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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, 31 March 2010

Talk about bilingual babies

A very interesting piece in Today's Zaman about raising children to be bilingual in Turkey.

This is something that many potential expats will need to consider if you're planning to have children or already have very young children.

What do you think? Does raising a child to speak more than one language help or harm that child?

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The Seven Waiters of Kusadasi

Kusadasi is one of Turkey's top tourist spots - gorgeous beaches, plenty of ruins and great hotels. It's beloved by young people for its many bars and clubs - and restaurants. Here's our guide to the the strange breeds of waiters you may well meet during your time in Kusadasi:


Dopey: armed and dangerous.


Sleepy

This guy’s always late to work, blaming it on a faulty alarm/sick grandmother. He yawns his way through his shift, functioning thanks to the strong Turkish coffee coursing through his veins. He’ll tell his customers he’s been up studying but really he’s been drinking raki in some of the area’s less salubrious bars with his even less salubrious friends.

Watch out for: dark circles under eyes, unshaven, a permanent slump, coffee stains on his wrinkled shirt.

Favourite phrase: “Double espresso, quick.”


Happy

Bounces from table to table, his pockets jangling with tips. He charms old ladies and does magic tricks for the kids. He’s always ten minutes early for his shift and looks bright-eyed and bushy tailed every day. He’s studying for a Diploma in Customer Relations. Hated by Grumpy and Sleepy.

Watch out for: starched shirt, bright eyes, pen and ready smile always at hand.

Favourite phrase: "Can I get you anything? Anything at all?"


Grumpy

Hates his job. Hates his workmates. Refers to customers as ‘vermin’. This guy hates everyone, especially Happy. Can be heard grumbling about being overworked and underpaid. Don’t ever complain to Grumpy about your meal – he’ll snarl at you and spit in your food.

Watch out for: Permanent scowl, clenched jaw, always muttering under his breath.

Favourite phrase: “This place is a %$£&ing dump!”


Dopey

Lurches from table to table, wobbling plates as he goes. He is famous among his workmates for the Great Plate Crash of 07. The boss wants to fire him but he’s such a nice guy, and besides, he keeps customers coming back in hopes of a crashing good evening.

Watch out for: Food and drink stains on his clothes, anxious expression.

Favourite phrase: “Oops!”


Bashful

Fears speaking to people almost as much as he fears being spoken to. He’s not cut out for the job but he needs to save up for assertiveness training. The best way to approach Bashful is to speak quietly and never, ever meet his eye or you’ll reduce him to a quivering wreck who’ll weep into your soup.

Watch out for: Downcast eyes, slouch, cap pulled down low over his face – when the boss isn’t around.

Favourite phrase? No one has ever heard him speak.


Sneezy

Constantly ill – well, he thinks he is. Regales his customers with tales of appendectomies, kidney stones, heartburn and bipolar disorder. Regulars tend to avoid Sneezy’s section; one cough and he’s diagnosed them with double whooping cough.

Watch out for: A worn copy of The Do It Yourself Book of Diagnostics, tissues, red eyes and enough pills to embarrass a drug dealer.

Favourite phrase: “It’s probably fatal.”


Sleazy

Lock up your daughters – this guy’s a slippery character. Bad chat-up lines, bedroom eyes and litres of cologne, he’s out to score and he’ll stop at nothing. Ladies titter at his practiced patter and men roll their eyes.

Watch out for: Little black book, comb, tight shirt, lube.

Favourite phrase: “You have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen.”

Monday, 29 March 2010

Kebabs hit the digital age

This is definitely from the 'what will they think of next'? category.

A robot makes kebabs in Berlin.

How fast can fast food go?

Friday, 26 March 2010

Talk about gay Istanbul

Istanbul's gay scene is thriving.

ATTITUDES to homosexuality are gradually evolving in Turkey. Istanbul’s heady mix of east and west has contributed greatly to its cosmopolitan feel. Consequently, the gay scene here is large and colourful. Istanbul’s gay scene kicks off around midnight and carries on through the small hours. Here’s our guide to the top gay spots in the city:

Clubs and bars

Cafe Chianti

For many of Istanbul’s gays, this is the starting point to a night out. It’s a chilled out place where you can hear live music four nights a week and chat to other patrons, who tend to be more sophisticated gays and lesbians, with a large number of foreigners. It’s right in the middle of Istiklal Street, the heart of Istanbul’s gay scene. The cafe is open from 4pm till 2am but the busiest time is between 9pm and 1am. Drinks are reasonably priced and the service is good. For more information, see their website.

X Large

This popular weekend nightclub offers an atmosphere similar to Europe’s biggest gay clubs. It’s spacious and open – a good thing, too, because it gets very busy, with a wide mix of people. It’s open from 11pm till 5am on Friday and Saturday. You have to pay to get in but it’s worth the money for a club that offers high quality shows and music. Unfortunately drinks are on the expensive side. They have a website but unfortunately it’s in Turkish. You’ll find X Large on Mesrutiyet Street.

Tek Yon

This club in Siraselviler Street is one of Istanbul’s most popular gay clubs. Its once-relaxed atmosphere is no more, since they moved to a bigger venue and the crowds discovered it. The prices are also a little high. You’ll find gay men of all shapes and sizes here. It’s well known for its camp waiters and on Tuesday and Saturday nights you can see drag shows. It’s open from 11pm till 4am. Check the website for more information.

Other Side

This is one of Istanbul’s larger gay joints. It’s located on the top floor of a building and you can smoke on the terrace and watch the views of the city. Saturday night is the club’s busiest night, but you can catch some action on other nights, too. There’s often live music. Expect to see lesbians and curious straights. Other Side is open from 10pm till 5am and you’ll find it on Istiklal Street.

