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Turkish Citizenship Advantages and Disadvantages

Ken Grubb

If you're considering becoming a Turkish citizen, you should know its advantages and disadvantages, and alternatives to citizenship that might be better for you. Here they are.

Advantages of Becoming a Turkish Citizen

As a Turkish citizen, you can:

  • Have full access to all Turkish government programs
  • Enter Turkey without a visa
  • Enter 110 other countries without a visa or by receiving a visa on arrival
  • Live in Turkey without a residence permit
  • Work in Turkey without a work permit
  • Stay out of Turkey for as long as you want with no time limits
  • Open and operate a Turkish business without any of the requirements levied on foreigners
  • Buy property without having to wait for a military check
  • Run for a political office and vote in local and national elections
  • Contribute to a state-sponsored pension
  • Receive comprehensive health insurance coverage, called Genel Sağlık Sigorta (General Health Insurance) through Turkey's national healthcare plan administered by the Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu (Social Security Administration, or SGK)
  • Be a dual citizen of both Turkey and your home country as long as your home country allows it

Disadvantages of Becoming a Turkish Citizen

  • If you're between the ages of 21 and 41, you may have to serve in the Turkish military (see below)
  • If you get into legal or other trouble, your home country or embassy won't be able to help you, because your status as a Turkish citizen will take precedence
  • If you work, your wages may be lower than foreigners working in the same position

Military Service Obligation

Generally, all male Turkish citizens are subject to being called into military service. But as a foreigner who's become a citizen, there are two circumstances in which the Turkish government won't expect you to serve:

  1. If you're a male over age 24 and become a naturalized Turkish citizen, that is, by choice, and don't have a Turkish mother or father, the Turkish government won't require you to serve in the Turkish military.
  2. If you've already served in your country's military, as a volunteer or not, they'll also not require you to serve.

To learn more about the military obligation, see: Turkish Citizenship and the Obligation to Serve in the Turkish Military.

Alternatives to Turkish Citizenship

You don't have to become a Turkish citizen to enjoy many of the benefits of Turkish citizenship. Once you've been living in Turkey for at least eight years, you'll be eligible for two other options to live in Turkey for life and work where and when you want. They are the Long-term Residence Permit and the Unlimited Work Permit.

Long-term Residence Permit

If you've lived in Turkey for at least eight years without any significant interruption, you can apply for a Long-term Residence Permit. The Long-term Residence Permit gives you the same rights as a Turkish citizen except for things such as voting and running for political office, and of course, you don't have to serve in the Turkish military. It never expires, and you don't have to extend it.

To learn more about the long-term residence permit, see A Complete Guide to Applying for a Long-term Residence Permit.

Unlimited Work Permit

Once you have your Long-term Residence Permit, or have been working in Turkey with a work permit for at least five years, you can apply for an Unlimited Work Permit. The Unlimited Work Permit gives you the right to work for any employer in Turkey, without the restrictions that people with regular work permits have.

The Unlimited Work Permit never expires, and it gives you most of the same rights and privileges of a Turkish citizen.

Learn more about the unlimited work permit.

Dual Citizenship

Turkey has no laws which prohibit dual citizenship. However, some other countries do. So, before you apply for Turkish citizenship, you should check the laws of your own country first. To learn more about dual citizenship, see Dual Citizenship Rules.

Name Changes

You won't be required to change your name to a Turkish one, but you can adopt a Turkish name if you want one. To learn more about the name rules, see Rules for non-Turkish names.

Turkish Citizenship Law

Turkish Citizenship Law is the Turkish Nationality Act No. 5901 as amended.

Assistance and Support

The Nüfus handles citizenship applications made within Turkey. You can call their national helpline from any telephone in Turkey, at 150. Their international number is +90 312 591 2133 or 2389. It has an English option. For citizenship applications made outside of Turkey, contact your local Turkish embassy or consulate.

Turkish Citizenship Forum: If you have a question about Turkish citizenship, search our citizenship forum to see if it's already been answered. If it hasn't, feel free to open a new topic.

Ken Grubb, author.

As a special investigator for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and teacher for the University of Maryland, Ken Grubb has lived and worked in Turkey since 1997. He's now retired and living in Antalya, where he researches and writes guides to help others live skillfully in Turkey.


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