Location: southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia (that portion of Turkey west of the Bosporus is geographically part of Europe), bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Syria Capital: Ankara Climate: temperate; hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters; harsher in interior Population: 81,619,392 (2014 est.) Ethnic Make-up: Turkish 80%, Kurdish 20% (estimated) Religions: Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews) Government: republican parliamentary democracy The official language, Turkish, is the first language spoken by 90% of the 63m population.Minority languages include Kurdish, spoken by 6% of the population.People who come from countries that are reserved may be in awe of the friendly nature shown to everyone.With this in mind, I have put together a guide on Turkish culture and social traditions that you will encounter when visiting Turkey. You will hear this phrase often in Turkey, more so if you visit the traditional Turkish restaurants and bars rather than establishments aimed at tourists.
We also provide Turkish cultural awareness courses for those wanting some in-depth analysis or help.What makes it unique (except the vast amount of historical sightseeing spots) is the mix of Oriental and Western influences.Add a predominantly Muslim population to the mix, and you’re all set to experience a variety of cultural differences.One thing you will soon realize when visiting Turkey is part of the Turkish culture involves being very sociable.Turkish people love to meet new friends and think nothing of spending half the day talking to a complete stranger while putting the world to rights.Similar to many cultures, a Turkish couple becomes engaged when the potential groom asks the potential bride's parents for their daughter's hand in marriage.(Arranged marriages are not as common as they once were, but Islamic law still technically prohibits pre-marital dating or courtship.) Usually, gifts are offered by the groom or exchanged between the groom's family and the bride's parents, though the tradition of a dowry is mostly only practiced in rural areas anymore.Social gatherings You will probably find yourself invited to a wedding or a circumcision party by a Turkish person even if you have only known them for a couple of days.The motto here is the more the merrier and the word stranger is not even thought of.Arabic is spoken by 1.2% of the Turkish population; most of those speakers are bilingual Arabic and Turkish speakers.Other minority languages include Circassian, spoken by more than 0.09% throughout the country, Greek, Armenian and Judezmo, a Romance language spoken by Jews.If you use toothpicks provided at restaurants, cover your mouth while doing so.What is acceptable dress-wise depends very much on which part of the country – or even which part of a city – you are visiting.Many Turks, even in remote areas, have lived and worked abroad (mainly in Germany) or at tourist resorts in Turkey, and are used to foreign ways.