Turkish men are known for their devilishly handsome good looks, their exotic olive skin tones, and their smooth-talking charms. Dating Turkish men is an appealing concept.
However, dating someone from another country or culture is not without its challenges. This is true of meeting anyone from any gender or sexuality, that grew up in a different environment to you.
Dating Turkish Men
Dating Turkish men can be a different experience depending on whether you are dating a Turkish guy that you have met in his home country, or whether he is living as an ex-pat in your country. A person’s heritage and culture have some influence on their dating attitudes and views of women.
However, so too does the environment they grew up in, how much they have travelled and interacted with people from other cultures, and how educated they are. You can never generalize an entire demographic of people. Men, whether they are from Turkey, Greece, Mexico, or elsewhere, do not have a hive mind and all think the same. That being said, there are certain common traits that a lot of Turkish men share.
This article offers a light-hearted perspective on Turkish dating. It also shares some comical stories about interactions with Turkish men in beautiful Turkey.
Dating Turkish Men
It would be impossible to generalise an entire demographic of people, and the same is true of Turkish men. Stereotypes can be offensive and dangerous, and everyone is different.
Going on dates with Turkish men
When it comes to going out on dates with Turkish men, things aren’t really all that different from going out on dates with people of other nationalities. If you are going out for an evening in Istanbul, for example, it is common to go out for dinner and shisha, or dinner and a movie,
You may even meet for an afternoon or evening walk through a local park or along the Bosphorus. If you are going on a date with a guy in Turkey rather than a guy of Turkish descent in the UK, the US, or elsewhere, do keep in mind that people usually follow a Mediterranean eating schedule here.
So, it isn’t uncommon to go for dinner as late as 10 or 11 pm at night. Lunchtime in Turkey is around 3-4 pm so a lunch date here likely means meeting at a very different time from when you would expect to meet for lunch in say, the UK. As far as most Turks are concerned, having a large lunch at midday would be very strange!
Turkish dating culture is more traditional
If you are considering dating Turkish men and you are coming from a western country, you may be pleasantly surprised by some of the cultural differences when it comes to dating here. Modern dating in the west can often be exhausting.
If you use dating apps (or even if you don’t) in the west, you may often find that there are a lot of people who go on dates with different people almost every night of the week. When people are constantly meeting new people, and there is always someone new just a swipe away, it can feel like a lot of people are reluctant to settle. You can feel almost like you are a contestant on The Bachelor!
This style of dating hasn’t reached Turkey yet. Obviously, there are exceptions, and you will find players everywhere.
However, for the most part, people pursue/meet one person they are interested in and see how it goes. If it doesn’t work out, fair enough. If it does, great.
Similarly in Turkey, you usually don’t have the ¨are we exclusive? Are you dating other people?¨ talk. If you are seeing someone regularly, particularly if you are intimate with each other, this is assumed.
(It is still a good idea to communicate and be sure that you are on the same page. If you are comfortable enough with someone to date them, you should be comfortable enough to feel that you can ask them to define the relationship or where it is heading).
Turkey is still a very patriarchal country
Turkey is still a very patriarchal country. However, things have been progressing in recent years. Women in Turkey are free to dress as they please and despite the fact that Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country, most Turkish Muslim women dress more liberally and do not cover their hair.
Gender roles and expectations vary significantly from one part of the country to another. Istanbul, for instance, is one of the most liberal parts of the country.
Women in Istanbul, Izmir, and towns along the Turkish Riviera will often dress no differently to women in western countries. For instance, they will walk around in jeans and a t-shirt and they may wear dresses and skirts on hot days.
In more conservative, religious areas like Konya, women do wear headscarves. In rural areas, more people tend to follow the traditional trajectory of getting married, having kids, and looking after the family.
Men may expect women to fulfill such gender roles and may have strong opinions about how women should dress and behave. In these parts of the country, the man is expected to be the main breadwinner, and the woman stays home and looks after the children.
You are more likely to find career-driven women in Istanbul. It is a good idea to try to establish someone’s bottom line, their views on gender roles, and what they want from a long-term relationship before you get deeply involved. This rings true when dating anyone from a different culture than your own.
