately £0.40p per ton (1,000 litres on mains supply)

Most houses and apartments have solar water heating panels installed, which gives virtually all your hot water free of charge. An electrical element  fitted in 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 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.

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.

8.  Household refuse must be put into plastic bags before being deposited into large bins provided by the Belediye at intervals along the sides of the roads. T hese bins then get 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 can be very hot. Due to changes in the laws re importation of cars you should check with xxxxxxxxx for up todate information. 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 you will find that cars manufactured in Turkey, like various models of Renault and Toyota, have much less tax to pay than on imported cars. If you have a Turkish residence permit then you are required to have an International driving licence or a Turkish driving licence. Providing you have, a valid English driving licence then you can obtain a Turkish driving licence quite easily, you do not have to pass a driving test, but you must have a medical. At present Turkey has what is probably the most expensive petrol in the world, 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. 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. The buses are comfortable, clean and have air-conditioning. There is a variety of companies operating long distance coach services between all major cities. These I have found to be more comfortable than services in the UK, with very reasonable prices. Local flights from Antalya International airport to Istanbul only take one hour, with prices varying slightly depending on which airline you use. There are several different companies that fly between the UK and Turkey, I would recommend checking out


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 far 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. Unfortunately, residence permits for the English are one of the most expensive, with a one-year permit costing approx £400 and a five-year permit approx £1,800. To obtain your first residence permit you must apply for it in your own country, after that you renew them here. You can check online at xxxxxxxxx for up todate information re costs etc.


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 stuff.
  • 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, one has also to present the tapu or the rental agreement for the property the goods will be shipped to.
  • Bear in mind that if you have just bought a Turkish property and are moving immediately to Turkey; you can’t get the 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)
  • Foreigners coming to reside without work contract have to provide a residence permit, bandroll tax to be levied on tv, hifi, vcr, the title deed of their Turkey property and 18% VAT on total declared depreciated value

Contact the Turkish Embassy in Ankara for latest regulations.


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. Olthamic eye care is also very good with both specialist laser and lasik treatments widely available.





  • If you decide to bring your dog with you then this is not a problem as there is no quarantine period, with formalities quite straightforward, if your dog has had 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 in several locations with costs very reasonable from around xxxxx per day. Pet owners have to register their dogs with the municipality.
  • To prevent uncontrolled births, the animals have to be neutered.




If you enjoy exploring ancient ruins Turkey is full of them, including Ephesus one of the Seven Wonders of the World. 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 heated by thermal springs is another place to add to your visit list. A number of the hotels here have spas heated by the thermal springs.


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. In July and August, the temperature sometimes can be as high as in the 50s, so a hat and sun cream for protection are a must. An average winter’s day 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. Due to several people becoming lost while trekking alone, the Gendarme requires that you notify them where you intend going. So that in the event of your becoming lost, they will know where to search for you. 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 for information on both treks and mountaineering trips. There are several horse ranches in the area offering both riding lessons and accompanied riding trips. One of these, Berke Ranch claims to be 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 over 10 top quality 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. These courses are extremely popular with hundreds of English golfers coming over each year. For an idea on costs check out, 

Turkey is currently undergoing preparations to becoming the next European golf tourism hotspot. Major expansion plans with a dozen 18-hole golf courses in the planning stages, will rectify the present lack of operating courses in comparison to typical golfing destinations such as Spain and Portugal, assisting the transformation of the country into a preferred golfing destination.

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