Traditions in Turkey

The five things to avoid when traveling to Turkey

The five things to avoid when traveling to Turkey. Each country has its own code of conduct, whether written or not, and there are gestures or attitudes that are best avoided when visiting a country, in order not to fall into misunderstandings  sometimes you will find yourself in an uncomfortable and embarrassing situations. .

Here are five things to avoid when traveling to Turkey

Some things will make you smile, others will leave you perplexed or surprised. Here are the 5 things to avoid:

1. Atatürk and the Turkish flag are sacred

Atatürk, literally “The Father of all Turks“, is the Turkish hero par excellence. He is the one who brought Turkey into the modern and secular era. Even today, his photos, his portraits, his statues, are scattered throughout  buildings, schools even on the streets.

I therefore advise you to respect this emblematic figure of Turkey and consequently also of the flag. Contemporary Turks are very proud of it.

2. Do the Turks speak Arabic?

This is a question that I am asked all the time. Are the Turks Arabs? Do the Turks speak Arabic? Well no. Having religion in common does not make us a single ethnic group.

It’s like saying that a Frenchman, an Italian or an Irishman are of the same ethic group.

3. Never blow your nose in public!

This peculiarity will make more than one person smile …. In Turkey it is not seen willingly blowing one’s nose noisily in public. In fact, you can wipe your nose discreetly, but if the urge to blow your nose is pressing, head to a bathroom or an isolated place to clean it thoroughly.

4. Beware of hand gestures!

Among the 5 things to avoid in Turkey there is a particularly vulgar gesture, to which you really need to pay close attention, and that is to put your thumb between the index and middle finger. In Italy, it is often played as a game for younger children to make them believe that their noses have been stolen. So it is a game of the most innocent. Well, in Turkey, this gesture corresponds to a very vulgar gesture … that is the raised middle finger. So pay attention during your next trip to Turkey… if you happen to play with small children, don’t steal the nose of any of them!

5. Never wear shoes in the house!

I have written and repeated it several times, and the numerous Turkish series have actively contributed to making Turkish habits known as good manners, including the act of taking off your shoes before entering the house.

In fact, you should NEVER walk into Turkish homes with shoes. They have to be removed in front of the door and the landlord will offer you some slippers, the terlik. It is a gesture of respect. Rest assured that all houses in Turkey are stocked with terlik, of different sizes and colours, which are specially reserved and available to guests.