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A VPN travel guide to Turkey: everything you need to know

While Turkey is one of the most attractive travel destinations in the world, it also has a reputation of suppressing online freedoms and blocking services. However, with a little effort and the right digital tools, you can make the most of your trip to Turkey.

Daniel Markuson

Daniel Markuson

Jul 14, 2021 · 3 min read

A VPN travel guide to Turkey: everything you need to know

How the Turkish government censors the internet

Turkey considers itself a democracy, which sounds bizarre, because it censors social media platforms, blocks various websites, and bans the use of VPNs.

In 2020, the government passed legislation which forces social media platforms with over one million daily users to open offices in Turkey. A new law which targets companies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and others demands that they remove content and even slow bandwidth at the government’s request.

Social media companies are forced to store user data in Turkey, which raises privacy and security concerns. There are 65 millions internet users in the country, which is a significant amount of people and the tech giants don't want to lose them. If the Turkish government asks them to hand users’ data, they have a strong incentive to comply.

Turkey blocks thousands of websites every year, constantly removes YouTube videos, and heavily regulates streaming services. If you’re visiting Turkey on vacation, you might not be able to access the internet as you know it.

Is using a VPN legal in Turkey?

While technically using a VPN is legal in Turkey, the government has already blocked many VPN providers. If you try to access blocked websites in Turkey, this can get you in trouble.

A couple of years ago, German authorities warned its citizens that using a VPN in Turkey might be dangerous and they should consider the risks before doing this.

We’ve prepared a few tips for anyone travelling to Turkey, to make sure you stay safe and secure online.

Checklist for your trip to Turkey

  • Download a VPN app. A virtual private network hides your IP address and encrypts traffic, allowing you to access blocked websites and stay secure.

    Make sure to set up the NordVPN account before your trip, so you won’t have to worry about content restrictions.

  • Set up a VPN on all your devices. One NordVPN account will cover up to six different devices: smartphones, laptops, tablets, and more. Install the app on every device you’re taking to Turkey.
  • Use obfuscated servers in Turkey. NordVPN has more than 5,200 servers in 59 countries, making it the best VPN for traveling. It also has obfuscated servers that not only hide your IP address, but also mask the fact that you’re using a VPN in Turkey. With NordVPN, you’re one step ahead of local authorities that intend to censor the internet.

Don’t let online censorship stop you.

Enjoy the free internet with NordVPN

How NordVPN supports freedom of speech in Turkey

NordVPN supports social causes and offers Emergency VPN assistance for human rights activists, journalists, and NGOs facing online censorship.

In 2020, NordVPN received 7,100 Emergency VPN requests from all over the world.

Our developers are working tirelessly to ensure that our VPN can never be prevented from serving the people who need it most – citizens living under repressive regimes.

General cybersecurity tips for safe traveling

  • Update your apps on time. Make sure that your apps and operating system are up-to-date. Hackers often exploit known software vulnerabilities and running an old version can put you at risk.
  • Use strong passwords. Make sure to use unique passwords for every account you have. A good password consists of uppercase and lowercase letters combined with special characters and numbers. The longer the password, the better. Try NordPass to help you with this task.
  • Get a separate credit card for traveling. Online scammers and pickpockets can turn your vacation in Turkey into a living hell. It’s best to dedicate a separate bank card for online reservations, withdrawing cash from ATMs, and making daily purchases.
  • Enable a VPN on public Wi-Fi. Public networks are not safe and criminals can intercept your sensitive information in a snap. Never connect to public Wi-Fi without enabling NordVPN first, as unprotected networks are a gold mine for hackers.

Online security starts with a click.

Bypass censorship with a VPN