Turkey has witnessed an unsettling surge in internet crackdowns amid escalating political tensions. The harrowing terrorist incident in Istanbul on November 13, 2022, was followed by the government, under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, clamping down on popular social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and WhatsApp.
As experts who have rigorously researched and tested various solutions, we understand your frustrations and challenges. But there’s a silver lining: a VPN. This isn’t just another tech term. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is your digital shield. It encrypts your online activities, ensuring you remain anonymous, secure, and connected.
Whether you reside in Turkey or are just passing through while traveling, equipping yourself with a VPN has become non-negotiable. Let’s navigate these digital roadblocks together.
If you don’t want to read the whole article, here is a summary based on our extensive research of the best VPNs for Turkey:
- NordVPN: Best all-round VPN for Turkey. Blazing fast speeds and excellent security. Great for streaming and online content unblocking. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: Best budget VPN choice for Turkey. Reliable provider with strong security and online privacy credentials. Unblocks plenty of geo-restricted services.
- ExpressVPN: Highly secure service with servers in a whopping 94 countries. Great at bypassing blocks in Turkey.
- Hotspot Shield: A security-conscious provider with solid connection speeds.
- PrivateVPN: A newcomer with fast connection speeds. Suitable for streaming.
- Atlas VPN: Servers in dozens of countries and very good speeds. Unlimited simultaneous connections and offers MultiHop servers for extra security.
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With a VPN enabled and connected to another country, internet users can unblock social media in Turkey and other websites and apps. Internet service providers, who implement the blocks on behalf of government authorities, can not know the final destination of your internet traffic nor what it contains. The VPN providers we’ve recommended in this article have server locations across the globe. This means it’s possible to get a true IP address from Turkey from anywhere else in the world.
It’s important to note that Turkish authorities have caught on to VPN users and started blocking certain providers. That’s why Comparitech reached out directly to several VPN providers to confirm which ones are still up and running.
Best VPNs for Turkey – Our hands-on review
We’ve compared the most important features for the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice for Turkey.
|No value||NordVPN||Surfshark||ExpressVPN||Hotspot Shield||PrivateVPN||VyprVPN|
|Website||NordVPN.com||Surfshark.com||ExpressVPN.com||Hotspotshield.com||PrivateVPN.com||VyprVPN.com||Ranking for Turkey:||1||2||3||4||5||6||Streaming Services||Netflix|
|Avg Speed (Mbps)||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||39 Mbps||100+ Mbps||Popular Sites Unblocked||95%||88%||86%||85%||85%||90%||Simultaneous Connections||6||Unlimited||5||Up to 10||10||10|
|Best deal (per month)||$3.19|
SAVE 61% + 3 months FREE
Get 2 Months FREE with a 2-year plan
SAVE: 49% on the annual plan
SAVE 77% on the 3 year plan
SAVE 85% on the three year plan
SAVE 50% on the annual plan
Best VPNs for Turkey
Our ranking methodology of the best VPNs for Turkey is based on many factors which we have discussed in the following reviews.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is our top recommendation for a Turkey VPN. This provider offers some of the strongest security features available including Tor over VPN, Double VPN, and anti-DDoS internet connections. With up to six simultaneous connections, it’s also one of the most generous plans for the price. NordVPN is completely logless and based in Panama—far beyond the reach of government-run spy agencies. It can also unblock anti-VPN streaming services.
Some of the sites NordVPN unblocks are US Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, ESPN, Sky, and Sling TV. It beat all competitors in our speed tests so you can expect a seamless streaming experience and fast download speeds.
Apps are available for Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, and MacOS. A basic plan allows for six devices to connect concurrently.
- Incredible speeds
- Excellent unblocking ability
- Expansive server network
- Desktop app takes a while to connect
BEST VPN FOR TURKEY:NordVPN is our first choice. It has top speeds for streaming, keeps a no-logging policy, and is packed with great security features. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee making it risk-free.
Read our full review of NordVPN here.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is a low-cost VPN that currently runs over 3,200 servers in 60+ countries, making it easy to obtain a low-latency connection wherever you are. It’s fast enough to stream live HD video without any noticeable buffering, and capable of unblocking major region-locked platforms like Netflix, ITV Hub, and Amazon Prime Video. Best of all, this service has no connection limit, meaning you can secure every device you own with a single account.
