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  1. Thanks
    IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, How to Become a Turkish Citizen   
    Turkish citizenship applications, made within Turkey, are processed at the local İl Nüfüs ve Vatandaşlık Müdürlüğü, (Population and Citizenship Directorate). This will probably be in the local Adalet Sarayı, the law building where court is held, or at the governor's office building. Applications made outside of Turkey are processed at Turkish embassies or consulates.
    Once your application package is assembled and your ability to converse in Turkish is confirmed, your package will be sent to the İçişleri Bakanlığı, (Ministry of the Interior), for approval.
    The law concerning Turkish citizenship is Turkish Nationality Act 5901 Section 403.
    As a Turkish citizen, you can
    Enter Turkey without a visa Live in Turkey without needing a residence permit Work without needing a work permit, in any job you want Open and operate a business without the requirements levied on foreigners Buy property without the usual delay caused by a military check Vote in local and national elections Contribute to a state-sponsored pension Receive inexpensive, global heath insurance through Turkey's national healthcare plan Buy a car as a Turk and not be required to use foreign license plates Negative Aspects
    If you are of an age suitable for service, you may have to serve in the Turkish military Consular services in Turkey will end, since while in Turkey, your Turkish citizenship will take precedence If you work, you will probably receive lower wages and work longer hours, unlike most foreigners who work in Turkey Your male children will be obligated to serve in the Turkish military once they reach 18 years of age If you are arrested, you will be treated as a Turkish citizen and not a citizen of your home country Dual Citizenship
    Turkish law does not prohibit you from having two nationalities, but some other countries do. Check your own country's laws to see if your government prohibits the holding of two nationalities.
    No Name Change is Required
    You won't have to change your name to one which is Turkish, unless you want to.
    If You Are of Turkish Descent
    If you have a Turkish mother or a Turkish father, and can prove it, the Turkish government considers you to already be a citizen of Turkey. Therefore, the citizenship process is just a formality. Nothing is required other than proving that you have a Turkish mother or father. This does not extend to other relatives who might be Turkish, for example a Turkish grandmother or Turkish grandfather. However, it may help you to become a Turkish citizen as you go through the regular Turkish citizenship process.
    If You are Married to a Turkish Citizen
    Turkish citizenship is not automatically granted by marriage with a Turkish citizen, but your application is not likely to be turned down. You do not have to live in Turkey to become a Turkish citizen if you are married to a Turkish citizen. The main reason you still have to go through the process is so the authorities can be sure the marriage is real. If they are convinced the marriage is real, and you have been married for three years or more, becoming a Turkish citizen is pretty much automatic.
    You must be at the age of majority and have the capacity to decide and act on your own, according to the laws of the country you are from (usually 18) You must be married for at least three years, in a marriage which is ongoing and fits the normally accepted conditions of marriage You must have abstained from acts incompatible with the unity of marriage You must have no disease which is a threat to public health You must not be threat to national security or public order If You Are Not of Turkish Descent and Not Married to a Turkish Citizen
    You must be at the age of majority and have the capacity to decide and act on your own, according to the laws of the country you are from (usually 18) You must be a legal resident of Turkey for at least five (5) years, without any interruptions totaling six months or more at a time. You must show intent to settle in Turkey, such as owning property, starting a business in Turkey, or having some other binding tie with Turkey You must be able to speak a sufficient amount of Turkish (the standard is higher for those not married to a Turkish citizen) You must have enough income, or a profession, which will allow you to support yourself and your dependents You must not have a disease which is a threat to public health You must not be a threat to Turkey's national security or to the public order You must be of good moral character Required Documents
    Application form Passport (translated and notarized) Birth Certificate Medical certificate confirming that you are in good health and free of any disease which might endanger public health Document from the security directorate showing how long you have lived in Turkey, as well as all exits and entries into Turkey Certification of your ability to speak Turkish (see below) Four (4) to six (6) passport-size photographs Marriage certificate (if married to a Turk)* Identity documents for your spouse and underage children Note: Any documents obtained from a foreign country must have an apostille, then they must be translated by an official Turkish translator and notarized.
    The application fee is around 100 TL. Translations and notarization of documents cost around 80-120 TL each.
    The Application Process
    The application process for Turkish citizenship can take up to a year. It is a good idea to have this much time on your current residence permit in case you need to leave the country during the process.
    1. Citizenship Directorate, or Turkish Embassy/Consulate, for Initial Application
    Fill out the application forms and get a list of what you will need (requirements usually vary from province to province). Pay the application fee.
    2. Police Station (or Embassy/Consulate), for a Police Records Check
    Fill out their police records check form. Provide a set of fingerprints and a photo (the police or consular officials may take this themselves). Get a document which shows how long you have lived in Turkey, as well as all exits and entries into Turkey.
    3. Doctor's Office or Hospital, for a Medical Examination
    Have a medical examination done and obtain the medical report.
    4. Your Home, for a Police Check
    If you are living in Turkey, a policeman will come by your house and do a brief interview to make sure you are living where you say you live. If you are married, he or she may verify that you and your spouse are living together.
    At some point you will receive notification of an appointment for your interview at the Citizenship Directorate, or Turkish embassy/consulate.
    5. Citizenship Directorate or Turkish Embassy/Consulate, for Interview
    The interview is done by a panel of local government or consular officials.
