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Preface Last Updated: 10/1/2003 11:30 AM

No other nation spans two continents, incorporating such topographical diversity, so many strata of archeological wonders, and as much disparate natural beauty as Turkey. The northern Black Sea shores are cool and green, interspersed with lush rain forests and alpine mountains, while the hot, southern coasts are lined with magnificent Rocky Mountains reaching down to beaches varying from pebbles to smooth, white sand. The flat Anatolian Plateau is interrupted here and there by lakes and hills or low mountains. The eastern portion of the country has alkaline volcanic lakes and is characterized by desert-like sparseness and impressive, stark mountains.

Amidst this natural setting are nestled countless artifacts, proof of the extraordinary role this land has played throughout history — from biblical Mount Ararat, a pilgrimage site for climbers in search of Noah’s Ark, to the incomparable vitality and bustle of Istanbul. To come upon the natural “fairy chimneys” of Cappadocia, whose distinctive stone hills were carved out to create dwellings, churches, and monasteries, some still ornate with age-old frescoes, or to crawl through the underground troglodyte cities nearby, is to imagine a civilization like none other. To see the exquisite riches of the ancient Hittite civilizations and the imposing amphitheaters of old is, simply, to delight in the history of man.

To live in Turkey is not just to be tempted by the infinite sites to explore or seas to sail. It is to indulge in the delectable cuisine; to shop, bargaining for carpets, “kilims,” and copperware; and, always, to be challenged and surprised. Turks are among the world’s most gracious, hospitable people (except when driving). Yet the Turks have a society in which old and new, West and East, various ethnic groups and religious strains struggle to live harmoniously that has become second nature to them. Infinite proverbs and polite phrases, known to all Turks, serve as a universal tonic when times are bad and shared salutations in happy moments. They indicate a bond between the common good and the will to develop and persevere as a nation despite all the difficulties and divisions the country confronts.

Turkey’s importance has not diminished with the end of the Cold War. As successor to the vast and influential Ottoman Empire, the modern Republic of Turkey lies in a position strategic to the interests of many nations, including the U.S., whose futures depend to some greater or lesser extent on Turkey’s future. Turkey borders the Middle East, the newly independent states of the Caucasus and central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean; its international influence is substantial. Domestically, Turkey struggles with chronically high inflation, an oversized public sector, and the need to support and capture a large unofficial economy. The country endeavors to balance the aspirations of its citizens of Kurdish descent and its conflict with the separatist terrorists of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), and to contend with difficult neighbors on all sides. Turkey’s politics and economy are complicated and intriguing; no Foreign Service officer could possibly be bored in Turkey.

Atatürk, the founder and father of modern Turkey, coined the still popular saying, “Ne mutlu Türküm diyene” (“Happy is he who says, “I am a Turk.”). A foreigner will never fully comprehend what it means to be a Turk, nor will a foreigner ever feel he or she has learned all this country has to offer. It is a fascinating place with endless challenges for the outsider. The first thing a newcomer to Turkey is likely to hear is “Hos Geldiniz”(“Welcome.”). Most find it a pleasure to respond sincerely with the traditional “Hos Bulduk” (“Pleased to be here.”).

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 10/1/2003 11:31 AM

Aside from Russia, Turkey is the largest country in Europe. Its 296,185 square miles lie between the Aegean, Black, and Mediterranean Seas. It stretches about 950 miles from west to east and 400 miles from north to south. Thrace, the European portion of Turkey, ends at the Bosphorus Strait where Anatolia and Asia begin. Anatolia is a high plateau bounded by the Pontic Mountains on the north, the Taurus Mountains on the south, and stretches to the peak of Mount Ararat (nearly 17,000 feet high) among the Caucasus Mountains in the east. Mountain ranges give way to narrow coastal plains on the northeast and south, and to treeless valleys between rolling hills and low mountains in the center.

The climate varies a great deal across Turkey. Precipitation is highest on the Black Sea, where, in Rize, an average of 98 inches of rain falls each year. Ankara averages only 14 inches (chiefly accumulating from November to May), and Antalya on the south coast gets about 28 inches. Istanbul has an average of 25 inches of annual precipitation. The plateau region has hot with very dry summers and temperatures in July that range from the mid-70s to the low 90s. The skies are almost always clear and cloudless during the day and nights are cool. Winters in this region are generally windy and cold (the mean temperature for January is 30°F). Around the Sea of Marmara and Istanbul, the average temperature is 83°F in July and 35°F in January. The south coast has long summers that are often hot and humid both night and day in the midsummer months (the average temperature in mid-August is 94°F), but it is very pleasant in spring and autumn. Winters in the south are usually fairly mild. The north coast Black Sea region tends to have cooler summers and warmer winters than the other coastal areas.

Turkey’s variety of climates allows for the production of a large diversity of crops, from subtropical bananas, figs, tobacco, cotton, and citrus fruits to cereal grains on the plateau and tea on the wet Black Sea coast.

Population Last Updated: 10/1/2003 11:36 AM

Turkey’s population of 64.5 million is increasingly becoming urban. According to the 2000 census, just 35% of the population lives in rural areas. Much of this rural out-migration originates in the underdeveloped east; especially areas in the southeast previously affected by the PKK insurgency. Villagers continue to flock to the country’s three-largest cities: Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. According to official figures, they account for approximately ¼ of the country’s population, though unofficial estimates put that number at closer to 1/3. Overall, however, annual growth rate dropped to 1.5%, from 2.1% for the previous census period. Rural migrants continue to face hardship in adjusting to city life, with life in squatter areas increasingly becoming detached from the cities they surround.

The 1923 Lausanne Treaty helped define the nature of Turkish society. It gave a special status to three religious minorities in Turkey: Greek Orthodox, Armenian, and Jews (most of whose ancestors had been accepted as refugees by the Ottoman Empire in 1492 after they were expelled from Spain). The treaty, which Turkey still respects, defined all others in Turkey, the vast majority, simply as Muslims. It recognized neither ethnic nor sectarian divisions in this ethnically and religiously heterodox state.

Over 99% of Turks are Muslims; the vast majority are Sunni, but there is a significant population of Turkish Alevis (whose beliefs are akin to those of Shi’a Muslims but whose religious practices are much less rigid), and among the Sunnis, a large number are attached to mystical Sufi brotherhoods. It is noticeable, especially in the large cities, how minimally the strictures of Islam affect the lives of some Turks. Many drink alcohol, do not restrict their diets, and rarely, if ever, attend prayer. In the cities, women can be seen in attire that fully covers them, head to toe, walking alongside relatively scantily clad women wearing the latest in Western fashions. Inhabitants of rural areas are much more conservative.

Despite the official nonrecognition of ethnic identity as a legitimate organizing principle, many Turkish citizens are becoming increasingly aware of their ethnic origins. The collapse of the Iron Curtain allowed Turks to reconnect with the homelands in the former Soviet Union their ancestors had been forced to abandon in the 19th century. Recent civil war in the Balkans, a former Ottoman domain, has awakened long-dormant feelings of connection. The rise of Kurdish nationalism also triggered various ethnic groups to rediscover their roots.

By some estimates, the population of the Turkish Republic at its inception included people from as many as 80 different ethnic backgrounds; but as the Republic’s founder Atatürk maintained, one and all are “Turks.” Turkish is the only official language, but large numbers of ethnic Kurds and Arabs continue to speak those languages as a mother tongue. The government long insisted on the exclusive use of Turkish as a tool to build and unite the nation. There have been recent calls to liberalize this policy in order to strengthen Turkey’s bid for membership in the European Union.

Ethnic Kurds constitute Turkey’s largest ethnic and linguistic subgroup and number as many as 12 million. Turkey’s southeastern region is mainly Kurdish, though more than half of the Kurds in Turkey now live outside of this area. Between 1984–99, the southeast had been an area of great unrest due to clashes between Turkish government forces and the PKK, a separatist terrorist group seeking to establish an independent Kurdish state encompassing much of southeastern Turkey as well as parts of Iran, Iraq, and Syria. With the capture and trial of PKK leader Öcalan in 1999, that conflict has largely subsided.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 10/1/2003 11:39 AM

Mustafa Kemal, a Turkish World War I hero, later known as “Atatürk” or “Father of the Turks,” founded the Republic of Turkey in 1923 after the collapse of the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire. At its peak, the Ottoman Empire stretched from southern Spain and Morocco in the west to Saudi Arabia and Iran in the east, and almost to Vienna in the north.

The Empire weakened over time as it failed to keep up with European social and technological developments and came under pressure from other powers. The rise of nationalism within the Empire impelled numerous groups to seek independence, leading to the Empire’s fragmentation. This process culminated in the Empire’s disastrous participation in World War I as a German ally.

Turkey was defeated and in the postwar Treaty of Sevres was reduced to a rump state limited to what is now the central part of modern Turkey. European forces even occupied parts of Anatolia, a fact that many Turks still bitterly remember. Turkish nationalists, however, rallied under Atatürk’s leadership, and expelled invading Greek forces from Anatolia after a bitter war. The victorious Turks repudiated the Treaty of Sevres and signed the Treaty of Lausanne, which, with some later modifications, recognized the Republic of Turkey in its present day borders.

Atatürk, supported by urban elites, many landed notables, and, most importantly, his wartime followers, abolished the Ottoman structure and abolished the temporal and religious ruling institutions of the old Empire (the Sultanate and the Caliphate). In its place, he established a republic with secularism, nationalism, modernization, and a European orientation as its guiding principles. Social, political, linguistic, and economic reforms and attitudes introduced by Atatürk before his death in 1938 continue to have strong influence in Turkey today.

The Turkish Grand National Assembly, Turkey’s Parliament, opened in 1920. Atatürk was its first speaker. The Turkish Republic was formally established in 1923. Atatürk announced the goals of “Peace at Home, Peace in the World,” a slogan that has defined Turkish foreign policy ever since.

Turkey stayed neutral through much of World War II, entering on the Allied side shortly before the war ended. Demands by the Soviet Union for military bases in the Turkish Straits, combined with difficulties faced by Greece after World War II in quelling a Communist rebellion, prompted the U.S. to declare the Truman Doctrine in 1947. The doctrine enunciated American intentions to guarantee the security of Turkey and Greece and resulted in large scale U.S. military and economic aid. Turkey joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1952 after participating with UN forces in the Korean conflict.

One-party rule under Atatürk’s leadership gave way to multiparty democracy in 1950. Domestic political crises sparked military interventions in 1960, 1973, and 1980, but in each case the military returned power to civilians in a relatively short period of time. Civilian governments have ruled continuously since 1983.

The present structure of the Turkish State was established by the military sponsored 1982 Constitution, which has been amended several times by civilian governments. Parliament is continuing a series of constitutional reforms intended to bring Turkey's legal framework closer to EU criteria. There are executive and legislative branches and an independent judiciary. There are approximately 50 political parties today, three of which are represented in parliament. There are 550 members of the single-chamber parliament. The voting age is 18. Elections must be held at least every 5 years. The President, currently Ahmet Necdet Sezer, serves one 7-year term. Sezer was elected by Parliament in 2000. A constitutionally mandated National Security Council, which has a slight preponderance of civilian members but provides a forum for the Turkish General Staff to put forth its views forcefully, advises the government on security issues.

The political spectrum is complex, even though few major issues divide the competing right-of-center and left-of-center parties. Islam-influenced AK (Justice and Development) Party won an almost-two-thirds majority of seats in November 2002 elections, leaving left-of-center CHP (Republican People’s Party) a distant second, with once-predominant DYP (True Path Party) holding only one seat.

Turkey is a secular Muslim democracy. First applying to the European Economic Community (now the European Union) in 1963, Turkey joined the EU Customs Union as of 1996. In 1999, the EU invited Turkey to become a candidate for membership. Commencement of accession negotiations, however, depends on Turkey’s passing and implementing more legal reforms, including amending the constitution.

Turkey is increasing its ties with the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union, especially those with a shared Turkish culture and history. Turkey continues to play an important role in efforts to resolve regional conflicts in Iraq, the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Balkans, and Cyprus. It has long been a NATO member and lies astride what could become key pipeline routes to transfer oil and natural gas from the Caucasus and central Asia to Western markets.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 10/1/2003 11:41 AM

Turks maintain a high regard for the arts, both for their own traditional heritage and for creativity beyond their borders. While Istanbul is by far the more sophisticated city, Ankara enjoys an active cultural arena of its own. Ankara has eight state owned theaters, one of which is dedicated to opera and ballet (and includes a modern dance company). The state companies are energetic and creative given its tight budgets, and their performances are well worth the nominal fee for tickets. A number of private theaters offer other forms of entertainment. Both Ankara and Istanbul have annual performing arts festivals that host a great variety of artists, both local and from abroad. Istanbul’s International Festival of Culture and the Arts bring in renowned artists from across the globe to perform in its many theaters. Ankara, Istanbul, and Izmir each have a symphony orchestra that gives regular concerts.

Turkish folk dancing and singing performances can be seen throughout the country. The numerous ethnic groups in Turkey make for a colorful array of dances and songs. Each December brings a week long festival in Konya, where the Mevlevi order of dervishes, known as the “Whirling Dervishes,” twirls in long, white robes and hats to the ethereal music of the Turkish flute.

The Ankara and Izmir Turkish American Associations (TAA) schedule cultural presentations by American and Turkish artists as well as lectures, tours, hobby clubs, discussion groups, and film showings. Of special interest among the activities carried on by other cultural centers in Ankara is the French Cine Club, which regularly screens recent French films. The British, German, and Italian cultural centers also sponsor concerts, lectures, and performances by national artists. Museums, diplomatic cultural centers, and galleries hold art exhibits in major cities.

Archeological excavations are underway in various parts of Turkey. Gordion (within 100 kilometers of Ankara), Sardis, and Aphrodisias are among centers of archeological work on ruins dating from Hittite through Ottoman times. Among these enticing sites are Ephesus (Efes), Bergama, and Troy in western Turkey.

Turkey has made great strides in establishing a modern educational system since the Ottoman religious school system was abolished in the early years of the Republic. Primary and secondary public education is free and coeducational. Eight years of schooling is compulsory. In the large cities, the system offers primary, secondary, and university education; but some villages still lack even a primary school.

Most major cities have private secondary schools with curriculums in English, French, or German. The adult literacy rate in Turkey is about 81%.

Turkey has 71 universities, 54 state-supported and 17 private, as well as a number of technical schools. The first private university, Bilkent University, was established in 1986 using English as its medium. Both Baskent University in Ankara and Koç University in Istanbul were established in 1993 and are also English medium. Admission to universities is based on competitive examinations. As in many countries, children of upper and middleclass families more frequently receive the secondary school education necessary to pass university entrance examinations.

Ankara University, Hacettepe University, Middle East Technical University, (METU), Gazi University, Bilkent University, and Baskent University, all in Ankara, offer degrees in a broad range of fields, including the humanities, science, engineering, and, at Ankara University, agriculture. Several universities offer degrees in medicine.

Istanbul has seven major universities. The most prominent are Istanbul University and Istanbul Technical University, Koç University (noted above), and Bogaziçi (Bosphorus) University, the oldest English medium university, established in 1971 when the former Robert College was turned over to the Turkish Government. Bogaziçi University recently received a grant from the U.S. Government to establish a J. William Fulbright Chair of American Studies. To facilitate the success of this program, Bogaziçi will be given an extensive American Studies library collection. Robert College continues as a separate, now secondary, institution supported by the U.S. Government and private sources.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 10/1/2003 3:51 PM

From the establishment of the Republic until the early 1980s, Turkey had an insulated, state directed economy. The early 1980s, however, brought an economic turnaround based on increased reliance on market forces, export led development, lower taxes, integration with the world economy, and privatization. These reforms gave Turkey the highest average annual growth rates over the past decade of any Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) country.

Turkey’s economy grew on average about 5% per year over the past 10 years, but growth has been volatile over this period, characterized by a series of sharp upward and downward swings. Average annual inflation of over 70% exacerbated income disparities and accentuated the uncertainties that hung over Turkish markets. Increasing pressure on Turkey’s pegged lira exchange rate led to two crises of investor confidence in November 2000 and February 2001, resulting in large capital outflows from Turkish markets. In reaction to these crises, the Government of Turkey renegotiated its loan program with the IMF, which substantially increased its level of support for Turkey in exchange for a strengthened reform program. One of the key reforms undertaken by Turkey was to move to a free-floating exchange rate regime. This in turn caused a nearly 50% depreciation of the lira over several months in early 2001 (though the lira eventually stabilized and appreciated in real terms during 2002). The year 2001 was a tough year for the Turkish economy. Continuing lack of investor confidence, and resulting capital outflows, led to a 9.7% contraction in the economy, and a high unemployment level of about 12% But throughout 2001 and early 2002, the Government of Turkey continued its IMF-backed reform program and re-established significant investor confidence. The macro-economic results for 2002 were impressive: growth of about 6.5%; inflation cut in half to 32%. As Turkey enters 2003 under a new Government, the major economic question is whether the remarkable turn-around achieved in 2002 will continue.

Turkey’s long-term potential, however, is bright. The structural reforms being implemented now will establish a solid base for future growth. Its dynamic private sector and the customs union with the EU are powerful forces for growth. The fundamentals that made Turkey the fastest growing country in the OECD during the 1980s have not changed and, in many respects, have even improved.

