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How to Use Tenses in the Turkish Language

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Verbs are one of the most important elements of a sentence. But unfortunately, their infinitive forms don’t make much sense when used in a sentence; verbs must be conjugated to indicate the time of the action, as well as whether the action has been completed or is still happening. 

We make these distinctions by using tenses.

A Signpost with Signs for Now, Tomorrow, and Yesterday

Tenses in the Turkish language carry certain conjugation rules with them—and when conjugation enters the scene, things get interesting! This is because it brings with it pronouns and vowel harmony.

Don’t worry, though. You just need to study the rules and practice, practice, practice!

Before we look at each tense in detail, let’s go over the basics of conjugation.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Conjugation
  2. Present Tense
  3. Past Tense
  4. Future Tense
  5. Auxiliary Verbs
  6. How TurkishClass101 Can Speed Up Your Turkish Learning

1. Conjugation

There are certain factors that Turkish verbs conjugate for. Let’s see what they are:

I. Person / Subject

Verbs get different suffixes based on the person/subject used in the sentence. 

II. Number of Subjects

Verbs will also receive different suffixes based on whether the subject is singular or plural. 

III. Politeness Level

In Turkish, the plural “you” is used the same way it is in English, though we also use it as a polite, formal way of addressing someone. The plural “you” and polite “you” follow the same conjugation rules in Turkish. 

IV. Tense

Verbs are conjugated differently according to each tense.

    → This is only an overview. If you would like to study Turkish conjugation in greater depth, please see our article on Turkish Conjugation Rules.

Now, let’s look closer at that final point and go over all of the tenses in Turkish.

2. Present Tense

There are two subdivisions of the Turkish present tense: the present continuous and the simple present.

I. Present Continuous Tense

This tense is used for actions that are happening now. It’s used with the following time-related words and phrases:

  • Şimdi          –       “Now”
  • Şu anda     –       “At the moment”
  • Hemen       –       “Immediately”

Conjugation here is based on the tense and the personal pronoun. Vowel harmony also comes into play. 

Verb + (ı)yor / (i)yor / (u)yor / (ü)yor + suffix to indicate the personal pronoun

Tense conjugation with vowel harmony

The following suffixes are used for all verbs, whether they end with a consonant or a vowel. However, if the verb root ends in a vowel, the vowel must be dropped before the suffixes are added.

 a/ıe/io/uö/ü
Ben (I)-ıyorum-iyorum-uyorum-üyorum
Sen (You) [s]-ıyorsun-iyorsun-uyorsun-üyorsun
O (He/She/It)-ıyor-iyor-uyor-üyor
Biz (We)-ıyoruz-iyoruz-uyoruz-üyoruz
Siz (You) [p]-ıyorsunuz-iyorsunuz-uyorsunuz-üyorsunuz
Onlar (They)-ıyorlar-iyorlar-uyorlar-üyorlar

Here are some examples:

Ben açıyorum.
“I am opening.”
Ben seçiyorum.
“I am choosing.”
Ben okuyorum.
“I am reading.”
Ben bölüyorum.
“I am dividing.”
Sen açıyorsun.
“You are opening.”
Sen seçiyorsun.
“You are choosing.”
Sen okuyorsun.
“You are reading.”
Sen bölüyorsun.
“You are dividing.”
O açıyor.
“He/she/it is opening.”
O seçiyor.
“He/she/it is choosing.”
O okuyor.
“He/she/it is reading.”
O bölüyor.
“He/she/it is dividing.”
Biz açıyoruz.
“We are opening.”
Biz seçiyoruz.
“We are choosing.”
Biz okuyoruz. 
“We are reading.”
Biz bölüyoruz.
“We are dividing.”
Siz açıyorsunuz.
“You are opening.”
Siz seçiyorsunuz.
“You are choosing.”
Siz okuyorsunuz.
“You are reading.”
Siz bölüyorsunuz.
“You are dividing.”
Onlaç açıyorlar.
“They are opening.”
Onlar seçiyorlar.
“They are choosing.”
Onlar okuyorlar. 
“They are reading.”
Onlar bölüyorlar.
“They are dividing.”

II. Simple Present Tense (Aorist Tense)

The simple present (aorist) tense is used to indicate that an action happens in general or as a routine. It’s used with the following time words:

  • Her gün                 –       “Every day”
  • Her zaman/daima       –       “Always”
  • Sık sık/Sıklıkla      –       “Often”
  • Genellikle             –       “Usually”  

Now, here are the rules for simple present tense conjugation in Turkish.

1. The following suffixes are added to the verb root for verbs ending with a vowel:

 Last Vowel of the Verb Root
 a/ıExamplee/iExampleo/uExampleö/üExample
Ben (I)-rımBen tararım. 

“I comb.”
-rimBen yerim.

“I eat.”
-rumBen korurum.

“I protect.”
-rümBen yürürüm.

“I walk.”
Sen (You)
[s]
-rsınSen tararsın. 

“You comb.”
-rsinSen yersin.

“You eat.”
-rsunSen korursun.

“You protect.”
-rsünSen yürürsün.

“You walk.”
O
(He/She/It)
-rO tarar. 

“He/she combs.”
-rO yer.

“He/she/it eats.”
-rO korur.

“He/she/it protects.”
-rO yürür.

“He/she/it walks.”
Biz (We)-rız  Biz tararız. 

“We comb.”
-riz Biz yeriz.

“We eat.”
-ruz  Biz koruruz.

“We protect.”
-rüz Biz yürürüz.

“We walk.”
Siz (You) [p]-rsınız  Siz tararsınız. 

“You comb.”
-rsiniz  Siz yersiniz.

“You eat.”
-rsunuz  Siz korursunuz.
“You protect.”
-rsünüz  Siz  yürürsünüz.

“You walk.”
Onlar (They)-rlar  Onlar tararlar. 

“They comb.”
-rler  Onlar yerler.

“They eat.”
-rlar  Onlar korurlar.

“They protect.”
-rler  Onlar yürürler.

“They walk.”

2. Verbs that have one syllable and end with a consonant take the following suffixes:

 Last Vowel of the Verb Root
 a/ı/o/uExamplee/i/ö/üExample
Ben (I)-arımBen kaçarım.

“I escape.”
-erimBen içerim. 

“I drink.”
Sen (You) [s]-arsınSen kaçarsın.

“You escape.”
-ersinSen içersin. 

“You drink.”
O (He/She/It)-arO kaçar.

“He/she/it escapes.”
-erO içer. 

“He/she/it drinks.”
Biz (We)-arızBiz kaçarız.

“We escape.”
-erizBiz içeriz. 

“We drink.”
Siz (You) [p]-arsınızSiz kaçarsınız.

“You escape.”
-ersinizSiz içersiniz. 

“You drink.”
Onlar (They)-arlarOnlar kaçarlar.

“They escape.”
-erlerOnlar içerler. 

“They drink.”

Keep in mind that the following verbs do not follow this rule:

  • Almak                                –       “To take”
  • Bilmek                               –       “To know”
  • Bulmak                              –       “To find”
  • Durmak                             –       “To stop”
  • Gelmek                              –       “To come”
  • Görmek                              –       “To see”
  • Kalmak                              –       “To stay”
  • Olmak (helping verb)     –       “To be”
  • Ölmek                                –       “To die”
  • Sanmak                             –       “To suppose”
  • Vermek                             –       “To give”
  • Varmak                              –       “To arrive”

3. The following suffixes are added to the verb root of verbs that have more than one syllable and end with a consonant:

  Last Vowel of the Verb Root
 a/ıExamplee/iExampleo/uExampleö/üExample
Ben (I)-ırımBen bayılırım. 

“I faint.”
-irimBen getiririm.

“I bring.”
-urumBen  otururum.

“I sit.”
-ürümBen götürürüm.

“I take.”
Sen (You) [s]-ırsınSen bayılırsın.

“You faint.”
-irsinSen getirirsin.

“You bring.”
-ursunSen oturursun.

“You sit.”
-ürsünSen götürürsün.

“You take.”
O (He/She/It)-ırO bayılır.

“He/she/it faints.”
-irO getirir.

“He/she/it brings.”
-urO oturur.

“He/she/it sits.”
-ürO götürür.

“He/she/it takes.”
Biz (We)-ırız  Biz bayılırız.

“We faint.”
-iriz  Biz getiririz.

“We bring.”
-uruzBiz otururuz.

“We sit.”
-ürüzBiz götürürüz.

“We take.”
Siz (You) [p]-ırsınızSiz bayılırsınız.

“You faint.”
-irsinizSiz getirirsiniz.

“You bring.”
-ursunuzSiz oturursunuz.

“You sit.”
-ürsünüzSiz götürürsünüz.

“You take.”
Onlar (They)-ırlarOnlar bayılırlar.

“They faint.”
-irlerOnlar getirirler.

“They bring.”
-urlarOnlar otururlar.

“They sit.”
-ürlerOnlar götürürler.

“They take.”

Keep in mind that the helping verbs etmek and olmak do not follow this rule. Please refer to the “Auxiliary Verbs” section below for more information. 

3. Past Tense

I think you’ll find the Turkish past tense interesting. Why? Because there are two different types of past tense, one of which does not exist in most other languages.

A Woman in Deep Thought about Something

Let’s see what they are.

I. Definite Past Tense

In Turkish, the definite past tense is used to indicate that an action happened in the past. It’s used with the following time words:

  • Dün                    –       “Yesterday”
  • Geçen hafta         –       “Last week”
  • 3 gün once           –       “3 days ago”

Conjugating the definite past tense is a little more complicated than what we’ve seen so far. You need to know the last vowel and the last letter of the verb in order to use the correct rule. 

 Last Vowel of the Verb Root 
 a/ıe/io/uö/ü
PERSONIf the very last letter of the verb root is one of these letters: “ç/f/h/k/s/ş/t/p”If the very last letter of the verb root is any other consonantIf the very last letter of the verb root is one of these letters: “ç/f/h/k/s/ş/t/p”If the very last letter of the verb root is any other consonantIf the very last letter of the verb root is one of these letters: “ç/f/h/k/s/ş/t/p”If the very last letter of the verb root is any other consonantIf the very last letter of the verb root is one of these letters: “ç/f/h/k/s/ş/t/p”If the very last letter of the verb root is any other consonant
Ben (ı)-tım-dım-tim-dim-tum-dum-tüm-düm
Sen (You) [s]-tın-dın-tin-din-tun-dun-tün-dün
O (He/she/it)  -tı-dı    -ti-di  -tu-du-tü-dü
Biz (We)-tık-dık-tik-dik-tuk-duk-tük-dük
Siz (You) [p]-tınız-dınız-tiniz-diniz-tunuz-dunuz-tünüz-dünüz
Onlar (They)-tılar-dılar-tiler-diler-tular-dular-tüler-düler

Here are a few examples to help you understand how the Turkish definite past tense is conjugated:

Ben kalktım.
“I got up.”
Ben erteledim.
“I postponed.”
Ben yoruldum.
“I got tired.”
Ben öptüm.
“I kissed.”
Sen kalktın.
“You got up.”
Sen erteledin.
“You postponed.”
Sen yoruldun.
“You got tired.”
Sen öptün.
“You kissed.”
O kalk.
“He/she/it got up.”
O erteledi.
“He/she/it postponed.”
O yoruldu.
“He/she/it got tired.”
O öp.
“He/she/it kissed.”
Biz kalktık.
“We got up.”
Biz erteledik.
“We postponed.”
Biz yorulduk.
“We got tired.”
Biz öptük.
“We kissed.”
Siz kalktınız.
“You got up.”
Siz ertelediniz.
“You postponed.”
Siz yoruldunuz.
“You got tired.”
Siz öptünüz.
“You kissed.”
Onlar kalktılar.
“They got up.”
Onlar ertelediler.
“They postponed.”
Onlar yoruldular.
“They got tired.”
Onlar öptüler.
“They kissed.”

 

II. Reported Past Tense

I know you’re curious to know what this is! The reported past tense in Turkish is used in the following cases:

  • When the speaker is explaining something he/she has heard but not witnessed:

    Babam telefonumu bulmuş.           –       “My father has found my phone.”
    (My father told me he found it, but I didn’t actually see him find it.)

  • When the speaker is telling a story:

    Küçük bir çocuk varmış.                   –       “There was a young child.”
    (I haven’t seen the child; it’s just a character in a story.)

  • When the speaker is telling someone that he/she has done something without noticing it:

    Telefonumu sessize almışım.         –       “I muted my phone.”
    (I didn’t realize I muted it.)

    Bu filmi daha önce seyretmişim.    – “I have seen this movie before.”
    (I’ve started watching a movie, but realize that I’ve seen it before and forgot.)

  • When the speaker is telling someone about their dream: 

    Rüyamda çok gençmişim.               –       “I was very young in my dream.”
    (It’s like storytelling; you’re telling someone about your dream, which is not reality.)

Someone Sound Asleep and Dreaming
  • When the speaker is imagining something and talking about it with someone:

    Mesela, ben doktormuşum.         –       “For example, I was a doctor.”
    (This is again not reality; you’re imagining that you were a doctor.)

Now that you know when to use this tense, let’s see how it’s conjugated.

 
Last Vowel of the Verb Root
 a/ıExamplee/iExampleo/uExampleö/üExample
Ben (I)-mışımBen atmışım. 

“I threw.”
-imBen seçmişim.

“I chose.”
-um Ben korumuşum.

“I protected.”
ümBen gülmüşüm.


“I laughed.”
Sen (You) [s]-mışsınSen atmışsın. 

“You threw.”
-sinSen seçmişsin.


“You chose.”
-sunSen korumuşsun.


“You protected.”
sün Sen gülmüşsün.


“You laughed.”
O (He/She/It)-mışO atmış. 

“He/she threw.”
miş O seçmiş.

“He/she/it chose.”
muş O korumuş.

“He/she/it protected.”
müş O gülmüş.

“He/she/it laughed.”
Biz (We)-mışızBiz atmışız. 

“We threw.”
-izBiz seçmişiz.

“We chose.”
-uzBiz korumuşuz.

“We protected.”
üz Biz gülmüşüz.

“We laughed.”
Siz (You) [p]-mışsınızSiz atmışsınız. 

“You threw.”
-sinizSiz seçmişsiniz.

“You chose.”
sunuzSiz korumuşsunuz.

“You protected.”
sünüzSiz gülmüşsünüz.

“You laughed.”
Onlar (They)-mışlarOnlar atmışlar. 

“They threw.”
-lerOnlar seçmişler.

“They chose.”
-larOnlar korumuşlar.

“They protected.”
-lerOnlar gülmüşler.

“They laughed.”

4. Future Tense

This tense is used for actions that will happen in the future. It’s used with the following time words:

  • Yarın                      –       “Tomorrow”
  • Gelecek hafta       –       “Next week”
  • Gelecek Pazartesi    –       “Next Monday”

 Verbs Ending with a Consonant Verbs Ending with a Vowel 
 a/ı/o/ue/i/ö/üa/ı/o/ue/i/ö/ü
Ben (I)-acağım-eceğim-[y]acağım-[y]eceğim
Sen (You) [s]-acaksın-eceksin-[y]acaksın-[y]eceksin
O (He/She/It)-acak-ecek-[y]acak-[y]ecek
Biz (We)-acağız-eceğiz-[y]acağız-[y]eceğiz
Siz (You) [p]-acaksınız-eceksiniz-[y]acaksınız-[y]eceksiniz
Onlar (They)-acaklar-ecekler-[y]acaklar-[y]ecekler

There are two verbs that do not follow these rules:

  • Demek                   –       “To say” / “To tell”
  • Yemek                 –       “To eat”

When conjugating these verbs for the future tense, the letter “e” changes to “i,” and then the suffixes outlined above are added. For example:

  • Ben yiyeceğim.     –       “I will eat.”
  • Sen diyeceksin.   –       “You will tell.”

A Woman about to Eat Skewered Meat

She’s going to eat.

Here are a few examples of how the Turkish future tense is used:

Ben kalacağım.
“I will stay.”
Ben seçeceğim.
“I will choose.”
Ben uyuyacağım.
“I will sleep.”
Ben eleyeceğim.
“I will eliminate.”
Sen kalacaksın.
“You will stay.”
Sen seçeceksin.
“You will choose.”
Sen uyuyacaksın.
“You will sleep.”
Sen eleyeceksin.
“You will eliminate.” 
O kalacak.
“He/she/it will stay.”
O seçecek.
“He/she/it will choose.”
O uyuyacak.
“He/she/it will sleep.”
O eleyecek.
“He/she/it will eliminate.” 
Biz kalacağız. 
“We will stay.”
Biz seçeceğiz.
“We will choose.”
Biz uyuyacağız.
“We will sleep.”
Biz eleyeceğiz.
“We will eliminate.” 
Siz kalacaksınız.
“You will stay.”
Siz seçeceksiniz.
“You will choose.”
Siz uyuyacaksınız.
“You will sleep.”
Siz eleyeceksiniz.
“You will eliminate.” 
Onlar kalacaklar.
“They will stay.”
Onlar seçecekler.
“They will choose.”
Onlar uyuyacaklar.
“They will sleep.”
Onlar eleyecekler.
“They will eliminate.” 

