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Department of the Air Force
Air Force Inprocessing
HQ Allied Air Command
Vecihi Akin Garrison
Izmir Turkey 35148
Figuring out the best way to get around is important when you’re in a new installation. It’s useful to understand the various regulations, local laws as well as license and registration requirements. Whether you need a driver’s license, transport a car overseas or want help buying a car, there are people to assist you at your new installation. Check out the topics below to find information and regulations on vehicles and registration at your base.
In-bound Service Members who choose to bring a vehicle should be prepared to pay for registration and licensing fees when their vehicle arrives. It is recommended to use a broker to register your vehicle. The cost to register your vehicle and pay a broker ranges from 3000 to 8000 lira (check current exchange rates to determine dollar amount). Your current US state issued driver's license will allow you to drive in the country. You can get a translated version of your driver's license through the NATO Pass and ID office.
Driving in Turkey gives you the freedom to go where you want when you want, and since there is a lot to see and do, you'll want to get around as much as possible.
If you're an experienced, confident driver, drive on the right-hand side of the road, and are willing to adapt to a foreign country's driving habits, then you'll probably enjoy the freedom of driving in Turkey. If you're used to driving in cities like New York, London, or anywhere in Italy, driving in Turkey will be easy for you.
Although the road conditions have improved dramatically in recent years, never let your guard down. The government is struggling to deal with what is known locally as the Traffic Monster (Trafik Canavari) signs, television programs, police checkpoints and public service bulletins seek to make Turkey's roads safer. Progress is being made, but it's going to take many years of education.
Some of the behaviors that you may witness from Turkish drivers: 1) right-hand turns from the left lane and left-hand turns from the right lane, 2) minibuses stopping without warning to pick up passengers, 3) vehicles backing up on off-ramps, 4) impatient drivers driving the wrong way in your lane because they didn't want to sit in traffic, and 5) drivers that pass you while you're in the process of passing someone else on a two-lane highway.
Turkey's motor vehicle accident rate is high, but there are things you can do to avoid accidents and have a safe trip. Drive defensively; expect the unexpected; leave your road rage at home; Avoid driving at night; get used to blowing your horn to announce your presence; never get overconfident; and remember that all accidents must be reported to the police.
Foreigners are rarely stopped by the police at the frequent checkpoints, but if you are you'll be required to show your driver's license and proof of ownership (or car-rental papers) and may be given an on-the-spot fine for not wearing a seatbelt or for speeding.
Currently, there is shuttle bus service between the ICC, Cigil AB, and the NATO compound. However, the shuttle service can be cut down at any time. You may consider driving to work. Taxis are inexpensive and public bus service is robust but crowded.
The major drawback for military personnel shipping or owning a vehicle in Izmir is parking. Parking can be a problem. Most people park on the street or lease parking space in a parking garage.
You may want to consider shipping a less expensive car that will allow you to maintain a low profile and not one that will mark you as a foreigner.
Despite the disadvantages, you will benefit from having your vehicle in Izmir, and we encourage you to consider shipping your vehicle.
If involved in an accident, you must immediately notify the Security Forces and the Turkish National Police. Do not move the car until directed by responding police agencies. It is recommended you keep Security Forces and Turkish translator telephone numbers, calling card for phone call in the glove compartment of your car or a cell phone with you.
Be prepared to pay any outstanding traffic tickets upon de-registering your vehicle.
When you are shipping your vehicle, keep it in mind that vandalism and theft may occur within Izmir because the parking space is not sufficient. You might need to pay for a parking lot monthly to secure your vehicle.
Safety Tips on Driving
Turkish law requires Vehicle to be equipped with the following Safety equipment:
Hands Free Devices
Hands-free devices must be used while operating a motor vehicle on ALL military installations worldwide.
Turkish License Plates
Izmir AS has started using Broker System, as other bases in Turkey.
