Life at the 'Lik - To drive or not to drive?

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. David Liapis
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Editor's note: This article is part of a series designed to provide in-depth information to both current and future members of Team Incirlik about topics specific to Incirlik and Turkey. The goal is to assist Airmen and families in making informed decisions about their move to the area and to provide guidance about local policies, procedures and quality of life matters.

While driving to Incirlik may not be an option for most inbound personnel, deciding whether or not to have a vehicle shipped here is a question that will likely need to be answered. "So, what should I do?" you might be asking.

If you're coming unaccompanied, then living here without a vehicle is pretty doable. However, if you are accompanied, it's highly advisable to have your own mode of transportation. Here are some pros and cons to bringing a vehicle:

Freedom of movement! There's much to see and do in Turkey, and using other means of transportation may not always be a good option. This is especially true if you have a large family.
Rain and heat! It gets very hot here in the summer, and having air conditioning, even for the five minutes it takes to drive anywhere on base, is nice. When it rains, it pours - even on days that start out cloudless. People here are usually kind enough to offer you a ride when the sky lets loose, but that may not always be the case.

Getting a vehicle here is an adventure in itself. Dealing with it when it arrives is even more difficult. There are numerous forms, inspections, fees and appointments involved with making your vehicle drivable here. The process can take weeks, and can be a source of considerable stress.

Gas is very expensive. Fuel is sold on base at a lower cost than in the local economy, but it's still comparable to the highest prices in the U.S. Oil is also expensive.

Driving in Turkey can be challenging. The rules of the road off base are enforced very loosely and road signs are in Turkish. Street signs off base are often either difficult to see or non-existent. Many U.S. citizens here choose not to purchase cell phone service (or at least data plans) due to cost and phone registration requirements, so the handy GPS you are accustomed to using on your smart phone will do you no good. Buying or renting a GPS is not a bad idea. Getting lost in the city can be an unnerving and interesting experience, especially if you don't know Turkish.

At the end of the day, you should consider all the information available to you and make the decision you feel is best for you. Regardless of what you choose, trust me when I say that Turkey is a great place to be stationed. However, your time here will only be as good as you make it.

If you have any questions, you might find the below contact information helpful (all DSNs can be reached commercially by dialing 9-0322-316 and then the last four of the DSN).

You can find much more information on the Incirlik AB Website here

Public Affairs:, DSN 314-676-6060

Airman & Family Readiness Center: