Dial 112 for an ambulance to arrive anywhere, from any phone, free of charge. In case of fire, dial 110; for the police, dial 155. In rural areas, however, there is no police coverage, so dial 156 for the gendarmerie, a military unit for rural security. All these numbers are free and can be called from a phone box without inserting a phone card, or from any phone, including mobile phones.
Although they are not as widespread as they used to be, perhaps due to the widespread use of mobile phones, which are used by virtually the entire population of the country, payphones can still be found on the sides of central squares and main streets in cities and near post offices (PTTs), especially on their outer walls. With the abolition of the old magnetic cards, public telephones now work with telecom smart cards, which are available in 30, 60 or 120 pieces and can be purchased at post offices, newsstands and tobacconists. (However, it is possible to call emergency numbers from these phones without a card or anything else). You can also use your credit card on these phones, although it may not work immediately. All kiosk phones have instructions and menus in Turkish and English, and many also in German and French.
Some kiosks and shops also have telephones where you can pay cash after the call. To find them, look for the signs kontürlü telefon. However, these phones are more expensive than the ones at the kiosk.
It is estimated that about 98% of the Turkish population lives in the coverage areas of the three Turkish mobile operators. Line providers in most countries have roaming agreements with one or more of these companies.
Prepaid mobile phone SIM cards can be purchased for around TRY 20-50. They can be purchased on arrival at the airport or at the many outlets in Istanbul and other major cities. Vodaphone is one of the suppliers.
Here is a short list of telephone codes for some major cities and towns of tourist importance:
- 212 – European side of Istanbul
- 216 – The Asian Side of Istanbul and the Princes’ Islands
- 224-Bursa, and Uludağ
- 232-Izmir, and Çeşme
- 242-Antalya, Alanya, Kemer and Kaş
- 252-Muğla, Bodrum, Marmaris and Fethiye
- 256-Aydın, and Kuşadası
- 258-Denizli, and Pamukkale
- 286-Çanakkale, and Gallipoli
- 384-Nevşehir and most of Cappadocia (although a few well-known Cappadocian towns belonging to Aksaray province have 382 as their area code).
Dial 0 before the telephone area code for long-distance calls.
Numbers starting with 0800 are free of charge, while those starting with 0900 are high tariff services. 7-digit numbers starting with 444 (mainly used by businesses) are charged as local calls, regardless of where in Turkey they are dialled.
Dial 00 before the country code for international calls from Turkey. For calls to Turkey, the international country code must precede the area code and the number is 90.
Post offices can be recognised by their yellow and black PTT signs. Letters and cards should be taken to a post office, as street mailboxes are rare (and there is no guarantee that they will be emptied even if you spot one). Nevertheless, the Turkish Post Office (PTT) prints very nice stamps. Postage for cards and letters is TRY 0.80 for domestic mail and TRY 1.10 (about €0.55) for international mail to most countries, although it can be slightly higher (up to TRY 1.35) for more distant countries; PTT website for current rates. Main city post offices are open from 8.30am to 8.30pm; city post offices and smaller town post offices are usually open from 8.30am to 5.30pm.
Letters from the post office/general delivery service should be sent to an address in the format : full official name of the addressee (as the addressee will be asked for an identity card, passport or other document proving that he/she is the correct addressee) + POST OFFICE + name of the quarter/district if there are several post offices in a city, or name of the city where the post office is located + postcode (if known, not compulsory, usually found at the entrance or on the inside walls of the post office itself) + name of the province where the quarter/district of the post office is located. The recipient must pay TRY 0.50 upon receipt of the item.
Although they are not as widespread as they were in the last decade, as more and more Turkish households have DSL connections, internet cafés or cybercafés are still present in reasonable numbers in towns and villages. In fact, every big city has at least one. All have good DSL connections and the price of the connection is about TRY 1.50/hour. Most, if not all, of these internet cafes also have CD burners available for an additional fee. Free wireless connections are available in some airports, hotels and restaurants/cafés (especially in the big cities). Some websites are blocked by court order – although most internet cafes get around these blocks by tricking proxy settings.
Information on telecommunication services can be found on the following websites: TTNET, DSL Internet Service Provider [www] Turkcell, the largest mobile operator also offers 3G Internet [www] Vodafone, the mobile operator also offers 3G Internet [www] Avea, the mobile operator also offers 3G Internet [www].
Wi – Fi
Hotel: Each hotel has its own wifi. Some hotels have problems with their network configuration or connection due to their historical location, but at least you have free wifi in your hotel. You only need to learn the wifi password to access the internet.
All cafés, bistros and restaurants share their internet with their customers. Even small restaurants now have internet access. The stability and speed depends on where you are and what kind of café, bistro or restaurant you are in. Starbucks, Nero etc. usually have a stable wifi connection unless there are a lot of people around. If you are in a Starbucks, simply connect your device (the SSID must be TTNET or DorukNet, AND if you are in Nero DorukNet) and enter some basic verification information to fill in. After that, you’re good to go. And if you are in another restaurant or café, just ask your server to give you an SSID and password and you are good to go.
Centre and public spaces :
The Istanbul Municipality recently announced that free public wifi will be available in most city centres and public squares. All you need to do (if you are near one of these centres, of course) is to log on via your mobile phone and you will receive an access password.
Wi-Fi on the move:
You can rent a mobile wifi hotspot during your stay in Turkey. It works on the basis of a 3G connection throughout the country and you can connect up to 10 devices at the same time. These handheld devices can be easily booked online. Many international companies rent mobile hotspots, but it is usually two local companies that operate them: