Life at the 'Lik - Take it or leave it?

  • 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.

Have you ever arrived at a vacation or permanent change of station location and thought, "I sure wish I would have known (fill in the blank)" or "I should have brought (or not brought) that one thing"?

You've probably already read or heard that living in Turkey is a unique experience. Don't discount that statement regardless of how many PCS moves you've made or even if you've lived in Turkey before. PCSing to and from Incirlik can be a challenging process, and the more you know up front the more enjoyable your time will be. Here are some things you might want to know about household goods and living in government quarters:

Take advantage of non-temp storage and unaccompanied baggage! If you don't need it, don't bring it. Certain items must be listed on your Beyanname such as electronic devices and large furniture sets. Items with a serial number on the Beyanname must leave Turkey with you, broken or not.

Whether you live in the dorms or in a four-bedroom house, living quarters here are generally slightly smaller than what you might be used to. You can take a look at some of the floor plans here in advance so you have an idea of what you might want to put in storage. There are only car ports here, so plan ahead for that as well.

Send your bike(s) in your unaccompanied baggage. It's better to live without them for a few weeks in the U.S. than to wish you had them here sooner. There are taxis and other means of transportation on and off base, but a bicycle is extremely helpful. Other items you should send ahead are seasonally appropriate clothes for the current and upcoming season, a T.V. and DVD player, an Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) wireless router, and any other item that will make you feel "at home" until your full household goods shipment arrives.

There are a number of items you might want to seriously consider leaving in non-temp storage such as lawnmowers, vacuum cleaners and gas grills. When you prepare to leave Incirlik for a stateside location, those and other outdoor items must pass a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection (a list of items that require USDA inspection upon PCS to a stateside base can be found here.

Items such as the ones listed above may do nothing more than collect dust here, but then must be cleaned and pass an inspection to get them back to the U.S. Here's why:

- Many Incirlik residents hire gardeners and find they don't need a mower, weed whacker, etc. You may not plan to hire a gardener now, but that may change.

- Propane tanks here are not the same as the U.S. You will need to buy and install a converter in order to use your gas grill, and that can cost as much as buying a charcoal grill or a used gas grill. Many people will give away or sell their grills before they leave rather than clean them.

- The floors in housing here are tile. Turkish rugs are the only carpet in most homes here, and they can be beaten, washed or even swept. The fabric care facility on base will launder them for you if you don't have/want a vacuum. If you have an inexpensive vacuum, you might prefer to bring it; but you may want to reconsider if you have a high-end model.

One question you should ask your sponsor and/or the housing office is what kind of outlets your dwelling will have (if that information is available). Some people recommend coming prepared with 220V phones and other appliances. This can be a costly and unnecessary action. The newer and renovated houses have plenty of 110V outlets. If you find that a 220V outlet is the only option, having a transformer or two can solve that issue. There are some items such as microwaves that should not be connected to a transformer, so be sure to ask the housing office if you're in doubt.

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.

Airman & Family Readiness Center:
Public Affairs:, DSN 314-676-6060
USDA/U.S. Customs: DSN 314-676-6744