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9th INSME Annual Meeting - 2013

Practical information


Currency and Money Exchange

Turkish Lira is available in the following denominations: Banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50 &100 TL Coins: 1, 5, 10, 25 & 50 Kuruş and 1 TL .

image001.jpgIt is possible to obtain Turkish Lira before travelling to Turkey or upon arrival as well. Exchange rates are usually slightly better in Turkey and all international airports have exchange facilities. Usually, cash can be exchanged without charging commission in exchange offices, banks or hotels. Please note that Scottish notes are not accepted in Turkey. Travellers' cheques can be exchanged in banks only. Cash point machines (ATM) are available in most areas, which accept major credit and debit cards and give instructions in English. It may be a good idea to inform your bank in advance that you are travelling to Turkey as some will automatically put a stop on cards after the first usage in an attempt to combat fraud. Exchange rates are published daily in Turkish newspapers. If you are planning to exchange currency back from TL before leaving the country, or are making a major purchase, which may need to be declared to customs, you will need to keep your transaction receipts in order to show that the currency has been legally exchanged.

For the actual rate, check daily announced indicative exchange rates online.

Banks and Credit Cards

On weekdays, banks are open at 8.30 or 9.00 in the morning, and close at 5.00 p.m. or 5.30 p.m. Most banks are closed for lunch between noon and 1.30 p.m.

Internationally-recognized credit cards (Visa, Mastercard) are generally accepted at most types of restaurants, stores, travel agencies, hotels.

Time Zone in İzmir

Turkey is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and seven hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Average Temperature in May

The climate of İzmir can be easily characterized by its lengthy, sunny summer months and mild, winter weather. Between June and August, temperatures in İzmir regularly exceed 30°C and can often top 35°C. However, the added humidity levels can make the climate feel even hotter.

The month of May is characterized by rapidly rising daily high temperatures, with daily highs increasing from 23°C to 28°C over the course of the month, exceeding 32°C or dropping below 18°C only one day in ten.

The current weather and a 5-day forecast in İzmir is available at the website of Turkish State Meteorological Service.

Public Holidays

Public holidays can be grouped in national and religious holidays. Here's the short list of public holidays when banks, offices and businesses are closed.

May 19 Atatürk'ü Anma Gençlik ve Spor Bayramı Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day August 30 Zafer Bayramı Victory Day October 29 Cumhuriyet Bayramı Republic Day August 7-10 Ramazan Bayramı Ramadan Feast October 14-18 Kurban Bayramı Sacrifice Feast

Year 2013 Local Name English Name
January 1 Yılbaşı New Year's Day
April 23 Ulusal Egemenlik ve Çocuk Bayramı National Sovereignty and Children's Day
May 1 Emek ve Dayanışma Günü Labour and Solidarity Day
May 19 Atatürk'ü Anma Gençlik ve Spor Bayramı Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day
August 30 Zafer Bayramı Victory Day
October 29 Cumhuriyet Bayramı Republic Day
August 7-10 Ramazan Bayramı Ramadan Feast
October 14-18 Kurban Bayramı Sacrifice Feast

Official Language

The official language is Turkish. English and German are widely spoken in major cities and tourist resorts, and you will find that most Turks welcome the opportunity to practice their language skills and will go out of their way to be helpful. Foreign visitors who attempt to speak even a few words of Turkish, however, will definitely be rewarded with even warmer smiles. It is not an easy language to learn, however, it does have one huge advantage in that it is completely phonetic and also grammatically logical. 

English Türkçe (Turkish)
Welcome Hoş geldin (sg) Hoş geldiniz (pl/frm)
Hello MerhabaSelamİyi günler
How are you?
Nasılsınız? (frm) Nasılsın? (inf)
I'm fine thanks and you?
İyiyim teşekkür ederim, siz nasılsınız (frm) İyiyim sağol, sen nasılsın (inf)
What's your name? İsminiz nedir? (frm) Adın ne? (inf)
My name is ... İsmim ... (frm) Adım ... (inf)
Where are you from? Nerelisin? (inf) Nerelisiniz? (pl/frm)
How much is this? Ne kadar?
Sorry Pardon (inf) Özür dilerim (frm)


99% Muslim

1% Orthodox Christians, Catholics, Protestants, Jews and other.

Turkey is the only secular country in the Islamic world. Secularism is enshrined in the constitution that religion has no place whatsoever in governing of the country. Like other European countries, the weekly holiday is Sunday and the Gregorian calendar is used in Turkey. The constitution secures the freedom of belief and worshiping. During the time of the Ottoman Empire, people of many different faiths lived together in peace, and since then this diversity has been preserved. Today there are 236 churches and 34 synagogues open for worship in Turkey.

