Dating in Turkey

Due to its geographical location, Turkey is one of the most fascinating and uniquely placed countries in the world. Situated at the heart of the intersection where Europe meets Asia, Turkey is a historical blend of European, Middle Eastern and Asian influences. By some opinions, it is the cultural center of the world, often found brokering geopolitical situations between the proverbial East and West. Keeping all this in mind, it is no surprise that Turkey’s dating culture and romantic life are also quite interesting. In this article, we’ll discuss dating in Turkey and talk about the key elements of single life in Turkey.

Turkey’s blend of traditional and modern values, continues to be a common theme in the dating culture today. Statistically nearly all Turks are Muslim or have Islamic family roots, however there are many Turkish people who would consider themselves secular, spiritual or even atheist in some cases. Because of this, the approach to dating, modesty, and self expression between Turks may be quite different.

In a major city like Istanbul, you’ll find both extremely religious Turks and secular Turks. For example, it’s not uncommon to see a woman who decides to wear a hijab (or burqa veil in extreme cases) then see a girl with shorts and a tank top on right next to each other. For those who are religious, dating is often approached with the intention of finding a partner for marriage. Courtship is viewed as a serious commitment, and it’s common for couples to involve their families in the process. Non-religious Turks, on the other hand, may be more liberal in their approach to dating and their attitude towards pre-marital sex. Casual dating is more common among non-religious Turks, and many young people meet through social events or online dating apps. Nonetheless, many traditional Turkish values are likely to be preserved in the minds of single Turks regardless if they are religious or not. This is true in cases such as family, expected public behaviors and in other scenarios.

It is interesting to note that there is a significant Turkish population that lives outside of Turkey. This dynamic does indirectly influence the dating sphere because there are Turks abroad who like to meet more traditional Turks from Turkey and vice versa. There are some estimations that there are as many as 3-4 million Turkish people living in Europe. Germany, for example, has the majority of those totaling nearly 3 million; however, Turks are found in many other European nations such as Spain or France as well.

Dating in Istanbul
Istanbul has a vibrant nightlife and dating scene

Family is an important part of Turkish culture, and it’s common for parents and extended family members to play a role in the dating process. It is especially prevalent among religious families. This can involve things like arranging introductions, offering advice, or even vetoing potential partners. A good example of this is the concept of “görücü usulü,” which translates to “the way of the matchmaker.” This traditional approach involves the use of a matchmaker, often a family member or friend, who helps to arrange introductions and facilitate the dating process.

Another aspect of dating culture in Turkey is the importance of modesty and respect. In many cases, men and women are expected to dress modestly and avoid public displays of affection. However, this can vary depending on the region of Turkey and the individual’s personal beliefs. Larger and more liberal cities tend to be more open and lenient versus more rural areas which one might find more conservative.

10 Interesting facts about dating in Turkey

  1. In Turkey, it is customary for the groom to give his bride a dowry or “çeyiz” before the wedding. This can include anything from household items to jewelry, and is meant to help the couple start their new life together.
  2. Turkish weddings are known for their elaborate and festive celebrations, often lasting for several days. The wedding ceremony itself typically takes place in a mosque, and is followed by a large reception with music, dancing, and plenty of food.
  3. In Turkey, it’s common for couples to hold hands and show affection in private, but public displays of affection are generally not accepted. This is especially true in more conservative regions of the country.
  4. Turkish culture places a strong emphasis on family, and it’s not uncommon for couples to seek the approval of their families before getting married or even starting a serious relationship.
  5. Many traditional Turkish families still practice arranged marriages, where parents or other family members play a role in selecting a partner for their child. However, this practice is becoming less common as younger generations adopt more modern values.
  6. In Turkish culture, it’s customary for the man to pay for the first date. However, it’s also considered polite for the woman to offer to pay her share, and many couples split the bill.
  7. The concept of “evlenme teklifi” or marriage proposal is taken very seriously in Turkey. It’s common for men to plan elaborate and romantic proposals, often involving flowers, a special meal, or even a surprise trip.
  8. Turkish culture places a strong emphasis on hospitality, and it’s not uncommon for couples to invite each other over for dinner or to meet each other’s families early on in the relationship.
  9. Many Turks view marriage as a lifelong commitment, and divorce is still somewhat stigmatized in Turkish culture. However, divorce rates have been rising in recent years as attitudes towards marriage and relationships continue to evolve.
  10. Turkish culture places a strong emphasis on respect and honor, and it’s important for couples to maintain a certain level of decorum and respect for each other in public and private settings.

