Retirement in Turkey

Retire in TurkeyAs a retired Englishman, one who has lived in Turkey for over 25 years, I have no hesitation in recommending it as a place to retire. Down on the Mediterranean Coast, where I lived until getting remarried in 2012, there is an average of 300+ days of sunshine a year. This compared to living in the UK where sunshine is at a premium, is reason alone to retire here. However, I must point out that normally, during July and August, the temperatures can be very high. At these times, it is advisable to think about taking a holiday to somewhere cooler.

As for buying or renting property here, costs I think are quite reasonable compared to some other countries. As an example, one can rent a good-sized 3-bedroom apartment in the city of Antalya for around £280 ($456) per month. Smaller apartments are of course much cheaper. These prices, however, can vary considerably; depending on which area you choose to live. In Istanbul for instance, housing costs are far higher than in other areas of Turkey. Buying property here is very easy. Although you do not require using an Avukat (lawyer) to buy a property, I highly recommend you use one. Just think for a minute, would you buy a property in England (or the US) without using a solicitor. The answer is a definite NO! Therefore, before buying a property, use an Avukat. If possible, use one who is recommended by someone you know who purchased a property.

One thing to be aware of about buying property here is the inheritance law. This unlike in the UK is somewhat different. In the event of your death, if you have children, they are automatically entitled to a share of any property that is in your name. Retire in TurkeyThis means you have to get a legally drawn up paper, signed by them, giving permission for the surviving wife, husband or partner to sell the property. In view of this, it is best to have a Turkish will drawn up by an Avukat dealing in wills. Again, unlike in the UK, there are two sections to a will. Moveables and Non-moveables. The first includes money, cars and boats. Non-moveables are property, which come under Turkish law. It is therefore advisable to have a will drawn up in your own country, and one in Turkey. I advise this, as due to my late wife and me not knowing this law, after her death, I encountered considerable difficulties.

Medical care here in Turkey is very good. In fact, patients come to Turkey to have operations, unlike in the UK; there are no waiting lists here. Also, costs for operations are quite reasonable compared to the UK. I have had two operations here, and was well satisfied with both the operations and aftercare received. There are many first class hospitals in Turkey, fitted with the latest technology and staffed by English speaking doctors. There is, however, one important thing you should know. At present, there is no reciprocal National Health agreement with the UK. England and Turkey are presently having talks about this. In view of this, it is necessary for you to have your own private health insurance. Under a recently approved law, if you are a retired person from England and receiving a pension, you are not allowed to join the SGK. This is a Turkish health organization, which you can join as long as you do not receive a pension from England. The monthly costs for this is around 285 TL (£81, $132) As a member of SGK you are entitled to receive free health care in Government hospitals, as well as obtaining prescription medicines at greatly reduced costs. The latter only applies, however, if the medicines prescribed are Turkish, and not from outside the country.

Cremation is not permitted if you die here because this is a Muslim country. As long as you are happy to be buried here, this is not a problem. However since coffins are not normally used for burials they must be special ordered. After my late wife died, I had her body transferred to England for cremation. Retire in TurkeyThis was not a problem, as there are companies here; who specialize in transporting the bodies to whichever country is preferred.

Regarding residence permits, a recently passed law states you can now only obtain a one-year permit. (You used to be able to obtain a five year one) This is necessary as without one you are unable to obtain a tax number, open a Turkish bank account or buy property here. Under present law, without a residence permit, you are only allowed to stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days. This is the amount of time given on a visa if you enter the country as a tourist. Visa costs £15 ($25) and are bought at a special desk before passport control. Once your visa expires you have to leave the country and can not return for 90 days. If you had a resident permit for over eight years, you no longer require a residence permit. Residence permits are easy to obtain. You have to prove that you have at least $5,000 in your bank account to get the permit. A copy of your bank statement is adequate for this. If you receive a pension, a letter from the Pension office showing the amount is sufficient. If you cannot support yourself, you are unable to stay in Turkey. To obtain the latest information re the laws here, either check with your own government, or go online to the appropriate Turkish Government site.

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  1. Your post on retiring in Turkey is very intersting & quite informative. For someone considering retitring in Turkey, which areas would you recommmend for a quiet calm retirment with no driving or much buzz. Thank you

  2. i am a canadian citizen age 72 want to settle in turkey as retired person.. any one can help me how to get retired visa… my email is

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