What Do The Turks Think Of British People?

I spend a lot of time in British company where inevitably, the main topic of discussion turns to what we think of the Turks.  On the last such occasion, I was beginning to get bored of this repetitive conversation and my mind started to wonder to the opposite end of the spectrum.  What do the Turks really think of us Brits? Are we obnoxious? Are we two sandwiches short of a picnic?  Are we friendly, happy-go-lucky people who spread joy everywhere we go?

With this in mind, I set out to complete my own mini survey. Some of the answers were really not suitable for a family blog and went straight in the bin. However there were three answers that were repeated time and time again and here they are

The Turks Think the Brits….

1: Drink too much alcohol.

Drunk manThe Turks are fascinated by our marvelous ability to drink copious amounts of the demon’s drink and still be standing. They also confessed that after a while, we begin to sound like a reject from the Toshiba robot factory and they really cannot understand a word we are saying.

Most of the Turks fully admitted that if they consumed half of what we did, their head would be permanently over the toilet bowl for the rest of the night. They are  also unsure of why we want to spend all our money on something that will just come out of the opposite end twenty minutes later. Far from criticizing us for our drinking habits, they actually love it as it provides them with a wage at the end of the week.

2: British Girls are Easy.

Brothel owners must have been up in arms on the day that British girls landed on the shores of Turkey. Apparently we are a bit toobritish eager to stare at the heavens while spreading them. The Turkish men love it because it gives them a chance to practice being a red hot stallion before they finally wed the woman that will produce heirs  to their blood line.

In one such conversation, I failed miserably at trying to explain the difference in cultures between English girls and Turkish girls. Therefore I reverted to pointing out the irony in what had just been said.  Surely, if the girls are easy for giving it up so quickly then the boys must be easy for taking it.  I was met with a confused look, then the penny dropped and he walked off while scowling.  Not sure if I won that one or made an enemy for life.

3: We Have Impeccable Manners

To all those who moan that the future generations of Britain are rude and obnoxious individuals,  I hope you are reading this because the Turks think we rock when it comes to saying “please” and “thank you”. We constantly say thank you for everything. We go into restaurants, pay for food and say thank you to the waiter.  We buy a newspaper from the local shop and say “thank you”.

The Turks really don’t understand how we can be giving out so much love for such little things,  but they like it. Interesting enough, all the people who said this worked in tourism. Every one of them also said that if their boss made them work with Turkish people only, they would leave. Obviously our parents taught us well!

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Hi. My name is Natalie Sayin and I am the author of The Turkish Travel Blog. I am an Internet addict with a passion for history. Read my story here or leave a comment below to join the discussions.
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  1. Allan Greenwood says

    a interesting insight to the Turkish thinking, must look at myself more closely.

  2. Bron says

    Not surprised about the “please” and “thankyou” bit: In all the very many years I lived and travelled there, I never once heard a child say either please or thank you. NOT ONCE. It was explained to me once by a perplexed Turk that of course they didn’t – it was their absolute right to have (whatever it was they were asking for), so please and thank you were not indicated. ????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • ipek says

      I recently discovered your blog Natalie, and I enjoyed it a lot. :) Thank you :)

      I just would like to make a small comment on Turkish language.
      In Turkish the word “please” actually turns the sentence into an order. If you use please in the sentence, you kind of force people to do as you like.
      That’s why we say “Can I have a glass of water,please” to a waiter but never to our mums. :)
      When children use “please” in their sentences, they feel as if they are forcing an adult to do something; which is rude. :) Strange but true. That is why we usually don’t use please. “Could you pass me the salt?” is more polite than “Could you pass me the salt, please” in Turkish. :)

      • Nat says

        I never knew that Ipek – Strange as it is just two words and yet there is a mass difference in how it is used. Glad you like the blog and hope to see you commenting on more articles. Always good to hav the voice of a Turk

        • Anon Girl says

          I speak Urdu, and saying “please” to an elder would sound like I am being fake or giving an order. Same with ‘thank you’. It’s like I’m a queen telling a subject thank you. Of course, I don’t follow this thinking in English.

