TURKEY Info

Türkiye (Turkey) remains the eternal center of the sophisticated traveler. It is an exciting blend of vibrant cities, secluded villages, intriguing bazaars, translucent seas, opulent palaces and priceless art treasures. Türkiye (Turkey) is a land full of historic treasures from 13 successive civilizations spanning 10,000 years. Even if you spend only a short time in Turkey, you can see a lot of this great heritage.

The land of constant contrasts, Turkey is both a very old and a very new country. When the 6 century Ottoman Empire came to an end was replaced by a new and dynamic republic-the Republic of Turkey - on October 29th 1923. This new republic was founded on secular principles.

Official Name         : The Republic of Turkey (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti)

Founder                 : Mustafa Kemal ATATÜRK (1881-1938)

Capital                    : Ankara

Population             : 80.8 million (as of 2017)

Official language   : Turkish (uses Latin Alphabet

Currency                : Turkish Lira (TL)

Administration      : Turkey is multi-party, Parliamentary Democracy.

Location and Area

Turkey is located at the south-western extremity of Asia and at the south-eastern extremity of Europe. With territories in two continents, Turkey is a bridge and a gateway from Europe to Asia. Turkey is surrounded by three seas: the Black Sea in the north, the Aegean Sea on the west, and the Mediterranean Sea on the south. Located within Turkey are two vital straits: the Bosphorus, which connects the Black Sea to the inland Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles, which connects the Sea of Marmara, to the Aegean Sea.

Area

814 578 Km2 (314 500 square miles); % 3     on the European continent, % 97 on the Asian continen

Government

Turkey is Democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law; committed to the nationalism of Atatürk and based on the principle of the separation of powers;

Legislative Power : The Turkish Grand National Assembly Executive Power   : President and the Council of Ministers.

Judicial Power       : Independent courts and supreme judiciary organs.

Social Statue

Women and men possess equal rights; it is possible to find women occupying important positions in every profession. Women have the right to vote and to be elected. Law prohibits polygamy.

Industry

Textiles-woolen, cotton, and silk-have long been an important industry in Turkey and Turkish woven goods are now exported in substantial quantities. Other industrial activities include ceramics, leather, glass, metal goods, food processing, iron and steel, and paper. Anatolia is particularly rich in deposits of minerals and coal, iron, chromium, manganese, lead, and sulfur are all extracted. While Turkey produces some oil, the amount is not sufficient to meet the country's needs.

Time

Turkey’s standard time is 2 hours ahead of GMT, 1 hour ahead of mid-European time and 7 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, USA and 5 hours behind of Tokyo and 6 hours behind of Hong Kong.

Passport

Tourists are required to carry a valid passport. For some countries a visa is required. Visas can be obtained easily upon arrival just before passport control for up to 20.- Euros for citizens of certain countries.

Entry & Exit Requirements

American, Canadian and British passport holders require a visa to visit Turkey. Visas can be obtained upon arrival in Turkey. A tourist visa allows for multiple entry and is valid for 3 months from the date of entry. Please also ensure that your passport is valid for 6 months from the date of entry. For Americans, visas cost 20 USD or 15 EUR for multiple entry (at point of entry). For Canadians, visas cost 60 USD or 45 EUR for multiple entry (at point of entry) For British citizens, visas cost 10 GBP for single or multiple entry (at point of entry). https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en

For further information, please visit Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs website at http://www.mfa.gov.tr/mfa

Customs

You are allowed to bring in almost anything you may need for your personal use and convenience.

On departure :It can not be emphasized strongly enough that Turkey is extremely sensitive on anyone attempting to export antiques without authorization or anyone caught with illegal drugs, whatever the amount.

Transportation

Turkey has an extensive internal transportation network of railways, highways, and airlines that allows convenient and comfortable access to any part of the country. Coastwise shipping also provides connections between Turkey's major and lesser ports. Passenger lines starting from Istanbul reach up into the Black Sea and down into the Mediterranean.

