Did you know that you don’t need to leave your Turkcell phone with a friend or neighbour when you leave Turkey to ensure it still works when you arrive back?

Running a mobile phone in Turkey, even when just visiting for a short periods, is not only much cheaper than using your UK phone in extortionate roaming mode, but it also means your local resident friends will ring you more often.

But the problem with running a mobile phone in Turkey is that the credit, known as kontors, can be forfeited and the number deleted unless more credit is added from time to time.

The section below, an extract from a phone account, shows the various cut off periods for a phone that was recharged on 25 September 2009:

  • As of 25 September 2009 , your account is, active.
  • After 24.December.2009 you can still receive incoming calls but can not make any outgoing calls.
  • After 24.March.2010 you can not receive or make any calls.
  • After 23.April.2010 your account will be closed.

This has been a problem for infrequent visitors to Turkey as additional credits could only be added using the actual phone when it was connected to the Turkcell network in Turkey.

The way around this was to leave your phone, instructions and a kontor card with a friend or neighbour resident in Turkey for them to update at the right time. This usually isn’t a problem but, from time to time, things can go wrong and you come back to a dead phone and an embarrassed friend/neighbour.

But now you don’t need to bother your friends and neighbours as there’s a way to add credit yourself.

As long as you have an internet connection, a Turkcell phone and follow our step by step guide you’ll remain topped up and connected.

So what do you need to do?

1. Send a text containing the word ‘sifre’ to 2222. You will receive your numerical password as a text in a matter of minutes. YOU MUST BE IN TURKEY AND ON THE TURKCELL NETWORK TO DO THIS.

2. Go to this link http://www.turkcell.com.tr/en

3. On the page fill in the log in form as instructed including your password (‘Sifre’ in Turkish) from step 1 above.

4. You will now see, assuming you completed the form correctly, the ‘Welcome to the Online Services Centre’ page showing you have logged into your account.

5. Click on the ‘Counter Operations’ menu then ‘Counter Recharge’ and you can add new credit to your account using a credit card or a prepaid card. We have only tested the service using a prepaid card and cannot vouch for the credit card option.

We found the site fairly easy to use. Most of the pages are in English but some Turkish menu items have slipped in too that can catch you out.

It also offers many other great features such as a check of our current credit level, cut off dates, PIN and PUK number, change the Line Services language to English, barring of international calls and much more.

This is an updated version of our original article that was first published in 2008.


  1. I would like to topup my sim card from England . it doesn’t allow me . it asks for code *Sifre( . how do I get it from UK? can I ask a friend in Turkey to call from their simcard to 2222 and then I use the code?

  2. I have tried using this procedure (texting SIFRE to 2222) but when I go to the webpage as suggested above there is no option to key in the password!

    I would be much obliged if you could update the procedure and advise me when it has been done.