Dating apps and meeting Turkish men
Dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble, and Plenty of Fish are becoming more mainstream in Turkey and you will find that there are a lot of people using the apps. Tinder, in particular, is very popular.
Historically, there was some stigma around using the apps. (I.e. a lot of people didn’t take them seriously and thought that they were only good for hookups. However now, like in many countries, Turkish people use dating apps when looking for everything from a long-term relationship to someone to hang out with. Just use the same common sense when using the apps as you would anywhere else.
Fidelity and cheating
People often make broad, sweeping comments about Turkish men being cheaters, in the same way, that they boldly announce that all Latinos are cheaters, or all Mexican men are unfaithful. There are definitely those that play away and owing to the patriarchal nature of Turkish society, some women know that their partners are unfaithful and they look the other way rather than risk being alone.
That doesn’t have to be you and you shouldn’t tolerate disrespect. Cheating, infidelity, and disrespectful attitudes in relationships are often more of an indicator of a person’s character, rather than something that is reflective of a culture or country.
For every Turkish man that cheats, there are plenty who value the relationships with the women in their lives and who would never dream of hurting them. Similarly, there are plenty of Greek men that cheat or American men that cheat. Judge everyone as individuals and don’t let stereotypes deter you from potentially meeting and dating someone wonderful.
Stereotypes about western women
Not all Turkish men think the same. However, there are those who consider western women as being more promiscuous than their Turkish counterparts.
This is another unfortunate stereotype. Yet it is important to be aware of this when heading into dating situations.
Turkish Men are more forward
Turkish men are typically much more forward than men from other cultures. They are seemingly enamored by foreign women and are certainly not shy about approaching them.
Sometimes when you travel, the local men may look at you inquisitively, check you out, and then go about their business. Turkish men are not like this at all.
They don’t really have any qualms about strolling up to a stranger and striking up a conversation. It’s great if someone takes the initiative when you are interested.
However, if you are not, you will need to be firm and direct about it. It’s likely that if you tell Turkish men that you can’t grab coffee with them or go for a walk because you will have to do X, they will offer solutions and alternatives.
The answer? Be firm and tell them no, you’re not interested or you have a boyfriend.
This is not rude. It is just a cultural difference. Unless you are direct, Turkish men may not pick up that you are not interested and will think that you just want to rearrange for another day.
Turkish men read the signs differently
You will likely encounter some cultural differences when speaking to Turkish men as compared to speaking to men in your own country. At the most basic level, you have probably been exposed to different pop cultures, a different sense of humour, etc.
What’s more, what is deemed a friendly social interaction in the western world is considered flirting in Turkey. Chatting and joking with someone even politely may be perceived as a huge indicator that you are interested. Be mindful of how you come across when communicating with Turkish men.
Location, location, location!
Turkish men may have different dating outlooks depending on where they are from. This is true of any country.
Istanbul is like any big city, and the younger generation here is accustomed to western people and influence. The same can be said of people growing up around Cappadocia or the Turkish Riviera that see a lot of international tourists.
People in these areas have experienced a lot of exposure to people from other countries. They may be more open-minded and understanding of different views.
Meanwhile, Eastern Turkey, conservative Konya, and off-the-beaten-path parts of Turkey are much more religious and conservative. Here, it is not uncommon to see women wearing headscarves and views are more traditional.
Religious and cultural differences
It is estimated that between 97 and 99% of Turkish people are Muslim. The prevalent school of thought in Turkey is Sunni Islam.
Of course, someone’s religion should never be a reason not to date them. But if you are looking for a serious relationship with a Turkish man, it is worth keeping their religious views in mind.
For instance, would your partner expect you to convert to Islam if you were to become serious or marry? What are your religious views? Some traditional families may be unhappy if their relative has vastly different religious views and values.
Not all Turkish men are the same
Both skeezy and nice guys can be found everywhere. Not all Turkish men are the same just like not all Italian men are the same.
Manage your expectations
There seem to be a lot of women out there that are heartbroken after their Turkish summer romances ended. Consider the fact that the person knew you were only going to be in town for a while and hadn’t considered a serious relationship when you met.
