Local laws and customs

Smoking is prohibited on public transport and in all indoor workplaces and public places. Smoking is restricted in some outdoor areas where cultural, artistic, sports or entertainment activities are held.

Turkey has strict laws against the use, possession or trafficking of illegal drugs. If you are convicted of any of these offences, you can expect to receive a heavy fine or a prison sentence of 4 to 24 years.

The possession, sale and export of antiquities is against the law and carries a prison sentence of 5 to 12 years as well as a substantial fine. Some historical items found at local markets and in antique shops can be sold within Turkey but are illegal to export. You should confirm the legal requirements before considering a purchase or returning home with an antique/historical item.

Dress modestly if you’re visiting a mosque or a religious shrine to avoid offence.

It’s illegal not to carry some form of photographic ID in Turkey. Make sure you carry your passport and a printed copy of your e-visa or your residence permit with you at all times.

Don’t take photographs near military or official installations. Ask for permission before photographing people.

Homosexuality is legal in Turkey. However, many parts of Turkey are socially conservative and public displays of affection may lead to unwelcome attention. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

It’s an offence to insult the Turkish nation or the national flag, or to deface or tear up currency. If you’re convicted of any of these offences you could face a prison sentence of between 6 months and 3 years.