Money & Banking

The local currency is the Turkish Lira (TRY). ATM machines are available in banks in all large cities and towns to take out local cash. You can either choose to change money at home or to travel with your credit card and withdraw local currency as you go along; we suggest the latter option. Changing USD or EUR is possible in currency exchange businesses and in some (but not all) hotels, but better rates will be found at banks or via the ATM. We recommend always keeping a couple of hundred USD or EUR in cash with you for emergencies, but you'll need small local currency for taxis, meals and petty purchases

Foreign Exchange

All personal belongings and articles made of precious stones or metals (with no commercial purposes) worth under $15,000 may be brought into and taken out of the country. Jewellery worth more than that may only be taken out of the country providing it has been registered on entry or purchased in Turkey with legally exchanged currency. - Cash brought into the country to be purchased for exportation and brought out of Turkey must be declared on entry.

Banking Hours

Banks are open weekdays from 09:00 am to noon and from 1:30 to 5:00 pm. (13:30 to 17:300). Branches in major hotels offer additional hours. Exchange rates at hotels and banks are only slightly different.

Credit Card

All major credit cards are widely accepted.

Tipping

Tipping in Turkey, as with most of Europe, is a generally modest practice. Although it’s preferable to tip in Turkish Liras, any currency is acceptable. As always, tip only where you believe it’s warranted. It’s always difficult to know exactly how much to give. A basic guideline is suggested below:

People              :

Local Guides          : 50/60 USD for a half/full day tour.

Private Drivers       : 20/30 USD for a half/full day tour, 10/20 USD for a transfer Housekeeping        : 1-2 USD per day

Porters                    : 2 USD per bag

Taxis                       : Simply round the fare upwards to the most convenient amount

Restaurants           : Smaller restaurants expect less, while the luxury restaurants are used to North American style tipping practices. It is customary to tip the wait staff and cleaning staff in hotels, as well as bellboys and waiters. When eating out it is customary to tip between 10 and 20% of your bill. Restaurants do not put a place on the credit card bill for you to leave a tip. They prefer if you leave the tip in cash. It is also customary to buy your driver and guide lunch  wherever you decide to eat.

Turkish Bath           : At the end of your services attendants may gather to say “goodbye” and collect their tips. General practice is to spread out 10-15% of the service between employees.

Tipping is completely at your own discretion.

Connectivity

The most traditional way of avoiding roaming charges is to get a prepaid Turkish simcard. In Turkey, there are 3 cellular providers. Turkcell, Vodafone and Avea. Their rates are usually similar and plans include data access, voice calls and SMS. Copies of your passport are needed to purchase the cards but if you  plan  to stay in  the  country longer than a month, you  also  need  to register your foreign phone and pay tax.

Almost every restaurant, bar and hotel in Turkey has Wi-Fi connection that is offered free to customers. Some cafes use a Wi-Fi hotspot provider, in which case you will need to register to their system. You are also limited to the location of the Wi-Fi, so if you are walking about town, in a remote village location or on a boat trip. Using apps on your laptop or tablet computer, or smartphone, you can makevoice calls, send and receive email and text messages, and browse the Web. You pay  a set  fee  per  day for  the  mobile  Wifi  Hotspot,  so  you  avoid  the  danger of highmobile phone roaming costs.

Phone & Internet

The country code for Turkey is 90. From North America, dial 011 90 followed by the number. To call North America from Turkey, dial 001 followed by the number. Direct international calls made from hotels tend to be fiendishly expensive—be warned. Likewise, local calls made from hotels can be unreasonably expensive (especially when calling mobile phones). Always ask what the rates are before calling. You may purchase phone cards locally and use either public telephones

or your hotel phone for a nominal hotel charge. Alternatively, you can purchase a local SIM card for your personal cell phone in most convenience stores or kiosks. Your cell phone must be unlocked at home for this to work. Most hotels have high speed wireless Internet connection. There is usually a charge for this.

