INVISIBLE CULTURE

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Hierarchical

Turkey scores high on the powerdistance dimension (score of 66) which means that the following characterizes the Turkish style: Dependent, hierarchical, superiors often inaccessible and the ideal boss is a father figure. Power is centralized and managers rely on their bosses and on rules. Employees expect to be told what to do. Control is expected and attitude towards managers is formal. Communication is indirect and the information flow is selective. The same structure can be observed in the family unit, where the father is a kind of patriarch to whom others submit.

Traditional social patterns 
Turkey scores 85 on the uncertainty avoidance dimension so there is a huge need for laws and rules. In order to  minimalize anxiety, people make use of a lot of rituals. For foreigners they might seem religious, with the many references to “Allah”, but often they are just traditional social patterns, used in specific situations to ease tension.

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Relationship to time

Turkish people try to manage several activities and issues at the same time. It is common having phone calls during a meeting and they enter the meeting room without invitation. Foreign students told, that in school Turkish students are often late and punctuality is not that important as in Switzerland.

Stereotypes

1. Turkey is a strict Muslim country.

Well, it’s certainly true that the majority of the country claim to be Muslim by religion, but the country as a whole, is not. Turkey is a secular state, meaning its government does not (or should not) favor Islam over any other religion, and religion should have no effect on public life, politics or law.

2. Belly Dancing

A nice exotic, light-hearted topic. Some think Turks employ belly dancers for all parties and every occasion. Even in Turkey, belly dancing remains a popular form of extra-ordinary touristic entertainment.

3. Apple tea

Unfortunately the biggest scam ever. The bad news is no one really drinks apple tea in Turkey. It is in fact a cost- efficient (read cheap) apple-flavoured, hot sugary drink often exclusively served to tourists visiting carpet and jewelry stores.

4. Women walk around in Burkas, covered from head to toe, only showing their eyes.

Wrong. It’s very rare to see women wearing Burkas in Turkey, it is discouraged.  A lot of women do wear headscarves, although this is changing too. In fact, those women working in government buildings are not permitted to cover their head while working