Most business entertaining will take place in restaurants. Turks enjoy food and the meal is a time for relaxing and engaging in some good conversation. You will probably be expected to eat a great deal and your hosts may be offended if you don’t.
Relationships between business partners are fostered over a period of time in the office, over extended lunches, dinners, and during social outings. Discussions may start slowly, with many questions that may seem irrelevant to the purpose of your visit. It is extremely rude to insist that your colleagues get to the point.
You will find that evening meals often consist of several courses. The main course nearly always consists of meat or fish, accompanied by bread and a salad. Your hosts may order alcohol with the meal. If they do, it is perfectly acceptable to drink it.
You may be offered rakı, an unsweetened anise-flavoured drink that is popular in Turkey. It is served as an apéritif or with a meze.
Take care not eat, drink or smoke in front of Muslim business associates during the holy month of Ramazan.
Turkish coffee is a national drink and should at least be sampled at the end of a meal, even if it is late. Turkish coffee is sipped slowly, so do not drink it quickly and never drink the bottom of the cup as it will be full of ground coffee and will taste awful.
If you have been invited to dinner by Turkish business partners, they will insist on paying the bill. You may try and offer to pay in order to appear polite. However, your hosts will never allow this. The best policy is to thank your hosts at the end of the meal and then a few days later invite them to do dinner at a restaurant of your choice.
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