Moving to Turkey: Reasons People Do It
People who think about moving to Turkey often fall into one of two camps. The first one has no ties, no financial obligations, and eagerly gets on a plane to live overseas without a second thought. The second group often has relocation questions, hesitations, need to know, and look for advice from friends and family.
They wonder about the grandkids or, for those of a younger age, if they can live and work in Turkey all year round. They question if the big cultural gap means they will miss everything from their home country, including TV shows, cuisine, and friends. For some, it is a more significant lifestyle decision to make than for others, but as the age-old saying goes, determination always paves the way when moving.
Why Do People Move to Turkey?
From speaking to customers who have already upped sticks and made a move, varied reasons arose why they did it. While some credited a multicultural relationship, others wanted to join family members who were already here. However, two main reasons stood out above all others.
1: Value for Money: Money ranked as the number one reason to move to Turkey, especially for those who live in Aegean and Mediterranean coastal resorts like Alanya, Fethiye, Didim, Kusadasi, Antalya, Marmaris, Bodrum, Hisaronu and Ovacik. Many foreign residents agree that compared to western countries, the cost of living is far cheaper.
2: Laidback Lifestyle: We know Turks are often too laid back, but this lures in foreigners from all over the world. Turkish hospitality, often ranked as the world’s most welcoming, minimises the stress of a modern lifestyle, so no-one feels alone. Despite a rise in fast and frozen food, Turkish cuisine has stayed true to its roots with an emphasis on fresh ingredients. People say all these factors contribute towards their stress-free life, well-being, and health in ways their home country cannot match.
How to Move to Turkey
1: Get Your Finances in Order: You need to work out your monthly expenses to find out if you can financially make a move. Converting between the currency of your home country and the Turkish lira can be difficult when the exchange rate changes from day-to-day. Owning over one home in different countries also evokes a strong need for fiscal management skills. Know your finances, outgoing and spending, to make sure you do not get caught out.
2: Find Somewhere to Live: Some people choose to live in rented accommodation for their first year of settling in. Local newspapers and Facebook groups often advertise these. Others choose to buy a home. If you want to do the latter, browse our portfolio of property for sale in all areas of Turkey, including Istanbul, Bodrum, Fethiye and Antalya. Each listing includes the price, photos, and home features. Just use the enquiry form to find out more or arrange a viewing.
3: Get a Residency Visa: When moving to Turkey, your top priority should get residency permits and healthcare coverage. It isn’t required if you are over 65, but many expats sign up to the government SGK system, which also covers couples. Find out how to get a residency visa.
Living in Turkey: Pros and Cons
Life is always a delicate balance of good and bad, no matter what situation we are in. Often, fulfilling our lifelong dreams come with sacrifices. When making a move, please keep an open mind, and while we recommend making the most of the good times, do not assume your new life to be a God-given utopia. Specific difficulties may wretch at your heartstrings and patience.
1: Language Barrier: Many say learning the language is difficult because of an inability to remember words and master pronunciation. For foreigners living in coastal holiday resorts, it is not a big problem for day-to-day living because locals speak English thanks to the tourism trade. However, when finding workers to do odd jobs or navigating the red tape in official offices, the language barrier becomes a problem. The excellent news is Turkish friends step in to help, and for official documentation, certified translators are plentiful. Our article about easy ways to learn Turkish gives hints, tips, and advice to navigating the language barrier.
2: Expat Syndrome: It is hard to believe anyone living a satisfying life in the sun, without a care in the world could fall foul of mental illness, but the unofficial ex-pat syndrome is real. Often, striking after a person gets a sense of having settled into their new life, the primary causes are too much time and a lack of structure in daily routines. We’ve all heard stories of people who move here and gain a giant beer belly because the pub becomes the first place to cure their boredom. Exercise every day and take up hobbies like photography, golfing, walking, or helping local charity groups.
3: Save Money: One area where foreigners win is the opportunity to save money. Many have sold the property back home and deposited the cash into high-interest savings accounts. They then withdraw the monthly interest after paying tax, and this means they never have to touch their net worth if keeping in budget. When twinned with pensions, some couples have a very luxurious lifestyle, but, still save money at the same time. If you plan to be one of many foreigners in Turkey who use lucrative monthly savings interest rates to live off, shop around to get the best deal.
4: Weather: Turkey has seven different climate zones, but if you live in the south or west, expect the best in the sunshine for most of the year. What this encourages is an outdoor lifestyle. Think days spent by the pool and evenings dining alfresco style on rooftop terraces. When the rainy season does hit from January to February, most people look at this as downtime and a chance to recharge batteries ready for summer.
Living in Istanbul, Pros and Cons
Istanbul is Turkey’s most populated and biggest city, so expect crowds. Lots of them. It also help to be an excellent driver to navigate the roads. The other biggest downside is the cost of living, which is the highest in Turkey. Expect to pay as much as three times more rent, and eating and drinking out can be a costly affair if you don’t watch your budget. On the plus side, the city is home to a large community of expats so enjoy a fantastic social life, where you get to meet people from many nationalities. History lovers will always be in their element as well, thanks to thousands of sites and tourist attractions. Another big lure that we love is the varied cuisine. They sell every type in Istanbul so you can eat your way around the world.
Living in Ankara Pros and Cons
If you like an urban lifestyle, but at a slower pace, then Ankara is a good alternative. The traffic is less congested, and the city has done an excellent job of incorporating green spaces, so shop around when choosing somewhere to live. Ankara’s active nightlife scene means you will never be bored after dark, but there aren’t many cultural attractions, so now is an excellent time to take up a hobby. Ankara has excellent universities, so it is ideal for anyone looking to further their studies. Likewise, families with young children who want decent international schools would do well to consider Ankara.
Things to Know Before Making the Move
All experts say when moving countries, certain personality traits make the difference whether your new life completely flops or is the best lifestyle decision to make. There will be sad days and moments when you miss friends and family back home. Occasionally, Turkish bureaucracy and red tape will test your patience. On other times, cultural disagreements with Turkish neighbours will happen. When these things happen, remember not to sweat the small stuff, and keep in mind, the reasons you moved to Turkey. A keen sense of self-awareness helps you look at the positive aspect and not negatives.
Useful Apps for Living in Turkey: From managing money to making friends and keeping in touch with family back home, these apps make it all so easy. However, still, be open to new experiences: This is not the time to have a rigid idea of what life should look like. You will encounter people from different levels of society and find yourself in situations that have never occurred before. Curiosity and a willingness to learn go a long way.
About Us: We are Turkey Homes, a property and lifestyle specialist with offices all over the country. Head over to our blog to find out more about moving to Turkey and tips and advice for settling in. Thanks to our local knowledge, we cover many destinations, should you still be undecided where you want to live.