If you´re feeling a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of navigating the Turkish rental market, start off with listings in English-language newspapers like the Turkish Daily News or the New Anatolian. If you can read Turkish, the property magazine Emlak Pazarı also advertises rentals.
Once your nerves are settled you should venture into the streets and check out neighborhoods in person. Properties available to rent will be marked with signs reading Kıralık Daire (Apartment for Rent). Doing some searching in person is beneficial for several reasons. First, it gives you an idea or areas in your town or city where rentals are most available. Second, it helps you orient properties in relation to local landmarks and each other.
While rental properties you find in person will often list a phone number, don´t call unless you are fluent in Turkish. It´s fairly unlikely that whoever answers will speak your native language, so have a Turkish friend call and explain the situation for you.
If you are looking for a room in a shared apartment, you may find vacancies posted in hostels and language schools in addition to the other sources.
Turkish real estate agents
Real estate agents (emlakçi) have offices in the neighbourhoods where they represent properties. Do not expect Turkish real estate agents to provide the comprehensive service that you may remember from your home country.
In Turkey, real estate agents function primarily as intermediaries. They will index rental properties in their listings and then take you to see them, but they will not provide you with all the property´s details.
Be happy if you can get the correct square metreage and the monthly rent out of your agent.
For this reason, you will probably visit several properties before you find one that you like (you will learn flats´ details as you see them). Once you have found your rental, you will pay your real estate agent a commission equal to one month´s rent.
Renting outside major cities
If renting in the city sounds like a haphazard process, take a trip out to the country for a whole new perspective. Rental properties are uncommon in the countryside and small towns, and there are few resources available for finding the few that do exist.
Instead, you will have to rely on word of mouth (and your Turkish language skills). If you don´t speak Turkish, don´t even think about looking for a place without having a Turkish friend on hand for help. Even once you do find something, there is a good chance that it will be in an extreme state of disrepair.
Renting in a less-populated area does have its advantages, however. Rents are astoundingly low (75 Turkish lira a month is a common figure, compared to 500 in a major city). Many rural landlords also think of foreigners as responsible tenants, even if they might hesitate to rent to unmarried couples.
Finally, you are much less likely to be cheated in the country than the city, even though rural rentals are arranged relatively informally - often through oral agreements.