This VPN puts your security first. It boasts 256-bit AES encryption, an automatic kill switch, protection against DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks, an ad-blocker, and a malware scanner. There’s also a NoBorders feature that allows you to bypass web-blocking in countries (like Turkey) which have strict online censorship. Surfshark doesn’t log any information that could identify you but if you’re concerned, you can pay in Bitcoin, Ripple, or Ethereum for added digital privacy. Customer support is available (via live chat and email) 24 hours per day.
Surfshark apps are available for Windows, MacOS, Android, Linux, and iOS devices. Manual installation is required for wireless routers.
- Cutting edge online security features
- Strict No-logs policy
- No connection limit
- Still has the occasional slow server speed
GOOD BUDGET OPTION:Surfshark offers powerful security and complete privacy protections, but also high connection speeds and great unblocking ability. This service lets you connect all of your devices at once and includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full user review of Surfshark.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN was listed alongside several other VPN providers as being blocked, according to local news sites, but we have confirmed with the company that it is up and running inside Turkey. Express is a tad on the pricey side but it’s money well spent for a log-less, limitless, heavily-encrypted connection to your choice of 94 countries. Some of the services it unblocks reliably are US Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.
ExpressVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption which is considered ‘military-grade.’ Advanced security features include an internet kill switch, perfect forward secrecy, and DNS leak protection, so your information always remains secure within the encrypted tunnel. What’s more, it only stores non-identifying metadata, and real IP addresses are not recorded.
Apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, and certain wifi routers. You may connect up to five devices at a time.
- High-speed connections
- Great for streaming
- Strong security features
- Advanced configuration for power-users is a little limited
GREAT UNBLOCKER:ExpressVPN has solid speeds for torrenting and streaming, great online content unblocking capabilities, and advanced security features. It works with services blocked in Turkey including Skype and Twitter. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN here.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
Editor’s Note: Hotspot Shield is owned by Pango, Comparitech’s parent company.
Hotspot Shield has fast, reliable connection speeds thanks to its network of 3000+ servers throughout 70+ countries. This service is particularly good at bypassing regional restrictions; as well as allowing you to beat the Turkish government’s web-filtering, it allows you to access services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video from abroad. Up to five simultaneous connections are permitted too, meaning you’re free to protect all of your most commonly-used devices.
This service comes with several powerful security features including 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch (which stops all traffic if you lose your connection suddenly), and protection against DNS and IPv6 leaks. You can also choose to connect automatically whenever you’re using an unsafe wifi network. Hotspot Shield doesn’t log any identifiable information beyond the duration of your session. If you need help, you can reach customer support 24/7 over live chat.
Hotspot Shield has apps for iOS, MacOS, Android, and Windows.
- Strong unblocking ability
- Fast, reliable connections
- Powerful security features
- Past digital privacy issues
- Doesn‘t work with Linux systems
HIGH-SPEED VPN:Hotspot Shield is fast enough for HD streaming and secure enough for torrenting, blogging, or even just everyday browsing while in Turkey. This provider provides a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full user review of Hotspot Shield.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN burst onto the VPN scene relatively recently but has quickly risen through the ranks. It focuses on quality over quantity and does its job well when judged from a speed, digital privacy, and encryption standpoint. Some of the sites it manages to unblock easily are Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO, Hulu, and more.
PrivateVPN doesn’t have as expansive a server network as the other providers on this list, but it still does the job well. At the moment there are roughly 80 servers in 56 locations, including an option for Turkey.
This provider does not store any user data and encrypts web traffic using either 128- or 256-bit encryption, depending on the protocol you use. The service provides perfect forward secrecy, an internet kill switch, and DNS leak protection. A basic plan allows for six devices to connect simultaneously. Support for torrenting is included.
PrivateVPN offers apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
- Faster than most similar VPNs
- Keeps no logging policy
- Anonymous sign up possible
- No live chat available
- Fewer servers than its rivals
GOOD FOR STREAMING:PrivateVPN works well with streaming services. Unblocks Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and many other streaming services. Connection speeds are good although the network of servers to choose from is smaller than other VPNs on this list. Includes 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our review of PrivateVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Atlas VPN is a newer VPN provider with a growing server network. This now stands at over 1,000 servers in nearly 50 locations including Istanbul, Turkey. As such, you can easily connect to a server close to your physical location for faster speeds, or a server in another country for bypassing content blocks. Atlas VPN is fast and works with many popular streaming platforms, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video included.
