Learning Turkish Etiquette.
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Learning Turkish Etiquette.

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  A trip to Turkey is very exciting, and understanding Turkish customs and what is considered polite and impolite is important in this conservative, largely Muslim country. As a general rule, you will want to avoid hand gestures that are considered rude or vulgar in Turkey, a mistake that is easy to make if you do not know better. For example, saying “OK” with a hand gesture is seen as vulgar in Turkey. In American Sign Language, the sign for bathroom of putting your thumb between the middle and index finger is vulgar in Turkey. Turkish people do not smile or talk without being touched, but be careful with this - men and women do not touch one another.

Clothing Etiquette

Women should cover their arms and legs to dress conservatively. Men can wear a suit and tie and use a conservative style for business. The heat can be intense in Turkey, so wearing a tie is optional.

Dining Etiquette

Everything should be eaten on your plate when you are served at a host’s home, it could cause offense otherwise. Your fork and knife should be lined up together on your plate to show that you are finished eating, and never eat with your left hand, it is not considered clean. Smoking is common during meals, and it is best if you don’t ask your fellow diners not to smoke. If you invite others to go out to eat, you should pay for the entire meal as it is not traditional to separate the bill in Turkey. If you are invited out for a meal, show that you appreciate the gesture buy inviting your hosts out to eat also before you head home from your visit in Turkey.
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Gifts are Customary in Turkey

Crafts and food from America make great gifts, but keep in mind that in a Muslim country like Turkey, alcohol is not a drink of choice for many people, so give that some thought before purchasing alcoholic gifts. Carnations and roses make exceptional gifts as well, and so do decoration items for a person’s home like a vase. Do not purchase expensive gifts. Buy small gifts for children, such as pastries or candy, and wait to open your own gifts until later.

Be Aware of Your Gestures & Body Language

Saying “no” and “yes” in Turkey are gestures that are different from the way you may be used to in America. Nod your head going upward to say “no” while making a sucking sound between the front teeth in your mouth. “Yes” is nodding your head going down. Standing, whether with hands on your hips or in your pockets is rude and shouldn’t be done. Men and women should not touch one another in conservative or in rural areas, it is not expected.

In Turkey, your feet should remain flat while sitting, because showing the soles of your feet is an insult. Never use your finger to point at another person. Don’t forget to never make the “OK” sign or the America Sign Language sign for bathroom.

Meeting and Greeting Others in Turkey

It’s customary to shake hands with elders first, and shaking the hands of each person in the room is also customary, children also. Relatives and friends receive a kiss on each cheek. When visiting the home of someone for a dinner party, arrive on time and bring a gift for the host. Shoes go outside.

When Getting Together for Business in Turkey

Scheduling business meetings one and two weeks ahead is customary. Ramadan is a large holiday, and you should not schedule any appointments at that time or during the vacation months of August and July. Getting to know the person you have your appointment with is important, and the first meeting is used for this purpose. Talk about things such as Turkish history, sports like soccer and discuss family, but avoid politics.

Print information in both Turkish and English, and keep eye contact, as it shows honesty. Visual items are also important, such as charts for presentations, and prepare to wait for the decision making process with patience because it can be very slow. A suggestion that is extreme during the opening of your discussion is meant to see how you will respond to negotiation, so be prepared.

Typical Questions and phrases Asked to Tourists when they are in Turkey

1. Do you like Turkey?
2. Where are you from ?
3. Would you like to drink cup of apple juice at our carpet store ? (Street vendors)
4. Just come and see my friend, you don't have to buy 

Why should I visit Turkey?
Turkey is one of the most traveled tourist destinations in the world and the exposure to culture and tradition is amazing.

When should I plan my trip to Turkey?
June, May and April have moderate weather and the days are their longest. Tourism has not started at this time either and it will be easier to visit sites without additional people around.

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