Most romantic holiday in Turkey

In Turkey, Valentine’s Day is celebrated, but it’s not the most significant romantic holiday. Instead, Turks celebrate their own version of Valentine’s Day called “Sevgililer Günü” or “Lovers’ Day” on July 14th. This day is celebrated similarly to Valentine’s Day, with couples exchanging gifts, flowers, and romantic gestures.

Romance in Turkey
Married couple in Izmir, Turkey

Yılbaşı” or New Year’s Eve is also considered a romantic holiday in Turkey. On this night, couples often celebrate together with a special meal and fireworks, and it’s seen as an opportunity to start the new year off on a positive and loving note.

Finally, another day that can be considered romantic in Turkey is “Anneler Günü” or “Mother’s Day,” which is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. While this holiday is primarily focused on honoring mothers, it’s also a popular day for couples to express their love for each other, particularly among married couples.

Typical first date in Turkey

The typical first date in Turkey can vary depending on the individuals involved, religion, their age, and their cultural background. However, in general, first dates in Turkey are often casual and low-key, with an emphasis on getting to know each other.

One common first date activity in Turkey is going out for a meal or a drink. Many couples choose to meet at a café or a restaurant, where they can chat and get to know each other over coffee or a meal. It’s also common for couples to take a walk or explore a local park or landmark together.

Turkish tea date
Drinking tea together would be a normal first date in Turkey

Dating Etiquette in Turkey

Dating etiquette in Turkey can be different from what you may be used to, so here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Dress conservatively: Turkey is a conservative country, so it’s important to dress conservatively, especially if you’re meeting someone for the first time.
  2. Show respect for elders: In Turkish culture, elders are highly respected, so it’s important to show respect to your partner’s parents and other elders in their life.
  3. Offer to pay: In Turkish culture, it is common for the man to pay for dates, but it’s always polite to offer to pay or split the bill.
  4. Avoid public displays of affection: Turkey is a conservative country, and public displays of affection may not be well-received, especially in more traditional areas.
  5. Take your time: Turkish dating culture tends to move at a slower pace than in some Western countries. Take your time to get to know your partner and build a strong connection.
  6. Show interest in their culture: Showing an interest in your partner’s culture is a great way to build a connection and show respect for their heritage.
  7. Be upfront about your intentions: It’s important to be clear about your intentions when dating in Turkey. If you’re just looking for a casual relationship, make sure to communicate that clearly.

Remember to be respectful and open-minded, and enjoy getting to know your partner and their culture.

Is Turkey gay friendly?

Turkey is a country with a mixed record on LGBTQ+ rights, and the level of acceptance towards the LGBTQ+ community can vary depending on the region and the social context.

While homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, LGBTQ+ individuals still face discrimination and harassment, and there have been reports of hate crimes and violence against members of the community. The government has also been criticized for cracking down on LGBTQ+ events and organizations.

However, it’s worth noting that Turkey is also home to a growing LGBTQ+ community, and there are a number of gay-friendly bars, clubs, and neighborhoods in major cities like Istanbul and Ankara. In recent years, there have been efforts to increase awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ+ issues in Turkey, and many younger Turks are more open-minded and supportive of the community.

Overall, while Turkey may not be as gay-friendly as some other countries, there is still a significant LGBTQ+ presence and a growing movement towards greater acceptance and equality.

Social cues and gender roles in Turkey

In Turkey, social cues and gender roles can be influenced by a variety of factors, including age, cultural background, and individual preferences. However, there are some general social cues and gender roles that are commonly observed in Turkish dating culture.

Traditionally, gender roles in Turkey have been fairly traditional, with men expected to take on more dominant and protective roles, and women expected to be more submissive and nurturing. However, these roles are gradually evolving as younger generations adopt more modern values and attitudes.

