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General About Turkey
  1. When to travel to Turkey?
    Turkey can be visited whole year. However it might be preferred to be visited on certain periods depending on the weather. Eastern Anatolia: Summers are hot and winters are very cold nd snowy and best season to visit is from May to October. Istanbul(The Marmara Region) :The region is interesting whole year . Summers are hot, winters are cold and rainy. The Aegean Region: Summers are hot, winters are not too cold but rainy. Best season to visit is from April to November. The Mediterranean Region: Summers are hot, winters are mild and rainy. Best season to visit is from March to November but most of the resorts open during winter. Resorts open in during winter have a lot of indoor facilities that guest enjoy with (heated indoor pools, spa centers, shopping centers, a?la carte restaurants etc..) The Black Sea Region: Summers are moderate warm, winters are very rainy. Best season is from May to September. Central Anatolia: Summers are hot with a great difference between daytime and night temperatures. Winters are cold. However in winter, it?s worth seeing Cappadocia in snow. Best season is from April to October. If you are visiting Turkey in summer (particularly July and August), you may need a hat and sun cream to protect yourself against the sun also people with sensitive skin should have something to cover their shoulders. If you are visiting Turkey in winter (Dec, Jan, Feb), you will need warm clothes as the temperature may drop down as low as -15 C (5 F) especially in the central eastern parts of Turkey. It?s advised to bring your umbrella and raincoats.
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  2. Money Exchange
    The new currency unit is the YTL ("Y" stands for Yeni, new in English ). One million Turkish Lira (1.000.000 TL) is now equivalent to one New Turkish Lira (1 YTL). YTL banknotes: YTL 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100. Coins: YKr 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 1 YTL. The international currency code of the YTL has been determined as TRY instead of the previous TRL. It?s possible to exchange money at the airports, hotels, exchange offices , and banks opened every day from 9.30 am to 12.00 am and from 13.30 pm to 17.00 pm except Saturdays and Sundays. It is preferable to pay with a credit card (widely used in Turkey) for the purchase of items of value such as carpets, jewels, etc... the invoices of which should be saved.
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  3. Weight and Measures
    The Metric and Kilo system is used.
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  4. Electricity
    Those who use 110 V or any other than 220 V at home need a converter as Turkey has 220 V power system. Please check your electric appliances before you use them in your hotel room. Only the five stars deluxe properties would have converters so it is advised to bring one with you in case it is needed.
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  5. Health
    All kind of drugs can be found in pharmacies called ?eczane? in Turkish.There are a lot of medical clinics which are open 7/24. If you wish a doctor to visit you at your accommodation, the hotel management can normally arrange this for you. While visiting a hospital or clinic remember to take your passport, insurance documents, and some local money. Remember to obtain receipts for any treatment or medicine so that you can claim on your travel insurance. Should you require hospitalisation or repatriation during your holiday, the insured person must contact their insurers Medical Assistance Service before any action is taken. Use and traffic of any kind of drugs are not allowed and is illegal.
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  6. Pets
    An international health certificate as well as a certificate of booster vaccination against rabbies are compulsory. Pets are not allowed in most of the hotels in Turkey.
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  7. Transportation
    26 cities are served by Turkish Airlines (THY) domestic flights. Because the rail network is not very developed in Turkey, instead there is a high number of luxurious scheduled bus services throughout the country. Boats, sea buses and ferries operate some routes between the main ports. Taxis with taximeter are widely used everywhere in the country. Night fare costs 50% more from 24.00 till 06.00. In major cities by the sea , all kinds of transpotation are used: yellow taximeter taxis, collective taxis (dolmus), buses, minibuses, trains, trams, a subway, a funicular, boats, sea buses and ferries.
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  8. What to bring
    In summer, light cotton clothes would be comfortabe during the day. In Central and Eastern Anatolia and in the Black Sea region warmer garments might be necessary at night. Raincoats and coats are necessary in winter and autumn. Good walking shoes, hat, sunglasses and sun cream are recommended.