5. Auxiliary Verbs

The main auxiliary verbs in Turkish (also known as helping verbs) are:

Etmek                               –       “To do” / “To make” / “To perform”     
Olmak                              –       “To become” / “To happen” / “To occur”
Yapmak                            –       “To do” / “To make”

Here are some examples of how they’re used:

Teşekkür etmek                –       “Thank you”
Pişman olmak                   –       “To regret”
Katkı yapmak                    –       “To contribute”

A Card in Front of a Present that Says Thank You!!

Thank you! / Teşekkür ederim!

Now, let’s see how they’re conjugated:

PronounPresent ContinuousSimple PresentDefinite PastReported PastFuture
Ben (I)EdiyorumEderimEttimEtmişimEdeceğim
Sen (You) [s]EdiyorsunEdersinEttinEtmişsinEdeceksin
O (He/She/It)EdiyorEderEttiEtmişEdecek
Biz (We)EdiyoruzEderizEttikEtmişizEdeceğiz
Siz (You) [p]EdiyorsunuzEdersinizEttinizEtmişsinizEdeceksiniz
Onlar (They)EdiyorlarEderlerEttilerEtmişlerEdecekler
Ben (I)OluyorumOlurumOldumOlmuşumOlacağım
Sen (You) [s]OluyorsunOlursunOldunOlmuşsunOlacaksın
O (He/She/It)OluyorOlurOlduOlmuşOlacak
Biz (We)OluyoruzOluruzOldukOlmuşuzOlacağız
Siz (You) [p]OluyorsunuzOlursunuzOldunuzOlmuşsunuzOlacaksınız
Onlar (They)OluyorlarOlurlarOldularOlmuşlarOlacaklar
Ben (I)YapıyorumYaparımYaptımYapmışımYapacağım
Sen (You) [s]YapıyorsunYaparsınYaptınYapmışsınYapacaksın
O (He/She/It)YapıyorYaparYaptıYapmışYapacak
Biz (We)YapıyoruzYaparızYaptıkYapmışızYapacağız
Siz (You) [p]YapıyorsunuzYaparsınızYaptınızYapmışsınızYapacaksınız
Onlar (They)YapıyorlarYaparlarYaptılarYapmışlarYapacaklar

6. How TurkishClass101 Can Speed Up Your Turkish Learning

By now, you should be much more familiar with the different Turkish-language tenses, how to form them, and when to use each one. How confident do you feel so far? 

If you would like to reinforce what you’ve learned today, then create your free lifetime account with TurkishClass101! We provide numerous Turkish lessons for learners at every level, in both audio and video formats. In addition, we offer our learners a variety of free resources, including an online Turkish-English dictionary for quick reference and themed vocabulary lists

Premium PLUS members also get access to our MyTeacher service, which allows you to learn and practice with your own private tutor. 

Finally, make sure you download our free app so you can learn Turkish anywhere, anytime. 

Happy learning!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish

How Fast Can You Learn Turkish?

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Learning a new language is a process that requires time and effort; it can’t be completed overnight. 

As an aspiring Turkish learner, you’re likely wondering at this point: Okay, so how long does it take to learn Turkish? 

I can understand why you want to know the length of your learning journey in advance. This information can help you decide whether to take the plunge or not, make plans, and get prepared for your upcoming studies. 

But you know what? There’s no formula where you can plug in a few variables and calculate the time right away! It’s not that simple. 

However, there are a few factors that can be taken into consideration.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Factors That Affect Your Language Learning Progress
  2. Proficiency Levels
  3. Useful Tools to Help You Learn Turkish Effectively
  4. Learn Turkish Online with TurkishClass101!
  5. Utilize TurkishClass101 to Learn Turkish the Easy Way!

Factors That Affect Your Language Learning Progress

A number of factors are involved in determining how long it takes to learn Turkish. Following is a breakdown of each one and how it will affect your ability to learn the Turkish language. 

Your Reason for Learning 

The first thing you need to do is determine your reason for learning Turkish. 

Will you use it for managing a business relationship or for social conversations? Will you be writing academic papers in Turkish or do you need it to search for information on the internet? Or maybe you need it because you’ll be traveling or studying in Turkey? 

Your objective will determine the proficiency level you need to achieve, which in turn will tell you how long you’ll need to study. 

In addition, your goal can clue you in on how to use your time. If there’s some urgency to attain a certain level of Turkish, you have to plan accordingly and be more systematic. If there’s no urgency, you can extend your studies over a longer period of time. 

Your Learning Environment

What are your learning methods? What resource(s) are you using? Are you attending a college course, seeing a private tutor, or learning online? And how intensive are your courses? 

These are all factors that can speed up or slow down your progress! 

Your Native Language

If your native language is structured very differently from Turkish in terms of alphabet/script, grammar, phonology, syntax, etc., it will take longer for you to learn Turkish. 

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the United States has categorized all world languages into four groups, according to their linguistic and/or cultural differences from English. Category I languages are the easiest for English speakers to pick up, while Category IV languages are the most difficult. Turkish is considered a Category III language. To give you an idea, a few other languages in this category include: 

  • Bulgarian
  • Czech
  • Finnish
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hungarian
  • Polish
  • Russian
  • Tagalog

Now, how long does it take to learn the Turkish language based on the estimations of the FSI? They’ve estimated that it takes 44 weeks or 1100 hours to reach a professional working level in Category III languages.

Your Previous Language Learning Experience

If you have prior language learning experience or were raised bilingual, it will take you less time to learn a new language. This is because you’ve been down that road before. You already know the best methods for studying, memorizing vocabulary, and practicing your skills, so you’ll find the process much easier than a monolingual would. 

Your Capability and Talent

I think we have to accept that some people are more talented at learning new languages than others. Those who have natural ability or are inclined to learn new languages are definitely at an advantage.

A Speedometer Reading 0 MPH

Learning pace

Proficiency Levels

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR or CEFRL) is the international standard for determining one’s proficiency level in a language. It has six levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2.

Let’s take a look at these levels and go over what you can accomplish in Turkish at each stage.

Beginner Level

The beginner stage encompasses levels A1 and A2 of the CEFR scale, and it’s also referred to as the “Basic User” level. 

Once you complete the beginner level:

  • You can carry out daily conversations and perform tasks such as introducing yourself, shopping, asking and answering simple questions, and meeting your urgent requirements.
  • You will know some basic nouns, adjectives, and verbs.

To get a better idea of what you’ll be learning as you approach this level, check out the beginner lesson 5 Sentence Patterns for Beginners on TurkishClass101.com. 

100-120 hours of study will be required to reach this level. Flashcards will be useful at this stage.

You can take the A1 or A2 TOMER test at Istanbul University or Anadolu University in order to prove your proficiency. 

Intermediate Level

CEFR refers to this stage as “Independent User,” which consists of the B1 and B2 levels. 

Once you complete the intermediate level:

  • You can (to a certain degree) speak and understand Turkish, read newspapers and articles in Turkish, and even think in Turkish.
  • You will know even more vocabulary, including pronouns, adverbs, and conjunction words.
  • You will also be familiar with some of the tenses used in Turkish. 

Are you curious what intermediate-level lessons will look like? Then head over to our lesson 25 Must-Know Intermediate Phrases!

450-490 hours will be required to get to this level. Talking with native speakers, reading Turkish content, and watching Turkish television shows will be very helpful in getting to this stage.

You can test for the B1 or B2 level through TOMER at Istanbul University or Anadolu University. You can also get B2-level certification if you take and pass the TYS (Türkçe Yeterlik Sınavı) / TPE (Turkish Proficiency Exam).

A Certificate of Achievement Paper

Advanced Level

CEFR refers to this stage as “Proficient User” and it consists of the C1 and C2 levels. 

Once you complete the advanced level:

  • You can carry out deeper conversations about culture, science, art, literature, and politics. 
  • You can engage in more complex situations, such as trade or business-related exchanges. 

To get an idea of what you’re dealing with at this point in your learning journey, have a look at our lesson 25 Must-Know Advanced Phrases

1000-1100 hours will be required to get to this level. In addition to watching, listening to, and reading Turkish content, being able to live or study in Turkey for a while will help you attain this level of fluency much faster.

You can get C1 and C2 certification if you take and pass the TYS (Türkçe Yeterlik Sınavı) / TPE (Turkish Proficiency Exam).

A Woman Thinking in Front of a Blackboard with Thought Bubbles Drawn in Chalk

Useful Tools to Help You Learn Turkish Effectively

Now that you have a better idea of how long it takes to learn the Turkish language, you can start preparing yourself accordingly. To give you a headstart, here are a few tips on how to study Turkish for the best results. 

  • Schools and private lessons. 

    These are two of the best and quickest ways to learn Turkish. However, both are quite expensive and offer little (if any) flexibility timewise.
  • Learning on your own

    If traditional classes are not a practical option for you, you might be wondering how to learn Turkish by yourself. While the idea may seem daunting, there are plenty of effective ways to learn from home!

    For example, you can learn Turkish online (oftentimes, for free). TurkishClass101 is a great resource you can use, but we’ll talk more about us later. 😉
  • Real-life application. 

    Whichever path you take, the most important thing is to put together and apply everything you’ve learned. You can do this by…

    …reading Turkish blogs, articles, books, and newspapers.
    …listening to Turkish radio channels or podcasts.
    …watching TV shows, videos, and movies in Turkish.
    speakers

    Of course, you should also consider moving to Turkey and living there for a while. This will help you improve in all aspects of your learning!
A Man Reading at a Cafe

Just a reminder: Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Be brave and try to use the things you’ve learned.

Learn Turkish Online with TurkishClass101!

Would you like to learn Turkish online in a fun and effective way? If yes, all you need to do is visit TurkishClass101.com and create your free lifetime account. 

So, what great resources do we offer our learners? How can we benefit your studies? 

A Single Resource for All

TurkishClass101.com provides lessons and other learning materials that cover all aspects of the Turkish language, for learners at every level. You can find tons of written, audio, and video materials covering Turkish grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, as well as exercises to improve your listening, writing, and speaking skills. We also have plenty of lessons about Turkish culture, so you can get the full experience! 

Free Resources

Many of the resources we offer are free, and they’re a great place to start if you need to pick up the Turkish-language basics. Here are just a few examples of what you can expect from our free content: 

We also have numerous vocabulary lists, a Word of the Day feature, and a Turkish dictionary to help you build up your vocabulary base! 

Premium and Premium PLUS Services

Upgrading to a Premium account will give you access to even more content not accessible with a basic account. While this upgrade isn’t necessary to learn the language or use our site, it will help you learn more efficiently with a broader range of resources. 

To speed up your progress and further enhance your learning, you can upgrade to Premium PLUS. The most notable feature of this subscription is our MyTeacher service, which allows you to study and practice with a private teacher. 

This service will also give you: 

  • One-on-one interaction with your personal teacher
  • Guidance & ongoing assessment
  • Weekly assignments and badges for the assignments you complete
  • Constructive feedback

Learn On the Go 

Location is no longer a roadblock in your Turkish studies! With today’s technology, you can continue learning wherever you are. Download the free InnovativeLanguage101 app and use it anywhere, anytime.

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Utilize TurkishClass101 to Learn Turkish the Easy Way!

In this article, we answered the question: How fast can you learn Turkish? We also guided you concerning the best ways to learn Turkish both online and offline, so that you can make the most of your study time. 

Don’t lose any more time—start utilizing all of the resources TurkishClass101.com has to offer. 

Already a member? Feel free to leave us feedback on your experiences so we can continue to get better, and make your learning journey even more enjoyable. 

Before you go: How likely are you to start learning Turkish after reading this article? Is there anything still holding you back? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help!

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The Top 30 Inspirational and Motivational Turkish Proverbs

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I believe proverbs are an important part of any culture. Though we don’t know under what circumstances or by whom they were put forward, they have been passed down from one generation of people to another. They serve to teach us life lessons while showing us different points of view. 

As a learner of the Turkish language, you’ll greatly benefit from studying Turkish proverbs and sayings. Doing so will expand your vocabulary, help you better understand the inner workings of the language, and provide you with insight into the core values and traditions of Turkish culture

In this article, you’ll learn thirty inspirational and motivational Turkish proverbs with their English translations. We’ve categorized them by topic, so feel free to skim through and find a topic or theme that interests you!

    → By the way, to spice up your Turkish conversations even more, you may want to brush up on these Essential Idioms That Will Make You Sound Like a Native Speaker!

      Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
      1. Turkish Proverbs About Time
      2. Turkish Proverbs About Hope
      3. Turkish Proverbs About Friendship
      4. Turkish Proverbs About Happiness
      5. Turkish Proverbs About Trust
      6. Turkish Proverbs About Money
      7. Turkish Proverbs About Wisdom
      8. Miscellaneous Proverbs
      9. Learn More with TurkishClass101!

      1. Turkish Proverbs About Time

      Time is many things to us. It’s full of opportunity, it’s always running out, there’s never quite enough of it, and we’re always looking for the best ways to spend the time we do have. With this in mind, here are some Turkish proverbs about time: 

        1TurkishZaman her şeyin ilacıdır.
      LiterallyTime is the medicine of everything.
      Equivalent in EnglishTime is the best medicine.
      As time passes, all the troubles we experience are forgotten or the sorrow we feel decreases.

      Example:

      Üzülme, bugünler de geçecek; zaman her şeyin ilacıdır.

      “Don’t worry, these days will be over, too; time is the best medicine.”

        2TurkishSakla samanı, gelir zamanı.
      LiterallySave the hay, its time will come.
      Equivalent in EnglishKeep a thing seven years and you’ll find a use for it.
      If you hold onto something you have for long enough, it will eventually become useful.

      Example:

      İyi ki kızımın bebek arabasını saklamışım, şimdi senin çok işine yarayacak. Eee, sakla samanı gelir zamanı.

      “Fortunately, I saved my daughter’s stroller. It will be very useful for you now. See, keep a thing for seven years and you’ll find a use for it.”  

        3TurkishVakit nakittir.
      LiterallyTime is cash.
      Equivalent in EnglishTime is money.
      This proverb emphasizes that time is a valuable resource.

      Example:

      Bir an önce işe gitmeliyim. Eee, ne de olsa vakit nakittir.

      “I have to go to work as soon as possible. Well, after all, time is money.”  

        4TurkishBugünün işini yarına bırakma.
      LiterallyDon’t leave today’s work for tomorrow.
      Equivalent in EnglishNever put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
      This one emphasizes that one should not delay doing something that can be done today. 

      Example:

      Ödevimi yarın yaparım deyince babam bugünün işini yarına bırakma dedi.

      “When I said I would do my homework tomorrow, my father said ‘Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.’ “

        5TurkishSona kalan dona kalır.
      LiterallyThe one who stays the last, is left for the frost.
      Equivalent in EnglishThe devil takes the hindmost.
      The people who lag behind will either lose or not have any benefits.

      Example:

      Ali amca çocuklara şeker veriyor, koşun; sona kalan dona kalır.

      “Uncle Ali is giving candy to the children, run; the devil takes the hindmost.”

        6TurkishErken kalkan yol alır.
      LiterallyThe one who gets up early proceeds.
      Equivalent in EnglishThe early bird catches the worm.
      This proverb advises that if someone does something immediately (or before anyone else), he/she will have an advantage.

      Example:

      Daha 5 saatlik yolumuz var, artık yola çıksak iyi olur. Ne de olsa, erken kalkan yol alır.

      “We have five more hours to go, we’d better get going. After all, the early bird catches the worm.”

      A Businessman Checking His Watch

      2. Turkish Proverbs About Hope

      We could all use some uplifting words now and then, especially when we’re at our lowest point. Whether you or a loved one needs some encouragement, these two Turkish proverbs about hope will deliver! 

        7TurkishÇıkmadık candan umut kesilmez.
      LiterallyIf the person didn’t die, there is still hope.
      Equivalent in EnglishWhile there’s life, there’s hope.
      If something didn’t fail completely, there is still a chance to save it.

      Example:

      Üzülme, son aday henüz açıklanmadı. Çıkmadın candan umut kesilmez.

      “Don’t worry, the last candidate has not been announced yet. While there’s life, there’s hope.”

        8TurkishGün doğmadan neler doğar.
      LiterallyBefore the sun rises, a lot of things rise.
      Equivalent in EnglishTomorrow is another day.
      A person should never lose hope, because nobody knows what’s going to happen tomorrow.

      Example:

      Öyle hemen umudunu kaybetme. Gün doğmadan neler doğar.

