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Common Misconceptions about Turkey

9th June 2015

So you tell your friends and family you’re planning a holiday to Turkey and then one them tells you to think again because Turkey is Islamic country or you’ll have to wear a burqa if you want to go around in public or you’ll be told you could be kidnapped and held to ransom once you get of your flight.

Unfortunately these are just a couple of the common misconceptions people mistakenly believe to be true. While to someone with a knowledge of Turkey they may seem ridiculous and so unbelievable that no one could ever take them seriously, the reality is much more harmful as the spread of unfounded beliefs like this can easily do harm to a countries reputation.

Turkey isn’t alone many countries have found themselves the unfortunate victim of misconceptions that many people believe to be true. Some are harmful and some are downright strange but you can rest assured none are true, let’s take a look at some of the most common misconceptions about Turkey.  

Turkey is an Islamic State

Because of Turkey’s location this misconception is taken as fact by many, because they fail to take into account how large Turkey actually is. The east of Turkey is closer to the Middle Eastern countries so it’s generally more conservative than the west of Turkey that is closer to Europe.

The majority of Turkish people are Muslim, but on the whole though Turkey is a secular country and one where people of many different faiths and backgrounds work together in harmony every day. 

Women have to wear Burqas

An added effect from the first misconception I looked at, you’d be surprised how many people incorrectly assume women are legally required to wear burqas in Turkey. Although this is often quickly dispelled when you see the variety of different fashions Turkish women wear.

You may notice some women wearing them and this is a choice they have made themselves - it isn’t compulsory. A more common sight is the Hijab that are more commonly worn by women in the east of Turkey.

Turkey is Dangerous

Concerned friends and family will often talk about the dangers of going to any foreign country but when it comes to Turkey there is some wild and downright strange misconceptions about tourist’s safety. These range from beliefs you’ll be kidnapped at the airport, to fears of repeated muggings and even wilder still fear of organ harvesting.

Turkey’s not alone in this most big tourists spots will have similar unfounded stories about them being passed around places like New York for example often have a range of stories about how unsafe it is.

And while Turkey may not be devoid of danger, what place truly is, you can book your holiday knowing that on the whole the Turkish people are very friendly and eager to help. And on the whole Turkey is safe place for you and your family to visit.

Polygamy is Legal

This is one that always surprises me because it just seems so impossible that people would believe it. A century ago there were no laws preventing polygamy but the practice was outlawed by the 1st President of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Who is responsible for the foundations that built modern Turkey and considered a revolutionary by many.  
So this is one fear you can but to rest right away because the practice of polygamy has been outlawed for quite a while now.

Turkey is part of the Middle East

This is actually a more understandable misconception because if you where to look at Turkey on a globe in does border a number of Middle Eastern countries like Syria, Iraq and Iran. But then again if you looked at it from another angel you’ll also see that Turkey borders with a number of EU countries like Bulgaria and Greece.

Turkey is more liberal than its neighbours in the east and Turkey is known as a country where the east and west meet together. While it does have a strong Muslim community it would be wrong to say Turkey is a Middle Eastern country.

There’s plenty more misconceptions out there and as time moves on more and more will likely be invented, remember though before taking them as fact because and friend or family member is telling you do a little research to find out the truth for yourself.



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