Cappodocia Turkey

Common misconceptions about Turkey

During my travels I have come across lots of ignorant questions and weird comments about Turkey. As a Turkish, I feel responsible to enlighten people up on common misconceptions about Turkey and share those wrong known facts.

1. First of all Turkey is not an Arabic country. This makes the official language Turkish not Arabic and the Turkish Alphabet is Latin Alphabet (like A,B,C..)

My first grade kids after learning reading and writing in Turkish with its 29 letters.

2. Turkey is a secular, democratic country (Republic of Turkey). Although most of the citizens are muslim (98% of people), there is no obligation to wear burka. It is free so that you can wear whatever you want.

Istiklal Avenue, Istanbul
On a random day in a random cafe with my friends in Pendik/ISTANBUL
with my friends in Pendik, Istanbul

3. The capital is not Istanbul. Even though Istanbul is the most touristic city, Ankara is the capital of Turkey.

Panorama of Ankara

4. There is not any desert in Turkey. Moreover it is a quite green country.

A view from south-west Turkey, Muğla province.
A view from south-west Turkey, Muğla province.

5. So this makes no camels in the country. Some camels only exist for touristic attraction for people who are thinking there is dessert. 

Cappadocia, Turkey

6. It is not dangerous place as you might think.

I know If they have never traveled, westerners have some fear thinking about travelling in a Muslim country. I’m here telling you, living in Istanbul -where is considered the highest range of criminality- 8 years, you can go out any hour, you don’t have to carry your backpack on your front, even if you forget your phone in a cafe highly possible you can get it back.

If you go to other cities and villages, people will just welcome you as a king. (No joking, remember Turkish hospitality)

7. People don’t wear fez on the street.

It was last century. During the Ottoman Empire rule, men used to wear fez. However, one of the Atatürk’s reform was eliminating the wearing of religious clothing and instead introducing modern clothing (1925). 


8. Turkish men marry with 1 woman, not 4.

This is one of the most wrong information people have (I understand though).  Man or woman, equally they marry in front of the government in Turkey. In order to marry second time, they have to divorce like all secular countries. You can get more information about Turkish weddings here.

My friend Songül's marriage with Uğur.
My friend Songül’s wedding with Uğur. (update: now they have 2 kids :))

9. Turkey is not primitive country as thought. 

There are good highways, roads, trains, subways in Turkey and people like to use new technologies. Health system is so good that each year a lot of tourists coming from Europe for operation.

metro in Istanbul

10. People drink alcohol.

Even though drinking alcohol is not popular among religious people, you can buy and drink alcohol. Some regions of Turkey, especially in Mediterranean coast, it’s produced very good wine. There’s even a Turkish brand of beer; Efes Pilsen.

Efes Pilsen Beer is produced in Turkey.
Efes Pilsen Beer is produced in Turkey.

What do you think? Have some of your opinions changed? Did you have some misconceptions about Turkey?

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7 thoughts to “Common misconceptions about Turkey”

  1. I once talk with a turkish teenage who actually believe he could have more than one woman. It was funny to explain him he may have as many girlfriend he want he would be allow to marry only one. He almost didn’t believe me 😀

    1. I am not surprised there are such boys 🙂 Anyways with the latest law it doesn’t look so unrealistic ..

  2. Interesting article. I’ve never been to Turkey. I believe most countries are burdened with common misconceptions. I live in Germany, and am surprised what some of my American friends believe about Germans. It’s good to clear thing up. Thanks for following me on Twitter! Hope to see you on my Web site too.

  3. Very complete country, the ultimate holiday destination. The best Greek and roman theatres. Turquoise waters. White sands. Green Mountains. Great people. Good food. Amazing heritage. Ottoman Mosques. One of favourite places.

    take care – tapir tales

  4. Have absolutely fallen in love with Turkey on my first visit this year. Warm people, amazing sceneries, beautiful beaches and breathtaking history.. I am coming back for more for sure.. Definitely would love to learn Turkish language and to cook some of those delicious dishes.. Yumm!!
    P.s. I am inspired to own a camper now..

    1. Hi Ghazala! I am very very glad to hear you are amazed by Turkey and Turkish people. Surely you will learn the language fast and you will like it. About camper, definitely you should get one 😉

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