The incredible cultural and geographic diversity plus a reduced cost by comparison to Western Europe make filming in Turkey an option for every director to keep an eye on.
The vast territory and diversity of terrain make the country ideal for a number of reasons. In terms of filming locations, Turkey is a mix of thousands of miles of beaches, breathtaking mountain scenery, ancient sites & picturesque architecture.
Filming in Turkey is not very costly. Logistics & hospitality tend to be cheaper than most of Europe. Kit & crew offer good value for money, while airports have decent connections to the rest of the world.
VAT returns are applicable to feature productions when filming in Turkey. It is advisable to have the support of a local fixer. Authorities have tried to simplify the process and there are only three offices in the country that tackle this: Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir Tax Departments.
In theory, it takes up to 30 days to get the VAT return for filming in Turkey.
Access for Foreign Journalists
Filming in Turkey as part of news reports or getting access as a journalist requires a specific process. Press people need to inform their respective Turkish embassy about the intention of visiting the country. The embassy then liaises with the office of the Turkish Prime Minister and issues a specific document.
Press freedom is not Turkey’s strongest point. Reporters Without Borders rank the country in the bottom of their yearly index alongside countries like Belarus, Libya or Saudi Arabia.
While authorities may be reluctant to some press inquiries, locals are open to media. Our Turkish fixers are able to assist with both the accreditation process and doing coverage in the country.
Filming Permits in Turkey
Filming in Tukey requires different types of permits depending on each location. It is compulsory to have a Turkish national as part of the crew or a Turkish “host” throughout the shoot. This needs to be proven in writing beforehand.
The general filming permit covers public spaces, squares & parks. The authority that manages the process is the Turkish Cinema Department. They have a specific form that needs to be sent to them alongside the passports of the crew members. Ideally you would have one of our Turkish fixers as part of your team to do a follow-up with the Cinema Department and make sure the process happens smoothly. While getting a permit can be done in one week, we recommend submitting the paperwork three weeks in advance.
Specific locations not covered by the general permit will require a different kind of authorization. Sometimes this can be issued by local authorities, other times various government bodies may be in charge. Our fixers in Turkey are familiar with the process and can help getting things done quicker and easier.
Equipment can easily be brought over when filming in Turkey. The ATA Carnet regulations apply. Another option is to hire kit locally through our trusted partners in Ankara and Istanbul.
Tax Rebates & Incentives When Filming in Turkey
While there is an ongoing conversation about a potential 25% cash rebate, only VAT returns and some deduction of corporate tax currently apply.
The productions currently eligible are films. VAT returns require submitting specific requests to tax offices. The eligible expenditures need to have been made in Turkey during the agreed filming period.
In case the production company is eligible for paying corporate tax in Turkey, film-related expenses can be deducted from the tax base to which the corporate tax is applicable.
In some cases, the government or local authorities may offer production grants when filming in Turkey. While this is rather rare, it may happen if one can prove a certain film helps promoting the country.