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The dos and don’ts in Turkey and Britain
Cultural dos and don't in Turkey and the UK

The dos and don’ts in Turkey and Britain

Here’s an amusing little guide on the common dos and don’ts in Turkey and Britain. Maybe you can relate to a few? Have we missed any?

UK – dos and don’ts…

TURKEY – dos and don’ts…

Don’t expect to eat at someone’s house unless invited. Brits often have empty fridges. They rarely have a mountain of food quickly available for spur of the moment guests. Other than a Hobnob or a Digestive biscuit, don’t expect nibbles! Do expect to eat on visiting a Turkish home. Turks always keep a stockpile of dishes in the fridge. They are a sociable people and expect surprise visitors. A Turkish home will always have either a cake, meze or something sweet or savoury in the fridge for guests.
Do wait your turn and queue in line. Do expect to be put in your place if you try and queue jump in banks, supermarkets, shops or offices in England. You may even be asked to leave if you don’t have a legitimate reason to push to the front. Do wait your turn if there’s a numbered system, failing that, if you are in a hurry, get served as quickly as possible. Although queue systems do exist in Turkey many locals fail to observe this. Do expect people to push in in front of you in most situations.
Do pay as you go in pubs/bars. Most English pubs will expect you to head to the bar yourself and pay for your drinks after receiving them. It’s only in restaurants that tab systems operate. Do run a tab in bars and restaurants. In Turkey, most bars operate table service and have waiters come and take your drinks order. You pay the tab on leaving.
Do say sorry. If you bump into someone or accidentally brush against a pedestrian in the street, do say ‘sorry’. They will probably even say sorry too – even if it was your fault! Do say sorry if you send someone flying. Failing that, smile or simply recover, avoid eye-contact, duck and scurry on your way.
Do not invade a Brits personal space. The English don’t like people standing too close to them or invading their personal space. Stay back unless you’re family or know them very well and definitely don’t try and kiss or hug them on the first meeting – a simple hello and a handshake suffices. Don’t be scared to get up close and personal. Turks do like to keep it close and think nothing of sitting squashed against you or talking to you inches away from your face. You are likely to be hugged and kissed on both cheeks when you first meet, same-sex or not!
Don’t ever ask a woman her age or weight. It is impolite to ask a British lady her age or her weight. These are considered taboo subjects and can easily offend. Don’t be scared to ask personal questions. Turks are blunt. They will think nothing about asking strangers personal questions. If they think you have put on a few pounds they will tell you, no offence intended.
Do take your hat off (men) when entering a home and think about removing muddy boots. Shoes – well that depends on the house but taking them off is not common practice. Do take your shoes off when entering a Turkish home. It is rude not to take your shoes off but rest assured the host is likely to have an array of spare slippers for guests as they wouldn’t want you catching ‘foot cold!’
Do obey British traffic laws. In Britain stick to the traffic rules or face hefty fines and penalties. Do indicate, wear a seatbelt, stay in lane, stop at traffic lights and stick to speed limits. Do get to your destination. In Turkey road traffic rules are in place but largely ignored. Drivers do cut across lanes, pull into the right to turn left, disregard pedestrian crossings and traffic lights, and double park where necessary.
Do use toilet paper. In the UK toilets rarely have bidets or spouts. The Brits use toilet paper and get very upset if public cubicles have run out of loo-roll. Do use the bidet. In Turkey, there is often no toilet paper in toilets as Turks tend to use bidet systems. Carry a roll in your bag if you are not used to a water wash.
Don’t question list prices in UK shops. The Brits don’t tend to haggle over prices. Normally the list price is the last price. Do haggle with market traders and in stores. The Turks love a good haggle and it is expected in most markets and boutique stores (not supermarkets!).
Do say ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’. The Brits expect you to be polite and say please and thank-you for everything. It is considered rude not to. Do smile and acknowledge service and gifts. Turks don’t generally use ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’ as freely or in the same way a Brit would. They tend to smiles and gestures.
Do expect to wait for weeks to see a local GP. If you are sick and wish to see a doctor in the UK fully expect to wait days, in some cases weeks, for an appointment or a course of antibiotics. Do expect to see a doctor quickly when necessary. Turks rarely make appointments at their local surgery. They simply turn up and wait in line, failing that head straight to the hospital, or if less serious, to the pharmacy who can prescribe most things over the counter including antibiotics.
Do expect to put petrol in your car yourself.  In Britain the driver of the car is expected to fill the tank at the petrol station, there are rarely attendants. Do wait for a station attendant to fill your car for you at petrol stations. In Turkey, most petrol stations have attendants that fill the car for you. If you are paying with cash, you may not even have to leave your vehicle.

Can you think of any more? Do comment and let us know.

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