This guide was written by Francine Carrel, Assistant Editor of Guides.Global (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It was written on 2 February 2017. The law and practice in Turkey change all the time. Our guides are updated as frequently as possible - typically every three years - but may be out of date.
Our guides are prepared by professionals from many countries. They are, of necessity, both brief and general and can take no account of your personal circumstances. They are intended to be a good introduction to the subject BUT ARE NO SUBSTITUTE FOR PROPER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE, which our contributors will usually be happy to provide upon request.
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This guide is about the internet in Turkey: how many people are using it, how accessible it is, how to get a connection and how much it will cost.
The internet has become one of the most important considerations to the international person - not only for business people, but for anyone who wants to keep up with their current streaming and browsing habits. Many of us can no longer fathom a world without the web.
Turkey certainly does not have the best internet in the world, but it is far from unusable - and within the cities it can be speedy as well as affordable.
Some 58% of the population in Turkey used the internet in 2016 (80,274,604 people) up from 18.2% in 2006.
Turkey has a similar internet penetration level to Bulgaria and Romania. Topping the list is Iceland, with 100% internet penetration; at the bottom is Eritrea, with 1.1%.
According to Freedom House, Turkey faces obstacles when it comes to internet access: more investment in infrastructure is needed to increase penetration, especially in the eastern and southeastern regions of the country.
Freedom House lists Turkey as Partly Free, with a score of 58/100 (100 is the worst).
President Erdoğan and his party have been increasingly strict with online censorship, especially when it comes to social media. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube twice faced temporary bans in Turkey until they took down "sensitive content". In the first half of 2015, 92% of all court orders for Twitter to remove content came from Turkey. Many Turkish citizens have faced charges for criticising the government on Twitter.
A great many websites (over 80,000) have been outright banned in Turkey - often for political or social reasons.
Internet freedom is a complicated subject, especially in countries like Turkey, and I thorougly recommend you read Freedom House's full country report.
Nationwide average download speed (Akamai State of the Internet Q3 2015) : 6.2mbps (United States: 12.6mbps; China: 3.7mbps; Spain: 10.4mbps)
Nationwide average upload speed (testmy.net) : 3.5mbps
Your internet experience will hugely vary depending on where in Turkey you are living or working.
|City||Download speed (mbps)|
There are large areas of Turkey where mobile internet access is spotty or non-existent, but Turkey is a big country and so this is expected. You should be fine in the cities.
See this interactive map for an idea of which parts of the country are best served by which mobile data providers (click on Turkey then pick a provider to compare).
The three mobile providers in Turkey are:
ADSL connections are widely available in Turkey.
If you are moving into a house without an existing internet connection, you will need to ask Türk Telekom, or another provider, to install one.
The easiest way to do this is to drop into the provider's local office, taking your ID and proof of address with you. An engineer should come out to see you within a few days.
Contracts for internet are usually for 12 months, but can be shorter in some cases.
In the meantime, internet cafés are widespread and affordable.
Alternatively, use a dongle. These can be bought from mobile phone shops.
Some of Turkey's main broadband providers:
Turkey's largest internet provider, with 6.3 million subscribers in 2013. Part of Türk Telekom.
Offers fibre-optic broadband - currently in areas of 12 cities, but the company is expanding its coverage.
Each region has its own local providers, but set-up fees are often more expensive. Still, be sure to shop around.
You will pay between ₺50-₺70 (US$13-$18.50/ €12-€17/ £10.50-£14.50) for a download speed of 10mbps with unlimited usage. High-speed connections may cost considerably more.
What is your experience with the internet in Turkey? Email email@example.com to share your tips, advice and warnings with other people.
Turkey has acceptable internet penetration (with lots of room for improvement), a pretty dodgy record for internet freedom (though the internet is still very useable) and a decent amount of choice when it comes to providers.
|Turkey Country Guide
Essential facts and figures about Turkey
|Local Press & Other Media in Turkey
Freedom of press, newspapers, radio, television
|FREEDOM ON THE NET - Turkey
Freedom House's detailed report. Well worth a read.
I hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact me.Francine Carrel 2 February 2017
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