Exclusive White House Property Turkey

Contemporary design meets classic flair in this amazing White House design by Place Overseas, take a look at the stunning video on property Turkey for sale.

How to get a Turkish Residence Permit

Every year, thousands of people apply for Turkey Residence Permits, Here explains exactly a step by step guide to getting a Turkish Residence Permit.

How to set up a business in Turkey

A guide to setting up a business in Turkey, all you need to know about business in Turkey.

A complete guide to buying property in Turkey

A guide for buyers in purchasing property in Turkey. How to purchase property and the laws and requirements surrounding real estate in Turkey.

A guide to living in Istanbul

All you need to know about life in Istanbul for expats and those living in Turkey. Check out our complete guide to Istanbul.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Cancer sufferers better off in Turkey than the UK?

The Daily Mail reports that cancer rates in the UK are among the lowest in Europe. The article surmises that countries like Turkey and Slovakia are better at treating cancer - thanks to a greater number of scanners in those countries.

This won't come as a surprise to anyone living in Turkey. The country has been attracting big dollars from health tourists from the US and Europe over the past year. The quality of care and equipment is the best you'll find anywhere.
Of course, Turkey lacks the wonderful National Health Service that has done Britain proud. But most who live in Turkey agree that the cost of living offsets the health insurance premiums you end up paying for such quality care.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Cappadocia's mysterious underground dwellings

Tourists heading to Turkey’s southern regions are rewarded by sun, sea and all the sand they could wish for. But those that venture away from these popular areas into the country’s vast and sun-parched centre are rewarded with some of the most intriguing sights they’ll ever lay eyes on.

Cappadocia’s fairytale peaks and spires have long enchanted travellers and settlers to the area. Located in the heart of the country, in Turkey’s eastern Anatolia, Cappadocia is spread over a plateau that soars 1000 metres above sea level. Jagged volcanic peaks pierce the blue sky, with the tallest reaching 3916 metres. It’s a dry, mysterious and beguiling place – and that’s just what you can see: for those who venture under the ground a whole other world is revealed.

 From craggy peaks...

Over two thousand years, underground cities and labyrinthine networks of tunnels have gradually twisted their way beneath Cappadocia’s surface. Clandestine palaces are carved high into mountainsides. Caves have been converted into luxurious dwellings. It sounds like something from the Arabian Nights, but these underground cave dwellings are as real as the rock from which they are hewn. 

Cappadocia’s underground cities are believed to have sprung up around 2000 years before Christ. Their residents have included the Hittites, then the early Christians, who sought refuge from the Romans, and then the Romans themselves. In fact, early Christianity was fostered in Cappadocia’s caves. The underground passages made secure hiding places and some of the religion’s earliest churches were formed in churches carved out of hillsides or deep in underground caves. underground caverns.

Initially, people began using the caves as a refuge from enemies. They soon discovered the stone was easy to carve, but strong enough to provide protection. Gradually, the cave-dwellers began hollowing out the caves until they became great layered cities, complete with rooms, churches, tunnels, air vents, barns, wineries and storage spaces. 

There are 300 underground cities in Cappadocia. Of these, only around ten are well known. At their deepest points, these underground networks extended 100 metres below the surface.
The caves have become a significant draw from tourists, who come from the world over to examine a world so different from their own. Tourism to the area has risen more than four-fold over the past 20 years. 

This unique hotel in the heart of Cappadocia represents a once-in-a-lifetime chance for someone seeking the ultimate in lifestyle change. With its distinctive interior, repeat client base and location in the very midst of this fairytale region, we don’t have anything else like this on our books. Price is on application so please call us and find out more about this incredible hotel. Even if you're not interested, the pictures below are well worth a look:

Monday, 28 June 2010

All-female Turkish flight crew take to the skies

This opinion piece in the Hurriyet made me smile.

It talks about an all-female flight crew who fly between Antalya and Amsterdam. The writer wonders if having a crew made up of women will affect nervous fliers' anxiety:

"Think of a flight that is totally under the control of women. From the pilot to the hostess, all of the flight’s personnel are women. Would this come as a relief to those who are afraid of flying or would it increase their anxiety? It is hard to know."

I thought nervous fliers were worried about sitting passively in a cramped seat as thousands of tonnes of metal hurtled through the sky at enormous speeds at a vertiginous height. Surely the gender of the pilot is secondary? Maybe it's just me.