    Arrive early for your appointment to fill out forms, then wait to be called for your interview. During the interview, panel members will verify the information you put on the citizenship application form, and engage you in an informal Turkish conversation. There is no set list of questions, but you can expect to be asked questions such as:
    Where are you from? When did you come to Turkey? What is your profession? Are you working now? What is your spouse's job? When did you meet your spouse? What is your religion? What do you think of Turkey? What do you think of the Turkish people? Who is Atatürk? What are the words to the Turkish National Anthem? If you are married to a Turkish citizen and your spouse is there, they will likely call them into the room and speak with them privately, or with the two of you together. For those married to a Turkish citizen, the language interview is mostly a formality, so even if you don't do very well you are unlikely to be rejected.
    If you are not married to a Turkish citizen, the interview will be more strenuous, and you will need to be conversant in Turkish to qualify for citizenship.
    The results of the interview will then be combined with the rest of your package and sent to the Ministry of Interior for approval. You can expect to wait six months to a year for approval.
    Dependent Children
    If you have custody of children, they may also become Turkish citizens if the father consents, or if you go to a Turkish court and get for a court order giving them eligibility for Turkish citizenship.
    See Also
    Turkish Citizenship Forum
  2. Thanks
    IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, Burglary in Turkey   
    The Usual Burglaries
    The majority of burglaries committed in Turkey are unplanned and disorganized. Burglars rely on lax security and look for the easiest target with the least risk. They make sure nobody is home through some method which can be easily explained away, such as knocking on a door with a pretext question or walking around the house to see if they are challenged, as they look for an easy entry point.
    If they find they're able to walk through an unlocked door or climb through an insecure window, speed is essential. so they take what is left on tables and dressers or stored in the usual drawers. Even the most basic security measures could stop these burglaries. Just hiding valuables in a place one would not normally expect them to be can prevent their loss.
    The usual burglaries are committed during the day, when the resident has gone out for a short time. Victims can be especially complacent ıf their town is known for having a low crime rate.
    Burglaries During Local Events
    Well-advertised events, such as concerts, assure would-be burglars that a lot of people aren't going to be home at a certain time. In Çeşme, a mostly crime-free resort area, teams of burglars came from out of town to find unoccupied homes during the well-advertised concert of a famous European singer. Thankfully, the burglars were caught and most of the property returned.
    Although rare, a swarm involves three or more people (in a recent case all women) who knock on a door, then get inside. While one or two of the group keep the homeowner distracted, the other(s) roam around grabbing what they can. Then they leave as quickly as they came.
    Doors are the primary entry point for burglars, especially when they are unlocked or left open.
    Most houses and apartments in larger towns in cities come with a Çelik Kapısı (cheh-leek kah-puh-suh) or steel door, which is fitted with a regular lock, separate from the handle. These also lock with a bolt at three different points in its steel frame by a turn the knob one to three times for three different depths.
    They are quite secure, and without a locksmith, it would take several hours (and cause a lot of noise) to get through one when it is completely locked. Steel doors also come with a "spy hole" or "peep hole" so you can see who is on the other side of the door before you open it.
    If you don't have a steel door, have one installed. Make sure that it also has a steel frame, and that the frame is at least as strong as the door.
    Door Cages
    Consider installing a door cage. These are made of decorative steel bars, and lock with a key, so you can open your main door without letting a person on the other side enter. They can also pass things to you between the bars.
    Spy Holes
    Have a door with a spy hole so you can see who is on the other side before you open it. Talk to the person through the door rather than opening it to someone you don't know.
    Door Chains
    Make sure your door chain is a high-quality steel chain, with a sturdy attachment to the door frame. It should only be used as a secondary means to address someone on the other side of the door if you don't have a locked door cage.
    The Back Door
    Back doors can be more vulnerable to break ins because a burglar can work out of the view of neighbors or passers-by on the street. Back doors should be as sturdy and have the same security features as the front door.
    Doors with Windows
    Some back doors (and front doors) have window panes which can be broken if the door is locked. Replace any standard single panes with double-glazed laminated glass. These windows have two panes which are bonded together with a laminate, making them stronger and harder to break.
    Instead of having a deadbolt lock with a knob on the inside, which a burglar can access by reaching through a broken window, have a lock with a key on both sides.
    Sliding Balcony or Patio Doors
    Sliding doors are attractive to burglars, because many of them only have a single, flimsy latch which locks to the frame. On upper balconies, sliding doors are often left open, an invitation to burglars.
    When poorly-secured sliding doors are closed and locked, a burglar can pry and force the door open, or use a lever to lift the door from the bottom so the latch releases from the hole in the frame. They can also lift the door off its track and remove the door entirely.
    You can stop the door from being lifted by screwing a thin, flat piece of wood into the inside of the top track. This will take up any excess space and prevent the door from being lifted.
    Sliding doors should always have locks which are separate from the latch, and which secure the door to the frame on the top and bottom with a key. Have these types of locks installed if they aren't already.
    At minimum, a good way to prevent a sliding door from being opened is to drill a hole through both door frames, at the bottom, and insert a bolt through the hole in both doors. Even if a burglar is able to defeat the standard latch, he will not be able to slide it open if the bolt is in place, unless he smashes the glass, which would attract attention.