Prive

This small Tarlabasi Boulevard club is just off Taksim Square. It gets busy around 1am and is one of the best places in the city to spot famous faces – both gay and straight. This is one of Istanbul’s oldest gay bars. It’s open from 11pm till 5am.


Queens, bears and hustlers - you'll see them all on a night out in Istanbul.

Ekoo Bar

This bar has a more relaxed vibe than the others listed. It’s a good place to meet gay men from all across the spectrum: bears, bear lovers, gay tourists and a handful of queens and transvestites. It’s on Tarlabasi Boulevard and is open from 10pm till 4am.

Durak Bar

This club is near Yusufpasa tram station on Muratpasa Sokak. Here you’ll find middle class Turkish bears, older, gay moustachioed men. It has a local atmosphere you won’t find anywhere else around Taksim. It’s also unique in that it gets busy before midnight – long before most of the other gay bars begin to stir. You can also hear live traditional music. It gets very busy on Saturday. Prices are very reasonable.

Restaurants and cafes

Sugar Cafe

This small, tasteful gay cafe and restaurant is on Istiklal Avenue. Look for the rainbow flag at the end of the lane. This cafe does good food and there are no hustlers. There’s free wifi and during the summer tables are spread out outside. It’s open from 10am till midnight. See their website for more information.

Frappe

On Zambak Soklak in the heart of Beyoglu, this cafe is visited by an eclectic range of patrons. If you’re after dinner it’s best to make a reservation. It’s a friendly, relaxed place where it’s quiet enough to have a conversation. Frappe is open from 8am till 1am.


There are plenty of gay-friendly spots in the city.

101 Restaurant

The owner of this restaurant was once a famous drag queen who appeared in Istanbul’s biggest gay clubs in his heyday. His restaurant offers homemade food from all around Turkey. It’s small, cosy and frequented by both foreigners and locals. It’s open from 10am till 10.30pm. You’ll find it on Akyol Street in Beyoglu.

Besinci Kat

Also in Beyoglu, on Siraselviler Street, this fifth-floor, gay-friendly restaurant is in the same building as Barbahce, a gay club. It’s on the expensive side, but the food is great and the views over the Bosphorous Strait and Istanbul’s Asian side are superb. Sit on the terrace on the long, summer evenings and enjoy the food and conversation. It’s open from 9am till 3am.

Saunas and baths

There are no exclusively gay hamams in Istanbul. However, there are a number of hamams visited by gay men. The owners of these establishments tend to shy away from any gay publicity, so we cannot list any here. It’s best to discreetly ask around when you get to Istanbul.

Cruising

We must preface this by saying be very careful if you’re going to do such a thing in a foreign country. Remember you are in a place where you cannot speak English, probably have few friends and you are out of your element. Be especially careful at night time and do not carry valuables or quantities of cash. Avoid Taksim Park – it’s not safe for foreigners and some gay tourists have been attacked and robbed there.

Istiklal Street

This is Turkey’s most famous gay street, and it’s safe to wander around. You’ll see all kinds of gay men.

Ortakoy Coast

This small district is near the Besiktas district. It’s around a 15-minute taxi ride from Taksim. Head down to the waterfront where there’s a vivid night life.

Kadikoy park

The breakwater and parks near the ferry stations and the town square are good places to go. Be careful after midnight.


You will have to head out of Istanbul to find a really nice beach.

Gay beaches

It’s hard to find a good gay beach in Istanbul. Actually – it’s hard to find any good beach – crowding has made them dirty and unsuitable. You’ll need to head a little further afield to find a good spot.

Kinaliada Island

This is one of Istanbul’s Princes Islands, it’s easy to reach them by ferry and it’s said to be an active gay spot. Take the ferry from Eminonu or Sirkeci on the European side and Bostanci on the Asian side. It takes around 45 minutes to get to the island. When you get off the boat, walk around 300 metres to the right. After you’ve passed the houses, walk down the path to the seafront.

Kilyos Beach

This is on the Black Sea at the European side. It takes around an hour to get there by bus.

Sile Beach

This resort town is around an hour away from the Asian city centre. You can get public buses to Sile (‘she-le’) from Harem or Uskudar.

Gay tours

These private tours aim to introduce gay men to Istanbul. The English-speaking gay guides give gay tourists the low down on how to be gay in the city, with tips on the best spots, any dangers to watch for and the best experiences to be had. Find out more and make a booking on their website.

Talk about Turkey's transsexuals

Interesting story in the Montreal Gazette about Turkish transsexual singer Bulent Ersoy.

The news story says at least eight transgender people have been murdered in the past two years. Are attitudes towards transsexuals changing in Turkey?

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Talk about Turkish ... 12 useful phrases

Wherever you go in Turkey, it's likely that people will have some understanding in English. But trying it out is half the fun - and you'll find Turks will be appreciative if you make the effort.

We've compiled a list of 12 simple phrases for you to learn before you get there. Plus a handy pronunciation guide so you'll sound like a pro:

Merhaba (Mer-ha-ba): Hello

Evet (Eh-vet): Yes

Hayır (H-eye-uhr): No

Lütfen (Lewt-fen): Please

Tamam (Ta-mam) - OK

Bira lütfen, (Bee-ra Lewt-fen): Beer, please

Su (Soo): Water

Çok ucuz (Chok oo-juz): Very cheap

Çok pahalı (Chok pa-ha-luh): Very expensive

Teşekkür ederim (Teh-shek-kewr-eh-deh-reem): Thank you

Anlamıyorum (An-la-muh-yo-room): I don't understand

Bu kaç Lira? (Boo-kach-lee-ra): How much is it?

