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Best VPN for Turkey

By Callum Tennent | Updated November 18, 2019

Illustration of the flag of Turkey

In the last few years Turkey has been ramping up its online censorship and surveillance regime.

The current ruling government, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), came to power in 2002, but since a failed 2016 coup it has become more intent on restricting Turkey’s internet.

In 2018, Turkey was dropped from a Partly Free rating to a Not Free rating by Freedom House. A score it kept in 2019.

On top of this, 245,825 websites were blocked in Turkey between 2014 and 2018.

This means a VPN is now vital if you want to access the free internet from Turkey, or go online without the government peering over your shoulder.

If you are traveling to, or living in Turkey, a VPN will allow you to:

  • Access censored media
  • View banned sites like Wikipedia
  • Avoid surveillance from your ISP or government
  • Stream geo-blocked content online
  • Communicate privately

Fortunately, Turkey has not been able to restrict VPN use as effectively as China or the UAE. This means that getting your hands on a good VPN in Turkey is still fairly straightforward.

We’ve carefully tested 74 VPNs, and put together a list of our top five recommended VPNs for Turkey.

What We Tested to Find the Top VPNs for Turkey

  1. Reliable internet access in Turkey
  2. Servers in Turkey and nearby countries
  3. Obfuscation tools to overcome censorship
  4. Absolutely no IP, DNS, or WebRTC leaks
  5. Advanced security and privacy features
  6. No logging (or very minimal logging)

Wondering why you should trust our reviews?
See How We Review VPNs.

Best VPNs to Beat Censorship in Turkey

1. ExpressVPN - Our Best Overall

Ranked #1 out of 74 VPNs for Turkey

  1. Excellent, reliable speeds
  2. Servers in Turkey, Greece, Georgia, Armenia & more
  3. Minimal logging policy
  4. Best obfuscation tools available
  5. No leaks in any of our tests
  1. More expensive than alternatives
  • Best Price

    $6.67/mo over 15 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    85Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    94 countries, 3,000+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

ExpressVPN has been a reliable contender for the best VPN at avoiding censorship for a very long time.

In Turkey this is no different.

It’s also really easy to use, which we like a lot. Many VPNs have complicated setup process for obfuscated servers, but if you leave ExpressVPN on “Smart Location” it will automatically activate obfuscation when you need it.

ExpressVPN has the most server locations we’ve seen in the region. If you are in Istanbul or the surrounding area there are servers in nearby Bulgaria and Greece, while if you are on the south coast there are serves in Cyprus and Israel.

If you are in the eastern part of the country ExpressVPN has the best coverage you’ll find, with servers in bordering Georgia and Armenia.

We’ve never seen ExpressVPN leak IP DNS or WebRTC information, and it comes with a kill switch feature so you can be confident that you won’t suffer any drops in coverage or have your activity exposed.

While not quite no logs, ExpressVPN does maintain a very minimal logging policy, which we think you should be agreeing to. We would like to see it become even more minimal, though.

The apps are simple and easy to use on all devices, including Fire TV Stick. It can be installed at the router level, too, which makes it super easy to protect your media devices or smart TV – there’s a reason it’s our second best choice for Kodi.

Another bonus is ExpressVPN’s 30-day refund period. This allows you to get the VPN running before you arrive in Turkey, and if you find it doesn’t work once you get there, you can just ask for your money back.

We’re confident that you won’t need to return ExpressVPN – but we like it when a provider gives you the option.

One draw-back with ExpressVPN is that it’s fairly expensive on shorter plans. This is fine if you’ll need it for a long time, but if you only need the service for a few weeks you might want to look at our number two pick.

For a more in-depth look, read our full ExpressVPN review.

2. PrivateVPN - Our Budget Choice

Ranked #2 out of 74 VPNs for Turkey

  1. Stealth protcol works in Turkey
  2. Servers in Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus & Israel
  3. Strict zero-logs policy
  4. Really great value for money
  5. Access to both Netflix & iPlayer
  1. Small number of individual VPN servers
  • Best Price

    $1.89/mo over 2 years

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    86Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    59 countries, 150+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

PrivateVPN competes admirably against more expensive alternatives.

