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Costumes and Traditions in Turkey

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

Home> Countries> Asia> Turkey> Customs & Traditions

Turks are well known to be very conservative to Ottoman and Turkmen People.
They pay great attention to their guests, hospitality, care about the preparation of authentic Turkish food, and how to serve it.
Here are some of the Turks Traditions:

General Etiquette

  • In Tuks culture, it is considered rude to show or expose the soles of your feet to other people. Avoid pointing your feet towards other people when sitting down or crossing your legs around elders.

  • Similarly, it is inappropriate to cross your legs when facing someone.

  • People generally extend an offer multiple times. It is often polite to decline gestures initially and accept once the person has insisted. This exchange allows the offering person to show their sincerity in the gesture and shows the receiver’s humbleness.

  • Be sure to offer everything multiple times in return. If you only offer something once, a Turk may respond, “No, it’s okay”, out of modesty and politeness even though they meant to accept the second offer.

  • You may have to be quite insistent if you truly want to refuse an offer or gesture. Place one hand on your chest as you say so. If someone has invited you somewhere, you can make the same gesture and point to your watch to indicate you do not have time to stay.

  • It is polite to stand when someone elderly enters the room. If they do not have a seat, it is expected that they will be offered someone else’s.

  • It is considered rude/disrespectful to chew gum whilst talking to someone of higher status or on a formal occasion.

  • It is considered improper for a woman to cross her legs while sitting.

  • Ask permission before taking a woman’s photograph.

  • People rarely split a bill in Turkey. The person who invited the others to join them will commonly pay, whilst men are usually expected to pay for women.

  • You may offer to pay the whole bill; however, if your Turkish counterpart insists multiple times that you should leave it to them, allow them to pay. It can be a kind gesture to offer to take them out in return next time.


Turkish culture is very family-oriented. There is a strong belief that people should maintain ties with their relatives and care for their parents and elders into their old age. Turks may live in their family home for a long time into adulthood and visit their family on a regular basis. One can usually call on extended relatives to provide emotional and economic support.

  • Turkish families have an average number of children is two.