Best VPNs For Turkey: Which VPNs Will Serve You Best

article by Nicky Hoseck
January 19, 2020
Tourism in Turkey is flourishing with hosts of visitors heading out to soak up the cultural experience, enjoy the affordable accommodation, pick up a cost-price Turkish carpet, and sample some Turkish cuisine. 2019 has been a bumper year for Turkey’s tourism industry with over 31 million tourists flooding into the country between January and the end of August.
Conflicts along the Syrian/Turkish border have led US authorities to advise travelers not to “travel near the Turkey/Syria and Turkey/Iraq borders due to the continued threat of attacks by terrorist groups”. The rest of the country is considered safe, however, as long as you stay far away from Turkish cyberspace, that is, where government surveillance is rife, VPNs are blocked, and internet freedom is under constant attack.

Stay safe and unblock sites in Turkey by signing up with the best VPN for Turkey – the infamous ExpressVPN.

What is the Best VPN for Turkey?

#1 ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Logo

A solid all-rounder with strict privacy policies to back up its advanced technology and worldwide server network, ExpressVPN delivers high speeds and consistent connections while keeping your secrets safely hidden in a tunnel protected by military-grade encryption.

Even in the most restricted countries, ExpressVPN will keep your social media posts and Wikipedia research close to its chest while giving you access to geographically restricted content. ExpressVPN has already proven that it won’t reveal any secrets to Turkish authorities, or anyone else, simply because it’s no-logging policy means it has no secrets to share.

Zero-knowledge DNS and the use of Trusted Server technology means little information is ever stored to disk, with most of ExpressVPN’s infrastructure relying on RAM, which is the virtual equivalent of telling your Grandma a secret and expecting her to remember it!

Check out all ExpressVPN’s impressive security features in our full review or sign up with ExpressVPN today and get the benefits of the best VPN for Turkey and these key features:

  • 3,000+ servers in 94 countries
  • High-speed connections
  • Strict no-logging policy
  • Trusted Server technology
  • DNS leak protection
  • Kill switch
  • 3 simultaneous devices
  • Turkish IP address

#2 CyberGhost

CyberGhost VPN

This user-friendly VPN is a great way for beginners to unblock sites in Turkey and enjoy the freedom of anonymous browsing, streaming and torrenting. With its preconfigured streaming profiles and intuitive interface, CyberGhost is quick and simple to get to grips with without compromising your online security or user data.

Based in privacy-friendly Romania, CyberGhost is free to operate as a no-logging VPN, while giving users the option of greater security with its NoSpy servers, which are managed exclusively by CyberGhost to keep the servers themselves safe from third-party interference and mass government surveillance.

Whether you simply want a VPN to keep the government spies at bay, or you’re planning on a spot of torrenting, or Netflix binge-watching, CyberGhost’s preconfigured profiles mean you can get started with just the click of a button.

Though simple, Cyberghost is as robust and effective as any other cybersecurity tool, using only the latest encryption and security protocols to protect its users.

Find out what makes CyberGhost tick in our full review or get a cost-effective subscription with CyberGhost today.

  • 5,500+ servers in 90 countries
  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • Strong privacy policy
  • NoSpy Servers
  • Excellent customer support
  • OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec, and PPTP protocols
  • 7 simultaneous devices
  • 24-hour free trial

#3 Surfshark

Surfshark VPN

A powerful new VPN, Surfshark’s minimalist user interface may be a bit off-putting at first but its high speeds and budget prices make it worth the effort in the long run. With its steadily expanding network of servers, Surfshark is proving agile enough to bypass government censorship.

Its No Borders mode makes encrypted traffic more difficult to identify, meaning that even those Turkish authorities using deep packet inspection to identify OpenVPN connections will be thwarted. Those who want to take security to the next level can use its Multi-Hop function to send their traffic via two servers, while the Camouflage Mode ensures your ISP remains blissfully ignorant about your VPN use.

Surfshark is a cost-effective VPN with lots of bells and whistles and a server or two in Turkey, making it the perfect alternative to the best VPN in Turkey. Check out our full review or simply sign up with Surfshark today and enjoy these benefits:

  • 1,040+ servers in 61 countries
  • Unlimited devices
  • In-built adblocker
  • Advanced features including Multi-Hop VPN protection
  • 7-day free trial on mobile apps
  • Affordable pricing plans
  • Access to 15+ Netflix libraries
  • P2P-optimized servers

#4 ZenMate

 zenmate 210x100

While some VPNs have battled to maintain access in Turkey, ZenMate has managed to provide a cross-country service that operates effectively with all Turkish ISPs. On the downside, you won’t be able to stream Turkish TV or access sites like EnovaTV with Zenmate as it doesn’t yet have any servers within Turkey itself so can’t furnish you with a Turkish IP address. It will, nevertheless, effortlessly unblock sites in Turkey and give you some impressive streaming speeds to boot.

Users do need to trust ZenMate a little more as it’s not strictly a no-logging VPN. Based in Germany, ZenMate is required to store certain information which may include identifying data such as your IP address which, in Turkey, could land you in hot water or, worse still, in jail.

ZenMate’s free browser extensions give users some level of online protection, while its apps provide comprehensive security when streaming or torrenting. It doesn’t have any servers in Turkey itself but its network of 2,000 or so should keep you safe wherever you’re headed.

Learn more our full review or simply sign up with Zenmate today and enjoy these features:

  • 2,000+ servers in 30 countries
  • Fast speeds
  • Free VPN service
  • Blocks adverts and trackers
  • Supports torrenting and streaming
  • Works with Android, Chrome, Firefox, iOS, Mac, Windows, and more
  • Strong privacy policy
  • 5 simultaneous connections

#5 ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN 210x100 bg

A comparably small server network does little to inhibit this VPN’s capabilities when it comes to accessing blocked content or finding a way past government censorship. Its free service is one of the best, and while its encrypted email software, “ProtonMail, has been blocked in Turkey, by using ProtonVPN in conjunction with ProtonMail, users can bypass the blockage”.

