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I Don’t Like Turkey…Yet

In all my years travelling I’ve never really come across a place I didn’t like.

I think that’s changed.

Turkey.

When I landed in Istanbul, I didn’t really know what to expect. I’d heard in passing conversations that it was an amazing city and there was a lot to see there, but I hadn’t really researched it in any real depth. I was simply going to land, explore, and see what the city gave me.

I ended up spending four nights in Istanbul before heading west to Gallipoli, knocking off the major sights while eating my way through the city. The Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, spice market, Istiklal Street, Kadikoy, all while eating as much Turkish food as my stomach would allow.

The city itself was stunningly beautiful. Lots of little alleyways and coffee shops hidden amongst cobblestone streets, a deep history to explore, and a cheap and functioning public transport system to get you anywhere you needed to go. Regular ferries carted people between the Asian and European sides of the city for only a couple of dollars, and the food was delicious, just as I’d expected.

What let the city down was my interactions with the local people. During my limited time in the city and the rest of the country, I found the Turkish to be quite an insular community – not hostile in any way, but just a bit cold and stand-offish. It can be easy to quickly disregard this as plain unfriendliness, so I wanted to dig a bit deeper to understand why I was getting this vibe.

Over my remaining days in Turkey, I spent most of my time closely examining my interactions with the locals. I found the Turkish often fell between two extremes – while some showed extreme friendliness and kindness, the others were so dismissive it was as if they were offended I was even talking to them.

One example was the man sitting next to me on the ferry, who I hadn’t spoken a word to, buying a handful of fridge magnets off some kid and then insisting I take one as a souvenir of my visit to Turkey – a completely random act of kindness that I was quite taken aback by. On the other hand, there was the guy at the bus office who gave me a look that just said “f*ck off” the moment I walked in and refused to talk to me, and his colleague who I had to practically beg to sell me a bus ticket.

Unfortunately, I had many interactions in line with the latter. There was an indifference about them, a feeling that they really couldn’t care less that I was a visitor in their country. And of course, I never expect anything more than that. In their country, they are welcome to treat me however they please. What I still couldn’t figure out though was, why? It’s typical of most countries to welcome foreigners and try to give a positive impression of their country, but this didn’t seem to be the case in Turkey. Why?

At first I assumed it was the lack of English spoken. Almost all locals I interacted with weren’t able to communicate in basic English, even those working in tourist-related areas, and the ones that could were people who had made the conscious effort to seek out and study the language. Perhaps I’d confused unfriendliness with them simply avoiding English interaction with foreigners. Once I learned a few Turkish words, even simple things such as “hello” and “thank you”, people did seem to warm up considerably.

There was bit of a chicken and egg scenario here. Did they not speak English because they didn’t care to learn about the outside world, or did they only seem that way because they couldn’t speak English? Who knows.

My next observation was that the coldness came almost exclusively from the men. I’m no Adam Levine, but the women were always extremely friendly and helpful whenever I interacted with them. If I asked questions at the restaurant, they did their best to explain. If I asked for directions, they pulled out their phones and tried their best to help. If I asked the men, they shook their heads or shrugged their shoulders and waved me away. As I walked down the street, I noticed various men give me the glare or a suspicious once-over. What was going on here?

One interesting experience was on my bus out of Istanbul. We’d just been served our snacks and drinks, and once the guy in the seat next to me had finished he casually placed all his trash onto my tray table, folded his table up and went to sleep. I was so shocked that I started laughing. Had we been in New Zealand I would’ve kindly placed the trash back in his lap and smiled, but I’ve learned on the road it’s always wise to tread a little carefully. Besides, he did in such a blasé and casual way I started wondering if maybe this was just normal behaviour in Turkey?

In the end, I just put it down to a symptom of the culture. Turkish people in general seemed to be very direct, no-nonsense and in-your-face, and I just accepted it as the way it is. It wasn’t something I could really figure out in my short time there, and probably never will.

Funnily enough, my fellow travellers seem to fall between two extremes as well. Some were churning through all the sites at light speed so they could just leave the country as soon as possible, while others were in love with Turkey and were trying to extend their stays. As one girl put it, “I just need to see Cappadocia and then I can get the f*ck out of here!”, while another girl had spent 20 days in Istanbul and was already planning her next trip back.

For me, travel has always been about the people. The most magnificent city in the world is nothing if it does not have warm and interesting people to create the kind of energy and community that a city needs to be great. And while I never really felt unsafe or threatened in Turkey, I never felt very comfortable or welcomed either.

To be fair to the Turkish, these are all generalisations from a very short visit, and I did come across many friendly and welcoming people during my time there. For every bus driver that rolled his eyes at me, there was a waiter or waitress who did try to show some warm Turkish hospitality. Like I said, a case of two extremes, and it made for an interesting visit if nothing else.

I ended up cutting my visit short and actually missed out on a lot in Turkey – Pamukkale, Cappadocia, the beach towns in the south and a bunch of other famous sites. But in a country where I never truly felt welcome, seven days felt like long enough.

Have you been to Turkey? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Note: If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, don’t let my observations stop you. The country itself is beautiful and Istanbul is certainly a must-see city, unlike any other I’ve ever seen. There’s also a good chance your experience will be completely different to mine. Go with an open mind, explore and enjoy! (the food is incredible, too).

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117 thoughts on “I Don’t Like Turkey…Yet

  1. That’s a really interesting read! I was in Turkey through April and whilst we did encounter people like you mentioned, I felt like I had a great time overall. We spent 5 days in Istanbul and definitely came across people of both extremes and it was the place where we encountered that the most but I think I would put it down to being the big city and all.

    When we explored the smaller towns, nestled in the country side (Goreme in Cappadocia, Pamukkale and even Antalya, although that’s a still a big city), I found the people to be very kind, open and helpful. Goreme was actually our absolute favourite place we visited in our 2 weeks. Maybe that’s to do with me currently living in Cyprus where the ‘Zero F**ks Given’ attitude is very ripe and I deal with it on a daily basis. I’ve probably become very accustomed to it to the point where I don’t pick it up in other countries anymore, and the people who are friendly and helpful stand out more.

    To me, the most interesting interaction in Turkey was down in Antalya where it was the first real time I noticed some of the men didn’t talk to me directly, or even look at me whilst speaking, instead they directed their entire conversation to my boyfriend. Regardless whether I was speaking as well. It was quite a strange experience, but an eye opening one. That’s not to say those men were nasty, they were actually really friendly and chatty, just not directly to me!

    1. Interesting. It wasn’t hostile for me either, just unwelcoming. I’ve experienced similar attitudes in places like China and France but definitely not to the same degree. But an interesting thing to experience nonetheless.

  2. Hi Bren,

    I came across your post totally by chance and, as a Turk, feel somewhat ashamed by how you were treated by some of the locals here. It upsets me that the guys in the ticket office were downright rude to you; I do think it has to do with the language barrier to a certain extent, but still, for a nation that is knowns for its hospitality and friendliness, I am sorry to hear you had it enough and decided to cut your stay in Turkey short.

    Personally, I’ve rarely heard foreigners complaining about Turks being rude to them; this is not to say I don’t believe you or you were exaggerating. Maybe someday in the future, you’ll pay my country another visit and run into friendlier and more helpful people.

    I have read not only your posts on Turkey but many other articles you’ve written and I have to commend you on your amazing writing skills and interesting stories. I will continue following your posts.

    All the best!

    1. Hey Murat, apprecite you stopping by to read some of my stuff. As I hinted in the title, I may indeed stop back for another visit someday. I did meet some friendly Turks too, so it wasn’t all bad.

    2. Hello
      My husband and I have traveled to turkey many times and we have faces what Bren faces with people seeming to hate us! But in places like bodrum and Izmir people were very kind, the rudest people were in Antalya and sadly in trabzon where we bought a small apartment.

