Posted in Turkey forum
We are thinking of going to Turkey and we don’t know much about the country, so we wrote to ask if you could help us to know the traditions of Turkey.
First, we would like to know the principal religion of Turkey. We are atheists, but we would like to know the religion to adapt to the culture of Turkey and know better the origin of their holidays.
Secondly, we would like to know about customs and traditions so that we can learn a little more about Turkey and know the type of clothes people wear, both men and women, what are the traditional dishes in Turkey and what is the most important celebration in Turkey. Also, we would like to know the laws so as not to break any, so not to show a lack of respect and to know the difference between our laws and yours, etc.
And finally, we would like to know what is considered to be bad manners, because we don’t want to be impolite and don’t want to offend anyone, and because we would not like to be stared at.
Thank you for reading our questions and answering them. Until next time and thank you again!!
Alba, Pep and Xavi
posted by in Turkey forum
Hello there I am a turkish student and I think I can help you with what you ask.
I will mention everything in order to help you.
I am an Atheist too. Older people usually can be sensitive about religion. Younger people are usually a lot more chill. People usually expect you to pay respect to Islam and their religious figures. If you want to get in a mosque you have to cover your hair with a scarf or something. Try not to get involved in a religious argument with older people but you can with younger people. Religiousness is %50 in Turkey.
About religious holidays there is a lot currently it's Ramazan people are fasting here. Try not to eat in public but if you want to do it. It's not a big deal but be ready for a couple of judgemental eyes.
Traditions and Customs
I don't think there is any vital custom you need to know. Remember Turkish people actually originate from central asia. We have some asian customs such as high respect to elderly. We also have muslim customs and european ones. Turkey is bridge between 3 continents and Turkey lives up to it's name.
It varies from region to region. In western part of Turkey, It's more western and relaxed you should not worry about any dress code. Crop tops, shorts, blouses etc. there is nothing to worry. Be carefull about mosques. For men, it is better to wear long pants, and for women to wear pants or full-length skirts or dresses, with long sleeves. Muslim women typically wear a headscarf as well.
In eastern part of Turkey maybe it can be better to wear not that short shorts just to escape from curious eyes. Men are usually the same with everywhere shirts, jeans everything is okay.
Turkish breakfasts are essential, you have to try one in some cafe when you can just order " serpme kahvaltı". There can be 3 kind of cheese and 5 kinds of jam and also unlimited tea. Just before going somewhere ask people you meet where is the better place.
There is a lot of local dishes around Turkey. Whichever city you go to ask them what is their famous food. Eastern part of Turkey is where you can get the best dishes especially hatay, urfa, antep.
It's usually new years eve. It creates debates a lot about religion in television and stuff but every shopfront and mall gets decorated you see your city lights get decorated.
Nearly every National celebration is celebrated here such as Victory Dayi, National Sovereignty and Children's Day.
Try not to resist to Police. They have relatively extensive power in Turkey. If they want to see your ID give them what they want or you can get arrested. It is better to have a Turkish friend with you.
Respect elderly. If you are on a bus they will expect you to give your seat to them.
For some reasons it is rude to cross your legs in front of elderly. Not doing it counts as respect.
If you hear ezan(call for prayer) don't lay down or play music loudly. People will undersant if you do anyways but some people expect respect for their religion.
In streets try not to talk too loudly some people can get irritated easily from that.
If people know you are a foreigner they can try to scam you in some places, especially close to touristic attractions. Be carefull when riding a taxi read the number on the taxometer. When buying souvenirs they may charge you 5-10 liras more.
Just to be safe from stares my advice for girls are if it's dark outside be on busy streets. Some men may shout after you or whistle. I have never seen it happen but It is better to be safe than sorry.
Use "Selamun Aleykum" when greeting a person.It means hi. People will be impressed and you will be appreciated by people beacuse It is kind of a religious greeting but It removes any aggression and prejudgements. Perfect ice breaker. You can also use "Merhaba"
When you see a shopkeeper say "Hayırlı Isler" by saying it you basicly wish them to earn more with ease.
When you see a person working on a piece of handcraft, as lifting a heavy rock or studying you say "Kolay gelsin" by saying this you wish them easy work. you can use it to get attention of someone on you without irritating them.
Feel free to ask more I will be glad to answer whatever you are curious about.