- Muslim Turks do not eat, drink or smoke during the daylight hours of the fasting month of Ramadan. It is polite to avoid engaging in these activities in front of a Muslim during Ramadan.
- It is generally appropriate to drink throughout most of Turkey. However, it is not appropriate to drink in public places (i.e. public transport and parks) and public drunkenness is frowned upon (especially for women).
- It is common to see both traditional Muslim attire and modern European fashions in city streets. Women are not required to wear a headscarf. According to a recent poll, 37% of Turkish women do not wear a headcover.1 However, women are recommended to dress modestly to avoid drawing the wrong impression or unwanted attention. Many Turks push this boundary themselves, but legs and shoulders should be covered without accentuating the body too much.
- Smoking cigarettes is very common in Turkey.
- It is common to see a blue glass trinket that depicts an eye hanging in Turkish homes or restaurants. This is said to ward off the evil eye (Nazar Boncuğu). However, today its placement may be more decorative.
- It is common for stray cats and dogs to roam the streets in Turkey. These animals are commonly collectively cared for by the locals and well-fed. Cats are generally favoured more than dogs. Although, even in the less dog-friendly areas, kicking, spitting or shooing is generally frowned upon.
- Be aware that catcalling can be quite common in Turkey. Western and non-Muslim women are more commonly targeted.
- The Turkish government limits the freedom of the press, freedom of religion and internet freedom in some cases. More journalists are jailed in Turkey than any other country.2 Consider that this may affect some individuals’ opinions.
- Be aware some Turks may have quite strong negative opinions of Greeks following tense relations with the country in the 20th century.
1 KONDA, 2018
2 The Economist, 2019