  3. P.S. The incident you experienced on the bus is totally unacceptable and I have never seen or heard of such a thing before. What an asshole indeed. Had I been there, I’d have told him to fuck off, actually.

      1. I’ve been to Turkey so many times and I can assure you that its not a uncommon thing to happen to you. I have to go Turkey for business and I hate it. Every time i get on the plane i get bad feeling. And so many people getting scammed and lied to there.Its almost impossible to create a long lasting business relationship. I’m not even going to start on their arrogance and self involvement

        1. As a Turk myself what pisses me off about the Turks in general is that they hardly take things serious…for example in Australia we took our car to a Turkish mechanic and the guy who runs the business was busy drinking tea and smoking cigarettes whilst reading his newspaper….when I complained about my car the guy tells me that its a car and they do cause problems in a very careless and laid back manner… but nothing about what can be done to resolve the issue a.s.a.p…I also saw this type of arrogance in other people of the Balkan regions such as the Macedonians and Greeks. I guess people of that part of the world place their own leisure before addressing peoples’ issues even if their job requires them to serve other customers.

        2. Yes we have been scammed with our apartment that we bought in trabzon and in general I feel turks don’t like foreigners, however I felt that Izmir and bodrum were friendlier, I don’t know why.

  4. I went to Turkey last year for the first time and I am unlikely to go back. Mostly because of the people, which is very sad but clearly not uncommon!! Being a female in Turkey is obviously a bit different and being a fellow kiwi I really wanted to tell the guys who touched, whistled, stared at me to FUCK OFF but I didnt, I had no idea what they would do, after all they were treating women disgustingly so I assumed they were capable of worse things than what I experienced.
    Oddly enough I have met a few Turkish people (men and woman) in London and they have all been nothing but nice!

    1. Hmm, seems a common experience and it’s a shame for such an otherwise beautiful country. Glad you got out without incident 🙂

    1. In a country I’m familiar with, sure. But in very foreign countries, especially a place like Turkey I tend to tread a little more carefully. Like I said, maybe this kind of thing was normal there?

  5. I’m sorry to hear baout your experience Bren. It is a surprise and very out of character I think.

    I have been to Turkey but only to Istanbul and the people couldn’t do enough for me. They were very helpful when I lost my way in the souk (don’t we all) and were respectful enough not to hassle me too much. My taxi driver even came with me as the taxi couldn’t go down the very narrow road, and made sure that I got in safely. Perhaps those people had an off-day or were just not thinking.

    It has happened to me but only once in 15 years of travelling when I found some people to be extremely rude for no reason at all! I found that to be the case in Singapore. All the expats were excited to see a new face in town but the locals were cold and pretty unfriendly, but what can you do? Dust it off and move on. It’s their loss. 🙂

    1. Thanks. Yeah, I wasn’t there long enough to make a strong verdict. But this was my experience nonetheless. If there is a next time, let’s hope it’s different.

  6. As soon as I get off the plane I went to Tourist Information and as always I was happy to be there and I approached to the information desk and the guy say…what are you laughing to! which very surprise me… I just wanted to know how much does a taxi to my hotel should cost to know the average of cash to withdraw from the ATM .. and the guy again said.. here taxi drivers are kind and they are not going to chat you… well… the price should be 25TL and the fist taxi driver wanted to charge me 50… so I did not accept.. the second taxi driver were kind and accept to put the meter. He couldn’t speak any English but I show the map on where to go and there were no problem. Once at the hotel I ask for some money change (small banknotes) to pay the taxi and the gut at the hotel give me but he did not have enough so he said he will give me the rest back… forget it… I lost that money.. the guy was not there the next day and nobody knew about it.
    The rest of my time in turkey was great. Food, architecture and people

  7. Hi, Bren! I am so sorry you had this experience there… I am not Turkish, but I know quite a lot about them, and as far as the modern Turks aer concerned – mostly good stuff… There is, however, this other side of the national character, which has its roots deep in its history, and which I strongly dislike… Well, maybe you will want to consider it yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_in_Turkey#See_also

  8. Dear Bren,
    It is really confusing for me to read how you consider your experiences in Istanbul. Your thoughts are quite useful for me personally, partly because I have been visiting this country for more than forty times, mainly coastal areas, and I have never been relying on a contact or and kind of assistance of a local person, so I am quite inexperienced in this kind of relations with the locals. That is why I am truly amazed on the reactions you are mentioning. Part of the explanation might be the fact the country is developing too fast during the last decade and most probably could not cope with some minor side problems such as lack of smile, hospitality or just kind approach. The city of Istanbul itself is overcrowded and people are obviously and mostly stressed which causes reactions you are mentioning. However if you visit another regions, the countryside you would probably see another part of the national character of these people, and I hope it would be a real one with proper kindness and respect. At the same time your impressions are not quite uncommon for visitors coming from a more organized parts of the world. Truly hope you could find a reason to come back to Turkey and have a chance to see its better part.

  9. “I found the Turkish often fell between two extremes – while some showed extreme friendliness and kindness, the others were so dismissive it was as if they were offended I was even talking to them.”

    Your problem here, you can’t distinguish Kurds from Turks.

      1. I’m tempted to suggest from your uneducated, ignorant and disrespectful comment that you must be Kurdish but as most Kurds I have met are decent people I guess you must just be racist filth.

      2. fatih, you caveman, go grow your mustache to show how macho man you are and leave kurds alone. They6have suffered enough from fascist turks like yourself

        1. Yes, I am a Turkish but I hate people like Fatih. Fatih just because of you, we as the left wing and liberal people in Turkey have to deal with racism all around for Turkish people which is created by people like you. You are definitely a caveman. I bet you support Erdoğan!

  10. You’re right about the cold people in metropol Istanbul.As you can see abow , they’re also a big amount of people don’t like “other” people …We did’nt like the generally of the people there and moved with my husband 9 years ago to a smaller city in the south cost of Turkey.Here it’s more better with people:) I can reccon you small places in Mugla totally in nature not to much far to eachother and without a big mass-tourism : If you stay in any boutique hotel in Dalyan, maby you wanna stay there for your life,like lot’s of tourist did in the end(my friend “Kaptan June” as an example) You can travel around a lot from there and it will not end.There is so much to see.Pls just google the area:)…About Yuvarlakcay river,Koycegiz lake,Sarıgerme or Iztuzu beaches,Dalyan Channal with ancient rock tombs, Kleopatra beach island ect ect…XXX

  11. hey bran! dont bother!
    youre so right turkish being extreme with their attitude, even locals, we all live by it! i am living in europe since 6 years and i can tell that over here there is a particular way to behave. however in turkey, it is not the case, even i am most of the time, getting confused and finding myself thinking about what have i done wrong, that this person treated me that way, when im back every 4-6 months or sth. so in general i think, turks are quite moody and persons of different values on a hugeee wide scale, be it culturally, religiously or personality-wise. next time try it out, with like-minded locals on couchsurfing or so! 😉 indeed cant tell you were wrong with your assumptions though, as being a insider-outsider local for a time. cheers!

  12. I know this post is pretty old now but my experience closely resembled yours. I am at the airport now ready to leave but not without one more rude waiter who seems to hate his job of actually waiting on people. I’ve been here four days and I can’t tell you how many eye rolls I’ve gotten from service. Some people were ok, no one would get the title of friendly except one uber driver. It is a beautiful city, not sure if I would com back to Istanbul however.

      1. Bren, I just loved yoir article !!
        I am in Istanbul now, and I totaly agree with every and each word you said!
        Turks are rude in general

        Thank you and keep it up

  13. That’s so bizarre that you had such a negative experience in Turkey. My very first stop on the beginning of my around the world trip was in this country. I spent a whole month there, fell in love with it pretty quickly and returned three more times. Yeah, I got involved with some shady Turkish dudes, but my overall experience with the Turks was that they are some of the most hospitable humans I’ve ever met. 30+ countries later, I still feel that way. I think you need to see some of the smaller tourist towns on the coast and your opinion on their hospitality will change. Istanbul, like any large city can be unfriendly. If you do decide to go back one day, hit me up and I’ll give you tons of suggestions (There’s waaaaaaaay more to the country than IST and Cappadocia!).