 Sabiha Gokcen: The world's first female fighter pilot.

Anyone nervous about female pilots would do well to remember that women have far fewer road accidents than men. I can't think of any reason why this shouldn't translate to flying a plane.

It's also worth remembering that the world's first female fighter pilot was Turkish. Perhaps Turkish women have flying in the blood. In which case, I think anyone flying Corendon from Antalya to Amsterdam is probably in great hands.

Friday, 25 June 2010

What's the real cost of all-inclusive holidays?

An article on today says that Turkey is "tailormade for brassic Brits":

Turkey was more popular with holidaymakers than the Balearics in May, according to market research group GfK Ascent-MI. The company, which said Turkey had 16% of May bookings, put this down to the destinations abundance of all-inclusive hotels, which have proved popular since the belt-tightening of the recession. The Balearics had 14% share.

Turkey’s relatively new tourist infrastructure of all-in complexes seems tailormade for cash-strapped families and more established holiday destinations which have less such properties are suffering.
This week the Hurriyet has also decried the all-inclusive packages to Turkey, saying that the country's cultural aspects should receive the same weight as its sun-and-sea activities. The writer even goes so far as to say the country's tourism has been 'damaged' by the system, as tourists are drawn to heavily populated tourist areas and away from others.

What is this kind of publicity going to do to Turkey's tourism, and the general perception of Turkey? Are low prices going to drive away the "right" kind of tourists? How can Turkey encourage the "right kind" of tourist?

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

New vehicle law rankles foreigners in Turkey

The effect of new vehicle purchase laws are beginning to impact foreigners in Turkey. The Fethiye Times has reported on the case of Fethiye businessman Hakan Yetis.

Last week, Yetis decided to buy a motor scooter from a foreigner. The process is relatively simple: you visit the tax office to make sure there are no debts outstanding on the vehicle, and then you head to a notary, who will complete the paperwork and then register the transaction.

But when Yetis and the scooter’s owner arrived at the notary’s office they were told the sale could not go ahead. Why? Because the foreign scooter owner didn’t have a residency permit or Turkish Identity number, merely a tourist visa.

Yetis and the scooter seller were left scratching their heads, and eventually gave up on the purchase when the scooter seller realised the cost of a residency permit was more than the bike was worth.

The law surrounding vehicle purchases changed at the beginning of May and now states that any foreigner wishing to buy or sell a motorised vehicle will need to have both an identity number and a residency permit.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Top 10 beaches in Turkey

The Guardian has published a list of Turkey's top 10 beaches. That's gorgeous, sandy beaches without the crowds.

Butterfly Beach at Butterfly Valley is one of the Guardian's picks.

I'm surprised they didn't include Patara - while it's well known, it's certainly long enough to escape the crowds if you're prepared to walk a little way.

What's your tip for Turkey's best beach?

Monday, 21 June 2010

Turkish wine in the media

The Scotsman talks about Turkish wine - and gives a few examples of what you should be looking for. Cheers!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Nudist hotel dream abandoned

The dream is over for those hoping to get that all-over tan at Turkey’s first nudist hotel.

The entrepreneurs have abandoned their dream due to licensing problems, the Dogan news agency reported on Wednesday.

“The plan to open a nudist hotel is over for us,” said Gürdal Yüce, an executive of Adaburnu Gölmar Hotel, declaring that the hotel, 15 kilometres from Marmaris, would still run – but in a different form. 

“Our hotel has been closed. There was huge costumer disappointment. It would have been beneficial for everyone, had we been able to maintain our nudist hotel concept.”

Almost 3000 potential guests have cancelled their stay, and the hotel will now operate as a restaurant, pool and aqua park.

The hotel was first opened three years ago as a regular hotel. This May, it began to host a few nude tourists, but was shut down after just five days by the municipality for lacking necessary documents. The hotel has remained closed ever since – despite working hard to rectify the license situation. 

Turkey is sadly lacking nudist beaches. In fact, it’s illegal to go au naturel on the beach and while the law is rarely enforced, nudists and topless bathers will be subjected to stares and heckles from the male population.

Some naturists swear by Patara Beach – it’s so long that if you walk far enough you’re bound to find a private spot. Don’t say I sent you, though.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Lessons learned from (alleged) title deeds swindle

Ex-boxer Eamonn Loughran, who claims to have lost tens of thousands of pounds in a Bodrum and Didim property scam, has been ordered to pay £7500 for punching property tycoon Kevin O'Kane in 2007.

