The Turkish lifestyle is a colorful mosaic connecting the modern and ancient worlds of Eastern and Western cultures and traditions. It is a place where you feel you are constantly walking through history, following in the footsteps of Ottoman Sultans and historical legends such as Alexander, Constantine and Genghis Khan. In the vibrant and beautiful city of Istanbul, once known of course, as Constantinople, you are one moment at the cutting edge of modernity, glamour and fine dining, the next in the shadow of the Blue Mosque or wandering through palace gardens. There is truly nowhere like it in the world.
Turkey is the only secular country in the Islamic world. Secularism is enshrined in the constitution which states that religion has no place in governing political affairs. For many centuries, people of different faiths lived together in peace and harmony, and this diversity has been preserved through the modern, ever evolving, laws of today. People wear modern dress as in any other western country: from the ubiquitous jeans and t-shirt, to hip-hop inspired urban streetwear. You will see punks and Goths, side by side with traditional country folk in their colorful head scarves and caps. But you will also see the high society and jet set in their evening dress and designer clothes, worn with a panache and elegance, even on the beach.
Visitors are mostly surprised by the friendliness, warmth and hospitality of the Turkish people. Also, most Turks enjoy meeting foreign visitors, learning about different ways of life and practicing their language skills. Hospitality is the cornerstone of Turkish culture.
Turks love to celebrate or empathize and common expressions apply to many daily or special events and occasions. Should a friend fall ill, the response should be “Gecmis Olsun” meaning get well soon. Enter a shop and you may hear the saying of “Hos Geldiniz” which means welcome. The list goes on and on but the good news for foreigners is that Turks are quite relaxed if you are visiting the country. Learning a few sayings earns you great respect, but do not sweat the small stuff, because to the Turks, you are a welcome guest in their country.