Participating in

 

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Each landscape in Turkey is a backdrop, a context, for people and events in the play of life. Perhaps the most thrilling aspect of travel is to become an active participant in this landscape

As in any other human interaction, the basic rule is equal partnership, given the roles of host and guest. This rule defines mutual respect and a shared sense of responsibility as the guiding principle in an adventure where the parties involved are, by definition, different in their understandings and ways of life. When Turks entered the tourism arena not so long ago, they were armed with a tradition of hospitality rather than sophisticated facilities or a service mentality. Although now Turkey has an excellent tourism infrastructure, the motivation of most Turks remains one of sincerity and courtesy.

The desire of Turks is to be understood and liked, to communicate and learn about people from other lands, and be on equal terms with them as citizens of the world. Interpret their enthusiasm to interact with you with this perspective in mind. They would rather make long term acquaintances, hangout together, exchange cards, letters, gifts, than receive "fair payment" or large tips for help rendered. This attitude may change as tourism industry develops more in the coming decades and much depends on the visitors. But, for now, the sweetness of the Turkish people is unspoiled.

Here are some tips about social graces and conduct, which may be useful in interpreting the goings on and help you to enjoy your participation in this landscape even more.

Starting at the beginning: Greetings involving welcomes, hand shakes, hugging and kissing on both cheeks, followed by a "How are you? How is the family? How is your health? How is business?." are important rituals. It is expected that everyone will inquire about the health and well being of everyone else present, before getting on with it. During religious holidays greeting are even more important. The young visit and kiss the hands of the elderly family members. Every friend and family is visited to renew bonds and kinship. The children receive pocket money and gifts, and social charity obligations are met. Like elsewhere, these are joyous occasions. However, celebrations emphasize traditional social and spiritual aspects and a certain amount of decorum in action and appearance is expected from everyone.

In social gatherings, even though everyone would be sitting in the same room, it is common for women to start their interaction mostly with other women and similarly, men with men. Parties where people stand around and "mingle" are not among common forms of socialization except among the urbanized elite. During a typical after dinner gathering candy, coffee, tea with cookies and pastries, and fruit are served.

A dinner invitation to someone's home is a special honour. At the dinner table, it is customary for the hostess to offer additional servings many times and with great insistence. The guest is expected to oblige after several such offers. Dinners are leisurely affairs; to be savoured slowly along with the delicious home cooked food. Sometimes guests bring flowers or sweets to such occasions.

In business relationships, the whole affair is conducted as a social occasion, complete with greetings, sharing coffee, tea, or food and drinks, depending on the extent of the transaction. Even in ordinary shopping, a lot of personal information is exchanged between the vendor and the customer, setting the stage for everyone to fulfil their responsibility in the transaction. Bargaining is not a simple game of negotiation between adversarial parties, but pan of socialization and friendly chitchat to confirm the non-adversarial nature of the activity.

There are a few subjects, which need to be treated with care. These include the flag, the army, the country, and religion. Even though people take great pleasure in explaining and answering questions about these, criticism or disrespect, even in jest, is not taken lightly. On the other hand, politics is fair game. There are few people who love talking politics as much as the Turks do.

To sum up, a guest might commit social faux-pas, but what matters is the underlying intention and the presence of equality and respect, which the Turkish people will be quick to detect, and all will be well. Enjoy your stay!


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Idyll Villas
Zeybek Sokak No : 8  P.K.78 Yalikavak Bodrum TURKIYE
Phone : +90 252 385 55 90     Fax : +90 252 385 55 89

 

For further information, please contact :

 

Mr. Sonad PELIT - Bodrum (+90 542 213 81 04)

Mrs. Amanda CHESTER - London (+44 797 636 3906)
 

E-mail : info@idyllvillas.com