    Note: When a door locks with a key on both sides, you can keep the key in the lock when you are at home. But when you are out, put the key in an in a nearby, easily-accessible place, always in the same place, but out of reach of anyone who could reach through a broken window or use a rod to retrieve it. This way, if the key isn't in the lock and you need to get out quickly because of a fire or other emergency, the key will be near the door and you will always know where it is. This is especially important with door cages, since they should not have the key left in them at any time.
    Don't hide an extra key under a door mat, flower pot, or rock in the garden. Have a trusted friend keep your key for you.
    Windows are a secondary entry and exit point for burglars, or a primary point when unlocked or open. Windows should be laminated and double-glazed. Wooden single-frame windows are the least secure, and should be replaced.
    Window locks should fasten the window to the frame by means of bolts, at least three of them. The locking mechanism should be separate from the handle and lock the window itself, not just the handle. It is best to buy windows with these locks already installed, since the necessary drilling and fitting may weaken the frame and void the warranty of the window.
    Window locks should lock with a key, not just a knob, and the key should not be left in the lock. To leave a window partly open, but still secure, buy a window which has a sliding lock, or buy one and have it installed.
    Lighting should be used to augment, not replace, other security measures. Lights can be used to illuminate entry points and to make your house look occupied.
    You can get security lights which have motion-detection capability, which can be adjusted both for the scope of the area they sense, as well as their sensitivity. Sudden, unexpected illumination will sometimes scare off a burglar before he tries to enter, and also deny him the darkness he needs to do his work.
    If you are out, leave a light on in a sitting room with the curtains closed. Don't use a hallway light. If a hallway light is on for hours, it is rather obvious that nobody is living in the hallway. Get light timers which will turn interior lights on and off at random, or at certain times. Timers can also be used for the radio or TV.
    Again, these are merely methods to augment an overall security plan, since a burglar can also knock on your door with a pretext, to find out if anyone is home.
    Apartment Security
    The front door of your apartment building should have an intercom system so you can verify the identity of someone wanting to enter the building, and an electric lock that you can open remotely by pressing a button. It should have an automatic door closer, which closes the door completely and locks it automatically, as well as a manual means to open the door from the inside in case of a power outage. The building front door should never be wedged open.
    Don't open the building front door until you verify who it is. Just because you are expecting a delivery, or a guest, doesn't mean they are the ones who rung the bell. Unfortunately, the building's front door is only as secure as the least security-conscious occupant of the building.
    Lower Floors
    If your apartment is on the lower floors, the security precautions covered earlier in this article apply.
    Climbing Burglars
    Burglars sometimes use trees, drain pipes, ladders, and even the security bars on lower apartment balconies to climb to the apartments on higher floors. A prime target is a balcony door which is left open and is easily seen from the street. Many a morning has seen a group of people gazing up at a second, third, or fourth-floor apartment, scratching their heads and asking themselves "how did he get up there?"
    Besides a securely-locked balcony door, putting a motion-sensing light on your balcony can be an effective deterrent to this type of burglary.
    Top-floor Burglaries
    Top floors are sometimes targeted because only a few people in an apartment building ever go there. By watching the elevator's floor indicator, burglars can know when someone is coming. If the elevator doesn't stop its ascent and is about to come to the floor they're on, they can run down the stairs.
    In this case, your front door is your only defense. Make sure that you have a high-quality steel door, and that all of its locks are locked, including the deadbolt. A completely locked steel door takes hours to get through, and the work involved to do so makes plenty of noise.
    Newspapers, Mail, and Fliers
    Have someone come by every day or so to pick up newspapers, mail, and fliers which are left at your door. Even if you don't subscribe to a newspaper or get much mail, a few unsolicited fliers stuck in your door which have been there for several days is a sure sign that nobody is home.
    Garden Security
    Make sure your house is visible from the street and that vegetation doesn't provide hiding places. Lock up ladders either by storing them inside or with a chain and lock. Don't leave tools laying around which could be used by a burglar. Lock up bicycles and maintenance equipment in the garage or in the house, or chain them up to a secure post.
    An alarm system can significantly reduce the chances of a burglary, and various types of systems are widely available in Turkey. You can get an alarm system which simply makes a loud noise at most any do-it-yourself store. More sophisticated alarm systems, which are are monitored by security professionals who call the police when an alarm activates are available from local security firms.
    Property Marking and Photography
    Marking your property makes it more difficult to fence, as well as providing police a way to return recovered property to you. Engrave your most valuable items with your name and a number so you can show that it belongs to you. Record serial numbers of expensive electronics, and photograph valuables to make it easy for police to know if any recovered property is yours.
    Mobile Phones
    You can shut down your mobile phone if you have recorded it's International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. For more information on this, see the article on lost or stolen mobile phones.
    Learn Security Consciousness
    Even if you have the highest level of security devices available in your home, they are completely ineffective if you don't use them. Get in the habit of closing and locking doors and windows even when you are at home, for example, hosting a barbecue or swimming in the pool. At minimum, learn the habit of locking doors and windows when you go out, even if it's only for a short time, until it becomes second-nature. Brief family and visitors who are staying with you about security precautions they should take.
    See Also
    Crime, Safety, and Terrorism in Turkey Forum: Please visit an join our forum to post questions or comments about this topic.
  3. Thanks
    IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, Turkish Superstitions   
    Every culture has its myths and superstitions. And many are quite amusing! These are superstitions from all over Turkey. Hey, all of us occasionally do or say something, "just for good luck." When's the last time you knocked on wood?