Hoverkraftımın içi yılan balığı dolu (Hover-krafti-min ichi yi-lan ba-gi-li doh-lu); My hovercraft is full of eels.

Try out these handy phrases the next time you visit Bodrum, Fethiye or Antalya - at the very least you'll make someone laugh.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Talk about what NOT to do in Turkey

FEAR not – you’ll find that travelling to Turkey isn’t like travelling to outer Mongolia or Timbuktu. The cultural divide is definitely bridgeable. Anyway, Turks are generally welcoming, good-humoured people, and if you make a gaffe it will soon be laughed off.

However, to give you a head start, we’ve compiled a list of what NOT to do when you get to Turkey. Pay attention, some of these could save your (social) life:


You'll see this face a lot when you visit Turkey. Respect!

Disrespect Mr Ataturk

Images of the Turkish Republic’s founder are everywhere – there are statues in town squares, pictures in shops, offices and public buildings. It’s illegal to defame his likeness, name or character. So this is less of a faux pas and more of a crime!

Leave your shoes on

This is mostly relevant to visiting mosques (and you should get a clue by the pile of shoes by the entrance), but many households are shoe-free, so it’s best to ask before you clomp your filthy footwear over the threshold.

Step away from the lady!

Touch the ladies

This is one for the men. While you’re allowed to touch another man – even if you’ve just met – it is not acceptable to touch a woman unless she is your girlfriend or wife. You’ll be considered forward and very rude. However, this rule relaxes in well-touristed places like Antalya, Bodrum, Marmaris or Kusadasi. But it’s still best to be aware. Ladies – you can touch each other all you like, it’s perfectly acceptable.

Shake hands as if your life depended on it

Unlike in the west, where a limp handshake is considered irritatingly weak, Turks shake hands gently. Of course, you may come across westernised Turks who will prove an exception, but it’s best to go softly where handshakes are concerned.


Flirting with another bloke's girl is a sure-fire way to get a punch in the face - in any country.


Flirt with another bloke’s girl

A gentleman will already adhere to this one. But for the rest of you: be civil, polite, interested and a little charming, but never lascivious or leering. It’s just not on, and you could get in big trouble with the offended bloke.

Talk religion or politics

Unless you know someone well, it’s best to steer clear of certain divisive subjects. At the moment, terrorism and human rights issues are hot topics, especially anything to do with the PKK, the Kurds or the Armenians. Tread carefully – these issues are close to Turks’ hearts and emotions can run high. Once you’re well-acquainted with someone it’s fine, but until then, tread carefully.

If you play host, be prepared to foot the bill.

Be a tightwad

Turkish protocol says the host should pay for the meal. Turks don’t share the bill and they’ll be puzzled and possibly offended if you suggest such a thing. By all means, you can offer to pay if you are not the host, but your host may refuse. If they refuse twice, let it go. If you’re the host, be prepared to foot the entire bill.

Get offended by the many questions

Turks are inquisitive people. They may ask questions that in your country would be considered rude. If you don’t want to answer the question, just reply vaguely, this is perfectly acceptable. Alternatively, you can answer the question with another question – which is seen as pretty annoying in western culture, but perfectly OK in Turkey.


Not very nice is it? Ask before you take someone's picture.

Snap pictures without permission

It’s just manners. Not everyone likes having their pictures taken or being treated as part of a potential holiday slideshow. Ask politely and if refused, smile and walk away. If the person agrees they may ask you to send you a copy of the picture.

Dress revealingly

One for the ladies especially. Avoid hassle by wearing sensible clothes. Even though Turkey is a secular country it’s generally frowned upon to show lots of flesh. Just use your common sense – if you get hassled, put some more clothes on. This rule relaxes in the more popular and westernised beach resorts, but if you visit the city dress like you would dress in a city in your home country.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Six offbeat things to do in Istanbul

The Haghia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar ... these famous Istanbul sights form a litany that even an armchair traveller can recite. And while you’d be mad to miss any of these fascinating sights, there’s also a great deal more to Istanbul.
Take a trip with us through our favourite offbeat things to do in Istanbul...


Hubbly-bubbly, hookah, shisha ... in Istanbul it's called a nargile.

Nargile

This water pipe is known by many names , including shisha and hubbly-bubbly. But the Turks call it a nargile. Once beloved of the elite, the nargile went out of fashion for a brief period but is now back with a vengeance. There are a number of nargile bars in Istanbul, and even if you’re a non smoker it’s worth going along and having a few quick puffs just for the experience. Accompany your nargile with a cup of strong Turkish coffee. You can get different flavours of tobacco, too, from apple to rose. Head to the row of nargile cafes in the pedestrianised area by the American Pazari for this unique experience.


Visiting Buyukada Island is like taking a trip back in time.

Princes Islands

These islands are dotted along Istanbul’s Asian side. Once upon a time, the Turkish elite built holiday homes here. One curious aspect of the islands is the non-Muslim atmosphere. The islands were populated with Jews, Greeks and Armenians. Visit Buyukada, the largest and most popular island to experience the multi-cultural mix that used to characterise Istanbul. The island doesn’t have roads, so you’ll need to hire a bicycle to properly explore. Even better – hire a horse and cart for the day.


Lie on a marble slab and let your cares be pummelled away.

