It can be a little scary traveling to a different country – especially if you’re traveling for medical reasons. So we’ve put together some basic information about Turkey to help you understand the culture.
Turkey: An Overview
There are about 69 million people who live in Turkey, and these people are called Turks. The country is located in part of Asia and Europe, situated near Greece. Turkey is surrounded by the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, and Mediterranean, and it is covered with mountains, hills, and valleys. The country’s capital is Ankara.
Manners, Common Greetings, and Customs
Turks respect their elders and greet men with the title “bey,” which is “mister,” and women with the title “hanim,” which means “lady.” When you meet people in Turkey, give a firm handshake and look into their eyes. This act shows you are sincere, which Turks value.
Here are several common greetings:
- “Gunaydin” (pronounced goon-eye-dun) is “good morning.”
- “Iyi gunler” (pronounced eee gun-ler) is “good day.”
- “Memnun oldum” (pronounced mem-noon old-uhm) means “pleased to meet you.”
Religion and Beliefs
Many Turks are Muslim and follow the Quran, a book of guidelines delivered by Muhammed, a messenger of Allah, their God. Prayer is important to Muslims and they must pray five times a day.
Muslims also recognize the holy month of Ramadan. It begins on June 18 and ends on July 17. During these 30 days, Muslims uphold a fast and do not eat, drink, smoke cigarettes, or chew gum from morning until evening.
Food – What to Eat
Turks are known for eating thick soup called stew, which is made up of meat and vegetables, and they serve sour dough bread at many meals. Turks mainly eat lamb and beef since the Muslim religion does not allow them to eat pork.
Some traditional foods include:
- Borek, a pastry layered with spinach, cheese, and meat
- Dolma, a meal made of vegetables and leaves – like grape, cabbage, or eggplant – that are stuffed with rice
- Baklava, a sweet nut and pastry dessert
- Turkish coffee, which is exceptionally strong black coffee served with fine grounds in it
Weather – What to Wear
The weather is different in various parts of Turkey. Cities along the coast have mild temperatures – not too hot and not too cold. Inland cities have hot and dry summers and cold, snowy, or rainy winters.
The clothes people typically wear in the cities are business-style outfits.
Shopping – What to Buy
Turkey is known for its handwoven rugs, silks, ceramics, and brass and copper items. The money used in Turkey is called Lira.
It is often beneficial to shop in the morning because shopkeepers have more time and because there is a traditional belief that the first customer of the day is sent by the gods, which means a shopkeeper may give you more of their time with the hope of good luck throughout the day. It is common to bargain for a better price on everything except food. Know what the shopkeeper’s price is before asking questions. When you buy expensive rugs or jewelry, ask the shopkeeper for a certificate of guarantee.
Entertainment – What to See
Big cities like Istanbul have opera houses, concert halls, art museums, performing art theaters, and outdoor markets. Istanbul and other cities also hold yearly art folk festivals, showcasing many types of Turkish music and dance. There will likely be no shortage of exciting things to do if you travel to Turkey.
Turkey and Medical Travel
Because Turkey has many exceptional medical facilities and doctors, it is a popular destination for medical travel. If you have a serious medical concern and treatment is too expensive or is not available near you, contact A&K Global Health.
A&K Global Health is committed to our patients, and we reinforce that commitment with our 5-Star Standard of Service. In addition to connecting patients with global facilities and coordinating medical travel, we also often facilitate quality local and regional care. Contact us to learn more, and let us offer you the power of choice as we guide you on your journey.
Fast facts: Turkey. (n.d.). Friendly Planet Travel. Retrieved from https://www.friendlyplanet.com/facts/turkey.html
Magnarella, P. J. (2015). Turkey. Countries and their Cultures. Retrieved from http://www.everyculture.com/To-Z/Turkey.html
Ramadan. (2015). History. Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/ramadan
Tips for shopping in Turkey. (n.d.). Turkey for You – Turkey Travel Guide. Retrieved from http://www.turkeyforyou.com/turkey_shopping_tips
Turkey – Turkish language, culture, customs and etiquette. (2014). Kwintessential. Retrieved from http://www.kwintessential.co.uk/resources/global-etiquette/turkey-country-profile.html