Turkey is one nation straddling two continents: Eastern Europe and Western Asia. The country has cultural connections with ancient empires such as Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman. Istanbul is a cosmopolitan city which is home to the iconic Hagia Sophia and other great land marks.
Those are just a few generally known facts. Those are just to wet your appetite for a few of the many other facts which many do not know. As you would find, these facts are really interesting indeed. For example, did you know that Turks have a way to show deep respect to elders by the way they greet?
Here are other examples: even though Turkey is a 99% Islamic, what kind of constitution do they have? When a Turk hosts you to meal in a restaurant, who pays? How is Turkish coffee meant to be drunk? You will find the answers to all these and more in the following 11 interesting facts about Turkey.
Population: 81,619,392 (2014 Estimate)
Government: Republican Parliamentary Democracy
Currency: Turkish Lira
President: Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Interesting Facts About Turkey
1. The Deep Respect Greeting
Turkish people have a way they show deep respect to elders during greeting. When greeting elders, it is customary to kiss the elder’s right hand. Thereafter, it is an even greater sigh of respect to place your forehead on the right hand so kissed. Very interesting!
2. Gift Giving
Gift giving, especially in business relationships has no defined place or value in Turkey. But if you must give gifts, the ones valued most are those you bring from your own country. The interesting aspect is that such could include food stuffs and craft items.
3. Order of Greeting
When you enter a room, unless someone meets you right at the door, seek out the most elderly or the highest in status and greet that person first. And at social gatherings, greet the person closest on your right, and then follow through till you get the last person, who would be the person closest to you on your left.
4. Carefully Gift Alcohol
Although Turkey is a fiercely secular country, it is some 99% Islamic. Therefore, you must be careful not to give gifts of alcohol anyhow. You must know with 100% certainty that the person you want to give such to is not a Muslim.
5. Flower Not Valued
Gifts are most necessary when you are invited to the home of a Turkish person for a meal. The usual appropriate gifts to take are pastries and decorative items. Flowers are not usually valued. And if the person has children, take along expensive candies.
6. Mealtime is Talktime
Food means a lot to Turkish people. So meal time is a good time to discuss many things, including business. But never insist on paying! You would make your host lose face. Just offer politely; but let them pay. Interesting, isn’t it?
7. Most Drink/Smoke at Mealtime
Irrespective of religious faith, most Turks smoke and drink a bit of alcohol during meals. So expect to inhale some pungent fumes of tobacco as a passive smoker when you honour a meal invitation to the home of a Turk.
8. Drinking the Turkish Coffee
There is usually tea or Turkish coffee served at the end of every meal. This coffee is a national drink and you are supposed to at least taste it. However, the coffee is meant to be sipped, left in the mouth, and allowed to melt into the taste buds. So don’t gulp it down.
9. Stay Close to Them
When discussing with Turks, they usually come very close. They don’t care very much for personal space. And when they come close to you, do not back off. They would find that distasteful and unfriendly…as if they have bad breath and you are running from them.
10. Build Relationships Slowly
Turks do business with only those they are close to and trust very well. Therefore, if you are looking to do business with them, take time to build such closeness over an extended time with lots of lunches and social outings. Don’t you find that interesting?
11. Business Negotiations
When in business negotiations with Turkish people, they usually start at extremes and watch to see your reactions. Therefore you need to have in mind what your target is. But never rush to it; work your way to it with mild, but meaningful concessions.