          I think this is because English used to have two ways to address someone (ye and thou), so by using ye a person would know that you were polite without adding the word ‘please’ all the time. This is the same in Turkish; using ‘siz’ already shows you are polite because ‘sen’ is for regular people.

    • coskun Toktamis says

      Their manners suck….especially today`s generation….!! It was bad then;now, it is much worse!! They haven`t been taught properly since their childhood to say `thank you` or ` please`!! They probably think by uttering those two very polite words would somehow diminish their personality; a form of inferiority complex, if you ask me.!! I was a bit like that, being a Turk, before I came to Britain to live for good…!! Mind you, we are not all like that but the majority still is!!

  3. says

    Great little survey. I think it is important to think about how other people perceive your own culture. I’m terrified to think what they would think of Aussies. Just go to Kuta and you’ll see it wouldn’t be good!
    Caz Makepeace wrote about..Meet Travel Blogger John Luth

  4. says

    @Jack – Well, one of the answers indicate that Turkish men spend a lot of time looking at womens assets because they can not help but wonder why they are always so big!!

    @Allan – yes, the last one surprised me more than the others!

    @Andrea and Caz – We never get many Aussies and Americans here. I have always figured though that the Turks would prefer them over us Brits!

    @Bron. That is the way it was explained to me as well. Oh, the joys of different cultures!

  5. says

    That’s an interesting one, Natalie. Re the please and thank you, I think it’s a culture thing. We see ourselves as being served by a person who deserves a please and thank you. We were having some Turkish lessons a while back and wrote a role play about buying stuff in a shop. I asked the shopkeeper how he was and our teacher said it was unrealistic because why would you ask the shopkeeper how he was? I ask ours all the time. :)
    Turkey’s For Life wrote about..Fethiye Events- 2011 World Enduro Championships Display

  6. says

    I got the feeling that many Turks think that Brits look down on EVERYBODY and are always trying to make their shortcomings into something interesting or noble or somehow an insight to the depth of their characters. I think I heard it described by Turks as a “superiority complex.”

    I do know that many Turks think that Brits are far too cliquish and are rather confused when they come to Turkey and then complain about every tiny detail. I have tried to explain that they probably do the same thing wherever they are. Like Quentin Crisp said, “The British really don’t want to be happy. They want to be right!”
    However, I have told my Turkish friends that the people they see in Turkey are very rarely representative of the culture by and large. Most of the really sweet (albeit ignorant) Americans would hardly ever make it to Turkey. And a lot of the Brits that the Turks find can be coming on cheap package tours, or are English teachers. I am not too sure how much that actually represents British culture, though. I mean, the kind of Americans the Turks often encounter are pretty well-off, elderly or are in some way tied in with NATO.
    I had had very limited contact with Brits before coming to Turkey, I, in years past have seen some fairly astounding behavior from normally mild-mannered English teachers. The drinking is one aspect, but I think it is often used as a tool. In order to express what they really mean- at least at that moment- they drink too much and then, free of all the suffocating social restraints of their “polite” society, they tend to unleash the hounds of hell.

    Quite entertaining but after awhile it can be both toxic and exhausting.
    Nomad wrote about..Cat Freak-Out

  7. phil + Di marina gateway says

    i like this one
    i work with a few none Brits and they think its funny that we thank people for doing there job ” why would you say thank you they are getting paid to do that they are not doing you a favor ”

    and if they ask me to do something for them i always say whats the magic word and they laugh at me my mum always told me manners cost nothing and i have told my children the same

  8. says

    This is a good idea for a post- I could have guessed a couple of these. The third one surprised me- not that Brits have good manners, but that Turks notice it. You should ask the same question about other groups- Americans, Germans, Koreans,… and post the answers.

  9. says

    Hi Natalie, love the post! There are a ton of Brits and Americans here in Ankara. I find the Turks very easy going around Americans. I don’t really know how they are with Turks. (I also must add that I find a wide range of Americans here. Diplomats, English teachers, and those married to Turks. Only the diplomats appear to be “wealthy” by Turkish standards.” What I would really love to know is how the Americans and Brits living here see each other. There were always gross generalizations of each other when we lived in our own countries, but what now?
    Terry Kaymak wrote about..Ankara – It’s a Small World

  10. Objection! says

    I sometimes find myself on this blog after following a link from somewhere, and so far I like most of I’ve seen. BUT there have been posts and comment threads like this which talk of ethnic stereotypes as if they’re not harmful at all.

