Living in Turkey
Expats moving to Turkey are rewarded with an enriching and surprising experience.
Turkey is a secular republic. 99% of the people living in Turkey are Muslims. Other religions are equally respected, too. Expats are free to follow their own religion.
Istanbul is the most populated city in Turkey. Historically, it is known as Constantinople and Byzantium.
Turkey is blessed with lovely landscapes, sights etc., which will appeal to sun-worshippers, city-lovers, history buffs, nightclub fanatics, archaeology nuts and shopping addicts. Turkey has something for everyone and the excitement and fascination never stops.
The cost of living in Turkey is lower than in the neighboring European countries and this will appeal to expats who can make their money last longer and reach further.
Politics in Turkey
Turkey is a parliamentary representative democracy, constitutionally. Turkey has developed a strong tradition of secularism, since its foundation as a republic in 1923. The legal framework of the country is governed by Turkey's constitution. The constitution establishes Turkey as a unitary centralized state and sets out the main principles of government. The head of state is the President of the Republic and has a largely ceremonial role. By direct elections the president is elected for a five-year term. Elected by direct voting is Tayyip Erdogan, the first president.
The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers which make up the government exercise executive power. The legislative power is vested in the unicameral parliament, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Independent of the executive and the legislature is the judiciary. Through a vote of confidence in the government the prime minister is elected by the parliament. The prime minister is most often the head of the party having the most seats in parliament.
The country's largest expat hub and most costly location is Istanbul. It was ranked by the 2015 Mercer Cost of Living Survey as the 99th most expensive expat destination out of over 207 cities evaluated. The IMF defined the economy of Turkey as an emerging market economy. According to the CIA World Factbook Turkey is among the world's developed countries. Economists and political scientists have also defined Turkey as one of the world's newly industrialized countries. Turkey has the world's 17th largest nominal GDP and 13th largest GDP by PPP. Turkey is among the world's leading producers of agricultural products, ships and other transportation equipment, construction materials, textiles, motor vehicles, consumer electronics and home appliances.
Istanbul, Turkey's financial capital, had a total of 37 billionaires in 2013 according to a survey by Forbes magazine, ranking 5th in the world behind Moscow (84 billionaires), New York City (62 billionaires), Hong Kong (43 billionaires) and London (43 billionaires).
Buying or Renting Property in Turkey
Finding suitable, economically priced accommodation in Turkey is a fairly easy and straightforward process for expatriates. There are many great deals to be found. Since property rates are much lower than in many other European states it’s a feasible and popular option for expats to buy property in Turkey. There is a diverse range of accommodation available in Turkey from flats and apartments, to houses, condominiums and luxury villas.
Property prices are generally higher in urban areas than in rural areas. There are a number of websites where one can find available accommodation in Turkey. One can also engage the the services of a reputable real estate agent. They will have a wide range of accommodation options to check out before signing any lease agreement. Leases generally run on a year long basis and are often paid in advance. However after some negotiating it may be possible to pay rent in monthly instalments.
Visa and Immigration
For all children between the ages of six and 13 education in Turkey is compulsory. For all children, including Turkish nationals and foreigners both primary and secondary education in public schools are free.
At Turkish public schools the language of instruction is Turkish but some schools are bilingual, teaching in English, German or French. Learning a foreign language is compulsory for all children normally one of the three mentioned. The school day comprises of a morning and afternoon session, with the school week running from Monday to Friday. The academic year generally runs from mid-September or early October through to May or early June.
In private schools the language of instruction is Turkish and they follow the Turkish national curriculum. To attend a private school in Turkey expat children will have to undergo a general exam to determine their level of competency.
In Ankara and Istanbul there are quite a few private international schools which cover various international curricula and teach in a number of foreign languages. The most recognised and oldest international school in the city is the Istanbul International Community School, which has two campuses in Istanbul.
Weather in Turkey
Where they border the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, the coastal areas of Turkey have a temperate Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters. Where they border the Black Sea, the coastal areas have a temperate oceanic climate with warm, wet summers and cool to cold, wet winters. The Turkish Black Sea coast is the only region of Turkey that receives high precipitation throughout the year. 2,200 millimetres (87 in) is the average annual rainfall in the eastern part of that coast, which is the highest precipitation in the country.
Istanbul in summer has hot and humid weather and can be windy throughout the year. It is cold and wet during winter and occasionally snowing. However, temperatures rarely reach a freezing point. Ankara has cold and snowy winters with warm and dry summers. Preventing Mediterranean influences from extending inland are mountains close to the coast. The central Anatolian plateau in the interior of Turkey has a continental climate with sharply contrasting seasons as a result.
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