Turks are extremely patriotic. They are proud of their ancestors
and of the achievements of their modern society. The family is the
most important social unit. Each person is dependent upon and loyal
to the family. Rural life is still traditional, but in cities women
frequently work outside the home.
Meeting and Greeting
- Shake hands with everyone present--men, women and children--at
a business or social meeting. Shake hands with elders first. Shake
hands again when leaving.
- It is common for Turkish men and women to cheek-kiss one
another when meeting and parting.
- "Yes" is a slight downward nod of the head. "No" is a slight
upward nod of the head while making a quick, sucking sound through
your two front teeth (like "tsk").
- Turks generally have a small area of personal space and may
stand closer than most foreigners are used to.
- Never point the sole of your foot toward a person.
- Turks, most of whom are devout Muslims, may avoid looking into
your eyes in a display of humble behavior.
- Do not stand with your hands on your hips when talking to
others, especially older people or superiors, or put your hands in
- In Turkey, putting your thumb between your first two fingers
is the equivalent to raising your middle finger in the United
- The “O.K.” sign in Turkey means that someone is homosexual.
- Turks take punctuality for business meetings very seriously
and expect that you will do likewise; call with an explanation if
you are delayed.
- Consideration, politeness, respect and courtesy are very
important to the Turks. Shake hands with each person upon arriving
at an office. When visiting a factory, shake hands with all the
workers when you arrive and again when you leave.
- Turks engage in small talk before they begin business
- Decisions are made at the top.
Dining and Entertainment
- Be punctual for a dinner party. 7:00 p.m. means 7:00 p.m.
- Business can be discussed at anytime during the meal, but you
must get a feel from your business counterpart.
- Some Turks who are Muslim drink alcohol, but those Turks who
are strict Muslims never do.
- Hosts will probably expect you to eat a great deal and may be
offended if you don't.
- When finished eating, leave no food on your plate, and place
your knife and fork side by side on your plate.
- "Dutch treat" does not exist in Turkey. If you invite someone
to dine, you pay the bill.
- For business, men should wear conservative suits or a sports
coat and tie. In very hot weather, men may go without a jacket,
but they still wear a tie.
- Women should wear suits, dresses and heels. Avoid short
skirts, low-cut blouses or shorts.
- Always bring the hostess a gift when invited to someone's
home. Do not bring a gift that is too lavish. Give: flowers (roses
or carnations), candy, chocolates, wine (if host drinks). Do not
give alcohol if you are not sure whether your host drinks.
- Don't expect your hostess to open a gift when presented.
- Gifts may be exchanged in business. Give gifts made in America
that are not expensive, i.e. crystal, desk accessories, pens,
gifts with company logo. Do not give overly personal gifts.
- Turks ask even casual acquaintances what Americans consider to
be very personal questions (age, salary, etc.). However, do not
ask such personal questions until a friendship has been
Especially for Women
- Foreign women are very welcome and accepted in Turkey.
- In general, conservative attitudes toward women exist in
Turkey, but Turkish men tend to be very respectful.
- It is acceptable for a foreign businesswoman to invite a
Turkish businessman to dinner, and it is easy for her to pay.