Cars in Turkey are seen as a luxury and the prices of vehicles, taxes and fuel does seem extortionate to most foreigners. The cost of an average second hand motor can be as much as 3 times the price you would expect to pay in the UK or Europe. Many foreigners originally think that they can bring their cars over from the UK and drive them permanently in Turkey – this is not usually the case. The government have strict rules in place regarding the import of foreign vehicles and, although it is possible to keep your UK car in Turkey for 6 months, it then has to leave the country for at least 6 months or you face paying hefty taxes and risk the car being taken and impounded. Many foreigners also believe they can receive tax-free savings on buying cars but, our research has led us to believe that this is not the case unless you fall into one of the specified categories (see below).
Bringing a car from Europe to Turkey
Bringing your car into Turkey – In most circumstances, Europe registered vehicles can be brought to Turkey for no longer than a 6 month period. The car should then be taken out of the country for at least another 6 months.
Blue-plate and tax free cars
We have come across exceptions to this rule with regards to those with a Turkish work permit issued by the Ministry of Labour, NATO staff, retired foreigners, diplomats and foreign press. In these cases it may be possible to either purchase a tax-free ‘blue-plate car’ or import your foreign owned car tax-free for use during your stay in Turkey. There are a number of laws and regulations surrounding this issue that are changing so please check with authorities if you believe you fall into one of the categories. We currently believe that these drivers can bring their foreign car, have it officially registered against their passport and permit providing they are the only drivers of the vehicle, and that they pay a touring tax (warranty to ensure that the car is returned to its country of origin when its touring visa has expired). These cars are often referred to as ‘blue plate cars’. If you do fall into this category do keep in mind that you may face difficulties when looking to sell your blue-plate car in Turkey as these cars can only be brought by others meeting the strict criteria.
Buying a Turkish car
For many ex-pats buying a Turkish car is only viable option. A foreigner with a valid license and residency should be able to buy a second hand or new Turkish car relatively easily from a dealership or privately. There are legalities and paperwork involved so, unless you have sufficient language skills, have a trusted Turkish speaker on hand to help out.
You can buy most makes and models of car in Turkey. The main dealerships tend to be in the larger towns and cities so travel to these for the best car prices. Do keep in mind that parts for fancy cars and those manufactured outside Turkey can be expensive and often difficult to find, most ex-pats choose to buy Fiats, Fords, Dacias and Renaults to keep running costs to a minimum.
Once you have found your car you need to register the paperwork legally into your name. If buying from a dealership, they should walk you through the process. If buying privately you need to get the paperwork transferred legally and notarised. A check should be done on the vehicle to ensure that there is no outstanding debt registered against it, and you also need to ensure the all compulsory government taxes and insurances are paid up to date.
Note: Laws in Turkey change frequently, this information was correct at the time it was published, please only take this information as advice and seek out correct information at the time.