This article is for those of you out there who want to hear it straight. No beating around the bush! I am telling you the truth about my own country and its people without any sugar-coating or holding back. Guidebooks, other websites, writers, bloggers, I mean almost everyone who gives advice on facts about Turkey just doesn’t seem to be courageous enough to me. So, I have prepared my list of unspoken facts about Turkey.
I believe visiting this country aware of the insider’s tips that I’ve shared below can only help you be more prepared and insightful with respect to Turkey.
– MOST TURKISH PEOPLE ARE MUSLIMS, BUT TURKEY IS NOT AN ISLAMIC COUNTRY
Turkey is the only secular muslim country in the world. Secularism is established and protected by the constitution and it is one of the fundamental values of this country.
Even though most of the population consider themselves to be muslims, in general they don’t follow the rules of Islam very strickly. More than half of the Turkish people go out, drink alcohol and socialize with one and another in ways that are traditionally a ‘sin’ in Islam. The religion is more of a cultural thing in Turkey, especially amongst the young generation. People believe in the religion and they would get angry if their religion was critisized in front of them, but only a VERY SMALL percentage of the population would go and join protests for religion-related issues. Of course, this is not saying that very small percentage is not there. It is there and it always has been. One might even say that today they are more powerful in the political and social spheres than they’ve been in the last 100 years. That still doesn’t change the fact that most travelers coming to Turkey for the first time are surprised by how Middle Eastern and Islamic this country is NOT.
– TURKEY IS NOT A CHEAP COUNTRY.
We have heard from many people that they had expected Turkey to be a much cheaper country before they came here. The food, entrance fees to museums, transportation, alcohol, gas, etc. We hope you don’t make the same mistake. Turkey is NOT cheap at all. A few examples: Turkish people pay for the most expensive gas in the world. It is more than $10 a gallon in 2015… There are more than %400 taxes on alcohol, so be prepared. Museums are expensive, usually between 5 to 10 Euros a museum. The food is generally not super expensive, but not too cheap either.
– TURKEY (ESPECIALLY ISTANBUL) IS TOURISTY.
Most people can’t even believe it when I tell them Turkey is the 6th most visited country in the world. It is the truth. More than 39 million people visited Turkey in 2013, which puts Turkey in the 6th position behind France, USA, China, Spain and Italy.
Finding a local, non-touristy restaurant or a cafe can be challenging at times. But hey, that’s what this website is here for if not for delivering actual facts about Turkey, right?
– TURKISH PEOPLE ‘LOOOOOOOVE’ FOREIGNERS!
UNLESS THEY ARE POOR OR UNATTRACTIVE of course. I know this sounds pretty harsh, but unfortunately it’s also the truth. Look, there is no denying the obvious fact that Turkish people are extremely friendly, warm, welcoming and hospitable. They really are in general. But then again, tourism is a huge income in this country and there are hundreds of thousands people working in this industry to get a little extra something ‘something‘. We have been involved in tourism in Turkey for long enough to know that there are salesmen and women out there who wake up in the morning hoping to have a great business day by selling over-priced carpets and rugs to rich American couples. And we most certainly know that there are thousands of Casanova-wannabe Turkish men out there hoping to score with a naive Japanese girl every breath that they muster.
So do expect sleazy attempts and constant hassle while walking down the street – like restaurant people trying to convince you to come inside and pay for whatever they’re offering. In certain areas of course – however, those areas expand fast.
– HIPS DON’T BUT MOVIES LIE.
Midnight Express has a story that revolves around the horrible prison conditions in Turkey. Directed by Alan Parker, this film created serious safety concerns for especially American tourists planning to visit Turkey. Sure, prisons are horrible anywhere and Turkey has been known for its harsh prison conditions in the past but this movie, made in 1977 still doesn’t provide accurate information about Turkish prisons. It is a pretty decent movie though!
Visiting Turkey for the first time since the movie was released in 1978, Stone admitted “over-dramatising” the screenplay, which he wrote. –Source