Agriculture remains an important sector of the economy as well as a key focus of U.S. exports. The sector employs 38% of the labor force. Crops include grains, cotton, hazelnuts, tobacco, fruits, and vegetables. It is an important market for U.S. tobacco, soybeans and soybean products, rice, wood logs, cotton for quality blue denim, tallow for making soap, and breeding and feeder cattle.

In early 1994, the U.S. Department of Commerce designated Turkey as one of the world’s 10 Big Emerging Markets (BEM’s). The best commercial prospects for U.S. exporters and investors are in energy, telecommunications, environment, transport, and textiles.

Energy. The Turkish Government is encouraging foreign companies to invest in the power sector. Electrical energy demand in Turkey is growing by approximately 8% per year. Currently, U.S. firms are pursuing seven Build Operate Transfer power projects. The future is also bright for suppliers of autogeneration, transmission and distribution, and renewable energy technology.

Telecommunications. Turkey has an advanced telecommunications system, most of which was built after 1980. The vast majority of the system consists of digital equipment and fiber-optic cable. In 2000, Turkey announced its intention to privatize 99% of the state-run telecommunications monopoly Türk Telekom, with the state retaining a single “golden” share. The landline monopoly of Türk Telekom is set to end in 2005, leaving the market open for competition. Turkey presently has three GSM cellular phone companies, Türkcell (the largest), Telsim, and Aria. Türk Telekom was granted a GSM 1800 license as a sweetener for its privatization, but the operations of its cellular subsidiary Aycell have not yet been launched. The Internet in Turkey has been stifled by the economic crisis, but has strong future growth potential. Many of Turkey's successful Internet service providers are connected to large holding companies and, therefore, have the backing to undertake large projects. They are presently disadvantaged, however, by Turkey's Internet infrastructure, which siphons most traffic through the Türk Telekom-operated firm TTNet. Privatization of Türk Telekom may help this situation, however.

Environment. In 1991, a Ministry of Environment was established, increasing the attention paid to environmental issues. New regulations regarding sewage, medical waste, and power plant emissions, among others, will add to the growth of this sector. Major projects are under development for air quality control, solid waste disposal, and municipal wastewater treatment and water provision.

Transport. The Turkish Government gives special priority to major infrastructure projects in the transport sector. Although most state investments were put on hold in 1994, the government later announced the resumption of planning for many airport, port, and highway projects.

Textiles. The textile sector is Turkey’s largest manufacturing industry and its largest export sector. Quotas have limited sales in Western Europe as well as the U.S. These restrictions are to be removed by January 1, 2005, under the global phase out of textile quotas called for in the Uruguay Round. Turkey’s textile sector is highly concentrated on production of cotton items such as bathrobes and t-shirts. Other principal growth sectors are tourism, automobiles, and electronics.


Automobiles Last Updated: 10/1/2003 11:49 AM

Before importation documents can be processed to clear a vehicle from customs, both the vehicle and owner must have arrived in Turkey. If the car is shipped by sea, it is advisable to obtain marine insurance coverage. Arrangements for this may be made through the U.S. Dispatch Agent or an insurance company in the U.S. Automobiles are generally shipped to the European Logistical Support Office (ELSO) Antwerp, Belgium, and then trucked to Turkey.

A car may be driven into Turkey. Customs officials will enter details of the automobile in your passport at the border crossing point and provide you with a document that directs you to report to a customs warehouse at your destination within 48 hours in order to process importation documents. As soon as you arrive at post, notify the customs personnel in the General Services Office (GSO). It takes at least 1½ weeks to clear cars through customs whether or not you have diplomatic status. If driven, the automobile must be covered by international third-party liability insurance, commonly referred to as “green card insurance:”

To complete importation procedures and obtain license plates, Turkish law requires that the car be covered by Turkish traffic insurance underwritten by a Turkish insurance company (or a foreign firm licensed to do business in Turkey), and that the car be in safe operating condition as certified through an inspection by Turkish traffic police. Upon arrival of your vehicle, GSO’s Customs Unit will assist with all formalities, including taking the vehicle for its initial inspection. The vehicle must be equipped with a first aid kit, a warning triangle, and, during the winter season, snow chains. You may wish to ship these items; they also can be purchased locally.

Some vehicles can be purchased locally, duty free, depending upon availability at any given time. Locally produced cars are more economical, and parts are readily available. Customs clearance formalities for locally purchased cars are the same as for cars purchased outside Turkey. The Turkish car manufacturer must deliver the locally purchased car to Turkish customs in the name of the buyer. The Embassy or Consulate can then clear the car from customs without paying any customs duties after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara issues an importation document. The Catch 22 is that if you want to sell your Turkish manufactured car at the end of your assignment here, the buyer must then pay customs duties. Since customs clearance procedures are complicated and time consuming, Turkish customers generally prefer to buy cars directly from a local car dealership, even if the price is higher.

As of November 1995, a new law has come into effect prohibiting the sale of diplomatic vehicles that are more than 2 years old to those not entitled to tax exemption, which means most Turkish citizens. Vehicles more than 2 years old may be sold to individuals in the same tax-exempt status or to other diplomats. The certificate of ownership determines the age of the car.

Diplomatic personnel must present two identification size photographs, a Turkish diplomatic identity card, and a valid U.S. drivers license in order to obtain a Turkish drivers license.

Rental cars are available commercially but are more expensive than in the U.S. If you plan to drive immediately upon arrival, it is best to obtain an international drivers license before departing for post.

Replacement parts for older American and European cars are generally available locally, but parts for newer models are more difficult to find. Cars sometimes have difficulty coping with the relatively poor quality gasoline here. Parts for Renaults, Fiats, Hondas, and Chevrolets are easy to find in Turkey. We suggest that employees ship in household effects or send via APO a supply of basic car parts such as gas filters, shock absorbers, tune-up kits, plugs, fan belts, and fuses. The U.S. military base exchanges (BX’s) in Adana and Izmir have very limited stocks of spare parts for U.S. and some European cars. You may special-order certain parts not normally in stock, but usually this requires a long wait. Ordering from parts dealers or manufacturers in the U.S. is also possible, keeping in mind APO size limitations.

Automobile repair shops all over Turkey are capable of most types of repairs. Labor charges are relatively low. The quality of work varies according to the type of job; for instance, electronic ignition and fuel injection jobs may require a search for a specialist.

Super grade gasoline (about 96 octane) and unleaded fuel are available at stations in and near major cities and along main highways. Regular grade gasoline (about 84 octane) and diesel fuel are available in all parts of Turkey. AAFES coupons for unleaded and diesel gasoline are available at the BX at the Ankara Support Facility.

Roads. Turkey’s main highways are generally well paved and properly maintained. However, there are traffic hazards such as slow-moving farm equipment and animals; overloaded trucks, buses, and cars passing on hills; and vehicle repairs made on the roadway. When driving in Turkey’s countryside, it is wise to expect the unexpected. The construction of new superhighways on some frequently traveled routes (e.g., from Ankara to Istanbul) has improved cross-country driving considerably. Winter snows and ice require caution in city and highway driving, and even a light rain can cause surfaces to become extremely slippery. Traffic moves on the right. Turkey uses the same international system of road signs as the in the European Union. Domestic intercity bus service is inexpensive, extensive, and comfortable.

City streets are crowded with all sorts of vehicles. Streets are often narrow, and traffic congestion is an increasing problem, especially in Istanbul and Ankara. Although traffic moves on the right, “dolmus” (shared minibuses traveling set routes) and regular taxis, among others, do not always observe this rule or other traffic regulations such as red lights or one-way roads. This eccentricity can be confusing and dangerous. Recently published statistics stated that an average of 15 deaths from traffic accidents occur daily in Turkey. Even the experienced driver must always be on the defensive and alert.

Cities have municipal bus systems that are cheap and extensive but do not necessarily adhere to any set schedule. Dolmus (minibuses) also run along bus routes for a slightly higher fee. Taxis are plentiful, convenient, and metered. Dolmus and taxi fares are fixed.

Rail, Air, and Sea Transportation. Turkish State Railways provides rail service to many points within Turkey and has routes connecting to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Direct rail service is offered from major European cities to Istanbul. Railway service is usually slower than bus service, but dining and sleeping cars on domestic lines help make the trip comfortable.

Various airlines provide regular passenger and freight services to Istanbul, Ankara. Turkish Airlines (THY) flies daily to many domestic and international destinations. The airport in Istanbul is the country’s primary international airport. Antalya’s airport is also a hub, especially for tourist groups in the summer. More than 20 airlines connect Turkey with all parts of the world.

Turkish Maritime Lines provides ferry service for passengers and automobiles between Europe and Asia in Istanbul (to cross the Bosphorus) and at Çanakkale (to cross the Dardanelles). Turkish Maritime Lines also provides service to Adriatic, Aegean, and Mediterranean seaports. There is a ferry that travels from Venice to Izmir.


Local Transportation Last Updated: 10/1/2003 11:52 AM

Turkey’s main highways are generally well paved and properly maintained. However, there are traffic hazards such as slow-moving farm equipment and animals; overloaded trucks, buses, and cars passing on hills; and vehicle repairs made on the roadway. When driving in Turkey’s countryside, it is wise to expect the unexpected. The construction of new superhighways on some frequently traveled routes (e.g., from Ankara to Istanbul) has improved cross-country driving considerably. Winter snows and ice require caution in city and highway driving, and even a light rain can cause surfaces to become extremely slippery. Traffic moves on the right. Turkey uses the same international system of road signs as the in the European Union. Domestic intercity bus service is inexpensive, extensive, and comfortable. City streets are crowded with all sorts of vehicles. Streets are often narrow, and traffic congestion is an increasing problem, especially in Istanbul and Ankara. Although traffic moves on the right, “dolmus” (shared minibuses traveling set routes) and regular taxis, among others, do not always observe this rule or other traffic regulations such as red lights or one-way roads. This eccentricity can be confusing and dangerous. Recently published statistics stated that an average of 15 deaths from traffic accidents occur daily in Turkey. Even the experienced driver must always be on the defensive and alert.

Cities have municipal bus systems that are cheap and extensive but do not necessarily adhere to any set schedule. Dolmus (minibuses) also run along bus routes for a slightly higher fee. Taxis are plentiful, convenient, and metered. Dolmus and taxi fares are fixed.


Regional Transportation Last Updated: 10/1/2003 11:52 AM

Turkish State Railways provides rail service to many points within Turkey and has routes connecting to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Direct rail service is offered from major European cities to Istanbul. Railway service is usually slower than bus service, but dining and sleeping cars on domestic lines help make the trip comfortable. Various airlines provide regular passenger and freight services to Istanbul, Ankara. Turkish Airlines (THY) flies daily to many domestic and international destinations. The airport in Istanbul is the country’s primary international airport. Antalya’s airport is also a hub, especially for tourist groups in the summer. More than 20 airlines connect Turkey with all parts of the world.

Turkish Maritime Lines provides ferry service for passengers and automobiles between Europe and Asia in Istanbul (to cross the Bosphorus) and at Çanakkale (to cross the Dardanelles). Turkish Maritime Lines also provides service to Adriatic, Aegean, and Mediterranean seaports. There is a ferry that travels from Venice to Izmir.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 10/1/2003 11:54 AM

All homes for Embassy personnel have telephones. The lines and service are generally very good. The Embassy and the Consulate General in Istanbul maintain switchboards that are open 24 hours a day and can assist employees in making calls during and after business hours.

Calls to the U.S. can be placed using AT&T, MCI, or Sprint phone cards. Calls to the U.S. are currently about $5.00 for the first minute and $1.59 every minute thereafter using AT&T, or about $1.70 a minute if placed directly through local PTT with no initial connection charge. Callback services are also available. Figures shown are based on weekday rates and, as in the U.S., weeknight and weekend rates are considerably cheaper. Calls to other countries besides the U.S. are cheaper using the local PTT rather than U.S. companies.


Internet Last Updated: 10/1/2003 11:55 AM

Internet Service Providers (ISP). Ankara has several very reliable Internet Service Providers, which include Marketweb, Superonline, ATTGlobal, and AOL as well as local and other lesser-known ISPs.


Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 10/1/2003 11:56 AM

International airmail letter service to and from the U.S. is reliable; letters from Washington to Ankara (and vice versa) usually take 7 to 12 days. Package deliveries via international mail are less reliable. U.S. Government personnel are authorized to use the APO for letter and parcel mail. Currently, an APO representative arrives at the Embassy once a week for all outgoing mail requiring special treatment such as being insured, registered, or certified. These hours are also used for mailing packages since the Embassy cannot provide this service. First-class mail to and from the U.S. via APO generally takes 10 to 14 days.

Personnel assigned to Turkey will be using one of the following addresses:

Ankara: APO Full Name American Embassy Ankara PSC 93 Box 5000 APO AE 09823–5000

Local Address

Full Name Amerikan Büyükelçiligi Atatürk Bulvari, 110 06688 Kavaklidere Ankara, Türkiye


APO Full Name American Consulate General Istanbul PSC 97 Box 0002 APO AE 09827–0002

Local Address Full Name Amerikan Konsoloslugu Istinye Mahallesi Kaplicalar Mevkii No. 2 Istinye, Istanbul Türkiye TR-34460


APO Full Name American Consulate Adana PSC 94 APO AE 09824

Local Address Full Name Amerikan Konsoloslugu Atatürk Bulvari ve Vali Yolu Bossa Apartmani Adana, Türkiye


APO Full Name U.S. Consular Agency Izmir PSC 88 Box 5000 APO AE 09821

Local Address Full Name U.S. Consular Agent Schit Nevres Bulvari, 23/2 Alsancak, Izmir 35210 Turkiye


Radio and TV Last Updated: 10/1/2003 11:57 AM

Both privately owned and state-owned radio and television stations broadcast in Turkey. Turkish Radio and Television (TRT, state-owned) operates four radio and five television networks. Most of the population, however, tunes into the half dozen most popular privately owned television channels.

As of late 1995, there were reportedly 1,200 FM radio and about 200 TV stations operating in Turkey. Eight of the TV channels are nationally televised networks. Cable television is also available and broadcasts several foreign channels, including BBC; CNN International; Eurosport; and German, Italian, and French stations. Some private radio stations are owned by newspapers and some by businessmen. These stations broadcast an assortment of formats, from Turkish and Western pop to classical. VOA and BBC radio can be heard in most of Turkey via short and medium wavebands. VOA Europe programs are broadcast on an FM station in Istanbul 24 hours a day.

TV channels operate on the European standard of 625 lines. The color system is PAL. Armed Forces Network television is available for a fee in U.S. Government-owned housing but requires an American television set. (A multi-system television can be programmed to receive Turkish, cable, and AFN stations.) Twenty of the TV channels are nationally televised. Cable TV operates in most major cities and offers foreign channels. BBC radio airs twice daily by using private TV station NTV radio frequency. National Geographic and Discovery have also Turkish version as part of national broadcasting.


Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 10/1/2003 11:58 AM

Ankara, Istanbul, and Izmir have many shops selling foreign news publications, including the International Herald Tribune, Time, and Newsweek. Several general interest U.S. magazines and many British, French, German, and Italian publications are widely sold. The Turkish Daily News, The Turkish News, weekly Probe, and weekly Briefing are published in English and are available in major Turkish cities. American magazines not sold in Turkey may be ordered through your APO address.

Ankara has Turkish Government libraries and American, British, French, German, and Italian Government cultural services that are open to the public. PAS in Ankara has a library, as does PAS in Istanbul. Istanbul also has several foreign cultural centers.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:00 AM

The Embassy has a Health Unit staffed by a regional Foreign Service health practitioner, three registered nurses, and a Turkish MD. The Medical staff in Ankara works with the regional medical officer in Jordan and the regional psychiatrist in Cairo, who visit periodically. The Health Unit provides many primary care services, including health promotion and management of acute and chronic health problems. Health problems that are determined to be beyond the expertise of the Health Unit staff (e.g., appendicitis, heart attack, or fracture) will be referred to a local specialist.

The Health Unit is stocked with a variety, but limited supply of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications, which are dispensed for acute health problems. There is a charge for all medications dispensed in the Health Unit except for immunizations, fluoride supplements, anti-TB and anti-malarial medications. The Health Unit can write prescriptions accepted in the U.S. for needed medications that are not in stock. A 6-month supply of necessary chronic medications (e.g., heart medications, birth control pills) should be brought to post. Diagnostic testing is performed at a local private laboratory or hospital. Not all diagnostic testing is up to American standards and some must be done outside of Turkey, including mammograms.

Turkish hospitals vary greatly. The new, private hospitals in Ankara have the most modern facilities and equipment. Some American women in the Embassy community have opted to have their babies delivered in Turkish hospitals; however, the State Department recommends women be medically evacuated to the U.S. for delivery.

The hospital at the Incirlik Air Base is also available for U.S. Government personnel. Istanbul has a small Health Unit at the Consulate General. Adana Consulate personnel use the facilities at the nearby Incirlik Air Base. The APP in Izmir uses a local hospital for health care. The Medevac point for Turkey is London.