      “Don’t lose your hope. Tomorrow is another day.”

      3. Turkish Proverbs About Friendship

      A true friendship is one of the most precious things a person can experience—and a fake or weak friendship can be one of the worst things! The following Turkish proverbs about friendship offer advice on how to choose friends wisely and how to be a good friend yourself. 

        9TurkishBana arkadaşını söyle sana kim olduğunu söyleyeyim.
      LiterallyTell me who your friend is, I will tell you who you are.
      Equivalent in EnglishTell me who you go with, and I’ll tell you who you are.
      This proverb means that a person’s friends are a reflection of who he/she is.

      Example:

      John o gruba girdiğinden beri her gün kavga ediyor. Eee, ne demişler ‘Bana arkadaşını söyle sana kim olduğunu söyleyeyim.’

      “Since John got into that group, he’s been fighting every day. Well, they say, ‘Tell me who you go with, and I’ll tell you who you are.’ ”  

        10TurkishDost kara günde belli olur.
      LiterallyA real friend is understood on a bad day.
      Equivalent in EnglishA friend in need is a friend indeed.
      A person who stays by your side during difficult times is someone you can really rely on.

      Example:

      İflas ettiğinden beri Mary dışında hiçbir arkadaşı yanında değil.  Eee, dost kara günde belli olur.

      “Since she went bankrupt, none of her friends are with her except for Mary. Well, a friend in need is a friend indeed.”

      Three Old Ladies and an Old Man Laughing While Playing Cards

        11TurkishDost acı söyler.
      LiterallyReal friend talks bitter.
      A real friend always tells the truth—including when their friend is wrong—even if it hurts.

      Example:

      Kusura bakma bu olayda sen hatalısın; dost acı söyler.

      “Sorry, in this case you are wrong; real friend talks bitter.”

      4. Turkish Proverbs About Happiness

      We all desire happiness, but there are days when it seems impossible to find. Below are a couple of Turkish proverbs about happiness that provide insight on the topic. 

        12TurkishKutlu gün doğuşundan bellidir.
      LiterallyA happy day is known from the way of the sunrise.
      The affairs that will lead to happy and good results manifest themselves from the beginning.

      Example:

      Başından beri her şey o kadar iyi gitti ki, işi senin alacağını biliyordum. Büyüklerin dediği gibi: ‘Kutlu gün doğuşundan bellidir.’

      “Everything went so well from the start that I knew you would get the job. As the elderly say: ‘A happy day is known from the way of the sunrise.’ “

        13TurkishUlu ağacın gürültüsü dal ile, mutlu evin yakışığı döl ile.
      LiterallyThe noise of the great tree with the twig, the light of the happy house with the offspring.
      Just as a tree grows by branching, the happiness of a family is reinforced by the children it raises.

      Example:

      Onlar çok kalabalık bir aile. Eee, ne de olsa Ulu ağacın gürültüsü dal ile, mutlu evin yakışığı döl ile.

      “They are a very crowded family. Well, after all, the noise of the great tree with the twig, the light of the happy house with the offspring.”

      A Father and His Two Children in a Field

      5. Turkish Proverbs About Trust

      Knowing who (or what) to trust is an important skill to have, but it can also be one of the most difficult things to determine. To give you a bit of advice on the matter, here are a couple of Turkish proverbs about trust. 

        14TurkishGüvenme varlığa, düşersin darlığa.
      LiterallyDon’t trust wealth, you would fall into poverty.
      People should not be extravagant with their spending if they have a lot of money. If they don’t manage their money properly, they can find themselves in poverty. 

      Example:

      Paranı çarçur etme; ne derler ‘Güvenme varlığa, düşersin darlığa.’

      “Don’t waste your money; they say, ‘Don’t trust wealth, you would fall into poverty.’ “

        15TurkishGüvenme dostuna, saman doldurur postuna.
      LiterallyDo not trust your friend, he/she will fill your skin with hay.
      This proverb implies that before you trust someone, you should test him/her. If you trust someone blindly, he/she might deceive you.


      Example:
      Sen herkese çok güveniyorsun. Şu atasözünü hiç duymadın mı? ‘Güvenme dostuna, saman doldurur postuna.’

      “You trust everyone very much. Have you ever heard of this proverb? ‘Do not trust your friend, he/she will fill your skin with hay.’ “

      6. Turkish Proverbs About Money

      As we all know, every language has plenty of quotes and proverbs about money and how to use it wisely. Below are some famous Turkish proverbs about money.

        16TurkishParayı veren düdüğü çalar.
      LiterallyThe one who gives the money blows the whistle.
      Equivalent in EnglishHe who pays the piper calls the tune.
      The one who pays for something is the one who has a say in related matters.

      Example:

      Sen de ona para verseydin, sana da dondurma getirirdi; parayı veren düdüğü çalar.

      “If you had given him money, he would have brought you ice cream, too; who pays the piper calls the tune.”  

        17TurkishPara parayı çeker.
      LiterallyMoney draws money.
      Equivalent in EnglishThem as has, gits.
      If someone has money, he/she can make more money with it since money brings more advantages and opportunities.

      Example:

      Jane lotoyu tutturmuş. Eee para parayı çeker.

      “Jane has won the lottery. Well, them as has, gits.” 

        18TurkishEkmek aslanın ağzında.
      LiterallyBread is in the mouth of the lion.
      Equivalent in EnglishMoney doesn’t grow on trees.
      This proverb means that it’s not easy to earn money; it requires a lot of effort.

      Example:

      Paranı çarçur etmemelisin. Malum, ekmek aslanın ağzında.

      “You shouldn’t waste your money. As you know, bread is in the mouth of the lion.”

        19TurkishPara ile imanın kimde olduğu bilinmez.
      LiterallyIt’s not known who has money or faith.
      Faith is something within the heart of a person, so we don’t know who really has faith in God. Likewise, we really don’t know how much money a person has.

      Example:

      Joe amcanın 10 milyon dolar miras bırakmasına çok şaşırdım. Para ile imanın kimde olduğu bilinmez.

      “I was surprised that Uncle Joe left a legacy of ten million dollars. It’s not known who has money or faith.” 

        20TurkishPara insana dil, elbise insana yol öğretir.
      LiterallyMoney teaches man a language, clothes teach the way.
      Your wealth and position determine your place in society, and can give you more or less prestige than others.

      Example:

      O adamı lotoyu kazanana dek hiç kimse sevmezdi. Şimdi etrafında bir sürü insan var. Eee, para insana dil, elbise insana yol öğretir.

      “Nobody liked that man until he won the lottery. Now there are a lot of people around him. Well, money teaches man a language, clothes teach the way.”

      Several Hundred Dollar Bills

      7. Turkish Proverbs About Wisdom

      Wisdom is another concept that people in every culture talk a lot about. Below are a few great Turkish proverbs that offer general words of wisdom for many of life’s circumstances. 

        21TurkishAkıl akıldan üstündür.
      LiterallyOne mind is better than another one.
      Equivalent in EnglishTwo heads are better than one.
      We can’t know it all. It’s good to ask for other people’s opinions, because they may have better ideas than we do. 

      Example:

      Sana da sorayım. Ne de olsa akıl akıldan üstündür. Sence ona nasıl davranmalıyım? 

      “Let me ask you as well. After all, two heads are better than one. How do you think I should treat him/her?”

        22TurkishAkıl yaşta değil baştadır.
      LiterallyWisdom isn’t at age, it’s on the head.
      Equivalent in EnglishWisdom doesn’t come with age.
      A person doesn’t need to be old in order to think wisely, or to realize what’s going on. Using one’s brain and learning from experience leads to wisdom. Therefore, a person is not wise just because they’re old; a person who is young may also be wise.

      Example:

      Çok genç ve tecrübesiz olmasına rağmen durumu iyi idare etti. Ne de olsa, akıl yaşta değil baştadır. 

      “Although he is very young and inexperienced, he managed the situation well. After all, wisdom doesn’t come with age.”

        23TurkishAkla gelmeyen başa gelir.
      LiterallyThe one that doesn’t come to mind, happens.
      Equivalent in EnglishThe unexpected always happens.
      We shouldn’t forget that things can happen, even if we don’t expect or foresee them.

      Example:

      Kapının önünde zili tamir ediyordum. Kapı açık diye anahtarımı almadım. Bir rüzgar esti, kapı kapandı. Akla gelmeyen başa geliyor.

       “I was fixing the bell in front of the door. I didn’t get my key because the door was open. The wind blew, the door got closed. The unexpected always happens.”

      Image of a Human Brain with Strings of Light, Symbolizing Neural Connections

        24TurkishAkıllı düşmandan değil; salak dosttan kork.
      LiterallyBe afraid of a stupid friend, not of a smart enemy.
      People who act thoughtlessly, do not see the truth, and cannot see the consequences of the words they say, may unknowingly harm their friends—even if they have good intentions. On the other hand, we can anticipate and predict what a smart enemy can do and take precautions. 

      Example:

      En iyi arkadaşım patavatsızca konuşup, beni zor durumda bıraktı. Akıllı düşmandan değil; salak dosttan kork.

      “My friend talked thoughtlessly and put me in a difficult situation. Be afraid of a stupid friend, not of a smart enemy.”  

        25TurkishCahile söz anlatmak, deveye hendek atlatmaktan güçtür.
      LiterallyIt is more difficult to speak to an ignorant person than to get a camel over a ditch.
      Equivalent in EnglishLike getting blood from a turnip.
      This proverb means that it’s impossible to explain something to an ignorant person.

      Example:

      Hepimiz en az üç kez anlattık ama anlamadı. Cahile söz anlatmak, deveye hendek atlatmaktan güç.

      “All of us told him at least three times, but he didn’t understand. It’s like getting blood from a turnip.”

      8. Miscellaneous Proverbs

      To wrap up, let’s look at some of the best Turkish proverbs on a variety of other concepts! 

        26TurkishOlacakla öleceğe çare yoktur.
      LiterallyThere is no cure for the things that will happen or the person that will die.
      Equivalent in EnglishWhatever will be, will be.
      We can’t control everything. Whatever is meant or predetermined to take place will take place.

      Example:

      O kadar uğraştım ama yine de olmadı. Anladım ki olacakla öleceğe çare yok.

      “I tried so hard, but it still didn’t happen. I realized that whatever will be, will be.” 

        27TurkishLafla peynir gemisi yürümez.
      LiterallyThe cheese ship doesn’t move with words.
      Equivalent in EnglishActions speak louder than words.
      This one means that nothing happens when we only talk about it; action is needed. In other words, what you do is more important than what you say.

      Example:

      O hep konuşuyor, hiçbir şey yaptığı yok ama lafla da peynir gemisi yürümez. 

      “He/she always talks, he/she does nothing, but actions speak louder than words.” 

        28TurkishKomşunun tavuğu komşuya kaz görünür.
      LiterallyThe neighbor’s chicken seems like a goose to the neighbor.
      Equivalent in EnglishThe grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
      This proverb means that what other people have always seems better than what we have.

      Example:

      Sally Jen’in elbisesini çok beğendi. Halbuki aynısı onda da var. Komşunun tavuğu komşuya kaz görünür.

      “Sally liked Jen’s dress very much. However, she has the same dress. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”  

        29TurkishSütten ağzı yanan yoğurdu üfleyerek yer.
      LiterallyThe one who is burnt by the milk, eats yogurt by blowing on it.
      Equivalent in EnglishOnce burnt, twice shy.
      If someone has had an unpleasant experience in the past, they become more cautious.

      Example:

      O hemen David’in evlenme teklifini kabul etmek istemiyor. Eee, sütten ağzı yanan yoğurdu üfleyerek yer.

      “He doesn’t want to accept David’s marriage proposal right away. Well, once burnt, twice shy.” 

        30TurkishAltın pas tutmaz.
      LiterallyGold doesn’t get rusted.
      Nobody can dishonor someone who is honorable and dignified.

      Example:

      O ne derse desin, herkes beni biliyor. Altın pas tutmaz.

      “No matter what he/she says, everyone knows me. Gold does not get rusted.”  

      9. Learn More with TurkishClass101!

      In this article, we went over a bunch of Turkish proverbs with their English translations. Now you can impress your Turkish friends, colleagues, or even your boss by using these popular Turkish proverbs at the right moment. 

      Would you like to continue your Turkish studies in the fastest, easiest, and most fun way possible? Then bookmark TurkishClass101.com! We provide numerous video and audio lessons, tons of vocabulary lists, and a number of free resources (such as this Turkish dictionary), all designed to help you get a better grasp of the language. We also provide the MyTeacher service for Premium PLUS members; this service allows you to work and practice one-on-one with your own personal language tutor. 

      Interested? You can download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

      Happy learning! 

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Istanbul Travel Guide: The Best Places to Visit in Istanbul

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Hello, everyone! Are you all ready for a tour of Istanbul? I’m your Istanbul travel guide, and as your guide, I can guarantee that every single one of you will find an activity you’re interested in. 

Do you love history or architecture? Are you a nature-lover? Are you traveling just to enjoy the beautiful scenery? Do you like partying and nightlife? Are you into shopping? Do you enjoy trying different cuisines? 

Even if you answered “yes” to all of these questions, you’ll be able to find your every point of interest in Istanbul. 

It’s a magical city where you’ll…

  • …find yourself in the middle of a fascinating history.
  • …be fascinated by the architecture dating back centuries.
  • …become speechless because of the marvelous scenery.
  • …taste the best food in the world.
  • …be able to buy authentic items, spices, etc.
  • …see its other face at night and enjoy the lively atmosphere at a nightclub.

Have we given you enough reasons to visit Istanbul? Great! Read on to learn everything you need to know before packing your bags.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. All About Istanbul!
  2. 10 Must-See Places in Istanbul
  3. Turkish Survival Phrases for Travelers
  4. Learn More with TurkishClass101!

All About Istanbul!

The Turkish City of Istanbul

General Information

To kick off our Istanbul visit guide, here’s some general information you should know about the city before packing your bags.

  • Istanbul is located in northwestern Turkey in the Marmara region
  • With 15.5 million residents, it’s the most populous city in Turkey and in all of Europe. 
  • It has a surface area of 2063 sq. mi (roughly 5343 sq. km).
  • It’s a transcontinental city because the Bosphorus connects the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea. The Bosphorus also divides the city into two sides: European/Thracian and Asian/Anatolian.
  • Istanbul is one of the oldest cities in the world. Its history goes back to about 2500 years ago. It has had many different names over the span of its history, two of which were Byzantium and Constantinople.
  • It has served as the capital of four different empires: the Roman Empire between the years of 330-395, the Byzantine Empire between the years of 395-1204 and 1261-1453, the Latin Empire between 1204-1261, and finally the Ottoman Empire between 1453-1922.
  • Most people think that Istanbul is still the capital of Turkey, but this is not true; Ankara is the current capital of Turkey.
  • Istanbul has microclimates because of its size and various topographies. Furthermore, it’s inclusive of two different seas. It has oceanic and humid subtropical climates in the north part of the city and on the Bosphorus coast. It has Mediterranean climate in the south part of the city and on the Marmara Sea. 
  • While talking about climate, I can hear you asking, “What is the best time to visit Istanbul?” Perfect question. The best time to visit Istanbul is from March to May or from September to November, because the weather conditions are milder in those months.
  • Istanbul is the center of trade and industry in the country due to its strategic location. It’s at an intersection of land and sea routes, which definitely keeps the trade and industry alive. Istanbul is the leading city of Turkey not only economically, but also historically and culturally.
  • Istanbul has the highest number of English-speaking people in Turkey. You won’t have any communication problems in most hotels, restaurants, or shops. Places like Sultanahmet, Spice Bazaar, and Grand Bazaar have guides who speak English (and a few other languages).

Istanbul Travel Tips

Here are some essential tips on how to visit Istanbul—and how to prepare beforehand—for the best possible experience. 

  • You must have a visa to visit Istanbul. It’s not a complicated process; you can apply for an e-visa.
  • Make sure to have your passport with you at all times.
  • Turkey’s currency is the Turkish Lira. There are exchange bureaus within the city, primarily at popular touristic areas. However, in order to get into the city from the airport, you’ll need some cash. Although you won’t get the best rates at the airport, you might want to exchange a small amount there.
  • If you plan to visit Istanbul in winter, you might want to bring a small umbrella with you.
  • Make sure to have a camera. I know we all have smartphones that have cameras, but you might prefer a more professional one that will help you immortalize the moment.
  • Last but not least, I need to answer the most commonly asked question: “Is Istanbul safe to travel to?” Yes, Istanbul is mostly safe for travelers, but there are a few areas you need to stay away from (especially at night). Also, watch out for pickpockets at places like Taksim Square, Sultanahmet, the Grand Bazaar, and the Spice Bazaar.

10 Must-See Places in Istanbul

Because there are so many unique sights and experiences in Istanbul, it can be difficult to know which places you should prioritize during your stay. In this section, we’ll introduce you to the very best places to visit in Istanbul. Let’s get to it! 