O'Kane is thought to be at the centre of a large fraud operation which saw people pay a collective £4 million for fake property deeds. The boxer from Belfast went to confront O'Kane in Turkey, and claims he punched the developer after he was headbutted. O'Kane needed stitches after the incident. Ouch. The fraud case is continuing.  

Not only is this case rather titillating (go on, admit it), it also highlights the need to be very, very careful when buying property in Turkey - or in fact, anywhere you're out of your element.

If you'd like to know more about the case, or to find out where poor old Loughran went wrong when he handed over his precious savings, give us a bell.

Monday, 14 June 2010

British nationals' passports to take a European break

The British Consulate General in Istanbul has announced that it will no longer issue passports in Turkey.

British nationals living in Turkey will now need to send their applications to Dusseldorf.

Director of Consular Services in Turkey Susan Wilson said the changes were made to prevent fraud and cut costs.

Wilson claims the service will be more efficient, as Dusseldorf issues around 20,000 passports a year compared to Istanbul’s 1500. Whether the service becomes ‘streamlined’ as Wilson claims it will remains to be seen. Sending the passports to Dusseldorf is likely to take longer – up to six weeks compared to Istanbul’s two to three.

She added that the consulate will continue to issue emergency travel documents. 

British nationals visiting Turkey increased by 12 per cent last year despite the economic crisis. This year, that number is expected to rise by 25 per cent.

“The number of British nationals coming here is 100 percent higher than seven years ago,” she said. She added that when Brits plan their budget, holidays are often the last thing to be sacrificed. 

“They might give up many things, but not holidays,” she said.
They’re also buying Turkish property in large numbers. Around 30,000 Brits own property in Turkey, with around 20,000 living there at any one time.

Popular places to buy property are Fethiye, Marmaris, Bodrum and Antalya.

“Most of them are older couples who have retired. They like the warm weather and the atmosphere here,” Wilson said.

From June 15, British nationals living in Turkey will need to courier their applications to:

Passport Section
British Consulate General
Yorck Strasse 19
40476 Düsseldorf, Germany
For more information see the British Embassy website.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Bodrum's A-list hotel

When I make my first million, I'm planning to join Sharon Stone and Richard Gere at Bodrum's most star-studded hotel.

With 173 rooms - each with its own balcony - and a luxurious spa and pool, it's no wonder Hello Mag claim you'll meet anyone from royalty to Hollywood A-listers there.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Aspendos the backdrop for opera classics

">Antalya has become a magnet for culture vultures in recent years. And it’s not hard to see why, when the region’s powers-that-be allow their historical assets to be put to such good use. 

The ancient theatre of Aspendos made a stunning backdrop to a production of Verdi’s opera Aida on Tuesday, as part of the Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival. The theatre is one of the best preserved in the world, and is a little under 2000 years old.

Eight events will be performed as part of the festival, which ends on July 1. The next production to show will be tomorrow, with The Three Musketeers performed by the Ankara Opera State and Ballet. Festival-goers can also attend performances of Bizet’s Carmen, Mozart’s Don Juan, Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman and Ravel’s Bolero.

The festival is in its 17th year, and now must compete with a similar event in Istanbul – although of course, the venue is not nearly so impressive.

However, while most agreed that the location of the ballet made for an unforgettable event, one official bemoaned the lack of financial support for the festival. 

State Opera and Ballet General Director Rengim Gökmen said the festival budget has remained the same since it began. The festival costs between 1.5 and 2 million euros to run.

“With magnificent acoustics offered by the Aspendos Ancient Theater and Antalya’s natural beauties, the Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival is the most important cultural event in the city,” he said, adding that opera and ballet were the most important symbols of civilization. 

Gökmen has ambitions to make the festival bigger and better every year, and hopes next year to invite the Vienna Philarmonic Orchestra to join the programme. He is already seeking sponsors for the event.

“We are proud of this festival and want to organise it with the locals of Antalya.”

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Are shopping malls killing Turkey's traditional way of life?

International investment group the Aerium Fund is planning to invest more than 80 million euros in shopping malls in Turkey.

A shopping mall market leader in Turkey and internationally, Aerium was the first international firm to enter Turkey’s shopping mall sector, with a 201 million euro investment in 2006. They even poured money into projects in 2009, during the depths of the recession.

