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Typical Turkish – 10 Traits, Customs and Etiquette of Turkish Society

27th March 2015

As in every country, each society has their own unique characteristics and practices native to that country, Turkey being no exception.  

So here are our '10 Classic Turkish habits' - Enjoy!

1. Eat Yogurt with every meal

Breakfast lunch and dinner, plain yogurt is enjoyed at nearly every meal; it is even made into a popular drink called 'Ayran'.

Plain yogurt is a common place ingredient in Turkish cooking and is eaten most days.

2. Born Fortune Tellers

Some Turkish people have a special gift, the gift of coffee cup reading

In Turkey it is very popular to predict your fortune through looking inside the cup after you have finished your coffee. (Turkish Coffee)

Coffee cup reading is a common tradition, in fact it is as old as Turkish coffee itself.

Don’t be surprised if your waiter suddenly starts reading your fortune once you have finished drinking your Turkish coffee.

Some coffee houses in Turkey employ professional coffee cup readers so one can enjoy a superb Turkish coffee, and then experience a fascinating glance into the future.

3. Use Evil Eye Pendants

The evil eye or Nazar Boncugu bead is a common decorative blue glass bead with the symbolic eye on it, which you will see adorn homes, cars, jewelry and people.

It is believed that the Nazar Boncugu deflects whichever negative energy is being aimed towards a person, thus dispersing its powers. 

It is traditionally believed that it is the blue color of the stone, which holds the shielding power and absorbs any negative energy.


                                                                  [ Popular Blog: Understanding Turkish Culture  ]

4. Drink Çay

Turkish people drink a lot of Çay (Turkish Tea). And it is often drank through out the day; everyday, before meals, after meals and in-between. 

The practice of drinking Çay is ingrained in to Turkish culture; it is a social experience and a sign of hospitality. 

People in Turkey even beat the British on daily consumption of tea, except in Turkey most drink 'black tea', (Tea without Milk) and often with an exceptional amount of sugar cubes.

Turkish tea (Çay) is offered as a sign of friendship and hospitality, most shopkeepers will offer their customers Turkish tea.

5. Eat Soup

'Çorba houses' (meaning 'Soup' in Turkish) are very popular. After a night out, some Turks will head to a late night restaurant for soup.

6. Fresh Food

Everything must be fresh and in season. Buying ones fruit and vegetables from the markets is a regular practice in Turkey.

7. Drink Raki

The French have their wines and the English have their beer; But for the Turks it is 'Raki'.

Raki, which the Turks nickname 'Lion’s Milk', is traditionally drunk with water and ice. 

The anise-based liquor is an age-old tradition; and is mostly drank while dinning, accompanying meals such as mezes or fish.

8. Turkey closes for Lunch

Mealtimes are very important for Turkish people and lunch is no exception. 

Banks and businesses will close for up to 1 hour for lunchtime, and it is not common practice to quickly eat a sandwich at your desk; in Turkey they will enjoy a relaxed sit down meal with colleagues. 

9. Good Grooming

Turkish men and women take pride in their appearance.

Urban Turkish Men like to dress smart, while urban Turkish Women rarely leave the house without wearing makeup, smart clothes and heels. 

Women like to maintain their physical appearance, regular manicures, pedicures and hair is a weekly occurrence, to not do so is seen as ‘letting yourself go’ and may be viewed as not having self regard.

10. Backgammon (Tavla)

In Turkey, people of all age groups love to play backgammon.

 (Tavla) You may notice this game played everywhere; shops, Çay house, cafes, restaurants, bars, and even in the streets people like to enjoy a game of Tavla.




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