    Opinions of some ignorant individuals don’t constitute “what Turks think of Brits”. They’re individuals, just like you and me. As a Turk I don’t have any preconceived opinion of you without knowing you. Your nationality means nothing to me. I am not gonna treat you better or worse because you are British. I don’t think you drink a lot or not, are sexually liberal or conservative, polite or rude just because you are a Brit. Ethnic stereotyping is wrong, plain and simple.


    • says

      Hi Objection,

      I am sorry if you are offended by my post however it was written in a light hearted manner that does not reflect stereotyping at all. Everyone has thoughts of typical characteristics of a nation. If you ask a majority of Brits what they think about Germans, they will call them sunbed hoggers. Does this mean we are stereotyping them? No.

      At the end of the day, I am British and I wrote the post taking a light hearted look at the impression we leave in foreign countries. I think calling this post ethnic stereotyping is OTT. For the record, British people have even said to me that they agree with the first two answers. It was only the last answer that they could not understand.

  11. says

    Hi Natalie – I was enlightened by what you wrote about Manners.

    The first three Turkish words I learnt before stepping foot off the plane in Bodrum were – Please, Thank You and Excuse me! (Te?ekkür ederim rolled like poetry off the tongue – and I used it at every possible occasion.)

    A lot of the time, it’s met with mirth and laughter or just sheer surprise. I assumed that locals were just taken aback by my fluent use of Turkish(!), or were mocking my mis-pronunciation – but now, based on your survey, I think it’s because they can’t believe that I thank them for the tiniest of services or tasks.

    Thanks for shedding light on this insight .. I’m going to continue to use my holy trinity of Turkish words! And enjoy the response I receive, even more.


  12. says

    What a great post Natalie – It is always great to hear about something from a new perspective. All of my Turkish friends (who work in tourism) share these beliefs about Brits in Turkey. I rejoice at point 3, as points 1 & 2 are an unfortunate reflection on how a lot of Brits behave on holiday!
    Liv wrote about..Kayakoy – The Gemstone of South West Turkey

  13. Ahmet says

    Anybody heard about SA?OL and ALLAH RAZI OLSUN ? Even im a manager of a restaurant and i say thank you n please maybe 50 times everyday to my staff…

    • eibhrin nihardin says

      yes i agree.im irish and lived in turkey for 8 years and it was easy for me to understand when to give a blessing or a thank you as it was very like the way we would do back home.i really liked it and found the turkish very mannerly.i mixed with many turkish and kurdish while i lived there and respected their culture and ways i was treated with the same respect.you have a beautiful country and beautiful culture.keep turkey as it is.

  14. Egemen says

    Hi there,
    First of all i would like to say your survey results are pretty accurate cuz i agree with most of them. I will try to explain why those differences are so obvious and made us (turks) notice them easily.

    1) This one should be “drinking too much beer” not alcohol. I even don’t understand how can you guys take so much liquid in your stomach in a short period of time. Many Turks drink too much alcohol too (mainly raki, vodka and scotch) but i didn’t see a single Turk drinking gallons of beer in couple hours. And since how much you drink signifies “how much you are a man” in Turkish culture, many Turks admires this Brit behavior.

    2) Right. British and American girls are easy compared to Turkish girls. And that’s what a Turkish man (or should i say any man :) ) wants. Also in our culture man supposed to handle most of the things in relationships. Unlike all muslim countries I strongly believe and KNOW Turkish men are discriminated in our country. I know most of you won’t accept this because of your prejudgments or because it sounds really unacceptable for a muslim country but Girls are more dominant in relationships on middle and upper class because of our culture. (Half-half on lower class) So easy and relaxed girls who knows how to have fun appeals to Turks.

