Location: southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia (that portion of Turkey west of the Bosporus is geographically part of Europe), bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Syria Capital: Ankara Climate: temperate; hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters; harsher in interior Population: 81,619,392 (2014 est.) Ethnic Make-up: Turkish 80%, Kurdish 20% (estimated) Religions: Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews) Government: republican parliamentary democracy The official language, Turkish, is the first language spoken by 90% of the 63m population.
Minority languages include Kurdish, spoken by 6% of the population.
Many Turks, even in remote areas, have lived and worked abroad (mainly in Germany) or at tourist resorts in Turkey, and are used to foreign ways.
But traditional customs matter, and although you’re unlikely to cause offence through a social gaffe, it’s best to be aware of prevailing customs.
Remember this is only a very basic level introduction and is not meant to stereotype all Turks you may meet!
We also provide Turkish cultural awareness courses for those wanting some in-depth analysis or help.
Arabic is spoken by 1.2% of the Turkish population; most of those speakers are bilingual Arabic and Turkish speakers.
Other minority languages include Circassian, spoken by more than 0.09% throughout the country, Greek, Armenian and Judezmo, a Romance language spoken by Jews.
Add a predominantly Muslim population to the mix, and you’re all set to experience a variety of cultural differences.
So, to make most of your stay — and to prevent being rude or a fool — familiarize yourself with these common Turkish customs and etiquette rules that apply in Istanbul.
While the Muslim faith condones polygamy, most Turkish households consist of one man and one woman, in deference to Turkish law.
But instead, if you are going to live in eastern or in middle Anatolia you will find that Turkish dating culture is more conservative.
Istanbul is a modern world city, like so many others.
It means “welcome” and the phrase that you should return is “Hos bulduk” which means we feel welcome.