Health and Medicine

Community Health Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:01 AM

The State Department encourages Americans posted to Turkey not to drink the tap water. Bottled spring water is available in restaurants and grocery stores. Tap water should be boiled for 3 minutes after filtering to remove particulate matter. Local wine, bottled soda, fruit juice, and beer are considered safe to drink. Most local dairy products, including milk, yogurt, and cheese, are safe to consume; however, care must be taken when purchasing perishable products from local shops, as many do not have adequate refrigeration.

Locally produced beef, lamb, and poultry can be of good quality but should be purchased from refrigerator-equipped, sanitary shops and cooked thoroughly before eating. In smaller towns lamb may be the only meat available. Fresh fish and seafood are available in major cities in winter but difficult to find in summer months except by the sea. Refrigerated transport of fish may be unreliable in the summer. Fresh vegetables and fruits are excellent but should be washed thoroughly and soaked in a mixture of water, soap and bleach prior to being eaten raw. Raw salads in local restaurants should be avoided.

Turkish cuisine is excellent and should be enjoyed during a tour in Turkey. In the larger cities, restaurants offer both international and local specialties. New arrivals often experience mild stomach upsets before adjusting to local conditions. Even old-timers have periodic stomach problems, especially during the warmer months.

Health and Medicine

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:01 AM

Tuberculosis does pose a greater risk in Turkey than in the U.S. and the countrywide incidence is increasing. Yearly tuberculosis testing is recommended. Rabies is prevalent in Turkey, and people are cautioned against handling stray animals. A pre-exposure rabies series is available in the Medical Unit. If you are bitten, post-exposure rabies vaccinations are given. Recommended immunizations for adults and children include meningococcal, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B; it is advised that children have all the recommended childhood immunizations. Immunizations should be obtained prior to arrival at post but may also be obtained in the Health Units at both the Embassy and Consulate General. Newcomers are provided with a Medical Information Handbook and orientation upon arrival at post.

Air pollution is a problem in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and Adana. Ankara's air problems have decreased significantly since the introduction of natural gas; however, increased vehicular pollution and the natural bowl configuration of the city still bring a large number of poor air quality days.

Istanbul has a serious air pollution problem that is worst in winter. The pollution can constitute a health hazard, especially to children, smokers, and those with chronic respiratory disorders. Sulfur dioxide levels often far exceed the healthy limits established by the World Health Organization. Those with respiratory problems should consult with the Medical Division prior to accepting an assignment to Turkey.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:03 AM

Family member employment opportunities are very limited. The U.S. and Turkey have signed a bilateral work agreement, so American family members of both diplomatic-accredited staff and administrative and technical-accredited staff may work in the fields of education and academic research (or other job categories as may be agreed on a case-by-case basis) for a period not exceeding 2 years with possible renewals. Foreign Ministry approval of all such requests has been forthcoming since the signing of the bilateral work agreement.

Employment opportunities outside of the U.S. Mission are reserved almost exclusively for Turkish speakers. American firms in Turkey employ a few U.S. nationals in management and scientific and technical positions, but these firms prefer to hire directly from the U.S. to avoid work permit problems. If a job on the local market is found, it is usually for very low pay by American standards.

A few jobs exist in language teaching where a need for fluency in English or other languages is necessary. The Turkish-American Association (TAA) occasionally has an English teaching position available. Persons with special technical or professional skills or with exceptional language capabilities might find opportunities with third country firms, diplomatic missions, or with the United Nations Development Program offices in Ankara, but openings for in country appointments are extremely rare.

Currently, at the U.S. Embassy there are 17 positions for eligible family members. These positions include:

* Community Liaison Office (CLO) Coordinator (two part-time positions) * Roving Secretaries (one full-time, one WAE position) * Secretary in the RSO Office (one part time position) * Registered Nurse in Health Unit (one full time, two part-time) * Courier Escort Position in Information Management Office (one part time) * Logistics Technician in Engineering Security Office (one full time) * Consular Associate in the Consular Section (one full time) * Office Management Assistant in DEA (one full time) * Newsletter Editor (professional contract) * Administrative Assistant in DAO (one full time) * Assistant to Theatre Special Representative (one full time) * Employee Recreation Association (ERA) Manager (association contract; one full time) * Employee Recreation Association (ERA) Store Assistant (one part time).

The Embassy Recreation Association (ERA) currently employs one eligible family member General Manager. At times the Consulates in Istanbul and Adana may have similar job opportunities. Some substitute teaching positions at the Department of Defense Dependents School also exist. However, it is difficult to obtain a full-time teaching contract through Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) when already at post. Family members interested in positions with DoDDS should submit an application (SF-171) prior to arrival in Turkey to DoDDS Recruitment Unit, Team E, 4040 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203–1634. Applications are due to DoDDS by January 15 of the preceding school year if you wish to be considered for full-time employment.

Teaching, staff, and other part-time positions are sometimes also available at the International Kindergarten and Preschool and the British Embassy Study Group.

American Embassy - Ankara

Post City Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:07 AM

Turkey’s capital, Ankara, is located in the western portion of the Anatolian Plateau at an altitude of 3,000 feet. It is situated at the bottom and up the sides of a deep bowl formed by bare, low mountains. The climate is pleasant; its rare extremes of hot and cold are moderated by the year-round dryness of the air and, in summer, by a mild breeze. Smog, though considerably improved in recent years with increased use of natural gas rather than lignite coal, gives the city a drab appearance for much of the winter.

Ankara was a provincial town when Ataturk established the capital along with the new Republic there in 1923. The city is modern, with wide boulevards intersecting at large circles often congested with bustling traffic. The architecture of the many government office buildings is generally a stark, concrete block style.

Pleasant, tree-shaded streets with attractive gardens are disappearing rapidly as the city struggles to keep up with its influx of population. Single-family homes are rare today, having been replaced by a steadily increasing number of large apartment buildings. Nevertheless, modern Ankara has some pleasant parks, many with playground equipment for children (Sidewalks, where present, are often uneven and discontinuous, making the use of strollers less convenient than backpacks for carrying babies.) .

Compared with other cities in Turkey, Ankara is quite livable; where it lacks charm, it gains convenience. Perhaps its most redeeming features are the steep hills upon which Ankara is built, providing for countless panoramic views all over the city.

Ulus, the old city built around the ancient Byzantine citadel situated atop a steep hill, is dramatically different from the rest of Ankara. Its steep, winding streets, mosques, and small houses give it a quaintness and appeal that is lacking in the new parts of the city. Here you may still come upon an Anatolian peasant woman colorfully clad in traditional clothing, kneeling on the cobblestones while she rhythmically beats freshly shorn wool with a stick.

The smell of newly baked bread emanates from crooked, high windows adorned with dangling red peppers. Shops’ wares — copper, carpets, antiques, handmade baskets — even plastics and electrical paraphernalia — overflow into the narrow streets, showing a lackadaisical disregard for contrasts of old and new. Ulus will remain the heart of Ankara, no matter how fashionable or modern other areas of the city become.

Roughly 1,000 Americans live in Ankara, including military and civilian employees of the U.S. Government, exchange students and professors, business representatives, and their families. Except for business representatives from Western Europe, the rest of the foreign community is primarily diplomatic (composed of 113 diplomatic missions). American visitors to Ankara come more often on business than as tourists.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:08 AM

The U.S. has maintained formal relations with Turkey (and its precursor, the Ottoman Empire) since 1830. The Embassy was moved from Istanbul to Ankara in the 1920s after Ankara became the capital of the new Republic of Turkey. The Embassy complex, located at the corner of Ataturk Bulvari and Tandogan Caddesi on Ankara’s “Embassy Row” near the center of the modern city, was constructed in 1953. Embassy working hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Addresses and telephone numbers are as follows:

U. S. Embassy Atatürk Bulvari, 110 06688 Kavaklidere Ankara, Turkey Telephone: (90) (312) 455–5555 Fax: (90)(312) 467–0019

New personnel need to notify the Embassy in advance of their arrival so that they can be met at the airport. Otherwise, new arrivals should take a taxi to the Embassy and contact their agencies on arrival. Taxi service is readily available at the airport and costs about $35 to the Embassy.

The U.S. Mission in Ankara is composed of the Political, Political/Military Affairs, Regional Affairs, Economic, Consular, Public Affairs, and Management Sections and the Foreign Commercial Service (FCS), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), FBI (LEGAT), Defense Communications Support Detachment, Defense Attaches Office, ODC, the Technical Liaison Office (TLO), and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations are also in Ankara.

ODC (formerly JUSSMAT) is one of the oldest Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) missions currently in operation. ODC has separate Army, Navy, and Air Force sections, as well as support staff.

Senior members of the Embassy staff and representatives from other elements of the Mission, attend weekly country team meetings, chaired by the Ambassador or, in his absence, the DCM. The country team coordinates the activities of all U.S. Government agencies in Turkey.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:08 AM

The Embassy maintains a few fully furnished apartments for temporary duty personnel. Personnel not housed in guest apartments are accommodated in hotels. Hotel rates usually do not exceed the temporary housing allowance. Several hotels in Ankara have accommodations comparable to good hotels in Washington. The Hilton and Sheraton Hotels are within walking distances of the Chancery.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:11 AM

Government owned. The Ambassador’s residence is a large, modern house located on 10 fenced acres, 5 minutes by car from the Chancery. It has landscaped gardens, spacious lawns, and a panoramic view of the city and hills beyond. Built in 1952, the residence is fully furnished and equipped with six bedrooms (each with bath), a family sitting room, and servants quarters on the second floor; a large reception area, salon, library, sunroom, dining room capable of seating 100 people, and kitchens on the ground floor; and a large reception room, bar/lounge, 100-seat movie theater, laundry room, and three-car garage. The house has ample storage space, a greenhouse, a large parking area, a swimming pool with dressing rooms, and two tennis courts, lighted for night play.

The DCM’s home is a U.S. Government owned property with a nice garden area, approximately three blocks from the Embassy. The house has a full basement (laundry area and storage). The first floor is used for representational events. The home has a guest bedroom with bath, a full bathroom for guests, a large dining area with fireplace, a patio, and a full kitchen. The second floor is reserved as the living area for the DCM and family; it has a full kitchen, a living/dining area, an enclosed sunroom, a family room; a master bedroom, and two additional bedrooms. The attic has two bedrooms, a full bath, and a storage area. The home also has a garage.

Other U.S. Government owned residential units include the Marine Security Guard residence, three staff apartment buildings, and one small house.

Government leased. It is Embassy policy to provide U.S. Government owned or leased, furnished quarters for all U.S. Government employees. The only housing reserved for specific positions are the quarters for the Ambassador, the DCM, and the Marine Security Guards. Housing assignments for all other personnel are made by the Interagency Housing Committee on the basis of family composition, position, grade, and date of arrival at post in accordance with State Department A-171 standards. When possible, housing assignments are made approximately 60 days prior to an employee’s arrival at post.

Most Embassy housing is in apartment buildings in which all housing units are under its control. Such buildings offer advantages in security and comfort: maintenance is simplified, heating is completely controlled, and security devices are installed. In 2000, the housing board voted to move to some dispersed housing (housing on the economy). Since that time, the Embassy has closed several substandard buildings and leased new units on the economy. These units have proved to be of high quality and often cheaper than apartments in the Embassy leased buildings. The Roving Patrol provides security for these apartments.

Most apartments are quite comfortable. Floor plans may differ from those of typical American apartments. Nearly every apartment has one or more small balconies opening from living or dining areas or bedrooms. Most apartments have combined living and dining rooms. Some have fireplaces. Typically floors are marble or concrete covered with linoleum, tile, or parquet flooring. The Embassy provides employees with wall-to-wall carpeting for the bedrooms. Since many apartments have small rooms and limited closet and storage space, it is wise to leave in storage items you think you will not need at post.

Few apartments have much outdoor open space for play. One housing area (Oran Sitesi), located about 5 miles outside of Ankara’s hub, has a fenced-in grassy area with some playground equipment and a small covered pool. Some families, often those with one or two small children, consider the outdoor space and cleaner air of Oran to be worth the extra time spent commuting back and forth from town.

Most personnel live within a 5- to 15-minute drive from the Embassy, depending on the time of day (i.e., on traffic).


Furnishings Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:13 AM

GSO makes an effort to see that government-owned or -leased housing is furnished in a comfortable, tasteful manner. Furniture, furnishings, and equipment issued to State Department personnel are limited to basic sets and are described below; it is usually not possible to supply extra items.

The Inter-Agency Housing Board has approved the following list of household furnishings for all apartments:

Living room furniture:

3-cushion sofa Coffee table 2 end tables w/ 2 tabletop lamps 2 armchairs Larger quarters are provided with additional chairs, a bookcase and a loveseat

Dining Room Furniture: Wooden table w/ seating for 6–12 depending on size of apartment Hutch and china cabinet Server

Den Furniture – Large apartments only – Net over 1900 sq. ft.:

Sofa 2 tall bookcases Coffee Table Easy chair – possibly reclining Easy chair w/ ottoman 2 end tables w/ 2 tabletop lamps Desk and chair

Master Bedroom Furniture:

1 Queen bed Set 2 nightstands w/ 2 lamps 1 chest of drawers 1 dresser 1 easy chair 1 floor lamp

Additional bedroom: 1 twin bed set 1 short chest of drawers 1 student desk w/ bookshelf unit 1 nightstand w/ lamp Bookcases – max. 4 tall per apartment to be supplied by USG Drapes (unlined) and sheers Wall-to-wall carpets in bedrooms and halls Three speed ceiling fans in all occupied bedrooms and living rooms Adequate lighting fixtures and lamps

Electric stove Refrigerator Freezer – as needed Washer Dryer Transformers (max. 5 per household depending on family size) Fire extinguisher 1 humidifier per occupied bedroom 3 air cleaners 1 air conditioner per occupied bedroom


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:14 AM

The electrical power supplied in Ankara is 220v, 50 cycles. Stateside electric clocks and motors (turntables, tape recorders, etc.) will run approximately 16% slower than normal unless they are adapted to 50 cycles.

Nearly all homes occupied by Americans are centrally heated by hot water systems. The principal fuel used in government-leased buildings is diesel oil.

Food Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:15 AM

For daily household needs, local markets offer a good selection of food products and fresh produce. Neighborhood groceries (known as “bakkals”) sell most staples and offer store-to-door delivery. Availability of fresh produce varies seasonally. There are various supermarkets and hypermarkets — the latter usually co-located in large shopping malls with various department and specialty stores.

Generally, most needs can be met on the local market, but imported goods are often expensive and shopping may take several stops, since specialty items often are stocked inconsistently.

There is a small commissary operated through military channels that carries American products. It is about the size of a small U.S. grocery store and is located adjacent to the DoDD School at the Ankara Support Facility (ASF) in Balgat.

Ankara has several restaurants that have become favorites in the foreign community. They offer Turkish, Italian, Chinese, and other international cuisine. Small kebab shops abound, and American type fast food places are ubiquitous with McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Subway, KFC and other well-known franchises in most neighborhoods. Many of these offer home delivery.

Clothing Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:17 AM

Wardrobes can be supplemented easily by buying on the local economy or ordering from catalogs. Clothing stores or tailor-made items of good quality are readily available. Taste in clothing in Turkish circles is similar to American taste, although Turkish women often wear dressier and more formal clothes to many social affairs.

Employees and their spouses should bring clothing appropriate for receptions, cocktail parties, dinner parties, and the occasional formal ball. Male officers at the senior level need black tie evening clothes. Men wear dark suits for presentation of credentials and the Presidential Reception (October 29).

Plan family wardrobes for Ankara’s four-season climate. The summer months bring hot days and cool evenings. Men generally wear lightweight suits during the hot months. Shorts and sleeveless tops are more and more frequently seen on the streets, but women may feel less conspicuous in skirts and shirts with short sleeves. Swimming is a popular pastime during the hot summer months.

Winter months can be cold and windy, requiring clothes similar to those needed for Washington, D.C. winters. Good rain gear, winter boots and gloves, and comfortable walking shoes are useful. It is a Turkish custom to remove shoes upon entering the home; many Americans adopt this practice, in which case slippers are needed to wear indoors during cold months and to offer to guests who remove their shoes when they visit.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:17 AM

There is a small U.S. Military Exchange on the ASF at Balgat (15 minutes drive from the most distant neighborhoods in which official Americans are housed) This facility carries a basic range of household supplies and products with a limited selection of basic clothing and foodstuffs.

In general, toiletries, cosmetics, personal hygiene products, tobacco items, fabrics, toys, small appliances, housekeeping supplies, entertaining needs, greeting cards, household repair items, gasoline coupons, and various other commonly used items, are available at the Exchange. Similar items are generally available on the local market. It is also possible to request special orders through the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES).

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:18 AM

Local tailors, dressmakers, hairstylists, shoemakers, dry-cleaners, and other assorted service providers are available. Quality of work may vary, but overall, results have been very acceptable.

The Mission Employee Recreation Association (ERA) runs a cafeteria in the Embassy and has a catering service for personal or official entertainment purposes. It also maintains a Shoppette next to the cafeteria with a video club, photograph developing service, t-shirts and other logo gift items, snacks, and an assortment of wines and liquors.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:18 AM

Most personnel employ at least one servant. Salaries for domestics are reasonable (most recent surveys reveal salaries around $25 per day) but will vary depending on required duties, experience, and ability to speak English. Few domestics live in, and most wish to be dismissed by 4 pm or 5 pm.

