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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, 25 April 2012

Turkey's tourism wins UN praise

Turkey has garnered praise from the United Nations for its tourism policies.

Secretary-general of the World Tourism Organisation Taleb Rifai said Turkey’s move to allow Russian tourists to enter with a visa upon arrival has seen arrivals from Russia double.

Tourists wait patiently to enter Turkey.
Speaking at a UN conference on crime, Rifai said other countries need to consider their future tourism policies. With China set to become the world’s top tourist supplier by 2016, countries need to decide how easily they will allow the millions of potential tourists to move across borders, he said.

He added that for every 48 new tourist arrivals one job is created in Turkey. The country attracted 31.46 million tourists in 2011 – an increase of almost 10 per cent on 2010. More than $23 billion was spent last year by tourists.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Thousands to attend Gallipoli service

Seven thousand Australians and New Zealanders will wake tomorrow morning to a grey dawn in Gallipoli, Turkey. As the last post rings out across the rocky landscape, the thousands of travellers will bow their heads and remember the dead.

Seven thousand people attended the dawn service at Gallipoli this morning.

This year marks 97 years since Australian and New Zealand troops landed at Gallipoli, Turkey, embarking on their first major battle of World War I. Each year, thousands of young Antipodeans make the pilgrimage to pay their respects to the 10,000 ANZAC troops who died thanks to botched orders from their British command. To countries with small populations, this was a huge number, and there was scarcely an Australian or New Zealander who did not know one of the casualties.

British and Anzac troops landing at Gallipoli were faced with steep cliffs and no cover.
In 1915 the Anzac troops were part of an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula, with the aim of opening the way to the Black Sea. The objective: to capture Constantinople – modern-day Istanbul. Due to botched intelligence, the troops landed at a rocky, unforgiving part of the peninsula, with forbidding and treacherous cliffs. 

The men fought valiantly but were wiped out in their thousands by the Ottoman forces.
Today the bond between Turkey and the Antipodes is a strong one, as each country honours the others’ dead. At memorials in Gallipoli, Australia and New Zealand, the words of Kemal Ataturk, sent to the mothers who lost their sons in the campaign, are still as poignant today as they were in 1934 when they were first written:

"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets where they lie side by side here in this country of ours… You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."

The battle of Gallipoli is indelibly etched in the psyche of New Zealanders and Australians. The anniversary day is one of the most important national occasions of Australia and New Zealand and is marked in both countries with dawn parades and marches. 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Turkish leader's handwriting meets the digital age

The weird news continues this week, spurred on by the impending National Independence and Children’s Day on April 23. Yesterday he rose from the dead; today, Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk's handwriting is resurrected - in digital form.

Entrepreneurial font enthusiast Murat Özbalcı said the fact the world has thousands of fonts but not one of Kemal Ataturk's handwriting was a "deficiency".

A software firm called Art and Sign Studio, based in the United States, prepared the font 

"I  have answered more than 200 phone calls just today, and thousands of people have visited our website to download the font. I am not attempting to copyright the font, and am not demanding royalties. I just want to be remembered as the one who transformed Atatürk’s handwriting for use online,” Özbalcı told the Hürriyet Daily News today.

The font was prepared by a US firm after Özbalcı was unable to find anyone in Turkey to complete the task.

The font is available for free download at

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Children weep as 'dead' leader visits schools

Turkey's first president has been spotted around the Izmit district of Kocaeli. The odd thing is, however, that Kemal Ataturk died in 1938.

Ataturk lookylike Göksel Kaya has been visiting schools in the district, causing children to weep tears of joy, the Dogan news agency has reported.

Not Ataturk.
 Ataturk was a revolutionary statesman and military leader whose military campaigns gained Turkey its independence in 1923. His subsequent political, economic and cultural reforms transformed the nation and ensured Ataturk's continued reverence by generations of Turks. 

The real Ataturk
 So it's not surprising that the visiting doppelganger caused an outbreak of confusion and emotion. Some students cried and embraced the 'leader', while others gaped. "Aren't you dead?" one student even asked.

The visits are part of a campaign to educate students about the upcoming Children's Day and National Sovereignty Day, on April 23.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Craziest tourist complaints revealed

We all like things to be just so when we go on holiday. But some tourists take pernickety to a whole new level, as the Turkish Culture and Tourism Office UK has revealed.

The list of tourists’ most bizarre complaints, gripes and grumbles includes a man who emailed expressing his annoyance at the temperature of the scrambled eggs at his hotel buffet. Another couple called to complain about the weather (too hot, unlike the scrambled eggs).

