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Where is the Best Place to Live in Turkey?

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To introduce myself, I am a Serbian freelancing translator who currently lives partly in Greece and partly in Serbia. Мy wife and I have both Greek permanent residence through her Swiss passport. We own an apartment in Kassandra peninsula but, as much as we love it there and though Kassandra has a much better climate in the winter than Belgrade/Serbia, we would like to follow the sun to a warmer, and to be honest, less expensive region. We generate together monthly roughly an average of 2k, which is not enough for year-round stay in Greece and eats up our reserves. During Corona we have to stay in our Greek seaside village because it is much safer than Belgrade (the Greek have harsh Corona measures, but Serbia has only very few and plus about nobody respecting them, so it would be risky to be in Serbia right now) but for the future we have to find a solution that fulfills both, our needs for year-round warmth and seaside as well as our needs for a budget friendly environment. So, considering budget and seaside, the choices were Bulgaria, Montenegro or Turkey, considering the better climate during winter, definitively Turkey is the winner.

The basic idea is to spend the summer months in Greece and to sell our apartment in Belgrade to buy a property in Turkey for the winter months. Let's say some division of four months Greece, 5 months Turkey and 3 months Belgrade. The secondary idea is to avoid being anywhere more than 183 days.

We are a mid-aged couple (55 & 59), so our party times are past tense, we seek some rather quiet but not out-of-season dead environment for the autumn/winter period. So here are some question, if someone experienced with Turkey is willing to give us some hints (at the end we will still have to spend some two or three months in Turkey to check things out).

1. Weather

Since the north of Greece is not warm enough for us, the same applies to the north of Turkey. We thought about Bodrum, Alanya, Antalya, something that lies more or less in line with Cyprus. If possible a long swimming season, well into November and ideally from April on, and a temperature of 15+ in December and January. Ideal would be a region with not too much rainfall and winds. My wife is very sensitive to wind so even the winds on Kassandra bother her. Our idea is to swim as long as possible during the year and then to continue with walks under a mild climate when swimming is not possible anymore.

2. Social life

Though we are not anymore up to clubbing and parties, we would like a place that is quiet but has also some life out of season. We like to take our cappuccino every day at a nice cafe at the seaside and watch the promenade. A variety of cafes, bars and restaurants that are open throughout the year would be very nice. Also some clubs with live music, jazz preferably, but local ethno music is also welcome (I have a solid collection of sufi, and generally eastern music). An alternative/gothic club would be the dot on an i, just to remind me from time to time on my younger days. Now and there and exhibition or concert would be very nice.

Also preferable is a place with some local expat community  and an open-minded local community with some knowledge of English. The chance that we manage to learn Turkish is on a long stick. We speak English, German, French and a bit of Italian but have no talent for languages that are not Germanic or Romance (Italian, Spanish,...). Speaking of an open-minded local community I think also of a less nationalistic and muslim-centric environment. I know, this is easier to find in Istanbul, but the tourism should have left some mark also on the southern seaside cities.

3. Safety

That means a place where people are not xenophobic and some religious fanatic would attack me just because I look like a German or because we speak Serbian. That means also a moderate crime rate. I like to take long walks at night without having a baseball bat at hand.

I guess, it would be advisable to choose a place that is not so close to the Syrian border. Turkey is a relatively unknown field to me so I'm not quite sure what to expect. But I try to stay open-minded and the choice for Turkey is anyway already made, so just the exact location is an open question.


Well, that covers it for the most part. I would be very thankful for some hints or advice on the above matters. You can read a lot on the internet but first-hand experience is what matters, so I guess expats in Turkey are the best address. Hopefully, I will join you not only on the forum but in Turkey as a fellow expat.

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Turkey is not a member of the EU so having permanent residence in Greece has no impact on your right to stay in Turkey. Depending on your citizenship you cannot generally stay in Turkey for more than 3 months on a tourist visa. If you want to stay for five consecutive months you would need to apply for a residence permit. Given the paperwork and costs involved it may not be suitable for you.

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1 hour ago, Goreme1990 said:

Turkey is not a member of the EU so having permanent residence in Greece has no impact on your right to stay in Turkey. Depending on your citizenship you cannot generally stay in Turkey for more than 3 months on a tourist visa. If you want to stay for five consecutive months you would need to apply for a residence permit. Given the paperwork and costs involved it may not be suitable for you.

I was just introducing myself, so I mentioned that I already am (more or less) an expat. I know that my wife's Swiss passport doesn't help with Turkey. I know a bit about the procedure so I didn't mention it. We can fulfill the requirements and the costs of the procedure, including residence permit, are anyway in my eyes part of the whole purchase procedure. We plan 60k for the whole process, 50 for the property itself and the rest should suffice for taxes, fees, health insurance, etc. Extra comes to spend some time there to evaluate the situation live on the spot and for the furnishment, and, maybe later, a local used car. We had the same process in Greece, just with higher budget. We already know exactly what to order from Ikea or Media Markt (with some adaptations to the apartment itself), so all of this part is very familiar. The monthly expenses should also hardly present a problem since they are in most elements considerably lower than even in Serbia, not to mention Greece. I have also familiarized myself a bit with the tax system, so I don't see there a problem. I'm already accustomed to live in a grey area as freelancer. That's what international payment processors and their cards are made for.

What we are uncertain of are the 3 questions that I asked. I found some answers here: https://www.propertyturkey.com/blog-turkey/best-places-in-turkey-for-winter-sun , but I don't trust sellers much, and, anyway, things are in the eye of the beholder, so I'd like an opinion and experience from someone who actually lives in Turkey as an expat.

At the end everything comes down to climate, to find a well balanced combination of quiet and despite this some social life during the winter months, and safety. Well, yeah, and the culture shock. We both are rather quite liberal, so we expect quite a bit of a culture shock. At the end, the sun will make up for everything.

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  • Ken Grubb changed the title to Where is the Best Place to Live in Turkey?

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