What to expect as an expat in Turkey

Published:  24 Jul at 6 PM
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Tagged: France, Spain, Euro
When choosing the perfect Mediterranean retirement destination, Britons tend to favour Spain and the southern regions of France, but Turkey can be just as enjoyable and slightly different.

Escaping from the British weather, the rising cost of living and, nowadays, the threat of a dwindling post-Brexit economy are all great reasons for planning your departure after you’ve thankfully given up on the daily grind.

Turkey’s major advantage right now is that it’s not an EU member state, although it’s aspiring to become one. Hopefully, the Brexit chaos won’t affect those who’ve taken up residence well before the EU decides to admit the state to its ranks. Known for centuries as the bridge between Europe and Asia, Turkey’s fascinating history and diverse culture is a major attraction for tourists and expats alike.

The foreign community scattered along its coastline holds a high number of Britons, many of whom are retirees more than happy with their chosen home from home. Granted, Turkey holds personal challenges for new residents, but no more so than the more popular European destinations.

Perhaps the most frustrating challenge is the Turkish language, tricky at best although at least the unfamiliar words are written in a version of the Latin alphabet, making road signs and suchlike readable if you’ve memorised a small but reliable vocabulary. Turks are eager to have conversations in English, giving you some respite from attempting to practice what you’ve learned on your language course.

Another cause for expat frustration is the Turkish version of bureaucracy, encountered in residency applications, leaning the rules of the road, getting an electricity meter and other essential tasks linked with being a new arrival in an unfamiliar country. In the present-day digital age, it’s not quite as bad as before, and regulars at the many expat groups will be more than happy to advise and help. As regards government departments, going with the slow flow is the best way.

Once you’re settled in, seen all the local delights, relaxed, de-stressed, recharged and joined in with your expat community, it’s time to watch out for the dreaded expat syndrome, usually caused by having too much time with nothing much to do! The syndrome is your mind telling you to find another reason to get up in the morning, and can result in regular drinking bouts in the afternoon.

This, of course, is not good news, with the cure involving finding charities which need your expertise, taking on those hobbies you’ve always fancied but never had the time to enjoy, or even starting a health and fitness regime. Whatever you decide, you'll appreciate your new life more as a result.
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