1 – Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya Camii)

Hagia Sophia was built in 537 during the reign of the Roman Emperor Justinian I. He employed the talent of Greek geometers to design the place, which was meant to serve as a Christian cathedral. However, in 1453, Mehmet the Conqueror had the cathedral converted into a mosque.

This work of art was the inspiration for other mosques, including: 

  • The Blue Mosque
  • The Suleymaniye Mosque
  • The Kılıç Ali Pasha Complex
  • The Rustem Pasha Mosque

It was restored a couple of times over the years.

Hagia Sophia

In 1931, the mosque became closed off to the public before reopening as a museum in 1935. This reopening was accomplished via the efforts of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. 

According to the statistics provided by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Hagia Sophia was Turkey’s most-visited tourist place in 2015 and 2019. It was also placed on World Monuments Watch in 1996 and 1998.

In 2006, it became forbidden to use the Hagia Sophia as a place of worship, either as a mosque or a church. A small room was reserved for the Christian and Muslim staff to use as a prayer room.

There has been a lot of pressure from other world countries to convert it back to a church. Contrary to this, a new decision has very recently been made by the Council of Ministers to revert it to a mosque. It’s been said that the mosaics in the building will be preserved, but they will be covered with curtains, carpets, etc. during the prayers. It has also been declared that the doors of Hagia Sophia will always remain open to all Muslims and non-Muslims.

After this change, UNESCO will be re-evaluating the status of Hagia Sophia, which was on the World Heritage List.

2 – Topkapi Palace (Topkapı Sarayı)

Topkapi Palace is the palace where the Ottoman Empire was managed for about 400 of its 600 years. It’s also where the sultans lived and could accommodate about 4000 people at a time. Mehmet the Conqueror ordered its construction and it was built in 1478.

It was first used as a museum in 1924. When first established, it was on an area of approximately 700,000 m²; it now has an area of only 80,000 m².

It consists of hundreds of rooms and chambers, some of which are not open to visitors. A couple of the most interesting parts that are open to the public include the Ottoman Imperial Harem (where the sultan’s family would spend the day) and the treasury where the Spoonmaker’s Diamond and the Topkapi Dagger are displayed. 

The palace has many amazing Islamic art pieces, hand-painted tiles, splendidly decorated rooms, and safeguarded towers. Is that all? Of course not! You’ll also find Ottoman garments, weapons, miniatures, and Islamic relics on display. Also, don’t forget to see the illuminated manuscripts (such as the Topkapi manuscript).

The palace is located within the Historic Areas of Istanbul, which was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1985.

3 – Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnıcı)

This is the largest ancient cistern in Istanbul, and it’s located 490 feet (150 meters) southwest of the Hagia Sophia on the European side of Istanbul. It was built in the sixth century by the order of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. There was previously a basilica located here, hence the name Basilica Cistern

As one of the most fascinating museums in Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern has a ceiling supported by 336 marble columns and today has little water because it’s open to the public. There are two Medusa heads used as the bases of two columns. One head is sideways and the other one is upside-down. There’s no written record concerning these two Medusa heads.

The cistern is not only used as a museum, but also hosts many national and international events.

It was used as a location in the 1963 James Bond film From Russia with Love and was also featured in other movies. Furthermore, it was the subject of Dan Brown’s novel, Inferno.

Just a reminder: If you have asthma, it might not be suitable for you to visit this wonderful place due to the high humidity.

4 – Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)

The Blue Mosque was built between the years of 1609 and 1616 during the reign of Ahmet I. It’s located next to Hagia Sophia and is regarded as the last great mosque of the classical era.

It contains the tomb of Ahmet, a madrasah (a word which refers to any kind of educational institution), and a hospice. It’s called the Blue Mosque because its interior walls are decorated with hand-painted blue tiles. It has five major domes, six minarets, and eight secondary domes.

The Blue Mosque

Its upper area is adorned with 20,000 hand-painted glazed ceramic tiles with sixty different tulip designs. The lower areas have 200 stained glass windows that are illuminated.

Many of the lamps inside the Blue Mosque were coated with gold and gems, but all of those items have either been taken out or stolen.

Pope Benedict XVI visited this mosque in 2006. It was considered an important event because this was only the second time in history that a pope visited an Islamic place of worship.

5 – Mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent (Süleymaniye Camii)

This mosque was ordered to be built by the Ottoman sultan Suleyman. Built at the highest end of the city to aggrandize the sultan, it was completed in 1557 by Mimar Sinan—the best engineer and architect of the time.

It has four minarets with ten galleries, representing that Suleyman the Magnificent was the tenth sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

It’s actually a complex that also has religious and cultural structures. Originally, it had the mosque, a hospital, public baths (hamam), a primary school, four Qur’an schools, a medical college, a Caravanserai, and a public kitchen where the poor people were served food. Many of these structures still exist, though the public kitchen is now a well-known restaurant and the hospital is the Turkish Army’s factory. Outside the mosque, you’ll also find the tomb of Mimar Sinan.

6 – Yedikule Fortress (Yedikule Zindanları or Yedikule Hisarı)

Yedikule Fortress means “Fortress of the Seven Towers.”

The Byzantine Emperor Theodosius wanted to welcome his visitors (kings, etc.) elegantly, so he wanted a Golden Gate to be built. His son, who inherited the throne after the death of Theodosius, had four towers built and had them combined with the Golden Gate.

After the conquest of Istanbul, three more towers were built at the order of Fatih Sultan Mehmet. Every one of these towers has a name.

Unfortunately, only some of the fortresses still exist today. There are about seventeen pieces (cannonballs, marble columns, etc.) displayed outdoors.

7 – The Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi)

Built in 1348 as Christea Turris (Tower of Christ in Latin), this is a high, cylindrical medieval stone tower that is cone-capped. It was the city’s tallest structure when it was built.

It underwent several restorations before becoming open to the public in 1960. 

There are two elevators you can take to the upper levels, where there’s a restaurant and a café. The panoramic view of Istanbul and the Bosphorus from here is spectacular. There’s also a nightclub where you can watch a Turkish show and have a great time.

8 – Cruise the Bosphorus

If you would like to see more of Istanbul, you can have a cruise on the Bosphorus. Boats leave in the mornings and go toward the Black Sea. You can have your lunch at Anadolu Kavagi before walking up the hill to Yoros Castle for an amazing view. Just relax and enjoy the beauty of Istanbul!

The Bosphorus

9 – Grand Bazaar (Kapalıçarşı)

The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest covered markets the world over, and one of the oldest. As a matter of fact, it’s considered the first shopping mall in the world. Today, it’s one of the most famous attractions in Istanbul. It includes 61 covered streets, more than 4000 shops, and 26,000 employees.

The Grand Bazaar

Its construction began not long after the conquest of Istanbul, in an attempt to revive the city’s economy. 

For the past couple of years, the Grand Bazaar has been undergoing restoration. 

10 – Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı)

The Spice Bazaar is the second most popular covered shopping area after the Grand Bazaar. You can buy Turkish delight, dried fruits, nuts, herbs, olives, and different kinds of spices. It now has a total of 85 shops in it. 

There’s also a mosque called New Mosque (Yeni Camii) next to the bazaar. You might want to visit it while you’re in the area, so you can admire its tile-work and gold leaves.

Bonus

It’s impossible to talk about every point of attraction in Istanbul in just one article. But I did want to mention a few more places to visit in Istanbul if you have time: 

  • The Chora Church (Kariye Museum)
  • Rustem Pasha Mosque
  • Eyup Sultan Mosque
  • Fatih Mosque
  • The Hippodrome
  • Dolmabahçe Palace
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
  • Carpet Museum
  • Pera Museum

In addition to these, you should also visit Ortakoy (a popular neighborhood) and Istiklal Street (a famous street of Istanbul).

Dolmabahçe Palace

Turkish Survival Phrases for Travelers

Here are a few words and phrases that will help you communicate with locals while you visit Istanbul.

EnglishTurkish
Hello.Merhaba.
Goodbye.Hoşçakalın.
Please.Lütfen.
Thank you.Teşekkür ederim.
Excuse me.Afedersiniz.
Do you speak English?İngilizce biliyor musunuz?
Can you help me?Bana yardım edebilir misiniz?
I don’t understand you.Sizi anlamıyorum.
Where is the restroom?Tuvalet nerede?
How much is this?Bu ne kadar?

Learn More with TurkishClass101!

I hope this Istanbul travel guide gave you a much better idea of what to expect from this beautiful city and which spots you should definitely see. However, there’s still a lot more to know about the city, country, culture, and language!

You can get practical information on all these things by visiting TurkishClass101.com. We provide numerous audio recordings, tons of vocabulary lists, and free resources (including a Turkish-English dictionary you can refer to). In addition, our Premium PLUS members have access to MyTeacher—a feature that allows you to learn and practice with your very own personal tutor. 

Interested? You can download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

By the way, which of these Istanbul locations are you most interested in seeing, and why? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Are There Any English Words Used in Turkish?

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When we’re learning a new language, it’s always a relief to find out that our target language uses a bunch of words from our native tongue.

The good news for you is that there are plenty of English words used in Turkish! Memorizing these words can give you a huge vocabulary boost with very little effort on your part and make the Turkish language seem a little less daunting. 

In this article, you’ll learn about the most common English words in Turkish as well as the language phenomenon known as Turklish. We’ll even introduce you to several English words borrowed from Turkish to show you how deep the vocabulary exchange is between these two languages. 

Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Introduction to Turklish
  2. English Loanwords in Turkish
  3. English Words of Turkic Origin
  4. Words with Similar Spelling / Pronunciation (But Different Meanings)
  5. Famous People, Franchise, and Movie Names in Turkish
  6. Learn More with TurkishClass101!

Introduction to Turklish 

Although we will mainly talk about loanwords in this article, we’ll start by introducing you to the concept of Turklish (Türkilizce). This refers to native Turkish speakers using a mixture of Turkish and English words when speaking.

As we all know, English is the dominant language in almost all aspects of life, from science to technology. Hollywood movies have undoubtedly played a role in spreading the influence of English even farther.

There are around two million Turkish people living and studying in English-speaking countries such as the U.S.A., Canada, the U.K., and Australia. These people often use a combination of Turkish and English when communicating with each other—a phenomenon that came to be known as Turklish in 1994. Furthermore, it’s common for Turks who also speak English to use Turklish in corporate or international companies in Turkey.

Turklish at Work

Of course, Turkish linguists are opposed to the use of Turklish. They say it ruins the Turkish language and that people, especially those who use this new language hybrid within Turkey, do so just to evoke admiration and to sound more knowledgeable than they really are.

Here are a few examples of Turklish:

  • Check etmek              –       To check
  • Feedback vermek      –       To give feedback
  • Cool görünmek          –       To look cool
  • Download etmek        –       To download
  • Spoiler vermek           –       To give away a spoiler
  • Mail göndermek         –       To send mail
  • Print etmek                  –       To print
  • Save etmek                 –       To save
  • Login olmak                –       To login
  • Logout olmak              –       To logout
  • Register olmak           –       To register
  • Password’ü unutmak   –       To forget password
  • Post etmek                  –       To post

Download

English Loanwords in Turkish

With the progress of technology and the growing popularity of social media, the use of English seems inevitable—even in countries where English is not an official language. 

Aside from Turklish phrases like those mentioned above, there are also borrowed English words in the Turkish language that retain their original (or a similar) meaning and spelling. But while these words may look similar on paper, they’re normally pronounced according to Turkish phonology

A lot of Turkish people (especially the younger generations) love to use these loanwords. Some might even do so because they think it will make them sound cool. However, linguists are not very happy about this situation.

Can you guess what any of these loanwords are? Let’s take a look. 

Loanwords spelled exactly the same way

The list of English loanwords in Turkish is pretty long. The examples below have exactly the same meaning and spelling as their English counterparts, but the majority of them are pronounced differently. 

Please note that on our list, you may also notice a few words that are not originally English—such as sauna (Finnish) and yoga (Sanskrit)—but which have become an integral part of the language over time. 

AtomHoldingMiniPlanSilo
BarIdealMinimumPokerSalon
BankerJetNetPopSiren
BravoKilogramNormalPrinterSlogan
CVLaptopModernProblemSpiral
DepoLatinMotelProgramTablet
DiplomaLensOnlineProteinTaboo
FanLiberalOrganRadarTank
FilmLimitOvalRealTrend
FinalLinkParkReformTV
FormMarketPartnerRiskVideo
GlobalMetalPatentRobotVitamin
GramMeteorPedagogSaunaYoga
HamburgerMidiPilotSetZebra

Loanwords spelled differently

Below is a list of English words in the Turkish language with slightly different spellings than their English counterparts. 

EnglishTurkishEnglishTurkish
AbnormalAnormalActiveAktif
AcademyAkademiAdaptationAdaptasyon
AcetoneAsetonAddressAdres
EnglishTurkishEnglishTurkish
ActionAksiyonAdvocateAvukat
ActorAktörBalconyBalkon
AcidAsitBalloonBalon
AcneAkneBankBanka
BazaarPazarLaserLazer
CakeKekMaskMaske
CardKartMaterialMateryal
CatalogKatalogMissionMisyon
ComicKomikNegativeNegatif
DanceDansObeseObez
DieselDizelOfficeOfis
DietDiyetPanicPanik
DisciplineDisiplinPartyParti
EditorEditörProjectProje
ElasticElastikReferenceReferans
EmpathyEmpatiScoreSkor
FactorFaktörServiceServis
EnglishTurkishEnglishTurkish
FilterFiltreTechnicTeknik
GroupGrupTourTur
HobbyHobiUnitÜnite
HonorOnurUniversityÜniversite
IndustryEndüstriVisionVizyon
InventoryEnvanterVersionVersiyon
JuryJüriYachtYat
KangarooKangruZeppelinZeplin

English Words of Turkic Origin

Now, let’s see the other side of the coin! This language exchange has gone in both directions, and there are several English words from Turkish. 

Here are some Turkish words in the English language that have exactly the same meaning in both languages:

EnglishTurkishEnglishTurkishEnglishTurkish
Aga/Agha AğaDoner KebabDöner KebapPastramiPastırma
AyranAyranFezFesPilafPilav
BairamBayramKaftanKaftanSeljukSelçuk
BaklavaBaklavaKalpakKalpakShamanŞaman
EnglishTurkishEnglishTurkishEnglishTurkish
BalkanBalkanKhanHanShish KebabŞiş Kebap
BozaBozaKismetKısmetTughraTuğra
BulgarBulgarKurbashKırbaçTurkTürk
BulgurBulgurKurusKuruşYogurt/YoghurtYoğurt
DolmushDolmuşPashaPaşaYurtYurt

Baklava

Words with Similar Spelling / Pronunciation (But Different Meanings)

Now let’s cover another interesting concept: words that are spelled or pronounced the same way in English and Turkish, but have completely different meanings. Learning these might help you remember certain Turkish words more easily!

Same Spelling, Different Meanings

The only thing these words have in common is that they’re spelled the same way in both languages. Other than that, their pronunciation (in most cases) and their meanings are different.

English/TurkishMeaning in TurkishEnglish/TurkishMeaning in Turkish
AnMomentMumCandle
AtHorseNineGrandma
CanLifeOnTen
CamGlassPatAster
English/TurkishMeaning in TurkishEnglish/TurkishMeaning in Turkish
FareMousePostFleece
GelComePotBlunder
GemBitSafPure
GeneAgainSevenLoving
HamRawSonFinal/Last
HatLineSunOffer
HerEverySureSura
HisFeelingTanDawn
MenPreclusionTenSkin
MineEnamel/VerbenaTopBall

Same Pronunciation, Different Meanings

The following words are pronounced the same way, but have different meanings and spellings:

EnglishTurkishMeaning in TurkishEnglishTurkishMeaning in Turkish
CarKarSnowPickPikPeak
CutKatFloor/LayerTapeTeypStereo/Cassette Recorder
EnglishTurkishMeaning in TurkishEnglishTurkishMeaning in Turkish
CupKapContainerTickTikTwitch/Teak
IAyMoonTopTapWorship/Adore

Famous People, Franchise, and Movie Names in Turkish

All proper names are written in Turkish just as they are in English, though they may be pronounced differently. Examples include: 

Brand Names

  • Nike
  • Skechers
  • Nine West
  • Calvin Klein
  • Levi’s

Food Chains

  • McDonald’s 
  • Burger King
  • Subway
  • Starbucks
  • Arby’s

Celebrities

  • Johnny Depp
  • Julia Roberts
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Halle Berry

McDonald’s

Series and movie names, however, are usually translated into Turkish. This is probably for commercial reasons, as marketers try to come up with Turkish names that will appeal to the culture and draw more attention so they can get higher ratings and make more money.

