- Download our Moving to Turkey Guide (PDF)
Turkey is generally considered a safe destination, and many expats relocate there without problems. Certain areas, such as the border between Turkey and Syria, should be avoided due to fighting and a possible risk of terrorism. Road safety is also a concern, and expats should take to the roads with caution.
Crime in Turkey
Crime rates in Turkey are mostly low, but pickpocketing, muggings and scams may occur in the popular tourist areas of Turkey. Expats should follow the normal precautions to lower the risk of being a victim of such crimes – stay alert, keep valuables out of sight and avoid dark or unlit areas.
Terrorism in Turkey
In the past, there have been terrorist attacks in Ankara and Istanbul, but a government crackdown against terrorism has led to a much lower risk level in these areas today. However, the southeastern portion of Turkey is still considered dangerous. Several governments carry advisories against travel to the provinces of Hakkari and Sirnak. Any area within six miles (10km) of Turkey's border with Syria should also be avoided.
Protests in Turkey
Protests and demonstrations may occur in Turkey, and are generally directed against the government and its policies. Expats should monitor local developments and avoid all large political gatherings. Participating in anti-government demonstrations can lead to arrest.
Road safety in Turkey
Road safety is a concern and expats may find driving in Turkey a challenge. Although road conditions have improved over the last few years, the country has a high rate of road accidents, particularly at nighttime. Poor lighting conditions and badly maintained vehicles are common causes of accidents.
Pedestrians aren't always given the right of way by drivers, even in designated areas such as zebra crossings. Expats should therefore exercise caution when crossing the street.
►For an overview of the Turkish healthcare system, see Healthcare in Turkey.
What do expats think of the safety in Turkey?
"Since we moved here, there have been some times of unrest including the war on the border with Syria and the 2016 coup attempt. We’re happy to say that things have quieted down in that regard and we personally feel safe living where we do. We would encourage anyone considering moving here to check with their local embassy for advice on places to avoid or ways to be more prepared for emergencies.
"In terms of natural disaster, various parts of Turkey rest on prime earthquake zones. Smart practices to mitigate risk would include not renting an old apartment or one that has not been built to earthquake code. Also keeping an emergency bag with water and battery packs is a good idea no matter where you live." Read about American expats Emily and Jesse and their move to Turkey in their interview.
"There’s not a lot of random violence here. One of the biggest risks expats face in Adana is pickpocketing, which only occurs if you're not staying aware of your surroundings. Honestly, the biggest risk we face daily is in crossing the street. Traffic here can get pretty out of hand." Find our more about Ginny Lou's move to Adana and her experience of life there in her interview.
Are you an expat living in Turkey?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Turkey. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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