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Turkish Body Language

Discussion in 'Talk about Turkey' started by Mella, Feb 4, 2005.

  1. Mella

    Mella Administrator Staff Member

    Human body language, including gestures and facial expressions, is used to communicate in countless subtle and complex ways. The meanings of gestures and facial expressions can differ from one culture or region to another. I was reading about the different body languages and gestures of Turkish people. I thought it was quite interesting. If anyone has more to add, feel free..


    • Kissing each other on both cheeks. This is done to greet each other, and can be done man to man, woman to woman or man to woman. Shaking hands is also used but if you just shake hands this means you are not very close to that person. When you meet a friend, you generally kiss on both cheeks. When you se two guys hugging and kissing each other in both cheeks in Turkey, don't think they are homosexual
      Some very religious people, hovewer, avoid any contact with the opposite sex.

    • Turks tend to stare at one another and foreigners more than Westerners are accustomed to. Westerners should not feel singled out or watched when such behavior occurs.

    • If you see someone holding their hand with palm up and bringing fingers in toward thumb, this is a compliment and generally means something is "good." It can be done when they like a food, a cloth, or any object. It can also mean they find a woman or man nice and handsome.

    • The idle habit of snapping your fingers with one hand and then slapping the top of a closed fist is considered obscene. This may be one of the rudest possible gestures

    • The gesture created when a circle is formed by touching the forefinger to the thumb does not mean "ok." In Turkey this symbol means you are a homosexual. It is quite offensive.

    • In Turkey, you can see guys (who are close friends) in more physical contact than in the western countries. It is normal to hold the hand of a friend or walk with your arm over your friend's shoulder. This does not mean you are gays, this is a sign of close friendship.

    • Nodding your head to the front means "yes".

    • Throwing your head slightly to the back while raising your eyebrows up and clicking your tongue at the same time means "no".

    • Shaking your head to sides means "I don't get it" or "I don't know"

    • Waving your hand up and down to somebody, with inside of your palm looking down means "come here"

    • Hand kissing is also a very important and traditional gesture in Turkish culture. It is a way of greeting a person significantly older or than you. In religious holidays, for instance, children kiss the hands of their grandparents. It is also a tradition to give children kissing your hands some money on these special days. The action can be described as follows:

      *The grandparent (or older person) puts his hand slightly forward, with the palm facing down. The child (if necessary, bends a little and) kisses the hand offered.

      *In response, the older person kisses the child on both cheeks. But this time, it is not simply touching the cheeks as you do with a friend. He kisses both cheeks with his lips

    • Raising your chin, moving your eyebrows up and simultaneously clicking your tongue means "NO."
      This one is one of the most different gestures of the Turkish body language.A sharp downward nod means yes.

    • It is rude to point your finger or the sole of your shoe toward a person
  2. **claire**

    **claire** Super Moderator

    I found another one that always confuses me...

    Come here/follow me: hand waved downward in a scooping motion, with word Gel gel! ('Come! Come!')

    where as we would wave our hand upwards?!?

    Carmella..... I cant think of any that we have either ... guess we do them without thinking about it?
    you have stated the obvious ones tho!! :p
  3. Dont worry if you see a slightly cross eyed guy walking up the street with a finger up his nose, or a couple of fingers clawing at his backside. Thats my mate Stuart it means he is searching for boggeys or has an itchie pile (it also means he has appalling manners)
  4. sarahv

    sarahv Silver Sand's Sweetheart

    What does the gesture of slapping your hands together twice is an up and down motion mean?
  5. Rhona

    Rhona Kusadasi Queen

  6. ..

    I have always respected every culture..never had any funny comments,it helps being a 16 stone body builder though!!:mrgreen::mrgreen:
  7. cj12

    cj12 Fan

    Nothing at all to do with Turkey :oops: but....was watching Grand Prix on Sunday and when Massa was on the podium, he made a fist with his thumb and little finger pointing up. He then sort of waved his hand backwards and forwards. What is this all about? :)
  8. joy

    joy Sweet Yorkshire Rose

    I was aware of the ok sign having a totally different meaning in Turkey, but only because as part of a course i did once included study of body language and different cultures.
    Now i do know someone who frequently went around making this sign and saying "cok guzel"thinking they were complementing Turkish people on their food or work.
    When he was put right about what the gesture means in Turkey he couldnt stop laughing to think he had been doing that around town for years:oops:
  9. Mella

    Mella Administrator Staff Member

    Was it this....


    That's called 'The fig'

    Don't know about the little finger pointing up but making a fist with your thumb means the same as sticking your middle finger up.
  10. Quite right I wouldn't want anybody showing the ok to me. it is offensive.

    And the fist above referres to part of a womans anatomy , so my wife says

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