Life in Turkey is a rich variety of cultures and traditions dating back centuries. Tourists visiting Turkey will find a lot of of exotic things, and also much that is familiar. Turkish lifestyle consists of an amazing blend of East and West.
LANGUAGE: Turkish, the official language of the country is based on the Latin alphabet with the addition of 6 different characters and spoken by 220 million people. It is known to be the world’s 5th most widely used language.
RELIGION: Turkey is the only secular country in Islamic world. Nevertheless 99% of the population is known to be Muslim. Tourists visiting Turkey are unlikely to see much evidence that they are in a Muslim country, except for the call to prayer which can be heard 5 times a day. Many people wear contemporary dresses of latest western fashion in big cities mainly. It is only in smaller villages, more remote areas and the east of the country that dress codes are more local. It is quite common for village women to wear headscarves but this is generally out of practical and cultural than religious considerations. When visiting a mosque though everyone should wear clothes which cover their legs.Women should have their shoulders and heads covered as well. Shoes should be removed before entering a mosque.
There are two major Islamic Festivals which are celebrated in Turkey. The dates of both change each year, according to lunar calendar. Eid (Ramazan or Şeker Bayramı) falls at the end of period of fasting. Greater Eid, the Feast of Sacrifice (Kurban Bayramı) falls almost two months after Eid, when wealthy believers usually sacrifice a sheep or a cow and it is distributed to the needy including friends, family and neighbours. Government offices and some other institutions are closed during these periods but life in resorts continues much as usual, and many Turks also head to the holiday destinations.
HOSPITALITY: Talking about hospitality Turkish people are known to be second to none in the world. Tourists visiting Turkey often find to their surprise that Turks are always ready to go out of their way to assist and happily spend time chatting.
Turks mostly welcome the opportunity to meet foreign visitors, learn about different cultures and practice their language skills. It is usual for Turks – even the men – to greet each other by kissing on both cheeks. As a tradition, Turkish people treat their national flag as sacred. Therefore one should avoid insulting or showing disrespect to the Turkish flag.