Here are some examples you might find interesting:

Name of the movieTranslated into Turkish 
Mission ImpossibleGörevimiz Tehlike (Our Mission is Danger)
Two for the Money Kirli Para (Dirty Money)
A Beautiful Mind Akıl Oyunları (Games of the Mind)
Rush Hour Bitirim İkili (Crack Couple)
Sliding DoorsRastlantının Böylesi (Such a Coincidence)
Name of the movieTranslated into Turkish 
Sweet November Kasım’da Aşk Başkadır (Love is Different in November)
Good Will Hunting Can Dostum (My Best Friend)
Suicide Squad Gerçek Kötüler (Real Villains)

Movie

Learn More with TurkishClass101!

Now that you’ve learned all of these English words used in Turkish, we hope that learning the language won’t be so daunting for you anymore. To make your language learning process even smoother and more worry-free, continue exploring TurkishClass101.com

We provide an array of practical learning materials, including numerous audio recordings, tons of vocabulary lists, and free resources (including our Turkish-English dictionary). It’s our aim to help you master the language and get a feel for the culture.

Don’t forget that you can also sign up for a Premium PLUS account to use our MyTeacher service, which will allow you to learn and practice with a private teacher.

Best of all, you can download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

Before you go, let us know in the comments if any of the words on our list surprised you or if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you!

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A Brief Overview of Turkish Culture and Traditions

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Turkey is a country straight from the depths of history, with empires dating back 4000 years. The course of time and events has introduced Turkey to a range of peoples and cultures, lending this great country a rich culture full of unique traditions and customs.

In this lesson, you’re going to learn all about Turkish culture and traditions. We promise this will be a very colorful, out-of-the-ordinary experience for you!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Core Values
  2. Ethnicity and Religion
  3. Traditions in the Flow of Life
  4. Social and Business Life
  5. Handcrafts and Art
  6. Traditional Turkish Holidays
  7. Other Cultural Highlights
  8. Final Thoughts

1. Core Values

I believe every culture promotes core values such as honesty, justice, fairness, equality, and so on. However, most of these values are dependent upon the conscience, one’s inner person—there will always be people who stick to these values and those who don’t. Of course, these are only exceptions to the rule.

In addition to these common core values, there are others that may be unique within a country or central to its identity.

For example, elderly people have a special place in Turkish people’s lives and are treated with great respect. The concept of family is considered sacred and neighborliness is very important. Relations with neighbors are so close and sincere that it’s very common for a neighbor to knock on another’s door and ask if they have a cup of sugar or flour to give him or her. 

In Turkish culture, hospitality is another distinguished value. Especially in rural areas, the host or hostess will share their last slice of bread with a stranger. They love offering food and drinks to friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and even strangers. They also love to help people in need, whether individually or as a nation. When a disaster happens somewhere, people start donating money, sending equipment, and so on, without hesitation.

Most Turkish women are obsessed with the cleanliness of their houses. They have to be clean all the time. If you ever visit a Turkish home, don’t forget to take your shoes off. Most families will expect you to do so!

There is a strong sense of patriotism in the country. This shouldn’t be a surprise, since we have a great role model: Atatürk, one of the best leaders of all time. Turks always try to be loyal to their historical heritage.

The Turkish flag and the national anthem are highly respected. The flag is never put on the floor or the ground and whenever the national anthem is sung somewhere, people passing by will stop, stand by attention, sing along, and continue on their way when it’s over.

The Turkish Flag

2. Ethnicity and Religion

Turkish culture and customs are largely influenced by the country’s ethnic diversity, as well as the strong religious nature of the Turkish people. Take a look.

A- Ethnicity

Considering that Turkish history goes back thousands of years—and that the Ottoman Empire, which controlled Southeastern Europe, some parts of Eastern Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa, played a role in recent history—it’s not surprising that Turkey is home to many ethnicities. 75% of its population consists of Turks, 18% consists of Kurds, and the remaining 17% consists of other ethnic groups, which include:

  • Afghans
  • Albanians
  • Arabs
  • Armenians
  • Australians
  • Azerbaijanis
  • Bosniaks
  • Bulgarians
  • Circassians
  • Crimean Tatars
  • Dutch
  • Georgians
  • Germans
  • Greeks
  • Iranians
  • Kazakhs
  • Kyrgyz
  • Levantines
  • Russians
  • Serbs
  • Turkmens
  • Uzbeks 

There have been many marriages between Turks and these ethnic groups. Therefore, some aspects of these different cultures have become intertwined with the fibers of traditional Turkish culture.

B- Religion

99% of the country is Muslim. Christianity, Judaism, Yezidism, and others make up the remaining 1%.

The diversity of ethnic groups and religions play an important role in our culture. This cultural diversity in Turkey has led Turkish people to have more respect for other cultures, traditions, religions, and ideas.

    → Does this topic interest you? Then head over to our Religion vocabulary list to learn the names of different religions in Turkish!

3. Traditions in the Flow of Life

There are several Turkish traditions regarding major life events. Let’s take a look at how the Turkish treat such events as marriage, birth, and death.

A- Marriage

In the past, marriage was considered sacred and arranged marriages were popular. However, due to the increasing number of divorces, this sacred view of marriage is questionable these days. As for arranged marriages, they may still be popular in smaller cities or rural areas but not so much in big cities.

There are formalities to go through before one can get married.

First of all, the groom and his family have to visit the bride’s family to receive permission for the marriage. They bring flowers and a box or bowl of chocolate, and the bride makes them Turkish coffee. Then, the groom’s father or an elderly male from the family asks the bride’s father if he would approve the marriage. 

The answer is “Yes” most of the time, unless it’s an arranged marriage. In that case, the answer may be “We will think about it,” because in an arranged marriage, the bride’s family may not know the groom and his family. Because the proposal might have been somebody’s recommendation or referral, the father might need time to check on the groom before deciding whether to approve the marriage or not.

If the answer is “Yes,” then it’s considered a “promise” and “promise rings” are put on the fingers of the couple by somebody from the bride’s family. This is followed by an engagement ceremony at a later date.

The trousseau concept is also popular in Turkish culture. The trousseau is usually exhibited to the guests for a few days in the bride’s home and then about a week prior to the wedding, it’s taken from there to the groom’s house.

Bridal Bath

There is an ancient tradition called “bridal bath” (gelin hamamı), which is not that common these days, though it may still be performed in some parts of Turkey. According to this tradition, the bride and her female relatives and friends go to a Turkish bath (Türk hamamı). The bride sits in a higher position while her maidens walk in a circle around her carrying candles. They sing and spend the day there.

Henna Night

This is usually held the night before the wedding. It’s kind of like a bachelorette party, also celebrated by the bride and her female relatives and friends. It’s usually held at the bride’s parents’ house, though some people prefer to rent a place if they plan to invite quite a number of people. 

You may be wondering what it has to do with “henna.” Well, henna is applied to the bride’s hands and guests who are eager to have it will also put henna on their palms.

Wedding

In Turkish culture, wedding traditions vary based on region. Here, I’ll only talk about the most common ones. 

On the wedding day, the car for the soon-to-be newlyweds is decorated. The groom, along with his family, goes to the bride’s house to pick her up. This event is usually accompanied by a few instrumentalists playing the drum and the zurna. 

The solemnization of the marriage can be performed at one of the municipality’s wedding halls with guests. After that, there can be a dinner party or an after-dinner party someplace else. Or, both the solemnization and party can be at a venue other than a wedding hall. 

After the couple is announced as husband and wife, there is a gift-giving ceremony. Guests give gold coins, gold bracelets, and other types of jewelry as a gift to the couple.

B- Birth

As in other cultures, Turkish culture perceives birth as an event for joyous celebration. After the baby is born, people come to see the baby and bring presents or gold coins that have a blue or pink bow attached to them. Close family members also bring presents and gold bracelets for the mother.

C- Death

If the deceased person is Muslim, the first farewell will take place in a mosque. Then, people go to the cemetery for the burial. Those who go to the cemetery are invited to the house of the person who died and are offered lunch or dinner depending on the time of day. Neighbors, family members, and acquaintances bring food to the family who suffered the loss.

4. Social and Business Life

What does the average day look like in Turkish society? Here’s some practical information on what to expect from day-to-day social interactions and work life in Turkey.

A- Social Life

Turkish people are social and they love doing things together. Because the Turkish enjoy sharing life’s experiences with others, you’ll often find large groups of people out hiking, dining, or engaging in any number of activities. This is especially true in the summertime. This is when you can see a lot of people socializing at cafes, restaurants, and bars until late hours, even during the week.

Turks require less personal space than most people do. So if a Turk stands close to you while conversing, don’t be surprised.

B- Business Life

Business relationships are usually formal. Turks prefer to work with people they know and trust. Therefore, if you need to do business with a Turkish company, you need to establish a good relationship with them.

If you’re having a meeting with Turkish people, make sure not to use their first names. Rather, call them Mr. X or Ms. Y. Furthermore, men should wear a suit and tie; women should also wear a professional-looking outfit. Especially in smaller cities, you need to be careful about what you wear as some places are conservative.

Several Business People Dressed in Formal Business Attire

Here are a few other aspects to note about Turkish work culture:

    ★ Decision-making can be slow sometimes
    ★ Family owned and run businesses are usually more conservative
    ★ Turkish people love negotiating, not only in business, but also individually when shopping

If you plan on working in Turkey, you will need some basic vocabulary down first. To get a head start, you can visit our vocabulary lists on Jobs / Work and The Workplace

5. Handcrafts and Art

After food, perhaps one of the most exciting things about Turkish culture for tourists is the vast array of artforms to view. Let’s briefly look at the most popular types of handcrafts and art forms in Turkey! 

A- Handcrafts

Throughout history, Turkish people have learned to create many different handcrafts. Here are a few that have sprouted from the cultural diversity in Turkey:

  • Carpet and rug weaving
  • Mother of pearl inlaid
  • Filigree
  • Ceramics and tiles
  • Pottery-making
  • Marbling (ebru)
  • Calligraphy
  • Coppersmithing
  • Miniature work
  • Glass work
  • Embroidery
  • Leather tanning
  • Meerschaum
  • Xylography

B- Art

Turkey has world-renowned artists in almost every branch of art. For example: 

Yasar Kemal is a famous author whose novels have been translated into numerous languages. Orhan Pamuk is a Nobel Prize-winning author. Nuri Bilge Ceylan is a world-renowned movie director who has many awards. Tan Sağtürk is an internationally acknowledged dancer. 

Here are some other artists who are well-known globally: 

    ★ Fazıl Say (pianist and composer)
    ★ Genco Erkal (stage actor)
    ★ İdil Biret (pianist)
    ★ Güher-Süher Pekinel (pianist)
    ★ Abidin Dino (artist and painter)

someone forming a pottery bowl

6. Traditional Turkish Holidays

Like in other cultures, holidays are a huge part of the Turkish culture and lifestyle. Turkish people celebrate two types of holidays: national and religious.

A- National Holidays

There are several national holidays in Turkey throughout the year, including:

  • Republic Day (October 29)
  • Youth and Sports Day (May 19)
  • National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (April 23)
  • Victory Day (August 30)

During the national holidays, all official offices are closed and the cities are decorated with Turkish flags. You can also see flags hanging from the windows and balconies of houses and offices.

B- Religious Holidays

There are two moveable religious holidays every year.

Ramadan

Ramadan is the month when Muslims fast for thirty days, between the sunrise and the sunset of each day. A three-day holiday follows the month of Ramadan. During this holiday, people visit other family members, friends, etc. Younger ones kiss older ones’ right hand and then put it on their own foreheads; this is a symbol of respect. Candy, chocolate, and Turkish coffee are offered to visitors, and children are given money as allowance.

The Feast of Sacrifice

This holiday is four days long. Most households, if they can afford it financially, sacrifice an animal (usually a sheep) in a special ritual. The meat is shared with relatives and neighbors, with one third of the meat usually given to those who are in need. In addition to these special traditions, the same features of the Ramadan holiday apply to this one.

7. Other Cultural Highlights

To conclude, let’s go over a few more Turkish culture characteristics you should be familiar with before visiting the country!  

A- Food and Beverages

Turkey’s food culture is a major component of both daily life and special occasions. I’m sure you’re already well aware of the grand reputation Turkish cuisine has made for itself, so I’ll only list some of the most outstanding food and drink items here. But if you would like to know more about Turkish food, you can visit our lesson “How is the Turkish Food?

  • Döner kebap. This is seasoned meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie.
  • Yaprak sarma. This consists of grape leaves stuffed with spicy rice or spicy ground meat. 
  • Baklava. This famous Turkish dessert is something that I highly recommend.

As for beverages, rakı is an alcoholic beverage which is consumed quite a bit in Turkey. It is similar to ouzo. 

Another thing I should mention is that Turkish tea culture is alive and well! Turkish people drink tea many times a day, and anytime of day!

Turkish Coffee

Turkish coffee is another big part of the culture. It’s usually preferred after meals. While talking about Turkish coffee, I must also mention coffee cup reading: usually, when women get together and drink coffee, they ask each other to do the cup reading. It’s a lot of fun to make sense of the shapes formed from the coffee grout.

B- Gestures

Turkish people use quite a number of gestures. Let me just give you a few examples:

1. If a person puts his/her fingers together with the thumb and moves the hand back and forth, it means “good” or “delicious.”

2. Raising the chin up, sometimes with the eyebrows up, means “no.”

3. If a person holds his/her hand next to his/her head and moves the hand like they’re unscrewing a light bulb, then he/she is calling someone “crazy.”

C- Superstitions

Here are just a few Turkish superstitions:

1. Turkish people are usually concerned about being coveted. However, people believe that a blue bead called nazar boncuğu protects them from ‘evil eyes.’ These beads are used in homes, offices, and cars, and are also used as a decorative object. Furthermore, they are used on earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and other forms of jewelry.

Evil Eye

2. Some people believe seeing a black cat brings bad luck.

3. Some think a broken mirror brings seven years of bad luck.

8. Final Thoughts

In this lesson, you learned a variety of useful Turkish culture facts. But there’s a lot more to know!

To get a better grasp of the Turkish language and culture, visit TurkishClass101.com. We provide numerous audio recordings, tons of vocabulary lists, and other free resources including a Turkish-English dictionary for easy reference.

By signing up for a Premium PLUS account, you can also take advantage of our MyTeacher service. You’ll be able to study and practice with your own private tutor, who will give you assignments, answer questions, and help you improve your pronunciation.

Download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

Before you go, let us know in the comments how Turkish culture compares to that in your country. We look forward to hearing from you!

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A Tasty Guide to Traditional Turkish Food

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If you’re interested in different flavors and after some really delicious food, then you must be aware of Turkish food’s reputation as one of the tastiest cuisines worldwide.

Turkish cuisine is influenced by the Ottoman Empire. It’s known for its variety and its amazing flavor, and the foods you can expect to find varies based on region. While some regions have their own unique dishes, there are plenty of cases where those same dishes are made with different ingredients (or even different techniques) in other regions.

In this article, we’ll cover several Turkish foods that are worth tasting as well as a simple recipe you might want to try at home. Keep in mind that due to the cultural richness of Turkish cuisine, it’s impossible to mention all of the traditional Turkish foods here. You should consider finding a good Turkish cuisine restaurant near you to see—and try!—an even greater variety of dishes.

Are you ready to hear about all the mouthwatering food that awaits you?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Let's Cook in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. The 5 Best Turkish Foods to Try
  2. A Typical Turkish Breakfast
  3. Delicious Turkish Pastries
  4. Kebabs and Meat Dishes
  5. A Variety of Appetizers
  6. Vegetable Dishes
  7. Yummy Desserts
  8. Food-Related Vocabulary
  9. A Delicious Turkish Food Recipe
  10. Final Thoughts

1. The 5 Best Turkish Foods to Try

I had to think hard about what to include here—not because there aren’t many good foods to pick from, but because there are so many wonderful Turkish cuisine dishes out there!

A- Mantı

This is the specialty of Central Turkey, and it’s originally from a city called Kayseri. 

Mantı is like miniature ravioli stuffed with meat, but it tastes a bit different. It consists of small boiled handmade dumplings filled with ground meat. It’s served topped with yogurt, garlic, chili powder, and melted butter. Some people prefer to add ground sumac and dried mint, as well.

B- Döner Kebap

This consists of seasoned meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie (also called a rotating spit). Actually, döner means “rotates.” The meat is sliced into long, thin strips and can be served in different forms:

  • Served on a plate on top of sliced pita bread with melted butter over it.
  • Served on a plate on top of sliced pita bread with tomato sauce, yogurt, and melted butter over it. This is called İskender Kebap.
  • Wrapped in a lavash with tomatoes, lettuce, and onion. This is called dürüm.

