Things to know about Turkish Culture

New visitors to Turkey will instantly notice the vast difference in cultures, ethnic heritage and traditions.

From the East of the country, to the West, it is impossible to clarify  in a simple sentence what exactly Turkish culture is. A few similarities exist though and knowledge of these will help you to enjoy your time in the country even more.

The vast disparity in cultures, ethnic heritage, and customs will be immediately evident to new visitors to Turkey.

It is impossible to explain what Turkish culture is from the east to the west of the country in a simple sentence. However, some parallels can be found, which may help you appreciate your stay in Turkey even more.

In Turkey, how do you deal with cultural differences?

1. The Flag and Founder of Turkey

Turks, especially in the west of Turkey, feel proud of their culture and heritage. The Turkish Flag is proudly displayed on balconies, windows, and street lamps on Turkish public holidays. A majority of Turks are also considered inappropriate to be on top of the Flag, sit on it, or even show it as part of their attire, in contrast to those in the UK in which Union Jack shorts are commonly worn.

The majority of offices and shops regularly display a profile photo of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who established The Turkish Republic in 1889 and is known as the father for all Turks. In many town centers, his statue of his has been built.

2. Social Greetings

Turkish people typically greet each other by kissing every cheek. If someone Turkish person greets a grandparent or an older person, it is traditional to be sure to kiss right on the hand of the person and to put their head in the palm to show a gesture of respect.

They also walk along the street wearing arms linked or wrapped around their shoulders. This is a common practice among men and is considered normal social behavior. When you are having a deep conversation with a Turk and touching your hands or arms, this is their way of expressing their opinions and thoughts.

3. Breakfast in Turkey

As one of the most important meals of the day, and the perfect opportunity for families and friends to meet, you might be invited for breakfast instead of dinner. Visitors will be served a delicious breakfast including eggs, olives, and salami, as well as cucumbers, tomatoes, fruits, bread, and a variety of sweet and savory condiments.

Even if you’ve eaten plenty of food, It is almost certain that you’ll be reminded at least once to take in more and more. Sharing meals with people, even strangers, is an important part of Turkish society.

Turkish Breakfast

4. Turkish natural volume

Turkish people may be extremely vocal and passionate according to the subject foreign visitors frequently wonder why they’re shouting. When two Turks are having a conversation, it’s easy to confuse casual conversation for a disagreement.

Also known as the “Turkish natural volume,” don’t feel at all. Sometimes, you may inquire about the Turk, receive an exaggerated grin, and then raise their heads. They’re not trying to be rude, but simply declaring that they don’t want to.

5. Dress code for women

This is mostly based on the location you are visiting. In large cities such as Istanbul and Ankara, the dress code is casual and comparable to the modern European dress guidelines. Similar to the beach vacation destinations in the Aegean and Mediterranean, women’s bikinis or short and short-sleeved T-shirts are the norms.

But in Turkey’s East in Turkey and in smaller villages that foreigners do not visit, women’s dress is more traditional. Ladies who wear traditional headscarves usually are due to religion, and you will see women wearing a full-length burka. Women who visit mosques must cover their heads and cleavages, midriffs, their knees, and upper arms.

6. Turkish tea

The drink is also known as Cay or Cay, and it is the drink of the nation despite common misconceptions regarding Turkish coffee. Tea shops are always full of males sipping tea and taking part in Okey, the Turkish games of Okey. When you go on shopping trips, the owners of stalls may give you a tulip-shaped cup filled with sweet black tea. Families will appreciate the tea gardens are a favorite spot to hang out, particularly on weekends.

7. Timekeeping

The concept of time in Turkey is not given the same significance that is the case for Western countries. Turks do not care about being late when you’ve scheduled to meet them at a particular time or invite them to dinner at your home. The only way to avoid this aspect of culture, even though it is a major source of irritation for foreigners, is to just be used to it.

8. The queue-jumping and the privacy

It can be frustrating to wait in line in the worst of times, but Turks often do not bother with the lines. While completing a banking transaction, a person could stand next to you and ask the banker about their financial data.

The process of waiting for a bus is not a common practice and is a matter of each man on his own when the bus arrives. This may be considered unprofessional to someone from a Western culture in which people are taught that we must wait for our turn, but in reality, it’s easier to accept.

9. Traffic in Turkey

Studying road conditions is highly recommended if you plan to drive in Turkey. Outside of major cities, traffic cameras are seldom utilized, encouraging the attitude that “I need to get somewhere fast.” The practice of leaving a car on the road or rushing to the local store is not uncommon, while the car horn can be a daily object used to the advantage of drivers.

If you’d like to inform someone that you’re coming, sound your horn. Also, even if the traffic lights are turning green, the drivers in front of you will sound their horns to signal that you are allowed to go. Safety helmets for children without are commonplace and, sometimes, a clear disregard for crossings for zebras. Make sure you are aware regardless of whether you’re a pedestrian or a driver!