It is the perfect choice if you are only willing to commit for a month – as even the short packages are great value.

Even with these low prices there are only a few drawbacks.

Notably, PrivateVPN maintains a smaller server network than the other providers on this list, so you might encounter throttling at peak times.

There are still lots of locations in the region, though. It has servers in Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Israel to give you a strong connection wherever you are in the country.

We’ve also found that livechat support isn’t available 24/7, unlike some other choices. This is unsurprising considering the smaller size of PrivateVPN’s operation, but still worth keeping in mind if you are unfamiliar with using a VPN.

Otherwise, PrivateVPN performs excellently across the board.

The global speeds are some of the fastest we’ve ever recorded, while the apps are also clear and easy to use.

We’ve had no problem getting access to US & UK Netflix, as well as BBC iPlayer and other regional streaming services – great news for expats. It allows users to torrent all servers, too, which is a big plus.

PrivateVPN doesn’t leak IP, DNS, or WebRTC information, which is a must-have when combating censorship.

It is also a 100% no-logs provider, so you can be confident of your anonymity with the service.

All this makes PrivateVPN our number one choice for those on a budget in Turkey. Some of the competition is better, but none of it is better value – especially for short commitments.

For a more in-depth look, read our full PrivateVPN review.

3. NordVPN - Our Choice for Streaming

Ranked #3 out of 74 VPNs for Turkey

  1. Zero logs logging policy
  2. Servers in Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Israel
  3. Excellent local performance
  4. Has never leaked in our tests
  5. Allows access to iPlayer & Netflix
  1. Has been successfully blocked in other censored regions
  2. Cannot access streaming sites when installed on a router
  • Best Price

    $3.49/mo over 36 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    90Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    59 countries, 5,200+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

NordVPN is another solid choice for Turkey. On longer plans it might be the best value VPN available, but you’ll only get this excellent value if you sign up for multiple years – not ideal if you only plan on spending a month or two in Turkey.

With 13 servers in Turkey, and more in surrounding countries like Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Israel, NordVPN will be able to maintain great speeds in Turkey.

NordVPN is our top choice for streaming in Turkey. It reliably gets you access to BBC iPlayer, regional Netflix (including US & UK) and even to Disney+, which many top VPN providers haven’t been able to achieve.

Some of the Turkey servers also support P2P traffic, which is great news for torrenters.

We’ve also never seen NordVPN leaking, so you don’t have to worry about your ISP catching glimpses of your activity. It comes with a kill switch, too, which is vital for using a VPN in Turkey.

NordVPN no longer works in the UAE, where its servers have been successfully blocked, and can be inconsistent for China. Turkey’s censorship infrastructure isn’t the same as that of the UAE or China, and it lacks some of their technical capability, so NordVPN shouldn’t stop working in Turkey any time soon. Still, it’s worth keeping in mind before signing up to a longer subscription.

We also feel it’s important to make you aware of a security incident involving NordVPN.

In October 2019 it came to light that a NordVPN server had been breached by a hacker. No user information was taken, no data was logged, and the VPN encrypted tunnel wasn’t compromised.

That said, it exploited a worryingly simple vulnerability, and we were disappointed by NordVPN’s delayed response. NordVPN is still a very good VPN, but it’s something to consider before you buy.

For a more in-depth look, read our full NordVPN review.

4. Astrill VPN

Ranked #4 out of 74 VPNs for Turkey

  1. Strong performance
  2. Servers in Turkey, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece & Israel
  3. Minimal logging policy
  4. Proprietary obfuscation technology
  5. No IP, DNS or WebRTC leaks
  1. Expensive
  2. No refunds
  3. Slower than other options
  • Best Price

    $10.00/mo over 12 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    72Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    64 countries

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

We know Astrill is popular with people living in censored regions – particularly in China, but also Turkey – and there’s good reason for that.