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  9. Traffic and Road Network
    Traffic is running on the right in Turkey. While crossing streets in big cities, make sure that the vehicles are at a reasonable distance to allow you cross the street safely. In Turkey, cars have the privilege to use the streets. You can safely walk on the pedestrian walk ways. The road network is good and well developed with many main and secondary roads. A highway is opened between Istanbul and Ankara, as well as some other highway sections in different regions of Turkey. In big cities, traffic is generally heavy. On the main roads also, where there are lots of buses and trucks.In Turkey you drive on the right and the highway code is the same as in European countries. The roadsign ?DUR? means STOP, and ?YAVAS? (written in big letters on the road) means SLOW DOWN.
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  10. Shopping
    Before you purchase anything, try to get the prices down as low as possible. In most cases, just leave the shop or vendor and pretend to walk away, you will be probably invited back to shop by the vendor asking what would be your best offer. Then, feel free to give your own price for your purchase. Usually, bargaining margin starts from 10 % and may go up to 50%. Do not push more than possible, this will cause you to under estimate the value of the good. Bargaining could only be done in touristic areas, in local towns or new city and modern shopping malls no bargaining is possible.
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  11. What to buy
    Handicraft is very reputed in Turkey where there is a wide range of high quality items. Prices are labeled but in the bazaars, bargaining is still practiced. As an elementary ritual of courtesy, you will be offered, by the shopkeeper, Turkish coffee or tea served in small traditional glasses. The following items are the most prized and frequently purchased by foreign visitors: Beautiful handmade carpets and kilims. Jewels and other golden and silver items, precious and semiprecious stones. The ?Nazar Boncuk? is an eye made of a blue bead used to ward off evil influences from others. Leather and suede have an exceptional smoothness both in quality and prices: coats, jackets, pants, shoes, bags, belts... Materials and pieces of embroidery: silk, precious materials, garments embroidered with gold or silver threads,lace work, coton fabrics, tablecloths, toweling... Ceramics tiles and pottery: plates, bowls, jugs, vases, decorative wall tiles... all with beautiful patterns and colors. Copper items of yellow, red color or tinplated: trays, ewers, samovars, braseros, tumblers, cans, coffee mills... Onyx : the quality of onyx depends on the color: brown-veined green onyx is the best. Lots of items are made with onyx: vases, plates, dishes, chess-boards and pieces, eggs, lamp bases..... Meerschaum used for the making of beautifuly carved pipes. Copies of antiquities are sold in some museums. Turkish Delight(Lokum), and also Spices and aromatic herbs that delight the eye and smell. ***It is strictly forbidden to take antiquities out of Turkey.
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  12. How to make payment
    Major Credit Cards and Traveler's checks are accepted in big cities however you may need to carry some cash with you. US dollars and Euros are also widely excepted. Turkish money is a convertible one but DO NOT exchange your money to Turkish lira's in your home town, the rate you get is much lower than what you get in Turkey. You could easily exchange money on arrival at airports or borders.
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  13. Lost something?
    If you lose anything or have anything stolen it must be reported to the police within 24 hours and a report or a report number obtained. This will be essential if you wish to make a claim on your travel insurance policy.
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  14. Religion and Mosques
    Turkey is a secular state that guarantees complete freedom of worship in all religions. The society is very tolerant and welcomes visitors to the spectacular Moslem mosques. As a mark of respect though, all visitors to mosques should remove their shoes, women should cover their heads and arms and not wear mini skirts or shorts and men should not wear shorts. Turkey is a secular country with a population that is mostly Moslem (almost 90%). Turkey is a secular country where religion and politics is slightly separated. The mosques are open to everyone. You will have to leave your shoes at the entrance or carry them in your hands, women in most mosques are required to cover their heads with a scarf and naked parts of their legs and shoulders. If you don't have anything with you, they will give you some scarves at the entrance for free. Silence is required inside the mosques, it is suggested that you shouldn't laugh loudly inside as this may offend people praying. Most of the mosques are closed to visits at prayer times. The weekends are Saturdays and Sundays, while Fridays are working days, even though in the Moslem belief Friday is the holy day.
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  15. Time
    GMT + 2 in winter and in summer.