Get steamy in a hammam

At the end of a long day’s traipsing around monuments and markets, there’s nothing like lying on a marble slab and letting strangers pound your skin until it is nicely tenderised. Istanbul’s hammams are world famous, but many tourists are a little intimidated about the language barrier and, well, the foreignness of such an experience. But never fear – head to Cemberlitas Hamami, Cagaloglu Hamami, and Galatasaray Hamami, where you’ll find English-speaking hammam staff.


Have a beer and watch the world go by from Galata Bridge.

Galata Bridge

You’ll probably cross this bridge during your time in Istanbul, but did you ever think to look underneath? Running along the underside of this bridge is a long boardwalk, filled with cafes, bars and restaurants. It’s a marvellous place to sit and watch the boats go by. Buy a cheap beer and people watch as the sun sets and Istanbul prepares for another night.

Watch the city slide by from a Bosphorus Strait ferry.


Bosphorus Ferry

Istanbul’s ferries travel along the Bosphorus Strait, conveying the city’s commuters to their various destinations. If you’re tired of wandering around on foot, it’s a perfect way to see the city in comfort. You’ll also see a number of sights you would miss on foot, for example, the beautiful mansions on the water’s edge.


The mosaics at the Church of St Saviour are beautifully preserved.

Church of St Saviour

This 11th century church in the Chora district is visited by very few tourists, as it’s a little out the way. But if you make the effort to visit, you’ll be richly rewarded, as it’s second only to the Haghia Sophia in Byzantine brilliance. The 14th century mosaics and frescos alone are worth the trek. Showing Christian scenes from the Day of Judgement to the Resurrection, they are in astonishingly good condition, due to the fact that when the church became a centre for Islamic worship in the 16th century the images were covered up, only revealed again in the 19th century.

Monday, 22 March 2010

"You've put on weight!" ... Talk about the cultural divide.


A very interesting column in Today's Zaman.

This is an issue very few people would anticipate when facing a move to Turkey.

In Western cultures it's unacceptable to mention someone's weight, but in Turkey it's fair game.

Do you think as a new expat - or visitor - you should put up with the comments, putting it down to a cultural difference? Or is it simply unacceptable?

Friday, 19 March 2010

Boring, but vital: Talk about Turkish visas.

YES, it’s a boring subject. But it’s also a necessary one. Anyone thinking of moving to Turkey really needs to know this stuff. Which is why we’ve compiled an easy how-to guide that will hopefully take the pain out of the paperwork.

Depending on your nationality and your length of stay and what you intend to do in Turkey, there are a number of different visa requirements.

Tourist visa

Most foreigners visiting Turkey will require a visa. The good news here is, you can apply for your tourist visa at any major Turkish port. The visa will cost around 23TL (£10) for three months, but fees vary depending on your nationality. Check with your local Turkish embassy before you head off.

Some expat residents prefer to hold a tourist visa and leave the country every three months, travelling to the Greek Islands or back to Europe.

Tourist Residence Visa and Full Residence Visa

If you don’t own property or have a job in Turkey, you can get a tourist residence visa, which is valid for between six and 12 months and costs around 345TL (£150). If you’re living in Turkey will need a full residence visa. It’s really best to apply for this when you’re in Turkey as it will be cheaper and easier, but if you really want to take care of this before you leave your home country you can head to your nearest Turkish consulate and sort it out there.

Here’s how you obtain your residence visa:

Head to the Foreign Police Bureau in the area where you live. This will normally be found in the capital city of the province where you live, or where you’re hoping to move to.

OR

If you’re still in your home country, head to the nearest Turkish consulate.

What you’ll need:
1. Residency permit request forms. You can pick these up at the bureau or download them here. This is where you put all that important personal information: sources of income, your parents’ names, and why you want to stay in Turkey. The bureau prefers the forms typed, so you may find it easier to print them out beforehand.
2. Six passport-size photos
3. Evidence that you have at least 2000 Euros, or the Turkish Lira equivalent, in a Turkish bank. This can be done by simply presenting your bank deposit book at the bureau. You can deposit the money just before your application and then withdraw it afterwards if necessary. (Note: if you are married to a Turk, you may not need to prove you have money. Call ahead to the bureau to make sure – these kinds of things can vary from place to place).

4. Your property rental contract, or your TAPU (title deed). You’ll need both the original and a copy.

5. Your residence permit (if you hold one already and are after an extension).

6. Your passport, along with a copy of the photo and the visa page.

7. Visa fees: 888TL (for a year’s permit – check prices for different lengths of stay here: , plus 8.90TL for the processing fee. These are the 2010 prices – they tend to change each year.

And then?

You’ll be issued with a small receipt. Keep hold of it just in case any powers-that-be ask you about your presence in Turkey over the next few days. Wait seven days and then return to the bureau to pick up your newly minted or renewed permit.

Work permits

In order to work in Turkey you will need an official job offer from an employer. Then you can apply for your work permit. The process here is twofold: you apply to the Turkish consulate in your own country, while your employer applies permission to employ you from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security Department. It’s quite straightforward to gain this permit if you get the ball rolling before you leave your own country. If you’re already in Turkey you may have to return to your home country to apply from there.

Now what?

If you're still confused, visit your local Turkish consulate's website. Or better still, talk to us and have it explained to you in clear English: +44 208 371 0059.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The seven tourists you'll meet in Turkey

A quick guide to identifying the different tourists you'll meet in Turkey. Where do you fit in?


A tourist wearing this could be a student. Or maybe they really are stupid?

The student

Characteristics: Slogan T-shirt, carefully ripped jeans, Converse trainers, stained rucksack and student ID card. Here on a budget flight they paid for with their student loan. Keen to visit any free attraction.

Can be found: In Gumbet, trawling the happy hour bars for 2-4-1 cocktails, or trying to get some shut-eye on the beach because they can’t afford the hostel. The student will never be seen before noon.

