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Life In Turkey: A Guide To Expat Safety

5 min read

Life In Turkey: A Guide To Expat Safety

Turkey is a unique country that captivates multiple people thanks to its unique blend of history, culture and affordability. As the gateway between Asia and Europe, it’s a transcontinental country that holds immense significance for expats all around the world due to its strategic location, beautiful weather, low cost of living, cultural variety, and business opportunities.

Plus, Turkey has a unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures, with a rich history and diverse population, making it an ideal destination for those who want to experience something new and different. Each city has its own charm, thus making the country as a whole cater to a wide range of expats.

While there are still certain risks, especially at the border with Syria and Kurdistan, Turkey is generally a safe place for expats. 

If you’re still unsure, let me tell you that I understand where you’re coming from. Safety is a major issue, so you want to make sure everything’s going to be okay during your stay in Turkey. That’s why, in today’s article, I’ll provide you with all the necessary information and practical tips to protect your safety as an expat in Turkey. Let’s begin.

 

Balat in Istanbul, Turkey - It is generally safe to visit Turkey, but you should still be cautious and aware of certain higher-risk areas, such as the borders with Syria and Kurdistan

Balat in Istanbul, Turkey

OVERALL SAFETY IN TURKEY

Turkey, like any other country, has its own safety landscape. By highlighting the safety measures and precautions in place, you’ll gain a better understanding of how safe Turkey is for expats.

Firstly, Turkey is a country that takes safety very seriously. The government has implemented various measures to ensure that locals and visitors stay secure. For instance, it’s not difficult to find a strong police presence in major cities and tourist hotspots, providing a sense of security. In addition, the newly developed camera network in Istanbul has led to a decline in muggins and purse-snatching incidents. 

While Turkey is generally safe to visit, you must be cautious and aware of certain higher-risk areas, such as the border with Syria and Kurdistan. Therefore, as long as you avoid these specific zones, you can significantly avoid a lot of trouble.

Terrorism is, for sure, a very serious issue. Even Western countries like France and Spain have experienced acts of terrorism. The key is to stay vigilant of your surroundings, and what’s going on in the country you may have under your radar.

 

Related content: The Pathway To Turkey Through The Citizenship By Investment Program

 

Kaputas Beach, Turkey - Istanbul is the most popular destination for expats in Turkey, and the government has made great strides to improve security by installing more cameras, crimes such as bag snatching and muggings are occurring less

Kaputas Beach, Turkey

PETTY CRIMES AND PERSONAL SAFETY

Terrorism is the most extreme case. Thankfully, Turkey is, in general, a very safe country. However, you may also worry about petty crimes such as pickpocketing, mugging, and snatching. If you think about it, these also happen in Western countries, but it looks like many overlook it. 

In fact, stealing and vandalizing have been normalized in many countries (including but not limited to the US) because these things happen under the umbrella of certain ideologies. Having said that, let’s now focus on some practical advice on how to keep yourself safe.

Like in any country you go to, you’d like to take basic precautions such as observing your surroundings and avoiding certain areas. Pickpocketing, mugging, and snatching tend to happen in the most concentrated areas where there’s a higher chance for criminals to find victims. 

Istanbul, the most popular expat destination in Turkey, has made great progress to improve safety. By installing more cameras, crimes like mugging and purse snatching take place less often. The Turkish authorities want to ensure the safety of residents and visitors, too.  

At the end of the day, it’s crucial to exercise common sense and be aware of your personal belongings. Keeping your valuables secure, hiding wealth and being cautious in crowded areas are simple yet effective ways to protect yourself against petty crimes. Now that the safety concerns are out of the way, let’s check some of the many advantages Turkey has to offer for expats.

 

Mardin, Turkey - In Turkey, expats have the chance to connect and explore the nature present on the Aegean and Mediterranean coast with stunning beaches and hidden coves

Mardin, Turkey

WHAT CAN EXPATS EXPECT FROM TURKEY?

Turkey is a treasure trove of cultural and historical richness that captivates expats from many backgrounds. Let’s not forget that Turkey is a Muslim-majority country, the home of the former Ottoman and Byzantine Empires. From the iconic Hagia Sophia in Istanbul to the ancient ruins of Ephesus, the country offers a remarkable blend of civilizations and historical legacies. This makes the country a gem for history enthusiasts.