  14. Turkey? NEVER AGAIN! Bren, I cannot agree more with you. By far, Turkish people are the most insular and inward people I have seen in the whole world. They hardly know anything about anything out of Turkey, especially men are nasty and unkind, almost all people I talked to are brainwashed, that Ataturk guy is a perfect example of a personality cult and you can see fascism in every aspect of Turkish people’s lives. Extremely rude and intolerant people.

  15. I am American and visited Turkey last summer. I hated it all the way, from day one. Unbelievably rude people. Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya all unkind rude people. I completely agree with Maurice and Bren about exaggeratedly insular and hard-headed folks in Turkey…and yes, that Ataturk or whoever that guy is, is a major source of brainwash. Take to any Turkish people about anything out of Turkey, they just don’t know, they don’t care either. Foreign languages are unheard of in this damned country. Food is too bland and kebobs are too fatty, unlike Persian kabobs and pilafs. Women are both ugly and rude. Visit Beyoglu street, the 24/7 stampede by cavemen! Abnormally unintellectual city packed with crappy low quality restaurants they call lokanta. Turkish people cannot even read their ancestors writings on the museums walls. They don’t even care to learn. Gosh, I can go on and on. I will never ever get back to Turkey. Interestingly I never hated any other country so much, from Africa to Pakistan to Vietnam. Turkey, despite its fairly attractive Mediterranean ambiance, is exceptionally disgusting thanks to its unkind rude brainwashed ignorant insular people. I don’t wanna see one more Ataturk statue anymore in my life. I hated Turkey but anyway, try it for yourself.

    1. hi ronald, the reason the nowdays turks csnt read theirs “ancestor” writings is because they all were ancient greeks. Otoman turkish occupied those greek lands and consider them as theirs. Cappadokia, canal kale, antalya, bodrum etc some of the places where you w8ll find all these ancient Greek monuments, theaters etc with Greek writings. And they don’t have the decency to say that are ancient Greek and not Turkish.

    2. Where have you been in Turkey? Have you been in ghettos or what? Millions of people are visiting Turkey every year and they all say that Turkish people are friendly and polite. Have you been to resorts of Antalya? It’s all great staff, healthy food, clean and polite! Go back to Pakistan next time! Ataturk is the founder of Secular Turkish Republic and Turkey is the first country in Europe to apply women rights thanks to Ataturk (Turkish women were already voting many years before the countries like Switzerland) Ataturk means tolerance and democracy, and he was ahead of his time.. You should read and learn about his principles. If you would visit places like Bebek,Caddebostan areas etc. which are more “Ataturkish” you would see how amazing, tolerant, visionary people living there. The people who do not adopt Ataturk’s principles are all rude, intolerant and more religious. Turkey left Ataturk’s principles since 2002, that’s why it’s going downhill..

    3. Ignorance and racism are everywhere in America! You cannot even walk on the streets at night even in New York because someone can come and easily disturb you! Turkish people are friendly and you are just a typical hater who love to write negative comments for no reason..

    4. Excuse me? You are nothing but just a typical hater. Haters gonna hate.. Turkish people are known as friendly, tolerant and easygoing. It’s one of the rarest countries where people dont even give a damn about your nation or religion. Whoever you are, you are always welcomed. No boundries.. Before criticizing Turkey you should look at yourself, you are very disrespectful. Ataturk is the founder of Secular Turkish Republic and Turkey is the first country in Europe to apply women rights thanks to Ataturk (Turkish women were already voting many years before the countries like Switzerland) Ataturk means tolerance and democracy, and he was ahead of his time.. You should read and learn about his principles. If you would visit places like Bebek,Caddebostan areas etc. which are more “Ataturkish” you would see how amazing, tolerant, visionary people living there. You seem like a rude person, sorry.. Millions of people can’t be wrong if they are visiting Turkey more than once..

  16. I have thought Turkey is a nice place to live since you are a western creature and have some money in your pocket. Actually you could still taste the real rudeness and pure bastard attitudes if you were in an hospital, a crowded bus/ bus stop, driving your car in traffic or anywere people are close to each other. Dont think that they are not hospitalizing btw. If you were a turkish, you would be insulted and hate 10 folds to be there

  17. Actually i feel with you. I didnt feel like i was in any threat, but i felt like they where extremly rude and uneducated in how they should interact with other people. They definitively need to learn especially how to threat the guests to their country. I do speak and understand Turkish wich can be annoying sometimes, because the way they are “Nice” in english and talks about you in turkish without any reason is shocking. I really used to love turkey, but after many visits with some new hopes every times i lost hope now. Maybe they just feel the right to be ignorant towards other.

      1. Turkey is beautiful so I have tried to choose the nature over the people but it’s hard to get sneered at several times a day! I thought it was because I am a Muslim American and my husband is Arab but I see that others are having this issue also.

    1. So true beautiful country , but I’ve experienced too much rudeness was just cursed at for not buying a travel book from a street vendor ☹️

  18. Hi, I just stumbled across your blog and I actually found it interesting to read, as I felt like I could relate. My two sisters and I went to Turkey last year July. We went to marmaris. Absolutely beautiful landscape and loads of things to do and loads of things to see. However, we got this vibe that there were two types of people (like you had mentioned), some of them were over friendly and some of them were just downright rude and found everything hilarious (even the coop that had happened was funny according to them). We got along with many Turkish people, but we did feel uncomfortable the entire time, and I felt as if though they were very dismissive of us and weren’t being very welcoming. I am a British born woman of south Asian descent, and I have never experienced racism in my own home country of England, let alone in another country. However, on our second last day, all our fears came true. We travelled out to a little village in marmaris and we were in a shop looking at us some souvenirs with the intention of buying. The shop keeper came out and told us to “get lost, dirty P**i’s”. We were absolutely gobsmacked. We just could not believe what we had just heard. Such a rasict and derogatory term. Felt like a slap in the face. This had never happened to us before, and for it to happen while we were on holiday was so upsetting and so humiliating. We just wanted to go home that day. It was such a horrible thing to have happened. We were in so much shock, we couldn’t even speak back to the guy. It just dampened my mood, and I just couldn’t help but think that this is how some Turks think of tourists who are of coloured skin. I just felt so sad, and embarrassed of what had happened and of the country itself. Thankfully we were nearing the holiday when this has had happened. I dont think I’d ever go back to Turkey after what happened, I felt as if though why should I spend money in a country where it’s unappreciated. I’ve told my friends and family what had happened, and everyone was just as shocked. What a nightmare of a holiday!

    1. Really sorry that happened to you. Honestly that can happen to you anywhere, but I know what you mean about there being an uncomfortable energy there. I felt the same way. Hope you’ve had better experiences since then!

      1. Hi Bren,
        I’m black and it is June 2017 and nothing has improved in terms of rude turks. I’m quite used to rude immigration officials around the world, but rude shopkeepers or ticket office clerks, is a first here in turkey. Of all the positive interractions and kindness shown me came from kurds, and rural turks.
        I recall my travels in germany in the 80s where it was rare to meet english speakers and yet people were always courteous. I’m not surprised that the tourists are staying away from turkey.

    2. Jasmine, as a person from a neighboring country I think the behavior towards you was probably based more on religion than race. If you were dressed as a ‘good’ muslim woman chances are the treatment would have been different. It’s something that I’ve noticed visiting other muslim countries or even neighborhoods in otherwise modern European cities. The level of disrespect (leering, cat-calls, hostile behavior from large groups of men going so far as trying to grab my arm, clothes and hair) is beyond disgusting. Turkey, for me at least, is a good destination for an affordable 5-star resort that offers all-inclusive deals and you have no interaction from the outside world. And that’s if you live close-by, otherwise countries like Greece and Bulgaria are much better options. Especially for a woman.

