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Pros and Cons of Living in Turkey

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William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what expats and digital nomads have to say about the pros and cons of living in Turkey.

What are the pros and cons of living in Turkey?

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Turkey responded:

"Living in Alanya (aka The Turkish Riviera) is a wonderful experience! The weather is beautiful, except for the Summer, when many people go to cooler areas. The main downside are the MANY international tourists which makes driving and parking very challenging. On the flip side the stunning Mediterranean Sea, amazing Bazars selling fresh produce, the many historical landmarks and the 'walkability' adds so much quality to this area," explained one expat living in Alanya.

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What do expats in Turkey appreciate most about the local culture?

"Turks are very curious about foreigners and are very warm, kind-hearted people generally. They are, by and large, very sincere," remarked another expat in Istanbul.

"I really like how everyone is so hospitable and they love to tell you about Turkey. Everyone wants to present a good image of their country. The healthcare is wonderful and so is the food (both which are cheaper than in the US). I love the historical sites and the greenery. The pace of life is much more relaxed here in Izmir than in Istanbul and that is really a blessing. Everyone loves to sing and some people will just break out in song (almost feel like I'm in a Hindi film sometimes :-)," explained one expat living in Izmir.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"Domestic violence is fairly normal in Turkey. Seeing a man hit his wife in the face, and seeing no one come to help her, was very upsetting. Turkish men frequently have the perception of Western woman as being sexually promiscuous. I have blonde hair and fair skin, and I was regularly referred to in Turkish by the word for prostitute. I even had men ask me how much I cost. Another concern is that the men have no compunction about following a woman, even when she tells them she is uninterested. I was followed by a man for over an hour on the streets of Istanbul over the course of several kilometers (even onto public transit and ferries). Rejection in Turkey means "try harder," and situations that we would view as stalking in Europe/USA are ways that some Turkish men try to prove themselves to you," explained one expat living in Istanbul.

"I like Turkish culture, but I guess the challenging aspect would be dealing with people who are completely opposite me in personality at the workplace. And that's not really a culture issue. I could experience that back in the US. Another thing would be not being able to express myself completely since I'm not fluent in Turkish," said another expat in Izmir.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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