Looking for homes for sale in Istanbul Turkey is slightly different than when you are looking purely for investment. For one, a home is where you will be living full time, not renting or having to be near certain attractions. It is where you will bring your children, where you want to relax and feel comfortable with. Looking at homes for sale in Istanbul Turkey is about being near enough to work, school, or university to commute, but far enough away to lose the hustle and bustle of business areas. If you are living in an apartment, you will have neighbours (komşu), and in Istanbul, they can be multicultural, an eclectic mix of Internationals and Turks from diverse backgrounds. Often an apartment block will include a number of family members, living separately but close. The old fashioned style of neighbours can be found in Istanbul, the ones who ask how you are and say ‘hello’ and ‘good morning, who loan you a bowl of sugar. Attributes which are sadly missing from a lot of city dwellers these days. It is this cordiality that attracts people to Istanbul and Turkey. Learning to be part of the community is a challenge a newcomer to Turkey should take on board with a smile, do some work to understand the people who are around you and it brings its own rewards.
5 Traditions you should be aware of to Integrate with your Turkish neighbours home in Istanbul
- Take your shoes off! It is ‘de rigueur’ to remove your shoes on entering a Turkish person home. Even if only visiting for a few minutes. Keep easy ‘slip on slip off’ shoes handy to use when visiting a neighbour. Don’t forget your sock match and don’t have holes – nobody would say anything, but they would notice!
- When you visit a Turkish neighbour do not be surprised when they turn the TV on. Not really sure what this is about but it does happen.
- On a first invited visit to someone’s home it is acceptable to take flowers or baklava as a gift – usually not a bottle of wine!
- Food and drink; it is highly impolite (until your know your neighbours really well) to refuse to eat or drink what is offered. Tea or çay will nearly almost be made fresh, and that means you have to wait for it to be brewed, this can be at least 15 minutes – be prepared for this, especially in your first months in your new home. On a first visit to a neighbour, expect to drink not only tea but Turkish coffee which is a time honoured guesting tradition,
- Turks are not only very hospitable but naturally curious and do not shirk at asking questions, answer only what you want to share but be ready for some rather personal enquiries. Do not be offended, they expect similar queries from you, they are maybe slightly better at fending off your questions, though.
- If, as you most likely will be, you are invited to neighbours for a meal. A couple of suggestions:
So when you have found your homes for sale in Istanbul Turkey, you are prepared to visit with your Turkish neighbours, the main thing to remember is to enjoy yourself, they are not looking to find fault but to get to know you and will happily guide you in any areas of etiquette if you ask.
- Be prepared to eat a lot. Really, a lot. Course after course, even in summer and then there will be fruit and nuts, sweets. A veritable feast!
- Wear comfortable clothes as some families maintain the tradition of eating around a central setting placed on the floor. Everyone helps themselves from the dishes.
- Even if you know no Turkish, learn ‘Merhaba’ – hello, ‘Hoş Geldiniz’ – welcome and its response, ‘Hoş Bulduk,' - saying you feel welcomed.
- Expect a division of labour between men and women in the more traditional home. Women will congregate in the kitchen to prepare the meal and to clean up afterwards. The men sit and discuss news, events or watch TV. Your help will often be refused, but it will be noted it was offered. If they do accept your help in the kitchen remember Turks do not wash in stagnant water, so dinner items will be washed under running taps, no sink plugs remember!
- Being offered cologne for your hands on entering and leaving someone’s home; often with chocolate or sweet when leaving. This is an old respected tradition and a very pleasant and refreshing one, just hold your hands together slightly cupped, cologne, generally lemon, will be poured onto your hands. Rub them together, and they will be dry in seconds.