      As far as the history of places like Istanbul is concerned – it’s all ‘stolen’ and ‘reformed’ (Hagia Sophia for example) and the amount of revisionist bullshit you can hear on some of those tours makes them worthless. Unless something drastic changes in Turkey and it’s people I’m not going back and, like you said, spending my money in a place like this.

      1. Not true
        I am American Muslim wearing modest clothing and many Turkish women looked at me with disgust so sorry to ruin your theory, turks themselves don’t always dress modestly since it’s secukar

  19. Turkey is a lovely country with an amazing history and cuisine i have been there many times and it is so idiotic to generalise people in Turkey there are good and bad people in everywhere also i had experienced extreme racist and rude people in the western countries also super ignorant people especially in the USA but i do not generalise people because i am not an idiot

  20. Well, WITH ALL THE RESPECT TO THE PEOPLE WHO THINK THAT IN EACH COUNTRY THERE ARE GOOD AND BAD PEOPLE. TURKISH ARE DIFFERENT, HAVENT BEEN IN TURKEY BUT I HAVE KNOW TURKS FOR 10 years. WELL THIS ARE THE CONCLUSION, THEY ARE IGNORANTS ARROGANTS SELFISH RUDE HORNY NO ETHICS READY TO DO ANYTHING TO GET WHAT THEY WANT, NO PRINCIPLES, LIERs, NO GOOD INTENSION IF SOME OF TURKS IS NICE TO YOU THEN 100% WANTS SOMETHING BEHIND IT, THEY THINK THEY ARE SMART AND USE THE SIMPLE HUMAN INSTINCTS OF REWARD TO GET YOU IN TRAP.I HAVE INTERACTED WITH MOST OF THE OTHER NATIONALITIES, BUT THIS PEOPLE ARR COMPLETE FILTH I WILL NEVER EVER VISIT THIS COUNTRY ENOUGH WHAT I HAVE GONE THROUGH.

    1. Racism and faschism are really kind of physchologic problems and i wish you well and recommend you to see a doctor.

  21. I don’t know where to start….
    After spending few days in Turkey,
    I just feel angry, bitter, mentally and emotionally drained.
    I travelled extensively, Europe, east and west, Asia and south Asia, many middle eastern countries, central and south America……
    I can comfortably say that Turks are the most horrendous people on the planet… and I’m so convinced that this country has no soul just like its own people… it was a frightening travel experience. I hated every bit of it, and simply because of its own primitive people… what a shame that such barbaric people are ruling over this beautiful land.
    TURKEY IS DOOMED !!!

    1. Haha what? Shameful hater comment!
      Nobody even disturbs you while you are walking on the street at night in Turkey
      I cannot even walk alone in New York, even in Barcelona 2 boys came and disturbed me on the street.
      Turkey is a secular and democratic country, what a pathetic comment if you are exalting Middle Eastern countries while you are dissing Turkey..

  22. Hi, Bren. Very interesting article. I’m British of Saudi Arabian origin and I have a flat in Istanbul, so very familiar with your impressions. Yes, i find people in Istanbul incredibly rude in one’s superficial encounters. Rude and also aggressive. They will, for example, not hesitate to push you out of the way in a queue. My special world rudeness championship goes to Turkish Airlines staff, without doubt the rudest in the universe. But you also encounter incredibly kind people all over Turkey. So it’s a bit of a puzzle. Why are they so rude? (I actually came across your blog after typing “Why are Turks so rude?” in Google after taking a Turkish Airlines flight this morning, where the ground staff’s rudeness was breathtaking).

    Turkey is a very odd country. The reports of people in the countryside being really kind and helpful ring true. But in Istanbul — well, they are not nice at all, even if you speak a little Turkish, as I do. And of all foreigners, they really don’t like Arabs. It’s as simple as that. It’s a complicated story, but I can totally understand foreigners feeling unwelcome in Turkey. I’ve experienced it and seen it myself many times. I think Turkish culture is partly the reason. Turks are very nationalistic and consequently have an implicit dislike or distrust of foreigners, which can come out at times. Your neighbour in the bus throwing his rubbish at you is one example. Next time you fly Turkish Airlines, sit back and watch as people just shove you out of the way on disembarking. Nobody waits. No one shows you any courtesy. It’s the way it is. I still can’t quite get used to it after all these years, but it’s something you just learn to accept. And it really makes you appreciate everyday politeness that you take for granted when you get back to England. I’m not a great believer in generalisations, but sometimes they contain a grain of truth. My advice to Turks is that people will love your country if you show them just a little kindness. It’s the smart thing to do.

  23. This is quite interesting. My experiences were both awful and great in the same trip. I would not return.

    I found the people *generally* friendly. Some of the body language can be confusing: raising the eyes and eyebrows means “no.” A shaking of the head means “I don’t know.”

    The Turks seem to all hear the same propaganda. So, if the IMF/World Bank has just done something that the newspapers don’t like, a surprising number of people will actually know and complain about that to you.

    I went there over 15 years ago. The weirdly friendly/hostile attitude was pronounced. I expect though it has gotten worse since Erdogan, who has gutted Attaturk’s secular Turkey, allowing the natural hostility of Islam to dominate there. Bren, that fellow who put his trash on your place was communicating his disdain for you as a kuffar.

  24. I did not come across a rude person when I went to turkey. Everybody was respectful to me, everyone was friendly and everyone was happy. I did not attend any of the lectures.

  25. Hi Bren,
    I’m Turkish and I’m agree with your opinion. You said you felt yourself between two extreme feeling. You were so friendly to you in Turkey. They are probably want something from you. Like friendly waiter wait for tip, friendly women looking for guy who take them out of the country. Sad but truth ?

    1. Do not think everybody as fake.then you must suspect from your suspect.Some people have high character but some people are fake

  26. This American couple has visited Turkey on several occasions because they are in love with the people. As a matter of fact, they post daily videos of their trips all over Turkey (not just Istanbul) and they’ve been travelling for months and here’s just one of their videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fskFVpgjTUw — feel free to check any other vids of theirs to see how much they love Turkey and Turkish people.

  27. I found people in Turkey to be generally more helpful than people in my country and also somewhat more friendly. Im American, but many people there seemed to think I was turkish or from Iraq or Bulgaria. For example I left my phone on the bus and my sweatshirt in Trabzon and the bus company tried really hard to get it back for me. They seemed genuinely worried. I got my phone, but My sweatshirt never made it back to me. Also there was a man in Ankara who walked me to the bus station, which was probably 20 min away. This would be very rare in America but would be appreciated if someone were to do it. Also I was trying to go to Göreme to see the fairy chimney but I got on the wrong bus because I told them Karaman and when the girl at the ticket booth announced this to the people in the bus station everyone laughed and I felt very embarrassed. Some people did try to rip me off which pissed me off because i was a visitor in their country, but People generally seemed to be helpful and more willing to talk to strangers. It seemed like there was more taboo relationship between men an women and it would be hard to find a girlfriend unless you spoke the language and wanted to marry her. Considering this, it seemed like a lot of Turkish men I met were what you would call “grimy” just like guys who would maybe spend 90% of their time with other guys telling crude jokes and working some construction job maybe they would also go to hookers. Also there was a creepy man in Konya who propositioned me for sex. He said he would pay me 10lira to fuck him??? Otherwise, I didn’t really make any friends there though maybe because people don’t speak english very well and the culture is totally different from my country. It seemed like a lot of people in Turkey were interested in you as a tourist as a way to start a mutually beneficial relationship. Not just to get your money like in some countries so Nothing wrong with that, but that was a priority and if any friendship happened from that then so be it. I noticed that in Istanbul the people seemed cold and not smiling a lot and not friendly almost like New York or another big city. A real difference I noticed was in Iraq and southern Turkey people are very friendly and more traditional. The cities look middle eastern and the people dress in headscarves for both men and women some women cover their face and men wear traditional baggy pants and 75% or 90% of guys are carrying rosary with them. In Iraq one Kurdish soldier I stayed with for a few days was crying when I left because we might not see each other again. They were very kind people and really went out of their way to make me feel comfortable. I was really surprised and it made me feel like I will always have some kind of bond with this country. So, in general I would say that Turkish are very friendly and they say funny stuff to you just to be funny even if you are a foreigner and they are interested in making a relationship with you and try to do the right thing for the sake of being a good person because they value honor. I found that Iraqi kurd was the most hospitable and friendly people from my experience even more than Turk or Turkish kurd.

