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Getting to grips with Turkish culture and making friends along the way

Posted on May 10 2017 by Gill C

You are now part of the ex-pat community, you have safely arrived at your new home under the fabulous Turkish sun after deciding to leave your homeland, how do you meet people and who do you make friends with? Let’s begin with the Turkish locals who are very friendly and love to stop for a chat they are very inquisitive and want to know who you are, what you do, sometimes they are quite blunt and ask about your age or even how much you earn, try not to take it personally its just their way, you will get used to it. Let’s face it you don’t have to be entirely honest with anyone especially regarding your finances, in Turkey, there are two favourite topics they love to talk about one is money the other politics. Firstly, there are a few Turkish traditions it’s handy to know so you don’t offend anyone.

One very important rule to remember is if you’re invited into a Turkish home you must take your shoes off at the door, you will probably be offered a pair of slippers to wear inside. Turkish people are house proud and they do not want outdoor shoes walking across their carpets, so a little tip is to make sure you don’t have any holes in your socks and your feet are clean!

If you live next door to a Turkish family they are generally very hospitable, they will ask you in for cay (a cup of tea) or a Turkish coffee which is utterly delicious very strong and served in a small cup and saucer with a glass of water on the side. It’s important to note that if you are invited you should accept as it’s considered rude not to. If you’re lucky enough to be invited for dinner then you’re in for a real treat, there will be a whole host of assorted delicious foods at the dinner table and it’s a very relaxed and casual affair, don’t take a bottle of wine unless you know for sure your hosts drink alcohol, but you can take something sweet for dessert.

During national holidays such as Bayram they may give you a small side plate of food, nothing fancy maybe just some baklava (a sweet pastry of honey and nuts) to eat after your meal, when you hand the plate back it must have some food on it too even if it’s just fresh sliced fruit its more than enough and they will be delighted.

Now we come to the ex-pat community, across Turkey you will find in all the major resorts plenty of ex-pats from all different corners of the globe, here it’s easy to make friends as everyone has something in common. You will soon find yourself being invited to get-togethers for breakfast; lunch and dinner, there are walking and swimming clubs and keep fit. Days out are planned or weekends away you will soon settle into this wonderful Turkish lifestyle you can call home.

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