Customs and Manners in Turkey
The city that lays between two continents, cradle of civilizations, extremely delicious cuisine and of course the great weather. Yes, you got it, Turkey. You want to take that leap in your life, and you can not wait to move to this picturesque country. But hold your horses, just for now. You need to have an idea about Turkish people before beginning to your journey. You should take a glance at the customs and manners of Turkish people. Worry not. In this blog, we will share with you a comprehensive but not exhaustive information about the cultural etiquette of Turkey. There is also going to be Do’s and Don'ts list as well. We believe it will be very useful for you during your stay, whether you are in the country for study or work.
Turks are really friendly and amiable people. It is quite unlikely that you would have any problems with starting a relationship or communication. However, before getting to know them, you should.
- Do shake everyone's hand whenever you meet them. Also expect some kissing and hugging along the way.
- Do prepare yourself to brace some questions that might sound just a little intimate for you like if you are married or how much money you make. Talking about these matters are considered quite normal in Turkey.
- Do not try to pay the check only for yourself if you are in a restaurant or tea house if it is a private occasion. Most of the cases this may look rude for them. So pay for everyone or expect them to pay for you.
Walking and commuting around Turkish cities is really fun and enjoyable, especially if you are in Istanbul. But due to hustle and bustle you also need to be very active and go-getting person. Therefore, you should:
- Do try to make the first move if you are getting into a bus or subway. Otherwise, you might not have a chance to get in at all.
- Do give your seat to elders or pregnant ladies if you somehow found a place to sit. Since elder people are regarded with high respect, having a standing old person is a very unpleasant view for Turks.
- Do pay for the ticket in cash during the trip if you are in a shared taxi so called “dolmuş” and if you are sitting in front seats prepare yourself to pass the money other passengers to the driver as well.
- Do not hesitate to raise your hand for a dolmuş to stop and pick you up. Otherwise, they might get past to you without realizing your intent to get in. Like we said. Be active.
- Do be careful with your bag and wallet especially in the nighttime. Though it is rare, pickpocket incidents are not uncommon these days. Try not to carry so much cash on you. If you wound up in an unpleasant situation like this, just let your belongings go. Nothing is more valuable than your life.
- Do try to go out always with a presence of a company after the sunset.
- Do try to dress more like locals if you are in more conservative cities.
Shopping in Turkey is fun. There is so much variety of goods on the shops, malls and bazaars with reasonable prices.
- Do bargain all the time especially in bazaars and traditional shops. There is always some room for discount.
- Do try to learn some Turkish. It would definitely help you not only in shopping but in all aspects of your life in Turkey.
- Do try to get out of the touristic districts and go to places where locals go for shopping.
Turks value their guest so much that they call them visitor from god “tanrı misafiri”. So when you are on visit to Turkish friends house:
- Do try to eat everything that is offered to you. It is considered rude for Turks if you say no to their offerings. Leaving food on plate is also considered disrespectful to Allah. So, make sure to go there with an empty stomach. Don't worry. Food is so good that you will not regret having to eat it all.
- Do take of your shoes when entering the house. Most Turks walk with bare feet inside their living space. Having a clear pair of socks always helps.
- Do buy some desserts or flower as a gift on your way to visiting. This would make your Turkish friends happy. You can also bring some wine, but a little caution advised since some Turks are extremely against alcohol.
Politics is an integral part of Turkish society and Turks love to talk about it. Most Turks are also very proud of their Turkishness and heritage. Therefore:
- Do learn a little bit about Atatürk and the foundation of the Turkish Republic. While you are at it why not visit Anıtkabir (the tomb of Atatürk) in Ankara? Such a visit will be very helpful for you to get to know the countries past and present.
- Do try to evade the controversial political matters like 1915 events.
Football, or should I say Soccer? Doesn’t matter. Turkish man love the game. So if you want some icebreaker stuff, football is the thing. It is said in Turkey that every Turkish man is half a football coach. So:
- Do try to learn about the biggest three Turkish football teams which are Beşiktaş, Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe. It would also help if you pick one as your favorite.
- Do be aware of the competition among them. So be prepared for some arguments over the teams.
One can always amplify these hints that we just mentioned above. Above all, Turkey is a really fun and interesting country to visit and live for foreigners. Turkish people really love foreigners and always welcomes them even into their houses with open arms. Just try to be polite, honest and unprejudiced all the time. It goes without saying that always keep your caution as well. Though it is rare, unwanted experience are always a possibility in anywhere in the World.
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