Turkey has made great
strides in special-needs accessibility in
but it still has a long way to go.
The word for "handicapped" in
Turkish is özürlü (UR-zur-LEW).
"Wheelchair" is tekerlekli
is akülü tekerlekli
Many Turkish cities and historic buildings
were founded thousands of years ago.
Modifying them for travelers with special needs can be difficult,
time-consuming and expensive.
A bright spot is the hospitality and
adaptability of the
Turkish people. They will go out of
their way to help handicapped travelers
overcome obstacles whenever and wherever
Most of my recommended travel agencies are familiar with the needs of handicapped travelers, and can arrange for accessible transport, hotel rooms and tours. More...
Here are some specifics:
Luckily, Turkey has been building lots of new airports in recent years, and these are designed to modern
standards to accommodate handicapped travelers. Airports
at the largest cities (Ankara, Antalya, Istanbul, İzmir) are
easily navigable, with jet bridges, assistants, wide doors, ramps, curb cuts,
etc. At smaller airports, there probably won't be jet bridges, so deplaning is by staircases rolled up to the plane door. Check for particulars.
Many of the
newer, better hotels have
guest rooms and other facilities designed
for easy accessibility, including ramps,
elevators/lifts, hallways, public rooms,
Unfortunately, most of the older, smaller,
cheaper lodgings present difficulties
such as lack of elevators/lifts, or
lifts difficult or impossible to use
with a wheelchair, tiny bathrooms, raised thresholds, etc.
Check with individual hotels to see if
they can acommodate your needs, or ask one of my recommended travel agencies to help.
Some bright spots here: the modernized
transport networks in some
major cities (Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir) are
pretty well adapted for handicapped
travelers. The Istanbul
Metro and Bağcılar-Kabataş
trams, the Marmaray, Füniküler,
and the "Sea
Bus" catamaran ferries were
designed with European standards of
accessibility in mind. City
buses have seats reserved
for özürlü passengers,
but so far as I know, there are no
buses adapted for easy access of wheelchairs
("kneeling bus"). The charming traditional
ferryboats have not been adapted for wheelchair
access, although access may be possible with assistance.
not easily accessible...
A nightmare of uneven
pavement, non-standard widths and curb
heights, with obstacles like sawn-off
pipes sticking out here and there in
most cities and towns. Shopkeepers and
restaurateurs invade sidewalks with
displays of goods, tables, chairs, signs,
etc. Many pedestrians walk in
the streets because the sidwalks are difficult.
streets have macadam surfaces, often
not in the best repair, but many streets
in historic Old
Istanbul, for example,
are surfaced in square granite paving
blocks, with few curb cuts. Cities are making efforts at improving accessibility in public spaces, but it will be many years before access can be assumed.
Earnest efforts are being made to render
Turkey's most historic buildings, museums,
and sites accessible to handicapped
travelers, but there's a long way
to go. Some prime sights in major
tourism centers are adapted. Check
before you go.
The opening of high-speed train lines between Istanbul, Ankara and Konya has improved travel accessibility among those cities as the trains, platforms and stations are up to European standards.
Older, traditional intercity
trains, however, are still boarded by narrow steps,
not through platform-level wide doors.
Major stations may have ramps (initially
installed to facilitate baggage handling)
or curb cuts, but smaller ones may