Toilets and Bathrooms
Street Wise
Sexual Matters
Sensitive Subjects
Village vs.Town
Body Language


Body and Sign Language

Except for those who are extremely religious and will not even shake hands with the opposite sex, Turks in general like touching or hugging one another in their social interaction. In conversation, they stand closer to each other than most Europeans do, too. It is worth knowing this, or you may find yourself progressing from one side of the room to another as you move backwards in a continuous attempt to re-establish what you feel is an appropriate distance between yourself and your Turkish partner.

Social kissing on both cheeks is acceptable even between men. Do not jump to conclusions if you see one male kissing another on the cheek, because the social rules allow this.

There is also the kissing of the hand but this happens only when there is an age gap between the parties. The younger person firmly holds the hand of the older one, kisses the back of it and brings it up to his brow. The action is a sign of respect and carried out regardless of the sex of either party. The kissing of a lady's fingers in the Western style is done but only in limited circles.

Sexual kissing in public is not approved of, as people think that this is something too private to be done in the open. Even at their wedding ceremony the groom kisses his bride either on the forehead or on the cheeks. Anything more intimate that this will be frowned upon as inconsiderate and impatient.

Meaningful Movements

Turkish people say "Yes" by a downward movement of the head. This can be done once or several times, with or without closing the eyes. The gesture for "No" is more confusing for the foreigner because, instead of shaking the head sideways, they move it backwards once, while at the same time raising their eyebrows. This action may be accompanied by clicking the tongue against the upper jaw. The shake of the head sideways means, "I don't know" but this is usually in conjunction with the raised shoulders and a protruded lower lip. A single jerk in one or both, on the other hand, communicates the message, "I don't care."

There are several hand movements too. Joining the fingertips and kissing them collectively means "Wonderful." You will also notice that some people bring their right hand up to their chest in response to being asked, "How are you." This indicates that all is well with them.