With Atlas VPN, there’s no shortage of security features to keep you safe online while in Turkey or traveling abroad. First, you can expect military-grade encryption as well as protection from DNS leaks and a kill switch feature. However, Atlas VPN also offers MultiHop servers for two or more layers of encryption. There’s even a malware blocker as well. Atlas VPN doesn’t keep identifying logs of users.
Secure all of your devices at the same time with Atlas VPN’s apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and Amazon Fire TV. However, there aren’t any browser extensions and it doesn’t provide support for routers either.
- Very good server speeds and no bandwidth throttling
- Allows you to watch popular streaming platforms abroad
- Connect all of your devices at the same time
- A small (but growing) server network
- No router support as yet
NO CONNECTION LIMIT:Atlas VPN can be used on an unlimited number of devices simultaneously. Very fast for streaming Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and more. Extra security with MultiHop and a malware blocker. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full Atlas VPN review.
Our testing methodology – VPN for Turkey
Comparitech aims to give readers the most accurate, useful, and comprehensive VPN reviews on the web. To do that, we professionally evaluate every VPN we recommend based on empirical testing, first-hand experience, and expert analysis. When it comes to VPNs for Turkey, we specifically look at:
- Security: The VPN should use strong and up-to-date encryption standards throughout the connection process. We test VPNs for a variety of data leaks including DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks.
- Speed: We test connection speeds to VPN servers around the world to ensure users have the necessary bandwidth to stream and download.
- Streaming: We use real-world tests to find out which VPNs can securely access popular streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.
- Customer support: Our reviewers contact each VPN’s customer support as a secret shopper to gauge response times and quality.
This is just a brief summary of our full methodology. Learn more about how Comparitech tests and rates VPNs.
Recent media blackouts and internet blocks
Following a suspected terrorist bombing in Istanbul on November 13, 2022, the government has enforced widespread internet restrictions.
According to reports coming out of the country, Turkey’s chief censor, the Radio and Television Council (RTUK), has imposed a broadcast ban on media outlets. They purportedly ordered this media blackout to prevent riots. A spokesperson for RTUK said:
“A temporary ban has been imposed on media coverage of the November 13 blast in Istanbul’s Beyoglu. The ban requires media services providers to observe the principles of information distribution indicated in laws, to avoid publications that can cause fear, panic and riots in society or can serve the purposes of terrorist organizations.”
In addition to this media blackout, the Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK) has imposed widespread internet blocks. As part of this action, the BTK clamped down on social media accounts for allegedly spreading harmful or insightful content.
Due to the ongoing internet blocks across the country, VPN companies have noticed a sudden spike in Turkish consumers looking for a VPN. Hide.me VPN told us they experienced a 500 percent rise in people accessing its service in Turkey since the blasts took place. Sebastian Schaub, CEO at Hide.me said:
“Yet again we’re seeing how governments are using internet access to manipulate its citizens and control the narrative. Internet access is a human right – especially during times of crisis – and it shouldn’t be used as a way to suppress free speech and discussion.”
It is not yet clear how long this internet censorship may continue in Turkey, however, internet blocks have been a common occurrence ever since the military coup d’état that happened in 2016.
A VPN might be the only way to get around internet blocks imposed by Erdoğan’s government, but it’s important to have a subscription in place and the software installed before a blackout occurs.
This will ensure that you can continue to access news and information from a variety of source and will allow you to continue accessing vital services such as social media to communicate with loved ones.
How to use a VPN in Turkey
We’ve done our best to show the most suitable VPNs in Turkey, but the end decision is yours. Reading the mini-reviews gives a high-level overview of each service, but if you want more details then we encourage you to read the detailed user review which is referenced at the end of each one.
Here’s how to browse the web safely and anonymously in Turkey:
- Decide on a provider and a plan that works for you. We particularly recommend NordVPN.
- Sign up and register with your credit card information. If you are in an area where there is an internet blackout, this may not be possible until services are reinstated.
- Proceed to download the relevant apps from your device.
- Restart all devices when the installation is complete.
- Open the relevant VPN apps, and sign in with your login information. Select a server in a location of your choice.
- A successful connection will usually be indicated in your taskbar or on the top of your smartphone screen. Now your internet connection is encrypted and private.
Accessing Netflix libraries in Turkey
While Netflix is technically available across the world, the fact of the matter is that libraries vary by country. Turkey has a fraction of the same online content that’s present on the Netflix app if you log in with a US IP address.
Some folks think that because the account was first registered in the US, then they’ll be shown that library forever. However, that’s not true. If you log in to Netflix in Turkey without masking your IP address then you’ll be automatically redirected to the local library.
