Study in Turkey

    Geography and Location


    Turkey is at the northeast end of the Mediterranean Sea in southeast Europe and southwest Asia. To the north is the Black Sea and to the west is the Aegean Sea. Its neighbors are Greece and Bulgaria to the west, Russia, Ukraine, and Romania to the north and northwest (through the Black Sea), Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran to the east, and Syria and Iraq to the south. The Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara, and the Bosporus divide the country. Turkey in Europe comprises an area about equal to the state of Massachusetts. Turkey in Asia is about the size of Texas. Its center is a treeless plateau rimmed by mountains.

    Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a contiguous transcontinental parliamentary republic largely located in Western Asia with the portion of Eastern Thrace in Southeastern Europe.

    History and Population

    Anatolia (Turkey in Asia) was occupied in about 1900 B.C. by the Indo-European Hittites and, after the Hittite empire’s collapse in 1200 B.C., by Phrygians and Lydians. The Persian Empire occupied the area in the 6th century B.C., giving way to the Roman Empire, then later the Byzantine Empire. The Ottoman Turks first appeared in the early 13th century, subjugating Turkish and Mongol bands pressing against the eastern borders of Byzantium and making the Christian Balkan states their vassals. They gradually spread through the Near East and Balkans, capturing Constantinople in 1453 and storming the gates of Vienna two centuries later. At its height, the Ottoman Empire stretched from the Persian Gulf to western Algeria. Lasting for 600 years, the Ottoman Empire was not only one of the most powerful empires in the history of the Mediterranean region, but it generated a great cultural outpouring of Islamic art, architecture, and literature.

    After the reign of Sultan Süleyman I the Magnificent (1494–1566), the Ottoman Empire began to decline politically, administratively, and economically. By the 18th century, Russia was seeking to establish itself as the protector of Christians in Turkey’s Balkan territories. Russian ambitions were checked by Britain and France in the Crimean War (1854–1856), but the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) gave Bulgaria virtual independence and Romania and Serbia liberation from their nominal allegiance to the sultan. Turkish weakness stimulated a revolt of young liberals known as the Young Turks in 1909. They forced Sultan Abdul Hamid to grant a constitution and install a liberal government. However, reforms were no barrier to further defeats in a war with Italy (1911–1912) and the Balkan Wars (1912–1913). Turkey sided with Germany in World War I, and, as a result, lost territory at the conclusion of the war.

    A New Republic and President

    Turkey’s current boundaries were drawn in 1923 at the Conference of Lausanne, and Turkey became a republic with Kemal Atatürk as the first president. The Ottoman sultanate and caliphate were abolished, and modernization, reform, and industrialization began under Atatürk’s direction. He secularized Turkish society, reducing Islam’s dominant role and replacing Arabic with the Latin alphabet for writing the Turkish language. After Atatürk’s death in 1938, parliamentary government and a multiparty system gradually took root in Turkey, despite periods of instability and brief intervals of military rule. Neutral during most of World War II, Turkey, on Feb. 23, 1945, declared war on Germany and Japan, but it took no active part in the conflict. Turkey became a full member of NATO in 1952, was a signatory in the Balkan Entente (1953), joined the Baghdad Pact (1955; later CENTO), joined the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) and the Council of Europe, and became an associate member of the European Common Market in 1963.

    Turkey invaded Cyprus by sea and air on July 20, 1974, following the failure of diplomatic efforts to resolve conflicts between Turkish and Greek Cypriots. Turkey unilaterally announced a cease-fire on Aug. 16, after having gained control of 40% of the island. Turkish Cypriots established their own state in the north on Feb. 13, 1975. In July 1975, after a 30-day warning, Turkey took control of all the U.S. installations except the joint defense base at Incirlik, which it reserved for “NATO tasks alone.”

    The establishment of military government in Sept. 1980 stopped the slide toward anarchy and brought some improvement in the economy. A constituent assembly, consisting of the six-member national security council and members appointed by them, drafted a new constitution that was approved by an overwhelming (91.5%) majority of the voters in a Nov. 6, 1982, referendum. Martial law was gradually lifted. The military, however, effectively continues to control the country.

