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Understanding Turkish Culture

9th June 2014

The first thing you will notice about Turkish people is that they are extremely patriotic and are very proud of their ancestors and of the achievements of their modern society.

You will notice the Turkish flag is proudly displayed everywhere - and rightly so!

During Turkish national holidays, including; 'Victory Day' - you will see Turkish flags adorn shops, public offices and people's houses.

So what else do we know about Turkish people and their customs? read on to discover fun and light hearted
'stero types' about the Turkish population and their culture.

Turkish people are very tactile
Turkish people will kiss to say hello and goodbye, once on either cheek, man to man, as well as woman to man.

It is common to see men hold hands, or link arms with other men.

So, if you’re a man, do not be alarmed. It’s the norm in Turkey.

For Turkish people it is considered odd to not be this intimate with everyone you know.

Family means everything
Turkish people are very family orientated & treat each other with the utmost respect. Grown children tend to live at home until they are marred and extended families spend a lot of time together.

Never enter a Turkish home without taking off your shoes. You will be given some house slippers to put on instead.

Turkish people love children
The Turkish love children, they tend to make a fuss of children especially babies. They will happily take a look at them, pinching their cheeks, touching their hair etc. It’s quite normal to give a child they do not know sweets, pick them up, kiss them on the check and take a photo of them.

You will often hear the words “mash'Allah” “mash'Allah” said to young babies & children.

People often give bracelets that have an eye on them to protect them.

Turkish love their balconies
Come rain or shine, whatever the weather Turkish people will sit on their balconies enjoying a nice glass of çay (Turkish tea) and converse with their family and friends.

Turkish people love tea (
Turkish people drink a lot of tea. Tea, tea, and more tea.

Don’t be surprised to see employees at banks, post offices or even customs control swigging on their çay as they stamp your passport.

Raki & Fish
Turkish people (mainly men) love Raki an anise-based liquor that is mixed together with water. And Raki works best with fish.

In Turkey a traditional meal with Raki will have dozens of meze & seafood.

Turkish drivers do not stop at pedestrian crossings

For a foreigner crossing a busy road it can feel a little scary, and Turkish Pedestrians may be perceived as brazen jaywalkers however it is considered normal to cross the roads/highways where you can in Turkey.

‘Queuing’ is not a familiar custom to Turks, basically Turks do not queue they 'bunch'.

When it comes to boarding a plane, train or bus people tend to clump together and its 'every man woman and child for themselves'. Just try not to get elbowed aside, as can happen in Turkish queues.

Turkish people love to hear non-Turks speak Turkish
Even if you only speak a few words it will bring much appreciation. Please see "Turkish phrases for tourists"

In Turkey there is such a thing known as 'Turkish time'.

With the exception of business people, Turkish people tend to view time as a fluid concept. Its quite normal for Turkish friends to arrive late. When you make an invitation for dinner expect people to show up an hour past the appointed time. This is never meant as any offence nor taken that way by Turkish people. 

In Turkey the majority of people are Muslim. However, most of them are very relaxed and open-minded. In parts of Istanbul, the western Aegean coast, and the Mediterranean they are used to tourists and their own citizens have adopted many European ways of life.
The East of Turkey is more religious, but still the people are kind and relaxed.

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