The Rules of the Road in Turkey.


Turkish Driving regulations for Foreigners.

Rules of the Road in Turkey.

If you’re thinking of moving to Turkey – or have recently done so – then, for many, the next logical step is to consider how you’re going to get about once you’re installed in your new home in the sun.

Many expats will tell you the Turkish public transport links are not that bad. Compared to the UK and many other European countries, getting from A to B isn’t expensive. There’s probably a dolmuş which runs to most places you’d want to go – and usually for just a few lira.

However, if your new home is in a far-flung village, others may tell you a car is an essential – unless you’re the sort of person who can live with the scheduled buses simply not turning up at all.

Buying a car in Turkey

For some, the process of buying a car in Turkey and taking to the roads may be a little intimidating. First of all, there’s the complicated bureaucracy involved, to say nothing of the impetuosity of some you’d be sharing the roads with. But, if you do decide to proceed, there are some more recent rule changes you also probably need to take into account if you’re choosing to make a life in Turkey.

Visiting the Noter to record the sale, acquiring “M plates” to indicate the car is owned and driven by a foreigner and having documents translated and notarised have always been part of that process. But, more recently, once you have arrived within the country’s borders as a resident rather than a visiting tourist, the clock is already ticking.

Changing your driving licence to a Turkish Licence.

If you intend to use it – you have six months before you must obtain a Turkish licence and start using this instead of your licence from your home land. It has been said that your former licence will then be sent back to the driving standards authority in your own country and you will be issued with an international Turkish driving licence, which can be used at home and abroad but this is not always the case and advice should be sought if doubt arises. However, in order to acquire one, you must also produce proof that you have completed secondary level education. That means you’ll need to dig out those old certificates obtained at high school or a letter from the examination board indicating you sat them.

Of course, that’s not going to be an easy task for some and, for many expats, it’s proved almost impossible. As a result, there are plenty now side-stepping the regulations by nipping in and out of Turkey to get a stamp on their passport to show they have not been in country for the required six months. How long before that loophole is closed is anyone’s guess though. If you’d prefer to play by the rules and avoid the hassle, it might be best to start looking into laying your hands on proof of your academic achievements in advance.

The penalties

If you’re stopped by traffic police, produce a non-Turkish driving licence and a passport stamped more than six months ago, you could face a fine of 343TL. Subsequently, you could find yourself without the necessary documents allowing you to drive legally and face the tedious task of acquiring copies of exam certificates from a distance. Even worse, if you’re involved in an accident and are found to be using a non-Turkish driving licence after more than six months in Turkey, your insurance will be considered invalid

There’s a little bit more on the car-buying process in this blog:

The “Doc Martin” Surgery page for Expats on Facebook is also an extremely useful resource and includes this information on current driving licence regulations in Turkey:

Best of luck in whatever decision you make. But, as ever, if you think we can help with the moving process – or any service relating to an estate agent in Turkey – feel free to drop us a line.

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