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  16. Water Supply
    The hot water provided in many accommodations is heated by solar panels which limit the amount of hot water available, particularly at times of peak usage. It is not uncommon for short periods to be without water.
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  17. Telephoning
    Telephoning from your hotel room might be expensive, the alternative would be to use the public phones available out on the streets, or in some hotel lobbies. All you need is to buy a telephone card from Post Office , which is in 30, 60 and 100 counters. Cellular phones work throughout Turkey. One 30 counter card would be enough for a quick international call. A yellow PTT sign indicates the post offices. Central post offices are opened from 08.00 till 24.00. Others are opened till 17.00. Phone cards must be purchased to use at public telephones.
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  18. Tipping
    If you are eating out in a restaurant, waiters expect some tip usually 10% of your bill and even if it is included in your bill, you should leave it at the table separately. Tipping taxis is not necessary, they do have the taximeter, just pay the mentioned amount.
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  19. Drink Water
    Tap water is safe to drink although highly chlorinated in the larger cities. So it is advisable to drink bottled water or mineral water which can be found almost everywhere at stores. You can safely brush your teeth with tap water.
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  20. Smoking
    Smoking is not permitted in flights, public places, most tour buses and public transportation. The Turkish people do smoke a lot , you would easily recognize that nearly 80 percent of the population smokes cigarettes. Turkish tobacco is top quality and you should buy your cigarettes in Turkey as they are delicious and reasonable.
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  21. Photographing
    In some of the museums or palaces you are not allowed to take pictures or use flash, before you go in, just check if there is a sign with a camera crossed over, which means keep you camera in your hand bags, or check them in. Also, as a universal rule you are not permitted to touch any of the artifacts displayed.
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  22. Working hours of official buildings
    Offices and banks are generally open 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM from Monday to Friday, with a break between 12:00 to 1:30 PM
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  23. National and Religious
    Apr 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day (anniversary of the establishment of Turkish Grand National Assembly) May 19 Atat?rk Commemoration and Youth & Sports Day (the arrival of Atat?rk in Samsun, and the beginning of the War of Independence) Aug 30 Victory Day (victory over invading forces in 1922) Oct 29 Republic Day (anniversary of the declaration of the Turkish Republic) Ramazan Bayram? / Sugar Feast :Three-day festival when sweets are eaten to celebrate the end of the fast of Ramazan. (A Moslem moveable feast) (The dates of these religious festivals change according to the Muslim lunar calendar and thus occur 12 days earlier each year.) Kurban Bayram? / Slaughter Feast : (A Moslem moveable feast) Four-day festival when sacrificial sheep are slaughtered and their meat distributed amongst the poor, neighbors and within the family.up
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  24. Food and Alcohol
    Food matters, sanitation is taken seriously and regularly controlled in general by the authorities. Because of climate and food differences rarely diarrhea could occur. Do have some medicine with you against stomach upsets and diarrhea. Those who are vegetarian will be able to find vegetable food or at least omelet which is very popular in Turkey, almost in every town. The Turkish and Ottoman Kitchen is one of the world leading kitchens. Dishes are mainly cooked of meat (lamb, chicken and cow -pork is not eaten-) and vegetables (Beans, Eggplant, Peppers, Onion, Garlic, Potatoes, Pumpkin). Rice, Pasta , local specialties made from flour (Pide, Manti, Gozleme, Borek...), sweets (Baklava, Kaday?f, Kunefe ...) are all widely eaten. Most of the restaurants display their food in windows, or waiters can bring the samples if you request. Also, the menu that shows available food can be found on your table, in tourist areas in English and German (Specially in South part of Turkey) as well. There is no restriction on the sale and use of Alcohol in Turkey. The most famous local drink "Raki" is widely consumed in Turkey. The "Raki Culture" is sitting long hours at the dinner table, eating "meze"'s and chat with each other on regular and personal subjects. While most people prefer Raki, wine is also famous in Turkey. The local wine production in northwest and mid Anatolia is worth to mention. Many foreigners do tell that the local beer, specially the "Efes Pilsen" brand does have a wonderful taste. You only should if possible avoid drinking in public during the month Ramadan (The vesting month). As a tourist you will not be effected from the Ramadan, the night life will continue in rural areas
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  25. Tips for exit custom regulations
    For a new carpet, a proof of purchase; for old items, a certificate from a directorate of a museum is necessary. Exporting antiques from Turkey is forbidden. Valuable personal items can only be taken out of the country providing they have been registered in the owner's passport upon entry, or providing they can show they have been purchased with legally exchanged currency.