The Embassy Community Liaison Office (CLO) maintains a list and letters of recommendation of domestics currently seeking employment. Families with young children can find domestics who will look after children (and baby sit evenings when needed) as well as houseclean, but they should expect to pay on the high side. Employers are advised to have domestics checked by the Embassy Security Office and have medical screenings.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:19 AM

The Interdenominational Protestant Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hold worship services each Sunday at the DoDDS School. Roman Catholic services are held at the French, Italian, and Vatican Embassies. Anglican services are held at the Church of St. Nicholas (part of the Worldwide Anglican Communion), which is located on the British Embassy compound. The Ankara Baptist Church holds services each Sunday. Most of these groups have active auxiliary organizations. There is a synagogue in the old part of Ankara; however, services are not held on a regular basis.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:23 AM DoDDS operates a school system for kindergarten (full day) through grade 12. The school is at the Ankara Support Facility (ASF) in Balgat. Children of employees of all U.S. Government agencies in Ankara are eligible to enter the elementary and high schools. Other non-Turkish students may be admitted on a space available, tuition-paying basis. The school’s address is:

George C. Marshall School Unit 7010 APO AE 09822 Telephone: (90) (312) 287–2532 Fax: (90) (312) 285-1791 Email: Website:

The annual academic tuition rates are established by DoDDS in Washington, D.C. The post educational allowance covers tuition, which includes the cost of school bus transportation. Registration for eligible children is ongoing throughout the summer. Children can be registered when they arrive in Ankara.

The school curriculum is similar to that of public schools in the U.S. In addition to the regular curriculum, courses sometimes can be arranged to meet students’ special needs. To enter kindergarten a child must be age 5 on or before October 31 of the year he or she enrolls. To enter the first grade a child must be age 6 on or before October 31 of the year he or she enrolls. Admission to the various grades in the high school is contingent upon satisfactory completion of the preceding grade or its equivalent.

The faculty is recruited in the U.S. under the Department of Defense Educational System. At the present time, about 90% of the faculty has master’s degrees; the remainder has bachelor’s degrees. The teachers have had an average of 18 years of experience, and about half of the school’ faculty has been in Turkey over 10 years.

In addition to the usual facilities, the school has a large gymnasium and an outdoor track, soccer field, and playground and well-equipped special-purpose rooms for art, music, general science, biology, chemistry, physics, mechanical drawing, industrial arts, and home economics.

There is a school lunch program for grades Kindergarten–6; 7th–12th graders have option of bringing their lunch or eating at pizza restaurant located next to the school and BX (shoppette). The high school has an active program of extracurricular activities, including interscholastic sports, journalism, band (instruments furnished), choral groups, and host nation activities.

The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredit the high school. The school uses the A-B-C-D-F grading system. There is a Parent Teacher Student Organization and School Advisory Council.

The British, French, and German Embassies operate study groups (schools) that enroll students of other nationalities. The British and French Schools go through the equivalent of the primary grades and have three terms per year. The German School extends through the equivalent of grade 10.

Several American Embassy children attend the British Embassy Study Group, which provides a British-style education based on the Common Entrance Examination syllabi for entrance to private schools in the U.K.

The Study Group’ present building, set on the grounds of the British Embassy, was built in 1964. The premises contain classrooms, a well-stocked library, a computer resource room, a hall/gymnasium, and administration offices. There is an active Parent Teacher Association. Entrance priority is given first to British students and next to native English speakers.

The British Embassy Study Group Sehit Ersan Caddesi 46/A

Ankara Phone: 90–312–468–6563 Headmaster: David Draper

Bilkent University Prep School, also an option for U.S. Embassy children, is a private Turkish school whose classes are taught in English. The school has a pregrade 6 "prep" class through grade 12 and class size is limited to 20 students. The curriculum has a structure similar to that of the English National Curriculum but departs from it occasionally to suit the multicultural student body.

The International General Certificate of Secondary Education curriculum is offered in grades 9 and 10 and the International Baccalaureate curriculum in grades 11 and 12. Bilkent Prep's facilities include a sports hall, a band room and a general music room, two fully equipped science labs, audio/visual rooms, a computer lab, ceramics and art rooms, and ample classrooms. Bilkent also has a newly opened performing arts center with additional practice rooms, dance class facilities and a performance stage. Hot lunch is available in the cafeteria.

Bilkent University Preparatory School East Campus, Ankara Website: Phone: 90-312-266-4961 Director: James DiSebastian High School Principal: Roy Lewis

There are a few excellent preschools taught in English, including the British Embassy Study Group, which accepts children during the term in which they turn 3 years old, and the International Preschool, the Ankara English Preschool as well as Yasemin Preschool (Montessori style).

College degree programs, many of which are taught in English, are available from Turkish universities. Part-time attendance is not common in Turkey. Incirlik Air Base in Adana oversees University of Maryland and City College of Chicago extension programs in Adana and Ankara. The Education Office at the air base can arrange correspondence and video courses.


Dependent Education

Away From Post Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:23 AM Use of facilities away from post is not generally necessary at the primary or secondary level. No away from post education allowance is authorized.


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:25 AM

College degree programs, many of which are taught in English, are available from Turkish universities. Part-time attendance is not common in Turkey. Incirlik Air Base in Adana oversees University of Maryland and City College of Chicago extension programs in Adana and Ankara. The Education Office at the air base can arrange correspondence and video courses.

A limited language program is available at post, funds permitting. Comprehensive Turkish language courses are offered through the Tömer Language Institute. Conversational classes are offered by the TAA. The TAA also has lectures throughout the year on subjects of historical and cultural interest, as does the American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT). The cultural associations of the French, German, and Italian Embassies offer instruction in those languages at reasonable fees.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 10/28/2003 9:29 AM

Sports in and around Ankara include tennis, softball, bowling, flag football, basketball, jogging, hunting, handball, squash, racquetball, weight lifting, aerobics, fishing, swimming, ice-skating, and skiing. There is an active tennis club run by the ERA that uses the courts at the Ambassador’s residence during the summer. An annual fee is charged for maintenance and upkeep of the courts. Official American Embassy personnel may use the swimming pool at the Ambassador’s residence.

The DoDD School at the ASF in Balgat has a gym, weight room, and racquetball court, which are available after school hours for use by the American community. The Hash House Harriers have an active contingent in Ankara. They gather each Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoon to run somewhere in or around the city and occasionally travel to other parts of the country for additional fun on the run.

The Hilton and Sheraton Hotels offer year-round swimming pool/health club memberships. A few Embassy employees are members, but most find the membership fee high. Sports International is a sports and fitness club located near Bilkent University that has attracted many members of the Embassy community.

The facility, built by a U.S. Turkish joint venture, is well maintained and impressive. It has both indoor and outdoor pools, numerous tennis courts, fitness equipment, a gymnasium and separate aerobics room, nutrition and fitness counseling, social areas, a restaurant and a cafe, saunas, solariums, a steam-room, and a large child care/play area.

Membership fees are high, although membership in a comparable fitness club in Washington, D.C. no doubt would be more expensive. There are other small fitness clubs located throughout the city offering workout equipment and aerobics classes.

Fairly good skiing is available in areas not too far from Ankara. The slope closest to the city is Elmadag, which offers a small T-bar lift, a nice lodge and restaurant, and a small hill for sledding. Kartalkaya, near Bolu, about 3½ hours north of Ankara, offers several beginners and intermediate runs and has two large hotels.

Uludag, near Bursa, is a popular, more upscale skiing spot with many good hotels and lifts. More adventurous skiing is available at Mt. Erciyes near Kayseri and near Erzurum in eastern Turkey. Ice-skating and ice hockey are available at a large, modern, indoor ice skating rink in Ankara.

There are good freshwater fishing spots within 3 to 5 hours’ drive from Ankara. The rivers and streams of eastern Turkey, although difficult to reach, provide excellent trout fishing. Other freshwater fish such as giant catfish, carp, pike, and bass can be found in various parts of Turkey. At this time a fishing license is not required; however, there are specific fishing seasons. A hunting license is required for all game.

Duck, geese, partridge, wild boar, wolf, and numerous smaller games exist in many areas. Turkey also has its own species of quail and wild turkey. Often local forestry stations impose a substantial additional fee for hunting in their jurisdictions.

Sports equipment such as tennis rackets and balls, softball gear, wet suits, and snorkels are expensive and difficult to get in Turkey. The Government of Turkey permits limited importation of shotguns and rifles (see Firearms and Ammunition).

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:33 AM

There are fine beaches on the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul, along the Aegean coast north and south of Izmir, along the Mediterranean coast, and at resort areas on the Black Sea. Many Embassy families find it most enjoyable to travel out of Ankara in the early spring or the late fall, since resort areas are crowded with tourists during the summer months.

More and more areas of Turkey are being set aside for camping. Many national parks and forestry camps have been developed in the past few years near popular beach resorts and tourist sites. Most campsites are well suited for tents. Many Americans bring camping equipment with them and find camping an enjoyable way to vacation in Turkey.

Ankara has a few small neighborhood parks, some with simple playground equipment. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to walk on the grass, and the children’'s equipment is often broken and located on cement or hard packed dirt. Since there is virtually no shade in the parks, the hot summer sun often prohibits playing on the metal equipment, and in winter the parks are muddy.

Luna Park, in the center of the city, contains restaurants and promenades, a boating lake, a children’s playground, and a permanent midway with rides and attractions reminiscent of a country fair. Altin Park, on the north end of town, sports a “hands-on” museum as well as walking paths.

Eymir Lake, affiliated with Middle East Technical University, offers a pleasant place to walk and picnic and limited boating facilities. The current fee is about $40 per year for a family permit to the lake. Gölbasi Lake is just outside of Ankara and accessible for walks and rowboat rental without a permit.

The old part of town, Ulus, has several ancient monuments that reveal the remarkable contrast of old and new in Ankara. The Byzantine citadel perches atop one of the two hills on which Ulus was built. Although the outer citadel walls have been destroyed or have fallen in ruins, the inner fortress still stands. The Roman baths date from the third century AD. Little remains of them, but the baths still retain much of the essence of the original structure.

Julian’s Column near Ulus Square dates from the fourth century. It is believed that Emperor Julian the Apostate came to Ankara and the monument was erected to commemorate his visit. The Temple of Augustus was built in the late first century BC. About 500 years later, it was made into a Christian church, and then in the 15th century, one of its walls was used as a support for the roof of the Haci Bayram Mosque. The walls of this marble temple are still standing and bear the famous inscription in both Greek and Latin, “The Achievements of the Deified Augustus” a political autobiography of the Emperor.

Within the walls of the citadel is the Alaeddin Mosque, built in 1178 and renovated several times during the Ottoman Empire. Inscriptions on its finely carved walnut pulpit remaining from its origins indicate the Seljuk Turks built it. Another Seljuk mosque, the Aslanhane Cami, or Lion House Mosque, built in 1289, still has its original structure and is noteworthy for its period wood and tile work.

Ankara houses two of the country’s finest museums: the Ethnographic Museum, which contains an extensive collection of old Turkish costumes, calligraphy, wood carvings, copper, brass, ceramics, and pottery, and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, which has the world’s foremost collection of Hittite artifacts. The Anatolian Civilizations museum is housed in a 15th-century “kervansaray” adjacent to the citadel.

Konya, ancient Iconium, is a 4-hour drive from Ankara. It was the capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum and contains many monuments dating from that period. Here also are the tombs and the chapter house of the Turkish Islamic mystic, Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, founder of the 13th-century order of dervishes widely known for their ethereal dancing. Every December many travel to Konya to see the festival of the Whirling Dervishes held in commemoration of its founder’s death.

Kayseri is also a 4-hour drive from Ankara. Situated at the foot of Mt. Erciyes, it is rich in Seljuk architecture and decorative arts, most of which lie within its well-preserved medieval fortress. Near Kayseri is the area known as Cappadocia, with a surreal landscape from the erosion of its soft layer of tufa stone. The countryside is a mass of stone waves that rise into pinnacles known as “peri bacalari,” or “fairy chimneys.” Early Christians carved these cones into homes, monasteries, and churches, some still magnificently ornate with frescoes. The nearby underground cities of Derinkuyu and Kaymakli are just two of numerous troglodyte habitats in the area. These subterranean cities are fantastic to see, with their extensive ventilation shafts, round millstone like doors, and rooms that extend as deep as 10 stories; it is believed that they were inhabited as early as pre-Christian times and up until 1839, when locals sought refuge from the besieging Egyptian army.

Amasya, on the banks of the Yesil Irmak (Green River), is about 5 hours northeast of Ankara. The city is dominated by a massive cliff, with the tombs of Pontic kings carved into its face, and ruins of the ancient fortress built when the kingdom was founded. Throughout the town are well-preserved examples of Seljuk and Ottoman architecture.

The Black Sea town of Amasra is about 4 hours by car from Ankara. Safranbolu, en route to Amasra, is known for its fine examples of Ottoman architecture, many of which recently have been renovated. Black Sea towns offer simple hotels and camping areas near pleasant, quiet beaches. Bolu, on the way to Istanbul, is about a 3-hour drive northwest of Ankara. Nearby is Lake Abant, where you may fish, boat, or swim. A hotel overlooking the lake provides good accommodations.

Istanbul is now 5 or so hours drive from Ankara, depending on how fast your car will go or how fast you will let it go. The new super toll highway linking the two cities is complete, except for the tunnel through the mountain at Bolu. Once the tunnel is complete, the drive will be quick and painless, given decent weather. As it is, the area around Bolu can be congested and dangerous with trucks and foolhardy drivers daring blindly to pass them. Some still prefer to fly to Istanbul, get a sleeper car on the overnight train, or travel by intercity buses especially the smoke free, double decker buses with dining and toilet facilities.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:34 AM

The Turkish State Opera and the Turkish State Conservatory are located in Ankara. The Presidential Symphony Orchestra offers two performances a week during its regular season. Several theaters present decent plays in Turkish. Occasionally touring foreign companies visit. The Embassy Cultural Affairs office and the cultural departments of other embassies, especially the French and the British, sponsor musical and theatrical performances. Tickets for all of these are very modestly priced. The TAA sponsors concerts, lectures, movies, and art exhibitions.

In addition to Turkish films, local movie theaters present American and European movies with Turkish subtitles. The Embassy’s ERA has a small video club with current movies, mostly VHS. The Exchange also has some videos to rent. All Embassy housing is equipped with satellite dishes to receive AFN (Armed Forces Network) TV transmissions on American format televisions. For a moderate fee, cable TV that includes several European channels and CNN International can be hooked up. (For more details on television in Turkey, see Telecommunications.)

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:35 AM There are numerous opportunities for activities within the American community in Ankara. Activities for children and teenagers generally revolve around the DoDD School. Active Boy and Girl Scout programs and youth sports programs involve many children and adult volunteers to run them.

The Ankara Women’s Club provides monthly social and cultural programs for its members. The Ankara Professional Women’s Network was founded as a forum for women who work or would like to work in Turkey holds periodic lectures and seminars. It aims to create a network of support readily accessible to foreign women who wish to work in Ankara. Turkey has a bi-lateral work agreement signed in 1998. Ongoing efforts to improve this agreement are of great interest.

The Embassy’s Community Center, based in a small apartment in one of the Embassy leased buildings, is run on a member volunteer basis and offers mother toddler, bridge players’, and cooking groups and other events members organize. The Community Center is open to the greater American community and to others on an associate member, space available basis.

The ERA hosts block parties, happy hours, and seasonal events such as the winter Holiday Bazaar and a Fourth of July party, and the annual Yard Sale in conjunction with the CLO. The greater American community and other guests are invited to these events.

Friends of ARIT was formed in 1983 by Americans in the Ankara community interested in the art, history, and archaeology of Turkey to help promote the work of the Ankara Branch of ARIT. Friends of ARIT, frequently sponsors lectures given by visiting or local scholars, informative tours around Turkey’s archaeological sites, and benefit dinners. The ARIT library has a specialized collection of books and periodicals on archaeology in Turkey.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

International Contacts Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:36 AM Many of the organizations mentioned above also offer opportunities for meeting Turks and other foreign nationals. There are several avenues for contributing to and volunteering for charitable organizations, including the Turkish American Women’s Cultural and Charitable Society, an active volunteer group with an international membership.

The Çocuk Sevenler Dernegi’ (Child Lovers’ Society) gives volunteer help to orphans in the Ankara area and also has an international membership. The need for volunteer work is great, newcomers are always welcome, and any contribution is appreciated. The TAA cosponsors an annual ARIT lecture series on archaeology. It also organizes guided tours for its members to areas of archaeological and scenic interest.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:45 AM

The Chief of Mission and officers entertain and are entertained by officials of the Turkish Government; leading members of the political, professional, military, and business communities; and officers of other diplomatic missions. Cocktail parties, buffet dinners, and other forms of entertainment in the home are popular. There are frequent receptions for other diplomatic missions and the host government, but semiofficial functions are more numerous and embrace a broader contingent of people.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:46 AM

Staff members participate in local functions. Business cards are a necessity. English Turkish business cards can be printed locally, as can special occasion invitations. The Chief of Mission is expected to make calls on government ministers and prominent local citizens.