İzmir, undoubtedly owes much of its economic and social prowess to its location and climate, but even more so to its social mosaic that has allowed many cultures and civilizations to flourish over the centuries. Persians, Greeks, Assyrians, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans are only a few of the dozens of civilizations that İzmir has hosted throughout its long history.

İzmir takes pride in its multi-religious weave. In İzmir, several churches and synagogues are harmoniously intertwined with mosques and ancient houses of worship.

Also known as The Seven Churches of the Apocalypse and The Seven Churches of Asia, are seven major churches of Early Christianity, as mentioned in the New Testament Book of Revelation and written to by Ignatius of Antioch. In Revelation, on the Greek island of Patmos, Jesus Christ instructs his servant St. John: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

From Virgin Mary’s final days to the 7 Churches of Revelation as mentioned in the New Testament, from Hellenistic civilization to Byzantine victories, a Wonder of the Ancient World dedicated to Artemis, a magnificent library dedicated to Celsus, architectural beauties such as basilicas, churches, synagogues and names that pop up in every historical İzmir book… Alexander the Great, Herodotus, Cyrus the Great, Apostle John… İzmir is engulfed in sacred history.


Hours of work/business/shopping

Banks are open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until noon or 12:30 p.m., depending on the bank, and from 1:30 p.m. until 5.00 p.m. However, there are some banks continuing to serve during lunch breaks.

Government Offices and Organizations

08:30 - 12:30 p.m.

1:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Closed at weekends and national holidays.

Post Offices

Weekdays: 08:30 – 17:00 

Closed at weekends and national holidays.

List of post offices in İzmir around meeting venue: ptt.gov.tr

Foreign Diplomatic Missions 

Weekdays: Hours vary, please see the following link for more information: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (English)
Weekends and National Holidays: Closed

Shops and Stores

Shops and bazaars are normally open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 7.00 pm, and closed all day on Sunday. But most stores in shopping malls and crowded streets are open seven days a week, including lunch breaks.

You can find restaurants or cafes open virtually at any time of the day or night.


Museums are generally open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 am until 5.00 pm or 5:30 pm and closed on Mondays.

Health/Emergencies in İzmir

Turkey has an abundance of Natural Springs and water sources and the sanitation standards are quite good.  As a “general rule” tap water is suitable for bathing and regular tasks such as brushing teeth etc. However, it is recommended that visitors drink bottled water (there is a good selection and it is cheap) in general and with meals, as is customary in most Mediterranean countries.

Currently there are no vaccination requirements for any international traveler to enter Turkey.

To contact the emergency services from any phone, fixed or mobile, dial 112, free of charge.

For the list of Pharmacies in Attendance, click here.

Phone Services

The telephone infrastructure is an organized, efficiently working direct dialing system. The main service provider is the Turk Telekom half privatized telecommunication company. The telephone numbers have 7 digits in Turkey. Every town/city has its own 3 digits "Area Code". Please click for the area codes in Turkey. The telephone code for İzmir is 232.

Calling İzmir:

Country Code of Turkey is 90. A call to Turkey would have the following dialing format : Your Access Code for international dial + 90 + 232 (City-town code) + telephone number. Example: in case you need to dial the number of İZKA, you dial ; Your Int Access code + 90 + 232 + 489 81 81.

Calling International from İzmir:

The International Access code in Turkey is 00. To call your home town dial:  00 + your country code + your area code + telephone number . You also can call with operator assistance. By dialing 115 you can reach to Turk Telekom's international operator. Register the call details to operator. The operator will provide the connection for you.

Mobile Phones:

The major GSM operators in Turkey are Turkcell, Vodafone and Avea. You can use your mobile phone in Turkey if your provider has enabled international roaming.


The mains voltage for electricity is 220V and 50Hz. Central European type wall socket (two-pin plugs) is standard in Turkey.


image002.jpgİzmir is an amazing city for those who enjoy shopping. The city offers all of the traditional opportunities for shopping as well as specific bargain locales and open markets. If you love to shop for highly sacred items, than you will especially love the jewelry shops and/or the traditional Turkish carpets and rugs.

İzmir is still fairly a cheap city. Other than the design stores, most things can be found in more than one shop. The international brands, and most food products have standard prices though. In small stores owned by the producers or businessmen, you can bargain to some extent.

You might want to go to the shops early in the morning when you can have more discounts. The bazaars have a great ambiance. Do not forget to ask for the tax-free invoice at shops where tax-free is available. Textiles products are quite cheap in Turkey. Leather producst are of very good quality.




Smoking in Turkey is currently banned in government offices, workplaces, bars, restaurants, cafés, shopping malls, schools, hospitals, and all forms of public transport, including trains, taxis and ferries.