Despite having a limited number of servers, ProtonVPN’s speeds are fast enough to compete with the best VPN for Turkey. ProtonVPN leans towards the no-logging approach, although it will retain a timestamp of your last successful login, not even Turkish authorities will be able to glean much from that!

ProtonVPN has taken a similar approach to CyberGhost but introduced Secure Core servers rather than NoSpy. These servers are situated in countries will favorable privacy policies, like Iceland and Switzerland, and are designed to provide extra protection against network-based attacks.

High speeds are available, although the price is a little steep, so why not read our full review before taking the plunge? Otherwise, sign up here for a ProtonVPN subscription and get the following advantages:

  • 568 servers in 43 countries
  • Secure Core servers for extra protection
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Only supports the strongest security protocols
  • No-logging service based in Switzerland
  • Always-on feature and kill switch
  • Supports Tor over VPN
  • Intuitive user interface

How Turkey Has Its Internet All Trussed Up

Imagine a world where you can never use Wikipedia to check up on some random fact, where no LGBT-related content is ever available online, and where controversial content is routinely removed from social media sites. If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, you won’t have to imagine a world like this because you’ll be in the midst of it.

Over the years, Turkish authorities have clamped down on internet freedom, arresting those who speak out against the president on social media with such regularity that, in 2017, it was named “the world’s worst jailer for the second consecutive year, with 73 journalists behind bars”. And there we all were thinking China would inevitably hold that dishonorable title!

Online surveillance and content blocking started gathering momentum in 2013 and don’t look like they will ease off any time soon. In its 2018 report, Freedom House scored Turkey just 66 out of 100, giving it the status of “not free”. This year,  Turkey scored just 37 – a figure that reflects the increasing blocks on news content and the frequency with which journalists and activists are harassed on social media.

In other words, if you want to be able to post without prosecution, and browse without being brow-beaten, you need the best VPN for Turkey or a VPN for Turkey at any rate. You don’t’ even need to mention President Erdogan in a tweet to end in prison – in July this year, a social media celebrity was sentenced to nearly six years in prison after posting tweets about the TV series Narcos. According to Turkish authorities, this was tantamount to “promoting drug use”. You have been warned!

When Using a VPN, Turkey is One Place Where You Have to be Cautious

In the past week, the first official announcements were made regarding the legality of using a VPN in Turkey. German authorities “warned its citizens traveling to Turkey that they could face legal action for using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) in the country”.

Although there is no record of anyone being arrested for using a VPN in Turkey, it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise. For the past eight years, Turkey has placed limitations on encryption tools, and suppliers of such software must “provide encryption keys to state authorities before they can offer their products or services to individuals or companies within Turkey”.

In 2016 Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority “ordered ISPs to ban more than 10 VPN services, as well as the circumvention tool Tor”. Banning VPNs altogether is a logical next step, albeit one that contravenes freedom of speech and violates its citizens’ constitutional right to privacy.

Streaming Hot Turkey

Despite the restrictions and dangers inherent in venturing into Turkish cyberspace, internet access itself is both widespread and surprisingly consistent. Consequently, streaming services like Amazon Prime, HBO, Hulu, and Netflix have been falling over themselves to secure a corner of the Turkish streaming market. Not only did such a move mean for better online content in Turkey, but, according to some, it also “developed a new media culture as a result of a lack of government regulation”.

Those days are long gone now, however, and Turkish authorities are cracking down on streaming content as enthusiastically as they have social media content. New laws were introduced in September, forcing streaming sites to operate under the same regulations as broadcast TV channels after a brief kiss between two women on a Netflix show was perceived by Turkish authorities to be an attempt by a “global LGBTQ lobby to promote homosexuality among Turkish children”.

Turkish sites like PuhuTV and BluTV stand to lose as much as international streaming services. One of BluTV’s most popular series, for instance, Behzat C, focuses on an alcoholic, chain-smoking policeman who investigates suspect bureaucrats and corrupt officials. There is little chance that original content of this nature will survive this latest clean sweep by the censors.

With the future of streaming in Turkey so uncertain, visitors are well-advised to make sure they have a reliable VPN for Turkey so they can at least watch the content they want without the censors breathing down their necks.

Of course, if you get a VPN for Turkey that can furnish you with a fake Turkish IP address, you could while away a few hours watching online TV. Television series, news, and reality TV are everywhere in Turkey so you choose between services like EnovaTV and Tivibu and get your government-approved fix of Turkish entertainment.

Conclusion

Turkey has everything from delicious food to golden beaches. Its cities are diverse, with Ankara combining modern student culture with cobbled streets and historical architective. The retail therapy opportunities are almost endless and Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is an unmissable shopping experience with its collection of spices, carpets, jewelry, and antiques.

All in all, there is little not to like about Turkey, apart from its rather draconian government, widespread censorship and surveillance. Although Germany has warned travelers to use caution when using a VPN in Turkey, there is no official statement banning encryption tools, although limitations have been enforced in the past.

Certainly, if you’re planning on using a VPN for Turkey while exploring its cultural curiosities, erring on the side of caution is the way to go. A VPN provider like our chosen best VPN for Turkey, ExpressVPN, uses the latest encryption and DNS leak protection to hide your VPN usage from your ISP. It’s also best to go with a VPN that has a strict no-logging policy. That way you know that, even if you do decide to criticize Turkish authorities while exploring the Turkish countryside, you’ll be secure.