Turkish Social Customs
Turkish people are known mostly for their friendly and welcoming manner. You might have met someone for all of one hour but you will still be invited to their brothers best friends cousins wedding - the saying ‘more the merrier’ is a general way of life in Turkey. There are a few notable customs and traditions in Turkey that are useful to be aware of.
The first one being Turks never wear shoes inside the house. If you’ve ever been to a Turkish persons house, you will notice a bunch of shoes outside. When you enter the home you will be given a pair of slippers. Old folklores say that you must never walk on cold tiles; otherwise, you will have a tummy ache - hence the slippers!
Another social custom to be aware of is certain tea gardens called Kiraathanesi are strictly for men. If you see lots of men playing backgammon or another chip-like game, then know women are forbidden from entering the establishment. Another segregating tradition (but in the home) is that women generally do the cooking whilst the men wait for their food to be served. This is also the standard set-up for clearing away. The men may retire to the balcony with their tea, and a cigarette whilst the females present will clear up the remnants of the meal. More modern Turks might have abandoned this tradition, but it’s good to be aware of it just in case!
Another unusual tradition is that Turkish people don’t seem to use knives with their meals, you can expect a fork and spoon at every meal but it is rare that a knife will be set out. Cutting food with your fork or spoon is a technique that you should learn quickly!
There are many unusual traditions and customs in Turkey that differ region by region so these are just a few widely recognised ones.