Turkish Consulate General in Los Angeles

Info Notes

General Information on Turkey, 28.04.2015

1- VISA INFORMATION:  Contact Turkish Consulate General in Los Angeles,

6300 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2010 Los Angeles, CA 90048 USA

Tel. (323) 655 -8832 (Ext:14) ; Fax (323) 655-8681

Website:  www.losangeles.cg.mfa.gov.tr , E-mail: consulate.losangeles@mfa.gov.tr

2- VACCINATION: Please check ‘The US Government Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ web site for update information: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/

3- COUNTRY TRAVEL REPORT: Website for the Department of State:  http://www.state.gov/  

4- TRAVEL IN TURKEY

* Information regarding travel distances can be found on http://www.neredennereye.com/int/

* Information on coach travel can be obtained from http://www.neredennereye.com/int/

Numerous private companies offer frequent day and night service to many Turkish cities. Coaches depart from the bus station (otogar) in large towns and from the center of town in smaller regions.

* Information on train service can be obtained on www.tcdd.gov.tr/tcddwebenglish/index.html

* Information on ferry service can be obtained on http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/trans/Ship/index.html

See also:  Turkish Maritime Lines Website   www.tdi.com.tr * (this website is in Turkish)

*Translation of terms:

Denizyollari Isletmesi – maritime lines operations (services)

Sehir Hatlari Isletmesi     – town (short) lines operations (services)

Hizmet Verdigi Hatlarimiz – places that we serve, only under Sehir Hatlari Isletmesi

Araba Vapur Hatlari – lines that take cars, only under Sehir Hatlari Isletmesi

Limanlar – ports;  Gunler – days;  Varis – arrival;  Kalkis – departure

Pazartesi – Monday;  Sali – Tuesday;  Carsamba – Wednesday;  Persembe – Thursday; Cuma – Friday;  Cumartesi – Saturday;  Pazar – Sunday

Ucret tarifesi – price list; Arac – vehicle; Yatak ucretleri – cabin prices per bed;

Navlun – cargo

Transportation from Atatürk Airport to Istanbul city centre:

Atatürk airport is 24 km west of the Istanbul city center.  “Havas” airport buses depart for Taksim Square (city center) from the international and domestic terminals every 30 mins. from 5:00 am to 11:30 pm.  Tickets cost approximately US$4.00. If going to Sultanahmet, get out at the Yenikapi stop and board the train from the Yenikapi station nearby east to the Cankurtaran station (about US$0.50).

Taxis from the airport to Sultanahmet (about 20 minutes away) average about US$10-12.  Taxis (yellow in color) are numerous in all Turkish cities.  The fare shown on the meter reads according to the distance travelled. 

The “Dolmuş” is a collective taxi which follows specific routes and is recognizable by its yellow band.  Each passenger pays according to the distance travelled and can get off at specific stops.  The “Dolmuş“ provides a service within large cities to suburbs, airports and often to neighbouring towns, and is less expensive than taxis.

 

Most of Istanbul's main tourist attractions are located in the Sultanahmet district and there is a good range of accommodations in this area.  When you need to take public transit it is advisable to avoid the rush hours.

Istanbul's transit system is made up of buses, dolmuş, ferries, the metro system, taxis, and two tram lines. For detail information check;

-http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/go/Istanbul/Transport/index.html

DRIVING: Turkish road signs conform to the International Protocol on Road Signs; the highway signs are blue.  Signs for toll roads that have been constructed in the west of the country have a green background; the roads are very good and the fee range is US$0.50-2.00. Tourist sites (archeological and historical) are indicated by yellow signs.

Driving is on the right. Driving would not be recommended in Istanbul due to traffic congestion and lack of parking.  However, out of the city traffic is lighter and driving does give you an opportunity to see as much of the country as possible.  That being said, it is necessary to drive defensively as the general road quality and driving standards are not quite the same as in western countries.  While not mandatory (a valid driver’s license is accepted), international driving licenses are recommended and are available from the USA.

 

5- TIME:  Turkish standard time is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time; one hour ahead of Central European Time and seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

6- LANGUAGE:  Turkish is the official language.  English, German and some French is spoken by many hotel & restaurant staff and staff at major sights of interest in the tourist areas of western Turkey

7- VOLTAGE:  220V, 50Hz; the European round two-prong plug is used.

8- WATER:  The tap water is chlorinated but it is recommended to drink bottled water.

