Best things about living in Turkey..

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I may complain a lot, but I do love living in Turkey too, and going back to the UK soon has made me realise just how much I do love it. I thought I’d share a list of the best things about living in Turkey, in my opinion. Don’t worry, I’m not wearing rose tinted glasses.. I’ll be posting the worst things about living in Turkey soon.

Weather
This is actually on both my best and worst lists.. The good is the constant, guaranteed sunshine for 4-5 months of the year, sunny days cheer everyone up, and when the rain and storms do come in the winter, we welcome them with open arms.

Scenery
Nobody can deny the views and scenery in Turkey are amazing. I am so lucky to live near the sea, something that I really take for granted, the sunsets are amazing over the sea in winter. The natural beauty of the beaches and the mountains, the contrast between the holiday resorts on the turquoise coast, the fancy hotels and office buildings and landmarks in big cities like Istanbul and Izmir, and the typical Turkish villages in the rural countryside, they are all beautiful in their own way.

Public transport
I can’t comment about other cities, but the public transport in Fethiye is brilliant, especially the dolmuses between Calis and Fethiye, they run every few minutes and are reliable, cheap, and there’s hardly ever any traffic. There are bus links to and from all the main cities in the country via main bus/coach stations, and with car and petrol prices so high, these buses are very popular. The coaches go all over the country and are relatively cheap, often a lot cheaper than flying domestically (people think nothing of hopping on a coach for 12-24 hours to visit somewhere, rather than flying). In other main cities they have trains and trams, but I haven’t experienced either so cannot comment.

Turkish pride.
Anyone who has visited Turkey will know how proud of their history and background Turkish people are, as a whole. They are very patriotic, and you’ll find paintings, posters, monuments and statues in every town commemorating the founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Many people have his signature tattooed on their arms, others have stickers of him in their cars, jewellery with his name on, posters in their homes. In Fethiye there is a giant neon light up in the mountain of the shape of Atatürk’s head (It is surprisingly much less cheesy than it sounds). The Turkish flag is also very highly respected, you will see it everywhere, I very much doubt you’ll find any home, village, town or city without a flag somewhere around. It isn’t something that appears once a year (lets face it, the only time you really see English flags is when they’re playing in the world cup or it’s St Georges day) it’s a permanent thing, a permanent reminder of how proud Turks are. If you ever say bad word about Atatürk, Turkey or deface a Turkish flag, it is a great insult and you’ll know about it.

Food.
Turkish food is delicious, and often homemade and fresh. It is very difficult to find ready meals in shops, even the big supermarkets, it is becoming more common though- I found fish fingers in the frozen section and nearly peed myself with excitement (small things amuse small minds..) Another thing I love is how cheap fresh fruit and vegetables are, at least here in Fethiye (You all know how much I love market day), in fact that is the only thing I do find cheap here (in comparison to wages) but that will be discussed in another post.

Way of life.
We live a very simple life. We don’t have a lot of luxuries but we enjoy this simple life. We basically live on a farm, surrounded by cows, camels, goats, chickens and sheep, fruit trees and vegetables growing in the garden. I love it. We don’t go out to bars or restaurants, we don’t go to shopping centres or the cinema, we don’t drive, we don’t even have a TV, we really don’t do a lot of things that require money, but we don’t need those things to have fun. From my experience, a lot of people living here are the same, they love nothing better than going for a family picnic on a Sunday, taking a long walk or having the whole family gather for tea. We go for a walk every day with our dog, it’s honestly the highlight of my day, I love just walking in the hills with Berkay and Boncuk, I love being outside (never thought i’d say that..) and taking photos of our surroundings. Sometimes, it really is the small things and when my family visit they really struggle to see how we live such a simple life but still manage to enjoy ourselves and be happy. When you have no choice, you realise you don’t need money to have fun, sometimes just going for walks outside, a little picnic on the beach  or dinner and a game on the balcony is enough to make you smile.

People.
I’m sure some people will disagree with me, but a lot of Turkish people are very friendly and will do anything to help you when in trouble. Of course there are bad everywhere, and some people want nothing more than your money, but on the whole, I have found people very kind. Everyone says ‘günaydın’ and ‘Iyi akşamlar’ to each other, we often go to the corner shop and come out with a bag full of food on a ‘pay later’ promise, when on the bus Berkay always stands up to let the older people sit down (in London on the tube last April, he stood up to let an older lady sit down, her face was priceless – pure shock), people really respect and look after their elders, everyone knows everyone (Berkay can’t walk down the street without stopping to say hi to at least 5 people..it’s something that is alien to me and is really quite frustrating actually). Last winter Berkay and I were struggling for money to pay bills and buy food, his boss didnt pay him for 2 months and someone that we’d known for less than a year helped us out, our landlord also lets us pay rent late if need be. A lot of things are very relaxed and people are laid back with a ‘no panic’ attitude.

