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Religion. Although a secular country, over 80% of Turks are Muslim, and possibly half those practice their religion with prayer.
Alcohol is not commonly available outside tourist areas and towns.
Dress. Women dress very conservatively away from tourist areas and towns, and uncovered limbs will attract attention.
Toilets away from tourist areas are often squatters. Locals cleanse with water, using the left hand, then wash. Paper is supplied for drying, and should be put in a bin after use.
Visas E-visas must be obtained on line before entry. Limits on these are similar to EU arrangements - 90 days stay are premitted in any 180 day period, and visas cannot be renewed until 180 days have passed from the date of entry. A fee, which which varies by nationality is payable. Overstay, and you risk a fine. If date limitations don't match your cruising plans, obtain a residence permit (next).
Residence Permits. From 18th May 2015residence permits (and extensions to old permits) may also be applied for on line for many visiting nationalities. It's a simple three stage process conducted through https://e-ikamet.goc.gov.tr/ .
Boating regulations vary from time to time. Once you have entered, It is generally easy to base your boat in Turkey for up to 5 years, proving your right to cruise with a transit log. On sailing to another country, your transit log must be handed in, and if you return, you must apply for a new transit log.
VAT paid boats should remember they lose VAT paid status after 3 years outside the EU, or if they are bought or sold when outside the EU.
Entry. Fly the Q flag, and arrive at a port of entry. Your first call will be at the marina office, otherwise the Chamber of Shipping for the port (harbour office) to buy a Transit Log application form for the equivalent of US$30 (+commission). Papers asked for include:
The Routine. The routine to obtain the Transit log itself is to stamp the form in their various offices with the Health Authority, Passport Police, Customs Patrol and Harbourmaster in that order. A further fee of 40 Turkish lira (50 YTL for large boats) will be raised by the Chamber of Shipping. This routine often has to be performed by an agent for a fee of €50 or more. Some ports of entry allow personal application.
Your Transit log should indicate the scope of sailing you're likely to cover, and names of the crew. Crew changes should be recorded by the harbour where the change takes place. If you are expecting someone to sail with you fairly often, it's very convenient to add them to the crew list when you enter. Saves the cost of a later crew list amendment. Fire-arms will be sealed to prevent un-authorised use.
Leaving the Boat. If leaving the boat for wintering or a summer break, customs require the boat to be in a registered marina.
Owners. Yachts may only be sailed from a marina if one of the registered owners (maximum four) is aboard. An owner may authorise (by a notarised and stamped document) a named crew to deliver the yacht to a specified port, where the owner himself must report the crew change to the Harbourmaster.
Diving is forbidden in a number of areas to protect archaeological treasures. Exporting these is forbidden; the penalty - yacht impounded.
Special Environmental Protection Areas have been defined near Goçek and near Antalya. In parts of these areas special regulations restricting anchoring and length of stay apply.
Boat Leaving Turkey. The Transit Log must be surrendered, and clearance obtained from Harbourmaster, Immigration and Customs in that order. Re-entry of the boat after clearing out requires a full entry routine and a new transit log. Greek port police will inspect passports if you sail to Greece, and if a Turkish visa entry date is not matched by an exit date, you may be asked to return to Turkey to exit correctly.
Log Validity. The log will be valid for 365 days, or until the boat leaves the country. It is renewable for up to five years while the yacht stays in Turkey, as long as it is sailed at least once every two years. Crew may leave the boat in Turkey. To avoid the risk of a fine, they should ensure the log is renewed before it expires. To avoid this risk, lay-up in bond is possible in licensed marinas for up to two years. Log renewal will then not be necessary.
Yacht Spares. Turkey is within the EU customs union, and goods may be brought in free of duty and VAT. There is no difficulty bringing large items (dinghies, outboards) in from the EU as accompanied baggage. Spares for yachts may be shipped in. However, tedious and expensive customs procedures often make expensive local purchase better value.
Holding Tanks. Discharge of 'black water' (sewage) is forbidden within Turkish waters (12nm off shore, 6nm or less on shores facing Greek islands). Also, boats without holding tanks are not permitted to enter certain specified environmental protection areas, such as parts of Fethiye bay. Holding tanks are therefore essential, even if not required by the law of the country of registration. 'Grey water' discharge (shower or washing up water) has also been defined as pollution, and is occasionally fined. Charter companies, whose boats rarely store grey water, advise their clients: "discharge shower and washing up water discreetly, and don't create bubbles, especially if showering on deck". Policing has been mainly through a local complaint being made to a harbour authority.
Fluid Waste Control - "Blue Cards". Systems for monitoring waste discharge are in force. Vessels must carry "Blue Cards" (cost 20TL). These have fluid waste pump-outs recorded on them. Marinas have pump out stations, and will insist you carry blue cards. They will often make a token "pump-out" entry on the card so that you have freedom to travel without difficulties.
Solid Waste. Nearly all harbours have large refuse bins near the quay, which are emptied every day. If in uninhabited places, carry your waste with you until you reach harbour. It may be necessary, on longer passages, to keep biodegradable waste separate and to dump it overboard when more than 12nm offshore.
Reviewed Feb 2016