Ten reasons to like Turkey – and 14 beautiful pictures

Picture of Leigh Turner
Leigh Turner

I know at least 80 million reasons to like Turkey.  Turks are tremendous people with immense culture, wonderful history and a great language.  But here are 10 top reasons and 14 top pictures.

Let’s celebrate.  We’re going through a ghastly coronavirus crisis.  But we should not forget that the world is wonderful.  I thought I would write in praise of several countries I’ve lived in.

Here are ten things to like about Turkey, where I lived from 2012-2016.  All the pictures are mine.

Reasons to like Turkey: Istanbul and the Golden Horn

1.  Istanbul is one of the most ancient and spectacular cities on earth.  Here’s me by the Golden Horn.

Reasons to like Turkey: Istanbul and the Golden Horn

Reasons to like turkey: delicious fish

2.  Turks are crazy about fresh fish.  Here’s a chap delivering some to a restaurant.

Delicious Turkish fish

Cool Turkish cats

3.  Turks adore cats.  This dog is looking suitably anxious.

Cool Turkish cats

Reasons to like Turkey: service culture

4.  Service culture in Turkey is second to none.  This gentleman is serving tea from a boat by the Bosphorus in Istanbul.

Turkish service culture

These kebabci are at the end of a busy evening.

Turkish kebabci

Reasons to like Turkey: ancient sites

5.  Turkey is full of ancient sites.  The Sumela Monastery near Trabzon was founded in 386, although it has been abandoned several times.

Reasons to like Turkey: Sumela Monastery

When we visited Sumela in 2015 a Greek Orthodox ceremony was taking place.

Reasons to like Turkey: Sumela Monastery

Reasons to like Turkey: Anatolia

6.  South Eastern Anatolia is full of extraordinary remains.  Mount Nemrut dates from 50 BC.

Mount Nemrut

The city of Harran, close to what is now the Syrian border, dates from 2,000 BC.  Alexander the Great passed through in 331 BC. The Great Mosque, in the picture, was already in ruins in the 13thC.

Reasons to like turkey: Harran

Reasons to like Turkey: humour

7.  Turks have a great sense of humour.  These people are celebrating New Year in Istanbul.

Turkish New Year

Top Turkish women

8.  Women play a prominent role in many parts of Turkish society, including leading many major companies. This is an all-female group of riot control police in Istanbul.

Female Turkish police officers

Reasons to like Turkey: oil wrestling

9.  Oil wrestling, the Turkish national sport, dates back to antiquity.  This is the annual Kirkpinar tournament held in Edirne.

Reasons to like Turkey: Edirne Oil Wrestling

Ancient monuments

10.  Istanbul is home to matchless ancient monuments.  The Aya Sofia, built in 537, was the largest building in the world for 1,000 years.

Reasons to like Turkey: Aya Sofia

The nearby Basilica Cistern dates from around the 5th Century.

Basilica Cistern Istanbul Turkey

As you can see, I have struggled to keep the numbers of reasons to like Turkey down to ten.  I’ve had to leave out Ephesus, the south-eastern coast, countless spectacular mosques, the Lycian Way, and much else.  Key message: there are many reasons to celebrate Turkey.

South-East Anatolia

If you like this you may also like my post on South-East Anatolia with a link to lots more beautiful pictures of Turkey.

What to do next

Why not try my Istanbul thriller “Palladium“? It’s a terrific, entertaining read.

What if terrorists threatened to destroy Istanbul?

Palladium by Leigh Turner


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4 Responses

  1. Turkey and mainly Istanbul are spectacular and wonderful,but the politics and the attitude towards women are bad. But I lived for four years in ANkara, which is not a beautiful city and rather boring.

  2. Hi, my name is Judy and I live in the mountains near Sydney in Australia. A year or so ago my daughter sent a few months backpacking through Turkey with a Turkish friend. She absolutely loved it, particularly the open hospitality of the local people. Wherever they went they were offered food and lodging, even though they were strangers, even from people who had little. Thank you for sharing your experiences of this ancient culture.

    1. Thanks Judy – I was delighted to hear that you enjoyed the piece. I passed through the Blue Mountains in 1993. You might like the companion piece, “10 Reasons to Like Lesotho”. Do stay in touch and thanks again for your comment.

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