 

WARM HOSPITALITY AND EXPAT COMMUNITY

Despite the crime that may take place in the country, Turkish people are warm and hospitable. The locals are hospitable and willing to assist expats. Also, you’ll find multiple expats, especially in Istanbul and Ankara, which can help you enjoy a sense of community.  

It's not uncommon for expats to share stories of the long-lasting connections they have forged with both locals and fellow expats. Whether it's through language exchange meetups, cultural events, or shared hobbies, the expat community in Turkey offers a supportive network that helps newcomers feel at home. 

 

NATURAL BEAUTY AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

As a vast country with a diverse climate, expats can find an environment catered to their preferences in Turkey. From the stunning coastal areas to the majestic mountain ranges and serene countryside, the country boasts unparalleled natural beauty. Expats can indulge in activities like hiking, skiing, sailing, and exploring national parks.

Turkey’s allure goes way beyond Istanbul. You can explore the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, which present stunning beaches and hidden coves. Majestic peaks like the Taurus and Pontic mountain ranges provide opportunities for thrilling adventures, from hiking to paragliding. During the winter months, ski resorts like Uludağ and Palandöken offer exhilarating skiing and snowboarding experiences. 

In Turkey, expats have the chance to explore and connect with nature. Embrace the outdoor playground that awaits, allowing the country's natural beauty to create unforgettable memories and a deep connection with the great outdoor landscapes.

 

Related article: The Basics Of How To Get A Second Passport Or A Second Residency

 

Cappadocia, Turkey - While you can find bargains in Istanbul, in cities like Bursa, Antalya, and Izmir, expats will find a lower cost of living, with affordable housing options and reasonable transportation costs

Cappadocia, Turkey

CULINARY DELIGHTS

No matter your diet, Turkey has something in store for you. Turkey's cuisine is renowned worldwide for its diverse flavours, offering an all-around culinary experience for expats. From savoury kebabs to delectable desserts and everything in between, Turkish cuisine is a catalogue of culinary delights.

Its most popular dish, the kebab, is skewered and grilled to perfection. Turkish mezes, or appetizers, offer a wide range of flavours and textures. Baklava and Turkish delight are iconic sweet treats that tantalize the taste buds. 

On top of that, the vibrant food markets are the perfect place to discover fresh produce and experience the local culinary culture. Also, Turkish street food offers quick and flavorful options, from the simit to savoury dürüm wraps.

 

COST OF LIVING

Compared to other expat destinations like the UAE and Qatar, Turkey offers an affordable cost of living.  Accommodation, transportation, dining out, and everyday expenses in Turkey are reasonably priced, allowing expats to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank.

Also, Turkey offers a wide range of accommodations, ranging from apartments in urban areas to seafront properties. Public transportation is cost-effective, with a big network of buses, trams, and metro systems. Getting around is pretty comfortable.

Although you can find bargains in Istanbul, in specific areas and cities like Antalya, Bursa, and Izmir, expats will find a lower cost of living, making them particularly budget-friendly choices. With affordable housing options, reasonable transportation costs, and a variety of recreational activities, expats can enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle without straining their finances.

 

Related content: Turkey Residency By Investment: Everything You Need To Know

 

Istanbul, Turkey - Turkey is the ideal destination for expats looking for adventure, security and a new rewarding experience

Istanbul, Turkey

CONCLUSION

In summary, Turkey is a safe and welcoming country that offers a wealth of opportunities for expats. While certain areas may require caution, overall safety measures, including a visible police presence and enhanced surveillance, provide a sense of security. 

Aside from the general safety in the country, Turkey is a country that caters to a wide range of individuals. Expats can enjoy the warm hospitality of the Turkish people and find a strong sense of community among other expats. Turkey's majestic natural beauty invites exploration and outdoor activities, from picturesque coastlines to majestic mountains. 

The diverse flavours and culinary delights of Turkish cuisine are sure to satisfy every palate. With its affordable cost of living and rich cultural heritage, Turkey is an ideal destination for expats seeking safety, adventure, and a fulfilling expat experience.

 

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Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and CEO at Expat Money®, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money, and his second book: Expats Guide On Moving To Mexico.

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