    Turkey: Total population from 2004 to 2014 (in million inhabitants) The statistic shows the total population of Turkey from 2004 to 2014. In 2012, the total population of Turkey amounted to about 74.9 million people

    Society and Culture

    The culture of Turkey combines a heavily diverse and heterogeneous set of elements that have been derived from the various cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean (West Asian) region and to a lesser degree, Southeastern European, Caucasian, and Central Asian traditions. Many of these traditions were initially brought together by the Ottoman Empire, a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state. The present-day Republic of Turkey, which was declared in 1923 after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, is still a transcontinental country that spans Europe and Asia.

    During the early years of the republic, the government invested a large amount of resources into fine arts such as paintings, sculpture and architecture. This was done as both a process of modernization and of creating a cultural identity. Because of the different historical factors defining the Turkish identity, the culture of Turkey combines clear efforts of modernization and Westernization undertaken in varying degrees since the 1700s, with a simultaneous desire to maintain traditional religious and historical values.

    The Open Society Foundation–Turkey has worked since 2001 to create a more open society marked by increasing democratization and responsiveness to human rights.  The foundation pursues many of its activities by offering grants to projects that focus on the foundation’s priority issues such as Turkey’s EU membership, political reform, gender, education, regional disparities, disadvantaged groups, and civil society.

    Our activities in Turkey aim to create a society in which a diverse range of groups share ideas and contribute to the development and implementation of public services and cultural activities. The foundation brings groups together to recognize problems and develop solutions through discussion and negotiation. We contribute to this dialogue and problem solving process through strong advocacy and promotion of freedom of expression and freedom of the press. We have also been a key supporter of efforts to increase access to education and political mobilization among minority groups


    Turkey’s economic freedom score is 63.2, making its economy the 70th freest in the 2015 Index. Its score has decreased by 1.7 points since last year, with declines in five of the 10 economic freedoms, including labor freedom, business freedom, the control of government spending, and property rights, outweighing improvements in freedom from corruption and investment freedom. Turkey is ranked 32nd out of 43 countries in the Europe region, and its overall score is higher than the world average.

    Turkey’s economic freedom score has declined by 1.0 point since 2011. A 26-point decline in the management of government spending has offset a double-digit gain in financial freedom. Scores for five other economic freedoms, including business freedom and property rights, have also dropped.

    Turkey’s commitment to economic freedom is vital given its position as an important emerging market. Its economic freedom rests on relatively stable but fragile foundations. The judiciary is subject to government influence, and corruption charges have reached high-level officials close to the government. While the economy is open and boasts a burgeoning manufacturing sector, regulatory inefficiencies and a rigid labor market hinder business formation and full employment, undermining more vibrant private-sector gr


    Turkey takes place in a framework of a secular parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Turkey is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. The President of Turkey is the head of state who holds a largely ceremonial role but with substantial reserve powers.

    Turkey’s political system is based on a separation of powers. Executive power is exercised by the Council of Ministers. Legislative power is vested in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Changes to the constitution are not expected as discussions have deadlocked.

    Living Conditions and Cost of Living

    Tuition fees of Turkish teaching institutions are determined at the beginning of every year. These where the annual amounts of 2003-04: (for more exact figures it is best to contact the university where you plan to apply)


    • State Universities where classes are taught in English:
    • Turkish students: US $ 150 - 500
    • International students: US $ 450 - 1500
    • State Universities where classes are taught in English:
    • Turkish students: US $ 200 - 300
    • International students: US $ 600 - 900
    • Estimated cost of living in Turkey
    • An international student in Turkey will spend an average amount of 400 to 500 USD dollars a month in terms of accommodation, food, clothing, entertainment, transportation and television costs. Books and academic fees are approximately 100 to 150 USD. However this figure is also influenced by degree of study, location and lifestyle. The general cost per semester are tabulated as follows
    • Housing- 1500 USD to 2500 USD
    • Food and meals- 1,100 USD
    • Transportation- 300 USD
    • Books- 150 USD

    An average international student in Turkey will spend about 400-500 USD a month on accommodation, food, clothing, entertainment, transportation and telephone costs. Books and administrative fees are approximately 100-150 USD per semester.

    Education System

    Turkish education system is under the supervision and control of the state, namely the Ministry of National Education. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, everyone has the right to receive education. Education is compulsory from ages 6 to 14 and free in state schools. The country’s primary schools currently have a 98 percent participation rate.

    The academic year in Turkish education institutions generally begins in the mid-September or early October and continues to May or early June. There is also a two-week winter break in February.

