The cost of living in Turkey
The cost of living in Turkey depends entirely upon how you choose to live. Living in Turkey as an ordinary Turkish person – consuming local brands, fresh meat and vegetables and being frugal with water and power – allows you to live cheaply. Living as a Westerner – making full use of air conditioning, running a large swimming pool, and consuming your favourite brands from back home – can prove very expensive.
The cost also depends upon where you live. The following prices are for Bodrum.
Note: prices and currency conversions were correct on 1st September 2017.
|Bread: standard loaf||TRY1.25 – £0.24/€0.27/US$0.33|
|Fresh fish: 1kg (Farm)||TRY25 – £5.50/€6.31/US$7.07|
|Milk: 1 litre carton||TRY2.65 – £0.58/€0.66/US$0.74|
|Coffee: 250g||TRY37 – £8.15/€9.34/US$10.47|
|Sugar: 1kg||TRY4.95 – £1.02/€1.15/US$1.36|
|Eggs: 6||TRY3 – £0.66/€0.75/US$0.84|
|Tomatoes: 1kg||TRY3 – £0.66/€0.75/US$0.84|
|Kellogg’s cornflakes: 500g||TRY6 – £1.32/€1.51/US$1.70|
|Local beer: 0.5litre bottle||TRY6.60 – £1.45/€1.67/US$1.87|
|Imported beer: 0.33litre bottle||TRY8.50 – £1.87/€2.15/US$2.81|
|Local wine: 75cl bottle||TRY30 – £6.61/€7.57/US$8.49|
|Champagne: Moet et Chandon 75cl||TRY285 – £58.90/€66.31/US$78.29|
|Bottled water: 1.5 litre||TRY1.40 – £0.30/€0.35/US$0.39|
|Imported cigarettes: 20||TRY12 – £2.64/€3.03/US$3.40|
|Soap powder: 3kg||TRY30 – £6.61/€7.57/US$8.49|
|Shampoo: 400ml||TRY12 – £2.64/€3.03/US$3.40|
|Toilet rolls: 12 pack||TRY19 – £4.18/€4.80/US$5.38|
|Washing up liquid: 675ml||TRY4.25 – £0.93/€1.07/US$1.20|
|Washing machine: Bosch||TRY1,200 – £264/€302/US$339|
|Washing machine: local brand (Arçelik)||TRY1,000 – £220/€252/US$283|
|TV set – Philips: 32in/81cm||TRY1,150 – £253/€290/US$325|
|TV set: local brand (Beko)||TRY1,150 – £253/€290/US$325|
|Jeans – adult: unbranded||TRY60 – £13.21/€15.14/US$16.98|
|Cotton socks – unbranded: 3 pairs||TRY13 – £2.86/€3.28/US$3.68|
|Pullover/sweater – wool – unbranded||TRY50 – £11.01/€12.62/US$14.15|
|Trainers – child’s – unbranded||TRY85 – £18.72/€21.45/US$24.05|
|Local small car – e.g. Fiat Panda||TRY57,900 – £11,029/€12,450/US$25,237|
|BMW 320 diesel or equivalent||TRY205,400 – £39,123/€44,172/US$54,052|
|Petrol: 1 litre||TRY5 – £1.10/€1.26/US$1.41|
|Diesel: 1 litre||TRY4.50 – £0.99/€1.14/US$1.27|
|Local newspaper||TRY1 – £0.22/€0.25/US$0.28|
|Mobile telephone (handset only -Samsung Galaxy A7)||TRY2,003 – £441/€505/US$566|
|Mobile phone contract per month (1,000 minutes, 4gb data)||TRY60 – £13.21/€15.14/US$16.98|
|Water bill – 1m3||TRY2.50 – £0.55/€0.63/US$0.70|
|Electricity – 1kw/hr||TRY0.41 – £0.09/€0.10/US$0.11|
There is still a diminishing tradition of buying food and other goods through small, specialist shops, but the big supermarkets have made large inroads into this. Companies like Migros (owned by Walmart) are everywhere and very popular as a result of their lower prices and greater range of products.
Late night shopping
Most shops are open from 10:00 until 20:00 in the summer and 10:00 to 18:00 in the winter but are closed on Sundays. Big shopping malls tend to be open 10:00-22:00, seven days a week.
Although Turkey is an Islamic country, it has plentiful bars. Most small villages have at least one. Bigger towns have dozens or hundreds. Despite this, there is no culture of drunkenness amongst Turks. The antics of some expats and many young tourists give rise to constant hostile comment in the press.
Bars are, typically, open from 10:00 until 00:00 with some in the tourist areas remaining open until 02:00 or 03:00.
Bars range from the simple rural meeting places for locals to sophisticated, internationally-themed establishments and nightclubs.
Local beer is cheap and very palatable. A 33cl bottle of Efes will cost you about TRY9 (£2/€2.2/US$2.5) in a bar.
Local and, to a lesser extent, imported wines are also available, though not in all bars. A large glass of local red wine will cost you about TRY15 (£3.10/€3.49/US$4.12) in a typical bar.
Local spirits are an acquired taste. Turkey is famous for its rakı, the equivalent of Greek ouzo. Its low price belies its explosive power. Consume with caution!
Imported drinks are expensive.
A bottle of Budweiser will cost about TRY20 (£4.13/€4.65/US$5.49) and a bottle of imported wine, in a bar or restaurant, will cost a minimum of about TRY130 (£26.87/€30.25/US$35.71). A Jack Daniels and Coke will cost you about TRY40 (£8.27/€9.31/US$10.99).
Turks, especially in the big cities, eat out a lot. It is part of their culture. Whether as couples, groups of friends, or entire family units, they fill most restaurants.
The places they don’t go are the tourist restaurants where they feel, with some justification, that the food is poor, and the price is high.
There is an expanding range of cuisine available in Turkey. From excellent (and traditional) local fish and meat restaurants to Italian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Brazilian and even Australian fusion, you will find your taste well catered to. Talk to your Turkish friends to find some great places to eat.
It’s worth bearing in mind that, when a Turk decides to go out for a meal, the first question is always whether you want to eat fish or meat. Depending upon the choice will be the restaurant. Many fish restaurants do not serve meat dishes and vice versa.
Restaurant prices, of course, vary enormously, but you can get a good, simple meal for two in a local restaurant for less than TRY90 (£20/€22/US$25) and a first-class meal for two in a fancy restaurant in Bodrum will cost about TRY300 (£66/€75/US$84), including wine.