Background Antimicrobial resistance may result from inappropriate use of antibiotics in health care. Turkey is one of the countries with the highest antibiotic consumption in the world. Considering the role of transnational ties between Turkish migrants and their social contacts in Turkey, the attitudes and behaviors relating to rational antibiotic use in Turkey can also affect the use of antibiotics by Turkish migrants residing abroad. This study explores physicians' and pharmacists' experiences and perspectives on rational antibiotic use among Turkish adults in Turkey and among Turkish migrants in Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands, three European countries with large populations of Turkish migrants. Methods Following a qualitative study design using convenience and snowball sampling, in-depth interviews with 21 family physicians and 24 pharmacists were conducted in the aforementioned countries. We transcribed all interviews verbatim and performed content analysis separately in the countries, followed by translation, pooling and joint interpretation of the findings. Results Physicians and pharmacists encountered irrational use of antibiotics among their patients in Turkey. Physicians interviewed in the three European countries explained that Turkish migrants differ from non-migrants with respect to their attitudes towards antibiotics, for example by more often expecting to be prescribed antibiotics. All physicians and pharmacists in the selected countries reported to inform their patients on how to use antibiotics upon prescription; however, Turkish migrants' poor language proficiency was considered as a substantial communication barrier by the physicians and pharmacists interviewed in the European countries. Conclusions The study illustrated some aspects of irrational antibiotic use among the population in Turkey and Turkish migrants in selected European countries. It emphasized the need for closer community participation, adequate information campaigns, as well as in-service training of health care providers in Turkey. The strategies and interventions on rational antibiotic use should also be supported and encouraged by health care providers, who need to reach out to people with various cultural backgrounds.