    Stages of the Education System

    Pre-School Education: Optional kindergarten education, up to 6 years of age.
    Primary Education: Compulsory and free basic education for eight years (5 years elementary + 3 years secondary), 6-14 years of age.
    Secondary Education: 4 years of High School (Lise), or Vocational High School education, 15-17/18 years of age. Some schools might have an additional year of language study. High schools are mostly owned by the government and provide free education.
    Higher Education: 4 years of University, or 2 years at Higher Vocational Schools. Some schools have an additional year of language study. Under normal circumstances, Master’s study lasts 2 years; PhD 3-5 years. This category includes all educational institutions which will provide post-secondary education. They are under the supervision of Higher Educational Council (YOK).

    Types of High Schools

    Public High Schools (“Normal Liseler” or “Duz Liseler”): Any student who successfully completes 8 years of basic education can go onto these schools. Graduates of public high schools, if successful in the nationwide University Entrance Examination (ÖSS), can go onto higher education institutions. Graduates are awarded with the Lise Diploması.

    Vocational High Schools (Meslek Liseleri): Some of these schools may take an additional year to complete. Graduates can automatically go on to higher vocational schools (Meslek Yüksek Okulları – 2 Year Vocational Colleges) in their respective fields of study if they wish. Alternatively, if successful in the university entrance examination, they can go onto 4-year schools in their respective fields.

    Anatolian High Schools (Anadolu Liseleri): One year of English study followed by 3 years of regular high school education, additional hours for English. Math and Science lessons at these schools are sometimes taught in English. Lessons at some Anatolian high schools are taught in either German or French.

    Super High Schools (Super Liseler): The difference between these and normal high schools is one extra year of English study. They differ from Anatolian high schools in that the language of instruction for math and science courses is always Turkish and less hours are given to English lessons.

    Science High Schools (Fen Liseleri): These are special public schools for students who have exceptional aptitude in the sciences. These very competitive high schools train students specifically for higher education in the sciences, technical and medical fields. There is also Anatolian Science High Schools (Anadolu Fen Liseleri), where the medium of instruction for math and sciences is sometimes in English.

    Private High Schools (Ozel Liseler): Most private high schools charge very high tuition fees and are very competitive.

    Types of Higher Education Institutions

    State Universities (Devlet Universiteleri): The university system in Turkey is governed by the Higher Educational Council (YOK). Turkey has 104 state and 62 private universities (a total of 166 institutions of higher learning), 5 of which are located in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Apart from the public and private universities, 8 foundation higher vocational schools serve the job market.

    Generally, undergraduate education takes 4 years at universities, but some fields such as medicine (6 years), dentistry (5 years), and veterinary science (5 years) take longer. Turkish high school graduates go directly into fields of study such as medicine, law, dentistry and so on. No tuition fee is charged at public schools (devlet universitesi); students pay only a small basic fee. Students need to pass a nationwide University Entrance Exam (OSS) to enter a university. The graduates of 4-year programs are awarded with the Bachelor’s Degree (Lisans Diplomasi).

    The medium of instruction at some state universities is English, German or French. Therefore, all correspondence with the university staff and applications to the faculties can be done in English, German or French. However, instruction language at state universities is mostly Turkish. When entering the exam of the university, the knowledge of Turkish is not necessary. Those who pass the exams, and have only a little knowledge of Turkish, are considered to take one year of language foundation to gain proficiency in the Turkish language.

    Graduate-level programs consist of master and doctoral programs, coordinated by institutes in universities. Medical specialty programs are carried out within the faculties of medicine and the training hospitals owned by the Ministry of Health and the Social Security Institute (SGK).

    Higher Vocational Schools (Meslek Yuksek Okulları): They offer 2 years of undergraduate study after high school and are very much like the community colleges in the USA. The only difference is that students cannot easily transfer to 4-year schools in the USA due to fewer places at the 4-year schools. Two year graduates must take the national Vertical Transfer Test (Dikey Gecis Sinavi) and have a high GPA to be able to apply to 4-year schools. The graduates of 2-year programs are awarded with the Associate’s or Pre-Bachelor’s Degree (On Lisans Diplomasi).

    Private or Foundation Universities (Ozel / Vakif Universiteleri): In Turkey, private foundations obtained the right in 1984 to establish and develop universities. They were established with the fundamental aim of creating a centre of excellence in higher education and research. Private universities take more active initiatives to form and to select international and global educational and research networks.

    The medium of instruction in most private universities is English. Almost all have one year of English study for those whose level of English is not found to be proficient upon entrance.

