Pros and Cons of living in Turkey

Turkey is quickly becoming one of the most sought after countries to move to or retire in, given the superb quality of life, more affordable living, and unbelievable food. 

However, just like moving to any new country, especially one you’re not familiar with, there are pros and cons to consider.

pros and cons of living in Turkey
Photo by Adli Wahid on Unsplash

Pros

1.) Laidback lifestyle: Probably one of the biggest lures of moving to Turkey for foreigners is the laid back lifestyle. The stresses associated with a modern, fast-paced lifestyle is all but a distant memory when you land in Turkey – thanks to the local hospitality and outdoor living lifestyle. 

2.) Superb food: In most western countries, frozen food and fast food is the norm. And organic food is a costly option for most families, as the farmer’s markets are often far away. 

In Turkey, however, fresh produce and whole, natural food is readily available around every corner – with freshly caught fish as well as vegetables, fruit, dairy, and olives brought directly from the farmers market each week. 

3.) Outdoor living: Turkey’s beautiful all-year-round weather means that people are accustomed to spending most of their time outdoors. It’s quite standard to have all three meals on a roof terrace or balcony. This is particularly useful for people who want to break away from the usual tradition of staying indoors due to inclement weather. 

Afternoon siestas by the pool and long walks on the beaches are reason enough to move to Turkey for a healthy and active outdoor lifestyle. 

4.) Great value for money: One of the most common reasons that people move to Turkey is the cost of living – something which an ever-increasing number of foreign residents and ex-pats agree on, saying that it’s significantly cheaper to live here than countries in the west.  

Cons 

1.) Cultural Shock: Irrespective of how friendly, flexible, or open-minded you may be as a foreigner living in Turkey, it can be challenging to get used to the cultural differences. Some traditions are downright bewildering. For instance, many Turks like to stay up until the wee hours of the night. Even children often go to bed early in the morning. You will often see your neighbors starting chores as lat as ten at night! Similar to Spanish countries, Turks will often start dinner late in the evening.

2.) Communication barrier: If you have any legal or financial issues to settle, for example, you have to rely on someone who is bi-lingual and proficient in both languages. With the legal system in Turkey changing frequently, and procedures changing from region to region, you have to rely on someone to help you understand so that you don’t run into issues as an ex-pat. 

3.) Beware of ‘conmen’: Even though this isn’t exclusive to Turkey, if you’re a newly arrived, naïve and unsuspecting foreigner, then you may run into someone who may offer ‘services’ for an upfront cash payment and then not render those services! As a good rule, you should ask other foreigners or approach one of the local embassies when you’re looking for any help.  

4.) Recent instability: Generally, Turkey has been a beacon of stability over the last century. As of late, this isn’t the case. In 2016 there was a failed coup d’état against Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan that left hundreds dead. The Turkish economy has also been in turmoil due to a debt crisis in 2018 that drove the country into a recession. While this is all likely temporary, it is something to keep an eye on.  

Alan Behrens
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