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ABOUT TURKEY

Climate & Landscape

rolex datejust replica for menTurkey’s climate and topography like it’s history are amazingly diverse. Uniquely, the country straddles two continents, with the narrow straits of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles dividing Europe from Asia. Mountains cover much of the country, with the highest peak, Mt Ararat, rising to 5,166 metres in the east. Mountain ranges flank the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea coasts, and closing a high platau in the center of the country. Winters are severe across this central region, as well as in the east, with tempatures dropping to a finger-numbing (-30 °C in some areas). With mountains and lots of snow, it is not suprising that there are some ski resorts open during the winter months.

At the opposite end of the tempature gauge the country’s south-east, near the syrian border, is swelteringly hot in summer with highs of over 40 °C. Along the Aegean and Mediterranean coast where the tourist industry and foreign property market are consantrated, the climate is far more pleasant with mile to winters and hot sunny weather during the summer. Tempatures climb into the high 30 °Cs in July, but there are often cooling sea breezes near the coast. Most rain falls during the winter months, although periods of crisp, sunny weather are common in winter too. Even along the southern coast winter tempatures can be surprisingly cold.


LANDSCAPE

Large areas of the Turkish countryside are very unspoilt. Pine forested mountains cover much of the Aegean and Mediterranean regions, with olive groves, citrus orchards and fields of vegetables, tobacco and cotton where the land is flatter.

The country’s best beaches are dotted along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts, roughly from Alanya to Ayvalık. The coastline between Marmaris and Ayvalık has a series of deep bays and peninsulars. The area is extremely beautiful and well-suited for sailing. The Aegean coast has some good streches of beach, notably at Altınkum and Bademli, although being further north the season is slightly shorter.

The Black Sea coast, Turkey’s wettest region, is backed by thickly forested mountains, with dairy farms, tea-plantations and hazelnut orchards on the lower slopes. The landscape of Central Anatolia is made up of rolling fields of wheat and grazing land. The strangely eroded landscape and fascinating historical sites of Cappadocia, to the south east of the capital Ankara, attract tourists and a small but growing number of home buyers.

Turkey is self-sufficient in most agricultural produce, exporting fruit, vegetables, dairy products and meat to the EU and the Middle East. A visit to any local Turkish market will give you an idea of the amazing wealth and quality of what’s grown in the country. Perhaps best known for its Mediterranean crops, such as olives, tomatoes, peaches, apricots, melons and circuts, tempature fruits like apples, pears, plums and cherries are also available on a seasonal basis. Bananas are even grown along the sub-tropical southern coast near Alanya.

Fishing is an important industry along the 8,000 km coast, although it has been eclipsed by tourism particularly along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. Away from towns and cities most people still earn their living from farming and the pace of life in rural areas is very slow.

Culture & Religion

Modern Turks are the descendents of nomadic tribes who migrated from central Asia with their flocks.

Turkey’s national religion is Islam, but the country is a secular state with religious affairs and government kept firmly apart. Turkish people are generally far more moderate in their religious beliefs than their neighbours in Middle East. This is particularly the case in the main cities and the coastal resorts. More conservative attitudes tend to be found in the less developed and eastern parts of the country.


In the main cities and resorts areas most Turkish women dress in western-style clothes. But outside these areas, where more traditional attitudes prevail, visitors should dress more modestly to avoid attracting unwanted attention or causing offence. Remember not to wear shorts or short sleeves when visiting a mosque, and women will need to puton a handscarf too. Alcohol is widely available in bars, restaurants and shops, and many Turkish people enjoy a drink.

 

The main religious holidays of the Islamic calendar, such as Ramazan, are widely observed in Turkey. Banks, government offices and many businesses are closed, and Turkish people traditionally visit their family and relatives.

Turkey has a young and rapidly growing population with 50 % of its people under 25 years old. In the last 40 years there has been a huge movement of people from the countryside to towns and cities like Ankara and Istanbul. Over 60 % of the population now live in urban areas, although their connection with family and friends still living in the countryside often remains strong.

Getting There

Most people travelling to Turkey do so by plane. During the summer season there are hundreds of package flights into the coastal airports of Bodrum, Dalaman, İzmir and Antalya). However, most operators do not offer services in winter, when you must rely on scheduled flights.
Turkish Airlines and British Airways have daily flights, year-round to Istanbul. From Istanbul there are connecting flights operated by Turkish Airlines and other private airlines to regional airports, such as Izmir, Bodrum, Dalaman and Antalya for the coastal resorts, or Kayseri and Nevşehir for Cappadocia. Cyprus Turkish Airlines operate a useful year-round service direct to Antalya, Dalaman and Izmir from Gatwick, Heathrow, Glasgow, Stansted. And Belgast, with the planes continuing to North Cyprus afterwards.

There is much talk about new direct scheduled and charter flights in winter into İzmir, Antalya and Dalaman, but as yet there isn’t sufficient demand to support such services. This may change in the next  few years as the number of British home owners increases and winter activities, such as  golf, grow in popularity.

