Foreign Film Production in Turkey: The Top 5 Films
photo by Philip Menke

Turkey is becoming a popular film production hub for Hollywood as filming in Turkey becomes more favourable for the producers.

VAT rebate recently offered by the Turkish Directorate of Cinema and success of popular films “Skyfall” and “Argo” are the reasons behind the increasing number of foreign productions.

Making a big revenue through foreign film production with over 20 movies in the last 3 years, Turkey’s goal is to be the first option in the region to offer film locations.

Here are the top 5 movies recently filmed in Turkey:

1. Skyfall

Even though it wasn’t the first time that 007 is visited Turkey, it is the most popular. Turkey is offering a stunning 12 minute opening sequence for the film, including locations such as Grand Bazaar and Eminönü Square in Istanbul, as well as city of Adana in the South East of Turkey and Fethiye on Mediterranean coast.

2. Argo

Argo is a story about the hostage crysis between United States and Iran in 1970′s. With a relatively tight budget for Hollywood, a tough schedule and no way to produce the film on location in Iran, the producers had to be creative to make a city doubling for Tehran in both Istanbul and California. Efforts seems to be paid back since the movie won the “Best Picture” at the Academy Awards in 2013.

3. Taken 2

The sequal of Taken (2008), Taken 2 is a hostage story of a CIA operative and his wife. Despite the beautiful exterior action scenes in the old town of Istanbul and Grand Bazaar, heavy criticism were raised by the Turkish audience after watching the film, stating that the movie gives a false impression about Istanbul as it draws an unsafe, unstable and outdated picture of Istanbul.

4. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Starring Nicolas Cage, Spirit of Vengeance is another sequal in the list, filmed in Turkey and Romania. While the Ghost rider fans praise the movie for the action sequences and CGI, general audience does not seem to like it so much as the movie hold an IMDB score of 4.3 / 10. Pamukkale and Cappadocia are the two major locations for the sequences that were shot in Turkey.

5. The Water Diviner

Telling a story of an Australian father coming all the way to Turkey to look for his sons who fought in the war of Gallipoli, The Water Diviner is one of the highly expected movies of the year. The movie has a significance for the Turkish audiences as it is not only set in Turkey but also co-starred with famous Turkish actors Yılmaz Erdoğan and Cem Yılmaz. The film is going to be relased worldwide on December 26th, 2014.

Meet the author


Working as a line producer since 2007, Mert is offering production services in Turkey for overseas film crews visiting the country. He is also the managing partner Istanbul based video production company Otm. Filmworks.