‘Expensive and complicated’: Expats explain the most difficult part of life in Turkey

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There are an estimated 34,000 British people living in Turkey, including many British citizens with Turkish spouses. Many expats choose to live on the Aegean or Mediterranean coastlines.

Other expats choose to settle in one of Turkey’s buzzing cities, such as Istanbul, Ankara or İzmir.

As part of the HSBC Expat Explorer survey, expats shared their tips and advice for settling in Turkey.

While many items in Turkey are cheaper than they would be in the UK, one expat shared something they found “expensive”.

They said: “If you are living in Istanbul, don’t buy a car. It’s expensive, complicated and it’s easier to move around the city by public transport or taxi.”

Istanbul has an extensive public transport network so it’s fairly easy for most expats to get around without a car.

The city has a reliable tram and subway network and even an excellent public boat service.

Settling into a new life abroad can be tough for some people, but the expats shared their top tips for Turkey.

One advised: “Be brave enough to learn and live the culture. I promise that you will leave with a sense of gratitude and humility for a country that adopted you as one of its own, wherever in the world you go.

Another added: “If you are a foodie, make friends at your neighbourhood pazar, market and butcher. Their customer service is outstanding once they know you.”

A pazar is a weekly market held outdoors on the streets and is a long held Turkish tradition.

Turkish food is a highlight for many expats living there and Britons can expect to enjoy incredible fresh ingredients.

Expats will be able to pick up almost everything they need for the week at a pazar from fruits and vegetables to cheese or even kitchenware.

One expat said: “Make sure that you see the ‘real’ Turkey, not just the holiday side. Stay in a residential area and talk to the locals – both Turkish and expats alike.”

Most expats recommend that newcomers mix with the local community as well as other expats.

Often local residents will be key to helping new arrivals settle in and feel a part of the community.

Relocating abroad is always a packing nightmare but there’s one thing that expats advise newcomers to look out for in Turkey.

One said: “Take a look at the difference between voltage/household items to avoid bringing equipment you cannot use. A good relocation company is a must.”

Turkey uses a different plug socket to the UK but the standard voltage is the same as the UK so British expats should be able to use most of their equipment there.

Most Turkish rental properties are unfurnished so expats will need to ship some household items from home.

Britons living on the Turkish coastline can expect great weather for much of the year while Ankara sees snowy winters.

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