Döner
Photo by Shoestring, under CC BY-SA 4.0

C- Yaprak Sarma

Sarma means “wrapping,” and this popular Turkish dish is basically grape leaves stuffed with spicy rice or spicy ground meat. The rice version is cooked with olive oil and served cold, while the ground meat version is served hot. It’s usually accompanied by yogurt at the table.

Preparation of yaprak sarma takes quite a bit of time, but it’s definitely worth it.

D- Çiğ Köfte

Çiğ köfte consists of spicy patties made of ground beef, fine ground bulgur, onion, pepper, tomato paste, spices, and herbs. The vegetarian version is made without meat. This dish is popular in the southern part of Turkey.

E- Künefe

This is a very rich dessert. Fortunately, it’s pretty difficult to make at home, so it’s not something you can eat all the time!

It’s made of shredded pastry dough (bread crumbs) and cheese, then topped with pistachio nuts.

2. A Typical Turkish Breakfast

Now, here comes my favorite meal. Would you like to join me in setting the table for breakfast?

Turkish Breakfast

Let’s open the fridge and take out the following:

  • Butter
  • Cheese 
    • There are three preferred types of Turkish cheese: white (feta) cheese, tulum cheese, and kaşar cheese.
  • Olives 
    • Black and/or green olives can be found at most Turkish breakfast tables.
  • Tomatoes and cucumbers
  • Jam 
    • Most people make their jams at home. You can’t imagine the variety of jams we have: sour cherry, peach, apricot, orange, strawberry, quince, fig, bergamot…we even have watermelon, walnut, eggplant, and rose jams!
  • Eggs 
    • They can be boiled, omelet-style, or menemen. Menemen is basically scrambled eggs cooked lightly with tomatoes, onions, and peppers.

Bread—usually toasted or freshly baked—is another popular Turkish food for breakfast, though some people prefer different pastries. For example, simit (round dough covered with sesame seeds) and poğaça (containing cheese, olives, potatoes, etc.) are two other common pastries in Turkey.

Another ‘must’ at the table: Tea. Tea is definitely a huge part of Turkish food culture!

3. Delicious Turkish Pastries

Here are some Turkish pastries most people have a hard time saying no to:

A- Börek

Börek is the generic name for pastries made with yufka, which is like filo dough. 

This pastry is made up of thin layers of dough. The yufka for börek can be handmade or bought from a Turkish food market. Börek can have different ingredients in it (such as cheese, ground meat, spinach, or potatoes) and it can also come in different shapes (rolled, layered, etc.). Depending on its form, its ingredients, and the way it’s baked, it might have different names. For example:

  • sigara böreği
  • çiğ börek
  • su böreği
  • kol böreği 

This pastry can be served during any meal, as a snack, or at tea time.

B- Gözleme

First, a lavash bread is made. Then, fillings such as cheese, spinach, ground meat, and potatoes are placed on it and the bread is folded over the filling. It’s then baked on a large metal sheet, called a sac.

C- Pide

Pide is made of dough and filled with cheese, ground meat, or small cubes of seasoned meat. Some people describe it as being boat-shaped, which is a good way to picture it. This pastry is usually eaten in a restaurant, not made at home. 

D- Lahmacun

This is thin dough covered with a layer of spiced ground meat, tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Again, this is something we usually eat at a restaurant.

Lahmacun

E- Katmer

Katmer is a rolled-out dough which can be sweet or salty depending on its filling.

4. Kebabs and Meat Dishes

Do you enjoy the succulent flavors of meat dishes? If so, here are some foods in Turkey you absolutely need to try! 

A- Kebabs

Attention meat-lovers: Get ready for all of these delicious kebabs.

There are many different types of kebabs, originating from all over Turkey. Each type is made with meat, but the similarities end there. The seasonings, cooking methods, and non-meat ingredients all differ, and they can come in various shapes. Here are the most popular ones:

  • Adana kebap
  • Beyti
  • Çağ kebabı
  • Çöp şiş
  • Kağıt kebabı
  • Orman kebabı
  • Talaş kebabı
  • Tandır kebabı
  • Tas kebabı
  • Urfa kebabı 

B- Meatballs

“Meatball” is köfte in Turkish. Meatballs are made of ground meat, and there are several unique varieties named after their city of origin. For example: 

  • İzmir köfte
  • Manisa köfte
  • İnegöl köfte

Other types of meatballs include:

  • Kasap köftesi
  • Dalyan köfte
  • Misket köfte 

C- Veggies with Meat

Here are a few Turkish dishes that contain a hearty dose of veggies along with the tasty meat. 

Karnıyarık

This consists of baked eggplants filled with ground meat, seasonings, and parsley, then covered in a tomato sauce.

Hünkar beğendi

This dish was inherited from the Ottoman Empire. It’s basically soft, marinated lamb cubes served on top of an eggplant, which is pureed with butter and melted kashar cheese.

Etli dolma

Dolma is a dish where vegetables such as bell peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, and zucchinis are stuffed. They may also be stuffed with spicy rice or ground meat. This is another dish inherited from the Ottoman Empire.

Etli taze fasulye

This is basically green beans cooked with tomato paste, ground meat, and onions.

And that’s not all! There are plenty of Turkish meat-and-veggie dishes you can try. Just search online for some Turkish food recipes to discover more dishes like these.

5. A Variety of Appetizers

“Appetizer” is meze in Turkish, and Turkish cuisine features a very rich appetizer selection. I’ll mention just a few of them here. 

  • Acılı ezme: Made with mashed tomato with hot spices, onion, and green herbs
  • Patlıcan salatası: Made with roasted eggplants, yogurt, and garlic
  • Fava: Made with fava beans
  • Kısır: Made with fine ground bulgur, tomato paste, onion, parsley, garlic, sour pomegranate juice, and spices
  • Piyaz: Made with white beans, onions, and vinegar
  • Cevizli biber: Made with red peppers, onions, pepper paste, and walnut

6. Vegetable Dishes

Vegetarians, are you still with me? Don’t miss out on these yummy veggie dishes.

Let me start with a very generic recipe. There’s a general term used to describe vegetables cooked with olive oil: zeytinyağlılar. To make this, green beans, peas, zucchinis, and kidney beans are cooked with tomatoes, onions, and olive oil. It’s served cold.

Now, let me list some more Turkish food for vegetarians:

  • Baklalı enginar: Made with artichokes and fava beans; usually made in the summer
  • Pırasa yemeği: Made with leeks, carrots, and rice
  • Borani: Made with spinach, onions, yogurt, and garlic

7. Yummy Desserts

Now, here comes my favorite topic: delicious desserts!

A- Baklava

Baklava is probably the most popular and internationally recognized Turkish dessert. It’s made with handmade filo dough and consists of several layers. It contains chopped walnuts or pistachios, as well as syrup.

B- Güllaç

The history of güllaç goes back to the Ottoman Empire, and it’s usually served during Ramadan. It consists of thin and large dough layers, which are soaked in milk and rose water, and served with walnuts and pomegranate seeds.

C- Kazandibi

This is like a milk pudding, but the bottom part of it is burnt. This is another dessert inherited from the Ottoman Empire.

D- Aşure

This one is like a dense, sweet soup. It contains boiled beans, wheat, dried fruits, nuts, cinnamon, chestnuts, and rose water. There’s a legend about this dessert, according to which it was made for the first time on Noah’s Ark with seven different ingredients.

Aşure

8. Food-Related Vocabulary

After learning about so many dishes, how about diving into a little Turkish food vocabulary? 

A- Talking About Food

  • En sevdiğim yemek köftedir. (“My favorite food is meatballs.”)
  • Ben maydanoz sevmem. (“I don’t like parsley.”)
  • Ben vejeteryanım. (“I’m a vegetarian.”)
  • Çileğe alerjim var. (“I’m allergic to strawberries.”)
  • Karnım acıktı. / Ben açım. (“I’m hungry.”)
  • Karnım tok. / Ben tokum. (“I’m full.”)
  • Açlıktan ölüyorum. (“I’m starving.”)

B- Terms for Cooking

Here are some words used during food preparation! 

Actions

  • Pişirmek (“To cook”)
  • Fırında pişirmek (“To bake”)
  • Kızartmak (“To fry”)
  • Kesmek (“To cut”)
  • Dilimlemek (“To slice”)
  • Soymak (“To peel”)
  • Doğramak (“To chop”)
  • Rendelemek (“To grate”)
  • Karıştırmak (“To mix”)

Ingredients

  • Et (“Meat”)
  • Sebze (“Vegetable”)
  • Meyve (“Fruit”)
  • Yağ (“Oil”)
  • Su (“Water”)
  • Tuz (“Salt”)
  • Baharat (“Spice”)
  • Un (“Flour”)
  • Şeker (“Sugar”)

Utensils

  • Çatal (“Fork”)
  • Kaşık (“Spoon”)
  • Bıçak (“Knife”)
  • Tencere (“Cooking pot”)
  • Tava (“Frying pan”)
  • Ocak (“Range”)
  • Fırın (“Oven”)

Utensils

C- How to Order at a Restaurant

Finally, here’s how to order Turkish food at a restaurant:

  • Menüyü görebilir miyim? (“May I see the menu?”)
  • Ne önerirsiniz? (“What would you recommend?”)
  • Su alabilir miyim lütfen? (“May I have water, please?”)
  • Bu sos acı mı? (“Is this sauce spicy?”)

9. A Delicious Turkish Food Recipe

Hold on now, here comes a simple recipe for you to try making at home!

Let’s make a quick appetizer called havuçlu meze:

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium carrots (peeled and grated)
  • 500g yogurt
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (peeled and grated)
  • ¼ bunch dill (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • Salt (eyeball it)

Instructions:

1. First, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and then add the grated carrots.

2. Sauté them on medium heat until they soften.

3. Then add salt and stir.

4. Remove it from the range and let it cool.

5. Mix garlic and yogurt.

6. When the grated carrots are cooled, add your garlic yogurt and dill to it. Mix it altogether.

7. You can decorate it with parsley leaves before serving.

10. Final Thoughts

In this article, you learned about traditional Turkish food and some practical food-related vocabulary. 

Which Turkish food do you want to try most, and why? Have you already tried some of the foods we mentioned? We look forward to hearing from you! 

To get a better grasp of the Turkish language and culture, explore TurkishClass101.com and take advantage of our numerous audio and video lessons, themed vocabulary lists, and free resources (including this dictionary). If you have a Premium PLUS account, you can also learn and practice with a personal tutor using our MyTeacher service! And don’t forget to download the app for free so you can study anywhere, anytime. 

Until next time, happy eating!

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A Quick Turkish Grammar Guide

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Let me look into my magic crystal ball and tell you what I see… You’re interested in learning Turkish or have just started working on it. You’re curious to know what Turkish grammar looks like and whether it’s similar to English grammar. And actually, you’re dying to learn what kind of an adventure you’re getting yourself into.

Of course, I’m not a fortune teller. But if I guessed correctly, you’re at the right address. This page serves as an overview of Turkish, an essential grammar guide, and a quick reference for those who want to brush up on specific grammar topics.

Our quick guide will show you the similarities and dissimilarities between Turkish and English as well as the basic structure of Turkish grammar, from vowel harmony to conjugation.

Let’s get started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. General Overview
  2. Word Order
  3. Word Structure and Agglutination
  4. Suffixes, Vowel Harmony, and Buffers
  5. Possessives
  6. Verbs and Conjugation
  7. Access More Turkish Grammar Content on TurkishClass101.com

1. General Overview

Before we get into the details, it’s important that we cover the basic Turkish grammar rules and how they compare to those you’re familiar with in English. 

Similarities

First of all, both languages use the Latin alphabet. The Turkish alphabet, however, consists of 29 letters, 6 of which don’t exist in English ( , , , , , ). There are also 3 letters in English (-q, -w, -x) that don’t exist in the Turkish alphabet.

There are a few words that exist in both Turkish and English that have the same meaning:

    ➢ TV
    ➢ Plan
    ➢ Program
    ➢ Market
    ➢ Silo
    ➢ Video

Like English, Turkish also uses the indefinite article in front of nouns as a separate word: 

    Bir araba (“A car”)
    Bir otel (“A hotel”)

In addition, neither Turkish nor English uses grammatical gender for objects.

It’s safe to say that there are no accent marks in English, since the words that have them are taken from other languages. There are no accent marks in Turkish, either. 

However, the circumflex is used for some loanwords. It affects the pronunciation of a word by implying that the word’s pronunciation should be longer or that there should be palletization of the consonant that comes before the vowel.

For example: “Âmâ” is an Arabic word that means “blind.” The circumflex here makes both of the “a” sounds longer. There’s another word, “ama,” which means “but.” Although they are spelled the same way (except for the circumflex), those two words are pronounced differently.

Dissimilarities

Now let’s take a look at the features of Turkish grammar that differ from English.

Pronouns

There’s just one word used in Turkish for “he,” “she,” and “it,” which is o.

In Turkish, the plural “you” is not only used as it is in English, but also as a polite, formal way of addressing someone. The same set of rules apply to both the plural “you” and the polite “you” in Turkish.

The Definite Article

Turkish has no definite article (“the”) as a separate word. When definite nouns or pronouns are used as an object, then they take the “, -i, -u, ” suffixes based on the vowel harmony rules. Let me give you an example:

    Anahtarlar çantamın içinde. (“The keys are in my purse.”) 

Here, “keys” is used without an article.

    Anahtarları çantamın içine koydum. (“I put the keys in my purse.”)

Here, “keys” takes the suffix to indicate the definite article.

Numbers as Adjectives

When numbers are used as adjectives to count nouns, the noun does not become plural based on the number. Rather, it stays in the singular form. Here’s an example:

    Bir elma (“One apple”)
    Beş elma (“Five apples”)

Word Order

The Turkish word order is Subject-Object-Verb. This topic will be covered in more detail later.

Vowel Harmony and Suffixes

Vowel harmony is another feature that doesn’t exist in English. You can see the details about this in the “Suffixes, Vowel Harmony, and Buffers” section of this page.

Conjugations

The conjugation in Turkish is much different from that in English, which we’ll discuss in more detail later on in the “Verbs and Conjugation” section. But to give you an example, there’s a tense called “reported past tense,” which doesn’t exist in most languages. 

2. Word Order 

In Turkish grammar, word order typically follows the SOV (Subject-Object-Verb) structure. In other words, the sentence begins with the subject, which is followed by the object (if any), and then the verb. 

However, this is not a strict rule and there’s some flexibility, meaning that you can put an object or a verb at the beginning of a sentence. Doing so won’t change the meaning of the sentence, but the word you’re emphasizing will definitely change. 

The word that you want to stress should be placed as close to the verb as possible, and if you want to emphasize the verb, then you should place it at the beginning of the sentence.

Subject-Object-VerbBen okulumu seviyorum.“I love my school.”
Object-Subject-VerbOkulumu ben seviyorum.“I love my school.”
Object-Verb-SubjectOkulumu seviyorum ben.“I love my school.”
Verb-Subject-ObjectSeviyorum ben okulumu.“I love my school.”

All of the sentences above have the same meaning, but the emphasis is on the words highlighted in blue.


A List of Subject and Object Pronouns in English

3. Word Structure and Agglutination

In Turkish grammar, suffixes and vowel harmony play a huge role in how words are formed and used. In this section, we’ll introduce you to word structure and agglutination in Turkish. 

Structure of Words

In the structure of a Turkish word, a vowel always follows a consonant and a consonant always follows a vowel:

    bebek (“baby”)
    araba (“car”)

Therefore, if you see a word where one consonant follows another, you can tell that it’s a loanword: 

    pratik (“practical”) 
    armut (“pear”)

In order to keep the “vowel + consonant” rule, buffers are used. Those buffers are “y, n, s.” 

You can see some relevant examples of this in our section on vowel harmony and buffers.

An Image of Atom Structures

Agglutination of Words

Turkish is called an agglutinative language, meaning that new words are formed by adding suffixes to the root words. To give you an idea, a suffix can be added to a noun to 1) make it another noun, or 2) turn it into a verb. It can also be added to a verb to make it a noun or another verb.

Are you confused? Here are some examples to help you understand these Turkish suffix rules better:

    Yolcu (Noun)                                          –       “Passenger”

         Yolcu+luk = Yolculuk (Noun)                –       “Trip”
    Göz (Noun)                                             –        “Eye”

         Göz+le = Gözle (Verb)                           –       “Observe,” “Monitor”
    Bil (Verb)                                                 –         “Know”

         Bil+mece = Bilmece (Noun)                  –       “Puzzle”
    Kal (Verb)                                                –       “Stay”

         Kal+dır = Kaldır (Verb)                          –       “Lift,” “Remove”

4. Suffixes, Vowel Harmony, and Buffers

People who want to learn Turkish grammar and vocabulary usually think that these characteristics are really interesting, probably because they don’t exist in most other languages. I wonder if you’ll agree with them!

That said, these are some of the most important Turkish language grammar rules, so pay attention.