    A rabbit passing in front of one's car is a bad omen. An owl singing atop a house brings death to the house. Crows flying around one's house is bad luck. If a bird's excrement falls on one's head, it is good luck. If one sees a flying stork, they will travel. If one sees a sitting stork, they will stay at home. A black cat crossing one's path brings bad luck. Seeing a black cat brings bad luck. If a cat looks toward Mecca and scratches its head with its front paw, it will rain. If a dog howls during the ezan (call to prayer), someone in the neighborhood will die. If a bird pecks at the window of a house, news will come.  If bread or sugar is placed in a wound, then given to a dog before the morning call to prayer, the wound will heal. If one sees a snake on their way somewhere, they will have good luck. Birth, Babies, and Children
    One should not visit a woman, who has just given birth, at night. A newborn baby should not be washed on Friday. If a baby is kissed on the bottoms of their feet, they will walk early. If kissed on the lips, they will speak early. If a baby looks between their legs, someone will come home. If a baby clenches their fist, they will be stingy. Placing a pencil in the hand of a newborn child will insure they are happy and successful at school. Blowing into the mouth of a newborn baby will ensure the baby grows up with a cordial personality. If a child plays with fire, they will wet their bed. A child should not be left alone. But if one must, a broom should be placed next to the child. A Nazar Boncuğu (pictured above right) attached to a child will protect them from the evil eye. One should not jump over a child, or the child will be short. If one measures a baby's height, the baby will be short. A child's clothes should not be left outside after sunset, or the child will become bewitched by evil spirits. When a boy gets his first haircut, if the father should put the hair into his pocket, so the boy will prosper. A boy who drinks coffee will not grow facial hair. If a woman eats eggs during her pregnancy, her child will be naughty. Business and Prosperity
    The first money of the day received from a customer should be dropped to the floor of the shop, so, like a seed being planted, it will grow into more money. If one's left eye twitches, wealth will come. If one's right eye twitches, they will be healthy. If one's left palm itches, they will receive money. If their right palm itches, they will spend money. A woman should not pass in front of a man going to work, otherwise his business will not go well. Eating and Food
    Drinking a cow's milk after dark will cause the cow to be unable to produce any more milk. One should not eat a meal with one foot placed atop the other, since it is a sign of famine, and brings disrespect to the table. Bread should never be thrown away as waste or thrown on the ground, it should be eaten or set out for the birds. House, Household and Hospitality
    A broken mirror brings bad luck to a house for seven years. It can also mean that someone in the house will die. To prevent this, all pieces of the mirror should be buried immediately. One should not look into a mirror at night. Laundry should not be done on Tuesdays or Saturdays, because this will bring bad luck. One should not sweep one's house at night, because this will bring poverty. If someone in the neighborhood dies, water should be poured out of any vessel containing it. One should not sit on the threshold of a house, or they will bring bad luck to themselves. One should enter one's home, one's place of work, or a room with the right foot, to bring good luck. Boiling water for no reason brings bad luck. Scissors should be kept closed, otherwise there will be fighting in the house. Placing shoes or slippers upside down will cause someone in the house to die. Speaking while on the toilet brings bad luck. If wood burning in a stove makes a noise, then someone is gossiping about the resident. Throwing water on the ground behind a departing guest will insure their return. Nature
    An abundant harvest of quince means the coming winter will be long and cold. An abundance of cones on pine trees mean the winter will be long and cold. One should not count the stars. Personal Behavior
    One should always get out of bed on the right side, so the day will start well. One should not put on trousers while standing, since it is a sign of poverty. Hair in a comb should not be thrown in the street, since it may entangle the feet of a chicken, and cause one to have a headache. A red dress should never be worn when lightning is flashing. Knocking three times on wood wards off bad luck. After a marriage ceremony, when the groom enters a room for the first time, a glass should be broken. If one raises their right foot while taking an oath, the oath will be considered invalid. Whatever one says forty times will happen. If one refers to another as a pig, they will lose their appetite for forty days. Walking under a ladder brings bad luck. If one finds a four-leaf clover, they will have good luck. One should not cut their fingernails and toenails at the same time, or something good, as well as something bad, will happen to them. One should not cut one's nails at night, because it will shorten their life. Fingernails and toenails should not be dropped on the ground, or stepped on. One should not pass a sharp instrument or scissors directly to someone. Instead, they should set it down for the other person to pick up, or they will fight. If a young girl wears a married man's ring, she will have bad luck in her marriage. May 13th is an unlucky day, so it is better to stay home and do nothing. One should not chew gum at night, since it is the same as eating a the flesh of a dead body. Cracking one's knuckles is the same as counting prayer beads to Satan. If one plays with their foot at night, their mother or father will die. One should not look at their fingernails while a deceased person's body is being carried to the cemetery. One should not point at a graveyard. If one does, they should bite the finger and put it under their foot. One should not whistle at night, since this will attract the devil. One should not pass in front of a wedding car. If a prisoner wears the ring of a dead person, they will be released from prison soon. A man who passes between two women will not be able to make his wife obey him. If a woman with a headache enters a mosque and sweeps it with her scarf, her headache will go away. If one lights a cigarette with a candle, a sailor will die at sea. Sleeping and Dreams
    If one sleeps while stretched out on a bed, they will earn a lot of money. If one sleeps with their arms and legs held closely together, they will not earn much money. Seeing a minaret in a dream brings good luck. Seeing eggs in a dream brings harsh words and gossip. If a woman sees a penis in a dream, one of her relatives will die. One who sees human excrement in a dream will receive money. One who sees a girl child in a dream will receive bad news. One who sees a boy child in a dream will receive good news. One who holds gold in their hand in a dream will earn money. One who sees a white horse in a dream will accomplish their desire.
