Back in the early Noughties the dream of owning your own villa-with-a-pool abroad along with a low cost of living in Turkey was an attainable reality, but how are things shaping up as we head into the Teenies?
One reader contacted us highly frustrated about how costs and benefits are panning out causing him to question whether they need to re-think their retirement plan.
Phil and his wife adopted Turkey nearly six years ago, because they thought at that time it was a great place to live. They knew it would never feel like their ‘real’ home in the way the UK does, but life was good, and continued to be so for a number of years.
They made good Turkish friends easily and thought they were totally accepted. Well, this may be true locally but they do not feel it is the case nationally, in fact he wonders if the Turkish Government wants expats here?
Even though most of the settled foreigners that come to Turkey have their own independent income and do not require any benefits or handouts from the state, it seems that when we do need to turn to the authorities for help, we’re met with closed doors and a lack of access to definitive and correct information.
Back in the early 2000’s, banks were offering excellent rates of interest, and many people came over with large sums of money to place on deposit which would then meet their cost of living. Over the last few years those rates have been dropping like a stone, meaning people now have less to spend than they had before.
This would be fine if the cost of living was also falling (inflation) and the exchange rate keeping pace, but that is not the case.
Basics like the cost of meat and electricity have rocketed and our own Fethiye Times cost of living survey shows that costs have increased year on year since we started monitoring them back in 2006. Back then it was 40% cheaper when we compared our basket of costs between Turkey and the UK. That comparison in 2010 showed it was now just 13% cheaper.
Another disappointment Phil highlighted was with the residence permits.
When they arrived, Phil and his wife decided take up being a residence as they believed the benefits would help them in the long term. You need a residence permit to get the telephone in your own name and purchase a vehicle, and little else. He is also convinced that as foreigners they are subjected to different pricing structures than nationals, regardless of having residence.
Many of the settled foreigners have abandoned the expensive and bureaucratic residence permit in favour of the easier and cheaper three monthly ‘visa-run’.
Now Phil is seeing many of his friends and acquaintances sell up and move on, many back to the UK.
And with them they have inevitably taken the capital from their assets, the cash from the banks and all the future spends from the local Turkish economy.
So is Turkey still a viable choice for expats seeking a better retirement? Not according to Phil.