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  26. Customs on entry to Turkey
    Items may be brought into the country duty free : Personal effects of the tourist. One TV, one color pocket TV (maximum 16 cm screen), one TV-tape-radio combination, one video recording camera and 5 video cassettes (blank); 5 records, 5 tape cassettes or compact discs. One video player, cine-projector (8 mm) and 10 rolls of film (blank), one slide projector, one portable typewriter One pocket computer (maximum main memory capacity Ram 128k. Byte), electronic playing devices (without cassette - keyboard). One transistor radio and portable radio - tape player (its specification to be determined by the Ministry of Finance and Customs), one Walkman or pocket tape recorder, one portable compact disc player. Binoculars (one pair, except night binoculars), harmonica, mandolin, flageolet, flute, guitar, and accordion (only one of each type, maximum 3 musical instruments). Personal sports equipment. Necessary medical items. Bicycle, baby buggy, toys. 200 cigarettes and 50 cigars. 200 grams of tobacco and 200 cigarette papers, or 50 grams of chewing tobacco or 200 grams of pipe tobacco, or 200 grams of snuff .(In addition to the above allowances, it is possible to purchase 400 cigarettes, 100 cigars, and 500 grams of pipe tobacco from the Turkish Duty Free Shops upon entering the country). 1.5kg. coffee, 1.5kg. instant coffee, 500 grams of tea. 1 kilo chocolate and 1 kilo sweets.5 (100 cc) or 7 (70 cc) bottles of wines and/or spirits. Five bottles of perfume (120 ml max. each). First aid, and spare parts for the car. Other items necessary during the journey. ! Valuable items and all items with a value of over $ 15,000 must be registered in the owner's passport upon entering Turkey, for control upon exit. ! Antiques brought into the country must be registered in the owner's passport to avoid difficulties on exit. ! Sharp instruments (including camping knives) and weapons may not be brought into the country without special permission. ! The bringing into the country, trade, and consumption of marijuana and all other narcotics is strictly forbidden and subject to heavy punishment.
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  27. Tax refund
    You can receive a tax refund for the goods you have purchased in Turkey. Refunds will be made to travelers who do not reside in Turkey. All goods (including food and drinks) are included in the refunds with the exclusion of services rendered. The minimum amount of purchase that qualifies for refund is 5.000,00 YTL. Retailers that qualify for tax refunds must be "authorized for refund." These retailers must display a permit received from their respective tax office. The retailer will make four copies of the receipt for your refund, three of which will be received by the purchaser. If photocopies of the receipt are received the retailer must sign and stamp the copies to validate them. If you prefer the refund to be made by check, a Tax-free Shopping Check for the amount to be refunded to the customer must be given along with the receipt. For the purchaser to benefit from this exemption he/she must leave the country within three months with the goods purchased showing them to Turkish customs officials along with the appropriate receipts . There are five ways to receive your refund: 1. The retailer can give you a check that can he cashed at a bank in the customs area at the airport. 2. If it is not possible to cash the check upon departure or if you do not wish to cash it then, you may do the following : A-Ask for a stamp to the receipt on departure from the custom agents for tax refund. B-Send a copy of the custom stamped receipt to the retailer with in one month time. Mention also the type of payment you want to receive your tax refund amount (Bank transfer -send your bank details-, check or else). Check also with the retailer if they have received the receipt on time. C- Within ten days upon receiving the receipt the retailer sends you the amount where and how you wish it to be done 3. If the stamped receipt and check (the retailer has issued) are brought back to the retailer on a subsequent visit within one-month of the date of customs certification, the refund can be made directly to the purchaser. 4. Retailers may directly refund the amount to trustworthy customers upon purchase. 5. The refund may be made by the organization of those companies that are authorized to make tax refunds.
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