My experience of the Turkish People

Turkey: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 (Istanbul) | People and Culture

Hospitable, friendly, polite.

Most Turks travel the country by bus (coach) and I have found it a great way to meet people. If I had been travelling with a fellow Brit we would have sat and talked together and not conversed with the other passengers.

I have met doctors, shop owners, electrical repairmen, students etc. They are happy to talk and laugh with you for the 3 to 7 hour journey even with next to non-existant English (a pen and paper comes in handy). You sometimes end up in 3 way conversations as the passenger in front turns round to join in. They will share with you, help you out with directions etc when you get off the bus, and rush off after you with the hat you have forgotten.

Fellow Passengers

Broken Down

As a European you are constantly being bombarded by people selling something, I've even been invited to have my sandals shoe-shined. People will try and strike up a conversation with you e.g. "where you from, aah eeenglish" etc etc you are then invited to have a look at his "brothers" shop or have a tea there. This even happened to me walking back from Ephesus along a quiet road to Selcuk - I was hailed by an old farm labourer, we sat in the shade by the field talking for 10 minutes he then tried to sell me some "ancient Greek" coins, he had found in his field, people try and sell you fake coins at all the ruins near Selcuk (this is the only scam I have come across and I was warned about it by my landlord).

Others are just genuinely friendly and chatty/wanting to improve their English - when I first came to Istanbul and sat down in a park for a rest from my back-pack (I don't take taxis)and a student wanting to practice his English introduced himself. After 5 mins I told him I would have to go as I was trying to find a particular hotel and see if they had any rooms. He didn't know where it was but took me there after asking directions and then said farewell. The following day I had exactly the same experience - but this one's cousin owned a carpet shop - I told him backpack no room etc- and had apple tea at the shop - no hassle.

In Selkuk a carpet man invited me to look at his carpets - I explained "backpacker no room" - invited for tea anyway - "sorry in a hurry, maybe tomorrow". Next day he saw me walking up the street and hailed me over to sit outside his shop and have a tea we drank, talked, smoked and not once did he try and sell me anything.

Another owner of an expensive goods shop in Istanbul has invited me to call in for tea tonight on the way to the railway station - I have sat there many times with him.

There appear to be as many carpet shops as there are tourists. The Turks like to talk and are obliged to be hospitable whether they sell or not.


Many hotel pension staff are paid commission for your expenditure there so it is in their interest to ensure you enjoy your time there and spend on the premises e.g. by talking and drinking with you. I was told this by "Marco" the deputy manager/waiter/cook etc, of the pension I was staying in at Selkuk. And I enjoyed myself so much I did spend time on the premises this resulted in a hefty bill of £38 for 3 night Bed and Breakfast, 2 evening meals, 6 pints Tuborg and 3 rakis.

Battery getting low on laptop so that's it for now.

Turkey: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 (Istanbul) | People and Culture