Improvements are being made, but Turkey is a challenging destination for disabled (özürlü) travellers. Ramps, wide doorways and properly equipped toilets are rare, as are Braille and audio information at sights. Crossing most streets is particularly challenging, as everyone does so at their peril.
Airlines and the top hotels and resorts have some provision for wheelchair (tekerlekli sandalye) access, and ramps are beginning to appear elsewhere. Dropped kerb edges are being introduced to cities, especially in western Turkey – in places such as Edirne, Bursa and İzmir they seem to have been sensibly designed. Selçuk, Bodrum and Fethiye have been identified as relatively user-friendly towns for people with mobility problems because their pavements and roads are fairly level. In İstanbul, the tram, metro, funicular railways and catamaran ferries are the most wheelchair-accessible forms of public transport. İstanbul Deniz Otobüsleri's (İDO) Sea Bus catamaran ferries, which cross the Sea of Marmara and head up the Bosphorus from İstanbul, are generally accessible. Urban and inter-city buses often accommodate wheelchairs, but fully accessible vehicles are uncommon. Ankara and İzmir's metros are also accessible. A breakdown of how the major cities are making their transport networks more accessible can be found at www.raillynews.com/2014/accessibility-disabled-2015-target-turkey.
Turkish Airlines offers a 20% discount on most domestic flights, and 25% on international fares, to travellers with minimum 40% disability, and in some cases to their companions. Some Turkish trains have disabled-accessible lifts, toilets and other facilities, although many are still boarded by steps. The bigger bus and ferry companies also often offer discounts.
Businesses and resources serving travellers with disabilities include the following:
Access-Able (www.access-able.com) Has a small list of accommodation and tour and transport operators in Turkey.
Apparleyzed (www.apparelyzed.com) Features info on facilities in İstanbul.
Hotel Rolli (www.hotel-rolli.de) Specially designed for wheelchair users.
Mephisto Voyages (www.mephistovoyage.com) Special tours for mobility-impaired people, utilising the Joëlette wheelchair system.
Physically Disabled Support Association (www.bedd.org.tr) Based in İstanbul.
SATH (www.sath.org) Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality.
Accessible Travel Online Resources
Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guide from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.