    Private universities charge tuition fee ranging from USD 6,000-20,000. Although private institutions, they offer considerable financial aid; more than 40% of all students receive some sort of financial aid.
    To find out more about Turkish Education system please visit;

    Important Information for International Students

    Newly admitted undergraduate or graduate students are to obtain their student visas by presenting their acceptance letters to the nearest Turkish Embassy. A student visa is usually valid for one month. Therefore, these students must register to the University within one month after their entry to Turkey.

     To get a student visa, you need an acceptance letter, a passport valid for a long term, proof of sufficient financial resources for the period of your education in Turkey (bank statement, scholarship document, etc.) and the visa fee. Consulates may require additional documents.


    Within three weeks after registration to University, students are to obtain a “Residence Permit Information Form” in a sealed envelope from the International Students’ Office. In order to get a residence permit, students should submit the following documents to the Turkish National Police/ Foreigners Unit (Emniyet Müdürlüğü/Yabancılar Şubesi):
    The Residence Permit Information Form
    A valid long-term passport and the student visa
    Proof of sufficient financial resources during education (bank account, scholarship etc.)
    The fee for Residence Permit
    Additional possible documents
    The International Students’ Office provides a Residence Permit Application Form and Residence Permit Information Form only to newly admitted international students. Students who are continuing their education may obtain the form from the Registrar’s Office web page ( and after filling it out, submit it to the departmental advisor in the Registrar’s Office.
    In return for the completed form, the student is issued a Residence Permit Information Form in a sealed envelope to be submitted to the Turkish National Police/ Foreigners Unit (Ankara Emniyet Müdürlüğü/ Yabancılar Şube Müdürlüğü).  The Police prepares a one-year residence permit for English Preparatory Class students. A residence permit valid through their education is drawn up for other students. Therefore students repeating the English Preparatory Class and those unable to complete their education in the normal duration must extend their residence permit.
    Nevertheless, every student has to fill out a Residence Permit Application Form at the beginning of each academic year and submit their Residence Permit Information Form to the Police.
    You do not need to obtain a visa to enter Turkey during the period your residence permit is valid. To illustrate, upon returning to Turkey from a visit to your country during a semester break, you may present your residence permit.
    Students whose residence permit has expired must extend it within maximum 15 days or leave Turkey.

    A student who has been “on leave” for less than a year can re-enter Turkey with a tourist visa and renew registration. However, if the “on leave” period exceeds one year, they must obtain a student visa for renewing their registration (Such students cannot enter Turkey with a residence permit since it will have been cancelled.).
    The list of students who are not registered, have graduated, have left with their own will or are on leave (have frozen the semester), or have withdrawn their registration  is sent to the Turkish National Police/ Foreigners Unit and their residence permits are invalidated. Therefore, such students are either to leave the country, or to apply for a new residence permit by paying the fee within 15 days.
    In case of an address change, they should inform the police within 48 hours.
    There should be no erasures or scrapes on the residence permit. In case of loss, the Turkish National Police/ Foreigners Unit should immediately be notified.
    Legal action is taken against students who do not follow the procedures explained above.
    This residence permit is issued for educational purposes. Students who wish to work may do so by obtaining a work permit. However, for undergraduate students, the right to work commences after their first year of education and may not be more than twenty four hours a week. This residence permit does not make the parents and other relatives of the student eligible for a residence permit.
    We would like to remind you that it is your responsibility to be aware of and act according to these rules and regulations. Please pay attention to these in order to avoid any serious legal problems and financial penalties in the future.
    NB: The Directorate of Turkish National Police, Ankara is on Konya Highway İskitler / Yeni Mahalle  (Next to Anka Mall-Migros, you may take the Ulus shuttle to get there.)


    Every foreign resident, just like any Turkish citizen, has an identity number issued by the Turkish Republic. This number is also used in METU’s Student Affairs Information System (SAIS). METU SAIS requires this number when
    learning your grades at the end of the semester, requesting student certificates, you graduate.

