The Turks see guests who come to their door as a “Guest from the God”. The identity of the guest, his or her position or office, whether he or she is wealthy, and whether he or she is an invited or an uninvited guest are not important at all. Irrespective of their religion and beliefs, race and age, every guest deserves respect, honoring and offerings. The nicest part of their house is set aside as a reception room, specifically for hosting guests which it is kept ready at all times in case a guest is due to arrive at any moment. For Turks, guests are held in high esteem. A guest is like a sacred entity.
A guest brings his/her own luck and destiny
No manner of generosity is avoided in order to show hospitality to the guest in the best possible way, and send them off happy and satisfied. All types of care, endeavor and effort are shown. The best, nicest and newest of everything is presented to the guest. Even if the host is very poor, every home has a bed and quilt set aside for a guest, as well as special tablecloths to be laid on the table where the guest is to dine. In any case, there is a belief that every guest comes with his or her own luck and destiny, and brings the home plentitude and benevolence.
When a guest enters the room everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, stands up. No one sits back down until the guest has sat down. If the guest is an expected one, the towels in the home will be changed. Slippers set aside especially for guests will be kept ready by the door. When dining, special cutlery, set aside in particular for this purpose, will be used instead of the cutlery for daily use:
The villages in Anatolia will generally have a guest house for common use. However, the villagers still prefer to host guests in their own homes. When a guest comes to visit a home, the close neighbors will also come to greet them. If the number of guests is high, the neighbors will attempt to take the guests to their homes. The homeowner will neither ask for this, nor actually consent to it willingly. That is because for the homeowner, this is a matter of pride. He does not want that a guest is left outside.
The traditional hospitality of the Turks has also attracted the attention of foreigners visiting Turkey. Comte de Marsigli, who became famous for introducing the Ottoman military organization to Europe, relates the hospitality of the Turkish community as follows:
The Turks behave extremely hospitably to all foreigners, irrespective of any differences of religion. Among those who reside in the villages situated close to the main roads, those who have the means go on outings in the evenings, and invite the travelers they have run into on the road, into their homes. Indeed, most of the time, there are even arguments as to whose home the guest will be entertained at.
23 April: A vivid example of Turkish hospitality
Good examples of traditional Turkish hospitality can also be seen on 23 April, National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. Thousands of children from many countries come to Turkey to take part in the ceremonies during the only children’s festival in the world, held on 23 April every year. These children from all around the world are greeted with Turkish hospitality and looked after with care, and return to their own countries with the fond memories of Turkish hospitality.
The hospitality of the Turks is not just seen in their homes, but examples of it are also frequently seen on the street or in their places of work. A hot glass of tea will immediately be brought to you even at a place of work where you have just stopped by to take a break. And the hosts are insistent, even if the guest does not wish to accept, with sentences such as, “I will not let you go without at least having one glass of tea!”
The people of Turkey are warm blooded, hold nice conversations and are hospitable. They will endeavor to assist you, even if they do not speak your language, and will try to understand you, and do their best to resolve your problem.
Turkey – A Touristic Paradise
Among the factors making Turkey a touristic paradise are its historical heritage dating back 10 thousand years, the remains of around 20 large civilizations, the magnificent Turkish cuisine, and the possibility of experiencing all 4 seasons together; in addition, Turkish hospitality also plays a great role.
Despite the changing world, you can still find people greeting foreigners with a smile on their faces in all of the small towns and villages of Anatolia.
In some regions, there is a saying,
A sharp sword and forty tables full of meals is needed for a reputation.
Hospitality is a way to be accepted in the community.