DRIVING TO TURKEY

It is about 3,000 km from London to Istanbul with the exact distance depending on the route you take. The northern option passes through Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, with a considerable distance still remaining to the south coast once you cross the Turkish border. Alternatively, you can pass through France and Italy , where there are car ferries from Ancona and Brindisi to the Turkish port of Çeşme. Ferries run throughout the year, although the service is very limited in winter. It is advisable to book in advance at any time.

ENTRY VISA

A 3- month tourist visa will be issued when you arrive in Turkey. It costs £ 10 for British citizens and is stuck into your passport.

History

The Economy

Turkey has a very dynamic economy with a vigorous and rapidly growing private sector. However, the state maintains and important role in many areas of the economy, such as heavy industry, banking, transport, and communication. Privatisation, although a priority of several consecutive governments, has been slow. In efficient and badly manage public firms still dominate large parts of the economy and remain a major drain and natural purse. The country’s most important industry are textiles and clothing, employing between them over 35 % of the work force. These sectors also produce the country’s main exports, although other manifacturing industries, such as car making and electronics, are of growing significance. Low labour rates and proximity to markets in Europe and the Middle East have an couraged the growth of these manifacturing industries. Agriculture remains an important economic activity, employing around 40 % of the country’s labour force. Despite wide spread mechanisation and large-scale irrigation projects, traditional farming methods and low production predominate inm any areas. Underlying structural problems within the economy, coupled with political mismanagement and global events, caused a series of economic crises during the 1990s. These culminated in a catastrophic devolution in 2001, and the Turkish Lira has lost 40 % of its value. Thousands lost their jobs. While the country’s GDP plummbed by over 7 %. IMF-sponsored recovery plan introduced by the government of Bülent Ecevit helped stabilise the situation,although it was left to the AK Party government elected in 2002, to guide the Turkish economy out of its worst recession since the second world war. Fiscal belt tightening and econmomic reform have succeeded in cutting the government deficit. Inflation has been brought down from a galloping 70 % to 11.4 % in 2004. Industrial production in the third quarter of last year was up 6,8 % compared to 2003and GDP grew by 4.5 %. Much needed reforms within the banking industry have boosted investor confidence and the improving economic climate have resulted in growing foreign investment.

Despite these dramatic improvements there remian considerable economic challenges ahead, such as improving the country’s replique montre tax base, reducing unemployment and dealing with inefficient state owned businesses. However, the present government, enjoying strong popular support and IMF backing, maintains its commitment to tackling these problems in order to stay on track for eventual EU membership.

Traditionally an agricultural region, raising citrus crops and vegetables for the domestic market and export, the local economy along the west and south coast – the main area for foreign property buyers-is now dominated by tourism. Fishing remains an important economic activity in some areas, while forestry and animal husbandry are significant in the coastal mountains.

The Property Market

A well-established package destination visited by millions of British and European tourists each year, Turkey has only recently emerged as a popular place to buy property. All the ingredients that made the country such a good holiday spot-a warm Mediterranean climate, lovely scenery, friendly people and excellent value for money- are now fuelling an unprecedented level of interest in the country from foreign buyers. Current prices are far lower than other, more established, property markets, such as Spain and Italy. The prospect of EU membership in the not-too distant future also promises excellent potential for capital growth as Turkish property prices are expected to climb to levels found elsewhere in the Mediterranean.
Outside interest in Turkish property has also been encourage by a liberalisation of the laws governing foreign buyers in 2003.  These changes opened up rural areas to overseas buyers and created a more investor friendly environment.

Despite all the excitement, the Turkish market is still comparatively small by international standarts – the $ 1,34 billion invested in Turkish property by foreigners in 2004 compares with over $ 9 billion in Spain. It also heavily concentrated along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, and particularly the strech between the resort of Ayvalık in the north and Alanya in the east. It will be no surprise that this area contains most of the country’s main holiday resorts, as well as some of the most beautiful scenery and the best beaches.

Tourist development and building, particularly over the last 15 years, have transformed quaint little fishing towns like Bodrum, Marmaris and Alanya into large resorts boasting modern leisure facilities, restaurants and nightlife, as well as efficient hospitals and well-stocked supermarkets. Large-scale projects, such as the golf courses around Belek, east of Antalya, and modern marinas in resort such as Marmaris, Göcek, Ayvalık and Fethiye have added to the appeal for many investors and buyers. Those seeking a quite Mediterranean hideaway may be dissapointed by this transformation, but once away from the main towns, rural life continues much as it always has done.

The most popular spots for foreign property buyers and investors are Altınkum, the Bodrum peninsular,  Çeşme, Ayvalık. In these areas, British buyers are generally in the majority, with German, Dutch and Scandinavians also buying in increasing numbers.Further east, Side and Alanya are also very popular, particularly with buyers from Scandinavia, Ireland and UK. Property in Istanbul and Cappadocia in Central Anatolia is also attracting outside interest, though far less than in the coastal areas.