  28. Same here. I just returned from a short Istanbul trip and as much as I love the antiquity and historic elements of the land, the people of the second extreme really turn me off from enjoying the country at its best.

  29. I’ve been to Turkey about 5 times (not my choice, had to go for my father’s job) and from my experience Turkish people were generally very rude and unnecessarily hostile with a specific indifference to other people’s problems and that was not only in Turkey. Most Turkish people in Germany were also very vile and disrespectful (even being bullies) to both Germans and other foreigners. I know there are good ones as well but I’m also generalizing here.
    And two things that you also mentioned: 1.Most Turks, especially if they’re younger know enough English to lead simple conversations (since they’re trying to be part of the EU and all) but they just choose not to use it! I don’t know why at all but a couple of times when abroad or online people got mad and told them we’re an international community and to respect one another we need to speak English when most of us don’t understand Turkish and they started swearing at those protesting in English or in Turkish!!! 2.This is the case in most countries where a gender is degraded that the ones discriminated against (women here) are usually more helpful and nicer to talk to. Like how some stated online, I also unfortunately witnessed many Turks being cheats to tourists.
    In terms of that chilling indifference (that almost seems like sadism) once when in Antalya, we were in an aqua park and since I was 10 at the time, I started drowning among the waves of the deep part of the wave-generating pool and the life guard was standing right above me and he just stared at me! In the end my father seeing that my head was under water for a long time jumped in and carried me out of the pool AGAIN with the life guard just staring at us from where he was standing before!
    In all 5 times I ended up either cutting my trips short and leaving or nagging 24/7 to my family that I wanted to leave cause honestly coming from a country beyond rich in history and architecture (Persia) I couldn’t find anything unique or worthwhile to entertain myself with there other than playing with the occasional random street dogs or cats I spotted which is frankly the only thing that I generally admire in Turkish people, that they’re caring and responsible towards intelligent homeless animals. I’m NEVER going there again though if it’s up to my choice.

  30. Bren,
    I see this is a couple years old but what the hey. Ive been to Istanbul, Turkey before and I too experienced the same rudeness from alot of the main locals. For me, it became hostile on one occasion when I spoke up to a mans rudeness. He yelled and screamed and threw his almost full drink on me. Of course I let it go but he kept up his tirade long after. His wife was trying to calm him down. All this because he thought I was being rude for speaking up. But it wasn’t all bad there, I saw alot of great sites and like you said, the food was great.

  31. In Turkey i have never ever heard that nobody-modern or conservative Turks claims that they are ‘European’ only %3 of the Turkey is in Europe other 97% is in Asia.Eurasian country technically and mostly muslim.I have lived there around 9 years and most of the people are friendly and hospitable.I rode some comments here and most of them are racist and shallow.First you look at your country then judge the other humans/countries.EU is a collapsed union after the Brexit and if i were Turkey i will return my way to Asia where the future is bright.Europe is old and weak like a sick man of the world.Regards.

  32. I had a one day stopover in Istanbul and it was terrible! they are the rudest people ive ever come across! I guess theyre not used to foreigners since they kept staring at me and whispering and stuff.. i dont think I’ll visit istanbul again! lol its a weird place! People just stare at you like you dont belong there or something.. and nobody not even the immigration officer speaks english! Also, the airport is such a mess.. worst airport of the world!

    1. They are not used to foreigners?? LOL. Istanbul was the fifth most visited city in the world in 2015 and Turkey was the sixth most visited country in the world (before the coup attempt and terror attacks) and by people from all over the world. And it is still in top 10 despite everything and moving back up again. About the airport, Istanbul has two major airports, one of them the third busiest in Europe and Sabiha Airport on the Asian side was selected as the best budget flights airport in the world a few years ago. Now they are building the third largest airport that will be the largest in the world. all of this because Turkey is a f*cked up country filled with filthy rude people?

      1. EDITED: They are not used to foreigners?? LOL. Istanbul was the fifth most visited city in the world in 2015 and Turkey was the sixth most visited country (before the coup attempt and terror attacks) and by people from all over the world. And it is still in top 10 despite everything and moving back up again. About the airport, Istanbul has two major airports, one of them the third busiest in Europe and Sabiha Airport on the Asian side was selected the best budget flights airport in the world a few years ago. Now they are building the third airport that will be the largest in the world soon. All of this, because Turkey is a f*cked up country filled with filthy rude people?

  33. And one more thing! They are so obsessed with their language its so fucking annoying! They wont bother learning basic English too!!

      1. You can’t compare French with Turkish! 70% Turkish is a mixed of Azeri, Persian and Arabic. You changed your alphabet from Arabic alphabet to Latin. Your language is not “original” and historical.

  34. I’m in Turkey now, I was just texting with a friend back home about my experience… Thought well maybe it’s just me? But after reading your article and people’s comments I see it’s not me and seems a common thread. Yeah beautiful country, loads of history, but interactions with it’s people leave lots to be desired. Not mean… Just indifferent and unwelcoming. Definitely come with a friend or travel companion it will definitely help if you like conversation… Because you probably won’t get a chance to interact with the locals here. Yeah 7 days is enough for me… I’m out and headed to friendlier parts of Europe.

  35. Overall, I had a great time whilst travelling through Turkey with a mate. As for negative experiences there were a few but they were overshadowed by some really good experiences. For example, we were offered food randomly as we were walking by some dudes eating and another time when we walked into a barber’s shop. It was really nice – like, we’re eating do you want to join us? We stayed in a cheap hostel and the owner gave us a brand new guide book for free. People wanted to hang out with use like in the train or at a bar just for a chat. The negative situations were – a guy tried to befriend us and led us into a ‘cool’ bar he knew. An obvious scam as a Russian girl immediately came to our table. Also, the bar looked ordinary, was empty but the bar men were clocking us etc so we got out of there straightaway. Another time, we met some nice Turkish girls and were just chatting with them but some random Turkish guys took offence and tried to stop the interaction, not that menacing though. Basically, I’d love to go back and found the country fairly friendly but one in which you need to have your wits about you a bit more than in other countries in Europe.

    1. Thanks for sharing – I can imagine all those scenarios happening. A guy also approached me asking me for a lighter and chatted me up a bit and tried to get me to go to his “friend’s bar” with him to “practice English”. Forgot about that!

  36. My Experience was as bad as your experience, and it was mostly about the people !!!
    Worse yet, I didn’t even like the city or find it that beautiful. Total loss.

  37. Turkey is an amazing country with great holiday resorts, history, fun, joy, food and friendly people! That’s why it’s the 6th most visited country in the world! Kisses

  38. Turkey handles all the responsibility of Europe.
    It has 5 millions immigrants because of the NATO / EU policies
    All that rude people are NON -TURKS
    Stop criticizing Turkey since it’s the oldest member of Nato and working hard on behalf of EUROPE!