This isn’t necessarily being skeezy. It’s realistic. Try and be open about your hopes and intentions from the onset.
Funny stories about encounters with Turkish men
If you’re ever feeling ugly or you need a confidence boost, then I suggest that you travel to Turkey. Men were chasing me down the street and professing their love for me after a two-minute conversation exchange.
They were staring at me lovingly in restaurants while I chomped on kebabs like a wildebeest with ketchup around my mouth. Wow.
Dealing with the constant advances of Turkish men was one thing that irked me about solo female travel in Turkey. However, it was more of a minor irritation than something that caused any feelings of danger or discomfort.
This post takes a look at some of the funniest and most ludicrous encounters I had with Turkish men. It was written from a place of love and humour, and should be taken with a pinch of salt.
The Ankara entourage
Navigating your way through Ankara’s Central bus terminal is a little perplexing, particularly if you are new to bus travel in Turkey. The station is split across three floors.
There is not just one central ticket office where you can buy your bus tickets, there are numerous. Each one is operated by a different brand.
This is confusing because you have to go back and forth between the different operators to check their various timetables. The hustle and bustle and the people yelling out ticket prices trying to get you to take their bus is reminiscent of being on a wall street stock market!
Confused, I turned to a portly man who was working at the station and asked him where I could buy a ticket to Cappadocia.
“Ooooh!!!” He exclaimed excitedly.
“England!! Manchester United!! Yes yes, come come!”
He led me towards one of the ticket operators and started an exchange with the salesman, helping me to buy my ticket. I thanked him and turned to leave.
“Oh no no!”
“Come come! Follow!” He gestured, waving his hands wildly.
Meeting the family
I followed, assuming that he was leading me to the boarding point for the bus. We descended the stairs, across the bus station, and out into a convenience store.
“This my brother, my son, my second son, my third son, my friend…”
“Oh! Well er hello there!” I said as a circle of people gathered around me, staring inquisitively as if I were an alien species. A guy appeared from behind the store counter to hand me a cup of coffee and a packet of biscuits.
A little overwhelmed, I stayed while answering their questions about England. But I hadn’t eaten yet and had a 5-hour journey to Göreme ahead.
“Thank you,” I said, standing up from the little plastic stool on which I’d been sitting and brushing away biscuit crumbs.
“It was nice to meet you all but I’m going to find some food.”
The Entourage assembles
“Eat alone?” The portly man gasped with horror.
“Oh no no no no no, come come, we show you.”
I tried to insist that it was fine. However, my little entourage of newfound Turkish friends insisted that they help me to the restaurant nearby.
I wandered over to a table inside and ordered my lunch: lentil soup, an Arabic side salad, a lamb dish, and an apple tea.
“I’m fine now,” I said
“Thank you for everything”
However, it seemingly didn’t translate and they were apprehensive to leave me there alone. Nobody else ate Turkish food, but sat around me watching me eat.
They were seemingly transfixed as I slurped lentil soup, scoffed lamb like a Barbarian, and dropped crumbs everywhere. You would have thought that I was Halle Berry the way they went on, not some British woman with lamb marinade all around her mouth.
One guy squeezed lemon on my salad, and another fussed running back and forth to ensure that I had a sufficient and steady stream of napkins. A third man assumed the responsibility of touching the edges of my teacup every 30 seconds to make sure that it was hot enough for me.
I looked around for the bathroom and noticed the illuminated “WC” light in the distance. I stood up.
Seemingly startled, my Ankaran entourage all stood up around me too.
“It’s okay!” I say as I point toward the WC sign.
“I’m just going for a wee!”
“Wee??” They repeat in perfect unison.
“Yes, I’m just going to use the bathroom.”
I shuffle out from my chair to go to the bathroom. Two of the men stand up to escort me to the door in a bodyguard-style fashion.
When I return, the tea checker is yelling at the Waiter to replace my apple tea. I hadn’t drunk it fast enough and it has gone from mouth-burning hot to lukewarm.
Parting is such sweet sorrow
It was almost time to pay the bill. I thank them for their company and tell them that I must leave.
