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General information on Turkey. Turkey expatriate information for expats living and working in Turkey.
Turkey is located at the point where the three continents of Asia, Africa and Europe are closest to one another, and is situated over the point where Asia and Europe meet. Turkey spans across 814,578 square kilometers, located within Asia and within Europe. The country has a population of around 75 million people most of which are located in the largest cities. Widely unknown, the capital city of Turkey is Ankara, many commonly mistake the capital as Istanbul.
Weather in Turkey
Turkey is situated in an geographical location where the weather conditions are normally quite temperate, the diverse nature of the landscape, is the result of significant differences in climatic conditions from one region of the country to another. Inland you can experience extremes with hot summers and very cold winters, including snow, while the coastal regions enjoy a milder climate. The Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean coasts display a typical Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters, the southern regions are generally warmer than the rest. Temperatures during July and August are the hotest, reaching around 35 degrees in most regions but is known to climb well above this. Humidity is very high during the summer.
Religion in Turkey
98% of the Turkish population are Muslims, however in different areas of Turkey levels of religious observance and interpretation vary greatly. Within Turkey there are various religious minorities such as Armenian and Greek Christians as well as Jewish groups. These groups are free to practise their own religious beliefs.
Language in Turkey
90% of the population of Turkey speak the countries native language of Turkish, some 70 other languages and dialects are also spoken. Turkish as a language is not closely related to any other language, it has a fairly straightforward structure, with no gender difference and few irregular grammatical forms. For writing, Turkish uses the Roman alphabet. Turkish can be learned widely across Turkey within language schools and universities in the large cities.
Lifestyle in Turkey
A western lifestyle is common in Turkey’s large cities, modern western dress is the norm and women work outside the home as well as men, often in professional employment. The core family structure is common in the big cities while in the more rural area’s a more traditional family structure is the norm.
Working Hours and Public Holidays in Turkey
Work hours are generally 40 hours per week, Monday to Friday. Turkey has 6 secular one day public holidays; January 1st, April 23rd, May 1st, May 19th, August 30th and October 29th.There are two religious holidays, known as Bayrams, these are set each year by going back 10 days in line with the Islamic calender. The holiday known as Ramadam Bayram is at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, it lasts for three days. Kurban Bayram, the feast of sacrifice, lasts a total of four days, however if any of these holidays falls on a weekend no extra holidays are given, but it has been known for the government to announce extra days to join the holiday together with a weekend.
Health Care in Turkey
In the large cities private hospitals are employing doctors that speak foreign languages to deal with the amount of foreign speaking patients, for use of these hospitals private health insurance is strongly recommended. Turkey’s state health system is severely overloaded and overcrowded.
Time in Turkey
Turkey’s local time is equal to GMT + 2. The whole country is within the same time zone.
Electricity in Turkey
220 volts is standard everywhere in Turkey.
Weights and Measures in Turkey
Turkey uses the metric system.
Banks and Money in Turkey
The currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira. Banks are open between 8.30-12.30 closing for 1 hour between 1.30 – 2.30, Monday to Friday. ATM’s are found almost everwhere in the major cities, however credit cards are also widely accepted. Private exchange offices often offer good rates with no commission for cash money exchanges.
Food and Drink in Turkey
Turkish food is usually made with fresh produce and is widely available all over Turkey. It is varied in taste and tasty when cooked well. In smaller towns foreign restaurants are rare but the larger cities have a wide range of alternative places to eat, serving international cuisines. Raki is Turkey’s traditional alcoholic drink and is normally consumed with ‘Balık’, fish, at many restaurants.
Leisure Activities in Turkey
Turkey is becomimg a more and more popular tourist destination and the scope of leisure activities is huge. Good sports centers and gyms can be found in nearly every shopping mall in the large cities, cinemas, bars and restaurants as well as concert halls and similar venues can also all be found in the large cities.
GSM Operators in Turkey
The are 3 major mobile companies operating in Turkey, Turkcell, Vodafone and Avea. All have stores across the country.