Now, Carrefour malls are to be built in Bursa, Ankara and Mersin, while many others are underway in Fethiye and the Antalya region.

Forum Istanbul, which opened last year in Istanbul, boasts the largest aquarium in Europe.

At the moment, shopping malls cover around six million square metres throughout Turkey. This number is expected to reach 15 million square metres by 2015.

A Aerium spokesperson said the shopping mall sector is an important driving force for the economy, and noted that Turkey needs to expand and grow.

“However, this growth should be planned and organized. It should not harm small-sized retailers or municipalities.”

But what are all these shopping malls doing to the traditional Turkish bazaar? Istanbul’s iconic Grand Bazaar, for example, attracts 100,000 shoppers each day. But now nearby malls are providing more and more competition for this Istanbul institution. Developers of Istanbul’s Kanyon Mall insisted they were only ‘updating’ the Grand Bazaar tradition, with large, open-air spaces that mimic a traditional market.

But the money spent in these malls doesn’t go to the traditional recipient – the local merchants and economy. It goes to huge investment companies. One bazaar retailer remarked that the situation had become so ‘crazy’ that two shopping malls are often built side by side.

Turkey’s economic growth has happened so quickly that Turks have gone from having black and white televisions to giant plasma screens, and for many, their first phones were mobile phones.
Of course, Turkey is entitled to this kind of consumerism just like anyone else. But has it taken some of the magic away from the traditional way of life?

Friday, 4 June 2010

Turkish village struggles to uphold bead-making tradition.

They ward off the evil eye, but can these blue beads now ward off the death of a longstanding industry?

A village in Izmir is increasing production of its hallmark blue beads - despite competition from the likes of China, whose plastic imitations have flooded the market in recent years.

Read about it here.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Local anger as Didim's walls come tumbling down

Controversy has erupted in Didim over the destruction of 2500-year-old walls surrounding the Temple of Apollo.

The ancient walls have been knocked down to make way for a tourist gift shop. The builder has been labelled a ‘history wrecker’ and subjected to abuse from the crowd that came to watch the work begin.

Catering and lodging company Bilkent Holding won a (rather ironically) Ministry of Culture contract to build ticket and gift shops at museums and ancient sites across the country.

However, after members of the public voiced their anger, Didim Council waded into the fray, saying the work is unauthorised and sealing the site to prevent further construction.

Now, the contractors and the municipality are at loggerheads.

Site manager Metin Sayar vowed to continue the work as soon as possible. “We are doing nothing illegal here. ... We have taken all the permits.

“We will build 75 shops in the 52 ancient sites throughout Turkey and this shop is one of them. The ancient walls were about to demolish and we will build them again.

Didim Tourism Association chairman Deniz Atabay said he struggled to understand the mentality behind the works. “They need to be developing projects to save a site which is the world’s heritage of 2500 years but instead they are ripping through it just to earn some people money.”

Mayor Mumin Kamaci described the works as a “massacre of history,” adding that construction would interfere with tourists visiting the temple.

The wrangling continues with Didim Council’s lawyer contacting the courts to make sure the work stops altogether.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The Fisherman of Halicarnassus

Check out my guest post over at the lovely Hinda's blog ...

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Turkey's role in Ireland's famine

New evidence shows the extent of Turkey’s role in alleviating Ireland’s devastating famine.

In 1847 the Sultan Abdulmecid I pledged £10,000 to alleviate the suffering of Irish farmers. However, the British Consul in Istanbul warned him that sending more money than the British queen (Queen Victoria gave £2000) would be against royal protocol. Queen Victoria’s donation became the single largest donation to the famine relief.

However, the area most associated with the Turkish relief effort is Drogheda. The town reportedly received three ships stocked with food sent from the Sultan. However, the Drogheda Historical Society has previously denied the donation ever arrived, saying there is no record of the ships’ arrival. 

 Sultan Abulmecid I

But a recently uncovered letter has shed new light on the debate. In the letter, currently on display at the European Commission office in Dublin, the Anglo-Irish gentry of the time express their gratitude to the Sultan for his generous donation, sent at a time when the famine was at its worst. 

Records show that the three ships were intended for Dublin – but their entry was blocked by officials. The ships travelled along the coast and secretly unloaded their goods at Drogheda. The clandestine operation is perhaps why there is no record of the cargo’s arrival.

Around one million people died during the famine, which lasted from 1845 to 1852. A further million Irish emigrated.