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A Golden Advice

If I were asked to give what I consider the single most useful bit of advice for all humanity, it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life, and when it comes, hold your head high. Look it squarely in the eye, and say, “I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.

Ann Landers

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Turkey (Countries & Cultures)

Location, Geography
Turkey is an area of 301,578 square miles; it occupies Asia Minor and a small portion of Europe. Turkey is bounded on the west by Aegean Sea; on the North West by the Sea of Marmara, Greece, and Bulgaria; on the east by Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran; and on the south by Iraq, Syria, and the Mediterranean. Istanbul is the capital.
Turkey has 4,454 miles of coastline. The interior consists of mountains, hills, valleys, and a high central plateau.
Population estimated in 2010 officially (67,803,927), however effectively the population is around 75 million, with 56% of the people living in urban areas and 35% in small villages.
Turkey was founded in 1923 as a multiethnic and multilingual Ottoman Empire, which existed between the fourteenth and early twentieth century's which spread along much of the Middle East along with parts of southeastern Europe and North Africa in the sixteenth century.
The Turks originated in inner Asia. Their language belongs to the Atlantic family. The earliest evidence of Turkish writing dates to the eighth century C.E. The language is influenced by Persian and Arabic, when the Turks began moving into the Middle East and converting into Islam around the ninth century. Many Arabic and Persian words were replaced with words derived from ancient Turkish, after the establishment of the Turkish Republic.
About 98% of Turkey’s citizens are Muslims, of whom about 85% are Sunnis and 20% members of the Shiite sects. Turkish Muslims recognize the standard Islamic creed and duties, but only the most religious fast or make pilgrimage to Mecca. 4% of Turks identify themselves as atheists, and 4% as agnostics.
There are at least 35 non Turkish ethnic groups, including other Turkic people who speak different Turkic languages. Turkey does not categorize its population by ethnicity, and the sizes of ethnic groups must be estimated.
Those who speak non-Turkic languages include Kurds, Armenians, Greeks, Circrassians, Georgians, Laz, Arabs, Rom (Gypsies), Ossetes, Albanians, and the Chechens.
Turkish food includes many different stews of vegetables and meat (lamb and beef primarily). In winter many Turks eat a breakfast of bread with hot soup. In warmer seasons, they usually eat bread and jam, cheese, olives with warm tea or milk. A typical noon meal consists of vegetable and meat stew with a side dish of rice or bulgur pilaf and salad, and fruit for dessert. The evening meal is usually lighter, consisting of leftovers from noon or a kebab with salad. Usually water is drunk with both meals.
All cities have numerous restaurants and snack stands. However, many specialize in limited number of food, such as Kebab, soup, meat wraps, pastries, and fish. Higher class restaurants usually set aside a section for females and families.
Pork is a major food taboo in Turkey, and which is forbidden to Muslims. And although alcoholic drinks are also forbidden in Islam many Turkic drink beers, wine, and liquors. Certain segments of the Muslim population regard other food as taboo even though their religion does not prohibit them. The Yuruks, a formerly nomadic Turkish people, avoid all seafood with the exception of fish. Members of the Alvi sect of Islam do not eat rabbit meat because it menstruates. Turks in the northwestern province of Balikesir avoid snails, claiming incorrectly that the Koran forbids their consumption.
Turkish drink tea throughout the day, thick coffee is usually drunk after a meal.
Basic Economy
Turkey is self-sufficient in food production. Turkey’s economy is a mix of private and state economic enterprise. Factories produce a wide variety of products, including processed foods, textiles and footwear5, iron and steel, chemicals, cement, fertilizers, kitchen appliances, radios and television sets. Montage industries that utilize a combination of imported and domestic parts assemble cars, trucks, and buses as well as aircrafts.
Trading also plays an important role to the economy. Turkey’s entrance into a customs union agreement with the European Union in 1995 facilitated trade with EU countries. The major exports were textiles and apparel 37%, iron and steel products 10%, and foodstuff 17%. The Major exports partners are Germany 20%, the United States 8%, Russia 8%, and Italy 5%.
Imports include machinery 26%, fuels 13%, raw materials 10%, and foodstuff 4%. The primary imports are Germany 16%, Italy 9%, the United States 9%, France 6%, and the United Kingdom 6%.
Social Statue
The most determinants of social status are wealth and education. The basic categories include the wealthy urban educated class, the urban middle class, the large rural landowner class, and the general rural population. A university education is the minimum qualification for entry into the urban educated class, in which there are numerous substrata.
Most men of all social classed have adopted western styles of dress. Men and women of upper and middle classes pay attention to western fashions.
Gender Roles
Turkish law guarantees equal pay for equal work and has opened practically all educational programs and occupations to women. However, men dominate the high status occupations in business, the military, government, the professions, and academia.
Strict etiquette governs most social interactions and the use of space. Turkish culture has an exact verbal formula for practically every occasion, and it is required to use the correct formulas for these occasions. Older people are addressed formally, and younger people are expected to act reserved in their presence. Adults of the opposite sex are expected not to show affection in the public. Friends of the same sex may hold hands and greet each other with kisses on the cheek. Upon meeting men shake hands with each other, but it is always wise to wait for women to offer their hands first before shaking it.
Homes are divided into guest and private areas, and it is improper to ask for a tour around the house. Shoes are removed when entering a home or mosque.
People are not criticized for being late!
Business Etiquette
Turks prefer to do business with people who they are familiar with and respect. Therefore, it is important for those wishing to establish business relations with Turks, to consider spending time to get know their Turks partners and give them a chance to familiarize themselves with you. You can do so over a chat in the office, dinners, lunches, and through social outings. You can enquire about the family without prying, and questions about the children are always welcome. The Turks are very proud about their country, and will enjoy talking to you about it and about its rich history. However, be careful not to go into politics and keep your questions conversations pleasant and positive. Football talks are also topic the Turks will love to discuss, and share stories about their favorite team.
Courtesy is a must and very important in business dealings.
Once you establish good communication with your clients and partners, communication will be direct.
Shake hands firmly when meeting with your partners or clients, a hand shake at the end of your meeting is also a good idea although not essential. Eye contact while having a conversation is vital.
Business Negotiation
Turks are visual people so in addition to written well presented proposals, insure that you give them a good oral presentation combined with maps, charts and graphs etc.
Insure that your proposal clearly demonstrate the mutual benefits and profitability of any agreement or partnership.
In Turkey a lot of the businesses are led by families, and therefore business is more or less personal to many private businesses. It is therefore important that you respect that and be aware that you most likely will meet and negotiate with less senior member of the family at first and once a trust has been established you will meet and negotiate with the senior members. A decision will be ultimately be made by the head of the family/company.

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