So if you would like to regain access to US Netflix, then you’ll have to connect to a US VPN server first. Most of the VPNs recommended here unblock Netflix but it’s a good idea to ask customer support in case you run into any problems.
Free VPNs usually won’t work with Netflix because their location-evading tech is not up to the job and can’t bypass the US-based streaming giant’s sophisticated filters. That’s another reason not to opt for them.
Watching Turkish Television and Accessing Banking Services When Abroad
Turkish residents living abroad for work or education will benefit from a VPN connection as it allows them to stay in touch with friends and family, watch the Turkish Superliga, and access banking services.
Some of the popular channels in Turkey are TRT 1, TRT Haber, TRT Sport, ITU, and Star. They offer a range of programming including current affairs, entertainment, sports, and movies. However, to access their live streams, you’ll need a Turkish IP address first. That’s okay for people living in Turkey and logging on to the internet with a local ISP, but you’ll need a VPN to gain access from outside the country. The recommended VPN providers in this list should solve that problem for you.
Banking and other financial institutions have compliance controls in place and are bound to monitor incoming requests. To be on the safe side, it’s better to log in with a local Turkish IP address each time you try to engage in an online transaction. That’s because you won’t raise any internal red flags or be locked out of your account. It’s just easier to use a VPN for peace of mind.
VPN not working in Turkey? Try port forwarding
While we weren’t able to test it ourselves on the ground, some users on Reddit reported successfully bypassing VPN blocks by using a technique called port forwarding.
Basically, the Turkish authorities have two methods of blocking VPNs. The first is to identify every VPN server in the world and add it to a blacklist to be blocked by ISP’s firewalls. Because this would consume a lot of time and resources and need to be continuously performed, it’s likely only a handful of VPNs are being targeted.
The second method is to block internet traffic from traveling to and from ports that VPNs often use. Different ports are utilized for specific purposes. Most web browser traffic travels through port 80, for example, while port 22 is typically reserved for SSH traffic to servers.
One of the OpenVPN protocol’s greatest strengths is that it is not restricted and can be forwarded to any port on the TCP and UDP range. This method, therefore, bypasses censorship set up to block traffic traveling over specified ports. The most logical port to forward OpenVPN traffic to is 443.
Port 443 is primarily used for HTTPS traffic. HTTPS traffic is encrypted using the same algorithm as VPN traffic, SSL, so the two look pretty much identical from an outsider’s point of view. HTTPS is frequently used on websites that require extra privacy, such as online banking, log in pages, and making payments. It is doubtful that authorities would block this port because it is so necessary for users to safely browse the web.
Port forwarding usually takes place on a wifi router, although some VPN apps and operating systems support port forwarding. The exact process depends on your router firmware, suffice to say you’ll want to forward all OpenVPN traffic over port 443 to keep it hidden from authorities.
VPN for Turkey FAQs
Are VPNs legal in Turkey?
Yes, using a VPN is legal in Turkey. While Turkey began taking steps to block access to Tor and VPN services late last year, it is not illegal to actually use one. We’ve seen no reports of anyone being arrested or charged with a crime simply for using a VPN.
That being said, what residents of Turkey do online while connected to the VPN is still subject to the laws and regulations of Turkey. We do not encourage readers to break the law while using a VPN, even though the VPN is intended to hide your online activity.
Furthermore, Turkish authorities have been rather active in 2017 when it comes to blocking access to VPN servers. We’ve received several comments saying that the VPNs we recommended have been blocked, but thankfully these blocks were only temporary. They have been rectified by the VPN companies and continue to operate, but users should still expect occasional downtime.
Should I use a free VPN for Turkey?
VPNs help mask your identity but the free ones you might find on the internet are a poor choice for navigating the web safely and securely. As such, you may be setting yourself up for a nasty surprise if you choose to use a free VPN.
On a practical level, free VPNs deploy weak encryption standards, regularly engage in bandwidth throttling, and don’t have wide server networks to choose from. Data-intensive tasks like streaming video, playing online games, and accessing banking and financial services are beyond their capacity.
At the same time, there are examples of free VPN providers that have willingly infected host devices with malware in order to mine data to sell to third-party advertisers. One has even piggybacked on idle user bandwidth to build botnet armies. That completely goes against the ethos of using a VPN in the first place, which is why a paid service is definitely worth the few dollars it’ll cost each month.
Is it legal to download a torrent in Turkey?