Favourite phrase: "Do you offer a student discount?"


"What do you mean, there's no camenbert available, dear?"


The middle class snob

Characteristics: Identical sensible jackets, polo shirts, sun hats sensible shoes and matching suitcases. A guide book which failed to mention Turkey was full of Turkish people.

Can be found: At their rented Calis villa drinking gin and tonic by the pool. The village has too many locals and anyway, there’s no Waitrose.

Favourite phrase: "Can’t you speak English for God’s sake?"


"We're gonna need a bigger boat."



The sailor

Characteristics: Gore-Tex jackets, short shorts, deep tan, squinty eyes. Sailing their way around the Mediterranean coast.

Can be found: In Gocek, stocking up on canned food, sunscreen and rum; or three sheets to the wind in the marina bar swapping stories about tsunamis and sharks.

Favourite phrase: "Is starboard left or right?"


Sure, it's nice in Olympos' tree tops - but watch out for the greater-spotted hippy.


The wannabe hippy

Characteristics: Hemp clothing and Birkenstocks. Carefully tousled hair with salon-achieved sun-lightened streaks. Here to experience the culture, play guitar and chill out, man. Eschews other tourists and quickly picks up the lingo. Well, enough to impress the flighty hippy chicks, anyway.

Can be found: Sipping raki in one of Olympos' tree houses, lecturing a trapped-looking crowd of locals about the guiding principles of Buddhism.

Favourite phrase: “When I was in India with Swarmi Shivananda...”


If you eat your roast beef in Turkey, it's considered Turkish food, right?

The bucket and spade brigade

Characteristics: Tramp stamps, hoops, muffin tops and tight, low-cut singlets on the girls; bicep tattoos, gold chains and pastel-coloured vests on the guys. Staying at the cheapest accommodation in Altinkum, and never staying in the same bed twice.

Can be found: During the day: watching the Millwall game at whichever sports bar does the cheapest roast beef dinner. At night: scrapping in the street.

Favourite phrase: "Oi, stay away from my bird!"

Posh and Becks cool their heels after a long day fleeing the paparazzi.

The filthy rich

Characteristics: Tasteful jewellery, bespoke couture, handbag-sized dog, aloof air. Won’t go anywhere without their stylist or long-suffering PA.

Can be found: At their multi-million pound villa with its own private beach, jacuzzi and sauna, or at clubs so exclusive even the staff aren’t allowed to know where they are.

Favourite phrase: "How much for that island over there?"


The golfer may be a walking stereotype.



The golfer

Characteristics: A walking golf stereotype: plus fours, golf cart and shiny new golf clubs bought just for the occasion.

Can be found: In Belek, of course. Stuck in a sand trap or lamenting the water features of one of the resort town's seven golf clubs. Later, the golfer can be spotted at the bar, complaining about his handicap and massaging lotion into his sunburnt bald patch.

Favourite phrase: "Fore!"

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Terror in Turkey

SOMETIMES, when I mention I'm going to Turkey, people look shocked.

“Aren’t there terrorists there?” they say.

The bad news

They’re right – Turkey’s long history does include a number of terrorist incidents. There has been unrest, and there has been fighting. In Turkey’s south east the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has carried out a number of attacks. Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir have also been targeted, as well as a couple of Mediterranean resorts.

The Foreign Commonwealth Office website says:


We advise against all but essential travel in the provinces of Hakkari, Sirnak, Siirt and Tunceli and visitors should remain vigilant when travelling in other provinces in south eastern Turkey.

The good news

Headlines and news bulletins about acts of violence in Turkey can make an impression on anyone looking for a holiday in the sun. But the reality is that you’re just as likely to suffer from a terrorist attack on your own turf. European centres like London, Paris and Madrid have all suffered terrorist attacks – but it’s unlikely tourists would think to postpone their visits to these places.

Most tourists and expat home buyers tend to travel to Turkey's south west, to areas such as Bodrum, Antalya and Fethiye, where terrorist attacks are virtually unheard of.

Around 2,170,000 British tourists visited Turkey in 2008. Not one was injured or harmed or even witnessed any acts of terrorism. In fact, statistics show that you’re more likely to win the lottery or be struck by lightning than experience a terrorist attack. The reality is that the dangers experienced by visitors to Turkey are far more mundane: sunburn, for example. But despite repeated warnings, people still like to sit out in the sun. Go figure.

So have no fear when you travel to Turkey. But don’t forget your sunscreen.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Talk about Bodrum

One of the best-known and most popular holiday resorts in Turkey, the Bodrum peninsula is famous for its sunny beaches, charming villages and excellent restaurants and bars.


Jutting out into the Aegean Sea, the peninsula is compact – it takes less than half an hour to drive from end to end - but very varied. From quiet fishing villages with cobbled streets to bustling towns, there are enough interesting nooks and crannies here to keep anyone occupied.

Bodrum has always been popular with artists and writers, as well as Turkey’s well-to-do. In fact, one of Turkey’s most famous authors was once exiled here, and so loved the area he decided to stay once his period of exile was over.

Bodrum is also popular with holidaymakers and expats thanks to its proximity to Bodrum-Milas Airport, which is around 30 kilometres from Bodrum Town. These days, a number of airlines fly to Bodrum Milas Airport all year round.

Temperatures in Bodrum soar in the summer but a steady sea breeze helps cool things down. Bodrum winters are mild and rainy, and start late in the year.

As mentioned above, there are a great many things you can do around Bodrum. We’ve listed a few below. If you’d like to read more about Bodrum, check out our website.

