Foreign women married with Turks

Istanbul is a big metropolis and has many foreigners. A great number of these foreigners are women that have married Turkish citizens and came to live in Turkey. They are Americans, Latins, Europeans and Asians. These women came from several countries: England, Germany, Brazil, Spain, Japan, Australia, United States, etc...

Turk's behaviors are differed of some other cultures, that can cause embarrassments to certain cultures. Usually Turks are very temperamental, and could go easily from tears to a great laugh. Turks are people with which the first contact is very easy. They are hospitable and they like foreigners and tourists.

The adaptation to the Turkish culture is difficult for some of those woman. The most difficult point is the religion (if the foreigner's religion is not Muslim). The restrictions will be a lot if the family of her husband is very religious. In this case, the foreigner usually adapts to the situation or she can be rejected by the family. If the family is open minded there won't be serious conflicts in this respect and the foreigner won't feel pressure on this matter.

Mostly cultural shocks from the Turkish culture would come from: way of life, behavior, hobbies, way of dressing, food, etc...

Today Istanbul offers a good life quality for the foreigners. It is possible to find several industrialized products of local production and also imported. You can find rice pasta or soya for the oriental, cornflakes for Americans, pork meat and several other imported foodstuffs. You will also be able to buy some imported products such as: furniture, cars, computers, machines, woven, material for kitchen, etc...

The first great shock for the foreigner that come to live in Turkey is the language. Then the first providence is to learn the language and to attend a Turkish course. The language is a little difficult for the foreigners that has a Latin language as a mother language. For Japanese people, Turkish is easier because the linguistic structure resembles Japanese.

The way of dressing can be a shock for some foreigners with very open mentality. Clothes used in Rio de Janeiro for instance, can be inappropriate to be used in the streets of Istanbul. But speaking generally about garments I could say that the not very religious women do not use very short skirts and no decote, and they have the tendency to dress like the Europeans. The religious women would cover her body from head to feet. Men usually get dressed as the Europeans, and it is difficult to distinguish among a very religious man of a less religious one. The new generation has a tendency to dress with colorful and more extravagant clothes. This whole mixture brings an exotic contrast in the streets of Istanbul.

There is a group in Istanbul called IWI (International Women of Istanbul). This group has about 700 foreign women that live in Istanbul as members. The objective of the group is charity and to promote events for the group. Many are married with Turks, others come to Istanbul together with her family and usually the husband works in a multinational. This group is of great help at the beginning for a foreigner that come to live in Istanbul. She would find companion and friendship of people who speaks her own language at IWI. There are several other groups of foreigners in Istanbul: German group, people that speak Spanish, French, Italian, etc...

Date: August 5th, 2001
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