"Can you please do something about this weather? I'm wearing this stupid shirt for a reason."

One woman phoned the office to describe a dress she’d bought the last time she was on holiday. She’d changed her mind about the purchase when she returned home, and needed to track down the shop for a refund. She couldn’t remember the name of the shop, or even the town where the dress came from, and she’d cut off the label so she wasn’t sure of the brand.

There were a large number of complaints about locals’ English not being up to scratch, and a couple about the pictures on food menus not looking enough like the actual meal.

One gentleman called up hoping for the office’s assistance in locating a friend he’d made on his last trip to Turkey. He thought his friend’s first name was Kemal, but he wasn’t sure. And like the dress woman, he wasn’t entirely sure where Kemal lived.

And finally, one irate man made a number of calls demanding that the Tourism Office ban the nearby mosque from sounding their pesky call to prayer while he was trying to sleep in the afternoons.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Tweeting Turkish minister debunks gold-plated plane rumours

Apparently, the Sultan of Brunei's wealth increases by around 90 Euros per second. That translates to 324,000 Euros every hour and ... well, that's when my maths breaks down. But whichever way you cut it, the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah is a very rich man. So it's not surprising to hear rumours of excess, especially about the Sultan's well-documented obsession with gold.

Gold spoons, gold palaces, gold-embroidered jackets, gold collars for his cocker spaniels. But one thing is clear, thanks to Turkey's EU Minister Egemen Bağış: the Sultan's private plane is "humble and modest", with a distinct lack of gold-plated items.

Tweeting from inside the luxury jet today, Bağış gave a brief insight into one of the world's most wealthiest men.

“We came to Ankara by the plane of the Bruneian sultan. The plane is not luxurious as the press mentioned. Actually, the sultan is a modest person," Bağış wrote on his official Twitter account.

"I did not see any gold or gold-plated objects in the plane. There are just a few accessories colored golden. The sultan and his stuff are religious and humble,” Bağış said.

 Turkey and Brunei signed agreements to lift visa procedures during the Sultan's visit to Ankara yesterday. The lifting of restrictions means is part of measures to more easily allow foreigners to buy property in Turkey.

Do you tweet? What do you think of the Sultan of Brunei? Tell us on Twitter.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Turkish woman heads for the final frontier

If you're hoping to avoid the crowds this summer and head somewhere peaceful and a bit out-of-the-way, you could always take a leaf out of Ahu Aysal Kerimoglu's book.

Ms Kerimoglu prepares for take off.
The 55-year-old Turkish woman is set to blast off into the final frontier in 2014, becoming Turkey's first ever space tourist. Space Expedition Curacao (SXC) began selling tickets last April, and Kerimoglu managed to bag herself a seat.

Ever since she was a child, the prominent businesswoman and owner of Hotel Les Ottomans in Istanbul has dreamt of seeing the Earth from space. "I’m a traveller; I’ve travelled all over the world. Now I have seized a great opportunity to go into space. For a traveller, space is the final destination — the ultimate place to go,” she told a press conference in Istanbul.

Before she is deemed fit to blast off, Kerimoglu will have to undergo medical tests, and will then head to the Netherlands for training.

The ticket cost a stratospheric $95,000.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Turkey wants visa free travel within Europe

Turkey wants Turkish citizens to have visa free travel inside the European Union.

EU Minister Egeman Bagis officially sent letters to the EU commissioner on the issue – Turkey has complied with EU criteria on visa free travel and Bagis stressed Turkey’s disappointment that Turkish citizens had not been granted visa free travel inside the EU.

Bagis released a statement which read: “The current Schengen visa regime against Turkish citizens constitutes an obstacle to the strengthening of relations between Turkish people and the peoples of the EU, as it prevents people to people contact, which is indispensable for the EU accession process.”

Bagis suggested that the EU would benefit from more visits from Turkish citizens should they be granted free travel inside the EU. The strong Turkish economy could be a beneficial factor in the EU lifting visa requirements for Turkish citizens.

A meeting has been set up on April 26th that will see further discussion between Turkey and the EU on the matter.

The lifting of the visa requirements for Turkish citizens to travel freely around Europe would be a huge step for Turkey, Turkey is booming on all fronts and those Turkish citizens who are looking to travel are sometimes held back at the prospect of visa requirements. The lifting of visarequirements for Turkish citizens would remove this worry.