I have a somewhat large sum of money sitting in a bank account in Turkey that comes from selling real estate and I would like to transfer that money to Europe in the most optimal way. Everything is clear regarding taxes in Turkey.

Transferring the money myself with multiple round trips, each time carrying the maximum amount of money you don't have to declare to customs, seems highly impractical to me. It's the first time I have to do something like that and I have absolutely no clue about how I'm supposed to handle it.

The political situation in Turkey worries me a bit and I don't know if it might affect the process. The good thing is, the cash I want to transfer is already converted to Euros, which is the currency of the country I would like to move the money to.

Any advice is welcome!

  • 6
    "Traveling once, declaring money to customs" could be a realistic option. Bringing money into the EU is not illegal, even for larger amounts, as long as you follow the proper procedures.
    – MSalters
    Sep 26, 2016 at 14:30

4 Answers 4


Transfer it as International wire, there will be some fees. Check with your Bank in Turkey. Turkey has not yet joined SEPA, else this would have been a low cost alternative.


Use international transfer (I think it is called swift or something like that). The charges are generally low (fixed charge of around 15 Euros for both sending/receiving banks) and it is generally fast (takes 1-3 working days depending on the country or bank). Choose each bank pays its own costs for the optimal cost otherwise you pay more costs as the whole cost is taken beforehand.

There are no capital restrictions in Turkey (yet!). So there shouldn't be any problems.

You could also use HSBC in Turkey, which should have free transfers between HSBC in different countries, if you have HSBC in your home country. But I wouldn't worry about that too much.

This is all coming from personal experiences. I'm a Turkish expat having lived in various countries around Europe.


Even though the political situation in Turkey is bad, it is not anywhere never the levels where you should start worrying about money gets locked up there.

I think you can use standard SWIFT or Transferwise to transfer your money. Transferwise works fine in Turkey, but only accepts a bank transfer (no credit or debit cards). They offer lower fees compared to traditional banks.


Beside standard Swift (which may be registered and checked for money laundering) there are the money transfer companies (Western Union) and the electronic currencies like bitcoin. Besides that is buying something very expensive (gold / diamonds) and sell them again a possibility to transport vast amount of value.

  • 1
    If you have to declare large amounts of cash to customs, then why wouldn't you have to declare large amounts of precious metals or other valuables?
    – Nosrac
    Apr 24, 2017 at 17:23
  • i did not say you are free not to declare, but it is easier to transport a million $ as a ring on the finger of my wife, then in cash and it might be ignored. But the question was not, how to make it without informing the authorities.
    – alfetta
    Apr 25, 2017 at 5:25

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