People   Turkish 80%, Kurdish 20%
Language   Turkish (official), Kurdish, Dimli (or Zaza), Azeri, Kabardian

English, French, and German are widely understood and spoken
Religion   Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews)
Government   Parliamentary Republic

Head of Government   President: Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Embassy   The American Embassy 110 Atatürk Blvd. Kavaklidere, 06100 Ankara ph. (90-312) 455-5555 fax (90-312) 467-0019
Visas   Currently, Australian, Canadian and US citizens require a visa, but this is subject to change. Please check with the nearest Turkish Embassy or Consulate for the most up-to-date information concerning visas. Please note that there is no onsite visa facility. All travelers must get their visa online before they travel through this site: As of January 1, 2015 foreigners wishing to enter Turkey must carry a passport or travel document with an expiration date at least 60 days beyond the expiration date of their visa, visa exemption, or residence permit. Therefore, as Turkish tourist visas are generally valid for 6 months, U.S. citizens should have a passport that is valid for eight months beyond entry date.
Health Risks   Heat exhaustion, dehydration, sunburn

If you take a prescription medication, bring the current prescription note and a letter from your doctor with the medication’s name, manufacturer’s name, and dosage while traveling turkey.
Clothing Suggestions   Turkey is a fairly large country, and its climate can vary from region to region. Here are some general clothing recommendations according to the season while traveling.

SUMMER: April through October – casual clothing made of lightweight fabrics and good walking shoes are essential while turkey travel. A shawl, sweater and/or jacket is recommended for cooler evenings. Sunglasses and a sun hat are also recommended. Although shorts are the appropriate casual attire for men, a woman should avoid wearing them in cities.

WINTER: Mid-November through Mid-March – A wardrobe of matching coordinates, made of man-made fibers and/or wool, which allows for minimum and maximum warmth for varying temperatures is suggested. A topcoat with zip-out lining is also advised. It is wise to use the layered approach to clothing allowing for warmer or cooler weather spells.

SPRING/FALL: Mid-March through April and then October through Mid-November – Lightweight wool or topcoat are suggested.

DINING: Informal attire, except for some selected restaurants in main cities, which may require tie and jacket for men.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES: Comfortable shoes and a sun hat are a must.

MOSQUES AND CHURCHES: Shorts are forbidden. Women are required to wear headscarves when visiting Mosques in the Turkey.

CRUISES: Casual daytime attire is suggested. For occasional special gala evenings, cocktail dress and tie and jacket are suggested.
Time Zone:   Two hours ahead of GMT/UTC; seven hours ahead of U.S. EST.
Banking / Exchange   Banks and post offices generally offer the best rates of exchange in the Turkey. It is best to avoid hotels and moneychangers that charge more than 5% commission.

Some western currencies, especially U.S. dollars, can be used to buy occasional goods and services; however, some Turks may take offense to this.
Currency   Turkish Lira (TL)
Electric Current   The standard household electrical current throughout Turkey is 220 AC, 50 cycles, and the outlets are made for two round poles. Adapters and transformers may be available in major hotels and cruise ships. Voltage is marked clearly on all hotel outlets.
Credit Cards / Traveler Checks   MasterCard and Visa are accepted in larger businesses; American Express and other credit cards are not as popular. It is possible to use most major credit cards to receive cash advances from banks and teller machines throughout the country.


While traveler’s checks are one of the safest means of carrying money, many businesses in Turkey do not accept them as payment, especially outside of large cities. It may be necessary to exchange them at banks or post offices.
Shopping   General Trade Stores Shopping Hours

Mon: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Thurs: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Tues: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Fri: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Wed: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sat: 10:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Sun: Closed
Weights & measures   Metric
How to shop Tax Fee   1. Ask any merchant if he or she is authorized to issue Value Added Tax (VAT) refund invoice. If he or she is, ask for the invoice when you make your purchase.

2. When you leave Turkey, make sure your purchases and receipts are readily available for inspection. Allow plenty of time for this process when you arrive at the airport. A Customs official will stamp your invoice(s). Without this stamp, an invoice is not valid and VAT refund cannot be made.

3. Mail your invoice(s) back to the merchant(s) for a refund. Be sure to include your preferred method of reimbursement. You can receive a refund credited to a credit card or a bank account.
National Airport   Atatürk Havaalani (Istanbul) IST
Major Tourist Attractions   Ankara, Antalya, Bodrum, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Izmir, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Marmaris
Tipping Suggestion   Tips are generally not considered as a source of income in travel, but they are usually expected. Generally, a 10% tip is appropriate in restaurants and taxis in Turkey. Servers in many very high-class restaurants may expect a 15%-20% tip unless a service charge is included in the bill. If a service charge is included, leave a small tip to show your gratitude. A tip of about US $1 is appropriate for hotel porters. It is customary to tip tour guides $6 to $8 per person per day on multiday tours, drivers $3 to $4 per person per day and driver assistants $1 to $2 per person per day. The suggested tip for day tours is $10 to $20 for the guide and $5 for the driver.