Couple in Istanbul

In terms of social cues, it’s important for both men and women to be respectful and courteous towards each other. This includes showing interest in each other’s lives and being attentive and supportive. Eye contact is also an important nonverbal cue, as it conveys trust and sincerity.

When it comes to initiating contact or making plans, men are generally expected to take the lead. However, it’s also considered polite for women to express their interest and make their intentions clear. In general, communication is key in Turkish dating culture, and it’s important to be open and honest about your feelings and expectations.

It’s also important to be mindful of cultural norms and customs, especially when it comes to physical contact and public displays of affection. In more conservative regions of Turkey, it’s generally not acceptable to show affection in public, and it’s important to be respectful of local customs and traditions.

Overall, while gender roles and social cues in Turkish dating culture may vary depending on the individual and the context, respect, communication, and cultural sensitivity are key factors in building successful and fulfilling relationships.

Best places to meet singles in Turkey?

Single girl in Istanbul
Girl in Istanbul

The best places to meet singles in Turkey will depend on your interests and the type of person you’re looking to meet. However, here are some popular options that are worth considering:

  1. Bars and Nightclubs: If you’re looking to meet singles who are interested in socializing and having a good time, bars and nightclubs can be a good option. In major cities like Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir, there are plenty of bars and clubs that cater to a diverse range of tastes and preferences.
  2. Social Clubs and Organizations: Joining social clubs and organizations can be a great way to meet singles who share your interests and hobbies. Whether you’re interested in sports, music, or volunteering, there are plenty of clubs and organizations in Turkey that cater to a variety of interests.
  3. Cultural and Art Events: If you’re interested in culture and the arts, attending cultural events like music festivals, theater performances, and art exhibitions can be a good way to meet like-minded singles who share your passion.
  4. Language Exchange Programs: Participating in language exchange programs can be a great way to meet new people and improve your language skills. There are a number of language exchange programs in Turkey, such as Tandem Language Exchange and My Language Exchange, that can help you connect with native speakers and meet new friends.
  5. Online Dating Sites: Like in many other countries, online dating has become increasingly popular in Turkey in recent years. There are a number of Turkish dating websites and apps, such as Badoo, Tinder, and Happn, that can be a good way to meet new people and connect with singles who share your interests.

Ultimately, the best places to meet singles in Turkey will depend on your interests and preferences. By exploring different options and being open to new experiences, you can increase your chances of meeting someone special.

Staying safe while dating in Turkey

Staying safe in Turkey is not that different than staying safe in other countries. It is important to keep focused on your surroundings and follow some of these general safety tips.

  • Meet in public places: When you first meet someone, it’s important to choose a public place, such as a café or restaurant. This not only helps you get to know the person better, but also ensures your safety and security.
  • Share your plans: Let a friend or family member know where you’re going and who you’re meeting. You can also share your location with them using your phone.
  • Trust your instincts: If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to end the date early. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
  • Avoid sharing personal information: Be careful about sharing personal information, such as your address or phone number, until you’ve gotten to know the person better and feel comfortable with them.
  • Be aware of cultural norms: Be mindful of cultural norms and customs, especially when it comes to physical contact and public displays of affection.

Dating scams in Turkey

Although dating scams can happen anywhere in the world, there are a number of scams that can happen in Turkish nightlife. Like many other countries, there are the common online dating scams like catfishing, money scams, visa scams, etc. However, there are several others relevant scams in Turkish nightlife and cities that you should be aware of. They may not all be directly related to dating in Turkey, but it is important to keep in mind that scams are relatively common in parts of Turkey, especially large cities like Istanbul.