Astrill has been great at overcoming censorship and VPN blocks for a long time, and it has two proprietary obfuscation technologies to make sure it keeps on slipping under government firewalls.

There are plenty of servers in the region, including Turkey, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Israel, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a server near you.

Astrill VPN doesn’t leak IP, DNS or WebRTC information, and it has a very minimal logging policy, which we love to see.

The VPN is great at unblocking US and UK Netflix, but we’ve had less luck with BBC iPlayer. Some days it works and others it doesn’t. If iPlayer is your priority we recommend going with another provider.

Astrill has its own DNS servers, which means your traffic will spend as little time as possible exposed to third parties, for the very best in security.

We’ve noticed a slow-down from Astrill more recently which means it can no longer compete with the very fastest VPNs. Its track record in censored regions remains very strong, though, so we don’t think you should write it off too quickly.

Astrill VPN is also the most expensive VPN on this list, so those looking for the best possible value for money might be better off turning to another VPN.

Currently, Astrill doesn’t offer any kind of trial or refund period. We would really like to see it introduce one, particularly because of its high price point.

For a more in-depth look, read our full Astrill VPN review.

5. VyprVPN

Ranked #5 out of 74 VPNs for Turkey

  1. Fast, consistent speeds
  2. Works for US & UK Netflix
  3. Servers in Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece & Israel
  4. Chameleon protocol avoids detection
  5. Truly no-logs privacy policy
  1. Inconsistent access since ban
  2. Limited online guides
  • Best Price

    $5/mo over 12 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    83Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    64 countries, 700+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Potentially patchy service leaves VyprVPN behind our other top picks, but it is still a strong choice for beating Turkey’s online censorship.

VyprVPN maintains servers in Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and Israel – less comprehensive than some of the other providers on this list, but still pretty good.

Some providers will limit which servers you have access to when you use their obfuscation protocol. Not Vypr VPN, though. This means you can have reliable access to all the provider’s servers in the region.

There’s a kill switch, which we really need to see for safe use in an authoritarian country like Turkey. VyprVPN also has a record of not leaking IP, DNS, or WebRTC information, another must.

Its no-logs policy is one of the best we’ve seen. Your data is safe with VyprVPN.

The apps are easy to set up on all systems. The interface is easy to understand, too.

VyprVPN was one of the VPNs explicitly named in Turkey’s 2016 VPN ban. The service has mostly stayed online, but we’ve seen some Turkish users online complain of occasional connection blackouts since the ban.

Most of the time, though, you can expect pretty good speeds from VyprVPN in Turkey.

Both Netflix UK & US (and most popular Netflix regions) work. We haven’t been able to watch BBC iPlayer with VyprVPN in a while, so if you’re looking to stay caught up on UK TV while in Turkey you should go with ExpressVPN or NordVPN.

It’s online resources also aren’t quite as extensive as providers like ExpessVPN, but a quick and helpful 24/7 live chat feature means this is too much of an issue.

For a more in-depth look, read our full VyprVPN review.

Popular Questions

Are VPNs Banned in Turkey?

It’s complicated: certain VPNs have definitely been banned in Turkey.

In November 2016, Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority ordered Turkish ISPs to block access to Tor and several VPNs services including Hotspot Shield, Psiphon, Zenmate, TunnelBear, VyprVPN and ExpressVPN.

As a general rule, though, VPNs are legal in Turkey.

The government uses deep packet inspection (sometimes simply called DPI) to inspect traffic and identify if it is being encrypted by one of these VPN services. It can use this to block VPN traffic when it identifies it, but it is nowhere near as effective as China’s Great Firewall.

VPNs with obfuscation technology behind them tend to work in Turkey despite the bans, including both ExpressVPN and VyprVPN.

Which VPNs Do Not Work in Turkey?

Some VPNs have the capacity to overcome Turkey’s censorship technologies, but these popular providers do not work in Turkey:

  • Hotspot Shield
  • TunnelBear
  • Zenmate
  • IPVanish
  • Private Internet Access

If your VPN isn’t working in Turkey, one possible workaround is called port forwarding. OpenVPN connections generally use UDP port 1194, and this can be used to identify it as a VPN connection.

