Turkey is a transcontinental country, meaning it bridges Western Asia and Southeastern Europe. The Dardanelles, Sea of Marmara, and the Bosphorus (Bosporus) or the Strait of Istanbul are the bodies of water that separate the country’s Asian part and its European part. Only three percent of Turkey’s territory is in Europe. The rest are all in Asia.
As of 2020, Turkey’s population was 83.2 million.
Turkey’s Constitution declares Turkish as the country’s official language. Further, Section 42 of the country’s Constitution also states that educational institutions must only teach Turkish as the mother tongue of all citizens of Turkey.
The Ministry of Education included Kurdish in the academic program of basic schools in 2012. Schools offered the language as an optional class from the fifth grade. A year later, the Ministry of Education added Laz, Standard Georgian, Adyghe, and Abkhaz. In 2017, it offered Bosnian and Albanian. In 2017, it offered Arabic as a second language course starting from the second year of elementary school. Schools also offered English, French, and German as an elective like Arabic.
The country has about 15 mother tongues and a variety of immigrant and minority languages.
Among the younger generation, English is becoming popular. But their proficiency is poor because they lack exposure and practice. Do not expect the senior citizens to speak English. Likewise, do not expect to find English speakers outside of Izmir, Ankara, Istanbul, tourist areas and other major cities.
In some rural areas in Turkey, you will find people who speak French, Dutch, and German, thanks to migration. There are also some people who can speak Albanian, Bulgarian, and Serbo-Croatian.
Turkish translation of documents for visa application
Visa application to enter Turkey requires the submission of several documents, which depends on what type of visa you need.
After submitting the visa application form, start collecting the supporting documents you need. They may request visa applicants to have their documents in Turkish. All the supporting documents, including their translations, will need notarization. The translation and its authentication should come from a licensed translator. You should check with the Turkish embassy or consulate in your country where to go to have your papers notarized.
Complete all the requirements and bring them with you during your interview. The consulate or embassy will receive your supporting documents and send them to the General Directorate of Immigration Administration. A Turkish notary public, who is a government official, will check and authenticate your documents and notarize them. Only after notarization will your papers be considered as submitted to one of the country’s official departments.
After authentication and notarization, they will attach all your documents to your visa application.
Tests and quarantine requirements for entry into Turkey
Turkey stood out in Europe for not ordering a lockdown when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. The government allowed most of the businesses to remain open. It left the setting of guidelines for workers’ health and safety in the hands of the company owners.
As of April 5, 2021, the confirmed cases are at 3,487,050, with 3,412,789 recoveries and 32,263 confirmed deaths, according to the WHO website. The current active cases are now at 41,998.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation of Turkey issued a guide regarding flight restrictions for incoming flights, effective December 20, 2020. Passengers must follow the conditions.
Passengers arriving in Turkey must submit a negative PCR test, which should have been taken 72 hours before the passengers’ flight from their country of origin. The application of the rule is valid until April 14, 2021. The PCR test requirement applies to passengers from age six and above.
Since March 15, 2021, the government has required all international passengers (except for transit passengers and those who are under six years of age) to fill up the Turkey Entrance Form within 72 hours before their departure from their place of origin. The passengers must submit the form before they board their flight.
Every passenger must wear a mask inside the airport terminal and during their flight. They should also complete their passenger information form when they arrive in Turkey. All airline crew and passengers will be subject to a medical examination. They will perform tests on individuals showing symptoms of Covid-19 infection.
Since March 26, 2021, Turkey has suspended flights from Brazil, United Kingdom, Denmark and South Africa.
They will quarantine for 14 days all the international passengers coming to Turkey who have visited the aforementioned countries in the last 10 days. They will be sent to facilities determined by the official authorities. Passengers must submit a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before their flight to Turkey. The quarantined visitors will undergo another PCR test after 10 days of their quarantine. If the result is negative, they can leave the facility. This rule applies to all passengers from age six and over.
Turkey now imposes partial lockdowns and allows some events to go on. The transport system is operational, but restrictions apply. You can still go shopping because the shops are open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. You should follow the basic health protocols and avoid crowded places as much as possible. Restaurants and bars only serve delivery and takeout orders.
Aside from the partial lockdown, Turkey now imposes a Monday to Friday curfew from 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM. They extend the curfew on weekends in high-risk and very high-risk areas.
You need a Hayat Eve Sığar (HES) code before you enter various establishments. You can check with your hotel how to get an HES code.
Calling a qualified medical interpreter while in Turkey
As mentioned, you need travel medical insurance if you want to visit Turkey. You can inquire with your insurer if they have affiliated clinics or healthcare facilities in Turkey. Check if they have medical staff who speak English. Otherwise, it is prudent to check online and get their contact information or check with your hotel for recommendations. Keep a list of contact information in your bag or wallet, so you know who to call in an emergency.
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