Turkish Culture

As a result of Turkish rich conquering history, Turkish culture has been influenced by many different elements from Byzantine, Ottoman, Middle East, European, African and Central Asian traditions. The present day Turkish culture raised form a multi-cultural society in the past and that is why it is a mixture of many various counterparts. It was greatly modernized since 1923 after Mustafa Kemal Ataturk converted Ottoman Empire into democratic and secular Turkish Republic.  

 

The multi-cultural aspect of turkish culture is well seen in Alanya even today. There are thousands foreigners owning a holiday home in Alanya or even settled down here. Local people in Alanya are fully aware of possible cultural differences between nations and have learned to accept them. Partly thank to being so warm-hearted, social, good-intended and most of all curious as Turkish people generally are.

 

Greetings

The most common greeting is “merhaba” which means “hi”. It can be used any time of the day. Men generally shake hands or if good friends or relatives they tip both sides of their heads. Women can shake hands in formal meetings, hug or kiss cheeks in informal ones.  

 

Greetings between a woman and a man differs according to the occasion. In cities and tourism places they shake hands on a formal level, kiss cheeks or hug with friends or familiar people. However in traditional families and rural areas men greet women with a handshake or just a nod in sign of a greeting without any physical contact. That is not meant to offend a woman but to show her respect as woman is the most valued person in turkish culture.  

 

Elders in the families are greeted from the youngsters by kissing their hands and then touching their hands with the forehead as a sign of respect.

 

Visiting a Turkish family

You would be most probably welcomed by words “Hoş geldin” menaing “Nice you came” and you can respond as “Hoş bulduk” which is means “I found it nice”. Then the question “how are you”, in Turkish “nasilsin”, will follow even several times over the visit. You are expected to take your shoes off when entering the house and by the time you leave the shoes will be most probably turned into the direction away from the entrance. It is so that you can put your shoes on easily when leaving. That is one of many habits of showing a visitor hospitality.  

 

During your visit you will be offered a turkish tea or coffee which is a must to drink. Usually there is no alcohol offered in a family circle. As Alanya is a very fertile area, next to your tea you will be served seasonal fruit or sweets. If you want to bring a present with you, never bring a bottle of alcohol unless you know that the person drinks alcohol. Instead turkish or your homeland sweets, box of chocolates, package of black tea or coffee or a nice cheese will do much better.  

 

Turkish people in Alanya are very easy with foreign cultures and very curious about them. They smile automatically on eye contact and if not speaking a foreign language they may ask questions about you indirectly to an english speaking turkish person. When leaving, they will accompany you until the door thanking for your visit and saying “Görüşürüz” (meaning “See you”) or “Hoşça kalın” (“May you stay well”). 

 

 

 

 

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