All motorized vehicles are required to pass initial Turkish safety inspection before operation on Turkish highways and then every two years; 4-wheel drives/trucks, vans and motorcycles must be inspected every year. You can call Pass & ID and ask for the current fees for the inspection and emission tests.
Your vehicle must meet the specifications of the Turkish Safety Inspection in order to be registered properly. The safety standards include, but are not limited to the following: Emissions test, verification of the engine and VIN numbers of the car, examination of window tint (tint not manufactured into the vehicles' glass is not acceptable; removal of the tint may be required to pass the safety inspection). If your vehicle's tint must be removed, we recommend taking it off prior to shipment. If the vehicle is a pick-up or van, mud flaps are required for rear tires only. If your vehicle requires the mud flaps, they can be installed here for a nominal fee.
Vehicles will be checked by Turkish customs officials. They will check vehicle surface, windows, wipers headlights, brake/lights, license plate/lamp and muffler. All documents for the vehicle must be in order when picking up the vehicle; i.e., current insurance, color, and other info.
All military personnel wishing to register a motorcycle for use in Izmir must have the proper motorcycle operators' endorsement and/or certification reflecting successful completion of an approved Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) rider's course. These courses are currently not available in Turkey (except Incirlik), so you should complete the course prior to PCS. There are no exceptions to this requirement.
This requirement does not apply to civilian personnel, unless they do operate a motorcycle for official government business. MSF courses are usually available free of charge at your present base; contact your local AF Safety office for details. MSF Card needs to be updated every three years.
If you are planning to drive in Turkey, you will need a current state driver's license. Please ensure that your driver's license will not expire during your tour. The information is quoted for your interest and necessary action According to Turkish Traffic Law #2918 Article 98, any person operating a motor vehicle with an expired license will have their driving privileges indefinitely revoked. The Turkish Traffic Police will not recognize stateside license extensions or stateside military clauses; they will only recognize the expiration date on the license.
If you plan on traveling and going to other countries while in Turkey, it may be easier to obtain an International Driving Permit in the US at any AAA office before departing. A current state driver's license, $10 application fee and 2 passport photos are required. Application by mail may take from 4-6 weeks.
If coming from Europe, please note that a USAEUR driver's license is not recognized as a "Stateside" driver's license and is, therefore, not acceptable when applying for the USAFE Form 181, Vehicle Operators Permit for Turkey. Personnel driving in from Europe are advised to obtain the International Driver's permit prior to departing Europe, and if they do not have a stateside license to contact their home state motor vehicle agency for re-issue. If stopped by Turkish authorities, and you are not properly licensed, you could be prosecution under Turkish law.
Turkish Traffic Insurance
Insurance is required on all vehicles operated in Turkey. Compulsory Turkish traffic insurance must be underwritten and issued by an authorized Turkish insurance company. Coverage cost is extremely low. Stateside insurance coverage should be cancelled the date the vehicle is turned into the port for shipment overseas. Full coverage insurance is also available from several companies. If you prefer to have GEICO or USAA, make certain the policy and coverage will be accepted in Turkey.
The U.S. Government assumes responsibility for insurance coverage while the vehicles is in transit and waiting for pick-up.
Local Motor Vehicle Regulations
Privately Owned Vehicles (POVs)
NOTE: Personnel assigned to any US Forces activity in Izmir, Turkey (including NATO) regardless of tour length, are authorized shipment of a POV. Accordingly, they are not authorized POV storage during their tour.
POVs (includes data on prohibited vehicles, colors, etc.)(1) Single unaccompanied members assigned to Turkey under NATO-SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) are only authorized to have one POV on their Turkish Customs records (USAFE Form 554-NATO Beyanname) for the duration of their tours in Turkey. Motorcycles and mopeds are considered as a vehicle for Turkish Customs, but those can be shipped as HHG.