Special Information Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:26 AM

Post Orientation Program

Orientation of newcomers begins before arrival at post. The Ambassador sends a welcoming cable, Human Resources sends a cable of information, including a housing survey. The CLO sends Comprehensive information packet. The CLO can be reached by e-mail at: and welcomes inquiries.

New arrivals are assigned a sponsor who helps with the welcoming process. After arrival, Administrative Section personnel, including the regional security officer, community liaison officer, and nurse practitioner, provide special briefings. A formal Mission Orientation is offered periodically for newly arrived personnel and their families.

Consulate General - Istanbul

Post City Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:49 AM

The mention of Istanbul evokes romantic images of the imperial sultans, janissaries, and harems of the Ottoman Empire; of Byron and Keats, who immortalized through verse the glories of Byzantium; of the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus, and the Orient Express.

Istanbul has never been a monochromatic Turkish city but rather a cosmopolitan blend of nationalities. In 1906, only 44% of its 870,000 residents were Turkish or Arab Muslims. In the period from 1839–80, large numbers of European workers and tradesmen settled in Pera on the European side of the Bosphorus, north of the Golden Horn, where they built hotels, houses, and palaces and demanded a higher standard of city services. The remainders were a pastiche of Greeks, Armenians, Jews, and foreigners from all over Europe.

Old Stamboul, south of the Golden Horn and heavily Muslim, languished and suffered from the terrible destruction of the city’s frequent fires. The European residents of Pera brought in urban planners from Germany and Italy who replaced traditional wooden structures with buildings made of stone. This created a European oasis in Istanbul, a distinction from the rest of the city that remains today.

Many middle- and -upper class members of contemporary Istanbul society are pro-Western and consider themselves European. The city is a unique synthesis of East and West upon the exotic echoes of ancient Byzantium and old Constantinople. Simultaneously, it is a bustling, modern, industrial city of 12–14 million people, making it Europe’s largest city. There is no end to the fascination of Istanbul. Those fortunate enough to be assigned to a tour of duty here should find it an enriching experience.

Istanbul is the site of an U.S. Consulate General. Its consular district includes all of Thrace (European Turkey), the land on both sides of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits, the provinces bordering the Marmara Sea, an area extending south into western Anatolia (Asiatic Turkey) and to the north of Istanbul, and the southern shore of the Black Sea.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:50 AM

The Consulate General is located on a compound at Istinye Mahallesi, Kaplicalar Mevkii No. 2, in the northern Istinye section of Istanbul on the European side of the Bosphorus. The Consulate General telephone number is [90](212) 335–9000, and the APO address is:

PSC 97, Box 0002 APO AE 09827–0002

The Consulate General moved to this new compound in summer 2003. Working hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday (30-minute lunch). State Department employees share the compound with FCS, DEA, FAS, and the Defense Communication Support Detachment (DCSD). The information contained in this report is generally applicable to all agencies.

The Consulate General has an active sponsor program to welcome newcomers. Once arrival plans are settled, new arrivals need to provide the Consulate General with advance notice of their arrival (airline, flight number, date, time) so that Consulate General staff can meet and assist with customs clearance.

The new Consulate General building houses the consul general’s office, Political and Economic Sections, Regional Affairs Offices, Security Offices, Management Officer, the Health Unit, Consular Section, General Services, Public Affairs, Human Resources, GSO maintenance and transportation offices and a cafeteria as well as the agencies named above.

The Marine Security Guards’ BEQ is also located on the compound. The Consulate General’s Management Section supports the programs and personnel of all U.S. Government agencies assigned to Istanbul.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:51 AM

The Consulate General makes every effort to move incoming employees directly into permanent quarters upon arrival. However, in case permanent quarters are not available, State Department employees will reside in transient quarters until permanent quarters are ready. Other agencies may use transient quarters or one of the many large, modern, first-class hotels, such as the Hilton, Intercontinental, Conrad, Hyatt, or long-term apartment-hotels.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:53 AM

All government housing in Istanbul is furnished and located 1–15 miles from the Consulate General. Commuting time to and from work can take from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on Istanbul’s perpetual and chaotic traffic. All apartments are on the European side of Istanbul.

All U.S. government employees in Istanbul live in apartments, except the consul general. An interagency housing board assigns housing on the basis of employee rank, family size, and apartment availability. All apartments have a combination living room/dining room, kitchen, main bedroom with bathroom, and at least one additional bedroom and bathroom. Apartments are generally modest in size, and bedrooms in particular are small. Not all bedrooms have closets.

Not many apartment buildings have air-conditioning, and Istanbul summer temperatures average in the 80’s. Post policy provides one air-conditioning unit in each occupied bedroom. Storage space is limited, and there is little commercial storage space available; newcomers should ship only essential items to post.

The home of the consul general, first occupied in 1988, is located north of the first Bosphorus Bridge in the suburb of Arnavutköy. Its lofty location offers a sweeping view of the Bosphorus and the Asian shore. A large entrance hall opens onto a ground floor living room with fireplace, an informal dining room, a formal dining room, and a kitchen with pantry.

A lower floor has maid’s quarters, guest bathrooms, and a small lounge decorated in Ottoman style. On the second floor are the main bedroom suite and two additional bedrooms with full baths, an adjoining study, and a family room. Two guest bedrooms with baths are located on the third floor.

Large outdoor terraces and balconies are perfect for warm-weather entertaining, but narrow roads and limited parking make large crowds unmanageable. The residence is completely furnished; it was refurbished in 2002. The electrical current is 220 volt/50 cycles, and the house has central heating.


Furnishings Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:52 AM

All post personnel live in government-furnished quarters and are provided with a range, a refrigerator/freezer, clothes washer/dryer, draperies, and light fixtures. Some apartments come equipped with built-in microwave ovens and/or dishwashers. Furnishings include living room, dining room, bedroom sets (queen- and twin-size beds), bookcases, lamps, and rugs. Most employees augment these furnishings with locally available items, such as Turkish carpets.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:54 AM

Istanbul’s water is chlorinated and supposedly potable, but most Consulate employees and Turks drink bottled or filtered water. GSO arranges monthly bottled water deliveries when employees submit requests and payment in advance.

Central heating in apartment buildings is generally turned on around October 15. In many buildings, the heat is turned on early in the morning and turned off before midnight. Electric current in Istanbul is 220 volt/50 cycles. The Consulate General provides transformers for government-furnished appliances plus up to three additional transformers for employees’ use.

Employees are provided with cellular telephones.

Food Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:55 AM

Istanbul markets offer a wide selection of excellent seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. Each neighborhood has its own markets. Beef, lamb, mutton, and chicken are available from local butchers, and fresh fish is available in season. There are a growing number of large supermarkets that carry a wide range of local and imported foodstuffs.

Turkish bread, baked throughout the day, is excellent. The city is full of bakeries, restaurants, specialty stores, fresh fruit/vegetable sellers, cafes, fast-food chains (McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Schlotsky’s), and grocery stores.

Consulate General members can supplement locally available items with occasional trips to the commissary in Ankara, and the employee association also organizes orders from the Ankara commissary. The overall quality of food in Istanbul is excellent. The Consulate General maintains a small snack bar, offering breakfast, a daily lunch special, sandwiches, drinks, and snacks.

Clothing Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:56 AM

Turks’ taste in clothing is similar to that of Americans, but Turks generally wear dressier, more formal clothes to social affairs. Clothing stores feature current women’s fashions in every price range, although at prices above those for comparable clothing in the U.S. and with a limited range of sizes.

There is an excellent selection of local fabrics for those who sew or wish to hire a tailor. Many items can be made locally at reasonable prices. Locally made leatherwear is a particularly good buy.

Since the temperatures in Istanbul resemble those of Washington, DC, clothing for all seasons is needed. Homes are generally maintained at cooler temperatures in Istanbul than in the U.S. Raincoats and boots are necessary because of winter rain and mud.


Men Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:56 AM

Men should bring most of the clothing they expect to need with them. Sportswear, shirts, sweaters, and other items may be purchased locally. The quality of these items ranges from acceptable to excellent; prices are higher than in the U.S. for comparable quality goods. Some have found local tailors satisfactory for suits and jackets. Male officers may want to bring a tuxedo. They are available for rent or sale in Istanbul, but rentals are expensive.


Women Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:57 AM

Women should bring at least a couple of dresses or suits appropriate for receptions or dinners. Turkish women often wear black; a dark dress or suit would be useful. Long evening dresses are worn infrequently, but one or two suitable for the occasional black tie dinner or Marine Corps Ball will be needed.


Children Last Updated: 10/1/2003 12:59 AM

Many families order children’s clothing from U.S. mail order catalogues. Some children’s clothing and shoes are available locally but prices are high.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:00 PM

Foreign and local toiletries and cosmetics are available on the local market but at higher prices than in the U.S. Newcomers should, therefore, bring a supply of specially required items to Istanbul. Pharmaceuticals are often in short supply on the local market. The Consulate General’s nurse has a supply of basic drugs, which are dispensed only upon the advice of the post medical advisers or other physicians.

Miscellaneous household supplies and gadgets are widely available. A few bookstores sell English-language newspapers, magazines, and books but at substantially higher prices.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:01 PM

Shoe, watch, radio, stereo, and automobile repair facilities are available. The quality of work varies. Auto repairs can be difficult and time consuming because of the lack of spare parts for U.S. and foreign cars and or because mechanics lack experience in maintaining American and some European model cars. There are good dry-cleaning shops available.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:01 PM

Few persons employ a full-time housekeeper but most do employ a maid for 1 or 2 days a week. A maid earns approximately $20–$25 a day.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:04 PM

The majority of Turkey’s citizens are Muslim, but the government retains a strict regime of secularism. Other religious groups represented in Istanbul include Anglican, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Armenian, Greek Orthodox, Latter-day Saints, and Jewish. Most have charitable organizations and societies and some offer services in English. The Jewish community is mostly Sephardic; synagogues are Orthodox.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:14 PM The Istanbul International Community School (IICS) is the only accredited school in Istanbul with an American-style education, offering classes from K through 12. IICS has an American headmaster, a secondary principal, and offers the International Baccalaureate (IB), middle years (grades 9–10), and diploma (grades 11–12) programs.

IICS is a non-profit, private establishment, which has been serving the foreign community since 1911. A school board representing parents is responsible for educational, financial, and personnel policies. Students who do not desire to enter the IB program can opt for a less stringent program that awards an U.S. accredited high school diploma.

IICS is accredited by the European Council of International School, and schools in the U.S. and Europe have readily accepted its students. The school year is September–June. The calendar is similar to that of American schools, with a 2-week vacation at Christmas and in the spring, along with the traditional Muslim holidays.

IICS makes every effort to accommodate students from the Consulate General community, but it would be wise to notify the school of intended enrollments as early as possible. The IICS Website is for more information. The school is in a new, modern facility on a large campus located 1 hour from most Consulate General housing.

The British International School (BIS) offers classes from pre-kindergarten through 13 (equivalent to American grade 12). There are two campuses: the first is primary only (K–6) and is located centrally; the other has both primary and secondary and is located just a few miles from the Black Sea coast, about a 30-minute ride from most Consulate housing.

The BIS is a private, non-sectarian, co-educational school providing British-style education for a multinational student community. A school board representing parents is responsible for educational, financial, and personnel policies.

The school offers a program using an adapted British National Curriculum leading to IGCSE and IB programs but has not yet been accredited. The school term runs from early September through early June, with 3 weeks vacation at Christmas.

The MEF International School, located in Ortaköy closer to most Consulate General housing, has small classes with a personalized approach, a highly qualified international teaching staff, and extensive facilities to aid in the development of the whole child. MEF uses an outcome-based kindergarten through grade 8 curriculum that has been adapted from a variety of international sources and reflects a global outlook.

There are French, German, and Japanese schools available for students who have already been enrolled in such educational programs.

Pre-school on the local economy is very expensive. Half-day sessions, Monday–Friday, start at approximately $5,500 per year. Transportation costs an additional $100 per month. The U.S. Government does not pay for pre-kindergarten schooling.


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:15 PM

The Consulate General has a limited language program to give newly assigned personnel a basic command of Turkish, to assist officers in reaching job-level Turkish language proficiency, and to help officers in language-designated positions to maintain their fluency. Spouses can attend classes on a space-available basis.

A basic knowledge of Turkish is extremely important in getting settled, shopping, and exploring Istanbul and Turkey. Despite its close proximity to Europe, very little English is spoken in Istanbul outside of the tourist areas.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:17 PM

Istanbul offers limited sports facilities and activities. The ENKA Sports Club in Istinye, near the Consulate General office building, has a full range of sports facilities, including tennis, swimming, and racquetball. The Consulate has negotiated a favorable membership fee for employees.

Several local hotels have tennis courts, pools, and/or gym facilities with memberships available for non-guests averaging between $1,000–$1,500 per year. There are a few sports centers offering weight training and aerobic exercises, and some Consulate General apartments are located in large apartment compounds that have sports facilities.

Istanbul’s location straddling the Bosphorus provides some boating opportunities. There are several yacht clubs in the area, whose privileges include lessons and boat rentals. Sailing and boating on the Bosphorus can be dangerous because of unpredictable winds and very strong currents, so it is not recommended for novices. Locally produced boats and small motor craft, although expensive, may be purchased or rented.

There is a small horseback-riding academy in Istanbul, offering lessons in riding and jumping for all ages at reasonable rates, but instruction is in Turkish and students must provide their own safety helmets.

Uludag (near Bursa, 3 hours from Istanbul) and Kartalkaya (near Bolu) offer good accommodations for snow skiing. Modern ski tows are in operation, and ski equipment may be rented inexpensively. Cross-country skiing trails are limited.

Istanbul has two country clubs that have made their facilities available to Consulate General employees on a fee basis. Both clubs have 18-hole golf courses, swimming, tennis, and other recreational and sport facilities; they are located approximately 90 minutes from Istanbul.

The Marine House hosts regular parties. There is a fledgling diplomatic group meeting approximately once a month. The British Consulate includes Americans in occasional festivities, and there are a couple of bowling alleys, where Consulate General teams have organized tournaments. A small ice-skating rink and video game arcades are located in the Galleria shopping mall near the airport, and there are other video game arcades available in the city.

Some people jog along the Bosphorus, but exhaust fumes, crowds, and traffic take some of the pleasure out of the experience. There are fitness trails and jogging paths in the Belgrade Forest, a park built around Istanbul’s reservoir north of the city, as well as excellent picnic facilities and a botanical garden.

Soccer is a national mania; tickets to major games are scarce but are readily available for other games. Turkey’s national team plays a confederation of middle European teams at home and abroad.

Istanbul has a few affordable children’s sports facilities as well as a few playgrounds and parks in or near the city. Boy Scouts and Brownies are very popular. Troops are organized through IICS, as are other children’s activities.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:18 PM

It is impossible to exaggerate the magnificence of the museums and variety of collections in Istanbul. Topkapi and Dolmabahçe Palaces and the Ayasofya and Sultan Ahmet Mosque are but a few of the famous, grand monuments and treasures Istanbul has to offer.

The Kariye Museum has some of the finest examples of Byzantine mosaics and frescoes in the world. The Archeological Museum has an extensive collection, and the Museum of Ancient Oriental Art houses rare artifacts from Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyptian, and Hittite civilizations. Strolling through various quarters of the city or shopping at the incomparable Covered Bazaar are popular weekend pastimes.

The Turkish-American University Association, the American Research Institute of Turkey (ARIT) and local travel agencies provide excellent full service sightseeing tours. Many groups sponsor lectures, films, and cultural events, along with annual fund-raising activities.

Ferries cross the Bosphorus and the Marmara on regular runs, and boats can be chartered. Touring outside Istanbul and around Turkey reveals abundant historical and scenic sites. Many employees posted to Istanbul enjoy a “blue cruise” along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. The CLO periodically organizes trips around Turkey over weekends.

Ample opportunities exist for outdoor activities. A series of automobile camping sites has been established along well-traveled routes. The planning and implementation of hiking expeditions require individual initiative, as few organized groups or facilities exist. Many families take short trips to destinations ranging from the Black Sea coast to the ski slopes of Uludag.

Many hotels are reasonably clean and uncrowded, making Istanbul a good location from which to plan weekend getaways. There are historical sites of great interest in every direction, and many are within a few hours’ drive or less from the city. Travel possibilities are practically endless.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:19 PM

The Atatürk Cultural Center in downtown Istanbul is the center of the city’s cultural life. The Center’s cultural season runs from October to early June and includes opera, ballet, and other productions. Plays are performed at several theaters throughout the city.

The Istanbul Orchestra has an annual concert program. The annual Istanbul Festival of Culture and The Arts takes place in June/July and is the highlight of the musical entertainment year. This international festival includes participants from many countries that have diplomatic representation in Turkey. Exciting music, dance, and theater events permeate the city and are reasonably priced.

Most of Istanbul’s many cinemas show current foreign films in original languages with Turkish subtitles. Each spring the city hosts the Istanbul International Film Festival, which brings some of the best new foreign films to local screens.