  39. Ive been here two weeks, and find Bren’s post – it is Bren right lol – to be giving them so much leniency. They are the rudest people on the planet. Probably ugliest too. Dont come back, and dont even bother see the history. Nothing special. Food is not bad, tasted better in the UK. My first and hopefully last visit. I was really hopeful coming to Istanbul, i did some research but wasn’t prepared for the most insular, egotistical, brute, pug-faced, bird brain idiots. When i landed in Attaturk airport, i got real stuck getting to my apartment from the metro, luckily some students helped me. So I thought wow, love this peeps- i was so wrong. 2 weeks of nothing but grim faces, like someone tripped their grandma over. I went to burger king tonight, just today, the guy blanked my order and was chuckling i was speaking English. Mofo, if this was UK, id knock your lights out and put your hairy ass on a one way trip to the barbers. Air bnb was a waste of time. Another traveller we bumped in had far worse experiences. Both of us had been teachers, and couldnt believe how cold the tourism was. They are very arrogant people, dont smile, rarely, and have jarred my visit. Only rare exceptions i have had smiles and hellos, mostly from the Turks who have travelled. Oh yes, the police are dogs. Harass anyone anytime.

  40. I spent one year of my retirement in Turkey living in Tekirdag, Istanbul, Eskisehir and Samsun I found out that THE main reason for their sh**ty behaviors is that they hate each other and thus how they can love foreigners. Just Gaziantep people were nice.
    In Australia, almost every person from any nation likes/loves to meet their country mates but Turks are THE only race in Australia don’t want to see Turks. I have lived in 17 countries one year each, Turkey is the worst country in the world and Samsun is BY FAR the worst city in Turkey. People were not bad they were (literally) insane. If you love Istanbul then you will get crazy and depressed in Samsun let alone Istanbul is not a city to like. For example it’s a habit of them they look at you from head to toe to insult you when you’re kind with them because they have suffered a lifetime from each other so they find a stranger’s kindness as an opportunity to opportunity to outburst of their anger.

  41. Shame on You! What kind of racist and silly and arrogant comments here! I think “some” Greek Armenian and Kurdish and Western people have an inferiority complex against the Turks that Ottoman Turkish Empire ruled them for 500years.We Koreans like the Turkish people especially Turkish soldiers who gave their lives in the Korean War for the independence of Korea! I have been to Turkey many times and these people are one of the most hospitable and friendly people i have ever seen! I have never seen a westerner treated me a cup of water except in the USA ! European history is full of genocides massacres and hate and who loves Westerners in this world? honestly reply? who? without your money nobody loves majority of you! Exceptions may apply.

  42. Hi Bren,

    I have to say, I can totally relate to your experience in Turkey. I spent a few day in Istanbul as a tourist and I had some bad experiences. On a street in a popular area, near the Blue Mosque, I was constantly, being in my opinion, being hustled and harassed by store and restaurant staff aggressively trying to get me into their shops or restaurants to sell me something at an inflated price. My hotel was on this street, so I experienced this several times per day. When I walked in the square area by the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia, all kinds of vendors tried to hustle me and scam me. I had a Turkish man walk up to me and speak to me in Turkish. He then apologized to me saying he thought I was Turkish (which is ridicules – I don’t look Turkish) using that as an excuse to break the ice and talk to me. After chatting with me for about 10 minutes, he tried to persuade me to get into his car so he could show me a good night club. I knew it was a scam at that point and walked away as I’m 100% sure he had some kind of plans to get big money out of me. On the other hand, I ran into some very nice people including my hotel manager who was the nicest guy I met in Istanbul. I rented an audio guide to use on a boat ride on the Bosphorus and it did not work properly. I complained when I returned from the boat ride and the ticket venders refused to refund my money – which was only about 8 US dollars. They were stand-offish and did not seem to care. When I got away from the city center, I met some nice people who spoke limited English but smiled and acted friendly towards me. I really can’t figure it out. There seems to be a part of their culture that accepts doing dishonest and sleazy business but there are other people who are down to earth decent humble people. It wasn’t a good feeling and I really don’t feel much interest in every returning to Turkey. Perhaps people are nicer when you get out of the big city tourist areas?

  43. Despite a few peeps saying that Kurds are the ones to be impolite or rude, I find it another way around.

    And, based on my 24 days travel to Turkey, its the eastern part of the country that is far more kind, hospitable to foreigners. I went to Van, Diyarbakir and Sanliurfa – the people’s hospitality was one of the trip highlights. Its a different story in Istanbul or Ankara; people are colder, doesnt seem to care etc..

    Overall I’ll visit again but spend more on the eastern part. The sites, culture and architecture is just a joy to experience!

  44. Hey man, I have just found out about this article of yours. I am a 22 year old Turkish living in Istanbul my whole life. I’m an undergraduate I also study politics and I am a traveler as well. Let me start by saying this: I know what you mean. What you used to hear about Turkey was mostly about how hostile and warm people were, that has changed! During the current governmental era, (it’s 16 years now), people have become extremely segregated and polarized, it’s not only the tourists, Turkish people hate each other as well! There are basically two type of groups: Islamists and the seculars. I am a muslim but I am also a secular (thats’s about 40% of the country), we mostly speak English well, warm to tourists, travel abroad, get higher education and control the cultural production (oddly). The other part are the Islamists, they don’t speak English because they go to religious schools (which are everywhere since the current governments took over), they only care about conservative Muslims, they want to get away from Europe and get closer to the Arab region, they are not open about issues like sex, drinking etc. and all of the bus drivers, taxi drivers and people in public service consists of them mostly (because the government employs mostly islamists). So there is this huge division in Turkey. If you go to areas like Etiler, Beşiktaş, Cihangir, Kadıköy in Istanbul, you’ll find a young, educated and open-minded people and you’ll get warm welcomes. Secular people are concentrated in only a few ares. Other than that, it’s Islamists. The segregation is very obvious and vivid, for example in 2018, Uber is becoming popular among seculars and all the government supporters and taxi drivers are attacking Uber drivers physically and the government is trying to kick Uber out. Also, in Ramadan, islamists attack people who consume alcohol, they attack people in public transportation if they are wearing a mini skirt. The one thing that muslim people care about is radical islam and the government. As long as you are against the government, or you are a tourists (excluding arabs) you are not welcome here. For the last couple of years, Turkey has a record number of college graduates fleeing the country (number one reason is security and freedom). So, it’s not you, it’s not the tourists. It’s the mass ignorance, segregation. I hope it explains. I hope Turkey will care about tourism, freedom and hospitality more in the future.

  45. Hey Bren!
    – The dude on the bus, putting his garbage on your table was a bit rude, but not too much. In Turkey, there are people on the busses who collect garbage. So he thought it’s gonna stay there for 5-10 minutes until the service picks it up. But of course he should asked you for it.
    – Men in touristy areas are very rude and just look for opportunity to rip off. Especially taxi-drivers, bus drivers. They are very uncivilized and Turks don’t like them.
    – Don’t be too polite in Turkey. It’s a “man-culture” in Turkey. It’s even ok to say “I don”t wanna, leave me alone” if somebody tries to sell you something. Be self-confident when asking. Then they will respect you.
    – Turks are having a bad time with their authoritarian president who just abolished democracy in Turkey. There is a lot of tension among the population. Economically it goes down the river.
    – Turks are cold-shouldered because they don’t know how to interact with foreigners. Turks can be a very closed society with a closed mind. It’s a good thing that you made the first steps with a few words in Turkish.
    – Don’t forget, Istanbul has a population of 20 million. It’s a big city. Big cities are full of rude people.

    My advice: Go to Aegean coast, especially Izmir. It’s a city with modern-thinking people, open-minded, secular, proud and polite. Go around the villages. They will be curious in you and offer you a lot of presents. Istanbulians can be haughty and one part of the city is full of backwarded people.

