9 Cultural Differences In Turkey

If you’re about to travel to Turkey, it’s important to get an understanding about the cultural differences you will face, so you can enjoy your holiday to the fullest. Here are just a few of the things you may not expect to find in Turkey, if it’s your first time visiting this amazing country.

Kissing Elderly People On The Hand

As a sign of respect, Turkish people kiss the elderly on the hand. This isn’t obligatory, but is often expected, and for many adults living in Turkey, it has become instinctive, so you will see it a lot. Children have to be coaxed into it often, just like saying their Ps and Qs in the UK!

Eating Yoghurt With Every Meal

Plain yoghurt is almost always served at every meal. The Turkish eat it with almost everything. The plain yoghurt served in Turkey is different to the stuff you pick up in supermarkets, so don’t miss the opportunity to try this. It may just be one of the things you miss when you leave.

Fortune Telling

You haven’t had proper coffee until you’ve tried Turkish coffee. A potently strong concoction cooked with sugar, the ground beans are often left at the bottom of the mug, which is then used for fortune telling. There are quite a few cafés that will tell your fortune for you, if you don’t know how to do it yourself. Quite a lot of Turkish people take this very seriously and have become experts at divining the future.

Drinking Tea Every Day

You can’t really find teabags in Turkey, but there is plenty of tea to be had. The Turkish drink it before and after meals without fail, and it is called ‘cay’. It’s made in a teapot with two compartments: one for the loose leaves and the other for the boiling water.

Throwing Water Behind People Embarking On Journeys

This is a custom to make sure that loved ones return home safely. Often, water will be thrown behind cars too, if a person is embarking on a long journey. So, if you see this, you will understand what is going on now!

Every Meal Could Be BBQ

At any meal, there is likely to be at least one component that has been barbequed. Even if Turkish people go out for a picnic, they will probably bring a portable barbeque with them, where you can cook your own meat. That’s how committed they are to barbeque.


Turkish people will invite people into their home as a guest, even if they haven’t known them for very long. Accepting is seen as an honour, and you will be served tea and food. This is just the easy Turkish hospitality that you should come to expect, especially if you make any Turkish friends on your travels.


Personal questions aren’t considered that personal in Turkey. People are very open about their life. So if someone asks you if you are married and where you’re from, it’s all just part of polite Turkish conversation. Take it in your stride!

Taking Pleasure In The Little Things

Whether preparing fantastic food or playing sport, the Turks will make time to enjoy the simple things in life. The Turks are very passionate about all they do, so use this as an excuse to unwind and truly appreciate a good Turkish coffee or a platter of fresh mezze.

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