Istanbul has many excellent restaurants, ranging from kebab shops to moderate fish restaurants to very expensive European restaurants. Turkish cooking is varied, colorful, and delicious. Istanbul also has an abundance of nightclubs, bars, cafes, casinos, tea gardens, Internet cafes, fast-food restaurants, exhibitions, art galleries, shopping malls, department stores, and Bosphorus cruises.

Despite Istanbul’s cosmopolitan air, employees are advised to bring plenty of home entertainment because increasingly congested traffic makes it difficult and time consuming to get out and do things, especially during messy winter days. Games, puzzles, hobbies, books, music, and a multi-system television capable of receiving NTSC and PAL help pass the time. There are PAL video and DVD rental shops, and the Consulate General receives a few current, circulating videos each week through the military.

Local programs on television are offered in Turkish, but a variety of cable television packages are available for subscription that offer a wide selection of English television, including CNN, BBC, Eurosports, National Geographic, MTV, etc.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:20 PM Most Americans in Istanbul are members of the U.S. Government civilian, business, or institutional communities. The third group includes teachers and others, many of whom have had broad experiences in Turkey. Both the American Women of Istanbul, the International Women’s Club, and the American Research Institute in Turkey sponsor cultural, social, and charitable events throughout the year. Children’s social contacts are largely organized through IICS and Consulate General-sponsored events.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

International Contacts Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:21 PM Organizations such as the Turkish-American University Association, the Propeller Club, and the Rotary Club provide excellent opportunities to meet Turks. Tours organized by local agencies also offer these opportunities. The non-Turkish speaker may find himself somewhat limited in his contacts.

Istanbul has a large consular corps and foreign business community. The Propeller Club is a good introduction to foreign and Turkish business representatives. The International Women’s Club of Istanbul holds monthly meetings and sponsors a variety of activities.

The American Girls Dershane (originally a YMCA project), the Vehbi Koç Vakfi American Hospital, and other charities afford an opportunity to assist local groups and to meet members of the Turkish and international communities.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:23 PM

Except for the consul general and section chiefs, staff members have few representational responsibilities. The Consul General’s official relations are primarily with the governor, the mayor, the foreign consular corps, and the private sector.

Most other representational activities are with prominent business representatives, bankers, and other professionals. The social life can be quite active. Section chiefs generally make official calls on their consular counterparts; their contacts are of the same genre as those of the consul general but at a lower level.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:23 PM

The consul general, consuls, and vice consuls need business cards. Decent quality business cards and invitations can be printed locally.

Special Information Last Updated: 10/1/2003 3:52 PM

Health and Medicine

The American Consulate has a small medical unit staffed by a physician who is supported by both the Ankara Embassy Health Unit and several regional medical officers who visit periodically. Health Unit services include but are not limited to health maintenance, management of acute and chronic problems, professional referrals, and immunizations. Pharmacy services are limited. A local company provides laboratory services.

Personnel and their family members who require medical attention are usually first seen in the Health Unit. If necessary, they will be referred to one of the small core of American board-certified physicians for specialty care or consultations. Patients requiring hospitalization are sent to the local, privately owned Vehbi Koç Vakfi American Hospital.

Personnel are strongly advised to bring at least a 1-year supply of all prescription and over-the-counter medication, which they anticipate needing for themselves or their family members (particularly children’s medicines and cold/sinus medication). A cool-mist humidifier is essential during the cool months when heating causes very dry air and pollution from coal burning is at its highest.

Customs and Shipping

Customs procedures are lengthy and exasperating. Expect a long wait for household effects and vehicle shipments. The Consulate General’s GSO will do everything in its power to reduce this delay. Because of bureaucratic hurdles at Customs, it is strongly recommended that clothing and other essential items be included in airfreight shipments.

According to Turkish customs regulations, airfreight shipments should include only “personal belongings,” e.g., clothing, books, kitchen pans, portable radios, and other small appliances (travel alarm, hairdryer, and iron). Airfreight can be cleared upon the employee’s arrival with their diplomatic passport. Turkish customs does not consider fur coats and stereo equipment as “personal belongings” these items must be included in household effects.

A list of all electrical appliances, including brand name, model, and serial number, must be hand-carried to post (employees with consular titles are exempt from this requirement). With this list, GSO can prepare the customs documentation in advance of the arrival of shipments and speed up clearance procedures. It is also wise to bring to post the airway bill number; this will help track airfreight shipments and avoid delays in delivering shipments to permanent quarters.

Household effects and personally owned vehicles cannot be cleared without a Turkish identity card, which is obtain from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the employee’s arrival. GSO provides a hospitality kit of essentials (bedding, towels, pots/pans, dishes, utensils, etc.) for employee use until household effects and/or airfreight arrives.

The following information is provided for shipment of unaccompanied air baggage (UAB, HHE, and personally owned vehicles (POV) per 6 FAM 161.2: There are no limitations on the size or weight of shipping containers. HHE and POV shipments must be sent through ELSO Antwerp, Belgium. Antwerp is the port of discharge. We recommend that UAB shipments be sent directly to Istanbul.

All shipments (HHE, UAB, and POV) must be addressed as follows:

(Name of Employee) American Consulate General Istanbul, Turkey

Passport and Visa Requirements

Employees and family members must obtain Turkish visas before arrival. This is imperative in order to obtain a Turkish identity card; HHE and POVs may not be cleared from customs without one. Bring to post no fewer than 15 passport-size photographs for each family member; these are needed to obtain Turkish identity and tax-exemption cards.

Consulate - Adana

Post City Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:28 PM

Adana is 30 miles from the Mediterranean Sea, a 5- to 7-hour drive from Ankara and 8 hours by car from Damascus. The sixth largest city in Turkey with a population of over 1 million, it is a medium-income provincial capital on the rich delta plain of the area once known as Cilicia.

Adana is an agricultural and industrial city. The old town center lies along the banks of the Seyhan River. As in many Turkish cities, this original hub is surrounded by newer residential areas and fringed with squatter settlements. New Adana lies to the north, between the railroad and Çukurova University, on the lake formed by the Seyhan Dam.

Adana has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Excavations at Tarsus and Mersin (within an hour’s drive of Adana) have exposed layers of civilizations going back to Neolithic times, possibly as early as 6000 BC.

Numerous powers have dominated and settled Adana as they fought their way across Anatolia. Alexander the Great passed through the area when he destroyed the Persian Empire and conquered the Middle East. After Alexander’s death, Adana became part of the Seleucid state.

The Romans conquered the area after centuries of Greek rule. Reminiscent of Roman rule is the stone bridge across the Seyhan River built by Hadrian that is still in use today. In AD 1132, Armenians took over Adana, and it became a center of Armenian culture. In 1515 the Turks captured it. It remained a part of the Ottoman Empire until the end of World War I.

Adana’s summers are hot and humid with very little rainfall. In winter the temperature rarely falls below freezing, yet rains that last for days make it seem colder, and it can be very damp. Fall and spring are magnificent, with sunny days and pleasantly cool evenings. When compared with the U.S., the climate of Adana resembles that of the cotton-growing areas of Mississippi and Texas.

The Cilician Plain (now called Çukurova) has been described as the “Texas of Turkey,” where cotton and citrus fruits are the principal crops, and farmers and textile manufacturers dominate the region's economy. Many Turks in the area speak some Arabic or another European language, but English is the most common second language for businessmen.

Adana is connected with the rest of Turkey by a good system of roads, and with Ankara and Istanbul by daily air and train service. Coastal steamers call at nearby Iskenderun and Mersin en route to Turkish ports and northern Cyprus. Travel on secondary roads is difficult during the rainy seasons but feasible throughout the rest of the year. Transportation within the city includes both motor and horse-drawn vehicles.

Most of the American community is made up of U.S. Air Force and attached U.S. Government civilian personnel stationed at Incirlik, a Turkish air base 9 miles east of the city. About 500 American families reside in Adana proper.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:30 PM

The Adana consular district encompasses 22 provinces located in southeastern Turkey, from Mersin province in the West, to the Iranian border, and from Tunceli province in the north to Turkey’s southern borders with Syria and Iraq.

The Consulate is located in the Bossa apartment building at the corner of Vali Yolu and Atatürk Caddesi, a main thoroughfare of Adana that runs from the center of town to the railroad station.

The Consulate telephone number is (90) (322) 459–1551. The Consulate’s 24-hour fax is (90) (322) 457–6591. The APO address for the Consulate is PSC 94, APO AE 09824. The Consulate’s fiscal affairs are handled by the Embassy in Ankara.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:30 PM

Temporary hotel accommodations can be arranged in Adana. The recommended hotels have single and double rooms within per diem. Cheaper accommodations are available.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:31 PM

All State Department personnel are provided with furnished government quarters. The principal officer occupies a stand-alone residence and the other two officers each occupying a spacious full-floor apartment.


Furnishings Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:31 PM

In addition to furniture, rugs, and drapes, the residences are provided with transformers, a washer and dryer, an electric stove, two refrigerators, and a vacuum cleaner. The principal officer’s home also has a freezer, silver flatware and china for 12 place settings, a silver tea service, and guest linen.

A Hospitality Kit is available for newcomers until their airfreight shipments arrive. Other items essential to settling in are generally available at the Incirlik BX.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:32 PM

The electric current is 220v, and after many years of improvements, is relatively reliable and stable.

Food Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:32 PM

Food supplies on the local market vary widely according to the season. In the fall and winter months, meats, fruits, and vegetables are plentiful. Local beef and lamb are inexpensive and easy to find, although quality may vary. Fruits and vegetables are seasonal but abundant, inexpensive, and of excellent quality.

The commissary at Incirlik carries a good supply of staples, canned goods, baby food, and frozen meats and vegetables. Dairy products and bakery goods are also available in the commissary. Local pastries and bread are quite good.

A liquor store at Incirlik carries wine, beer, spirits, and liqueurs. Spirits are rationed to five bottles per person per month. Good Turkish wines are available on the local market.

Clothing Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:33 PM

In the intense summer heat, lightweight cottons and washable fabrics are most comfortable. Sports attire and swimsuits are useful for picnics and beach parties. During the winter, warm clothing is necessary since seasonal rains bring damp cold. Indoor clothing needs to be warmer than that normally worn in U.S. homes since the apartments are less heated; medium-weight coats are sufficient for outdoors. Raincoats, boots, and umbrellas are also necessary during the winter rainy season.

Ready-made clothing of suitable quality and style is usually available. An adequate selection of men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing is sold at the BX. Adana has good tailors and dressmakers. Good local fabrics are also available.


Men Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:34 PM

During the summer and warm months of spring and fall, Consulate personnel follow local custom in going tie-less and coat-less in short-sleeved shirts. Summer suits or sport coats are normally worn only for evening social functions.


Women Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:34 PM

At daytime social functions, Turkish women wear attractive dressy suits and afternoon dresses. Women customarily go without stockings during the hot summer months. Most foreign women feel self-conscious on the streets in shorts or sleeveless clothes. At dinners and cocktail parties, well-to-do Turkish women wear European fashions either purchased abroad or made by local dressmakers after European fashions. Eveningwear is usually dark or black. Turkish businesswomen wear attire appropriate for the season and similar in style to that worn by American businesswomen.


Children Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:35 PM

Children’s clothing requirements are the same as in the U.S. with boots, hats, and mittens needed in the coldest of winter weather.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:36 PM

Cosmetics, toiletries, medicines, entertainment accessories, linens, etc. are available in the BX. Tobacco can be purchased at the commissary and shoppette, although cigarettes are rationed to four cartons per person per month. The BX usually stocks cribs, strollers, playpens, and toys. Luggage and sports equipment are also available.

Spare parts for most U.S.-made automobiles may be acquired locally; the BX also carries some parts and can order others. It is a good idea to bring along a store of parts for your vehicle, especially those that need to be replaced periodically under normal wear and tear. For anything not found on the Base, catalog companies ship items to Adana via APO, provided weight and size restrictions are met.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:37 PM

Good barbering and beauty salons are available both at Incirlik and in Adana proper. Adequate dry cleaners exist locally and at Incirlik. Electricians, plumbers, and carpenters can make repairs. However, it is always important to determine an individual’s qualifications in advance. Incirlik has an appliance repair shop.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:37 PM

Household help for general cleaning and laundry is available. Domestics receive the current Turkish Lira equivalent of $11 to $12 per day. Good cooks can be found locally and babysitters can often be found in the large American community.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:38 PM

The USAF Chapel at Incirlik offers Catholic and Protestant services. There is also a Catholic Church in downtown Adana. Jewish, Latter-day Saint, and other denominational services occasionally are held at Incirlik. Adana has a small Jewish community and a synagogue.


Dependent Education Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:38 PM

Children of U.S. Government personnel attend the dependent school at Incirlik on a tuition basis. The school, fully accredited by the North Central Association, offers kindergarten through high school. Preschool is available at Incirlik for 3- and 4-year-olds.


Special Needs Education Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:39 PM

Private Turkish classes can be arranged. Although Incirlik schools offer no special education program per se, arrangements can be made for children who require minimal additional tutoring.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:49 PM

A gymnasium, a swimming pool, tennis courts, handball and squash courts, a nine-hole golf course, and a bowling alley at Incirlik are open to U.S. Government civilian personnel.

Ample opportunity for hunting (a license is necessary and is available to diplomats only) and fishing exists within a day’s drive of Adana. Wild boars are found near Tarsus, and migratory waterfowl gather in the salt marshes south of Adana. Trout fishing is available in the mountains near Kahramanmaras. Hunting and fishing equipment can be purchased through the BX or Rod and Gun Club at Incirlik.

Adana also has two private clubs (riding and tennis), which U.S. diplomatic personnel can join.

Aqualand, a water park, is open to the public and offers water activities for children and adults.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:50 PM

Recreation for most Americans revolves around picnicking and swimming. The nearby beaches and mountains provide relief from the heat on weekends. Beaches along the Mediterranean are undeveloped and beautiful. A few campgrounds have been established as part of the national program to attract tourists to Turkey. Several moderately priced hotels with excellent beaches are within a 2-hour drive of Adana.

Adana is literally surrounded by undeveloped archeological sites. Ruins of medieval castles and cities from the Greek to Armenian eras are within easy driving distance over good but heavily traveled roads. The Adana consular district is rich in historical sites, many dating back to Hittite times. The town of Tarsus, about 25 miles west of Adana on the Mersin Road, is renowned as the birthplace of St. Paul the Apostle.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:50 PM

Cultural activity in Adana is increasing. Local theater productions are in Turkish, however, Adana has a symphony season and hosts visiting dance troupes throughout the year. First-rate cinemas feature Turkish, European, and American films. Foreign films usually have Turkish subtitles. The cinema at Incirlik offers American movies, including a Saturday children’s matinee. The video rental shop on the base rents VHS videocassettes of recent releases and many classics.

There are several nightclubs that offer dancing, food and snacks, and a variety of musical entertainment. Americans enjoy several clubs, hotels, and restaurants patronized by Adana officials and business representatives. U.S. Government personnel may join the combined club at Incirlik, which has a full restaurant, and bar.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:52 PM Most Americans living in the Adana area reside on the Base and their social activities center around the facilities at Incirlik. Americans living off Base are more integrated into the Turkish community and their social activities more closely resemble those of their neighbors.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

International Contacts Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:52 PM Entertainment within the Turkish community consists largely of dinner parties during the fall, winter, and spring to which Americans or other foreigners are frequently invited. In the summer months, Turks move to Istanbul, the mountains, or the beach to escape the heat and humidity, and social life in Adana is virtually suspended. Even though many of the locals speak English, any effort made to speak Turkish is welcome and appreciated.

The TAA (Turkish American Association) affords excellent opportunities for making Turkish friends. It is staffed by a locally hired director and is located at 27, Bes Ocak Caddesi, Resat Bey Mahallesi.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:54 PM

Since the American Consulate is the only diplomatic establishment in Adana, official and semiofficial contacts are limited to those between the Turkish and American communities. A minimum of protocol is required. Consulate officers routinely call on the honorary consuls in Iskenderun and Mersin during visits to those cities.

On arrival, the principal officer calls on appropriate provincial and municipal officials. Consuls arrange calls after consultation with the principal officer. Business cards can be printed locally.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 10/1/2003 1:55 PM

Standards of social conduct are similar to those of other posts. In Adana, attention must be given to showing respect for conventional Muslim customs. Women should take care in their dress, conduct, and appearance on the street at night, especially when without a male companion.

Special Information Last Updated: 10/1/2003 3:56 PM

Special Information

Consulate personnel sometimes use the excellent 50-bed Air Force hospital for medical treatment, including ob-gyn consultations, though deliveries are usually handled in a local Turkish hospital. When necessary, patients are evacuated to a hospital in London.

There are English-speaking Turkish doctors in the city of Adana who have had training in the U.S. However, their equipment is limited and certain medicines are sometimes not available on the local market. Necessary surgery, eye examinations, and diagnostic work should be taken care of before coming to post.

Those assigned to Adana should be inoculated against typhoid, polio, tetanus, cholera, and diphtheria. Gamma globulin shots also may be considered. Because of the hot weather in the summer and humidity in both summer and winter, persons with arrested TB or sinus conditions should consult a doctor before coming to post.

Immunizations are available for a fee at the base hospital. Dental care also is available from Western-trained local dentists, many of whom speak excellent English.

