Posted by: Andy | May 17, 2009

10 pieces of random trivia about Turkey

Since the moment we heard about the possibility of traveling to Turkey, I’ve been scouting out random bits of trivia in hopes to cut down on the culture shock that will undoubtedly occur once we get there. Below is a list of things, you may not know about Turkey.

1. People drive on the right side of the road in Turkey…whew.

2. Turkey is one of two countries in both Asia and Europe – the other being Russia.
I learned that bit actually more than two years ago while watching jeopardy.

3. There is no ranch dressing.
Now to a typical person, who eats ranch dressing only on their salads, this would be no big deal, but for me, who has eaten ranch dressing on nearly every food imaginable: salad, chips, cheetos, corn dogs, pizza, chicken strips, chicken nuggets, shrimp, tacos, fish, hamburgers, hot dogs, pork chops and even on occasion steak this no ranch thing might be difficult. They do have dry packets that can be mixed with mayonnaise, but I just have a feeling, it won’t be the same.

4. Turkey (especially the northern part where we will be) is quite prone to earthquakes.
From what I can tell, in the past 500 years there have been six-major earthquakes earthquakes in Turkey (7.0 or higher on the Richter Scale).
Also there have been four in Ankara in the past week.  The biggest being a 3.5 which is hardly detectable by the average human being.  I’ve never felt an earthquake, so that should be an experience when the time comes.

5. Turkish Coffee is sometimes used for fortune telling.
Many people have heard of Turkish coffee and if they’ve ever tasted it, they know this much: it is strong, at least much stronger than typical American coffee. Since Turkish coffee is so potent, coffee grounds are left at the bottom of the cup after the liquid has been drunk. One simply turns the cup over on to the saucer and lets a friend read their fortune. I’m not sure how widely practiced it is, but it seems much more interesting than getting a piece of paper inside of a cookie.

6. Turkey has the second largest military among the NATO countries with over one-million personnel serving in their five-branch system.

7. Despite the name, Turkey has the 10th highest chicken population in the world.
I learned that fact from one of my recent short-term gaming obsessions If you want to save yourself countless hours of trying to guess ridiculous amounts of trivia, avoid that site at all costs.

8. Modern Day Turkey is home to many ancient landmarks.
These include Troy, Ephesus, Mt. Ararat and the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

9. Despite being only the 37th largest country by area, Turkey has the 17th highest population (yes of people, not chickens).

10. Turkey has an unofficial national drink called raki.
Raki is an alcoholic drink similar to sambuca that is traditionally drank in a mixture with water. The mixture is called Aslan Sutu, which means lion’s milk. (Which makes me think of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when Aslan, the Great Lion, is at one point asked by Ginnibrik, a ridiculous dwarf, if he would like some milk.)

We are extremely excited to travel to and live in Turkey. It seems like an amazing country that’s filled with a unique culture. I cannot wait to learn more about this phenomenon country.



  1. That’s so awesome! I love random facts! Hope Bleak House is good, hope you are both well… miss you already!!!


  2. Now i know what to send in care packages: Ranch dressing. In China, we can’t reese’s peanut butter cups, so that was always my care package request.

    The bit about the coffee reminds me of Harry Potter (not sure which book) when they are in divination class and they do the same thing but with tea leaves.

  3. I had the same thought about Harry Potter when I first read about the fortune telling. I think it was book 5, but it may have been 4. The proper name is tasseography which refers to either tea leaf reading or coffee grounds reading.

    • I totally thought the same thing about Harry Potter. Speaking of HP – less than two months until The Half-Blood Prince is in theaters!

  4. Well I’m shocked by the 4 earthquakes this week thing….I guess I’m an average human because I didn’t feel a thing.

    In addition to the ranch dressing mix you’ll want to add taco seasoning and fajita seasoning packets. 🙂

    • Erika – that info is based off an iPhone app that tells me where each recorded earthquake happens in Turkey. The app is in Turkish though, so that’s about all the info I can tell you. 🙂

  5. I’ll read you your fortune if you read me mine.

  6. Andrea, I’m not giving you any coffee, especially Turkish coffee, you’ll never calm down.

  7. Thanks Andy…

  8. About the ranch dressing… they didn’t have any in Japan, either, and we found it best to mix it with yogurt instead of mayo! Sounds weird, but the texure is much better.

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