Electricity

The electric current in Turkey is 220 volts AC in all parts of the country. Plugs are two-pin in the round European style and some include a third, female contact to accept the grounding pin in the socket. our- and five-star hotels often provide North American-style 120 volts, 60 Hz flush- mounted sockets (points) for North American flat-prong plugs. Check your appliances before leaving home to see what you'll need to plug in when you travel in Turkey. Many appliances with their own power adapters (such as laptop computers and digital cameras)—can be plugged into either 110-120-volt or 220-240-volt sockets/points and will adapt to the voltage automatically,

Drinking Water

Bottled water is recommended for drinking; although in the major cities, the water is chlorinated.

Food

Rice, wheat, and vegetables are the foundation for Turkish cuisine. Dolma, riceand meatstuffed vegetables, is frequently prepared throughout the country, most often with peppers, grape leaves, or tomatoes. The eggplant is the country's most beloved vegetable, with zucchini a popular second and then beans, artichokes, and cabbage, particularly when prepared in olive oil. Pilav (pilaf), Turkish rice, is a common filling for dolma, as well as a popular side dish. Various grains are used to make pide (flat bread), simit (sesame rings), and börek, a flaky, layered pastry filled with meat or cheese that is often eaten for breakfast. Seasonings and sauces are frequently used, and the most popular seasonings include dill, mint, parsley, cinnamon, garlic, cumin, and the lemon-flavored red berries of the sumac tree. Yogurt is often used to complement both meat and vegetables dishes. Turkish meat usually means lamb, the main ingredient to the country's most popular national dish, kebap (skewered grilled meat), close cousin to the North American shish- kebab. Patties of seasoned minced meat called köfte are also popular. Most cattle are raised for their milk rather than for beef, and pork is prohibited in the Islamic religion. Poultry and seafood, however, are second in popularity for meat-based meals. Turkish sweets are most frequently eaten with coffee or as a snack, rather than an after-dinner dessert. The most common dessert is a bowl of seasonal fresh fruit, such as strawberries or apricots. Baklava, widely known throughout the Western world, Halva (a sesame paste), dondurma (ice cream), and muhallebi (milk-based desserts, such as pudding) are all popular. Tea and strong Turkish coffee are popular punctuations on a day, as is raki, the clear liquorice-flavored national beverage

Istanbul Streetfood

The best thing about Istanbul street food now is that different street vendors sell only things that they themselves know and love. Street vendors are usually out at work in the early morning, and they pack up their carts sometime between 6 and 8 P.M., depending on the type of food. Luckily, eating on the street is very much a part of local life. You can’t walk from corner to corner on a street, cross a bridge, enter a square or park without coming across one or more snack shops, street stalls (büfe) or street vendors. Prices are always reasonable on the street.

Getting Around

Turkey has been pouring investment into road infrastructure, including the establishment of the multilane toll roads around Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir and the widening of major provincial thoroughfares. As a result, driving through Turkey is a great way to travel independently with the utmost of freedom. If it wasn't for the road signs (which on the toll collection booths are now also

in English), you'd almost think you were driving in Europe. In the cities, however, be aware of parking shortages and confusing one-way traffic systems. Many of the major international car rental companies are represented at most airports. Turkish Airlines provides regular domestic service within Turkey, with major hubs in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

Shopping

Istanbul’s Kapali Carsi Bazaar has jewelry, carpets and antiques for sale. There are also a large number of shops selling carpets and Turkish handicrafts in the Sultanahmet district. The Egyptian Bazaar near Galata Bridge is a good place to buy food products. Turkish handicrafts include a rich variety of textiles and embroideries, articles of copper, onyx and tile, motherof- earl,  inlaid articles, leather and suede products, jewelry and, above all, carpets and kilims. Nargiles (water pipes) and musical instruments also make good, reasonably priced souvenirs, as do spices like saffron and sumac. Outside Istanbul, most other cities and larger resorts have a market area where visitors can buy souvenirs and handicrafts. Often this is a covered bazaar area where the goods on sale are manufactured in workshops adjacent to the shops that sell the produce. If buying an old carpet or kilim, it is important that the seller issues an invoice (fatura) that states the carpet’s estimated age and purchase price in order to satisfy customs that it is not an antique.