I know, of course these traits aren’t limited to Turkish people, there are friendly people all over the world, but all you ever hear about nowadays are the bad. These are just things I have noticed from living here.

I live in Fethiye, I am commenting on my own experiences and not suggesting it is the same everywhere, I would love to hear your own experiences in different towns and cities. Turkey is a huge country, I know not everywhere and everyone is the same. Wouldn’t that be boring? (:

What is the best thing about living in Turkey for you?

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16 comments

  1. fleurkus . · · Reply

    Definitely service. If I go to the Sanayi with my car, I am seen to straight away and given apple tea. Also, at the garage, I am served with petrol and there is always a free carwash, plus they will check my oil and water without charge. I remember years ago buying a bedroom suite at 10.30 at night and it was delivered the next day at 9 in the morning and fitted.

    1. That’s a good one! We went to a shop to order a fridge last year, we ended up hitching a lift back to our house with it less than 30minutes later lol, my mum, Berkay,me and the fridge all the back of an open truck! You wouldn’t get that in the UK would you? 🙂 x

  2. Excellent post Danni and I agree with all that you say. In fact my blog posts have been a bit negative recently, so I’m pleased to read this as a reminder for all I have to be thankful for xx

    1. (: Glad you liked it and agree. Its easy to take things for granted isn’t it? xx

  3. You have ticked most of the reasons I am still here, sure there are negatives but all this out weighs them to a greater state in my view.

    1. Yes, there are a lot of negatives for me but most are just irritating inconveniences, not things that would make me leave, money is the only real issue.x

  4. When I went back to the UK for a weekend in June I couldn’t wait to get back on the plane to come ‘home’ again. Although it was nice to be able to eavesdrop on passing conversation which I miss here but that’s my silly fault for not being able to speak much Turkish yet! As for the best thing about being here – I think everything you mentioned is right but I am also especially impressed with the dolmus system. I love that they toot at you if you are walking the way of the dolmus just in case you want to get on, or the fact you can wave at them from about 100 yards, across a busy road, and they will wait for you to get there 🙂

    1. Haha yeah me too, and seeing English signs too 🙂
      Yes love the dolmus, and the fethiye council bus actually, the big blue one. Always on time, never stood around for hours waiting for it!

  5. I’ve been in İstanbul for a couple of years now. LIke most expats I know I spend too much of my time complaining. Like life in Turkey my opinion of it is very up and down.
    Having said that I’ve made the ultimate commitment by marrying a Türk.
    Your setup in Fethiye sound idyllic.

  6. Danni can we also add to your list.. Berkay is ”Adam gibi Adam” ( A man of his word) & he is looking after you the best way he can. Isn’t that what love is all about? He loves & cherishes you, In todays world tell me how many women are hungry for this wonderful happiness you possess .

    1. Aww thanks Izzy, yes he is! Made me smile 🙂

  7. gerald · · Reply

    I have to say living in turkey is awful always someone trying to get something for nothing the men are the seediest creatures ever happy to molest you openly and always extremely immature and just bigger nuisances than flies the married ones are the grossest of all, supposed to be religious, my arse. If you have a holiday home chances are someone will be living in it while you go home or it will be broken into and robbed………….Those are just some of my experiences plus if you ARE thinking of buying a home there watch you don’t get robbed of your cash like so many others I have known…The police are a joke not worth a toss if you got a grievance …a turk will always be the winner if you have a problem with them……Really third world attitude to women and tourists, they have poor manners and are cruel bastards to animals…that says it all.

    1. SPOT ON!

  8. There are some great things about living here, and you list most of them!
    Another wonderful thing is that people, complete strangers, will share food with you if they like you — women, men or children. It’s very kind and very Turkish.

    Turkish Pride, though. Oh no.
    All that flag-waving and over-sensitivity about Ataturk and nationality is just too much. I really don’t admire how intolerant Turks are about diversity among Turks. They are in denial about a lot of things and are not that nice to minority groups.

    1. Thats true! 🙂 Yes thats true, people use it as an excuse to make miniories feel unwelcome and push them out, its been even more prominent recently against kurds.

  9. I read this again after a long time. It really sounds lovely where you are. Living in İstanbul can be a grind and I find the people almost the opposite of what you describe. Even a short trip across the Bosphorus can bring you in touch with a completely refreshingly polite and happy bunch of people.

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