Vowel Harmony

In Turkish, words are structured so that vowels follow a certain pattern, and this pattern is called vowel harmony. It’s used to determine which vowel will be used when adding a suffix to a word. Here’s a table showing the vowel types:

 FRONTBACK
 UNROUNDEDROUNDEDUNROUNDEDROUNDED
OPEN-e-a-o
CLOSED-i-u

And here are the vowel harmony rules:

  • Back vowels follow back vowels and front vowels follow front vowels.
  • Unrounded vowels follow unrounded vowels.
  • A rounded vowel can be followed by a mix of rounded closed and unrounded open vowels.

Suffixes

Let’s see when suffixes are added:

  • Suffixes are based on the person/subject that a verb alludes to.
  • Suffixes are used when the subject is plural.
  • Suffixes are used based on the tenses.
  • Suffixes are used if there is negativity.
  • Suffixes are used if interrogative particles will be used.
  • Suffixes are used when passive, reflexive, causative, or a verb of mutual action will be formed.
  • When definite nouns or pronouns are used as an object, then they take the “, -i, -u, ” suffixes, based on the vowel harmony rules.
  • Suffixes are used when using possessive pronouns, since there are no separate words for them in Turkish. The suffixes “-m, -ım, -im, -um, -üm” (in conjugated forms) come after the pronoun to make it possessive.
  • Suffixes are used when motion towards an object (to), motion from an object (from), and static location (on, at) is to be specified.

It’s a great thing to be able to use the right suffix! However, you also need to make sure that you choose the right vowels for those suffixes based on the vowel harmony.

Buffers

As mentioned earlier, there are three buffers (y, n, s). These are used to maintain the “vowel + consonant” rule when adding suffixes.

  • Usage of “y“:
    • Used with an accusative suffix

      Example: Silgi+y+i = Silgiyi (“The eraser”)

    • Used with dative. (Movement towards something)

      Example: Parti+y+e = Partiye (“To the party”)
  • Usage of “n“:
    • Used with genitive case [Ownership]

      Example: Ayna+n+ın = Aynanın (“The mirror’s”)

                     Aynası+n+ın = Aynasının (“His/her/its mirror”)

    • Used for nouns that already have suffixes

      Example: Boya+lar+ı+n+a = Boyalarına (“To their paints”)

                     Oda+sı+n+dan = Odasından (“From his/her/its room”)
  • Usage of “s“:
    • Only used with the third person suffixes (, -i, -u,)

      Example: Elma+s= Elması (“His/her/its apple”)

5. Possessives

In Turkish grammar, possessives are formed much differently from how English speakers are used to. In this section, we’ll cover two topics: how to form possessive pronouns and how to use the possessive (genitive) case.

Possessive Pronouns

In the Turkish language, there aren’t separate words that stand for possessive pronouns. However, suffixes (-m, -ım, -im, -um, -üm), in conjugated forms, come after a pronoun to make it possessive. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:

    Sen+in = Senin (“Your”)
    Biz+im = Bizim (“Our”)

Possessive pronouns can be omitted because the nouns they are modifying also take suffixes, which imply the possessive pronoun. However, if you want to stress the possessive pronoun, then you can use it in the sentence. Here are some examples:

    Benim valizim çok küçük. (“My suitcase is very small.”)
        Valizim çok küçük. (“My suitcase is very small.”)
    Sizin aileniz nerede? (“Where is your family?”)
        Aileniz nerede? (“Where is your family?”)

Possessive (Genitive) Case

In the possessive case, both the “possessor” and “possessed” are suffixed. Here are a couple of examples:

    Araba+nın anahtar+ı (“The car’s key”)
    Elbise+nin düğme+si (“The button of the dress”)

6. Verbs and Conjugation

The final points we’ll cover today have to do with verbs and conjugation. 


How to Form Different Types of Verbs

  • Passive verbs are formed by adding the affixes -n, -il, or -in. Here are some examples:

         Okumak (“To read”)

         Oku+n+mak (“To be read”)

         Germek (“To stretch”)

         Ger+il+mek (“To be stretched”)

         Silmek (“To erase”)

         Sil+in+mek (“To be erased”)
  • Causative verbs are formed by adding the affixes -dir, -t, or -ir. Below are some examples:

         Yemek (“To eat”)

         Ye+dir+mek (“To make somebody eat”)

         Pişirmek (“To cook”)

         Pişir+t+mek (“To have something cooked”)

         İçmek (“To drink”)

         İç+ir+mek (“To make someone drink”)
  • Reflexive verbs are formed by adding the -in affix. Here is an example:

         Giymek (“To wear clothes”)

         Giy+in+mek (“To dress oneself”)
  • Verbs of mutual action are formed by adding the -iş affix. For example:

         Çarpmak (“To hit”)

         Çarp+ış+mak (“To collide”)

Reported Past Tense

I can hear you asking, “Reported tense? What is that?” 

You’re absolutely right in asking this question because it’s not a very common tense.

A Mother Reading Her Laughing Baby a Story

It’s used:

  • when the speaker is explaining something that he/she hasn’t witnessed, but heard from someone else

         Annem bana hediye almış. (“My mother bought me a gift.”)

         [My mother told me she did, but I didn’t see her buying it.]
  •  when telling a story

         Güzel bir kız varmış. (“There was a beautiful girl.”)

         [I haven’t seen the girl, it’s just a character in a story.]
  •  when the speaker is telling someone that he/she (the speaker) has done something without noticing it

         Durakta uyumuşum ve otobüsü kaçırmışım. (“I slept at the bus stop and missed the bus.”)

         [I didn’t realize I slept and missed the bus.]

         Ben kitabı daha önce okumuşum. (“I have read this book before.”)

         [I started reading a book, but realized that I read it before and forgot until now.]
  • when you’re telling someone about your dream

         Rüyamda çok zenginmişim. (“I was very rich in my dream.”)

         [It’s like storytelling; you’re telling someone about your dream, which is not reality.]
  • when imagining something and telling someone

         Mesela, benim iki çocuğum varmış. (“For example, I had two kids.”)

         [This is again not reality; you’re imagining that you had two kids.]

Verb Conjugation

In Turkish grammar, verb conjugation is based on the following factors:

  • Person / Subject: In Turkish, different suffixes are added to a verb based on the person/subject it alludes to. Vowels in the suffixes change based on the vowel harmony rules.
  • Number of Subjects: Whether the subject is singular or plural impacts the suffix that the verb will get.
  • Politeness Level: As mentioned above, the plural “you” is also the polite “you” and the same rules are applied to both.
  • Tense: Based on the tense, verbs take different suffixes.

7. Access More Turkish Grammar Content on TurkishClass101.com

In this article, we presented you with information on the major topics of Turkish grammar. Which aspects seem the most difficult to you, and why? Let us know in the comments! 

Now that you have a better idea of what to expect from the language, you should have little trouble as you continue learning Turkish grammar online with us. 

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Well-Known Turkish Quotes That Learners Should Know

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I don’t know how you feel, but quotes always make me excited, no matter their country of origin. They open my eyes and my heart. It’s intriguing to ponder what people lived and experienced, whether good or bad, that inspired their words of wisdom! Some of these quotes inspire us, some motivate us, some make us think, and some teach us something!

We believe that quotes can also give you greater insight into a country’s language and culture. 

Are you ready to discover some great Turkish quotes with me? In this article, we’ll look at several Turkish quotes with translations in English, as well as some popular quotes from other languages translated into Turkish. This will give you the best of both worlds! 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Quotes About Trust
  2. Quotes About Hope
  3. Quotes About Time
  4. Quotes About Knowledge and Ignorance
  5. Quotes About Money
  6. Quotes About Other Topics
  7. Rumi Quotes in Turkish
  8. Learn More With TurkishClass101

1. Quotes About Trust

What does trust mean to you? Here are some Turkish trust quotes to help you gain cultural insight into how the Turkish perceive it. 

   1Quote in TurkishKadınlar beğenince değil, güvenince âşık olur. 
Literal Translation in EnglishWomen fall in love when they trust, not when they like.
 This is an anonymous quote which shows the importance of trust for women. 
   2
Quote in Turkish
Bir ölümün bir de kaybolan güvenin telafisi yok bu dünyada.
Literal Translation in English“There is no compensation for either death or lost trust in this world.”
 This is another anonymous quote. It implies that losing trust in someone is as bad as death; just as trust cannot be recovered, neither can death be cured.  
   3Quote in Turkishİşin içine bir kere güvensizlik girdi mi, hiç bir şey eskisi gibi olmuyor.
Literal Translation in English“When there is distrust, nothing is as it was in the past.”
This is another anonymous quote. It means that distrust damages relationships.

2. Quotes About Hope

Feeling discouraged or afraid of the future? Maybe one of these Turkish quotes about hope will motivate you to keep moving forward!

Hope

   4Quote in TurkishEn geveze kuş ümittir. Kalbimizde hiç susmaz.
Literal Translation in English“The most talkative bird is hope. It never stops in our hearts.”
This is a quote by Cenap Şahabettin, who was a Turkish writer and poet. It means that our hearts are full of hope.
   5Quote in TurkishHer kışın bir baharı, her gecenin bir sabahı vardır.
Literal Translation in English“Every winter has its spring and every night has its morning.”
This is a quote by Bediüzzaman Said Nursi, who was an Ottoman scholar and the founder of the Nurism movement.

Corresponding quote in English: “Every cloud has a silver lining.” 
   6Quote in TurkishTünelin ucunda ışık görünmese bile, ışık varmış gibi yürümek ve ışığın görüneceğine inanmak gerekir.
Literal Translation in English“Even if there is no light at the end of the tunnel, it is necessary to walk as if there is light and believe that the light will appear.”
This quote is by Amin Maalouf, who was a Lebanese-born French author. This quote encourages you to be hopeful even in hopeless situations.

3. Quotes About Time

Time plays an important role in our lives. The following Turkish quotes on life focus on the concept of time and how it applies to us.

   7Quote in TurkishBoş zaman yoktur, boşa geçen zaman vardır.
Literal Translation in English“There is no free time, there is wasted time.”
This is a quote by Tagore, who was a Bengali poet, short-story writer, playwright, essayist, painter, and composer. This quote points out the fact that making good use of our time is important.
   8Quote in TurkishBir insanın bir insana verebileceği en güzel hediye, ona ayırabileceği zamandır.
Literal Translation in English“The best gift a person can give to a person is the time he/she can devote to him/her.”
This is a quote by Dale Carnegie, who was an American writer and lecturer. It reminds us how valuable it is to spend time with our loved ones.

Time

4. Quotes About Knowledge and Ignorance

Knowledge

The world over, great thinkers have much to say regarding knowledge and ignorance. Following are some quotes in Turkish that touch on these topics.

   9Quote in TurkishBildiğim tek şey hiçbir şey bilmediğimdir. 
Literal Translation in English“All I know is that I know nothing.”
This deep quote is from the Greek philosopher Socrates. It tells us that no matter how much we know, there is always much more to learn, and we should never stop searching and learning.
   10Quote in TurkishCahile söz anlatmak, köre renk tarifi gibidir.
Literal Translation in English“To persuade an ignorant is like describing colors to a blind person.”
This is a quote from İmam Evzai, who was a scholar and writer. The quote implies that it’s very difficult to deal with ignorant people.
   11Quote in TurkishDünyada her kötülük, daima cehaletten gelir.
Literal Translation in English“Every evil in the world always comes from ignorance.”
This quote is from Albert Camus, who was a French Algerian philosopher, author, and journalist. It emphasizes how bad and dangerous ignorance is.
   12Quote in TurkishEylem halindeki cehaletten, daha korkunç bir şey olamaz.
Literal Translation in English“Nothing is scarier than ignorance in action.”
 This is a quote by Goethe, who was a German poet, novelist, playwright, critic, theatre director, scientist, and statesman. This quote also underlines the danger of ignorance.
   13Quote in TurkishCehalet, gönüllü talihsizliktir. 
Literal Translation in English“Ignorance is voluntary misfortune.”
This is a quote from De Segur, who was a French general and historian. With this quote, he meant that people choose to be ignorant, and that it’s a bad choice because it leads to misfortune.

5. Quotes About Money

Money is a crucial element of modern life, making it essential to manage it well. Here are a couple of quotes about money to shed some light on the topic.

Quotes about Money
   14Quote in TurkishPara iyi bir hizmetçi, kötü bir efendidir.
Literal Translation in English“Money is a great servant, but a bad master.”
This is a quote from Francis Bacon, who was an English philosopher and statesman. In saying it, he meant that those who know how to use and manage their money are those who make their money work for them. If people are not good masters of their money, then their money will start controlling them.
   15Quote in Turkishİnsanın kazandığı paradan değil, paranın kazandığı insandan korkulur.
Literal Translation in English“It’s not to be scared of the money that man earns, but the man who is earned by money.”
This quote is from Necip Fazıl Kısakürek, who was a Turkish novelist, playwright, poet, and Islamist ideologue. If someone is making money by spending some effort, that’s good; but if he or she is being bought by money, then it’s dangerous.

6. Quotes About Other Topics

Below are a few more Turkish quotes about life that didn’t quite fit into the other categories. Enjoy!

   16Quote in TurkishBiz ayrı dünyaların insanlarıyız.
Literal Translation in English“We are from different worlds.”
This quote has been used in many Turkish movies, usually between two lovers. It’s also used as a joke between friends in daily life.
   17Quote in TurkishAçıklamalarla zamanınızı boşa harcamayın: insanlar sadece duymak istediklerini duyarlar.
Literal Translation in English“Don’t waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear.”
This is a quote from Paulo Coelho, a Brazilian lyricist and novelist. He wanted to point out that some people are prejudiced, egocentric, and not open to new ideas or thoughts; if they’re not willing to listen, no matter what, they won’t hear you.
   18Quote in TurkishSevelim, sevilelim, bu dünya kimseye kalmaz.
Literal Translation in English“Let’s love, be loved, this world shall be left to no one.”
This is by Yunus Emre, a poet and mystic who had a considerable impact on Turkish literature. He had great poems and quotes about love and human destiny. With this quote, he emphasized the fact that life is short and nobody is permanent in the world; he suggested not wasting the limited time we have and to love each other instead.
   19Quote in TurkishHerkesin haksız olması, senin haklı olduğunu göstermez. 
Literal Translation in English“The fact that everyone is wrong does not show that you are right.”
Some people say this quote belongs to Aristotle, and some say it belongs to Camus. Based on my internet research, it seems to be anonymous. 

This is a quote to awaken those who always consider themselves right.
   20Quote in TurkishHerkes kalbinin ekmeğini yer. 
Literal Translation in English“Everyone eats the bread of his/her bread.”
Corresponding quote in English: “One reaps what one sows.” 

This is a quote used by Seda Sayan, a Turkish singer and actress.
   21Quote in Turkishİmkânın sınırını görmek için imkânsızı denemek lazım. 
Literal Translation in English“It’s necessary to try the impossible, to see the limitations of the possibility.”
This quote is from Fatih Sultan Mehmet, who was one of the well-known sultans in the Ottoman Empire and the Conqueror of Istanbul. 

This is a very motivational quote about not giving up.

7. Rumi Quotes in Turkish

Some of the most famous Turkish quotes are those from Rumi, a poet, theologian, scholar, and Sufi mystic. He influenced many cultures, and today he’s considered a symbol of peace and tolerance.

I personally think that each and every one of his quotes is very valuable, but I’ll only include a few for the sake of this article. 

I’m curious to know if you’ve also found these Rumi quotes in Turkish inspiring and motivational. Let me know in the comments!

   22Quote in Turkishİyi dostu olanın aynaya gereksinimi yoktur.
Literal Translation in English“The one who has a good friend does not need a mirror.” 
The meaning of this quote is a little deeper than it sounds. If your friend is good, you don’t need a mirror to see your imperfections. He or she will warn you about your imperfections and help you overcome them.
   23Quote in TurkishYa olduğun gibi görün, ya göründüğün gibi ol.
Literal Translation in English“Either look as you are or be as you look.”
This quote is about being yourself and being honest about who you are.
   24Quote in TurkishBilmez misin ki cevap vermemek de cevaptır. 
Literal Translation in English“Don’t you know that not answering is also the answer?”
Sometimes silence means a lot. This quote suggests being wise with how you use your silence and your words.
   25Quote in TurkishNe kadar bilirsen bil, söylediklerin karşındakilerin anlayabileceği kadardır.
Literal Translation in English“No matter how much you know, what you say is as much as anyone can understand.” 
When communicating with others, we should consider the knowledge and experience of the other person and try to be as clear as possible. Otherwise, the knowledge we have won’t be conveyed or get us to the point.
   26Quote in TurkishBazı insanlar bize armağandır, bazıları ise ders.  
Literal Translation in English“Some people are gifts to us, others are lessons.” 
Some people are like gifts; they make us happy and we treasure them. Others teach us lessons related to the bad experiences they bring to our lives.
   27Quote in TurkishGönülden dile yol olduğu gibi, dilden de gönüle yol vardır.
Literal Translation in English“As there is a path from heart to the tongue, there is also a path from tongue to the heart.”
Rumi used this phrase at the end of a conversation with his son. He said: “If you don’t want anybody to harm you, then don’t say bad things and don’t have bad thoughts about him/her.” In essence, it means: “Kindness opens all the doors.”