Weather

Turkey has Mediterranean temperate climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. As you go away from the coast towards the interiors, the climatic conditions are harsher. Mountains close to the coast prevent Mediterranean influences from extending inland, giving the interior of Turkey a continental climate with distinct seasons. The central Anatolian Plateau is much more subject to extremes than coastal areas. Winters on the plateau are especially severe. For specific short-term weather forecasts, consult

April to end of October: The climate is perfect on the Aegean & the Mediterranean coasts and in Istanbul. Nights are somewhat cooler in central Anatolia. July to August are much warmer, perfect for enjoying the beaches in the coastal areas.

November to March: The climate is very changeable in the winter. It never gets very cold along the Mediterranean Coast, but it can come humid, rainy or chilly; there may even be dusting of snow in Istanbul, in Ankara and even in Izmir.

In Antalya the average humidty rate is 64%, whereas the seat temperatures are 17.6 °C in January, 18.0 °C in April, 27.7 °C in August and 24.5 °C in September.

What to Pack

The dress code in Turkey is generally informal. No need to bring very “Dressy” clothes for men or women. But men will find out that a jacket and a tie is appropriate for top restaurants and hotel dining rooms in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. While on tour and when visiting holy places of different faiths, dress should be conservative (no shorts or sleeveless shirts for men or women). Women should avoid overly revealing outfits and very short skirts; slacks are considered appropriate everywhere.

April to end of October: Very light and comfortable clothing; preferably cotton or drip-dry for day wear.

November to March: Coats, lined raincoats, sweaters and suits. The secret to dressing at this time of th e year is to “layer” and “peel” as the weather changes.

Dos & Don'ts

There are few don'ts in Turkey; your visit is governed by the rules of hospitality that form a substantial part of the infrastructure of Turkish society, and which mean that you are truly regarded as a guest and (mostly) to be accorded the utmost help. This will show itself in the extent to which people will offer endless cups of tea, personal hospitality invite you to their home, all of which can be gracefully and tactfully refused if you wish, without giving offence.

Feet are regarded as unclean - so don't put them on a table, or where someone might sit. Should you be invited into a Turkish home, remove your shoes upon entering.

Beachwear is worn only on the beach, and topless sunbathing is frowned upon. At some family resorts you will still see women entering the water fully clothed.

Non-Muslims should not enter a mosque during prayer time, and not at all on Friday, the holy day. Both men and women should be modestly dressed, with legs and shoulders covered. Before entering remove your shoes. Women will be asked to cover their heads, so you should always carry a scarf or hat.

The Turks take a very dim view of drunken tourists scaling the statues of Atatürk, or being anything other than respectful to their national icons, religion or women.

The traditional Turkish bath (haman) has its own etiquette. The sexes are segregated, either in different parts of the bath or by different times or days, though some tourist hamams allow mixed bathing. Modesty is the order of the day; both men and women should keep their underwear on and cover themselves with a wrap (pestemel).

GENERAL STATISTICS

  • A population of 79.814.871
  • Average age of population : 28.5
  • 190 universities, 114 of which are public and 76 of which are foundation universities
  • Internet access per household : % 47.2
  • 73 million mobile phone users
  • 27 national, 16 regional and 229 local TV channels
  • Non-permament member of the United Nations Security Council 2009-2010
  • A candidate for the European Union since 2005
  • A member of United Nations since 1945
  • A member of Unesco since 1945
  • A member of Council of Europe since 1949
  • A member of Nato since 1952
  • Turkey's negotiation process with the EU began on October 3th 2005
  • Number of 3G mobile phone subscribers : 64.300.000
  • Number of mobile internet users : 39.100.000
  • Number of internet subscribers : 48.600.000