Local laws and customs
It’s illegal not to carry some form of photographic ID in Turkey. You should carry your passport and a printed copy of your e-visa (if applicable) or residence permit at all times. In some busy areas, especially Istanbul, the Turkish authorities may stop members of the public to conduct ID checks. There’s also a larger than usual number of police checkpoints on main roads across Turkey. You should co-operate with officials conducting checks.
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.
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. You should be aware that controls carried out by the Turkish authorities, including those that take place at airports, may include the examination of electronic devices.