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How Can You Combine MUN With a Cultural Trip to Turkey? (For international delegates) by Meltem ESER

Dear International members, delegates, advisors, and MUN Organizers,

This article is specially sculpted for you, to give you an idea of Model United Nations conferences in Turkey, along with the beautiful spots and cultural trips you can combine them with if you consider joining a conference in Turkey. You can find brief information about Turkey’s famous spots for conferences, things to keep in mind while traveling to Turkey, and much more in this article.

We hope the information below will help you make a good choice while picking an international conference in this big and beautiful country. The possibilities are endless!

Disclaimer: Due to the effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the measures about gatherings, conventions, and conferences; along with traveling and hygiene standards may differ from country to country. Detailed information about this issue has not been included in this article.

Why choose Turkey as an international participant?

  1. Most conferences are held within the normal school periods in Turkey, outside of holidays and vacations. This means that flight tickets and hotel bookings are usually cheaper, which makes it easier for you to travel on a budget.
  2. Turkey is a country housing great culture from the Anatolian area, giving you the feeling as if you are traveling back in time from the Byzantine Empire to the Ottoman Empire; from the heart of Anatolia to Greek History. You will be amazed by the protected traditional lifestyle of people and their hospitality.
  3. The academic level of Model UN conferences, Youth Forums, etc. is very high in both the native Turkish language, as well as in English. This is because MUN conferences are usually organized under the roof of a school or a university, and are supervised by highly intellectual professionals and advisors in the fields of organization, language and education. Recently, schools and institutions that teach second or third languages such as German, Spanish, French and Russian; also started to organize MUN conferences or single committees in those languages, which makes the varieties endless.
  4. Turkey is a relatively cheap country! Because of the economical situation in Turkey, prices in Turkey are extremely cheap for tourists. Even with big groups, eating out is never very expensive when you calculate it back. Please check the exchange rate of your country to Turkish Liras before making comparisons.

Things to Keep in Mind

Visa & Passport: You need a visa to travel to Turkey. For tourism or commercial travel of up to 90 days within a 180 day period, obtain a Turkish visa from Turkish missions abroad or from Visa application systems prior to arrival. Please keep in mind that the regulations may change with time depending on the region and country you’re coming from.

Flights & dates: Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and Antalya are cities that usually have direct flights. Other cities might require transfer flights.

Contact: If you are considering coming to Turkey for a conference, we highly suggest you get in contact with the conference before applying to get the most up-to-date information.

Variety: There are many conferences In Turkey. In fact, Turkey is one of the countries with the most MUN conferences. Each year (under normal conditions) hundreds of conferences are organized all over the country for students to improve their skills. So do not only stick to the conferences given in this article. You should choose what works for you and your delegation/group.

Where can I look for MUN conferences in Turkey?

The most popular places for Model UN conferences are big provinces such as Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara, and Antalya. Recently, many institutions and schools have started to organize conferences in smaller provinces such as Eskisehir, Kocaeli, Denizli and Mugla as well. While almost all conferences are open for international participants, it is important to choose the right conferences with strong relations that will help you with all the steps that have to be taken.

The places we will list below are the most popular and central places in Turkey where it is easy to find accommodation, to use public transport, to include cultural trips and to have a good time as youngsters visiting a new country; while also joining prestigious Model UN conferences.

Since Turkey is a very big country, there are endless options when it comes to MUN. While the cities listed below are very important and easy to access, it can also be very enjoyable to choose a smaller city in Turkey, where there is still a lot to explore.


1) Istanbul

Traveling Places in Istanbul

Istanbul, former Constantinople, is not the capital of Turkey, but is the most crowded city -and metropole- of Turkey and is a real business and students’ city. Istanbul is home to Turkey’s best schools and universities, many headquarters of big companies, and also a great piece of history.

When it comes to MUN in Istanbul, we can speak of tens, maybe hundreds of conferences organized for all educational levels from JMUN to university level MUNs.