  46. Turks are a sick nation. Especially due to their current government, they became a monstrous, rude, and a psychopathic people. You cannot even imagine how atrocious these people are; whenever I get on bus or tramway, I always see people quarreling for no reason. They are looking at each other as if they are going to kill one another.

    Men generally smirk for nothing all the time, are rude, arrogant, mean, retard, anxious, and ready for a fight all the time. Turkish women are paranoiac as if they are going to be raped by those middle eastern men (reminder: Turks are definitely a middle eastern nation, not a European one) wherever they go, naive and mostly imbecile. Their kids are mostly disabled because their parents are incest.

    When I visited Turkey 20 years ago, and they were really fine, lovely, and hospitable. But now, taking acount of that I have been living in Turkey for over three months, believe me, I am gonna lose my mind if I keep living here; therefore I am planning to leave this country ASAP. I can assure you that a great civil war is going to break out here soon. I suggest you not come here; otherwise, you’ll go back to your country with traumas only.

    1. Hey I live here and you are really over blowing the situation. Yeah sure some of them can be offish and cold but a lot of Turkish people are nice deep down but just don’t show it. I would suspect you are Greek or Armenian because they normally talk a lot like you do.

  47. Turkey is really a complicated cross road, with all kinds of religion, and actually many races, it’s not
    A harmonious place, so I think that’s why people are ego centric, they care only for them self.
    I been to turkey 4 times, and the experience is getting worst every time, encounter too many stubborn scammers , even at 5 star hotels and airline counters. If you go to you must stay at the 5+star Conrad
    Hotel, to feel a little better. Even our Turkish tour guy opens says he hates the country, that is really too bad. That means no one is willing to make the country better. My experience with Turkish people even in Canada and USA is that they only care about their own interest, and do not care about others.they can be very nice to you one minute but become a different person the next time you see them? I am not sure if they care for their own image ? After all Turks was only a group of loosely associated nomadic people,
    They were only tie together by the religion, but in the new world they want shake off the past and to be part of the west, and that is a big dilemma .

  48. I have spent quite a lot of time in Turkey, mainly because I had a Turkish girlfriend for two years. Obviously, everyone is an individual and its not a good idea to generalize, but I found Turkish people to be fairly unpleasant and aggressive. There were exceptions of course and I met a few people who seemed glad to speak to a native English speakers. But generally, it was bad. The level of aggression from other males towards me was off the charts. They actually look at you like they want to kill you. Anyway, the relationship died and I will not be returning to Turkey again, and I cannot say I am sad about that.

  49. I find your article spot on. I have spent 3 weeks with my boyfriend in Istanbul and my experience wasn’t good at all. People in general are so rude and so unfriendly that it was unbelievable. I personally didn’t like the kebobs and Turkish cuisine in general, and find that everything was just meat meat meat, very little vegetables. Everything was overcooked and it was very hard to find a healthy meal. We came from US to Istanbul where we spent almost 3 weeks and went to the smaller place for the friends wedding and people were little different , but they thought we were aliens or something since we both have blonde hair and blue eyes and they thought it was kinda weird. The girl poked me in the eye during this wedding to see if I was wearing colour contacts, I mean how come I have such a blue eyes lolThe culture is very very different, their mentality is so different than any other European country. And the last thing, I found them less European and more Middle Eastern in terms of food and culture etc…. Definitely not going back…didn’t get the positive vibe at all.

  50. As a Turkish, I have to accept that most of the comments that were written in both article and comments are true. Even us, living in turkey, are criticising behaviour of our people. Turkish people are strictly separated as uneducated majority and, moderately or well educated minority. Since the majority of the people are uneducated, it’s highly likely to confront them. Most of the educated people are working at offices instead of being taxi driver, clerk, waiter etc. And they do not prefer to use public transportation. That’s is why you rarely encounter educated polite people.

    Buying all inclusive hotels and hotel transfers in advance will always protect you. But if you want to travel by yourself I have few recommendations. Before you go anywhere in Turkey, do your research about places, read reviews. Plan in advance. Even for the restaurant you eat. Do not step inside a restaurant, shop, hotel etc. without doing research. It’s easy to do it via Tripadvisor, Yelp and Foursquare. Always choose chain stores and chain grocery markets for shopping. They have fixed prices and won’t try to cheat. Almost all the souvenirs that are in sale are made in China. They are not locally produced, and they do not represent anything local. Do not accept any overly friendly help from others. The main trick of the frauds is to talk excessively more (to make your mind busy to prevent you from thinking logically) and try to get close. Don’t listen and answer overly speaking locals. Gently walk away without speaking.

  51. Hi,
    I just found your article and it’s right on point, the people are so unbelievably in your face rude! There are few nice locals but the majority are plain rude.
    One guy was so horrible I couldn’t let it pass. My dad got sick on the cruise ship and got some on the floor, the guy at the cashier next to us refused to give us any bag (thats why the floor got dirty, then he brought me a cleaning tool and told me to clean, i asked if there is someone who cleans on the ship and he said no, you clean. My mother started wiping the mess and suddenly the cleaning service guy comes in and he is like nooo madam I will clean! I just couldn’t control myself I was so shocked at the cashier guy, I started shouting seriously!! This can never happen in Dubai, and I have never seen such behaviour in my life.
    Turkey is so beautiful, its a shame the people are mean. I am going to Trabzon next week and hopefully the people will be better. But in all cases, I am definitely not coming back.

  52. I visited Turkey from my hometown Los Angeles, California. I will never go back to Turkey again. I could not tolerate Istanbul a week. As an American I would say Istanbul would possibly relate to some European palates which find that pile of ugly concrete with horrible urbanization beautiful! I was amazed how especially British visitors found those super ugly and dysfunctional Istanbul neighborhoods with hardly any parks or green areas, like Cihangir, charming. Even Guardian wrote about it!

    Talking about the people: no hi or bye or even a smile when exchanging glances, or while getting on elevators. No Good Morning with a big smile when passing by on streets. All my fellow American visitors were annoyed by lack of social manner in Turkey. But this is valid for most of European cities we visited anyway.

    In Istanbul, for instance, sit at your table in Divan Pastanesi pastry and try to communicate with table next to you. They will look at you like a weirdo from Mars! There is no concept of interaction with strangers in Turkish culture. People don’t know how to behave in a civilized way to people they don’t know. Turkish women think they are being hit on, and therefore act guarded, and Turkish men are awkwardly cold, distant and communication handicapped!

    What is this lingual barrier Turks have? Most of Turks are too insular and do not even know basic English or any foreign language, and hardly have any idea about world issues out of Tukey. Oddly enough, except for Italy, I have hardly seen such a huge language barrier in anyone of the countries I travelled.

    Finally, what is this hysterical obsession with Ataturk, the archetype of cult personality, whose statues are ubiquitously installed around the country. There is a neurotic sense of insecurity in this.

  53. I dont know if your opinion has changed since its been 3 years but I think turkish men are the problematic ones. Even with these men, women continue to stay warm and very kind. It is the problem of man dominant countries. I am pretty sure Turkey would be in European Union already if there were no Turkish men exist there.

  54. I’m in Turkey (Kusadasi) right now and I feel very unwelcome. Not to mention the weird, creepy looks my friend and I are getting. She’s a woman and I’m a (gay) man. Also they don’t speak any English! Not even basic sentences. And honestly I can overlook that if they were more friendly and welcoming.

    I’m glad I found your post. Now I know it’s not just me. I can’t wait to go back to the Netherlands.

  55. as a turk I can say that you do not try to solve them, you can not solve their problems. I recommend it to come to Turkey twice to be more careful, especially in human relations. Turks are mostly two-faced and unreliable people. In last 20 30 years, the trust of each other people in society has been extremely damaged. maybe it is the coldness of the Turks and the fact that they are uncouth originate from here. You might choose the city in the western part of the turkey would be wise. In short, the Turks love people who look like themselves. Be careful yet.. Bren , you are right my friend, as a person living here I complain about the same things.

