One of the things that make Turkey special is its unique culture which is hard to define properly. The country’s heritage is a combination of other traditions from Anatolia, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Caucasus, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Turkey or Minor Asia did not begin as a united nation, it was made up of different people from the heart of Central Asia and later mixed with enlightenment and civilization of the present era. Here is a brief breakdown of the culture of Turkey.
Turkish Family Tradition, Relationships, and Marriage
Early marriage is very common in Turkey. According to the custom and tradition, marriage must not cut a woman’s social and economic standing. With this custom, marriages between the rich and the poor do not take place at all. There are marriages within various ethnic and religious groups, and marriages across ethnic groups are not rare.
In Turkish culture, the rules about relationships are quite strict. Two people who are not of the same gender or age are expected to behave properly in public. Elders are accordingly respected by the younger ones. Men and women from the same family are forbidden to openly express affection and love. When things are shared among family members, age and gender are usually respected. Turkish people take etiquette seriously because it defines the people’s overall social behavior. Proper and clear communication is valued highly, and everyone is expected to respect traditions and the common heritage.
Obviously, there is no careless eating among the people. Most eating is done in groups or as a family and never alone. The people eat three times a day, and never eat between meals. Common foods for breakfast are bread, cheese, olives, and a cup of tea. Often people take their lunch late because all members of the family must gather first. About three meals, accompanied by lettuce or other vegetables, are set before everybody. The people have the habit of inviting friends and family for meals.
Social behavior in Turkey is also peculiar. Houses are built to separate guest houses from private quarters. Asking or touring around houses is deemed rude and unacceptable. Shoes are considered dirty and must be kept outside private houses. Even in public places like offices, shoe covers must be used before entry. To make use of the mosque or government organizations, shoes are put in bags and carried inside.
People have more freedom of choice in the clothes they wear. The men use suits for offices, but the Islamic type of dressing is still common among the people. For the women, creativity is added in dressing. They wear the traditional or national costume blended with beautiful accessories of their choice.
For visitors and tourists, there is no strict dress code. They can dress in any clothes depending on the prevailing weather in Turkey. However, modest appearance is required in places of worship. No mini-skirts or shorts either from men or women are allowed. Every woman must cover her head before walking into temples. At the gate of the temple, tourists can rent a scarf for use. Shoes must be left outside, and no tourists should visit the mosque during prayers.