9- MONEY:

Currency(TL): Turkish Lira (on 1 January 2005, the old Turkish lira (TRL) was converted to new Turkish lira (TRY) at a rate of 1,000,000 old to 1 new Turkish lira; on 1 January 2009, the Turkish government dropped the word "new" and the currency is now called simply the Turkish Lira)

Currency converter:  www.xe.com/ucc/

Bank Notes – Turkish Lira:  5, 10, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1.000 

To obtain a better rate than that offered by home country exchange services it is best to change currency (cash/travellers cheques) into Turkish liras upon arrival in
Turkey.

Due to currency fluctuations, change only enough hard currency to Turkish liras to last you for the immediate future.  Currency exchange desks and ATMs are located at air, road and sea entry points. 

Cash:  U.S. dollars are widely used and an easy currency to change. They are often accepted as payment without being changed. Other currencies can also be changed to Turkish liras, but it is generally recommended to carry U.S. dollars. You will usually need to show your passport when changing cash.  The currency exchange bureaus generally do not charge a commission for changing currency to Turkish liras.

Credit cards:  Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are accepted in many shops, hotels and restaurants; it is a good idea to check first. Credit card companies provide the location of ATMs worldwide on their websites.  If travelling in remote/rural areas it is advisable to carry some cash as credit card use would not be an option at these locations.

ATMS:  All the large Turkish banks have ATMs. They are a convenient method for obtaining Turkish liras and are located in cities, towns and resort areas.  The banks are affiliated to both the Visa/Plus and MasterCard/Cirrus systems so money can be withdrawn using most foreign cards, including most debit cards (the Plus or Cirrus system symbol should be on the back of your credit card).

Debit (cash) card use:  this is a quick and economical way of obtaining Turkish liras. Use ATMs that have the Plus or Cirrus system logos shown on the machines. N.B. There will be a fee per transaction, taken directly from your home account. 

Credit card (cash advance):  the maximum cash advance withdrawal is equal to about US$250 per day.  N.B.  interest on the cash advance (and a fee) will be charged from the day the ATM is used until the date the credit card statement is paid.

Travelers cheques:  It is recommended to change travelers cheques at the large banks, notably Iş Bankasi branches.  It is sometimes necessary to politely but firmly urge them to do the transaction.  You will need to show your passport.  Most banks charge a commission for changing cheques.  [In some cases there may be charge.] Obtain a receipt. N.B. The currency exchange bureaus may not change travelers cheques.

The large, main post offices situated in major cities (Istanbul and Ankara) will ordinarily cash travelers cheques. You will need to show your passport.  It is recommended to carry out the transaction before 4:00 pm.

Retain your currency exchange receipts in order to change your Turkish lira back into foreign currency before you leave the country.

GENERAL INFORMATION ON TURKEY

Background: Modern Turkey was founded in 1923 from the Anatolian remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire by national hero Mustafa KEMAL, who was later honored with the title Ataturk or "Father of the Turks." Under his authoritarian leadership, the country adopted wide-ranging social, legal, and political reforms.

Location: Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia (that portion of Turkey west of the Bosporus is geographically part of Europe), bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Syria

Area: total: 783,562 sq km( land: 769,632 sq km, water: 13,930 sq km)

Area - comparative: slightly larger than Texas

Land boundaries: total: 2,648 km border countries: Armenia 268 km, Azerbaijan 9 km, Bulgaria 240 km, Georgia 252 km, Greece 206 km, Iran 499 km, Iraq 352 km, Syria 822 km

Coastline: 7,200 km

Climate: temperate; hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters; harsher in interior

Terrain: high central plateau (Anatolia); narrow coastal plain; several mountain ranges

Geography-note: strategic location controlling the Turkish Straits (Bosporus, Sea of Marmara, Dardanelles) that link Black and Aegean Seas; Mount Ararat, the legendary landing place of Noah's ark, is in the far eastern portion of the country

Population: 76,805,524 (July 2009 est.)

Nationality: noun: Turk(s), adjective: Turkish

Religions: Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews)

Languages: Turkish (official), English is widely spoken

Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Turkey conventional short form: Turkey

Government type: republican parliamentary democracy

Capital: Ankara

Telephone system: international: country code – 90

Agriculture - products: tobacco, cotton, grain, olives, sugar beets, hazelnuts, pulse, citrus; livestock

Industries: tourism, textiles, food processing, autos, electronics, mining (coal, chromite, copper, boron), steel, petroleum, construction, lumber, paper

Economy - overview: Turkey's dynamic economy is a complex mix of modern industry and commerce along with a traditional agriculture sector that still accounts for about 30% of employment. It has a strong and rapidly growing private sector, yet the state remains a major participant in basic industry, banking, transport, and communication. The largest industrial sector is textiles and clothing, which accounts for one-third of industrial employment; it faces stiff competition in international markets with the end of the global quota system