Banking
Bank services are available at the Istanbul International Airport and City Center.  Banks are open from 08.30 to 17.00 from Monday to Friday, with a break between 12.00 to 13.30. They are closed at weekends and on public holidays.

Climate and Clothing
In December the weather in Istanbul is generally fresh. Showers are waiting in December.

Credit Cards
International credit cards are accepted in cash dispensers, hotels, restaurants and most shops, as well as car rental agencies. The most common credit cards are VISA, Euro Card, and MasterCard.

Currency Exchange
The local currency is the Turkish Lira (TL). The exchange rate changes daily. Foreign currency can be exchanged at the airport, banks, hotels and exchange offices. International Credit Cards are widely accepted.

Driving License
International Driving Licenses are recognized throughout Turkey. Car rental companies ask for a valid driving license.

Electricity
In Turkey, electricity is supplied at 220 Volt / 50Hz AC. Most hotels have a receptacle with 110 volts. Two-pin round plugs are used.

Emergency Telephone Numbers
Ambulance 112, Fire Dept 110, Police 155

Insurance
Registration fees do not include insurance of any kind. At the time you register for the Congress and book your travel you may wish to take an insurance policy of your choice. This insurance is to be purchased in your country of origin.

Internet Access
The wireless internet access for notebook users are available at the official hotels, restaurants and cafes.

Shopping
Most shops in Istanbul are generally open from 09.00 to 19.00, Monday to Saturday. Big shopping centers are open every day of the week, usually from 10.00 to 22.00. In all shopping centers major credit cards are accepted and tax-free shopping is possible.

Smoking
Smoking is not permitted inside of restaurants, public service vehicles, museums, libraries, lifts, theatres, cinemas, supermarkets, department stores and government offices. Offenders can be fined up to 100 Turkish Liras. Inline with the efforts to improve the nightlife experience for all, there are smoking restrictions on entertainment outlets. Smoking is no longer allowed in all pubs, discos, karaokes, bars and other public nightspots unless within approved smoking rooms /corners. Effective January 1, 2009, smoking is prohibited at:

  • Indoor public places e.g. shops, shopping/neighborhood centers factories, offices regardless of whether they are air conditioned.
  • Lift and hotel lobbies.
  • within 5m of entrances and exits to indoor area of buildings and facilities where smoking is prohibited.
  • Playground and exercise areas.
  • Markets.
  • Ferry terminals.

Mobile Phone
There are 3 GSM operators in Turkey being as Turkcell, Turk Telekom and Vodafone. All of them are daughters or partners of international companies and have roaming agreements with network operators of all participating countries. There are two wave bands for mobile phones in Turkey: 900 and 1800 MHz. Please check with your provider regarding roaming costs and wave bands. Local GSM operators have prepaid lines, which can be provided at newspaper booths and groceries. Please check that the prepaid cards are in accordance with your line. Additionally, there will be renting possibilities of mobile phones with lines.

Post Office
Post offices are indicated PTT (Post, Telegraph, and Telephone) throughout the city.

The central Post office is open Monday through Saturday from 8.00 to 21.00, Sunday from 9.00 to 19.00. Smaller ones are open
Monday through Friday between 8.30 and 17.00. Hotel concierges also take the mail.

Security
Based on data provided by well known statistical institutes worldwide, Istanbul, among other metropolises, is regarded as one of the few cities with a low rate of crime. In the official hotels security staffs are on duty using the newest technological security systems.

Taxis
Available at taxi stands or hailed on the street. All are yellow and have meters.

Telephone and Fax
Telephone services will be provided by Turk Telekom. Local and international calling fees will be set according to the Turkish Telekom tariff. Allocation of temporary telephone line is available. The designation of provisional lines will be possible upon signing contract with Turkish Telekom. The Turkish Telekom will provide prepaid fax message and telephone services at the business center.

Time Differences
Turkey is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and 7 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time.

Tipping
This is customary in restaurants and taxis. Tipping 10% of the bill is acceptable.

Water
Although tap water is safe to drink, it is recommended to seek advice from the hotels.

Weather
The weather in Istanbul for December: Mean temp (overall): 14.2 degree Celsius (Average of highest: 20.8 and average of lowest 9.8 and ranges between 33 and 0.8 degrees Celsius). Average time to stay under the sun: 6.3 hours Number of rainy days in average: 7.8 Sea temperature in average: 22 degrees Celsius.