TURKEY: Reading Local Gestures
Greetings: Men often greet each other by kissing on both cheeks, as do woman. Shaking hands is also common although among nationals it may indicate a certain social distance. Some observant Muslims avoid any physical contact with the opposite sex. Touching the fingers to the forehead is a “good-bye” gesture.
Agreement: Visitors may be confused by the sharp downward nod they receive from their Turkish colleagues which indicates agreement.
Polite refusal: Placing the right hand over the heart conveys “No, thank you”
Disagreement: This is expressed by lifting one’s chin, raising the eyebrows and clicking the tongue.
Non-committal: Shrugging and turning up one’s palms means “I don’t know.” Shaking one’s head side to side may mean “I don’t get it” or “I don’t know”
Disbelief: Rubbing the back of the hand on the cheek could indicate “I don’t believe you.” Surprise: Pushing the upper teeth back with the thumb expresses fear or great surprise.