    In other words, students who do not have this number will not be able to learn their grades, get student certificates or graduate. For this reason, those who have not submitted their Foreign National Identity numbers previously, need to submit the number to the advisor who is responsible for their program in the Registrar’s Office, visiting the Registrar’s Office (see for a list of advisors of Registrar’s Office,


    Make an inquiry by either entering your Residence Permit Number (İkamet Tezkere no.: the number on the first page of your Residence Permit, e.g. 1-112233), or your personal information.Upon your inquiry, you will be given an 11 digit number generally starting with 99 upon. Take a print-out of this inquiry and submit it to the advisor who is responsible for your department in Registrar’s Office.
    There is a possibility that the inquiry may not give you a number, which means that you have not been assigned this number yet. In this case, you will need to go to the Turkish National Police/ Foreigners Unit (Ankara Emniyet Müdürlüğü/ Yabancılar Şubesi) to learn your Foreign National Identity Number. Once you obtain the number, submit it to the Registrar’s Office as instructed in (3) above.
    WARNING: You must obtain your Foreign National Identity Number as soon as you get your residence permit so that you may benefit from the General Health Insurance services.


    The first resort for students regarding their health and psychological problems is the Health and Guidance Center (HGC). Students apply with their Student ID Card to the Patient Reception Desk. The student’s initial examination, tests and treatment are carried out at the HGC within capacity and in accordance with the regulations. In cases which call for further examination, tests and treatment, state and university or private hospitals are resorted to. There is a treatment fee as determined by the Council of Higher Education. This fee must be paid for each visit to a physician.


    Students who are covered by GHI may apply to state and university hospitals with their Foreign National Number as long as they have paid their premium. No payment is required at state and university hospitals. Therefore, it is recommended that all international students register for GHI. The patient share for medications is 20%. Coverage of expenses for eye glasses etc. is in accordance with the Directive for Health Applications (for example, a coverage of 45 TL for the frame + 11 TL for the glass is valid for 2013.)

    Students have to pay a balance if they choose to go to a private hospital. This balance may be different at each hospital. The patient share for medications is 20%.
    In order to register for GHI, international students must apply to the Social Security City Directorate or to the Social Security Center of the district in which the student resides within 3 months after they obtain their Foreign National Number from the Directorate of National Police in Ankara, where they obtained their residence permit. After registration at the Accounts Unit at the HGC, and once they deposit the GHI premium to the bank they become insured. Students have to pay this premium determined as the minimum amount annually as long as their education continues. This annual amount is about 500 TL. Every year there is an increment in the premium amount after January. Students are responsible for being aware of and pay this amount.

    The premium may be deposited in the relevant accounts at Vakıflar Bank, Ziraat Bank (both of which are on campus) and Halk Bank by stating the Foreign National Identity Number.

    Students who do not apply for the GHI within the 3-month legal period for application may not benefit from this right afterwards. Therefore students are strongly advised not to ignore this procedure.
    Students holding Turkey, Ministry of National Education-State, Ministry of National Education-Government, or Eastern Turkestan scholarships do not pay GHI premiums, but are insured within the scope of their scholarships.
    Exchange students and students of International Graduate Joint Degree Programs (except for GTSS students) do not pay GHI premiums.

    International students who have a valid health insurance in Turkey through their parents are to submit a document proving this to the Social Security City Directorate or to the Social Security Center of the district in which the student resides.

    You may get information about your premium debt from the HGC Accounts Unit (3rd Floor).

    How to become a GHI beneficiary in 5 steps:
    • Find out your Foreign National Identity Number. To learn your Foreign National Identity Number, please visit and make an inquiry. If you cannot learn your Foreign National Identity Number through this inquiry, please go to the Turkish National Police / Foreigners Unit (Emniyet/Yabancılar Şubesi) with your Residence Permit. Request your Foreign National Idendity Number.
    • Get 2 print-outs of the document indicating your name, surname, Foreign National Identity Number from the above Internet page.
    • Submit one copy of the print-out to the advisor in charge of your department at the Registrar’s Office (If you have already done this, there is no need for resubmittal.).
    • Submit the second copy of the print-out to the Social Security City Directorate or to the Social Security Center of the district in which you reside. You will be added to the system of the Social Security Institution.
    • Make your premium payment.

    NB: Contact information of Social Security City Directorate and Social Security Centers are sent through e-mail by International Students’ Office.


    You may use services like METU Mail, METU Online and enter the Student Affairs Information System with your METU user code and password. Your user code and password have been assigned to you by the Computer Desk/Center upon completion of your University registration. The format of your username and password is as below:

    Student Number: 1234567

    All international students are members of the International Students’ Communication e-mail group via their METU-Mail addresses. Therefore, you need to check your METU-Mail account regularly in order to be informed about important announcements and reminders for international students

    For admissions please complete & submit our online Pre-Assessment form
    and for further detail contact our office or email at