We will share with you today’s Turkish Lifestyle. When the Turks migrated from Central Asia to Anatolia, they brought many traditions and customs with them. Based on these traditions and customs, they established many principalities in Anatolia and ruled over Anatolia, and later they established the Ottoman Empire, which ruled for more than 600 years. Balkan peoples, Turks, Arabs, Africans, and many races lived in the Ottoman Empire. However, the Turks continued to keep many traditions and customs alive. In fact, many races in the Empire were also influenced by Turkish culture. Today, this effect continues visibly, especially in the Balkan region.
Turkish People Lifestyle In the 21st Century
Turkey Lifestyle After the Republic of Turkey was Established
After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, a democratic state with a republican form of government was established. The Turks continued most of their customs, traditions, and customs. However, there have been significant changes in Turkish lifestyles. In the new Turkish Republic established under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, religious and state affairs were separated. The state adopted a secular understanding and rejected religion in the administration. This has led to great changes in the life of the Turkish people, who have been ruled by religious rules for hundreds of years.
Life in Turkey mirrors a cultural and traditional diversity where a centuries-old past coexists with a contemporary present. Visitors encounter an exotic as well as a familiar sight; because the fascinating unity of the eastern and western world forms the essence of the Turkish lifestyle. The most important building block of the Turkish people’s lifestyle, unlike many societies, is the combination of east-west living characteristics. So you come across both people who interpret the world from a modern point of view, and more traditional people, or a mix of both.
In Turkey, women gained the right to vote in 1930 and the right to be elected in 1934. It became one of the first countries in the world to grant this right to women. Women were granted the right to vote and be elected in France in 1944, Japan in 1945, and Switzerland in 1971.
The Effect of Religion on the Life of Turks
Although the majority of the population is Muslim, Turkey, where religion is viewed as a strictly private matter, is the only secular country in the Islamic world. The principle of secularism, which is at the root of the institutional structure, indicates that religion has no influence on state affairs. In Turkey, the Gregorian calendar is used and the weekly holiday – not Friday as it is thought to be – is Sunday, just like in other European countries. The biggest difference that will enable tourists visiting Turkey to be in a predominantly Muslim country is the call to prayer, which is read five times a day.
The diversity of faith in the Ottoman Empire period, when many people of different faiths lived in peace, is still preserved, and there are 236 churches and 34 synagogues open for worship in today’s Turkey. There are more churches and synagogues than all the Muslim countries in the world combined. The most important reasons for this are the tolerance of Muslims living in Turkey towards other religions, the fact that many Christian people live in Anatolia, and the Turks’ embrace of Jews fleeing from Spain during the Ottoman period and Jews fleeing from Germany during the Second World War.
Clothing in Turkey
In Turkey, anyone can wear whatever they want. By law, no one can interfere with what you’re wearing unless you’re completely naked. People have a contemporary style of clothing as in western countries; even in big cities and popular holiday resorts, it can be easily noticed that the fashions of Paris, London, and Milan are closely followed. There is almost no difference between the style of dressing in Turkey’s big cities and the rest of Europe. Only in small towns, areas outside the city, and in the east of the country, people’s dress is more local. It is also quite common for townspeople to wear the headscarf, but this habit also stems from practical and cultural reasons rather than religious views.
After the establishment of the Republic, with a law prepared by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1934, civil servants could wear gowns, turbans, etc. It was forbidden to wear religious clothing. The clergy was only allowed to wear it in places of worship (mosques, churches, etc.). The reason for this was to prevent the Anatolian people, who had just emerged from a religious administration with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, from being abused by the so-called clergy. It was also to ensure that the Turkish people, who turned their faces to the West, reach a more modern level.
You will only need to pay attention to your dressing style during your mosque visits. Those who will enter the mosque should avoid wearing shorts, and care should be taken that their legs are covered, whether they are men or women. Women, on the other hand, should make sure that their shoulders and heads are covered. Shoes must be removed before entering the mosque. There is usually a shoe cabinet or closet in front of mosques, but you can also carry your shoes in your bag if you wish. By the way, it’s good to know: Mosques are usually closed to visitors during prayer times.
Nightlife in Turkey
Nightlife in Turkey is quite colorful and active. In Istanbul, one of the largest metropolises in the world, life begins at night in some districts. Nightlife in districts such as Beyoglu, Kadikoy, and Besiktas continues until the morning. Apart from that, especially in Izmir, Antalya, Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye, etc. nightlife in coastal cities is just as active. You can see eastern and western cultures coming together even in nightlife in Turkey. You will understand better with the examples we will give shortly.
