Neither the security personnel in the airport, nor the taxi driver, nor the gentleman of the store 24 hours. Neither the guy in the supermarket, the bus driver or the waiter at the bar where I drink coffee. Not even the signs, the maps or the app. Nobody speaks English. The language they want us to learn from a young age, seems not to be as widespread as we think. As I understood, the problem in Turkey is the education. The study of the language is contemplated in the whole educational process, from the primary to the compulsory subjects in the university, but they never practice it. Yes, I’m sure that in front of a mid-level test, anyone would get a good mark, but try to ask how much it costs in the market and try to find a valid answer.
Perhaps they feel afraid and they don’t want to have, so they are unable to tell me a complete sentence in English or because the words do not really come out and get stuck in their throat, but the reality is that language is not a barrier to communicate with them. And although Turkish is categorized as one of the most difficult languages to learn from the world, they have one more language, that of gestures. The body language of the people of this country is very exaggerated. The movements of the hands, head or facial expressions are a fundamental part of their communication. If you are able to understand body language, you can survive in Turkey. And it is very important to know, especially for not to scare you.
But there is another language that is not learned, that is not stipulated in any study book, or explained in any viral Youtube video. It is about the authenticity of the people of this country and the kindness with which they treat foreigners. While the English words may not come out of your mouth, the power and courage to communicate with few words is only theirs. And that is not studied. There is no possibility that you do not understand the final price of your purchase, because they will find a way to write it or interpret it with their hands. Nor will you have any problem to get to a place because nobody explained the way. If it is in their hand, they will even accompany you to your destination. Maybe you ask a difficult question and they have to connect Google Translate more than once, but that will not prevent you from doing everything in your power to answer your questions. In this time in Antalya I have had conversations that have been based on a gesture with the head, in a movement of hands or in a simple smile, but that have been truly effective. People have offered me their cell phones to call whoever they want or have phoned friends who speak a little English to try to answer my questions. They have offered tea to me while waiting for the arrival of my flight and I have been invited to eat in each house I have passed through.
And in these situations is when you realize that the kindness and warmth of the people in Turkey is able to overcome any language barrier.