Receiving Your Pension in Turkey

This guide was written by Burak Orkun, Managing Partner at Orkun & Orkun (info@orkunorkun.com) in collaboration with Guides.Global (office@guides.global).

It was written on 18 June 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 Our guides are updated as frequently as possible - typically every three years - but may be out of date.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.

The advice and opinions contained in the guides are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Guides.Global.

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When you live in Turkey there are no restrictions upon receiving any pension to which you might be entitled in another country. It is, in essence, treated just like any other income - although it is sometimes taxed at a lower rate than other income. The policy on this seems to change almost as often as the government!

Tax on foreign pensions in Turkey

At the moment (2017) it is simply taxed in the same way as any other income that you might have.

This applies equally to pensions paid by the government of another country and to private pensions - such as pensions from your former employment.

Tranferring your pension from "back home'

The main problem with receiving your pension income is that you will seldom be able to persuade your employer to go to the trouble of converting your pension into Turkish Lira and paying it directly into your Turkish bank account. Many will insist on paying it into an account in your own country.

Worse still, even if you can persuade the government or your former employer to convert your pension or pay it into your Turkish bank account, you will find that you will receive a lousy exchange rate.

foreign currenciesFor this reason, many people choose to retain an account ‘back home’ into which these payments are made. They will, in any case, probably go home from time to time and so can use the money to pay off their expenses when they do so without having the cost of first converting it into Turkish Lira and then back again.

On the hopeful assumption that your pension payments will exceed the amount of money you spend on your holidays, you can then arrange for the funds to be transferred from that account to your account in Turkey a certain number of times each year. Usually, it’s better to wait until the sum to be transferred is measured in thousands rather than hundreds because this will make it easier to use an FX company and you’re likely to get a much better rate from them. Some FX companies have special arrangements for transferring regular payments to a foreign destination and these can be very beneficial. You could, for example, commit to transferring (say) US$500 through them every month and they can set up systems to reduce the cost of this quite significantly.

Other considerations

When it comes to your pension income, you are likely to find that, from time to time, you will have to produce proof that you are still alive. It is, obviously, all too easy for someone to move abroad and then for payments to continue to be made for decades after they have died! This is usually done either by you reporting in person to the appropriate office in your home country when you are next there or by you submitting an official statement (in a form that they provide) to the effect that you are still alive and then having this statement witnessed by (for example) a Notary or your doctor - as required by the company in question.


Happily, this is a short and simple guide! The biggest thing to consider when drawing a foreign pension in Turkey is foreign exchange - which is the case in any country with a currency different to your own.

Other guides of interest

 Description Link 
Turkey Country Guide
Essential facts and figures about Turkey
Click to see this guide
Coming to Turkey to Retire
Visas and permits for retiring in Turkey
Click to see this guide

Readers' Comments


Further information?

I hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact me.

Burak Orkun

18 June 2017


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