8. Learn More With TurkishClass101

In this article, we presented you with several Turkish language quotes from Turkey and from around the world. From now on, you can impress your Turkish friends, colleagues, or even your boss, by using these quotes at just the right time.

Which one was your favorite, and why? 

Do you want to go even deeper into the Turkish language and culture? Then create your free lifetime account on TurkishClass101.com! We offer numerous audio lessons, tons of vocabulary lists, and free resources such as our Turkish-English dictionary.

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Better yet, you can download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

Last but not least, please continue to provide us with feedback about all of the resources provided at TurkishClass101.com!

Happy learning, and stay safe out there.

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Your Guide to the Business Language of Turkey

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Will you be having a job interview with a Turkish company? Are you getting ready to work in Turkey or travel there for a business trip? If you answered “yes” to one of these questions, then here comes the next question: Do you think you’re ready for the challenge?

If not, don’t panic. Today, we’ll cover some basic business terms in Turkish and common Turkish business phrases. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to greet your colleagues or your future boss, introduce yourself, make travel arrangements, participate in meetings, and take care of correspondence in Turkish.

Let’s get started and make your transition to the Turkish business environment that much smoother!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Turkish Table of Contents
  1. Turkish Terms Used in Business
  2. Greetings and Introductions in Business
  3. Interacting with Coworkers
  4. Participating in a Meeting
  5. Taking Care of Business Communications
  6. Going on a Business Trip
  7. Learn More Words, Terms, and Phrases with TurkishClass101

1. Turkish Terms Used in Business

First, let’s cover the very basics:

  • İş (“Business”)
  • İş adamı (“Businessman”)
  • İş kadını (“Businesswoman”)

From this point on, we’ll classify the basic business terms in Turkish based on category so that you can remember them easily.

Company-related words

Here are some useful terms you can use when talking about a company:

TurkishEnglish
ŞirketCompany
KuruluşEnterprise
KurumCorporation
FirmaFirm
HissedarShareholder
Küçük ve orta ölçekli işletmeSmall- or medium-sized business
Kâr amacı gütmeyen kuruluşNon-profit organization
Anonim şirketJoint-stock company
Çok uluslu şirketMulti-national company
Uluslararası şirketInternational company
Kurumsal firmaCorporate firm
PerakendeRetail
ToptanWholesale
Ana merkezHeadquarter
ŞubeBranch
Yan kuruluşSubsidiary
BayiDealer
OfisOffice
BüroOffice / Bureau
DepartmanDepartment

You may also find our vocabulary list of Words and Phrases for HR and the Recruitment Process useful! 

Work-related terms

Here are some useful words for talking about jobs and work:

TurkishEnglish
ÇalışmakTo work
İşBusiness / Work / Job
PozisyonPosition
İşverenEmployer
PersonelPersonnel
ÇalışanEmployee
İşçiWorker
PatronBoss
İş arkadaşıColleague
KariyerCareer
YönetimManagement
ÜstSuperior
MüdürManager
DirektörDirector
Alt kademeSubordinate
StajInternship / Apprenticeship
StajyerIntern / Apprentice
SözleşmeAgreement
KontratContract
VardiyaShift
Fazla mesaiOvertime

Make sure to check out our Workplace vocabulary list to learn even more words along with their pronunciation.

Words about money 

Money is a very important instrument in nearly every aspect of life, especially in business. Let’s take a look at money-related terms in Turkish:

TurkishEnglish
ParaMoney
MaaşSalary
ÜcretWage
En düşük ücret (Asgari ücret)Minimum wage
GelirIncome / Revenue
Net gelirNet income / Net revenue
Brüt gelirGross income / Gross revenue
İkramiyeBonus
KârProfit
BordroPayroll
HisseShare
VergiTax
Ön ödemeAdvance payment
BankaBank
Banka hesabıBank account

Want to learn more? Head over to our list of Money-Related Expressions for Everyday Life

2. Greetings and Introductions in Business

Greetings and introductions are very important in both business and social life. When doing business with Turkish companies, first impressions matter, so you need to have a good and impressive start!

Greetings

When greeting someone, you can use any of the following words, regardless of how formal the situation is.

  • Merhaba. (“Hello.”)
  • Günaydın. (“Good morning.”)
  • İyi günler. (“Good day.”) *
  • İyi akşamlar. (“Good evening.”) *

(*): You can also use these to say goodbye in both formal and informal situations.

If the situation is very informal, you can say:

  • Selam. (“Hi.”)

Greeting

To say goodbye in a formal manner, you can use one of these phrases:

  • Hoşçakalın. (“Goodbye.”) [Literally: “Stay pleasantly.”]
  • Görüşmek üzere. (“See you.”) [Literally: “Hope to see you.”]

To say goodbye to a coworker you’re close with, you can use any of the following words:

  • Bay bay. / Bay. (“Bye bye.” / “Bye.”)
  • Hoşçakal. (“Goodbye.”) [Literally: “Stay pleasantly.”]
  • Görüşürüz. (“See you.”)

You can see our vocabulary lists on Common Ways to Say Hello and the Most Common Ways to Say Goodbye for more info!

Self-introductions

Giving a proper self-introduction is just as important as greeting. Here are some useful phrases you can use to introduce yourself when socializing, networking, or engaging in other business situations. 

  • Ben Mary. (“I’m Mary.”)
  • Benim adım Mary. (“My name is Mary.”)
  • Benim ismim Mary. (“My name is Mary.”)
  • Otuz yaşındayım. (“I’m thirty years old.”)
  • Amerikalıyım ama artık Türkiye’de yaşıyorum. (“I’m American, but I live in Turkey now.”)
  • Yale Üniversitesi’nden mezun oldum. (“I have graduated from Yale University.”)
  • Ben yeni Satın Alma Müdürüyüm. (“I’m the new Purchasing Manager.”)

Don’t forget to read our article Turkish Greetings: How to Introduce Yourself in Turkish for more-detailed information and more useful phrases.

Job interviews

The job interview is a significant aspect of business life and might even have an impact on your future. It’s relatively easy to fill in a job application, pass a test, and even carry out a conversation over the phone, but what will happen when you’re having a face-to-face job interview in Turkish? 

Don’t worry! Below are some examples of questions that may be asked during the interview and some useful business phrases in Turkish one could use to answer them.

1. Bana eğitiminizden bahseder misiniz? (“Can you tell me about your education?”)

  • Harvard üniversitesinden mezun oldum. (“I graduated from Harvard University.”)
  • Finans okudum. (“I studied finance.”)
  • Harvard Üniversitesi’nde işletme yüksek lisansı yaptım. (“I have an MBA degree from Harvard University.”)                                                         

2. Daha önce nerelerde çalıştınız? (“Where have you worked before?”)

  • 4 yıl Unilever’de muhasebe departmanında çalıştım. (“I have worked at Unilever for four years in the accounting department.”)
  • Şu an P&G’de finans müdürü olarak çalışıyorum. (“Currently, I’m working as a financial manager at P&G.”)

3. Kaç dil biliyorsunuz? Bunlar neler? (“How many languages do you speak? What are they?”)

  • Ana dilim İngilizce. (“My mother tongue is English.”)
  • Almanca biliyorum. (“I know German.”)
  • Ve biraz da Türkçe. (“And also a little bit of Turkish.”)

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t understand something. Feel free to ask them to repeat what they said.

  • Sorunuzu tekrar edebilir misiniz lütfen? (“Could you please repeat your question?”)
  • Pardon anlayamadım. (“Pardon me, I couldn’t understand.”)

3. Interacting with Coworkers

Did you ace your job interview? Congratulations! Now it’s time to meet your new coworkers. Here are some practical Turkish business phrases you can use to communicate with your new work team.

Asking for help

Here are some business Turkish phrases that you can use to get help. Note that when the letters in parentheses are added, the questions become formal.

  • Bana yardım edebilir misin(iz) lütfen? / Bana yardımcı olabilir misin(iz) lütfen? (“Can you help me, please?”)
  • Bunu bana anlatabilir misin(iz) lütfen? (“Can you explain this to me, please?”)
  • Bu sistemi nasıl kullanacağımı gösterebilir misin(iz)? (“Can you show me how to use this system, please?”)
  • Bahsettiğin(iz) dokümana nasıl ulaşabilirim? (“How can I access the document you mentioned?”)
  • Bilgisayarın şifresini verebilir misin(iz)? (“Can you give the password of the computer?”)

Showing appreciation 

No matter where you are in the organizational hierarchy, showing appreciation toward your colleagues and subordinates is an important element of motivation.

  • Tebrikler! / Tebrik ederim! (“Congratulations!”)
  • Katkılarınız için teşekkürler. (“Thanks for your contribution.”)
  • Bu büyük bir başarı. (“This is a great success.”)
  • Başarılarınızın devamını dilerim. (“I wish you continued success.”)
  • İyi iş çıkardınız! (“Good job!”)

Expressing concerns

Of course, things in the garden aren’t always rosy! There will be times when you’ll have concerns you want to express. Here are some Turkish phrases for business to give you a voice in the matter:

  • Ben bunu anlamadım. (“I didn’t understand this.”)
  • Bana bu konuda bir bilgi verilmedi. (“I wasn’t informed about this.”)
  • Bana bu konuda bir eğitim verilmedi. (“I wasn’t trained on this topic.”)
  • Bunun için bütçemiz yok. (“We don’t have a budget for this.”)
  • Bu kadar zamanda bu işi yetiştiremeyiz. (“We can’t get this job done within this time frame.”)
  • Bu dokümanda bir hata var. (“There is an error in this document.”)
  • Bununla ilgili bir veri yok. (“There is no data related to this.”)
  • Bu toplantıyı ertelemeliyiz/öne çekmeliyiz. (“We must postpone/bring forward this meeting.”)
Overly Busy

There are also a couple of idioms that you can use. Be careful not to sound like you’re complaining, though! 

  • İşim başımdan aşkın. (“I’m overly busy.”)
  • Başımı kaşıyacak vaktim yok. (“I don’t have time to catch my breath.”)

You can find more Essential Idioms to Make You Sound Like a Native Speaker on our website! 

Making apologies

Everyone makes mistakes, and the best way to stay on good terms with your colleagues or boss is to offer the proper apology. Here are some phrases you can use to do so:

  • Özür dilerim, fevri davrandım. (“I apologize, I acted impulsively.”)
  • Üzgünüm. (“I’m sorry.”)
  • Yardımcı olamadığım için üzgünüm. (“I’m sorry, I couldn’t help.”)
  • Bugün olanlar için üzgünüm. (“I’m sorry for what happened today.”)

If you want to learn more apology phrases, read our blog post on How to Say Sorry in Turkish

Making plans for after-work social activities 

If you want to ask your colleagues to go out after work, you can use any of the phrases below. Note that when the letters in parentheses are added, the questions become formal.

  • İş çıkışı bir bira içmeye gidelim mi? (“Shall we go for a beer after work?”)
  • Mesai sonrası bize katılmak ister misin(iz)? (“Would you like to join us after work?”)

Here are some questions you can ask to get to know your colleagues better during after-work activities:

  • Hangi departmanda çalışıyorsun(uz)? (“Which department are you working in?”)
  • Hangi proje üzerinde çalışıyorsun(uz)? (“Which project are you working on?”)
  • Kaç yıldır burada çalışıyorsun(uz)? (“How many years have you been working here?”)

Make sure you check out our list of the Top 15 Questions You Should Know for Conversations to get more ideas!

4. Participating in a Meeting

Meetings are an indispensable aspect of business life. Let’s review some practical Turkish phrases for business meetings!

  • Toplantı (“Meeting”)
  • Toplantı ne zaman? (“When is the meeting?”)
  • Toplantı nerede? (“Where is the meeting?”)
  • Toplantı hangi odada? (“In which room is the meeting?”)
  • Toplantı ne kadar sürer? (“How long will the meeting take?”)
  • Herkes buradaysa, toplantıya başlayalım. (“If everyone is here, let’s start the meeting.”)
  • Başka fikri olan var mı? (“Does anybody have any other ideas?”)
  • Size katılıyorum. (“I agree with you.”)
  • Ne yazık ki size katılmıyorum. (“Unfortunately, I don’t agree with you.”)
  • Herhangi bir önerisi olan var mı? (“Does anybody have any suggestions?”)
  • Sanırım bir sonraki konuya geçebiliriz. (“I think we can move on to the next topic.”)
  • Çok verimli bir toplantı oldu. (“It was a very productive meeting.”)
Business Meeting

5. Taking Care of Business Communications

Communication is an essential element of business. In this section, we’ll look at phrases you can use in Turkish business emails and over the phone.

Emails or letters

Nowadays, electronic correspondence is often used in place of traditional business letters. However, there are still situations where letters are sent out to public authorities or other businesses.

Anyhow, whether you’re writing a Turkish business letter or an email, there will be a:

Salutation Sentence

  • Sayın Yetkili (“To whom it may concern”)
  • Sayın Pam Carlton (“Dear Pam Carlton”)
  • P&G Satın Alma Müdürlüğü’ne (“To the Purchasing Manager of P&G”)
  • Merhaba Mehmet Bey (“Hello, Mr. Mehmet”) * 
  • Bay Johnson merhaba (“Hello, Mr. Johnson”) **                   

(*) This is mostly used in email. Note that Mehmet is the person’s first name.

(**) This is mostly used in email. This time, the person’s last name is used.

Body and Conclusion of the Email

  • Parting words
    • Saygılarımla (“Sincerely yours”)
      Sevgiler (“Sincere/warm regards”)
      Selamlar (“Greetings” / “We salute you”) **
  • Name, last name, and signature

(*) This is informal.

(**) This is neither formal nor informal. It’s somewhere in-between.

Business calls

While audio conference tools are very popular these days, phone calls are still an active part of worklife in Turkey.

Alo (“Hello”) is the most popular way to answer the phone in Turkish. You can use it when talking to your colleagues, but a receptionist wouldn’t normally answer the phone that way. In Turkey, business receptionists would probably start by saying the company name, and then ask:

  • Size nasıl yardımcı olabilirim? (“How may I help you?”)

Here’s a possible answer:

  • Mehmet bey ile görüşmek istiyorum. (“I want to talk to Mr. Mehmet.”)

Or:

  • Beni muhasebe departmanına bağlayabilir misiniz? (“Can you connect me to the accounting department?”)

Business Calls

Here are a few more Turkish business phrases a receptionist might use:

  • Hatta kalın lütfen. (“Please stay on the line.”)
  • Sizi bir dakika bekleteceğim. (“I will have you wait for a minute.”)
  • Mehmet Bey’in hattı meşgul. (“Mr. Mehmet’s line is busy.”)
  • Mehmet Bey şu anda toplantıda. (“Mr. Mehmet is in a meeting now.”)
  • Herhangi bir mesajınız var mı? (“Do you have any messages?”)
  • Daha sonra tekrar arayabilir misiniz? (“Can you call again later?”)
  • Notunuzu ileteceğim. (“I will forward your note.”)

Want to be prepared for your next Turkish phone call? Check out our list of Useful Phrases for a Phone Call to learn more phrases and hear their pronunciation.

6. Going on a Business Trip

Here are a few phrases you can use when buying a ticket or checking in at a hotel:

  • Merhaba. 23 Nisan için İstanbul’a bir uçak bileti istiyorum. (“Hello. I want a flight ticket to Istanbul for April 23.”)
  • Cam kenarında bir koltuk istiyorum. (“I want a seat by the window.”)
  • Tek kişilik bir oda istiyorum. (“I want a single room.”)
  • Akşam yemeği saat kaçta? (“What time is dinner?”)
Business Trip

Prepare for your travels well in advance with our list of the Top 30 Travel Phrases You Should Know!

7. Learn More Words, Terms, and Phrases with TurkishClass101

By now, you’ve learned many Turkish business phrases that you can start practicing today. Do you think you’re ready to participate in a meeting or go through your job interview in Turkish? 

If you think you need more practice with Turkish phrases for business, visit TurkishClass101.com! We provide numerous audio recordings, tons of vocabulary lists, and free resources (including our Turkish-English dictionary), all of which you can refer to for detailed information about the Turkish language and culture.

Note that we also provide the Premium PLUS service MyTeacher, which allows you to practice with a private tutor. If you’re busy or prefer learning on your own time, you can download the app for free and use it wherever you are.

Happy Turkish learning, and good luck with your business endeavors!

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