As you may expect, they all escort me to the bus stop. People are starting to board and put their luggage on the bus.
For my Ankaran entourage, this is the perfect time to stop, take selfies, and ask the stressed-out bus driver to take photos of us all. This caused some very disgruntled fellow passengers who were eager to leave.
It doesn’t stop there. All of the men come on board the bus with me to help me find my seat.
Once it’s located, they’re fussing to make sure that everything is perfect for me. They check that the window curtains are drawn enough that the sun isn’t in my eyes, that my bag is secure in the overhead compartment, and so on.
They depart and stand in the parking lot of the bus station waving as the bus prepares to leave. When it starts to pull away, they run alongside it for a few moments.
It was almost as though we were lifelong friends involved in a heart-wrenching separation where we will never see each other again, not people who met 45 minutes ago. Parting is such sweet sorrow.
The kismet guy
It’s a bitter minus eight degrees in the central Turkish city of Konya. It’s snowing heavily and I’d forgotten my gloves and so my hands are that horrible kind of stiff that they turn when you feel like you’re on the verge of losing them to frostbite and are unable to even bend them.
I hurry inside the first restaurant I see seeking refuge. I am determined not to lose a hand to frostbite and live out the rest of my life like Captain Hook.
A Helpful Stranger
Nobody speaks English here and I’ve forgotten my Turkish phrasebook. I’m trying to point and mime and gesture to the waiters about what food I would like to eat when a Turkish man appears beside me.
He’s a local carpet seller and he explains to me that the Waiters haven’t the foggiest idea of what I want. Thankfully he translates for me and I thank him and then go to sit down at my table.
At this point, he seems to assume that we have reached the level of friendliness where it’s acceptable for him to join me for dinner. So, he plonks himself down at my table and shifts his own plate across to join me – sans invitation.
Meet the parents
He asks what I’m doing in Turkey and I tell him that I’m a Travel Writer which fascinates him. He starts telling me about all the things that I should see and do in Konya.
Excitedly, he tells me that if I want to experience the best of the local culture I can stay with him and his Mother. This guy must be in his late 40s and still lives at home alone with his mother which tells you everything you need to know…
I respectfully decline and tell him that I’m only in Konya for a short while. I already have a place to stay thank you very much.
He looks pained, heartbroken even. He ponders a moment and then we have the following conversation:
“Miss Travel Writer, I don’t know your background or your religion but I think it was meant to be that we met like this today. Wouldn’t you agree?”
“No, not really. I was just really cold and hungry and this was the first restaurant I saw so…”
“But it’s so magic that we meet like this,” He says with a twinkle in his eye.
“No, it was just hunger…”
A sweet serenade
But he isn’t listening. He starts telling me about how he wants to introduce me to his mother and reciting rules and things to remember in the event of a meeting.
He even makes suggestions as to what I ought to wear! Then he interrupts himself and says in an excited childlike manner:
“It’s sooo cool that you’re a Travel Writer” and then sings, in a highly feminine tone:
“She’s just a big big girl in a big big world”
Hallmark greetings card guy
Hallmark Greetings Card guy was a guy whom, I can only assume, read an article one day labeled “the world’s corniest English chat up lines.” He misunderstood “corniest” as meaning “guaranteed to get women into bed”.
I have never in my 27 years of life heard somebody recite so many terrors in one fell swoop. I would love to know what his success rate is with meeting women with this pickup technique.
I was wandering through the Sultanahmet district in Istanbul trying to remember where exactly my hotel was when Hallmark Greetings Card guy approached me. He said something in Turkish before telling me he was lost, needed directions, and assumed I was local.
Nice try bro. As if my vampiric white pasty self could ever be anything other than British!
He continues. “I’m sorry, but I couldn’t let you just walk on by and walk out of my life forever.”
I fake an awkward laugh and put my headphones in, continuing on my quest to find my hotel.
He stops me with a sense of urgency.
“Wait! Didn’t it hurt when you fell from heaven? I am going to be totally crazy now and say “we just met but let’s go get a coffee!”
Wow! Totally crazy! The most outrageous thing I ever heard perhaps!
