There’s more to Turkey than what you hear on the news
Istanbul is a beautiful city
Ever heard of Turkey? It’s right between Europe and Asia. Istanbul, its most populated city, is a peaceful and wonderful place in the middle of chaos. While many people are somewhat aware it exists, there are many misconceptions about Turkey, especially in the light of the last six months of news stories.
It’s so far away
Sorry to confuse you, but it’s not actually that far away (nor is it in the Middle East). Technically, Turkey is on both the European and Asian continents, and is sometimes referred to as being part of Eurasia (just like the Muse song). It takes four hours to get to London from Istanbul and Greece is 20 minutes on boat from my summer house. We have two bridges connecting the continents and will have a third one soon.
It’s always hot
Though it would’ve been nice to have a tropical climate and sip on coconut water all day, it actually gets very cold in winter. Meteorologically, we’re aligned with Spain, Greece and Italy, and we had snow for two weeks straight this year. It’s usually between 0-10 degrees during winter time and feels colder than London.
Women and men can’t hang out together
Turkey has no official religion. Though the majority of its people identify as Muslim, nobody mandates what Istanbulites do. Women and men live together, work together, ride the ferry together, eat together, and pretty much do whatever they want together.
All women wear hijabs
As mentioned before, we’re not an official Muslim country. And though it depends on the neighbourhood, not every woman wears a hijab and no one can force them to. It is seen as a religious choice and both sides respect the other. We’re pretty stylish, too.
All of Turkey and the Arab countries of todays were situated within the bounds of the Ottoman Empire, but we speak Turkish and our culture is not Arabic.
We use the Latin alphabet and our language includes words from Persian, French, Arabic, and Greek, as well as Turkish.
Istanbul is a lovely place with a unique culture. The best way to dispel the misconceptions is to visit it – the ferry awaits.