My Most Ridiculous Encounters with Turkish Men

Turkish Men
Turkish Men

Turkish men fit the perfect description of tall, dark and handsome. A lot of the men that you will encounter in beautiful Turkey are likely to be dashingly good looking. One thing in particular that I noticed, is that a lot of Turkish men are seemingly enamored with foreign women.

About This Article

I mean absolutely no offense by this article whatsoever. I had a wonderful time traveling solo in Turkey and met some super nice locals (including guys). It just seemed that many of the local men were infatuated with foreign women. That is probably just like most men around the world, to be honest, but the Turks just seemed a little bit more forward!

This lighthearted article comes from a place of love. It is divided into two sections – a series of comical encounters with Turkish men, from my perspective as a foreign tourist, and then a discussion about dating Turkish men.

My Most Ridiculous 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, professing their love for me after a two-minute conversation exchange, or staring at me lovingly in restaurants while I chomped on kebabs like a wildebeest with ketchup around my mouth.

I mentioned that 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.

The Ankara Entourage

Turkish Men
Turkish Men

Navigating your way through Ankara‘s Central bus terminal is a little perplexing, particularly if you are new to bus travel in Turkey as I was. The station is split across three floors and instead of there being one centralized ticket office from which you can buy your tickets for travel, there are numerous – each operated by competing brands.

If you want to go to Cappadocia for example, you will have to ask several different operators about their timetables and determine which you prefer. The hustle and bustle of this atmosphere and the people yelling out ticket prices reminded me of a scene from a wall street stock market… kind of.

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 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 down 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 awhile 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 sat 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, but my little entourage of new-found Turkish friends insisted that they help me to the restaurant nearby.

Upon reaching the place, I sat down inside and ordered my lunch – a 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, 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 for me, another fussed running back and forth to ensure that I had a sufficient and steady stream of napkins, and another assumed the responsibility of touching the edges of my teacup every 30 seconds to make sure that it was hot enough for me.

Bodyguards

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 towards 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 with two of the men standing 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 – since I didn’t drink it fast enough and it has gone from mouth burning hot to lukewarm.  

Parting in Such Sweet Sorrow

As the time to board my bus is approaching, I pay the bill 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, causing 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 – 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 as though we are lifelong friends involved in a heart-wrenching separation where we will never see each other again, not people who met 45 minutes ago.

Parting in such sweet sorrow.

The Kismet Guy

Turkish Men
Turkish Men

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, 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 so 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 what I want. Thankfully he translates for me and I thank him 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 and so he parks 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 before excitedly exclaiming 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 and 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 meeting her – even to the point of telling me what 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”

Turkish Men:
Hallmark Greetings Card Guy

Turkish Men
Turkish Men

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” and misunderstood “corniest” as meaning “guaranteed to get women into bed” because I have never in my 27 years of life heard somebody recite so many terrors in one fell swoop.

The Approach

I was in Istanbul, wandering through the Sultanahmet district 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 – like 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 go to 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…)

Turkish Men:
The Arabic 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. When I travel, especially to places like Turkey and the Middle East, I am in my element with all of the tea selections!

I was traveling in Istanbul and it started pouring it down with rain so I ducked into a local restaurant in Ortakoy. I ordered a cup of Küçük Çay at first and exclaimed to the chatty waiter just how much I loved Turkish tea.

I cradled my tea for a while, and when the rain didn’t subside, 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 was a little full but accepted and drank it anyway.

I finished the tea, paid the bill, and was shuffling around getting my things ready to leave when he just appeared with another cup of tea. I said thanks, but I couldn’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 realized 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 but 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, but 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. At least it was original?

Typical Traits of Turkish Men

The advances I received from Turkish men in Turkey were so frequent that I just tried to contain this list to the most humorous! There are some common traits and characteristics of Turkish men to be mindful of, especially if you are considering taking yourself a tanned, exotic Turkish lover!

Obviously, every man is different, and you cannot always generalize an entire population. This post on Turkish men is intended to be taken with a pinch of salt. 

Turkish Men are Forward and Persistent

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.

Seemingly enamored by foreign women, Turkish men 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 but 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.

Turkish Men Read the Signs Differently

Typically, you are going to encounter some cultural differences when speaking to Turkish men as compared to speaking to western men anyway. While smiling, chatting and joking with someone of the opposite sex may seem like nothing in the western world, it’s seen as a huge indicator that you like someone in Turkey. Be mindful of your interactions and how you come across when communicating with Turkish men. 

Turkish Men Vary Depending on Where They are From

As is the case in many countries, Turkish men differ in their approaches to dating, and their experience with western culture depending on where they have grown up.

Istanbul is like any big city, and the younger generation is accustomed to western people and influence. In areas such as eastern Turkey or conservative Konya, the people are much more religious and conservative, which surely affects the way Turkish men interact.

Not All Turkish Men Are the Same

My intention with this post is not to create any negative stereotypes about Turkish men, nor group the entire male population of one country together. Not all Turkish men are the same just like not all Italian men are the same.

I have met a lot of wonderful Turkish male friends – both in Turkey and while travelling overseas in different places. While generally, I found Turkish men that were interested in me to be more forward, lest we forget – both skeezy guys and nice guys can be found everywhere!

Tinder in Turkey

This may or may not come as a surprise, but the Tinder scene seems fairly active in Turkey! If you want to use the app to meet local guys, try and use the same common sense as you would when dating elsewhere.

Don’t forget that a lot of men on dating apps are looking for hookups and temporary flings rather than relationships. That is not something that is exclusive to Turkey.

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 being realistic.

Have you traveled to Turkey as a female (alone or otherwise?) Did you receive any noteworthy advances from Turkish men? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Note: This article on Turkish men was originally published in February 2018. It was last updated on the 21st of October 2019.


Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.

8 thoughts on “My Most Ridiculous Encounters with Turkish Men”

  1. OMG I love this!! So true. It’s kind of annoying to go through but most of the time they mean well (I think!) Even though I was travelling through Turkey with my husband I still got similar comments (Ah, Australia! Gallipoli, we are buddies, yeah! Come, come!) “No” isn’t really an answer. I had a friend who travelled solo through Turkey and she got so over these advances she used to tell them she was from Finland because they never had a response to that, hehe. Thanks for the giggle!

    Reply
  2. Great story! Tell me, is there a country I can go to where the women act like the men of Turkey? Anxious young man in U.S.

    Reply

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