Traffic signs and signals in Turkey follow the international model, with the standard signs.
But how and when those signs are observed may differ from usage in other countries.
For example, Stop (“DUR”) and Yield (“Yol Ver”) signs are largely ignored.
One Way (“Tek Yön”), No Entry (“Girilmez”) and No U-Turn signs may also be ignored in some places and situations. Don’t do it yourself, but be on guard for those who do.
No Parking and No Stopping signs are widely ignored, but sometimes enforced. How do you know what to do? You don’t, but if you see a street marked with No Parking signs that is parked solid with cars—except for that one parking spot you want—you may be able to park without incident. But don’t say I told you to….
Some places are marked with pictographs of tow trucks. It’s best to respect these and not to park there.
Unfortunately, there is no master list of which signs and signals may safely be ignored, so it’s difficult to know. But it’s important to know, as drivers coming up behind you may not expect you to stop and may thus end up hitting your vehicle from behind. More often, you may stop at a stop sign or traffic signal only to see the driver behind you swerve around you and speed right through the red light because he knows “nobody stops there.”
Traffic signals (lights) are usually observed, but with the frantic growth of Turkish cities and towns and their road systems, signals may be installed at lightly-used intersections. Local people, thinking it absurd to stop when there is no cross traffic, may blow right through the intersection, ignoring the red light of the signal.
Traffic signals at intersections are often placed so that it is difficult for the first cars stopped at the intersection to see the signal. Cars will proceed past the signal, stop, and depend on cars behind them to honk their hornswhen the signal has changed to red-yellow (which precedes green by about a second). Expect cars behind you to honk horns as soon as the signal changes. It is both a signal that you can now proceed, and an indication of displeasure that you have not already done so.
Here are translations of Turkish road signs.
—by Tom Brosnahan