Turkey's Culture and Lifestyle
Because of its somewhat central location, Turkish culture had many different and varied influences. Starting mostly as a group of early Hittite villages, the area has had slowly changed and progressed over the years until it became the center of the Ottoman Empire. Today, the Empire is no more but Turkey is not any poorer for that fact. It continues to grow and absorb new cultures. Generally speaking, you will find a stronger sense of tradition in the countryside, while those living in the cities seem to have adopted a more westernized lifestyle.
When it comes to music, art and language, Turkey is unique. Their music has, in many ways, been preserved to reflect early influences and the Turks are proud of their traditional melodies and songs. Some Turks have even taken these traditional elements and combined them with more modern forms to create a new and popular style for the enjoyment of younger generations. Their art in its various forms has followed a similar pattern. Turkish is the official language of the country though Kurdish and Arabic are also spoken by some minorities. English is fast becoming a popular foreign language.
In rural areas there is a strong prevalence of traditional family values - with the father serving as head of the household and the family members being loyal to the family unit. A groom is generally chosen for the bride and traditional wedding ceremonies last up to three days. Though illegal, some instances of polygamy can be found in these less developed areas. In the cities, many people choose to live on their own and young people choose their own marriage mates. Many do not have traditional weddings.
Hospitality is a part of the Turkish culture. Because friends, relatives and neighbors often visit, often without prior notice, it has become a way of life. Tradition dictates that all visitors are invited into the home, offered something to drink and sometimes something to eat, and are made to feel comfortable. At the same token, it is considered impolite to decline such hospitality.
The Turks have a warm and vibrant culture which has been slowly established over thousands of years. Though there is a tendency to veer away from the stricter forms of cultural traditions in the cities, many other cultures are still practiced proudly. If ever you have the opportunity to visit Turkey, you will surely enjoy the wonderful culture.