The places you can find nightlife in Turkey are quite diverse. If we list;
- Strip Clubs
- Beach Clubs
- Wine Houses
- Pavillions (Especially the pavilions in Ankara are quite interesting and famous.)
- Meyhanes (Like Taverns. Turkish drink Raki is served with various appetizers called mezes.)
- Folk Bars (Turkish: Turku Bar, Places where traditional songs unique to Turkey met with alcoholic entertainment.)
- Fasils (A tradition from the Ottoman period. Belly dancers accompanied by Ottoman songs, etc. alcoholic entertainment venues with dancers.)
- Sira Nights (A night of entertainment with traditional instruments and a feast, especially in the east of Turkey.)
The Hospitality of the Turkish People
Tourists visiting Turkey are surprised and happy at the friendly demeanor of the Turkish people, who go out of their way to open up a cheerful conversation or help them with anything when necessary. Hospitality is one of the building blocks of Turkish culture and Turks believe that their visitors should be treated as guests of God. This way of thinking maintains its validity in the 21st century and does not seem to disappear with mass tourism. In fact, the majority of Turks take great pleasure in meeting foreign guests, learning about different cultures, and having the opportunity to improve their foreign languages.
It is very customary for Turks to kiss each other on the cheek, including men. In addition, it is a tradition for the Turkish people to consider the national flag sacred. For this reason, it is necessary to avoid belittling the Turkish flag or showing disrespect.
Turkish Traditions and Customs from the Past
Turks maintain many of their traditions and customs today. Respect for elders is a very important and ancient tradition among Turks. When you go to Turkey, you can easily see that the elderly are included in public transportation, they are helped while carrying heavy goods, and other similar behaviors. They have very different cultural heritages. Turkish weddings, oil wrestling, and coffee fortunes are just some of them. We especially recommend you to attend one of the fun and colorful Turkish weddings. You can get detailed information about Turkish culture on our website.
Most of the residences in Turkey consist of flats or detached houses with gardens. Home is very important for Turkish people lifestyle. Unlike in the USA, prefabricated houses are very rare in Turkey. Houses are preferred as reinforced concrete with solid foundations.
The houses of the Turks, which have a large family structure, are usually spacious. The following rooms are expected to be in the house: living room, guest room, bedroom, children’s room, a separate kitchen, bathroom, and en-suite bathroom.
You will definitely see carpets on the floor in Turkish houses. Carpet culture is very old in Turks. It is even thought that the race that invented the carpet was the Turks. Carpet culture came to Europe with the Turks. That’s why you can see the carpet on the floor in almost every house. (You can get detailed information about Turkish carpets from our article below: Turkish Carpets)
In Turkey, almost no house is entered with shoes. Shoes are placed on the shoe rack. You can walk around the house in socks or slippers. Turks see it as a very dirty behavior to enter the house with shoes. You should be careful about this. Houses are usually cleaned once a week, dust is removed from all items, and carpets are washed with a washing machine. Thus, the house is always kept clean.
When you visit a Turkish house, you will definitely encounter treats. Turkish coffee and sweet treats or Turkish tea are offered to those who come home. Inviting guests to dinner is also a very common behavior.
Turkish Streets & Shopping
Turks love to travel, so the streets are always full and colorful. Drinking coffee or drinking alcohol with friends after work is a very common activity. Therefore, you can see many cafes and bars in the streets. You can see tens of thousands of cafes and thousands of bars, especially in big cities. In addition, these cafes and bars are open until late at night. Unlike many European cities, at 22:00 people go out to meet, have coffee, or hang out. Therefore, the streets are lively both during the day and at night.
There are many narrow streets and parking problems are experienced due to the excess of cars in big cities. In addition, there is a serious traffic problem, especially in Istanbul. However, the city’s public transport network has developed. Both metro, tram and ferry are used.
Shopping is very important for Turkish people lifestyle. The first shopping center in history, the Grand Bazaar, is located in Turkey. Apart from that, it has the highest number of modern shopping centers in Europe. You can easily find all the famous stores in the world. Apart from these, there are many boutiques, local businesses, and street vendors. However, it is very likely that the clothes and accessories purchased from such places are fake. For this reason, it is recommended to buy from shopping stores.
