A Few Things Only Resident Expats of Turkey will Understand

A Few Things Only Resident Expats of Turkey will Understand
4 January 2022

When foreigners spend a lot of time in Turkey, or even become a resident permanently, there are many things they will notice that are culturally different from themselves. Here’s just a few.

There is no such thing as can’t.

After spending time with Turkish people you will realize they are extremely determined folk. Once they get an idea in their heads they will pursue it and won’t give up easily. Turks are very resourceful and if you say “it can’t be done” be prepared for raised eyebrows and plenty of tutting. It can come across to foreigners as stubborn but Turks will always find a way. They always know ‘someone’ or ‘someway’ to overcome a problem.

Food comes before everything.

In Turkish culture meals together are very important and Turks do tend to make meals a family occasion. In other countries, such as the UK and US, grabbing a frozen ready meal is quite the norm but Turks don’t tend to favor ready meals and will knock up grandma’s recipe in no time. When visiting Turkish homes be prepared to eat, because to a Turk it’s the usual practice to feed guests, even when they aren’t hungry and normally they won’t take no for an answer.

Time keeping and plans

Turkish people are very hard workers but the concept of time is irrelevant. Being 30 minutes late to a foreigner is a big deal but in Turkey it’s very normal. This isn’t the case with queuing though. Foreigners in Turkey will stand in an orderly queue and wait their turn but Turkish people will slowly manage to get to the front without waiting which can and does drive many foreigners in Turkey mad.

No need for alcohol to have a ball

The Turkish people love to dance and really don’t care who’s watching. It’s like a public show and they will happily strut their stuff on the dance floor. In the UK it takes a while for the dance floor to fill up even after a few alcoholic beverages, with people hesitating to hit the floor. Turks however will happily be stone cold sober, yet still be the first on the dance floor showing off their fancy foot work.

Bread and Yogurt saves lives

Bread and yogurt is a staple in Turkish cuisine and daily someone from the household does the bread run. In Turkish households if there’s no bread in the house it’s literally the end of the world, so to speak. Turks can make do with the bare essentials in life but a life without bread and yogurt is not worth being lived.

Over packing for a day trip out

Whilst most foreigners will pack their beach towel, sun glasses and sun cream the Turks pack pretty much a full survival pack. The back of the car will be full of items for any eventuality. They could probably survive a couple of weeks with the car boot load including tea, tea making facilities, food, clothes, blankets, tables and chairs, the lot. As the saying goes, they would pack the kitchen sink if they could.

They will sleep anywhere

Don’t worry if you have only one bedroom and have Turkish guests coming. Turkish people will happily sleep on the floor, on the balcony or in the garden (weather permitting). Give them a blanket and they’ll be happy.

Turkish women like to haggle and hoard

Give a Turkish woman 50 Turkish Lira and she will come back with enough supplies to feed a family for a week. They are fantastic hagglers and will happily haggle till their last breath. Most traditional women won’t want to pay for a coffee in the likes of ‘Starbucks’, instead they will buy a jar of normal coffee that will last for days. They are careful with money and often have a bank account that their husband knows nothing about.

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