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Moving to Turkey, Couple of Questions

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Hello.  I am planning to move to Turkey due to my job, specifically NATO in Izmir (Buca area).  I thinking of living in the Alsancak area and trying to figure how easy is it to take public transportation to commute between the two areas?  Also, can anyone recommend a good gym around the Alsancak area?  Thanks in advance!

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Alsancak is a good choice. Buca can be a pleasant place to live but there isn't much going on, and I think you might regret not living in Alsancak instead. If I had my choice I'd definitely choose Alsancak. But if you're with NATO, ask around while you're there which is best for you. If you're US military, there is a housing office which assists with apartment rentals also.

There is a new light rail service, called the IZBAN, which will take you out to Şirinyer Garrison, stopping within a few blocks from the gate. Izmir also has a metro system. So to get there from Alsancak, you would just get on the metro in Alsancak, get off at the Hilal station, then get on the IZBAN to go out to Şirinyer. I think the whole trip takes around 30 to 40 minutes or so. I believe there are also buses which shuttle between the two.

Here's the website for the IZBAN. There is also a map showing the IZBAN and metro routes.

I know there are gyms in the Alsancak area, I just can't think of one off hand. If you're in the US military, there is also a gym in the 425th Air Base Squadron HQ. Not a huge gym, but it has enough equipment for a decent workout.

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Hello Ken and Tugba,

Thanks for your posts!  I am going to NATO and not bringing a vehicle because I own a big gas guzzling Ford truck.  So, being centrally located and easy commute is the biggest thing.  I plan to travel on the weekends, but during the week, I planned on work and gym.  Ken, I noticed from your other posts, you were stationed in Izmir.  How are the people's attitude towards military personnel?  Tugba, I googled Sportz 232 which looks pretty cool.  Do you know how much they charge?

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You have an excellent assignment. Lots of people extend their tour in Izmir. Izmir is a much more western-minded city than other cities in Turkey. If you live and work in Alsancak and Şirinyer, everybody is used to the NATO presence, and in my experience, everybody has been quite friendly and hospitable to Americans. One of the main things you will notice is how friendly the Turks are. Of course there are threats everywhere in the world, and that includes Izmir. During your newcomer's briefing you'll get the latest information on the current situation. As far as gyms, I've belong to a couple. They charged around 100 TL per month, which is about $50 USD. They weren't in Izmir, but the cities had a similar cost of living. I can assure you the price will be lower than a gym in the US.

Traveling will be easy. ITT does regular tours of local sights, and they also book large blocks of rooms at all-inclusive luxury hotels in resort towns like Bodrum at an excellent group price. You can also learn the inter-city bus system and use that, see the article about

Turkey's Long-distance Bus System

Or the transportation articles which also cover taxis and the short-haul buses which will take you to the beaches of Çesme, out at the end of the peninsula just south of Izmir. While having your car here is nice, you don't really need it. Parking is a hassle around Alsancak. It's kind of a break-even thing, it's always nice to have your own car, but you can definitely get by without it and won't have to deal with finding a parking place and the traffic. You can get practically anywhere you want to go with Turkey's public transportation system.

You can always rent a car. A good compact car rents for around 70 TL per day, around 30 USD. Services also has cars they rent, which are even cheaper. And they have a sensor on the gas tank which works at participating petrol stations giving you a price without the Turkish petrol tax. Renting a car is a preferred option because you can stop anywhere and go exploring wherever you want.

While you're at it, see the articles about living in Turkey.

I've included, among other things, an article about renting an apartment, which you can use if you want to see available apartments besides the ones on offer at the housing office. Just make sure you coordinate with housing before you sign any contract. They have additional provisions for the contract that you will need to have, especially since Turkish rental contracts automatically renew every year unless you take certain steps with the landlord (that is explained in the renting article.

You are going to enjoy being stationed in Izmir. :)

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