Some of these esteemed conferences are:

When you come to Istanbul to join a conference, it would be amazing to combine it with a cultural trip around the beauties of Istanbul. Depending on the duration of the conference you have chosen to attend in Istanbul and its schedule, you can easily sculpt cultural outings around the conference times. However, the institution you are applying for may sometimes not allow participants to leave the venue until the last session is over. This depends on the conference you are going to.


Before booking your tickets, transfers, and accommodation, carefully choose which airport you will land on. The new airport (IST) is on the European side of Istanbul, whereas the Sabiha Gokcen airport (SAW) is on the Anatolian side of Istanbul. Don’t underestimate the distances!

These are some places you can visit while you are in Istanbul:

The Bosphorus: With your group, you can have an amazing sail throughout the Bosphorus which will take you all the way to the Black Sea and back for a very good price (between 15-25 TL). The boats depart every hour and more, so you will definitely be able to experience this at some point.

Dolmabahce Palace: This astonishing palace is one of the best architectural wonders in the world and served as the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk also had a room for himself there, and he would welcome guests at this beautiful building in Istanbul. on 10 November 1938, Ataturk, the Father of Turks, passed away in Dolmabahce Palace. This is a very important memorial day for Turkey.

Topkapi Palace: Even though Topkapi Palace is quite big and needs more time to visit it completely, it is a very important place in Istanbul, and we highly suggest you to take a look at this center of the Ottoman Empire.

Hagia Sophia: Together with the Blue Mosque, you can be astonished by the great architecture and history behind these structures.

Sultanahmet Mosque: As we mentioned above, combining these two is a great option, and you can walk to all these places thanks to short distances and mild weather conditions.

The Big Bazaar of Istanbul: While you are at the heart of Anatolia, it may be nice to take home some souvenirs. At the old traditional Big Bazaar, the options are endless. Also, the ceiling of this building is full of art and traditional Turkish designs.

Summary of Istanbul

  • Istanbul is a metropole that has many positives sides, such as different people.
  • Almost all international flights to Turkey land directly in Istanbul, Izmir or Ankara so the chance is high that you will not have a transfer flight.
  • Accommodation is easy to find for every budget in Istanbul.
  • Transportation is very easy in this city, however, the traffic is usually crowded.
  • The academic level of conferences is high and people are very welcoming and friendly.
    There are endless options for cultural trips.

2) İzmir

Izmir is a very unique place that also a lot of Turkish citizens adore. Izmir is full of museums, fairs, conferences, forums, theatre, and much more. It is a multicultural environment and home to one of the largest ports of Turkey. Izmir is also a big city for students and educational organizations. One of those is of course Model UN conferences. There are many conferences organized in Izmir and each conference can be evaluated differently.

A thing Izmir is known for though is the social events of these conferences. The academic level of MUN in Izmir depends on which school/institution is organizing it, but there are some very rooted conferences that provide the best experience ever and are all open for international participants.

There are many ways you can combine MUN with cultural things in Izmir. You can choose to visit museums, but it is also very common that youngsters go to the wide grass field named “Kordon” to hang out with a beautiful view of the Aegean sea.

About flights and transportation, Izmir is also very easy to access everywhere and its airport is open for most direct international flights. However please check the exact dates and places from the official pages.

Accommodation in Izmir is quite easy to find for all budgets. There are many small hostels but also big hotels, so it is up to your budget how much you choose to spend on this.

These are the conferences in Izmir, suitable for international delegates:

These are places you can visit in Izmir:

Izmir Clock Tower: The beautiful tower at the center of İzmir is a must-see for everyone visiting Izmir. A beautiful place to take a memorial picture with your delegation.

Kemeralti: Kemeraltı is a historical market district of İzmir, Turkey. It remains one of the liveliest parts of İzmir. Once you’ve visited the Clock Tower, go inside the Kemeraltı Market to experience the atmosphere.

Konak Square: This is basically the square where Kemeralti and the Clock Tower are.

