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I have traveled to Turkey countless times, but for the past 6 months, I have been living here with my girlfriend and we experimented on how the public would react to public signs of affection such as kissing on the lips.
So, what did we discover? Can you kiss in Turkey?
Kissing is not punishable by a court of law. But, kissing your girlfriend or wife on the lips is frowned upon in public and it can attract a lot of unhappy and judgemental stares. However kissing on the lips is fine if you find yourself in a fairly empty space outside or if you are in a club.
Did you know that in Turkey Islam is the largest religion? According to the state, with 99% of the population being initially registered by the state as Muslim? However Turkish people love to drink, party, and dress western. Many parts of Turkey are more conservative while others are also more free and westernized.
Therefore, in this article, I will be covering mostly Istanbul and places where public signs of affection are more relaxed. As well as the Do’s and Don’t in Turkey.
Can You Kiss In Istanbul?
Istanbul is the 6th largest city spanning an area that is 5343km(squared) and with a 14.2 million population. With such a big city there are going to be parts of the city where rules and cultures work in different ways.
What was very interesting about Istanbul is that in a span of every 15km the people seemed more unique, in the sense that some areas of Istanbul are more conservative, and in other areas of Istanbul they are more open, outgoing, and more relaxed on signs of public affection.
Below you’ll find every part of Istanbul and the people’s receptiveness to kissing in the public. I experimented by going to these neighborhoods with my girlfriend.
Taksim square (Beyoglu district):
From the East of the city, we have Taksim square which is considered the heart of Istanbul and possibly the most visited tourist place in Istanbul. In Taksim, there are many international hotels and restaurants in addition to its very impressive and massive public transportation system.
The Beyoglu district will give you a much more unique feeling in comparison to the rest of Istanbul. Besides the very westernized environment such as the hotels and restaurants, you’ll spot a lot of tattoo parlors, erotic shops, and so on.
The people in that area dress much more casually and you will spot a lot of couples holding hands, hugging, and sometimes kissing on the lips.
Kissing lightly on the lips is alright but showing more than that, can attract a lot of nasty stares.
Yet another landmark for tourists to visit and enjoy. Eminönü has one of the main ferry stations serving the city and a gateway to the historic bazaar.
This place of Istanbul is very beautiful, you will still feel a very unique mixture of European and Turkish experiences, people here are still very easy-going and welcoming to tourists.
Florya and Küçükçekmece:
Moving further west you will start to notice a difference in the people and their reactions to revealing clothes and public signs of affection.
Florya and Küçükçekmece are yet still very beautiful landmarks filled with malls and various different bazaars.
But there is a sudden difference in the way people dress and show signs of affection to each other. In this part of Istanbul, holding hands and hugging is fine. But, avoid kissing on the lips in a crowded public place.
Esenyurt is the home to many, Turkish people, Middle eastern, and Africans. It is considered one of the most affordable places in Istanbul, therefore there is still an open atmosphere regarding public signs of affection.
But, kissing is very frowned upon in this part of Istanbul because there are more religious and close-minded people around this area.
Beylikdüzü was a very interesting place to live in. In all of Istanbul, I must say that Beylikdüzü has the least amount of foreigners living there, and again another interesting thing was that the Turkish people who lived there were very religious.
There were many people who covered their bodies and heads with hijab. It was very uncomfortable for me and my girlfriend not only to kiss but to wear something slightly revealing.
What are The Do’s and Don’t’s In Turkey?
|The Do’s||The Dont’s|
|Clubs are the best place to go in Turkey if you want to dance erotically or make out non-stop.||Don’t kiss on the lips out in a crowded public environment.|
|Kissing on the lips in an empty street is ok. But avoid making out||Never talk loudly in their public transportation. You will get mean stares or get told off.|
|Holding hands and hugging is fine.||Be wary of scammers. Turkish people find tourists are easier to scam. So be sharp and aware of what’s happening in front of you|
|Leave a seat for young children or the elderly on buses and trains||Don’t visit a mosque on a Friday, the Muslim day for worship.|
|Always make sure that the taxi driver has the taxi meter on. Some of the taxi drivers try to scam you by charging foreigners more money.||Don’t make any degrading or political comments about the Turkish Flag, Turkey, or Kemal Atatürk.|
|Google maps can help you get around Turkey fairly easily. Public transportations are available mostly everywhere you go.||Don’t drink excessively in the mornings or the evenings.|
|Learn basic Turkish words, and you’ll earn more respect from Turkish people.|
Hello – Merhaba
Yes – Evet
No – Hyir
Thank you – Teşekkürler
Where is – Nerede
How much is this – Bu ne kadar
I want this – Bunu istiyorum
I have traveled to many places in the world, including Dubai, Kenya, the USA, Switzerland, Cyprus, Russia, Oman, and Turkey. But the Turkish experience has been something else.
Turkey has it all. From culture, entertainment, leisure, its amazing public transport system, and its freedom to show some signs of affection to my girlfriend. Which coming from Dubai and Iran it’s impossible to do.
Being born in Iran, Turkey has really been a place where European and Western lifestyle has blended within it. Making it a perfect combination.
I hope you enjoyed this article, don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you are planning to come to Turkey. I currently live here, so I’m more than happy to help you with any questions you may have.