  56. As a Turkish people İ can say that you are definitely right, Brien. İ can suggest who are think to visit to Turkey that they must more careful especially in human relations. İn last 20 30 years, people trust to each other in turkish society damaged. i think that rudeness and incivility originated from this. maybe religions stuff. i dont know. i can say that you can not solve their attitude . you can not understand their problems as a foreigner even me as a local people. they are mostly two faced and unreliable people. their gender doesnt matter men or women.they are dont keep their promises.be careful twice. Western cities of Turkey is pretty good and peoples a little more polite and helpful.Turkish people like people who look like themselves and really doesnt care others.

  57. Customer service is so bad here, at least in Istanbul, Trabzon and Adana where we’ve been to. They are so reluctant to help that you don’t even want to buy or ask anything. There are exceptions of course, but they are pretty much rare. Another thing, because I look like an East Asian (but neither I am Chinese nor Japanese) sometimes I get “Nihao” or “Konnichiwa” said sarcastically from passersby and that’s kind of annoying. Not to mention people breaking queues, not greeting back, etc. Also I expected a more diverse tourist community in Istanbul, but middle eastern make up like 99% of all tourists.

  58. I went to Turkey and I will never go back. I hated it. Maybe I will go back to Kurdistan, the eastern part of Turkey, but never to the west. In Istanbul, a guy selling melons was listening on the radio to a sermon on how honest (dürüst) the Prophet was. I asked him to chose a melon for me (Benim için güzel bir tane seçebilir misiniz?). He weighed and palpated various melons, and they chose to give me… the one with a big rotten spot. Sizin dininiz bu mu? (Is that your religion?) And I walked away. The whole Turkish part of the country is foul like that. I only met honest people in Kurdistan (the east).

  59. I have been many countries but Turkey is the worst country i have ever seen from west to east!(btw I never been in India) I have been lived for many years in Turkey.What makes Turkey worst country? Of course the people..They have a bad temper.Always, at every corner you can find a psycho who wants to annoy you when you have a walk on the road or at cafe store.Small vendors are really dangerous especially in Istanbul and also Taxi drivers.They are scammer.I would like to share my one of the worst experiences about Turks.One day, i was really shocked because suddenly the owner of store started to yelling me and saying to me angrily “ I’m a doctor, who are you, you are sick go away from my store” blah blah FOR NO REASON.And then I said you can’t shout at me and I don’t care who you are and then a few customers and other worker started to say he is bigger than you, be respectful.OMG. What a answer! Someone will attack you unfairly and then you will be thankful for their behavior?That was really bad shocking experience for me because think about that you just go to store for looking some stuff and the owner attack you for no reason and you don’t have any idea Why?My mistake was to defend myself as I just a young girl because then I realized He was a schizophrenic man for sure.Don’t be shocked if a turkish woman/man attack you in verbal or phsycial for no reason because many psycho, pervert people over there. Istanbul is a dangerous zone!Foreigners must be careful during their trip.I must say Traffic is terrible.Many of them don’t obey traffic rules and other rules! I never understand why Turks are so arrogant people?They don’t have any important invention for humanity,sciene,art,fashion etc..Who do they think they are?There is no chance being part of EU for Turkey.I think don’t waste your time in Turkey if it is not necessary.They always need attention.Don’t pay attention to them during your visit!..I hope it is helpful!

  60. I have never met such rude people in my life. My husband and I when booking our honeymoon to England and Greece decided to fly back to Boston with Turkish airlines which had a 15 hour layover in Turkey. My husband and I were so excited to end our honeymoon in Turkey and see some Fabulous sites right before our 11 hour flight back to Boston. But once we got to Istanbul we opted to stay in the hotel room until our next flight. We had booked a hotel in advance and mapped out what we were going to achieve in 5 hours.

    After our initial interactions in Turkey, we were actually scared to leave the hotel. Our interactions with people in the airport and slightly outside the airport were not to our liking. We assumed a cultural barrier. Cultural barrier or not, I got pushed out of the way by a large 6 foot something Turkish male to cut 5’ me in the passport control line. It was as though he thought he could walk all over me. A Turkish women in the airport laughed at me when I said I didn’t have an E-Visa. (You have to pay $30 to leave the airport even when just laying over. Something I was very unaware of) Any male we asked for help couldn’t bother to help us. Yes, I completely understand that my interactions with Turk people were mostly in a stressful airport and I shouldn’t base my opinion on Turkey from an airport. But what I do know, and what I did realize that after the multiple interactions I had with turkish people and everything I read about most of the Turks after my interaction is I would rather not spend my time in this country. I am a tourist, I am a female and I am a human being, and myself and every human should be treated with some manner of respect. I chose not to spend the 5 hours to tour Istanbul as planned because I would rather not be treated with such disrespect, when coming to spend money in your country. I am a super nice person, and treated even all the airport staff with respect even when I wasnt.

    It’s so unfortunate, and I am so saddened that my first impression was not a good one. I agree with your post and that the interactions with people are really what’s makes a country a fun trip. I don’t plan on coming back.

  61. So much hatred on this thread. The simple fact is that it is the attitude and perception you have which will define your experience of any country. I am English and have lived in Beşiktaş over 4 years. Not once have I experienced racism. People are generally kind and helpful, but you need to make an effort to speak the language. Sad to see so much negativity here. I’ve travelled to over 30 countries and it is all about your own perception and attitude that defines your travelling experience in my humble opinion. I love Turkey and Turks. BJK 1903

  62. Hi,
    I just came back from my recent visit at Istanbul, which I always wanted to go and was so excited about this trip. But from the first day I noticed I was not welcomed. People would ignore me or give me attitudes. Once we took a Taxi and he drove for 5 minutes and then decided to turn back and drop us out and said it’s traffic I’m not going to take you… that was the worst feeling. I could not believe someone could do that to a tourist whom do not know where they are and where to go after that. As you said, the city was beautiful but the whole time we had some kind of bad feeling about how Turkish people are treating us and it was sad that it stayed in my mind as people ask me how was my vacation, I can’t say it was awesome… . I feel like people in cities like Istanbul that has tourism attraction should at least be kind and smile to foreigners so they leave their country with positive experience.

  63. Really hated Turkey from the smell to the rude airport staff to the lack of common respect.
    If you are a foreign woman the Turkish women just give you such bad looks. Glad I escaped and will never go back. Horrible people horrible experience.

  64. I just got back from a 4 day trip to Istanbul and though I enjoyed the sights by and large most people were very rude which was disappointing. Never a smile, a hello, or any indication of them welcoming me into their country. I realize every country has rude people but for a country which touts itself as a destination it was not very welcoming.

  65. I stumled upon ur blog while searching the reason of my terrible experience in turkey. Me and my husband went their for four days recently. We were flying frm madrid and istanbul was our last stop before heading back. I am a pakistani but my husband is british. Right from the airport people were extremly rude and impatient and wr trying to take advantage of us being tourists so much so that by the time i reached my hotel room i was in tears.next day i told my husband to deal with people whenever we had to.as i had a feeling they might treat him differently because of his ethnicity. He ended up arguing with shop keeper waiters wr rude too.asked a bus driver about the stop he decided to ignore and started to look out of the window. While another driver started shouting at my husband in turkish telling him to scan ticket again and we ended up paying twice for two people. we decided to leave the country and left the same night. It was a terrible end to our orherwise great holidays in spain and italy. Never ever i am going back to this country. And now trying to forget this traumatic experience.

  66. Hey bren
    We just got back from Turkey and my wife and I were treated very rude and like we were un welcome. I am a very outgoing person. We have traveled to a lot of places in the world the nicest of these were the maleivians and the columbians and the worst was in Turkey

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