Around Bodrum


Iconic Bodrum Castle houses the unique Museum of Underwater Archaeology.

Bodrum Castle

Also known as St Peter’s Castle, this iconic building has been used as a public bath, a military fortress and a prison. Built in the 15th century and dedicated to St Peter, the castle became a refuge for Christians fleeing the crusades. Today the castle houses the rather excellent ...

Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology

If you’d like to find out more about the area’s history, or just fancy a wander around the castle grounds, the museum’s collection of curios is second to none. Featuring items salvaged from local shipwrecks, and detailing the exploits of the area’s medieval knights, it’s a unique learning experience. The museum is open every day except Monday, from 9am to 7pm. Entry is 10 YTL.


Bodrum's market has an amazing variety of fruits and vegetables.

Bodrum market

Every day is market day in Bodrum Town. Shoppers travel from all over the peninsula to sample the many wares, which include fabrics, kilims, carpets and clothing. And if you’re feeling peckish, you’ve come to the right place. There’s a huge array of fruit and vegetables, breads, cheeses, olive oils and other goodies. Look out for the local delicacies: the weird and wonderful mushrooms from around the area, and even nettles.

Bodrum’s beaches

Head to the peninsula’s southern coast and explore the large number of sandy beaches. Favourites include Bardakci, Ortakent, Gumbet and Bagla. Most beaches will have water sports activities – like parasailing and canoeing - if you’re feeling active, or sun loungers and cafes if you’d like to chill out. If sand isn’t your thing, you can always head to Turkbuku, where instead of a sandy beach there’s a long promenade, home to a number of beach clubs that face out onto the water. Buy a drink and relax under an umbrella and find out for yourself why Turkbuku is called the St Tropez of Turkey.

Hiking and mountain biking

Bodrum’s hills offer something of a challenge for active, outdoorsy people, but the views over the Aegean and the peninsula are worth the effort. Whether you’re on foot on on two wheels, following the quiet inland trails around the peninsula will lead you to the peninsula’s hidden treasures. Explore the beautiful pine forests, sweet-smelling tangerine and lemon groves, and quiet villages.


Bodrum's waters are home to an astonishing amount of sea life.

Exploring Bodrum’s waters

Given the area’s history of underwater ruins, it won’t surprise you to hear there is just as much to see under the water as there is above. Take an all-day boat trip from Bodrum Town and explore the waters surrounding the peninsula. Most cruises provide lunch, but check before you leave. Don’t forget your snorkel – as well as underwater ruins expect to see colourful sponges and plenty of sea life including octopus and many kinds of fish.

Out on the town

Bodrum’s nightlife is as varied as its many villages. If you’re after a raucous night on the tiles, head to Gumbet. This is where most of Bodrum’s clubs and pubs are located. Bodrum Town is also high-octane when the sun goes down. Outside of these two areas most villages remain reasonably quiet, perfect for a relaxing seafood meal in one of the peninsula’s many superb restaurants, or a quiet drink in a sophisticated bar.

That concludes our very short tour around Bodrum. Stay tuned for another Bodrum post where we explore each of the peninsula's areas in more detail.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Ten years on the Lycian Way


One of the many stunning views along the 500-kilometre trail.

Turkey’s most impressive walk, the Lycian Way, turns ten years old this year.

The track winds around Turkey’s Mediterranean coastline, trailing through lush valleys, rocky hillsides and grassy plateaus. Walkers pass through ancient Lycian ruins, quiet coves and great swathes of pine forests on the 500-kilometre walk that stretches from Fethiye to Antalya. You’ll meet walkers from all over the world, shepherds herding goats in the same way they have for thousands of years, and villagers in the rustic settlements you’ll pass along the way.

The trail was the brainchild of British/Turkish citizen Kate Clow, who spent many years researching and planning the route, the concept of which was a foreign one for Turkish authorities to get their head around at the time. What was the point of a walking trail? They wondered. Who would even use such a thing?

But their doubts were unfounded, and the walk that has been dubbed the 15th greatest walk in the world by the UK’s Country Walking Magazine now sees around 12,000 hikers each year travel to Turkey to walk the route.

The trail winds along the Mediterranean coastline from Fethiye to Antalya.

The trail links sections of Roman road, old mule tracks and forest paths to make one continuous route, which at its lowest dips to sea level, and at its highest scales Mount Tatahli’s 2635 metres.

Walking the route

It’ll take the keenest walker over a month to complete the entire 500-kilometre trail, so you may want to consider walking only the sections that interest you. Areas along the route like Kas, Kalkan, Finike and Adrasan have a wide range of options for accommodation. However, there are suitable places to stay all along the trail, especially if you’ve packed your tent. In some of the more remote areas you can stay with local villagers – this is a great way to find out more about the local culture and to help out the local economy with a few lira.

The walk is dotted with ruins dating back to the Lycian era.

Even if you’re planning to use a guide or go with a big group, it’s worth investing in Kate Chow’s guide book to take along with you. The guide has detailed descriptions of the plant and wildlife you’ll encounter along the way, as well as comprehensive maps, advice, route descriptions and history.

There are around a hundred travel agencies offering guided tours to the route, which may hold some appeal to less seasoned walkers. The guide company will arrange all of your travel and accommodation and will even arrange for your bag to travel ahead of you so you need carry no more than a day pack.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Talk about Kalkan: Christina's story

When Christina first visited Kalkan five years ago it was love at first sight.

Originally from Dorset, Christina first became aware of the possibilities in Turkey – and Kalkan in particular – from a developer friend.

When she visited the area for herself the attraction was instant.

