But here are some useful bits of info I have picked up along the way:
[*]If you use a UK phone in Turkey it can be really expensive! You pay once for the call back to the UK receiver and then for the call itself, and god forbid you then call a mobile from another country or try and collect your voicemail as you can end up paying 3 times! So getting a Turkish SIM is good.
[*]You can buy SIM cards freely, usually with a certain number of credits (kontors) included in the price.
[*]You can buy a mobile phone without it being tied to a particular network, or you can get most UK phones unlocked and put your SIM in that.
[*]Mobile phones are usually about the same as the Pay As You Go price in the UK BUT you can buy good condition second hand phones from most independent phone shops.
[*]There are several mobile phone service providers (SPs) here. The main ones are Turkcell (originally a division of Turk Telekom although maybe private now), Avea and Telsim Vodafone.
[*]Usually their SIM cards cost about the same but the SPs often have different offers or features.
[*]It's usually cheaper to call mobile numbers from the same SP as yours so try to buy the same as your nearest & dearest.
[*]There has been a recent spate of SPs disconnecting unregistered SIM cards, which probably doesn't matter if you are coming on a single 2 week holiday but is bad if you want to continue using your number. Also if your SIM is unregistered and you lose it, you lose the phone number too (this happened to me and I was bemused to find out my phone number, which I had been using happily for the past year, had been registered for the last 6 months to a man in Aydin... ). Oh and you get to top your credits up in English if you register your Turkcell phone!
[*]Buying a registered SIM card is easy and little if any more expensive than buying an unregistered one. Just go into a store, give them your passport to check and a passport photocopy and ask for a registered number.
[/list]USING YOUR PHONE
[*]The easiest arrangement is Pay As You Go (PAYG) - use credits or KONTORS that you can top up as you use them. Actually it's the only way unless you have a residency permit.
[*]You can buy kontors in units of 50, 100, 250 and 1,000. As of mid April 2007 100 Turkcell kontors cost 13.5 YTL but the price seems to go up every time I need more credit! Not sure about Avea and Telsim though.
[*]With Turkcell you get some free kontors with each amount you purchase. I think it's 30 free on top if you buy 250 credits, and 10 if you buy 100 credits. I've never bought 50 or 1,000 so I don't know about them!
[*]To add kontors to your Turkcell phone, scratch off the silver strip on your PAYG card. Call 8090, wait for the talking to stop and then put in the 14-digit card number followed by #. The next talking is someone confirming the number you have put in. If you've put in the right number, press 2, then hang up. If you've put in the wrong number, press 1 then put the number in again. You get 3 goes and then you strike out and have to buy a new card
[*]You can sometimes add kontors via text. If you see something on your card that mentions *121*XXXXXXXXXXXXXX# it means you can type *121* plus the 14-digit scratchcard number followed by # into your phone, press the Call button (usually the green one!) and Turkcell will get the message and top up your kontors. I always find it less reliable than calling 8090 though.
[*]To check your normal kontors, type *123# into your phone and Call. That'll tell you how many normal kontors you have but not free ones.
[*]To check your freebie kontors, type *131# into your phone and Call.
[*]To add your freebie kontors, text the number of kontors you want to add to 2255 (eg 50).
[*]You can add free kontors in units of 50 (ie 50, 100, 250, 750) but only 3 times in each month so add them generously!
[*]Your freebie kontors don't expire so you can collect them pretty much indefinitely if you are disciplined enough not to run out of credit unexpectedly. But there isn't a big advantage to saving them up too much unless you anticipate a credit-buying drought of some kind in the future.
[*]If you AREN'T disciplined enough not to run out of credit unexpectedly then you can usually go into minus kontors and carry on using your phone for a while. You might need to build up a little record of topping up your credit before you can do that though.
[*]Checking your kontors, topping up and sending service messages is free.
[/list]NOT USING YOUR PHONE
[*]If you are buying a SIM card just to use on holiday, make sure you don't let it lie unused for 6 months or you will lose your credit. I don't know if this is true with registered phones actually but it is DEFINITELY true with unregistered ones.
[*]If you're a chatterbox and have lots of Turkcell friends, right now Turkcell are offering a great deal called NAR (pomegranate!). Send the word NAR to 2377 and Turkcell will relieve you of 50 kontors. But one day later they will give you 500 to use up in a week chatting to all your Turkcell-using friends!
[*]If you text a lot within Turkey and know what model phone you have, you can get 100 texts a month for 100 kontors - exactly half price. Send the word ABONE + your model number to 2150 (ie "ABONE 6600") and watch 100 kontors disappear, and then receive 100 text credits! When I did this they also gave me an extra 100 time-unlimited texts for free and even I can't use that many!