Turkish is spoken by 220 million people and is the 5th most used language in the world. Born from dialects known since the 11th century, today’s Turkish is part of the Ural-Altaic language family, which also includes Finnish and Hungarian. Turkish is written using the Latin alphabet with the addition of 6 extra letters. In this purely phonetic language, each letter of the alphabet has only one sound. Every word is pronounced exactly as it is written.
English, which overtakes French and German in the ranking of foreign language learning, has become the second language taught in schools and is becoming more and more widespread. In Turkey, English is widely spoken and known by many young people. However, the number of people who speak English in the inner parts of Anatolia is considerably decreasing. German and Russian are among the languages spoken especially in popular holiday destinations in the Mediterranean.
Recognized as one of the best cuisines in the world, Turkish cuisine is considered one of the three most basic cuisines of the world due to its numerous varieties, the use of natural ingredients, its taste appealing to all tastes, and its impact on Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Turkish cuisine, which has its roots in Central Asia, the first settlement of the Turks, has evolved with the contributions of the inner regions of the continent and the Mediterranean cultures, where the Turks have been in close cultural exchange since their arrival in Anatolia. In this respect, Turkish cuisine is a bridge established between the Far East and Mediterranean cuisine with its unique qualities that enrich the natural taste and flavors of the ingredients it contains.
While the palace cuisine developed in Istanbul, the local cuisines in Anatolia increased in many regions by showing different geographical and climatic features. These cuisines, after being stuck behind borders for centuries, have reached the big cities and their surroundings as a result of the urbanization spread over a wide area and migration to new settlements. This cultural activity has enriched Turkish cuisine with the contribution of countless local recipes.
Although Turkey has enough food production for the whole country, it also imports in this area. This abundance is clear proof that Turkish dishes are mostly made from fresh and local products and therefore much more delicious. Also, street food occupies a large place in the Turkish people lifestyle. You can take a look at Turkish street food here: Turkish Street Food.
The main course usually begins with soup or appetizers, which are small portions of savory food served cold or hot. In many restaurants, the waiter brings all the appetizers to your table on a tray for you to make your choice yourself. Salad, dipping sauce, tzatziki, dolma (vine leaves or peppers stuffed with rice), pastry, cayenne liver (fried liver by cutting into cubes) are some of the appetizers available in most restaurants.
The main course usually consists of meat or fish. Turks usually eat bread with their meals and the main courses are mostly served with rice. Along with the meal, a salad made of tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, and onions is served with olive oil and lemon dressing. Veal and lamb meat are the most preferred meat types. Those who prefer hot and spicy dishes can try “Adana Kebab“, which is made with ground lamb mixed with hot pepper and spices, wrapped in a horizontal bottle, and cooked. Kebab has numerous varieties and local specialties.
Turks are traditionally interested in hot dishes called juicy food or home cooking; therefore, it is common to find restaurants selling this type of food by displaying it at the buffets at restaurant entrances. Fish and seafood restaurants are very common in Istanbul, big cities, and coastal towns. Fish is often grilled to reveal its natural flavor; Besides, appetizers made of seafood such as fried mussels, calamari, and stuffed mussels (shelled mussels stuffed with spicy rice) are also quite diverse. It is useful to seek advice on seafood; On the other hand, sea bass, sea bream, and turbot are always among the most delicious fish.
Turkey emerges as a country where East and West are blended and synthesized. Anyone can believe and worship whatever religion they want. In Turkey, you can see both religious people and atheists together. They adhere to their traditions and customs. The flag is sacred to the Turks and they never let bad words be spoken, they are quite nationalistic.
Alcohol use is completely legal and you can consume as much alcohol as you want, whether at nightclubs or at a house party, as long as you are drunk and not disturbing others. You can see that especially big cities and coastal cities do not sleep until the morning. Rakı, which is Turkish-specific alcohol, is defined as the “National Drink” by the Turks and is consumed quite a lot.
Also, contrary to some misconceptions, women can wear whatever they want. In fact, you will see that the majority of Turkish women do not wear a turban. Since Turks are hospitable and warm-blooded, they can easily trust people and form friendships quickly. So someone you meet might invite you to hang out for fun the next day.
I hope you liked the Turkish People Lifestyle content we prepared for you. If you’re wondering what are the Turkish people like you can check out this article: Turkish people physical characteristics