16 Unexpected Things About the Turkish Lifestyle That Tourists Are Stunned By


It is hard to not fall in love with Turkey at first sight: the turquoise waves, the palm trees, the tasty foods, the landscapes that have amazing appeal, and the smiley local people. But of course, tourism and real life in a country are 2 very different things: here, just like in any other country, you can see some pretty unexpected and sometimes unpleasant things when it comes to the local lifestyle and mentality.

Sometimes, we at Bright Side also want to just forget about everything and sail away to a Turkish beach for the rest of our lives. But honestly, after we read these stories, we are not as excited as we were. We don’t want to have to communicate with our neighbors or answer annoying questions while walking our dog.

  • In my country, I’m used to calling a taxi using a phone or an app. But here, they have yellow buttons everywhere. The advantages are obvious: you can call a taxi even if you don’t have a local SIM-card or if your phone battery is dead. But the disadvantage is that neither the license plate number, nor the driver’s name is posted anywhere, so it’s not very good in terms of safety. But I have never had any trouble nor has anyone I know. © NApaSTYA / pikabu

  • We have a “1+1” apartment. It is the smallest place you can rent in Turkey. For some reason, there are almost no studio apartments here. And a “1+1” is an apartment that has one bedroom and a living room, combined with a kitchen. © KyraGrecha / pikabu

  • The local people love for their homes to be extremely clean. For example, my Turkish mother-in-law even has macramé lace in her fridge. 100% cotton. They say they do this to allow the fruit to breathe and be comfortable. And the way they wash windows with a nice-smelling detergent… However, even after being here for many years, I still haven’t learned to wash the windows as well as they do. © agoniiya / instagram

  • At any company, and even in government buildings, they might offer you tea. If I’m packing some food for my husband, I always cook for everyone he works with. I can’t even imagine that he would be eating alone. © Yasemin / pikabu

  • When you are leaving a restaurant or a cafe, you might be asked if you would like to spray some perfume on your hands. This perfume has a disinfecting effect and can also remove a garlic or fish smell. But not all people are offered this. Some people think that this is kind of a symbol of respect for a good or a regular guest. © NApaSTYA / pikabu

  • I got a cold in my stomach. No, no, I wasn’t diagnosed with some rare illness. In Turkey, you get this diagnosis really often. They think that many illnesses really are caused by having a cold stomach. By the way, I couldn’t believe that Turkish doctors recommended taking a cold shower when you have a fever, but it turned out to be true. And now, I also think the Turkish way. If I catch a common cold, I always think, “Cold in my stomach.” © tanya_duyar / instagram

  • After I spent 8 years in Turkey, I found out that they have an evening breakfast. © antalya.online / instagram

  • There are special traditions in our province. The local women are obsessed with achieving a certain ideal — and this ideal is having a huge car that is hard to climb inside. And nobody cares that the town is small and that the streets are narrow. It is literally hard, and sometimes even impossible, to park such a huge car. When these women drive to a kindergarten to drop their kids off, they block the narrow street and don’t care about the line of cars piling up behind them. For some reason, they can’t just park 20 steps away and walk. © Yasemin / pikabu

  • I was shocked when I found out that flowers here are not given as presents. Instead, they give wreaths. And then, they are set up around the hall where, for example, a wedding is celebrated. Every wreath also has a ribbon that says who it is from. © aigul.chinar / instagram

  • Aside from the normal bills, there is another payment for something called apartment service. We are charged about $25 a month for this. The trash is removed right from in front of the door, the pool is cleaned, and so are the sauna, the gym, and the outside area around the house. © KyraGrecha / pikabu

  • Turkish buildings are often “window to window.” There are a lot of apartments like this here. And there are no laws that prohibit this. I don’t understand how people live this way: the neighbors can literally see everything in your apartment. © antalya.online / instagram

  • An average Turkish person is usually terrified of math. It is usually the hardest subject in school. In the area where we live, people subtract by adding. For example, you want to buy a pound of tomatoes. It costs 3 lyres and you give a 10 lyre bill. First, you’ll be given 2 lyres because “it’s 5 now.” and then you’re given the rest of the 5 lyres. So, subtracting 10 — 3 is hard. And if you add 2 + 3, it’s 5, which is easier to subtract from 10. © Yasemin / pikabu

  • Having a dog is a huge challenge. You can’t get on a bus or get a taxi with a dog. If you don’t have a car, you will have to walk to the vet. People on the streets are scared of them, and some even scream. Prepare for questions like, “Do you keep it at home or on the balcony?” And they always expect the “balcony” answer. © antalya.online / instagram

  • In Side, just like in the rest of Turkey, there are a lot of cats, and they have their own unique tempers. They are self-sufficient, optimistic, and cool. They will either let you pet them or bite you, you never really know until you try. Cats are loved here, and they even serve in the local police station. The photo below on the right shows the house of a police cat. © JamesAllendale / pikabu

  • Since the very first day I came to Turkey, everyone tried to help me, even though I couldn’t speak Turkish at all. Someone gave me their public transport pass or tried to give me directions. In the beginning, I was living in a bad district and, once, I couldn’t get inside my building because the door was jammed. So, my second-floor neighbor called her husband at 3 am to come from the other side of the town to help. While he was on his way, she gave me warm clothes and even tea with sandwiches from the window of her apartment. She was also chatting with me, so that I wouldn’t have to be outside alone. © Yildirimm / pikabu

  • It’s true that people in Turkey are really helpful. Sometimes, I’d find myself some kind of trouble and people would always help me. Once, I told my friend’s mother (I was staying at their place for a couple of days) that I was amazed by how much she cared about me, even though she didn’t know me at all. Her answer amazed me even more, “My second son is also abroad now, so I care about you and some other mother will care about him.” © szoczek / pikabu

Have you ever had a chance to communicate with the local people in Turkey and have you noticed any interesting quirks about their everyday lives?

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