HTTPS traffic, though, generally passes through TCP port 443. If you can get your OpenVPN traffic to pass through this port it is effectively disguised as normal traffic.
You will need a VPN provider whose client includes port forwarding to do this. Private Internet Access supports it, for instance.

Strictly speaking, yes.

Banned websites are blocked, but people are not held legally responsible for attempting to access them.

Something to keep in mind, though, is that whatever you do while using a VPN in Turkey is still subject to Turkish law.

This includes Article 301, which legislates prison sentences of up to two years for anyone who “publicly denigrates the Turkish nation, the State of the Turkish republic or the Grand National Assembly of Turkey… the judicial institutions of the state… the military and police organizations of the State.”

In practice, the law has been used to actively punish criticism of the Turkish government, its leaders and its actions.

Beyond this, there have been large numbers of arrests in recent years over Twitter comments critical of the government.

If you log onto a Twitter account associated with your real-life name or identity and then start criticising Erdoğan, or even the late Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, you could encounter harsh consequences, whether or not you are using a VPN.

If you’d like to learn more, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide, so you can see which laws apply to VPN use all over the world.

How Can I Access Blocked Sites in Turkey?

There are a few ways to get access to blocked websites in Turkey. The first of which is to connect to a VPN.

It won’t be surprising that we think a VPN is the best way for you to get around Turkish censorship, but that’s because it’s true. The best VPN services will be able to tunnel your internet activity outside of Turkey without letting your ISP or the government know this is what you are doing.

This allows you to reach the free internet, without risking your security or privacy.

Alternatively you can connect to the Tor network, a global network of community owned servers (or “nodes”) which anonymise your activity and relocate it to another country. Tor has been banned, so this isn’t quite as easy as it once was, but is still possible.

Tor comes with its own risks, though. Unless you know what you’re doing, we always recommend using a trustworthy VPN.

Scroll down the page to see how you can connect to Tor in Turkey.

A third option is to use a proxy. A proxy is more rudimentary than a VPN, and won’t protect your activity from surveillance by your ISP using methods like deep packet inspection (DPI). Getting a proxy working can be a quick way to access information about staying anonymous online from outside Turkey.

If you are currently using a proxy to access blocked content from Turkey we strongly recommend you move onto a more secure and private tool as quickly as possible.

Which Sites Are Blocked in Turkey?

Unfortunately, under Erdoğan’s leadership an increasingly large number of websites have been blocked.

Bans have been harsh and unexpected, none more so than Wikipedia, which was banned in April 2017.

The image hosting site Imgur has also been banned in Turkey, following an incident where two men took a district attorney hostage, and posted an image of him at gunpoint on the website.

The online forum Reddit has been banned too, but this decision was almost immediately undone.

Imgur on the other hand remains blocked. There is very little transparency from the Turkish government, so it is hard to tell when a website might go down and whether or not it will come back online.

In July 2019 the Turkish language news site bianet.org was also banned. This was particularly alarming, as Bianet is one of very few independent news sources operating in Turkey.

It later emerged that the ban was made by accident, and only specific articles were supposed to be blocked. That such serious action could be taken so casually demonstrates the need to run a VPN in Turkey, where online resources can be closed off without warning or justification.

The other 135 independent news sites were not as lucky as Bianet, and remain offline.

Media sites are required to apply for a special licence to broadcast to Turkey. Netflix has applied for this licence and claims it won’t be censoring any content. We won’t be surprised if shows depicting non-heterosexual relationships get re-edited or simply come off the Turkish version of the site, though.

LGBT+ content and news have been a persistent target for censorship, offline and online. Istanbul Pride has been repeatedly banned and in September 2019 TikTok banned all depictions of homosexuality from its platform in Turkey.

The gay dating app Grindr was banned in Turkey all the way back in 2013, well before the more recent censorship escalations.

Social media blockages are particularly severe when “wartime” restrictions come into effect.

