Turkey's modern otoyols (toll expressway) and
bridges (köprü) are up to European standards, and can increase safety and decrease your travel times, so you will probably want to use them during your driving trip to Turkey.
All of Turkey's toll highways and bridges are being converted to the High-Speed Toll System (Hızlı Geçiş Sistemi, "Fast Transit System," or HGS) to increase the speed of traffic flow.
use the Otoyol...
You'll see otoyols from Edirne on the Bulgarian-Greek border through Istanbul to Ankara,
from İzmir west Çeşme,
from İzmir south (for Ephesus) and east to Aydın,
and in increasingly more locations
around the country. If I can drive via otoyol, I usually do, though sometimes I prefer the slower traditional 2- and 4-lane highways which often parallel the otoyols.
The otoyols are smoother,
faster, more comfortable and easier
to drive. Tolls are
not expensive, but paying them can
be a bit tricky.
Pay Toll by HGS
all toll highways and toll bridges
such as Istanbul's Bosphorus
Bridge, you cannot
pay the toll in cash! You
are required to be enrolled in the HGS automatic toll system. This means it must be equipped with either an electronic-chip sticker or a toll transponder (small plastic device) mounted at the top-center of the windscreen/windshield. These devices communicate with toll-tracking equipment mounted above the roadway, record your car's passage, and charge the toll to the car's account.
Your rental/hire car should be enrolled—confirm that it is!
If your car is not equipped with such a device, traffic cameras will record your passage and a substantial fine will be levied against the car's owner—and passed on to your credit card.
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Your Own Car
In theory, if you drive a car registered in another country into Turkey, you can stop at the first PTT branch you come to, give them a photocopy of your auto registration document and your passport, be enrolled in the HGS system, and obtain an HGS registration sticker/label or an HGS registration card. Displayed in your front windshield/windscreen, these identify you to the HGS system.
You must then pay a minimum of TL30 to the credit of your HGS account to be used in payment of tolls. (This rate is for a Class 1 vehicle such as a motorcycle, normal passenger car, pickup truck or minivan measuring no more than 3.20 meters (10.5 feet) between front and rear axles. The minimums for larger vehicles are higher, as the tolls are higher. More...)
You may also be able to enroll in HGS at participating Shell fuel stations. More...
Note that you cannot pay your toll credit amount through any website! It must be paid at a PTT branch or Shell station. Websites claiming to credit your HGS account are fake and you will lose your money.
HGS vs OGS
HGS = Hızlı Geçiş Sistemi, "High-Speed Passage System:" The new high-speed system implemented in 2013 allows you to pass at highway speed through the toll area.
OGS = Otomatik
Geçiş Sistemi, "Automatic
Passage System:" the slow-speed automatic toll system whereby you drove slowly through a toll gate and your transponder paid the toll.
Turkish Highway Map
Click here for a l-a-r-g-e (2 MB) 2012 Turkish highway map showing the Otoyols as well as traditional highways. Then, click a sport on the map to enlarge it.
Here's the Turkish General Directorate of Highways collection of highway, otoyol and tunnel maps.
Besides the toll Otoyols, Turkey's non-toll highway system has been substantially upgraded in recent years, with safer, faster 4-lane dual-carriageway highways replacing 2- and 3-lane roads.
Many of these new 4-lane roads are not engineered to the standards of true otoyols (expressways), and are not limited access, however, meaning they are not as safe as otoyols, and thus speed limits are lower—but no tolls are charged.