Kordon: Kordon is a widespread coastline, currently covered with big grass fields where a lot of youngsters hang out freely, and many people take long walks along the sea.

Mosques: There are many mosques you can check out from the outside and also visit in Izmir. Ask the locals and explore!

İzmir Ethnography Museum: This museum contains a lot of clothes and pottery from the Seljuk period of the Anatolian area and onwards.

Summary of Izmir:

  • Comfortable place with a modern and multicultural environment
  • Rooted conferences with good academic teams
  • Traditional markets and very unique shops in the city
  • Easy access and transportation
  • Accommodation for every budget

3) Ankara

Ankara is the capital of Turkey which means it is the administrative center of the country. Many diplomats, officers, civil servants, teachers, and businesspeople live in Ankara which gives it a somewhat serious vibe with a strict working schedule compared to Izmir and Istanbul. Ankara is also a student’s city, housing many important universities in Turkey. Everyone in Ankara minds their own business, and life goes on like that.

Even though there is no sea or beach in Ankara, the students’ life and academic opportunities are endless. Model United Nations conferences are also held on a very professional level with outstanding supervisors and advisors, leading amazing academic teams.

Ankara is the capital of Turkey which means it is one of the most crowded places in the country. This, and the fact that it is located right in the middle of Turkey, allows many international flights to fly directly to Ankara. Also, internal transportation is very easy with taxis and buses, etc.

These are some prestigious conferences in Ankara that are suitable for international participants:

While you are in Ankara, these are the most important places you have to visit:

Anıtkabir: The tomb of the great leader of Turkey, the father of Turks, finds a place in Ankara. Wherever you go, you will be able to see the warm-colored Anitkabir which is designed and placed especially on a hill in Ankara so that it would be visible. The soul and body of Ataturk, along with great stories of the Turkish independence war, are resting in Anitkabir and being visited by millions each year.

Old Turkish Parliament (Museum): To add something to your knowledge about Turkey’s history while you’re there, it would be ideal if you visited the old parliament buildings in Ulus as well. Clothes, items and personal belongings of important Turkish leaders are being protected in these buildings, and their architecture will amaze you.

Ankara Castle: If you have enough time, you can hop on a taxi to go uphill and visit the Ankara castle.
Rahmi M. Koc Museum: While you are on top of the hill of the Ankara Castle, we highly suggest you visit this museum as well since it houses thousands of antique pieces of toys and other items.

Summary of Ankara

  • Serious conferences with good academic and organization teams
  • Capital of Turkey, home to a very important history
  • Full of the diplomatic history of Turkey and Atatürk
  • Easy transportation and accommodation
  • Not very touristic, but suitable for educational purposes
  • Direct flights are available most of the time

Detailed article:

4)  Antalya

Antalya is one of the most touristic places of Turkey, and definitely the number one destination of the Mediterranean coast. But of course, Antalya is not just about sun, summer and the beach. Educational and daily life goes on just as normal in Antalya, and it has become a popular place for Model UN conferences in Turkey in the last years as well. Going to a conference in Antalya means, friendly and relaxed people, a comfortable environment, and a good conference to remember forever.

Conferences in Antalya

TED Antalya Model United Nations (TAMUN)

Detailed Article:

While you are in Antalya, around spring or summertime, you can enjoy the great view over the Mediterranean sea and take great walks. You can see a lot of nature and especially waterfalls, which Antalya is famous for.

Places to see in Antalya:

Duden Waterfalls: This natural beauty is a must-see while you are in Antalya.
Antalya Museum: Museum containing Anatolia from the prehistory to the present day.
Konyaalti Beach
Kaleici: This place will amaze you and take your soul back in time. Enjoy the harbor within the castle that together creates the best atmosphere ever.

We hope you find a suitable conference for yourself or your delegation, and we hope you take the opportunity to explore the natural beauties of Turkey while debating at a prestigious conference. In case you need more information about the information above, please get in contact with us via our info email address. Good luck!


Meltem ESER

The Team Leader of Content Producer Team of

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