Most recently, a huge number of social media sites were brought down in Southern Turkey while the Turkish Armed Forces and the Free Syrian Army moved to invade Syria against the Kurdish PKK and YPG, dubbed “Operation Peace Spring”.

Banning just part of the country is part of the growing technological capabilities of Turkey’s censorship regime.

Social media services routinely blocked in Turkey include:

  • Facebook
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • WhatsApp
  • Skype
  • Telegram

The Twitter account @TurkeyBlocks provides real-time coverage when these services go down.

If you want to access these sites and services during a government blackout you need to have a VPN or another method of circumnavigating your ISP’s firewall.

How Do I Download a VPN in Turkey?

Because the government blocks VPN providers’ websites, it can be difficult to download a VPN while in Turkey.

If you are planning on travelling to Turkey, we always recommend downloading your VPN before leaving your home country to guarantee you can use it once you are there.

But this is not always an option. Perhaps you didn’t realise you would need a VPN until you reached Turkey, or you are from Turkey and don’t have access to foreign internet.

Fortunately, only major VPN services have actually been blocked, so it is generally possible to use a proxy or other service to access the website of your provider and download their app.

Can I Use Tor in Turkey?

Tor was banned in Turkey back in 2016.

The Turkish government is able to identify traffic which is bound for the Tor network and block it.

It is still possible to use Tor in Turkey, though. You will need to make use of something called a “bridge.”

A bridge allows you to connect to the Tor network without your ISP or government knowing what you are doing, but will only work if your government or ISP does not know the server you are connecting to is a bridge into the Tor network.

Tor is an alternative to a VPN if you need anonymity online. Generally, we recommend using a VPN if your main aim is to circumvent censorship.

Tor comes with risks, and your activity won’t be secure on the Tor network. We’ve written a full guide in case you would like to learn more about the difference between using a VPN and Tor.

What Is the Best Free VPN for Turkey?

We don’t recommend using free VPNs. More often than not they are loaded up with adware or malware, or they don’t encrypt your traffic properly.

You can try your luck with a free VPN, but they’re unlikely to be equipped to avoid detection by an ISP or the Turkish government.

If you absolutely cannot use a paid VPN, you might have some luck with Psiphon.

Psiphon is mainly a proxy service, not a VPN. (It does include a VPN, but not a very good one). This means it doesn’t offer you any additional security, and it also logs far too much user data. It does have a reputation for getting around censorship, though.

Psiphon has been explicitly banned in Turkey, too. So it’s probably only an option if you can download the app before you arrive in Turkey.

There is also no guarantee that it will work consistently once you arrive.

For your safety, security and privacy, we generally only recommend using Psiphon until you can get your hands on a proper VPN.

Can I Use My Amazon Fire TV Stick in Turkey?

Your Amazon Fire TV Stick will work just fine in Turkey – and is a great way to watch your favourite international content.

In particular, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is popular for sideloading the Kodi media player (formerly XBMC), which allows you to put all your media together in one place.

To get access to all your content, though, you may also need a VPN. (We recommend checking out our full guide if you want to learn how to set this up).

A VPN will allow you to get around regional blocks, for instance to watch BBC iPlayer or US Netflix.

It will also hide your IP address, which is important for staying safe while using a media platform like Kodi.

Is It Safe to Post Online in Turkey?

As we have already covered, there are frequent arrests for social media posts in Turkey. They have only increased since the Turkish invasion of Syria.

This doesn’t mean you can’t post holiday pictures on instagram, but if you want to organise politically online anonymity could help keep you safe.

A VPN will keep your activity hidden from your ISP, but this won’t matter if you are posting on a Twitter account under your own name. If you want to be completely anonymous online, you need to use Tor or a good VPN while also avoiding anything that might expose your identity.

About the Author


  • Headshot of Top10VPN.com Site Editor Callum Tennent

    Callum Tennent

    Callum is our site editor and a member of the IAPP and the EC-Council's Knowledge Review Committee. He oversees all our VPN testing, reviews, guides and advice. Read full bio