To call Istanbul from abroad:
1. Dial the international access code: 011 from the U.S.; 00 from the U.K., Ireland, or New Zealand; or 0011 from Australia.
2. Dial the country code: 90.
3. Dial the city code 212 for the European side and 216 for the Asian side, and then the number. If the number you are trying to dial is a mobile number (beginning instead with 555, 542, or 532 and their derivatives), then use this number instead of the city code.
To make international calls from Istanbul: First dial 00 and then the country code (U.S. or Canada 1, U.K. 44, Ireland 353, Australia 61, New Zealand 64). Next you dial the area code and number. For example, if you wanted to call the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., you would dial 00-1-202-588-7800.
To make local calls while in town: In order to call the Asian side from the European side, you must dial 0216 and then the number. For calls to the same side, dial the city code, but not the 0. To call outside of Istanbul but within Turkey, you must dial the 0 followed by the area code and seven-digit number.
For directory assistance: Dial tel. 115 (in Turkish) if you're looking for a number inside Istanbul. Unfortunately, there is no international directory.
For operator assistance: If you need operator assistance in making a call, dial tel. 115 if you're trying to make an international call and tel. 131 (in Turkish) if you want to call a number in Turkey.
Toll-free numbers: Numbers beginning with 0800 within Turkey are toll free, but calling a 1-800 number in the States from Turkey is not toll free. In fact, it costs the same as an overseas call.
National numbers: More and more prevalent is the local 444 number (no area code). These numbers connect you to service call centers for national businesses for the cost of a local call.
The three letters that define much of the world's wireless capabilities are GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications), a big, seamless network that makes for easy cross-border cellphone use throughout Europe and dozens of other countries worldwide. In the U.S., T-Mobile and AT&T use this quasi-universal system; in Canada, Microcell and some Rogers' customers are GSM, and all Europeans and most Australians use GSM. GSM phones function with a removable plastic SIM card, encoded with your phone number and account information. If your cellphone is on a GSM system, and you have a world-capable multiband phone such as many Sony Ericsson, Motorola, or Samsung models, you can make and receive calls across developed areas around much of the globe. Just call your wireless operator and ask for "international roaming" to be activated on your account. Unfortunately, per-minute charges can be high -- usually $1 to $1.50 in Western Europe and up to $5 in places such as Russia and Indonesia.
Alternatively (and particularly for those with infuriating "locked" GSM phones), you can pick up a new, low-end handset at the airport in Istanbul and load in a SIM card on one of the local networks. Both Vodafone and Avea have kiosks in the international arrivals terminal in Istanbul. A new basic Nokia phone costs 70TL and the SIM card (which gives you your phone number and network connection) costs 18TL. The SIM card comes with 150 preloaded minutes, but that's not really much, so you may want to buy some additional minutes if you plan on calling or texting overseas.
Internet & E-Mail
With Your Own Computer -- Most laptops sold today have built-in wireless capability. And it's the rare hotel, restaurant, resort, cafe, and even retailer in Turkey that doesn't offer Wi-Fi (wireless fidelity), creating "hot spots" that offer free high-speed Wi-Fi access just about everywhere. Larger (more expensive) hotels and airports usually charge a fee for usage (varying from as little as 9TL at the airport to 30TL per day at someplace like the Ceylan Intercontinental Hotel. To find public Wi-Fi hot spots at your destination, go to www.jiwire.com; its Hotspot Finder holds the world's largest directory of public wireless hot spots.
For dial-up access, most business-class hotels throughout the world offer dataports for laptop modems, or ISDN hookups for high-speed Internet access.
Wherever you go, bring a connection kit of the right power and phone adapters, a spare phone cord, and a spare Ethernet network cable -- or find out whether your hotel supplies them to guests.
Without Your Own Computer -- Computers made available for the use of hotel guests are still available in many establishments, while the better hotels, such as the Sofa Hotel and the W, rent laptops to guests for a fee.
Most major airports have Internet kiosks that provide basic Web access for a per-minute fee that's usually higher than cybercafe prices.
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
If you have Web access while traveling, you might consider a broadband-based telephone service (in technical terms, Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP), such as Skype (www.skype.com), which allows you to make free international calls if you use their services from your laptop or in a cybercafe. You'll want to have a headset with speaker capability if you're "skyping" in a public place. Check the sites for details on restrictions.