“I’ve been lucky enough to travel extensively around the Mediterranean, but when I arrived in Kalkan the natural beauty of the place combined with its unspoilt charm was like a breath of fresh air,” she says.

Since that first visit, Christina has bought a number of Kalkan properties, including one from Place Overseas, and now divides her time between Kalkan and Dorset.

Christina has made Kalkan her second home, and has many close Turkish friends there. She’s also learning Turkish, which is no easy task, but she enjoys the challenge and feels it will be an advantage for day-to-day living – although most of the local Turkish population speak English.

Kalkan’s village-like atmosphere means everyone knows everyone else, and it was easy for Christina to meet and mix with the locals. There is a strong sense of community, whether you’re an expat or local, she says.


Kalkan's cobbled streets and flower-covered houses offer relief from the hordes of tourists found elsewhere on the coast.

Recent years and new developments have seen a burgeoning expat community. However, Kalkan has retained its character and hasn’t suffered from crowding in the way that Marmaris and Bodrum have.

“Kalkan is not like larger Turkish seaside resorts, you don’t see many buckets and spades for sale – it is much smaller and has a far more sophisticated feel about the place.”

“I like the people, the way of life, and the culture,” she says, adding that the area is surrounded by unspoilt countryside with many archaeological sites and breathtaking scenery.

As everywhere in Turkey, the range of fresh ingredients available at local markets is remarkable, she says.

At Kalkan’s Thursday market you can buy a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables, and slightly further afield, Fethiye’s Tuesday market has just about everything you will need including cheese, olives, breads and fresh fruit and vegetables.

For someone who enjoys cooking and food it’s an absolute heaven, she says. The “very, very good” restaurants in the area are another plus.

As with anywhere new, adjusting to life in Turkey had its challenges.

Christina has coped with water shortages, and last year the water was turned off sometimes for two or three days at a time. the winter electricity can also be unpredictable, especially when Kalkan is in the midst of one of its spectacular storms, with the power supply often staying off all day and well into the following night. However, Christina has taken all these speed bumps in her stride.

“It’s rustic, but I love it,” she says.

On the plus side, Christina has been impressed with the high standard of healthcare in Turkey, saying medical centres and dentists are professional, efficient and clean.

The long, hot summers are a bonus, too. However, during the winter, despite the climate being milder than the UK, it becomes quieter. However by March Kalkan is a hive of activity with plenty of sunshine and the local businesses busily preparing for the start of the new season.

Despite new developments and changes to the area, Christina believes Kalkan has much potential and is planning to make the most of her time there.

“I count myself very lucky.”

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

A healthy kind of tourism

Turkey. As we all know it’s famous for its ruins, sunny beaches, good food, and healthcare.

Wait – did you say healthcare?

That’s right – with its top medical facilities, complemented by spa and thermal facilities, Turkey is becoming a world leader in health tourism, especially among the healthcare-impoverished population of the United States.

A medical tourism conference in Chicago next week is set to present partnership opportunities that will mutually benefit both countries – particularly the stricken US population, who pay high premiums for healthcare on their home turf.

The event will present Turkey as a medical tourism destination, where you can combine medical procedures with a holiday in the sun.

“Turkey’s superior healthcare infrastructure, relatively short flying times and breathtaking beauty are attracting an estimated 200,000 medical tourists each year from the US, Canada, Europe and the Middle East,” said Josef Woodman, author of Patients Beyond Borders.

Turkey also has 36 JCI-accredited hospitals – more than any other country in the world. The Joint Commission International, or JCI, is a non-profit organisation that certifies healthcare organisations throughout the world.

The practice of receiving healthcare overseas has grown in the past few years as more patients seek cheaper and better care outside their own countries.

And what better place to recover than in a country where the sun shines most of the year, the beaches are excellent and the food superb?

Friday, 5 March 2010

Talk about Fethiye

Sunshine, impressive ruins and beaches ... just another day in Fethiye.

PACKED with historical ruins, beautiful beaches and bathed in almost constant sunshine, it’s no wonder Fethiye has become so popular in recent years - especially with people opting for a Fethiye holiday home or even a permanent move.

Located in the Mugla Province in Turkey’s Aegean region, Fethiye is home to around 70,000 people – including around 7,000 expats, but this former fishing town has managed to retain much of its authenticity and appeal.

Modern-day Fethiye sits on the ruins of the ancient city of Telmessos, and just a quick stroll around the town will show you that this ancient civilisation is still very much part of today’s town.

Thanks to its proximity to Dalaman Airport, which is about 30 kilometres away and offers year-round flights to the area, Fethiye has become popular with holidaymakers as well as expats seeking a permanent base in Turkey.

There’s so much to do in Fethiye that it would be impossible to get it into this one post. But we’re going to try to give you a sample of the best of Fethiye’s activities and attractions, so you can see why so many people have chosen to make it their home.

Around Fethiye

Fethiye Museum

Just a short wander from the main street, Fethiye Museum is well worth a look. It houses artefacts from Fethiye’s days as Telmessos, including the famous Trilingual Stele. Found at cult centre Letoon, the stele is Turkey’s answer to the Rosetta Stone and has been vital in deciphering the ancient Lycian language. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 8am to 5pm.

Fethiye Theatre

Stroll down to the wide harbour and check out the Hellenistic Theatre, sat by the main quay. It was built in the second century atop an even older Greek theatre and once held an impressive 5,000 people.


Fethiye's rock tombs are a legacy of the ancient city of Telmessos.