Most property in the coastal arevas is bought for use as holiday homes, although a small but growing number of peofle are choosing to relocate permanently to Turkey, tempted by the quality of life and low cost of living. Many holiday homes are rented out when not in use, but investors are also increasingly looking to Turkish property to provide a buy-to-let income, as well as capital growth.

The Mediterranean and Aegean resorts are also popular with Turkish second-home buyers, with domestic demand set to increase as stable economic conditions and the introduction of a mortgage system make owning a holiday home possible for more middle-class families.Generally speaking, lower budgets mean that Turkish buyers tend to opt for certain property types, which are less popular with overseas buyers. This has caused a dual market to develop in many areas, with some construction companies targeting the foreign market by building larger, more expensive villas or apatments with better fixtures and fittings; while others build and sel almost exclusively to Turks.
Previously, many foreigners chose to buy land and have properties built themselves. This was largely due to the low-cost of building and a shortage of suitable properties, with most constructed according to local budgets and tastes. The scarcity of old buildings suitable for renovation was also a contributing factor. More recently, however, there has been a dramatic improvement in the quality of properties being built by Turkish developers.Buying new builds and off-plan has become very popular, with many builders now offering units for sale on complexes with facilities like swimming pools, gyms and cafes.Some even offer guranteed rental income, thanks to agreements with package holiday operators.

WHERE TO BUY

The Aegean resort of Çeşme and the coastline to the north have largely been the preserve of Turkish buyers. Within commuting distance of Izmir, the country’s third largest city, Çeşme is a popular weekend destination, which enjoys a buoyant property market driven by local, rather than foreign, demand. Although many properties in the area still offer excellent value for money, prices in the most desirable locations have sky-rocketed.
Kuşadasi is a sprawling, rapidly growing resort town close to the fascinating Roman city of Ephesus, Turkey’s most famous archaeological attraction. Similarly, Altınkum has o good beach, plenty of activities and interesting archaeological sites nearby. Both resorts have experienced massive development in recent years and are particularly popular with buyers looking for the most affordable property, be it apartments or cheap villas.
The Bodrum Peninsular is a diverse area with something to suit all tastes and budgets. Its popularity with domestic and expatriate Turkish buyers, many of them extremely wealthy, has pushed prices up. But consequently, the area has a wide choice of properties at all levels of the market, as well as excellent leisure facilities, service and amenities.
Further south, the large town and package resort of Marmaris boats a marina and a sandy beach at Içmeler. The urban setting will not be to everyone’s taste, although the nearby countryside is very beautiful. Dalyan is a much smaller, quieter resort surrounded by unspoilt rural scenery. As you would expect, the services and amenities on offer in Dalyan are more limited.
The recent designation of Dalaman as a so-called Tourist Development Area, has encouraged intense interest from developers.The state-sponsored plans include a golf course and several marinas, making this an area to watch.
The small resort of Göcek has gained a reputation as Turkey’s top yachting center. Strict controls on development and the comparative scarcity of flat land have kept prices relatively high.
Kalkan is smaller and more up-market, with good access to nearby attractions, such as the beach at Patara. High demand for villa properties from mainly British  buyers has pushed up property prices and fuelled a major building boom. The pretty seaside town of Kaş has a good choice of property, although the lack of a decent beach and the distance to the nearest airport puts some buyers off.
Kemer is a rather utilitarian purpose built resort set in some of the coast’s most beautiful scenery. Favoured by German and, more recently, Russian buyers, nearby Çamyuva is popular with British.
Antalya is a large city with lots of modern apartments and some atmospheric houses in the old town. The Mediterranean resorts of Side and Alanya have excellent beaches with interesting sights and activities, such as the Roman theatre of Aspendos and white-water rafting, nearby. Belek is the country’s premier golfing area.
The stone and cave houses of Cappadocia are one of the most unusual porperty choices in Turkey. Often hundreds of years old extensive renovation is usually required.

PROPERTY PRICES


Despite rapid increases over the last 3 years, prices are below those in the more established Mediterranean property markets, such as Spain and Italy. Expect to pay £35,000-£75,000 for a two-bedroom apartment depending on the area, build-quality and facilities. Villa prices vary from £45,000 for a very basic three-bedroom house on an old complex, to well over £200,000 in the more upmarket resorts, such as Kalkan. Of course, there are also far more luxurious and expensive properties in places like Bodrum and Istanbul.To get a better idea of local prices consult our company.
Prices everywhere have increased dramatically over the last 3 years with most areas experiencing rises of 15-20% per annum, far more in some cases. For example, land prices in Dalaman-an area benefitting from extensive government investment-have increased by over 150% in 2004, while property prices are up 100%. However, these dramatic increases have now slowed.
Generally, prices look set to continue rising in the face of growing demand. The introduction of a mortgage system, scheduled for 2006, could also encourage this trend. On a local level, however, rises in some resorts are expected to slow as the market reaches a more  mature stage. The scale of development, much of it chaotic and poorly planned, may also begin putting buyers off in some areas.

 

 
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