I tell him that I’m sorry, but I’m kind of in a hurry I was!
I had just bought some Rose flavored Turkish delight and I wanted to get back to my hotel to eat it! He protests one last time.
“Wait! Do you know what my shirt is made of?”
(I’m sure that you can guess the material…)
The Arabian tea pusher
Like most British people, I have something of a fetish for tea. All types of tea.
Black tea, green tea, herbal tea. Apple tea, oolong tea, camomile tea. You name it.
Turkey is one of the largest consumers of tea in the world. Fellow tea lovers will be in their element here!
I was traveling in Istanbul and it started pouring it down with rain. So, I ducked into a local cafe in Ortakoy.
A little cafe in Ortakoy
I ordered a cup of Küçük Çay at first and exclaimed to the chatty waiter just how much I loved Turkish tea. My intention was to wait there for a while until the rain subsided.
As the torrential downpour continued, I decided that I would have my lunch there also. The waiter bought me a cup of “free” apple tea to try alongside my dinner.
After I finished everything, he bought me another free cup of tea. “Oh, thanks!” I exclaimed. I was a little full but I didn’t want to be rude so I accepted and drank it anyway.
When I finished, I paid the bill and was shuffling around getting my things ready to leave when he just appeared with another cup of tea. “Thanks,” I said, “but I really can’t drink more tea”.
He looked really sad and forlorn. He was like some little kid that doesn’t want to be left behind at the nursery without his mum.
I realised that he was just trying to get me to stay in the restaurant. I thanked him, left, and then went into the supermarket opposite the restaurant to buy some things to take back to my hotel.
After I left the supermarket, who was standing there waiting for me in the rain? He, the Turkish Tea Pusher.
He offered to walk me back to the metro station and told me he wanted to practice his English (of course you do!). I told him I’d rather walk there by myself.
Naturally, he just continued walking alongside me anyway.”How about you take me to your hotel room and show me photos of England?” he suggested hopefully.
How gullible do you think I am, lad? I declined and he laughed, leaned forward, and tried to kiss my forehead. I leaped backward with such speed I am sure I almost gave myself whiplash.
In one last-ditch attempt, he said “how about we play a game? If I win, I kiss you! If you win, you get a kiss!”
I laughed and walked off. I suppose at least it was original?
FAQs about Dating Turkish Men
Do you have any additional questions or concerns about dating Turkish men or meeting them in general? Hopefully you will find the answers you are searching for below.
What are Turkish relationships like?
Turkish relationships are, in many ways, no different to relationships between 2 people from any country or culture. Most people see the end goal as finding someone to settle down with, marry, and have children with.
If you are dating Turkish men in more rural areas outside of Istanbul, the progression of your relationship may be more conservative. For instance, in some parts of the country it is still considered a taboo for two people to be living together before they are married, whereas it is quite commonplace in Istanbul.
Are Turkish people romantic?
Turkish people are warm, friendly, romantic and passionate. They want to show their love and appreciation for the important people in their lives and may do so with physical displays of affection.
Keep in mind, however, that parts of Turkey are still very conservative. In some areas, public displays of hand holding, kissing, and intimate physical contimate is frowned upon and may cause offence. So, if your partner doesnt seem as lovey dovey in public, this may be a reason why.
How many wives can a Turkish man have?
Most Turkish men pursue, date and marry one woman, just like in most other countries. Relationships here are not that different to in other parts of the globe.
Islam allows up to four wives and during the Ottoman Empire (hundreds of years ago!), men often had multiple wives. Today, polygamy is illegal and carries a jail sentence.
Can a Turkish man marry more than one wife?
No. Polygamy is illegal in Turkey today and can result in the person being sentenced to two years in jail. Most Turkish men have just one romantic partner.
Final thoughts on dating Turkish men
Have you traveled to Turkey as a female (alone or otherwise?) Did you receive any noteworthy advances from Turkish men?
Feel free to share. Alternatively, don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you need anything. I will get back to you ASAP.
If you are planning a trip to Turkey for the first time, you might find this post on driving in Turkey to be useful.
Safe travels! Melissa xo