Rock tombs

These intricately carved tombs are probably the most striking remainder of ancient Telmessos. Set into the cliff face to the east of Fethiye township, these tombs date back to the fourth century BC, and are modelled on Lycian and Ionian temple architecture. Keep an eye out for Amyntas tomb, which dwarfs the other structures in size and grandeur.

Shopping

Browsing the markets, you’ll notice that there are a number of handicrafts unique to the area. Keep a look out for kaya rugs, the product of centuries of refined dyeing technique. You’ll also find intricately weaved scarves, handmade kilims and woollen belts. As everywhere in Turkey, make sure you haggle! Because there are so many tourists in the area the vendors have been known to hike up their prices whenever they see a foreigner approaching.

Near Fethiye


The Lycian Way

If you’re the active type, you may enjoy a stroll along the Lycian Way, which begins in Fethiye. Well, a stroll perhaps isn’t the right way to describe it – this 500 kilometre footpath winds its way through the Tekke Peninsula’s mountains and ends in Antalya. But it is of course possible just to try a couple of kilometres on for size before you commit to the whole length.


Beautiful Oludeniz Beach is the most photographed beach in Turkey.

Oludeniz Beach

Turkey’s most photographed beach, Oludeniz, has become a magnet for tourists. The beach is ringed by a number of cafes and shops, and gets very busy over the peak summer months. It’s a beautiful, shallow and calm place for families to enjoy swimming, sunbathing and water sports; however, some will find it too crowded, especially during peak times.

The beautiful Saklikent Canyon is a short drive from Fethiye centre.


Saklikent Canyon

This impressive natural wonder is the second-largest canyon in Europe. It’s a 50-minute drive from Fethiye centre but well worth the trip. Formed by thousands of years of fast-flowing waters, the canyon is 300 metres deep and about 18 kilometres long. Take a good pair of shoes with you and spend the day exploring this beautiful spot. Be warned – only attempt this in summer, over the winter months the canyon fills with water and is difficult and dangerous to navigate.

If you’d like to know more about Fethiye or Fethiye property, please contact us.

What are your favourite parts of Fethiye?

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

I'd like to buy property in Turkey - but where?

In the coming weeks, we’re going to explore the best options for anyone thinking of buying a property in Turkey. Whether you’re a retiree seeking a permanent home; a young couple looking for an investment property or a family seeking a holiday home, we can set you on the road to finding out what is best for you.

Part one: young families looking for a permanent home.

Moving overseas can be a daunting prospect if you have a young family – even if you know that country well. You might have been to Turkey on a holiday or two, but there’s much to consider for a permanent move.

We’ve compiled a guide to the best places in Turkey for young families, so you can make informed choices on the area that best suits you.


Antalya City's blend of ancient architecture and modern facilities make it a fascinating place to live. 

Antalya City

The fast-growing Antalya City is one of Turkey’s most vibrant areas. Its youthful population injects the city with a lively energy and there's so much going on. There are plenty of international schools and hospitals, and a good network of expats. The climate here is typically Mediterranean, with long, hot summers and mild, rainy winters. It's not far to the beach or to Antalya's other coastal areas. Antalya City is also close to some of Turkey's most beautiful spots, including the golfing region of Belek, the beautiful beaches of Side and the charming village of Kalkan. Antalya Airport is close at hand and offers flights to all major European airports.


Bodrum Castle was once the peninsula's most important defence against marauders. Today, it houses an archaeology museum.

Bodrum

The Bodrum peninsula is chock-full of beautiful beaches, quaint villages and intriguing ruins. It's also very compact - no matter where you live on the peninsula you’re no more than a short drive from Bodrum Town, where there are three hospitals, and a number of cultural and historical attractions. The peninsula's only international school is in Ortakent. Bodrum-Milas Airport is about a 45-minute drive away for those quick trips to visit family and friends in your home country. Bodrum's weather is hot and dry in the summer and mild and rainy in the winter – although it's not as mild as Antalya City.


Fethiye's lively centre guarantees a year-round lifestyle.

Fethiye

With 300 days of sunshine, excellent travel links and top facilities like schools, hospitals and airports, the Fethiye region is fast becoming a favourite with families looking for a move to Turkey. Fethiye Town in particular is a lively place all year round.

If you'd like to know more about any of these areas, or find out about any properties on our books, please contact us.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Slow down - you're entering Akyaka

Life is set to get slower in Akyaka.

The small town is aiming to become Turkey’s second “slow” area, following Izmir’s Senferihisar district, which declared itself a slow city or “cittaslow” in October.

Founded in Italy in 1999, cittaslow aims to improve the quality of life in towns, avoiding the fast-lane mentality and cookie-cutter high streets commonly found in burgeoning cities around the world. The idea came out of the ‘slow food’ movement, which works to counter the fast food world we live in.

Akyaka Mayor Ahmet Calca says the aim is to create a town that respects the local environment, preserves architectural purity and concentrates on sustainable tourism.
“The cittaslow movement is a project that helps towns promote themselves while preserving their identity and lifestyle,” Çalca said.

Akyaka’s residents will have the final say on whether their town joins the cittaslow movement. The final decision will be made in March after a public vote.

“We already have a ‘slow city’ here. All we need is international recognition,” said the mayor. “We hope to have a world-renowned boutique holiday resort.”

Cittaslow has a growing network of over 120 centres in 18 countries around the world. Each town or city adopts a common set of goals or principles, with the aim of enhancing the quality of life for visitors and residents.

In the Mugla province, Akyaka sits within a hilly landscape with verdant forests. There is a beautiful lake for swimming, a number of good cafes and restaurants, and little else. It's one of Turkey's most peaceful spots and a cittaslow status would only enhance its reputation as an authentic, tranquil spot.