  4. Thanks
    IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, Ten Ways a Turk Might Wish You Well   
    Turks are known for their friendliness and close relationships, as well as their politeness and consideration of others. So they have certain "set phrases," which are used to express good wishes to you in various circumstances. Usually, the reply would be "teşekkür ederim" (teh-shek-kyur eh-deh-reem), which means "thank you," or "sağol" (sah-ol), which is a wish for life, but is also used to say "thank you." If a different reply is called for, it will be noted below.
    1. When you sneeze, a Turk will say...
    "Çok yaşa!" (choke yah-shah), Meaning "a long life to you!"
    You would reply "sen de gör!" (sen deh-goor), Meaning "may you live to see it!"
    2. When you are about to eat something, a Turk will say...
    "Afiyet olsun!" (ah-fee-yet ol-soon), Meaning "good appetite!" Or they may say "Beraber Olsun!" (beh-rah-behr ol-soon), meaning "may it be so, together!" and insist you join them and share their meal.
    3. When you are feeling ill, or going through a difficult time, a Turk will say...
    "Geçmiş Olsun" (gech-mish ol-soon)! Meaning "may it pass quickly!"
    4. When you have just taken a shower, a Turk will say...
    "Sıhhatlar olsun!" Meaning "may it bring you health!"
    5. When you have just bought a new article of clothing, a Turk will say...
    "Güle güle giyin!" (goo-leh goo-leh gee-yeen)! Meaning "wear it with a smile!"
    6. When you have just bought a new computer, smart phone, appliance, etc, a Turk will say...
    "Güle güle kullanın!" Meaning "use it with a smile!"
    7. When you have just bought a new house, started a business, or started your business day, a Turk will say...
    "Hayırlı olsun!" Meaning "may it have a good result!"
    8. When you have bought a new pair of glasses, or jewelry, a Turk will say...
    "Güle güle takın!" Meaning "wear it with a smile!"
    9. When you are working, a Turk will say...
    "Kolay gelsin!" Meaning "may it (your work) come easily!" Or they may say "Hayırlı olsun!" meaning "may it have a good result!"
    10. When you are departing, a Turk will say...
    "Hoşça kal!" Meaning "stay well!" He or she may also say "kendini iyi bak!" Meaning "take good care of yourself!"
  5. Like
    IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, Toll Highways and the HGS System in Turkey   
    Toll Highways (Otoyol)
    Depending on where you are driving in Turkey, you may come across an otoyol, which is a modern highway where the speed limit is 120 KPH. Otoyols also have rest stops with petrol stations, restaurants, and other travel necessities strategically placed along their lengths. These are toll roads, and the only way you can pay the toll is by registering with the Hızlı Geçiş Sistemi (heez-lee geh-jees see-steh-mee) [HGS]), which means "Fast Pass System." This involves pre-paying into the system, and mounting an HGS transponder on the inside of your vehicle's windshield behind the rear view mirror. The transponder is really not much more than a sticker. It allows you to breeze through HGS toll booths without even slowing down.
    If you are renting a car, ask your car rental company if your itinerary will require an HGS transponder before you set off on your journey. If so, they should give you a car which already has a transponder on it.
    How to Get an HGS Transponder For Your Vehicle
    Go to any PTT, (Turkish Post Office), or to a Turkish bank with your visa or residence permit Pay 5TL for the transponder, and 30TL for tolls in advance Mount the sticker-transponder they give you as described above If you have an account at a Turkish bank, ask them about having the your HGS account automatically topped up from your bank account.
    Alternatives to Toll Highways Using the HGS System
    If you come upon an otoyol and don't have the HGS system, you can use secondary roads which run alongside it. You will have to enter the secondary road well before you come to the toll highway entrance, so keep an eye out for the exit as soon as you realize you are approaching a toll road. If you miss the turn, there may be no way to turn around.
    If you go through the automatic toll system without an HGS transponder, an alarm will sound, a camera will take a photo of the car and license plate, and a fine will be assessed which is ten times the toll amount. Most toll amounts are around two or three Turkish Lira, so expect a fine of 20 to 30 Turkish Lira.
    Toll Bridges and Tunnels
    The bridges going in and out of Istanbul use only the HGS system. Bridges (and tunnels) in other parts of the country are not part of the HGS system, and usually have toll collection systems run by private contractors or local municipalities, so they accept cash.
    The HGS Smartphone Application
    You can download an HGS application in the Google Play and Apple Store. Just search for "HGS." With the HGS app, you can check the balance on your HGS account and top it up using a credit card.

    See Also
    Cars, Car Insurance, and Driving in Turkey Forum: If you have questions about the HGS system or driving in Turkey, please post them in the forum.
    External Links
    HGS Customer Services: In Turkish. On the PTT website, this page provides a variety of customer service options regarding your HGS account.