The rapid urbanization of the area has had negative effects, though these are being systematically if slowly improved: noise, dirt, inadequate sewage disposal systems, and moderate traffic jams. Malaria outbreaks unfortunately have become more frequent in the past several years. This is due to an increase in breeding places resulting from expanded irrigation in rural areas, poor drainage in the city itself, and the development of the anopheles mosquito resistant to conventional insecticides. Some people take malaria prophylactics. Hepatitis is endemic.

Post Orientation Program

The Consulate provides orientation and security briefings for new arrivals and their adult dependents.


Izmir is located at the head of a 50-mile long bay off the Aegean Sea, approximately 8-hour drive or 90-minute plane ride from Ankara and from Istanbul. Turkey’s third-largest city (with a population of more than 2 million) and second-largest port, it lies in the heart of Turkey’s historic Aegean region.

A center of international commerce from ancient times, Izmir remains the capital of a rich agricultural and commercial region while hosting a growing tourism industry. The American Presence Post, newly opened in 2002, 9 years after the closure of the old Consulate General in 1993, is located in the upscale central residential and commercial district of Alsancak near the city’s new bayside park, the Kordon — which features many outdoor cafes and restaurants — and its large Culture Park, with tennis courts, exhibition halls, and an amusement park.

Just to the south of Alsancak is the old city center of Konak and across the bay, connected by a regular ferry service, lies the middle-class residential district of Karsiyaka. Surrounding this sophisticated and cosmopolitan center, Izmir has large working-class and factory districts, beyond which lie farmland and tourist-oriented beach resorts.

Today’s Izmir occupies the site of the ancient Greek city of Smyrna, traditional birthplace of the poet Homer. As an important trading port, it attracted a diverse population over the centuries, including significant Greek, Turkish, and Jewish communities. Greek forces, which occupied the city at the end of the First World War, were expelled, along with the ethnic Greek population, by Turkish forces under the command of Turkish nationalist leader Kemal Ataturk during Turkey’s War of Independence. On September 9, 1922 — still celebrated as a local holiday — the last of the Greek forces evacuated the city, which was then largely destroyed in a devastating fire. Modern Izmir emerged from the ruins as an almost entirely Turkish city with a small but commercially significant Jewish minority.

Izmir enjoys a temperate Mediterranean climate dominated by long spring and autumn seasons featuring warm and sunny days and pleasantly cool evenings punctuated by a short but rainy and chilly winter and a briefly hot and humid summer.

It is located within easy driving distance of the ruins of the ancient cities of Ephesus, Pergamon, Assos, Aphrodisias and Troy, and an hour’s drive from the Caribbean-like upscale beach resort of Cesme and the cruise port town of Kusadasi. The International Izmir Festival every summer features world-famous musical and theatrical performances.

Izmir is connected to the rest of Turkey by a decent and improving road system. Nearby Adana Menderes International Airport offers daily flights to Ankara and almost hourly flights to Istanbul (with international connections beyond), as well as daily direct flights to Germany. Car ferries operate regularly between Cesme and Kusadasi and nearby Greek Islands. Plentiful taxis and frequent cross-bay ferries provide transportation within the city.

Although most Izmirlis do not speak a second language, many of the business and cultural elite of the city speak some English or French. The American community includes approximately 400 military personnel and their families attached to the NATO Joint Southeast Command with another 1,500 or so American businesspeople, academics, and retirees making up the bulk of the U.S. community in the Izmir area.

The Post and Its Administration

Although not formally designated, the APP’s area of responsibility includes Izmir province and neighboring provinces along the Aegean coast and immediately inland. The APP is located on the top floor of a commercial building on a quiet side street in the downtown Alsancak district.

The APP telephone number is +90 (232) 464–8755. Its fax number is +90 (232) 646–8916. The APO address for the APP is PSC 88, Box 29, APO, AE 09821. The APP’s fiscal affairs are handled by the Embassy in Ankara.

Temporary Quarters

USG personnel traveling on official orders can obtain, on a space available basis, non-cost quarters at the downtown Hotel Mercure on one of the three floors permanently rented by the U.S. military. These quarters consist of hotel rooms on floors with upgraded security features, which include televisions showing AFN programming and U.S.-standard VCRs. Persons with access to U.S. military facilities staying at the Mercure also have access to a small AAFES shoppette offering basic necessities for sale in U.S. currency for a few hours a day. Advance reservations through the APP are required for use of these quarters.

Permanent Quarters

The APP’s consul is provided with furnished government quarters. The currently leased quarters are a spacious 3-bedroom, 1½ bath apartment located on Alsancak’s fashionable Kordon street and a two-block walk from the APP.


In addition to furniture and drapes, the residence is provided with transformers, a washer and dryer, electric stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, and a vacuum cleaner. No official service set is provided, nor is a hospitality kit currently available. Items essential to settling in are generally available either from the small AAFES BX and commissary located in downtown Izmir or from local supermarkets and department stores.

Utilities and Equipment

The electric current is 220v, 50 Hz. Electricity service in the Alsancak area is reliable and stable, but power outages occur occasionally in other parts of the city. High-speed cable Internet access is available in the Alsancak area and is provided at both the APP and the current APP residence.


Izmir has several large Western-style supermarkets featuring a wide variety of high-quality foods, including inexpensive meats (beef and lamb), fruits, and vegetables. Numerous small greengrocers also stock an excellent variety of fruits and vegetables in season. The Alsancak area also features several “gourmet” stores stocking a small variety of imported European and American goods.

A small AAFES commissary located near the APP also stocks a variety of U.S. products, including dairy products, canned goods, baby foods, pet foods, various staples, and frozen meats and vegetables. Good quality bottled waters are widely available both in the local market and at the commissary. Local pastries and breads are excellent.

The AAFES BX, co-located with the commissary, stocks a small variety of wine, beer, spirits, and liqueurs. Good Turkish wines are available on the local market; the nearby village of Sirince is known for its quality wines and olive oil, which are sold by several merchants in the village.


General. Lightweight cottons and washable fabrics are most comfortable during the hot and humid summer months; spring fashions are appropriate during most of the year. Sports attire, good walking shoes and swimsuits are useful for picnics, beach parties, and tourist excursions.

During the winter, warm clothing is necessary since seasonal rains bring damp cold, and both residences and office buildings in Izmir are often poorly-heated and constructed to keep heat out, not in. Raincoats, boots, and umbrellas are also necessary during the rainy winter season. Stores in the Alsancak area feature a wide variety of both business and casual clothes, including most international brands and the latest fashions, albeit often at higher prices than in the U.S.

The AAFES BX is very poorly stocked with a small variety of lower priced men’s and women’s casual clothing and has virtually no children’s clothing, although it will fill orders for items in the AAFES catalogue. Izmir has several good tailors and dressmakers; inexpensive but very high-quality custom-made leather fashions are a local specialty. Good Turkish-made fabrics are also available.

Men. At the height of summer, the APP follows local custom in going tie-less and coat-less in short-sleeved shirts, although even then calls on ranking government officials and public appearances should be conducted in business attire. During the rest of the year, business attire similar to that worn in Washington is appropriate.

The APP’s consul, along with his/her spouse, is occasionally invited to local black-tie functions, including the annual formal dinner of the honorary consular corps.

Women. Women in Izmir are very fashion-conscious and tend to follow European trends. At daytime social functions, they wear attractive dressy suits and afternoon dresses. At dinners and cocktail parties, well-to-do Izmir women wear European fashions either purchased abroad or made by local dressmakers after European fashions. Eveningwear is usually dark or black, although it can be more colorful during the warm summer months.

In the Alsancak area and in tourist locations, women during summer months are quite comfortable in shorts or sleeveless fashions, but other parts of Turkey, especially away from the Aegean coast, are far more conservative. Turkish businesswomen wear attire appropriate for the season and similar in style to that worn by American businesswomen.

Children. Children’s clothing requirements are the same as in the U.S., with boots, hats and rain gear needed in the coolest winter months.

Supplies and Services

Supplies. Toiletries and a limited variety of basic cosmetics, medicines, entertainment accessories, linens, etc. are available at the small AAFES BX located near the APP; some European and good quality Turkish supplies are available as well at local supermarkets, department stores and pharmacies.

Tobacco can be purchased at the BX. Baby and children’s supplies can be ordered through the BX, but are not held in normal stock. The BX is also very poorly stocked with a very small variety of luggage, sports equipment, and hardware, although these items are available at higher prices locally.

Major European and Japanese automobile manufacturers have dealers in Izmir and its immediate vicinity stocking spare parts for their vehicles; spare parts for most U.S.-made automobiles can be ordered through the BX but are not held in normal stock. It is a good idea to bring along a store of parts for your vehicle, especially those that need to be replaced periodically under normal wear and tear. Some items can be ordered from catalogue companies or over the Internet and shipped by USPS to the APO, provided weight and size restrictions are met.

Basic Services. Good barbering and beauty salons are available both at the BX and locally. Adequate dry-cleaning is also available both at the BX and locally. Local electricians, plumbers and carpenters can make repairs. The BX has an appliance repair shop.

Domestic Help. Household help for general cleaning and laundry is available; some English-speaking nannies are also available. Domestics receive the Turkish lira equivalent of approximately $15 per day. The Community Liaison Office at the 425th Air Squadron base has a list of domestics who have worked previously for American families, some of whom have references from their previous employers. Good cooks can also be found locally.

Religious Activities

The chaplain’s office at the 425th Air Squadron base in Izmir offers Protestant and Catholic services at a church in Alsancak. English-language Protestant services for several denominations are also held regularly at the Anglican Church located near the APP. English-language Catholic services are also occasionally held at the shrine of St. Mary in Selcuk, about a 1-hour drive from Izmir. There is currently no Latter-day Saints congregation in Izmir. The local Greek Orthodox Church holds services only on major holidays. Six local synagogues, including one in Alsancak located near the APP, offer regular Sephardic-rite Jewish services. Turkish-language Muslim services are held at the Alsancak mosque near the APP and numerous other mosques throughout the city. There are no Buddhist or Hindu communities in Izmir.


Dependent Education. At this time, there is no accredited English-language school available for dependents in Izmir. It may be possible to register dependents in a local private school, which offers some high school classes in English to its Turkish student body.

Special Educational Opportunities. Private Turkish classes can be arranged easily either with individual tutors or at the Ankara University-affiliated TOMER school for foreign languages. There are no English-language special educational facilities available in Izmir.

Post Orientation Program

Persons assigned to the Izmir APP are welcome to participate in the orientation programs offered by the 425th Air Squadron base.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports. The gymnasium facilities at the 425th Air Squadron’s Club, located near the Izmir Hilton Hotel, are open to persons assigned to the Izmir APP. In addition, several hotels in Izmir offer memberships in their modern health clubs.

There is a public tennis club in the Culture Park in Alsancak and a riding club in Buca. The Grand Efes Hotel, currently closed for renovation, has a large swimming pool, which can be used by members of its health club. The 425th Air Squadron has an active scuba club.

Touring and Outdoor Activities. The most popular recreational activities for Americans in Izmir are touring the area’s rich collection of outstanding archeological sites, picturesque villages, and picnicking and swimming at the Aegean coast’s world-class beach resorts.

The extensive Roman ruins at Ephesus, one of Turkey’s most popular tourist destinations, are an hour’s drive away, and the ruins of ancient Troy, Pergamon, Assos and Aphrodisias are popular destinations for day trips from Izmir. Many of the Aegean beaches near Izmir have received European “blue flag” status for cleanliness, and nearby Cesme has become Turkey’s most fashionable beach resort, featuring hotels and accommodations in all price ranges.

Izmir residents also enjoy touring the cruise port town of Kusadasi, located near Ephesus. Both Cesme and Kusadasi have large numbers of boats for hire, and sailing is an extremely popular activity among both native Izmirlis and foreign residents. “Gulet” cruises on sailboats to the many picturesque and unspoiled coves along the Aegean coast are available. A local travel agency has an arrangement with the 425th Air Squadron to offer group package tours on most weekends and holidays to American groups.

Entertainment. Izmir has a symphony orchestra and an opera offering weekly performances, and foreign musical groups occasionally visit Izmir. First-rate cinemas throughout the city feature Turkish, American, and European films; foreign films are shown in original language with Turkish subtitles. The Turkish American Association occasionally shows older American films.

The 425th Air Squadron base has a small video rental shop featuring both VHS and DVD films in U.S. standard. Within Izmir, the most popular evening activity for both locals and foreign residents is to patronize the city’s large number of sidewalk cafes, restaurants, and bars in the fashionable Alsancak and Karsiyaka districts, including many facing Izmir’s bay, or to stroll in Alsancak’s Culture Park or along its waterfront Kordon park.

Many of the cafes and restaurants feature musical groups; some also offer large-screen TV coverage of sporting events. During the summer months, the city sponsors a variety of special events along the waterfront, including outdoor films and international speedboat and sailing competitions. U.S. Government personnel and their families may also join the club at the 425th Air Squadron, which hosts frequent social activities and includes among its facilities a cafeteria, bar and game room.

Social Activities

International Contacts. Izmir residents are proud of the cosmopolitan atmosphere of their city and actively welcome foreign residents into their social circles. Entertainment often consists of dinner parties in people’s homes, but Izmirlis love to gather with their friends in restaurants, cafes and bars and often entertain informally and on short notice.

During the summer months, many Izmir residents flee the city on weekends for their summer homes in Cesme, which can vary from humble but cozy “villalar” to large houses with swimming pools. Invitations to friends to spend an afternoon or evening (or stay overnight) in these summer homes in Cesme are frequent; such invitations invariably include a barbeque party. Although some of the Izmir social elite speaks some English or French, any effort to speak Turkish is deeply appreciated.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions. In addition to the APP, Izmir hosts a German consulate-general and British, Greek, and Italian consulates. Contacts within this small diplomatic community are frequent, close, and informal. Izmir also has more than 30 honorary consuls, who are prominent local businessmen and women representing a wide variety of countries. The honorary consular corps holds monthly luncheons and an annual black-tie dinner, the latter attended by the regional governor and other high-ranking officials.

Upon arrival, the APP’s consul calls on appropriate provincial and municipal officials. Business cards can be printed locally.

Standards of Social Conduct

Standards of social conduct are similar to those in other posts. Although Turkey is an almost entirely Muslim nation, many Izmir residents strongly support the country’s secular system and strive to act in accordance with contemporary European conventions.

Medical Care

There are no U.S. Government doctors in Izmir. Some local physicians speak English and have had training in the U.S. or Europe, and hospitals associated with the two-largest universities in Izmir, Dokuz Eylul University and Ege University, provide a decent level of medical care, but standards of care and equipment are below those in the U.S.

Some, but not all, prescription medicines or their European equivalents are available on the local market. Necessary surgery, eye examinations, dental examinations, and diagnostic work should be done before coming to Izmir. Izmir’s climate is generally healthy, but large numbers of mosquitoes and other insects plague the city during the summer months; malaria and other insect-borne diseases, however, do not appear to be a problem.

Rest and Recuperation (R&R)

All posts in Turkey have been authorized as R&R posts. The designated overseas relief point is Frankfurt, Germany, or, alternatively, any designated point in the Continental U.S. may be used as an R&R destination. The U.S. Government pays the transportation costs for the employee and his or her family members residing at post to and from the designated relief point. Employees assigned to a 2-year tour to Ankara unbroken by home leave will be authorized one R&R. Those having a 3-year tour in Ankara unbroken by home leave will be authorized two R&R trips.

The post normally will not grant R&R travel within 6 months of the beginning or end of an employee’s tour. Employees may select alternate destinations and modes of travel. However, before making any final arrangements, personnel should check with the general services officer to determine how much of the cost of the travel will be reimbursed by the government.

Military attaches and Marine Security Guards should consult the appropriate Station Report for further information on conditions of service in Ankara. Some of the information and regulations described in this report do not apply uniformly to those on temporary duty.

Notes For Travelers

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 10/1/2003 3:16 PM

All personnel are granted free entry of one motor vehicle, unaccompanied baggage, and personal and household effects. There are some minor differences in import privileges and procedures for diplomatic and non-diplomatic personnel. Most personnel are accorded diplomatic status, however.

An important document known as a “takrir” is obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to cover the entry of an automobile and personal and household effects of personnel accredited as diplomats.

There are no limits on the volume or weight of property that people with takrirs may import. In order for non-diplomatic personnel and some officers assigned to the Consulates to import automobiles, a “letter of guarantee” must be obtained from the Protocol Section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Duty-free imports by non-diplomatic personnel are not limited in volume or weight by Turkish regulations, but entry is restricted to a period of 2 months prior to, or 6 months after, the employee’s arrival.

Customs clearance of household goods and personal effects is also by “letter of guarantee,” which will be done by GSO personnel at the appropriate customs office. Diplomatic and non-diplomatic Embassy and Consulate personnel may not import more than two each of any electrical items such as televisions, VCR’s, or refrigerators.

Personnel with diplomatic status may import one vehicle of any type. They can import a second vehicle for use by family members. Non-diplomats may import one vehicle of any type and sell it only to another non-diplomatic official or diplomat, not to a Turkish citizen.

Household goods should be inventoried in detail at the time of packing for shipment to Turkey. Special attention should be paid to noting items such as electrical appliances, furniture, original works of art (and copies), and other valuable items. All personnel entering Turkey should complete any customs declarations requested by Turkish officials.