  1. Overcharging: This is a common scam where the establishment charges exorbitant prices for food and drinks. It’s important to check the menu and prices before ordering and to be wary of establishments that don’t post their prices. This is scam is especially common for targeting single men. It will often involve pretty girls tempting a man and getting drinks then the bar (which is often run by a mafia of sorts) will present the man with a very expensive bill.
  2. Bill switching: In this scam, the server may switch the bill with a higher one or add extra charges to the bill. To avoid this, it’s important to carefully check the bill and to ask for an itemized bill if necessary.
  3. Fake alcohol: Sometimes, establishments may serve fake or watered-down alcohol to customers. This can be dangerous as the customer may not realize they are drinking a weaker or dangerous substance. It’s important to only drink in reputable establishments.
  4. General romance scams: Scammers may create fake profiles on dating websites and apps and use them to trick people into thinking they’re interested in a romantic relationship. They may use fake photos, fake names, and fake personal information to gain your trust and ask you for money or other favors.
  5. General money scams: Scammers may try to trick you into sending them money by making up a variety of stories, such as a sick family member or an urgent financial need. This might seem believable given relatively recent events such as natural disasters and complicated immigration issues. Be wary of anyone who asks you for money, especially if you’ve never met them in person.
  6. Unofficial “guides”: In popular tourist destinations, unofficial “guides” may approach tourists and offer to take them to the best bars or clubs. However, these “guides” may be working with the establishment and overcharge or scam the tourist.
  7. Pickpocketing: Pick-pocketing is unfortunately common in busy nightlife areas. To avoid this, it’s important to keep valuables secure and be aware of your surroundings.
  8. Dropping the brush: This often involves a guy on the street, who cleans shoes or offers a similar ‘service’. He’ll walk in front of a suspected group of tourists and accidentally drop his tools, such as a brush. He’ll continue walking as if he didn’t notice and hope that the friendly tourists will tell him. If they do, he’ll act as if he is really surprised and then offer to clean their shoes. Then he will charge a lot of money and guilt them into paying.
  9. Marriage scams: This is when the scammer convinces the victim to marry them in order to gain citizenship or residency in another country. They may promise to love the victim and build a life together, but in reality, they are only using them for their own gain.
  10. Travel scams: Scammers may pretend to be interested in a relationship and then ask you to pay for their travel expenses to come visit you. Be wary of anyone who asks you to pay for their travel, especially if you’ve never met them in person.

It’s important to be cautious and aware of these types of scams in Turkey (or anywhere else). Always be wary of anyone who asks for money or a situation seems too good to be true. Of course, never give out personal or financial information to someone you’ve just met online.

Online dating in Turkey

Dating apps in Europe

Online dating has become increasingly popular in Turkey in recent years, as more and more people turn to the internet to find romantic partners. The online dating industry in Turkey has grown rapidly, with a wide range of dating websites and apps now available to Turkish singles.

One of the main reasons for the growth of online dating in Turkey is the country’s young and tech-savvy population. With a median age of just 31, many Turks are comfortable using technology and are looking for new and innovative ways to meet potential partners.

Another factor contributing to the growth of online dating in Turkey is the country’s large and growing middle class. As more Turks become wealthier and better educated, they are more likely to have access to the internet and to be interested in using online dating services.

Top dating apps in Turkey

There are many dating apps used in Turkey. In terms of international apps, the most common are Badoo, Happn, Ok Cupid, and Tinder much like any other countries in the region. However, there are plenty of other dating sites in Turkey that people may not know about. These dating websites are Turkish made for Turkish singles, often both religious and non-religious. In general, non-religious and secular Turks would probably gravitate towards the international apps. Here is a list of Turkish dating sites and apps:

  1. Siberalem: Siberalem is a Turkish dating website that has been around since 2000. It is one of the oldest and most popular dating sites in Turkey, and offers a range of features including chat rooms, video chat, and matchmaking services.
  2. eÇift: eÇift is another Turkish dating website that uses a matchmaking algorithm to help users find compatible partners. The site offers a range of features including personality tests, chat rooms, and video chat.
  3. Pembe Panjur: Pembe Panjur is a Turkish dating app that is geared towards women. It offers a range of features including chat rooms, video chat, and matchmaking services.
  4. TurkChat: TurkChat is a Turkish dating app that allows users to connect with others based on their interests and hobbies. It offers a range of features including chat rooms and photo sharing.
  5. Gönülden Sevenler: Gönülden Sevenler is a Turkish dating app that is designed for people who are looking for serious relationships. It offers a range of features including personality tests and matchmaking services.
  6. Ciddiask: Ciddiask is a Turkish dating app that is geared towards serious relationships. It uses a matchmaking algorithm to help users find compatible partners, and offers a range of features including chat rooms and video chat.
  7. ElitAsk: ElitAsk is a Turkish dating app that is designed for wealthy and successful individuals. It offers a range of features including matchmaking services and VIP profiles.