    Road, Bridge, and Tunnel Tolls in Turkey: From the General Directorate of Highways, provides a linked list of all motorways, bridges and tunnels subject to tolls. Click on the links to find out how much the toll is for each kind of vehicle.
  6. Like
    IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, Şeker Bayram: The Sugar Holiday in Turkey   
    Şeker Bayram (sheh-kehr by-rahm) or sugar festival, is a national religious holiday in Turkey which begins the day after Ramazan. In Arabic, the name of the holiday is Id-ul Fitr. The name Şeker Bayram came from the tradition of exchanging sweets during this holiday. Ramazan is the month of fasting for Muslims all over the world. Şeker Bayram, like Ramazan, is based on the Islamic lunar calendar, so it occurs during different periods each year. Officially, Şeker Bayram lasts three and one half days, but Turks may be off work, and businesses may be closed, for a longer period if it occurs near a weekend.
    In the days preceding Şeker Bayram, shopping centers and stores are crowded with Turks buying gifts for relatives and new clothes for themselves and their children, which are called "bayramlık." The new clothing is proudly worn during the holiday. Additionally, houses are thoroughly cleaned and prepared for the inevitable throngs of family and friends the holiday will bring.
    Schools, banks, and government offices are always closed during Şeker Bayram. Many private businesses also close, so the owner and workers can enjoy their holiday.
    The first day of Şeker Bayram is the most important. Everyone wakes up early, and the men go to the mosque for a special Bayram prayer. When they return from the mosque, everyone dresses up in their new clothes, and they begin their Bayram visits.
    A Tradition of Visiting
    Young people visit their elders first, followed by their other relatives. Bayram visits are kept short--usually to ten or fifteen minutes. Hosts of the visits offer candy, cakes, chocolate, coffee and cold beverages. Those who cannot visit their friends and family members in other towns will call them or send cards to wish them a happy bayram.
    Cemetery Visits
    From one day before Şeker Bayram to its end, Turks also visit the graves of deceased family members, to pay their respects and pray.
    Important! The highways and streets are crowded during Şeker Bayram, and many serious and fatal accidents occur during this holiday period. So it's best to avoid driving if possible. If you must drive, exercise additional caution. Bus travel is also affected by the throngs of travelers moving all over the country. If you need to take a bus somewhere during Şeker Bayram, try to book in advance.
    Bayram Getaways
    Resort towns and holiday spots swell with Turkish visitors during the Şeker Bayram holiday. Many hotels offer special deals to attract the Turkish holiday makers, so once the family visits are over, many will hit the road for a well-earned vacation.
    Children During Şeker Bayram
    Children love Şeker Bayram and the associated visits. They want to visit as many elders as they can, since it's traditional for elders to give them pocket change. Children can collect this money for up to a month. Since there is no restriction on how much the children can spend or on what, amusement parks spring up in practically every city and town in Turkey. The children follow a traditional routine. They kiss the back of your hand and hold it to their forehead as a sign of respect. It is meant to say "you are in a position on the top of my head!" And when they do that, you are supposed to kiss them on both cheeks. Then they will hold out their hand, into which you should put a small amount of money--a few lira will suffice. Children also go door-to-door doing this, expecting to be given candy. It's much like the "trick or treat" tradition of Halloween. So you should have a bowl of good candy ready by your door.
    Boy's Names
    As male children born during Ramazan often take that name, boys born during Şeker Bayram are often called "Bayram." So when you meet a man named Bayram, you'll know why he has that name.
    People who regularly provide services, such as the kapıcı (kah-puh-juh), or apartment building superintendent, domestic workers, are traditionally given a tip for the Bayram holiday. On the first day, you'll also hear that inescapable "boom-chook-chook-boom" as those Ramazan drummers who woke you up at 3:00 AM over the past month, go door to door for tips.
    Gifts and Good Wishes
    If you visit your Turkish friends, take a box of candy or chocolates with you. It should be wrapped, and left on a table near the door. Turks don't open gifts when presented, so don't expect this. To wish your Turkish friend a happy holiday, say "İyi Bayramlar!" (ee-yee-by-rahm-lahr), which literally means "good festivals," or "I wish you a happy festival!"
  7. Like
    IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, Şalvar: Those Turkish Baggy Pants   
    If you've been wondering about those baggy pants a lot of Turks wear, especially in rural areas, they are called şalvar (shahl-vahr). They're a very practical garment. You'll see them worn in every region of Turkey, but each region has it's own style. They can also be styled differently according to the type of work the wearers do.
    Before elastic became common in Turkey, a cord was threaded through the waist and ankle castings of trousers to gather the folds of material. The methods used to gather the waste of the şalvar vary according to region. In Alanya, for example, the waist ties are often brightly-colored, striped, hand-woven silk sashes.
    The design of şalvar embodies the Turkish sense of thrift and economy. Şulvar typically requires a piece of cloth four meters long and 40 centimeters wide. There is little cutting or seaming. In the Konya style of şalvar, there are no side seams. The material they're made from can be a solid color, or feature attractive and fashionable patterns.
    Şalvar is worn mostly by villagers, domestic workers, and some housewives because they allow ample air circulation, making them cool and comfortable They also allow for easy bending and kneeling.
    Besides being practical attire for hard-working Turks, they are also popular gifts to take or send home to a loved one, to be worn around the house, or elsewhere!
