People in Turkey

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In Turkey, people have a unique set of traditions and a culture that is distinctive to this area of Eastern Europe. As when traveling anywhere, you want to be sure to engage in social customs and avoid doing anything that this culture would find offensive. Following a few forms of etiquette and being aware of these customs will ensure that your interactions among the locals are enjoyable.

Etiquette

Like all countries, Turkey has a few forms of etiquette that you should know about before traveling to this country to make sure that you don't offend any of the locals. A few things you want to make sure you do include: when you are invited into a Turkish home, make sure you bring a gift; always offer the elderly your place to sit on a bus or train; bend slightly when meeting someone of age or authority and try using basic Turkish phrases. Things you want to avoid include criticizing politics, bringing up the Armenian Genocide and avoid insulting the Islam religion. Things to avoid in public include swearing, chewing gum, touching someone without permission, blowing your nose during meals, public displays of affection, pointing your finger at someone or engaging in public drunkenness as all of these are considered extremely rude.

Language

The official language in Turkey is Turkish. Due to migration, the majority of cities and villages also speak German. Kurdish is spoken by 7 to 10 percent of the population. Among the younger generation, English is becoming increasingly popular as well. At universities, English is taught particularly for business and hospitality majors to make sure that when tourists from the West visit this country, those working in the tourist industry are able to cater to a variety of ethnicities.

Money/Currency

The currency used in Turkey is known as the Turkish Lira. The exchange rate to the US dollar is US $1 = 1.51 TL. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted throughout the country; American Express, very little. When eating out, it is considered good etiquette to tip at least 10 percent and rounding up to the next Lira is polite. It is vital that you bargain with vendors while in Turkey. Tourists (particularly Westerners) are not particularly good at bargaining and merchants know this. They are quick to reject bargaining attempts but be patient and wait--and the prices will go down.



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March 23, 2010 change by christina tilicki

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