Turks love inviting guests to their homes for dinner. As a foreign guest you will be treated especially well. Take your shoes off on the mat as you enter the house: in most households shoes are not allowed inside, and a pair of comfortable house slippers will be available for guests to wear. Depending on the household, dinner will either be served at a table as in the west or on a tablecloth in the middle of the floor with cushions to sit on. If the latter, sit with your lap under the tablecloth.
A small gift
When going to someone’s house for the first time, why not bring a small gift? Whilst by no means compulsory, it will be very well received, especially if it is something that represents your culture. Of course a knowledge of language and culture will go a long way with your hosts. As Leigh Turner points out in the interview, Turks are very curious about what other people think of them and their cultures. Speaking some Turkish will also make your hosts feel more at ease.
The gesture of coffee cannot be underestimated, as the proverb goes, “A cup of coffee commits the drinker to 40 years of friendship.”
Time to leave
As part of Turkish hospitality, is considered impolite for your hosts to ask you to leave, so make sure you’re aware of the time and excuse yourself early enough that you and your hosts can get a good night’s sleep – especially if the next day is a work day!
Some useful phrases
İstanbul’u beğendiniz mi?
Did you like Istanbul?
Ülkemizi nasıl buluyorsunuz?
How do you find our country?
İlginç ve etkiliyeci bir ülke.
It is an interesting and fascinating country.
Gelecek sefere daha fazla zaman ayırmalıyız.
Next time we should spend more time.
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