  8. Like
    IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, Dolmuş Mini-buses in Turkey   
    Somewhere between a bus and a taxi is the Dolmuş (dohl-moosh), a kind of "shared taxi" which has characteristics of both. It's a cheap and easy way to get around--from your hotel to a nearby beach--or from your home to work.
    By all means get over any reluctance to ride one for the first time. Once you take your first dolmuş ride you'll probably use them as a regular means of transportation, and probably wonder why they don't have them in your own country.
    Although cars are sometimes be used for this purpose, 12-passenger mini-bus dolmuşes are the norm. The word "dolmuş" means "stuffed." It recalls the days when dolmuşes were overcrowded with passengers, many of them packed in the aisle with little or no room to move. Laws now require dolmuşes to carry only the number of passengers they can properly seat.
    A dolmuş runs a fixed route from origin to destination, with regular stops along the way as indicated on a placard on the windshield. Regular dolmuş stops are marked with a sign, bearing a white "D" on a blue background. They usually don't work on a time schedule. If you miss one, another will probably be along in about 20 minutes.
    Boarding a Dolmuş
    Dolmuşes congregate at a garaj, which is usually an open parking lot. They wait until they have a few passengers, and then start their route. You can catch one at the garaj or waive one down anywhere along its route. Waive at the driver, and he will pull over and stop, traffic permitting. To make sure you're getting on the correct one, look for a placard in the windshield which displays its destination(s).
    Paying the Fare
    Dolmuş fares are set by the municipality. The fare is much less than a taxi, usually around 5TL. You can pay as soon as you board, or you can sit down and pass the fare to a passenger in front of you. The passengers will pass it to the driver. If you have change coming, they will pass it back to you the same way.
    Getting Off at Your Stop
    When the Dolmuş comes to a place where you want to get off, say inecek var (ee-neh-jek vahr), which means "there is one to get off." If you are new to the area and don't know which stop you need, you can tell the driver what hotel you're staying in or where your final destination is, and he'll let you know when your stop comes up.
    Operating Hours
    Dolmuşes usually operate during daylight hours. During the summer, in tourist areas, they may operate until midnight.
    Inter-city Buses
    Although not officially a "dolmuş," there are larger short-haul mini-buses which run routes between nearby towns, beaches or sights, either for a company or a cooperative between the two towns. They usually depart from the bus station, and have a set schedule and fare, but unlike long-haul inter-city buses, they may also pick up passengers who signal them along the way.
    See Also
    Travel, Tours, and Activities Forum
  9. Like
    IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, Lost or Stolen Mobile (Cell) Phones in Turkey   
    Learning Your Mobile Phone's IMEI Number
    There are three ways to learn your mobile phone's IMEI number:
    Enter the following numbers and characters on the keypad of your phone: * # 06 #. A 15-digit number will appear. That is your phone's IMEI number. Turn off your phone, remove the battery cover and the battery. Under the battery you will also see the IMEI number. Look on the box or in the documentation that came with your mobile phone. Keep this number separate from your mobile phone, and not in anything which might also be lost or stolen with your phone.
    Reporting a Lost or Stolen Mobile Phone
    Call the Mobile Device Registration System
    From within Turkey: 444 9777
    From outside of Turkey: 90 312 232 23 23
    Or, call your network provider. Their main customer service numbers are:
    Turkcell: 444 0 532
    Vodaphone: 444 0 542
    Avea: 444 1 500
    These are national toll-free numbers, so no prefixes are necessary in Turkey.
    They will direct you to an English-speaking operator if necessary. Explain the situation and give them your IMEI number, and they will disable your mobile phone. Your phone will be useless to anyone trying to use it, even if they insert a new SIM card.
    Report your stolen mobile phone to the police. It may be recovered and returned to you if they have a report on file.
    See Also
    Telephones and Internet Forum
  10. Like
    IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, Crimes Targeting Single Male Travelers in Turkey   
    New Travel Friends
    One or more men will find a reason to start a conversation, by asking you the time or saying something to you in Turkish. When you reply, they will address you in English. Coincidentally, they will be going your way or offer to show you around. They may even travel with you for a while. At some point they will offer you candy or gum laced with a knockout drug. On a train or bus, it will appear to everyone else that you simply went to sleep. Then at an opportune moment, they will relieve you of your money, credit cards, and anything else you have of value. They may even take your luggage.
    Let's Go to a Bar I Know
    In this scenario, a one or more men will approach you and talk about a great bar he wants to take you to, where there are beautiful women. The workers at the bar will also be in on the scam. Some of these bars are called paviyon or gazino (not to be confused with "casino").
    Paviyons and Gazinos can range from hole-in-the-wall bars to extravagant night clubs. They have women working there as "hostesses," who chat up the male customers and get them to spend as much money as possible. The price for your drink will probably be at least double what you would normally pay, and drinks bought for the women may be five to eight times more expensive than usual. They are actually legitimate businesses, even with their outrageous prices. What your new friend(s), and the bar owner will be counting on is that you don't know this.
    After an evening with your friend and whatever women sit at your table, your friend will disappear and the bill will come. It may be 1,000, 2,000, or even 3,000 TL, and they will demand immediate payment. Because you probably won't know exactly where you are, you will be at a complete disadvantage. If you don't have the cash, they will demand your credit card and run the charge on it, and even walk you to the nearest bank machine to take out cash to pay the bill. Your new friend will return later to the bar get his commission.
