Currency / Language


BLOG 7 Habits You’ll Need To Get Used To When You Live In Turkey

16 August 2021 / Culture

You’ve done the research and planned your move carefully – your dream of living in Antalya is coming true. And now your Turkish adventure really begins, as you get used to life in a new country.

Just as taking to the roads on a daily basis is nothing like taking your driving test, adapting to a new culture takes time even when you’re prepared. Embrace it with open arms – it’s exciting! But while you might be prepared for some of the differences you’re about to discover, there are a few Turkish habits that might shock you. Here are some of them.

Nothing is too personal

Be prepared for questions about everything from how much you have in your bank account to why you don’t have children. The price of things is a popular topic and you’ll be asked how much you paid for your car, your freezer and your beautiful sea-view villa in Kalkan. If you decide to answer, you’ll be told it was too much and how a friend or relative could have got you a better deal.

Your new acquaintances will also be brutally honest when it comes to telling you you’re too fat, too thin or what they think of your new hair colour.

Depending on where you come from, you might find it invasive, but remember nothing is meant by it; it’s one of those cultural differences you need to get used to. Why not use the opportunity to learn more about them in turn?

Everyone’s an expert – at everything

Is your washing machine making a funny noise? A neighbour down the street can look at it for you. Does your bathroom need tiling? Ask the same guy. Got some electrical issues? Guess what…?

There’s a real can-do attitude in Turkey and you’ll find most people turn their hand to just about anything. The risk, of course, is that the work might not be carried out to the standard you expect as, traditionally, tradesmen here haven’t had to attain the same qualifications as in other countries. But times are changing; regulations and training are stricter and more widespread, so ask around for referrals.

Wait in line

If you’re from the UK, you’ll be a dab hand at queuing. Once you’ve bought your dream home in Antalya, though, you might want to get your elbows out sometimes. You might be used to standing in line, but you’ll find it’s everyone for themselves.

In the supermarket, if you’re at the checkout with a trolley full of groceries, expect someone with only one or two items to push past and get served first. And even when it’s your turn to see the doctor, don’t be surprised if another patient opens the door and sticks their head in during your consultation!

Get used to Turkey time

You’ll find times can be very -ish. You might have a 2pm appointment, but if three people have turned up ahead of you, expect to wait. If you’ve arranged to meet friends for dinner at 7pm, don’t start glancing anxiously at your watch when they haven’t arrived by half past.

Such is the relaxed attitude to timekeeping it’s become known as ‘Turkey time’. If your local supplier tells you your water and gas bottles will be delivered in an hour, be prepared to stay at home for the rest of the afternoon.

Health and safety

We can guarantee there’ll be sights that will make you gasp. It might be someone using a welding gun without a visor. Or a couple of guys wielding chainsaws and standing in the bucket of a JCB, trimming overhanging branches as it drives along the road. (We promise, we’ve seen this with our own eyes.) 

You might find the difference in attitude to health and safety refreshing, depending on what you’re used to. You’ll almost certainly find it alarming on occasion. Be careful also around roadworks or building works – there’s often a lack of warning signs or barriers.

Driving you crazy

Getting behind the wheel of a car in Turkey is an adventure. Traffic lights and ‘one way’ signs often seem to be regarded as guidelines rather than rules of the road. Be prepared for sudden lane-changes by other drivers, or for them to overtake at speed only to slam on the brakes to turn off in front of you.

Your best bet is to drive more defensively, use your horn frequently, and always wear your seatbelt.

The postal system

If you’ve come from somewhere with regular door-to-door mail delivery, this could come as a shock to the system. The mail service in Turkey varies from place to place. You might have a local PTT (post office) where you can collect letters and packages. In remote areas, there may be a designated drop-off point where you go and look for your mail. Or, occasionally, a PTT worker might arrive at your gate.

Wherever you plan to live in Antalya, ask around to find out the norm. You might be able to get a PTT mailbox, or post sent via a tracking service or courier could be your best option.

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