When I moved to Turkey 22 years ago, all I knew and heard about this amazing country was the endless cups of tea, the kebabs and the Grand Bazar. But if you really want to get under the country’s skin, below are some less commonly known things about life and culture in Turkey.
It’s fair to mention from the beginning that this blog post won’t focus on public relations activities or the differences between cultures when it comes to developing PR campaigns (like we’ve done in the past), but I feel that despite of this apparent lack of focus on the discipline of PR, as a specialist working in one longstanding local PR agency, I can still make it obvious to foreign companies looking do quality international PR work how important it is to intimately be aware of the cultural differences and the local sensibilities. It’s more than just knowing the language and certain appealing customs, loving the food, the tea and the climate; to understand the substance of a culture is to immerse oneself in its values and even question them with local eyes, should something like this be possible.
So here they are.
1. Turkish people are extremely hospitable and hot-blooded. Even if you are meeting someone for the first time, you may be invited to fancy dinner or lunch to his or her home. They are open and generous and you are called “Misafer”, guest, so you are high-valued guest and it will be an honour for them to invite you and take care of you.
2. Most business appointments will take place on time, but traffic in large cities may cause few minutes and sometime over one-hour delay. So if you have meetings in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, you may want to consider traffic as you schedule your appointments.