    Technically, this isn't illegal. Someone stiffing you with a bar bill doesn't really rise to the level of a crime. If you were to ask the price of the drinks first, and make it clear that you were not buying drinks for your friend or any of the women, the barman will probably just be disgusted, the women will go sit somewhere else, and your friend will storm off to find another victim. That is, unless they spike your drink.
    Drink Spiking
    In this case, you will be taken to a bar exactly as in the previous scenario, but at some point either the barman or one of your "friends" will spike your drink with a knockout drug. When aroused, you will be highly open to suggestion. You will then be taken to the office and relieved of your cash and credit cards, then taken to a bank machine, and instructed to withdraw as much money as you can.
    When you wake up the next day, who knows where, you won't remember anything. Your credit cards will be in your wallet, and you won't know how bad the damage is until you get a credit card bill for hundreds or thousands of dollars.
    If you do happen to run in to your "friends" again, or return to the bar, they will tell you that you became very drunk, acted horribly, and bought drinks for everyone in the bar over and over again. They will do this to lessen the chance that you will report what happened, and hope you will just forget about it.
    How to Keep from Being a Victim
    Never put anything in your mouth which is offered by new acquaintances. Say you're on a diet, don't like candy or gum, or put it somewhere "for later." Throw it away as soon as you have a chance. Make an excuse, say you have friends waiting for you. Or just leave offering no explanation at all.
    Rather than go to the place they want to take you, insist on going to a mainstream bar or cafe in a public place, of your choosing. If they balk at this idea and keep trying to talk you in to going to their bar, it's a sure sign that they have bad intentions. Get away from them.
    If You Become a Victim
    Report it to the police. If you have simply been stiffed with an exorbitant bill, the police may or may not act. But it may also be that the police are fed up with this particular bar and are just waiting for the next case to do something about it. A police report will also help getting your money back from the credit card company.
    If you have been drugged, the drug typically used is metabolized quickly by the body, but may still be present in your blood the next day. The police may or may not have you give a blood and urine sample. That will all depend on how serious the local police take it. They may just say "you should have been more careful" and do nothing, but if you don't report it, it is certain that they will do nothing.
    Contact your credit card company and explain what happened. In one case, a man in Adana, who was taken to paviyon, drugged, and had unauthorized charges racked up on his card returned to the bar. He obtained the price of the various drinks, then informed the credit card company that he would have to have bought 400 cognacs (their most expensive drink) or some 3,000 beers in the three hours he was there (using testimony of workers at bar where he was previously and the time of the charge to frame the time). The credit card company disapproved the charges and refunded all of his money.
    See Also
    Crime, Safety, and Terrorism in Turkey Forum: If you have questions or comments about this topic, please post them in our forum.
  11. Like
    IbrahimAbi reacted to Ken Grubb for a article, How to Find or Write a Turkish Address   
    Understanding a Turkish address can be difficult, since streets may have both a number and a name, and what you are given in your directions may differ from what you see on the signs (if you can find a sign).
    Some smaller streets are not labeled on Google maps. The situation is better in major cities than it is in rural towns.
    An example of a Turkish address
    Mehmet Aslan
    Divan Apartman
    Ulus Mahalle
    1463 Sok. No. 3 Kat 5 D:13
    07163 Antalya
    What it means
    Line 1: Name (Mehmet Aslan).
    Line 2: Neighborhood (Mahalle or Mh.)
    Line 3: Name of the apartment complex or building, which is usually on a placard above the entrance.
    Line 4: Street name, which is 1453 Sokak (street), the building number (3), the floor number (Kat 5, or fifth floor) and finally the apartment unit or office itself (Daire 13). The building number will also be displayed around the entrance.
    Line 5: The postal code and the province. Postal codes in Turkey begin with the number of the province (Antalya is number 07), and the last three numbers indicate the postal area within the province.
    Turkish addresses may also include a hint for how to find it, like "PTT Arkası" (behind the post office).
    The ground floor is 0 (zero). The floor above that is 1, then 2, and so on.
    Turkish Words to Help You Find an Address
    Sokak (Sok.): Street
    Cadde (Caddesi, or Cad.): Avenue
    Bulvarı (Blv.): Boulevard
    Kat (K): Floor
    Daire (D): Apartment unit
    Site (Sitesi): A housing complex, group of apartment buildings.
    Blok: Block number in a site or complex.
    Government Address Changes and Learning Your Correct Address
    The Turkish government has changed many addresses in Turkey, leaving many buildings with old plaques on them, listing the wrong building number. In most cases, the government has used new white-on-blue metal plaques which show the new official address.
    If you don't have one of these, and are not sure what your real address is, there are two ways of learning it.
    Go to the Nüfus ve Vatandaşlık İşleri Müdürlüğü (Population and Citizenship Directorate, or "Nüfus), with your passport or residence permit and your rental contract or tapu (property title deed), and ask them what your new address is. Go to the Doğal Afet Sigortaları Kurumu (Natural Disaster Insurance Institution, called "DASK") website's address code search page. This page lets you drill down to your exact address, using listings sorted by province, city, district, street, and apartment number. See Also
    Living in Turkey Forum: If you have any questions about finding an address in Turkey, please ask it in the Living in Turkey forum.
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