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Sultanahmet mosque in Istanbul

Religion, habits and customs

Religion, habits and customs in daily life

The majority of the Turkish population are of the Sunnite Islam faith.
The Republic of Turkey is the only country in the world with such a majority of the Muslim faith that nevertheless has a strictly secular foundation.
The strict separation of religion and state is firmly anchored in the Constitution.
Commercial life in Turkey is also influenced far less by religion than in other Islamic countries.

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The presence of religion in daily life

Islam is present in daily life due to the five-time call to prayer by the Muezzin.
The mandatory daily five-time prayer behind this is adhered to in the western region by only a few believers. Islam is perceived strongest during Ramadan, when many believers fast and give up alcohol and smoking.

Religious influence on trade

The influence of Islam on business life

Islamic rules for business life, such as the prohibition of interest, are not common in Turkey. Also, the amount of people who insist on the observance of the five-time prayer while at work, is comparatively small.
This is not least due to the fact that in Islam, performing work is considered to be service to God. Only in the fasting month of Ramadan is the effect of religion on business life noticeable: Efficiency and motivation are affected, which has an effect on economic productivity. Traffic becomes a real problem during the period of fasting due to the irritability of the fasters, especially during rush-hour.

Kiss on the hand to express respect for seniority

Customs and Traditions

The traditional circumcision of boys at a young age is one of the most important religious rituals in Turkey. The circumcision, also known as Sünnet, symbolises the transition from an infant to a boy. The Hamam (Turkish Bath) is an important part of Islamic bathing culture in Turkey. Superstitions, for example, in the form of the protecting eye (nazar boncuğu) or the belief in certain rules ("if the dogs howl at night, someone will die") are rife. The first business of the day (siftah) means a lot to the trader and is therefore conducted at a very good price.
Often, the trader will request that the money be thrown onto the floor.

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