    3) Ok now this is the hardest part to explain. We don’t usually say “Tesekkur ederim” ( thank you) but we usually say saol (thanks). So Turkish people usually say “saol” but since it is used millions of times in a day it doesn’t give the feeling that you are being thanked sincerely. And when foreigners say “Tesekkur ederim” it warms our hearts and make us think that they thank us sincerely. Also when you ask for something in Turkish the adjunct you use with “asking” verb shows how you ask for it. For example: If you say “Su alayim” (I want a water) you have to thank for it after you get it by saying “Saol” or “Tesekkur ederim” because you asked for it directly. But if you say “Su alabilirmiyim” (Can i have a water) you don’t have to say thank you after you got a water because you already asked sincerely to have it. Anyways as i said it’s hard to understand for foreigners and you don’t have to worry about it.

    To conclude: Beers, Girls and nice manners warms our heart, made us like you. Overall we think you are cool people and we hope you like us too.

    Best regards from Turkey.

  15. Toygur serikli says

    Sometimes i m checking your blog. ? m reading your articles and comments, that’s all. But this time, these opinions pissed me off. Because we are, “Turks” complaining prejudiced and stereotypes but now we make one of them and in a rude manner. in my opinion brit pop music culture, premier leageu, their cute accent, imperial past and sense of humour are good reputation among Turks. Thanks, have a nice day.

  16. cassandra cross says

    Hi Natalie.Can you please help me.??? i have a Turkish friend who now works in Istanbul, we have been friends for 6 years, and to be honest not sure if i can trust him,he wants money to pay of a loan,and tells me now he is going to work in Iraq , to work there the money is better,i told him i would help buy some of it, but he told me he had to go,even if i payed £500, he owes a lot more, he wants the money,but is still willing to go, saying i wont hear from him while he is there,i cant trust him, he said he got a letter from court, i asked him to fax it me so i could see,he said no, i am at my whits end not knowing what to do,his he taking me for a ride?? please i need your help, or anyone’s help, he as just e.mailed me after a week saying, i want him out my life and want him to go, this is not true,i don’t understand how anyone can work in Iraq, as i have read no jobs for there own people,i really don’t know what to think Cassi

    • says

      There are jobs out working in Iraq but i highly doubt that this man can get one of them as you have to be a skilled professional in certain fields. The jobs are there because foreign companies have one contracts to re build etc. This people are allowed to keep in contact with family and friends though so it makes me suspicious when he says you won’t hear from him

      Personally from what you have told me the whole story is suspicious and I think this man is trying to get money off you. Test him.

      Tell him that you have no money. Absolutely nothing. You can not give him a penny. Then wait two weeks and see what materialises during that time period.
      Natalie wrote about..Win The Biggest, Baddest Bucket List With My Destination

  17. rumi says

    I’m turkish and my oppinion about brits is that you are cool and the first impression is cold, unfriendly.. however, as my brit friends say you are slow but sincere,, the more we get to know you the more we can see your warm heart… if I compare you to Americans, i’d definately choose you . sincerely,, also thank you:)

    • Nat says

      Great news. Thank you Rumi

      • S.Ozbilen says

        I live in US and I accidentally found this page. You got to love Google..!

        I was reading the comments and funny how people can’t realize the cultures and languages are so different.

        I also lived in England for a few years and both in England and in US, people (at work or in stores) always ask how I am doing. But, actually nobody wants to know unless they are my close friends. I did an experiment with the supermarket cashier who said “How are you today?” I gave her a made up, a pity summary of my day and I swear she was ready to run away when I finished. Now she tries to ignore me when I shop there:))

        When I lived in Turkey, people asked how I was doing because, they really wanted to know. Believe me, Turks have manners only their manners may not please everyone from other cultures.

        Same goes for all cultures.. I have some Asian neighbors and I find them rude. They don’t say Hello etc. when they see me out in the garden. My Arabic neighbors are noisy or my American neighbors are nosy(Not according to them).
        It’s all about culture nothing is wrong. Just accept and respect.
        As a Turk who lived in London among only British people, I can say they carry the characteristics of people from Islands. Hard time trusting people until they know you. Which is a good thing to do in the western world.
        I think I will check your blog time to time. It’s interesting!

        • Nat says

          Google certainly is unpredictable – thanks for reading though and hope you like some of the other articles

  18. Önder ALKAN says

    After the First World War, England became an enemy of Turks. There is no way for Turks to be friend to an England after attempting to destroy and distrupt Turkish lands.

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