Turkish cultural taboos
September 2, 2016
In the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey is a country full of contrasts. Turkish people are welcoming and hard-working, but as with every society you need to be aware of the local taboos. Based on Passport to Trade article, we have chosen the most important Turkish taboos that every expat should know:
1. Don’t leave much interpersonal space
The space between two people when they are talking is called interpersonal space. In Turkey, it is common to leave little distance in comparison with other cultures. Hence, do not feel intimidated if you see that people comes too close to you!
2. Pay attention to your body language
During a conversation, very little times we pay attention to our body language. It is something that it comes naturally, as we have learnt it since childhood. However, gestures are culturally-shaped and you should try to avoid those gestures that can be offensive for Turkish people, such as:
- Showing the soles of your feet, especially when you are sitting in a restaurant or coffee shop.
- Making the OK sign with your hands
- Pointing at somebody with your finger
3. Be patient
If you want to close a deal fast, maybe Turkey is not the right place for you. In Turkey, things require time. Do not try to impose deadlines or go straight to business conversations. Allow small talks to happen and show a genuine interest in the local culture.