Turkish Culture


  • People generally greet one another with a handshake when meeting for the first time. However, some Muslims may prefer not to touch people of the opposite gender.
  • The common greeting among friends and family is generally to give one or two kisses to the other person’s cheek.
  • It is polite to give a slight bow or nod to someone of authority (older or superior) as you greet them.
  • Women may only give a physical greeting to other women (i.e. with a handshake or kiss). Married women may be more hesitant to touch other men in greetings.
  • Elders are approached first and treated with more respect during greetings. It is especially respectful to kiss them on their right hand and then place it to your own forehead.
  • People commonly greet each other by saying “Nasilsiniz” (How are you?) or “Merhaba” (Hello). The Islamic greeting is “Asalamu alaykum” (Peace be upon you).
  • People are often addressed by their first name followed with “Bey” for men and “Hanim” for women. For example, “Yusuf Bey” and “Elif Hanim”.
  • People who have a professional title expect it to be used, e.g. Doctor or Professor. This includes other professions such as lawyers (Avukat) and engineers (Muhendis).
  • Turks may call someone whom they are not related to ‘abla’ (older sister) or ‘abi’ (older brother). This kind of address acknowledges the power distance in the relationship whilst indicating fondness. 
  • It may be harder to end a conversation with a Turkish person than it is to start one. Farewells are typically prolonged as Turks have a tendency to restart conversation whilst saying goodbyes. The easiest way to end a conversation is to use a conventional expression that politely asks to leave with their permission – “İzninizle” (with your permission).
Download this Cultural Profile

Too busy to read it right now?

You can download this cultural profile in an easy-to-read PDF format that can be printed out and accessed at any time.

  • Population
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Languages
    Turkish (official)
    Other minority languages
  • Religions
    Islam (99.8%)
    Other (0.2%)
    Note: There are no official statistics of people's religious beliefs nor is it asked in the census. This is a government figure according drawn from existing national identification cards.
  • Ethnicities
    Turkish (70-75%)
    Kurdish (19%)
    Other minorities (7-12%)
    [2016 est.]
  • Cultural Dimensions
  • Australians with Turkish Ancestry
    72,968 [Census, 2016]
Turkish in Australia
  • Population
    [Census, 2016]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Turkey.
  • Average Age
    45 [Census, 2011]
  • Gender
    Male (52.1%)
    Female (47.9%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Religion
    Islam (77.1%)
    No Religion (9.7%)
    Eastern Orthodox Christian (2.8%)
    Other (6.9%)
    Not stated (3.5%)
    [Census, 2011]
  • Ancestry
    Turkish (80.6%)
    Kurdish (4.0%)
    Armenian (2.8%)
    Other (9.6%)
    Not stated (3.1%)
    [Census, 2011]
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Turkish (83.0%)
    English (8.1%)
    Greek (2.2%)
    Armenian (1.8%)
    Other (4.8%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 68.0% speak English fluently.
    [Census, 2011]
  • Diaspora
    Victoria (50.2%)
    New South Wales (39.5%)
    Queensland (4.2%)
    Western Australia (3.2%)
    Other (2.9)
    [Census, 2011]
  • Arrival
    Prior to 1996 (64.1%)
    1996 - 2005 (15.9%)
    2006 - 2015 (15.4%)
    2016 (1.1%)
    Not stated (3.6%)
    [Census, 2016]
    Note: Arrivals up until 9 August 2016.
Country https://dtbhzdanf36fd.cloudfront.net/countries/210/tr.svg Flag Country Turkey