According to Turkish Customs rules of the unity of family, joint spouse assignments to Turkey are considered one family unit and each family unit is only allowed a maximum two vehicles on their Turkish Customs records (USAFE Form 554-NATO Beyanname). Joint spouses may have the vehicles put on their separate Turkish Customs records (USAFE Form 554-NATO Beyanname) and use their separate entitlements to ship their vehicles in and out of Turkey at government expense. Except motorcycles/mopeds shipped as HHG, second POV shipments of all other accompanied members are not entitled at government expense. Individuals who ship second vehicles to/from Turkey are required to comply with all Turkish Customs requirements concerning shipment of a POV at their own expense (such as hiring a commercial customs representative, paying transit, storage and port fees, etc). Any additional POVs including motorcycles and 4-wheelers will have to be reshipped to the place of origin at the members expense.
(2) Selling POVs in Turkey: Turkish Customs ?Beyanname? laws state the Turkish Government retains the right to approve or disapprove the sale and/or transfer of POVs. Members anticipating doing so while assigned to Turkey are required to submit a request to the Turkish Ministry of Customs. The decision process takes approximately 6-8 weeks at a minimum. For this reason, members must start the process a minimum of 3 months prior to their departure, otherwise, the member can anticipate delays when clearing "Beyanname".
(3) Members shipping a vehicle that does not meet US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) standards in addition to the above requirements are informed of the following options to consider when members are unable to sell and/or transfer their vehicles: dispose of their vehicle by obtaining a Customs Broker who's fees can be very expensive or ship the vehicle back to CONUS, and pay the cost of conforming the vehicle back to US EPA/DOT standards which is also very expensive.
Motorcycles and mopeds are considered POVs but may be shipped in HHGs. NOTE: Only one POV for each military member and DOD civilian member is authorized duty free.
(1) Motorcycle/Moped Safety Requirements:
(2) Motorcycles: Headlight, brake light, and license plate light are required.
(3) Mopeds: Small (under 50 cc) mopeds are only required to meet bicycle standards (headlight and rear reflector); larger mopeds must meet motorcycle standards.
Gasoline/Catalytic ConvertersRemoval of catalytic converters is no longer recommended since unleaded gas is available throughout Turkey.
Insurance and Safety Requirements
POV inspection requirements: A safety inspection is part of the initial vehicle registration process in Turkey. Re-inspections are conducted every 2 years for automobiles and every year for vans and trucks. If any deficiencies are noted during the initial inspection, inspection will start all-over. In addition to automobile requirements, trucks and vans must have mud-flaps on both rear wheels.
(1) Exterior: Must be free of rust, holes, dents, and scratches, and must be in good condition and clean.
(2) Windshield: Free of cracks, holes, etc.
(4) Exhaust System: The muffler must be free of holes and must be noiseless. The exhaust pipe should be pointing back or to the left side, not the right side (not bent down or up), and must extend to the edge of the rear bumper.
(5) Trailer Hitch: Must be removed from the vehicle, unless you actually have trailer in Turkey, then you must register the trailer at the same time you register the vehicle.
(6) A horn is required; however, air horns, musical horns, and excessively loud horns are prohibited.
(7) Wheel Alignment: No more than five-percent deviation to left or right.
(9) Safety items required at inspection point:
(10) Side and rearview windows: Must be free of cracks and in working condition. All windows glass must be transparent from inside and outside.
(11) Windshield wipers: Must work.
(12) Doors: Must work.
(13) Motor and chassis identification numbers: Must have both numbers on vehicle, number must be readable, and vehicle owner must know where numbers are to show the inspectors at the inspection station. Indication of location of motor number on engine block on the DD 788 Form is advised. Non-availability of motor number on DD 788 may delay customs clearance at the entry ports.
(14) Windows should not be filmed. Factory tint (smoke or light tone) is permitted.
State and local laws regulate the operation of motor vehicles, and these laws can vary by location. Many states regulate the following:
Learn more about motor vehicle laws in your state at the Distraction.gov State Laws page.