A Turkey Expatriate Guide – Discover Turkey as an Expat!
Is Turkey in Europe or Asia? In actual fact, 95 % of its landmass does fall in Asia. However, the most visited regions by foreigners are situated closer to Europe. Turkey has been negotiating its accession to the European Union since 1987. It isn’t likely to happen any time soon.
Turkey is an oblong-shaped landmass, bordered by the Black Sea to the North, the Aegean Sea on its west and the Mediterranean Sea to its south. Eight countries also share land borders with Turkey: Bulgaria and Greece that are both EU members. Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan also share land borders. As of 2021, Turkey has a population of just over 85 million.
Turkey has a colorful and turbulent history that goes back to before Biblical times. The Seljuks, the Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, and finally the Ottoman Empire have all occupied the area we now know as Turkey. Each has left its footprint. In 1923, the highly regarded military statesman Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded the Republic of Turkey, as we now know it. He also served as Turkey’s first president.
Istanbul, formerly known as Constantinople, retained its importance in business and trade due to its strategic position on the Bosphorus. Ankara, in central Anatolia, now became the new capital. The Bosphorus has been a vital waterway for world trade for centuries. It connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara and on through the Dardanelles to the Mediterranean. For this reason, the British prime minister Winston Churchill was determined to take possession of this link to Russia in 1915. Due to the fierce determination of the Turkish troops, he failed.
Istanbul is usually the first stop for most visitors to Turkey and is a magnificent city surrounded by numerous reminders of its impressive history. As of 2021, the population of Istanbul is around 15 million. This figure swells to almost 20 million in the summer months with tourists and citizens from the East looking for work in construction and hospitality.
In 2010, Turkey topped ‘the ten best holiday destinations’ list and experienced a boom in tourism. By 2015, rocked by terrorist attacks and turmoil in the government, Turkey experienced a sudden drop in tourism. The economy was in a slump. By 2017 tourism was beginning to recover. There were over 50 million visitors to Turkey in 2019. Unfortunately due to the global pandemic, tourism and the economy are again suffering badly.
Hopefully, by summer 2021, Turkey can once again welcome back tourists with its amazing hospitality, delicious cuisine, pristine beaches and spectacular historical sites. Existing ex-pats to Turkey have stayed faithful and it is hoped that 2021 will see a new influx of digital nomads and retirees, eager to experience the high standard of living that Turkey offers at a fraction of the cost of living in the west.
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