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Using a Public Telephone in Turkey

Ken Grubb
  • If you don't have a working landline or mobile phone and need to make a call, you can use a Turkish public phone. They can be found in public areas such as shopping centers, public squares, train or bus stations, and outside or a PTT (Turkish post office).

A group of public telephones in Turkey.Telephone Cards

Telephone cards can be bought at a PTT or from street stalls advertising telekart or telefon kartı. These are pre-paid cards loaded with usage units, which are called kontör (kawn-tur). The more expensive the call, the more kontörs click off.

Credit Cards

Most public telephones in Turkey today accept Visa, MasterCard, or American Express cards, just as they would a telephone card.

Making a Call

If you're using a telephone card, just insert the card into the slot. The phone will acknowledge the card, beep, and give you a dial tone. If you hear another beep after talking for a while, it means your credits are about to run out. You will also see a warning which says "change card." A credit card works the same way, but when you insert the card, the phone will go through a process to verify its validity (you may hear it calling a number). Once it validates your card, you will hear a dial tone.

Depending on which method you use, the phone will either subtract kontörs from your telephone card or charge your credit card, while displaying the the cost on a screen.

Public telephones have signs, or even a short video, which explains the calling process. Some also have an audio option for English.

Kontörlu Telephones

Kontörs are usage units for telephone calls. Some businesses, such as cafes and shops, have telephones with a meter which tracks the number of kontörs used during a phone call. You simply make the call, and afterwards, pay the shopkeeper or attendant according to how many kontörs you used. There is no set price for kontörs, and businesses may have different prices for them.

Dialing Emergency Numbers

You can dial emergency numbers on public phones without a card. The emergency numbers are:

Any Emergency: 112

Fire: 110
Police: 155
Jandarma: 156 (the Jandarma enforces law in rural areas)
Coast Guard: 158
Forest Fires: 177

See Also

Telephones and Internet Forum


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