Torrenting is allowed in Turkey, but piracy—downloading copyrighted material without permission—is not.
Popular torrent trackers like ThePirateBay are blocked in Turkey. You need a VPN to access them.
Some users report that internet service providers in Turkey will send a warning message to customers who they catch downloading copyrighted materials, followed by bandwidth throttling for repeat offenders. However, anti-piracy laws and rules are rarely enforced.
Is a VPN really private?
As long as you use a reputable VPN provider, yes, VPNs are really private. The encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN server ensures no third-parties can spy on your connection. Be sure to choose a VPN that keeps no logs of your online activity (all of the providers we recommend meet this requirement).
Which VPNs are blocked in Turkey?
While we can’t test every single VPN out there, here are the VPNs listed by local news sources as being targeted by Turkish authorities:
Additionally, Tor connections are reportedly being blocked by ISPs.
How can I blog safely in Turkey?
As we’ve outlined in the previous section, any attempts at free speech on the web or even thinly-veiled criticism of the government can land you in jail. This is a troubling phenomenon and indicative of the government’s totalitarian instincts. However, all is not lost.
Blogging safely in Turkey necessitates the total elimination of your digital footprint while you write and publish your thoughts. This process requires you to be extremely prudent and take careful steps because the ramifications can be serious.
The web is an extremely powerful tool and Turkish authorities are well aware of that. Our guide to blogging safely has all the information you need to keep you secure on the internet as you begin to write and publish anonymously.
Does NordVPN have servers in Turkey?
Yes. As of time of writing, NordVPN operates eight servers in Istanbul. VPNs are illegal in Turkey and local ISPs attempt to block most VPN connections. NordVPN recommends using the “obfuscated servers” function, which makes it harder to identify a VPN connection.
NordVPN’s website is still accessible in Turkey as of time of writing.
Is video chat in Turkey blocked?
Turkey hasn’t explicitly blocked VoIP communications—online voice and video chat. But the country routinely blocks entire websites and apps that could be used for video chat, including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Skype.
How does a VPN support freedom of speech in Turkey?
A VPN encrypts data sent to and from a device and routes it through an intermediary server, making it impossible for third parties to snoop on the user’s internet activity or online activity to be traced back to an individual. Without fear of surveillance, people in Turkey can more freely express themselves online and access websites and services that authorities have blocked.
How does the Turkish government censor the internet?
The Turkish government censors the internet in several ways.
Turkey’s broadcast media regulator has the authority to monitor and regulate internet services. It can order the country’s internet service providers to block and filter websites and services, throttle bandwidth, or shut down the internet altogether.
Turkey frequently uses content takedown requests to quell discussions critical of the government on social media. Turkey has the 3rd highest rate of social media content removal requests per 100,000 internet users, behind Russia and Monaco.
Journalists and activists critical of the government are frequently prosecuted, detained, harassed, and attacked by the ruling party and its supporters.
Streaming services in Turkey must get a license to operate.
How can I use PayPal in Turkey?
PayPal ended its operations in Turkey in 2016 after it failed to get a license. Sending and receiving payments was immediately suspended. Until 2020, people in Turkey could still log into the site and withdraw their money to a Turkish bank account. Now, however, anyone in Turkey who still needs to withdraw funds from their PayPal account will have to email PayPal customer service directly.
If you still want to use PayPal in Turkey, you’ll have to create an account in another country. You can do this with the help of a VPN, but bear in mind that you’ll also need a local payment method to fund your PayPal account, such as a bank account or credit card.
Will I need to download my VPN app before traveling to Turkey?
It’s a good idea to download and install your VPN app before traveling to Turkey. The reason for this is that this country has a high level of online censorship with some VPNs (and their websites) blocked in Turkey. Needless to say, this makes it that much more difficult to install them while in Turkey.
However, it’s worth knowing that VPNs aren’t illegal in Turkey. It’s just that getting set up ahead of time makes things easier and ensures your device or devices are protected from the moment you arrive in the country.
Will these VPNs give me a Turkish IP address?
Yes. Our top three recommended VPNs were all chosen because they have servers in Turkey. This will allow you to get an IP address in Turkey from abroad. As a result, you can watch Turkish TV streams and access region-locked Turkish internet services from abroad.
The benefit of connecting to a VPN server in Turkey is that you can also access Turkish services privately within Turkey. So, if you want to use local internet services while still protecting yourself against ISP tracking, remember to connect to a VPN server in Turkey.