Household goods brought to Turkey, as well as certain items purchased through BX and AAFES facilities, must be accounted for either by export or by authorized disposal upon final departure. This regulation applies to diplomatic and non-diplomatic personnel.

Packages coming into the country by APO are not subject to customs inspection or duty. Items brought into the country this way are solely for personal use and may not be sold, bartered, thrown out, or given away. When selling a car, all sales formalities must be completed before the employee leaves Turkey permanently.

There is no limit on the amount of foreign currency, including dollars and travelers checks that may be brought into Turkey. Turkish regulations prohibit the mailing of currencies and negotiable instruments into or out of the country. Authorized personnel are allowed to send U.S. dollar paychecks and personal checks through the APO system.

All employees can expedite the customs clearance procedure by notifying the Embassy GSO of the number of lift vans being shipped and the approximate weight of each and by providing a detailed inventory, information on the port of origin, and the name of the packer, shipper, or carrier. This information should be forwarded as soon as possible.

All unaccompanied air and surface shipments of Mission personnel should be addressed as follows:

American Ambassador American Embassy Owner’s Name Ankara, Turkey

Shipments for consular personnel should be addressed to the American Consulate General (or Consulate), Istanbul (or Adana), Turkey (Name of Employee).

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Passage Last Updated: 10/1/2003 3:17 PM

All Americans traveling to Turkey must have valid visas. All employees coming to Turkey on an official assignment for a tour of duty under U.S. Government orders must travel with a diplomatic or official passport (not a tourist passport). The Government of Turkey charges no fee for your visa if you are on official travel. Holders of official and diplomatic passports must obtain their visas from the nearest Turkish Embassy before arriving in Turkey (The only Consulate that will accommodate a request for a diplomatic visa is the Turkish Consulate in Frankfurt.). Turkish Embassies will only issue a 3-month visa. However, once you arrive in Turkey, your passport will be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a multiple-entry visa valid for the length of your tour.

Nonofficial travelers to Turkey (i.e., tourists traveling on regular passports) must also obtain a Turkish visa and pay a $100 fee. This fee must be paid in U.S. dollars. For visits of less than 90 days, these visas can be obtained either prior to traveling to Turkey or at ports of entry into Turkey. For visits of more than 90 days, the visas must be obtained prior to traveling to Turkey.

After arriving at post, the Human Resources Office will apply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for identification and value added tax exemption cards for eligible family members (over 12 years of age). For family members over 18 years of age who plan to live in Ankara or visit for periods up to 3 months or longer, the Human Resources Office must obtain residence permits.

Family members who are visiting for less than 3 months can enter with diplomatic passports and a visa. If a visa is obtained at a Turkish Embassy, it will be free of charge. If obtained at the port of entry, the fee will be $100. Diplomatic passports will suffice as identification for children under the age of 12 years. (It is necessary to arrive at post with at least 15 passport size photographs for each family member; these photographs will be used to complete the many forms and types of identification needed while in Turkey.)

Domestic employees planning to accompany families to Turkey need to have a “letter of undertaking” for a work visa application. The Human Resources Office must be contacted prior to arrival with enough time to forward this letter to you. It will need to be completed, signed, and returned to the Human Resources Office. The letter will then be forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for approval. Once approved, it will be mailed back to you. The domestic employee will need to present the “letter of undertaking” to a Turkish Embassy or Consulate to obtain a work visa. Once the domestic employee arrives at post, the Human Resources Office will apply for a residence identification card.

A domestic employee who enters Turkey without a work visa cannot be registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and may not stay in Turkey for longer than 3 months. The domestic would have to leave Turkey and apply for a work visa at a Turkish Embassy or Consulate abroad in order to obtain working status.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Pets Last Updated: 10/1/2003 3:18 PM

Pets may be brought into Turkey without quarantine provided they have certificates showing inoculation against rabies within the past 6 months and freedom from communicable disease within 48 hours of the time of departure for Turkey. These documents should be prepared by a veterinarian, notarized by a notary public in the country in which the veterinarian is authorized to practice, and authenticated at a Turkish Embassy or Consulate.

Some people have found it difficult to keep dogs as pets in Ankara and Istanbul. Apartment living presents obvious difficulties, and it is unwise to allow a dog to run free in the streets. The city authorities periodically round up, poison, or shoot stray animals, and sometimes, including licensed animals running free at the time. Nevertheless, many Americans in the Mission in Ankara do have dogs or cats.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 10/1/2003 3:19 PM

Hunting is one of the many outdoor activities enjoyed by American Mission personnel assigned to Turkey. The host government regulates importation and use of firearms. The shotgun is the most commonly used firearm in Turkey. Sporting rifles are not commonly used. Handguns cannot be imported or shipped to Turkey. American personnel serving in Turkey cannot legally purchase, possess, or carry a handgun.

Presently, only category one diplomats may legally import a firearm into Turkey. Turkish law allows for the importation of only one rifle and three sporting shotguns. Military personnel not directly under Chief of Mission authority should check with their respective organizations in Turkey regarding the legality of importing a firearm and the requirements that govern the purchase of a hunting license.

Firearms can only legally enter Turkey in the accompanied baggage of eligible individuals. Shotguns and rifles cannot be transported to Turkey in HHE or airfreight. The Government of Turkey considers this illegal. At the port of entry, Turkish customs will take possession of the firearm for processing. This will take a minimum of 1 month and often considerably longer, after which the firearm will be returned.

It is important to note that if the firearm is deemed illegal (i.e., is a military-type assault weapon, or is considered by a local Turkish official to be military in nature), it will be impounded and returned upon departure from the country. Firearm owners are responsible for complying with all local laws and regulations pertaining to the shipment from the point of origin.

Newly assigned personnel should provide to the GSO the make, model, serial number, and caliber/gauge of the shotgun or rifle they would like to bring; this information should be offered immediately upon assignment to Turkey. Early notification of intent to bring a shotgun or sporting rifle to post is essential to ensure that eligibility is established, that potential problems with the host government are minimized, and that Turkish laws regarding the importation of firearms and the purchase of hunting licenses have not changed since publication of this report.

Shotgun ammunition (12, 16, and 20 gauge) is widely available in Turkey. There are no restrictions on shotgun gauges. Only rifles of standard sporting caliber are permitted. Rifle ammunition is expensive by American standards and available in limited calibers. High capacity magazines for rifles are not permitted; the high capacity can mark the weapon as “military” in style, thereby making it illegal.

Shotguns are manufactured and available for sale in Turkey. The Human Resources Office can assist you in obtaining the documents necessary to purchase one. Sporting rifles are not produced domestically but are imported and available for sale in limited quantities at prices several times higher than for similar weapons in the U.S. The host government tightly controls the sale of rifles. Furthermore, the purchase of a rifle is subject to additional high regulatory costs. Hunting opportunities where a rifle is decidedly advantageous and can be used safely are limited.

The Turkish Central Hunting Commission will issue hunting licenses only to category one diplomats. The licensing process is relatively inexpensive but time consuming and tedious. All other categories of diplomats, staff, and military can be issued only a temporary (tourist/visitor) hunting license through the Hunting Tourism Section. These licenses are valid for brief periods of time and are both restrictive and expensive. The fee can be as much as $1,000 depending on the type of game to be hunted.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 10/1/2003 3:19 PM

Local banks offer checking and savings accounts and money exchange, including ATM facilities, but are not often used by American personnel because of the complexity of local banking laws. A checking account in the U.S. should be maintained for deposit of U.S. dollar paychecks and personal checks. Traveler’s checks are acceptable in Turkey, but in nearby countries may be sometimes difficult to cash. Turkish Lira (TL), the official unit of currency, is used for purchasing goods and services on the Turkish economy.

Most banks are able to transfer funds electronically from one part of Turkey to another. U.S. postal money orders may be purchased at the APO.

In February 2001, Turkey adopted a floating exchange rate. The rate has been subject to short-term fluctuations reflecting financial market trends with respect to Turkey. As of May 2003, the rate was about TL 1,500,000 to the dollar.

Turkey uses the metric system.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 10/1/2003 3:20 PM

Current Turkish customs regulations state that diplomatic personnel may sell an automobile only after the vehicle has been in Turkey for 2 years. However, there is a 1-year limitation for persons whose assignments are curtailed and who are transferred permanently out of the country. Permission for the sale of diplomatic vehicles to individuals not entitled to tax exemption (mainly Turkish citizens) may not be obtained for vehicles more than 2 years old. The age of a vehicle (i.e., the date of manufacture) is determined by the ownership/registration document. Vehicles more than 2 years old may only be transferred to individuals in the same tax-exempt status or to members of other diplomatic missions. (Vehicles may also be re-exported or abandoned at Turkish customs.) After approval has been granted, formal permission must be requested and received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before a vehicle may be sold to a Turkish citizen. Diplomatic personnel assigned to Ankara for longer than 2 years may, after completing the sale of their first vehicle and clearing the customs document (takrir), import a second vehicle. The second vehicle may be sold only to other diplomats or foreigners. Only one vehicle may be sold to a Turkish citizen. Employees who do not have diplomatic status may sell their vehicles only to diplomats or foreigners.

The Government of Turkey heavily taxes the sale to Turkish citizens of motor vehicles that have been imported into Turkey without payment of duties. A law discourages the importation of automobiles with engine displacement over 1600 cc. This law applies to the local sale of vehicles imported by Mission personnel and cleared through customs after December 29, 1983. The tax is payable by the buyer. The amount of duty charged depends upon the value of the car.

In addition to the customs fee, the purchaser must pay a road tax and automobile acquisition fee, together with storage charges for the period when the vehicle is impounded by customs. The prospective seller should be aware that this high taxation might reduce the amount of money that he can expect to receive for his car. Nevertheless, many people do sell their cars at prices they find satisfactory.

There are also regulations governing the sale of other personal property imported duty free as part of the owner’s accompanied baggage, unaccompanied airfreight, or HHE. The sale of items valued over $100 must be approved by the Embassy; some sales must also be cleared through the Foreign Ministry.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 10/1/2003 3:32 PM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

History/Foreign Policy/Politics/Economics/Travel

Abramowitz, Morton. Turkish Transformation and American Policy. 2000.

Akurgal, Ekrem. Ancient Civilizations and Ruins of Turkey. 1985.

Alexandris, Alexis. The Greek Minority of Istanbul and Greek-Turkish Relations, 1918–1974. Athens: Center for Asia Minor Studies, 1983.

And, Metin. A History of Theatre and Popular Entertainment in Turkey. Ankara: Forum Yayinlari, 1964.

Bahçeli, Tozun. Greek-Turkish Relations Since 1955. Boulder: Westview Press, 1990.

Bean, George E. Aegean Turkey. 1966. Turkey’s Southern Shore. 1968. Turkey Beyond the Meander. 1971. Lyeian Turkey. 1978.

Berlitz. The Berlitz Travellers Guide to Turkey. 1993.

Birand, Mehmet Ali. The General’s Coup in Turkey. Brassey’s Defense Publishers: 1987.

Blake, Everett C. and Anna G. Edmonds. Biblical Sites in Turkey. 4th ed. Istanbul: Redhouse Press: 1990.

Brosnahan, Tom. Turkey: A Travel Survival Kit. 4th ed. 1996.

Bugra, Ayse. State and Business in Modern Turkey. Albany: State University of New York, 1994.

Delaney, Carol. The Seed and the Soil: Gender and Cosmology in Turkish Village Culture. University of California, 1992.

Erim, Kenan. Aphrodisias: The City of Uenus Aphrodite. 1986.

Freely, John. The Companion Guide to Turkey. Collins: London, 1979.

Gunter, Michael M. The Kurds in Turkey: A Political Dilemma. Boulder: Westview Press: 1990.

Heper, Metin and Jacob M. Landau, eds. Political Parties and Democracy in Turkey. LG Tauris & Co.: New York, 1991.

Inalcik, Halil. The Ottoman Empire. 1973.

Itzkowitz, Norman. The Ottoman Empire and Islamic Tradition. 1973.

Kinross, Lord. The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire. Morrow Quill Paperbacks: New York, 1979.

Kuniholm, Bruce. The Origins of the Cold War in the Near East. Princeton, Princeton University Press; 1980.

Landau, Jacob M. Atatürk and the Modernization of Turkey. Westview Press: Boulder, 1984.

Landau, Jacob. Turkish Nationalism: From Irredentism to Cooperation. (1995).

Lawlor, Eric. Looking for Osman. Vintage Departures: New York, 1993.

Lloyd, Seton. Ancient Turkey, A Traveller’s History of Anatolia. 1989.

Mango, Andrew. Atatürk. Overlook Press: London, 2000.

McCarthy, Justin. Muslims and Minorities: The Population of Ottoman Anatolia and the End of the Empire. 1983.

McDonogh, Bernard. Blue Guide Turkey: The Aegean and Mediterranean Coasts. 1990.

Morris, Roderick Conway. Jem: Memoirs of an Ottoman Secret Agent. New York, St. Martin's Press: 1988.

Olson, Robert. The Emergence of Kurdish Nationalism and the Sheikh Said Rebellion, 1880–1925. University of Texas Press: Austin, 1989.

Orga, Irfan. Portrait of a Turkish Family. Macmillan: New York, 1957.

Pope, Nicole and Hugh. Turkey Unveiled: A History of Modern Turkey. New York, The Overlook Press: 1998.

Poulton, Hugh. Top Hat, Grey Wolf, and Crescent.

Renda, Günsel and C. Max Kortepeter, eds. The Transformation of Turkish Culture. Kingston Press: Princeton, 1986.

Robins, Philip. Turkey and the Middle East. New York, Council on Foreign Relations Press: 1991.

Rustow, Dankwart A. Turkey: America’s Forgotten Ally. Council on Foreign Relations Press: New York: 1987.

Settle, Mary Lee. Turkish Reflections: A Biography of a Place. Prentice-Hall, New York, 1991.

Shaw, Stanford. From Empire to Republic: A History of the Turkish War of National Liberation. Ankara, Türk Tarihi Kurumu: 2000.

Stark, Freya. Ionia, A Quest. 1954. The Lycian Shore. 1956.

Stark, Freya. Alexander’s Path from Caria to Cilicia. 1958.

Stark, Freya. Gateways and Caravans: A Portrait of Turkey. 1971.

Steams, Monteagle. Entangled Allies: Policy Toward Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. New York, Council on Foreign Relations Press: 1992.

Stirling, Paul. Turkish Village. London, Weidenfeld and Nicholson: 1965.

Sumner-Boyd, Hilary and John Freely Strolling Through Istanbul, 4th ed. Redhouse Press: Istanbul, 1989.

Young, George. Constantinople. New York, Barnes & Noble Books; 1992.

Zürcher, Erik Jan. Turkey: A Modern History, 2nd ed. London, IB Tauris: 1998.


Acar, Belkis Balpinar. Kilim, Cicim, Zil Sumak. Turkish Flatweaves. 1983.

Atil, Esin. The Age of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. New York, Harry I. Abrams, Inc.: 1987.

Freely, Maureen. Life of the Party. 1984 [fiction]

Kemal, Yasar, trans. Edouard Rodit. Memed My Hawk. New York, Partheon: 1961. [fiction]

Kuran, Abdullah. Sinan: The Grand Old Master of Ottoman Architecture. 1987.

Macaulay, Rose. The Towers of Trebizond. 1956. [fiction]

Menemencioslu, Numan. Penguin Book of Turkish Verse. London, Penguin Books: 1978.

Rogers, J.M., ed. The Topkapi Saray Museum: Carpets. Boston, Little, Brown and Co.: 1971.

Rogers, J.M., ed. The Topkapi Saray Museum: The Treasury. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1987.

Settle, Mary Lee. Blood Tie. 1977. [fiction]

Web Sites

U.S. Embassy Ankara

Click on “Security Matters” for country specific safety and security information.

U.S. Consulate General Istanbul

U.S. Consulate Adana

State Department Consular Affairs (CA)

Automatic Fax Travel Information 202–647–3000

Turkish Daily News — English-language newspaper (Site updated daily except Sunday)

Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) Electronic Bulletin Board

Türknet Information Services

The Republic of Turkey Home Page www.turkey.or/turkey/index.html

Focus on Turkey

Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) Shortwave English Schedules

Atlas Geographic Magazine

Turkish Cultural Geographical and Historical Information

Local Holidays Last Updated: 10/1/2003 3:43 PM

Turkey observes both civil and religious holidays. Although dates for civil holidays are determined by the same calendar used in the U.S., religious holidays are set by the Muslim/Lunar calendar, resulting in observance on different days each year. Offices of the Government of Turkey are closed on all these days, and often also a day or two before or after the actual holiday.

The Turkish holidays are:

New Year’s Day

January 1 National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (Milli Egemenlik ve Çocuk Bayrami)

April 23 Atatürk Memorial Youth and Sports Day (Atatürk'ü Anma Gençlik ve Spor Bayrami)

May 19 Victory Day (Zafer Bayrami)

August 30 Anniversary of the Founding of the Turkish Republic (Cumhuriyet Bayrami)

October 29 Sugar Holiday (Seker Bayrami)

Varies Feast of Sacrifice (Kurban Bayrami)


Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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