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14 things only an Expat living in Turkey would understand

14th April 2015

There are foreigners aplenty in Turkey these days, from Istanbul to Antalya and beyond. The cities and coastal regions are full of expats from various countries around the globe.

So just for you guys, here are 14 things only an Expat living in Turkey would understand:-

1. Turkish Time

What time are you coming?

5 mins = 30 mins
10 mins = 1 hour
Tomorrow morning = next week sometime
Maybe 2 weeks later = 3 months (min)
I will call you, OK? = You will never hear from or see this person again

2. Seasons

Summer = Busy Tourist Season
Fall / Autumn

3. Offff Yaaaa!

You have said this or say if often.

4. Lies, Stories and more lies!

Anything from, 'this is new system' to 'no that was old price', most expats 'go through the mill' and experience some of the more negative points of living in Turkey.
Most will encounter nice and honest, hard working people, but watch out for the story tellers and opportunist!

5. Power Cuts

With the exception of the mammoth Turkey black out seen on March 31st, power cuts are more frequent that what you would expect, more so in the rural areas of Turkey - A generator is definitely a good investment and if you live in an apartment, a few torches and candles - but you have this covered now - right?

6. Health & Safety

Whether it's a whole family perched on a motorbike or 20 men crammed onto a moving tractor, you've seen it all.

7. Tea Consumption

1 or 2 cups a day, those are rookie numbers, at least 5-6 glasses of 'çay' a day now!

8. Blunt & Honest

You gained kilos!!!! You got fat!!!! Yeah that sort of brutal honestly is your Turkish 'friend' telling you how it is, (with out meaning to be offensive) And yet these types of comments are ironically not seen as rude. Even direct open questions from total strangers don't phase you anymore because your used to it. How much did you pay?, how much do you earn?, how old are you? where do you live?.…..

9. Bureaucracy

Any sane person with the patience of a saint would soon loose it with the Bureaucracy here, especially surrounding Turkish Residence Permits.
Changing laws, new procedures, local authorities, it really can be a nightmare. And don't even go there with the Istanbul Emniyet online appointment system - The worst thing in the world!

10. Unique Prices

The Prices;
a) Native to that district - 5tl
b) Native to the country, but still an outsider - 7.50tl
c) 'Yabanci' living here - 15 tl
d) Tourist - whatever they can get away with

11. Expat 'FB' Groups

You're most definitely are a member of a local group! They are great; chat with new people, discover new gigs in your area, post questions, have great debates and watch live entertainment right before your eyes! And it can all stem from 1 innocently posted question;

Can anyone tell me if I can buy cranberry juice in Carrefour ?
136 comments later and the whole thing just turned in to a debate - Priceless!

No seriously someone notify admin that Emlak guy has started spamming again!
No Emlaks in our group!

12. Currency

US Dollar, British Pound, Yen, who cares this is Turkey! we use lira here!
You can go from happy to irate when some tries to sell you something in your own countries currency, yep, out comes the calculator! todays rate is… for you it is only…. very cheap uh? No! I live here, i don't care what the rate is! Offff yaaaa!

13. Fresh Fruit & Vegetables

You have a great diet and everything is in season. No freaky genetically modified tomatoes for you, no it's all fresh here, and you can actually taste the difference. And at a fraction of the price!

14. Laid back living

You are much more laid back than you where when you first arrived - you finally went with it and thought, 'well this is Turkey' - you just got to let things roll over your head sometimes; Bureaucracy, Turkish time, power cuts etc and enjoy the good points, because they always outweigh those little niggles!

Living in such a beautiful country is a dream come true and when you step back and see what you have;
beautiful coastlines, amazing cities, great people, lovely weather, yep it really is a great place to live… let's hope it's stays that way!

So expats of Turkey what have you discovered? your comments welcome...


For Turkish Residence Permit Health Insurance, see below link


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Comments (3)


14th April 2015 I know all of these all too well LOL x


14th April 2015 You forgot to mention Turkish men can be pests, even more so with young women, or older women for that matter


4th August 2018 You will never have a day when you do not see some very stupid driving on Turkish roads.

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