This is a photo of the always impressive Sultanahmet Camii or The Blue Mosque in Istanbul. The inside is completely tiled with Blue Iznik tiles hence the English name. Must see. We were in Istanbul a few weeks ago...
We were sitting in Traffic as you often do in Istanbul when I noticed all over the taxis were the no smoking signs, you know, the cigarette with the big red circle around it and a slash through it, pretty universal. Then I also noticed the taxi driver was smoking? Hmmm? So I asked my husband if you can smoke in Taxis? He replied, "No but of course yes." This along with "Burası Türkiye" is another one of my new favorite slogans for my Turkish experience that can probably be applied to other situations too.
It seems that a HUGE majority of the population smoke here. It is a very social culture, people always seem to have time to sit together, drink tea or coffee and smoke cigarettes while chatting. I enjoy it all very much except the everyone smoking part. I think most Turks are quite oblivious to the idea of second hand smoke and the awareness of whose air space they are invading with their smoke. When I first came to Turkey a few years ago you could smoke everywhere; schools, public buildings etc. Now those spaces have been banned and you have to pay a fine if someone catches you(that's the trick... if someone catches you or cares enough or has the authority to even fine you) but still every bar, cafe, restaurant and outdoor space is open to smoking.
Since I lived in San Diego, California it was always been a completely smoke free (indoors) state. When I would go back to Minnesota and go to the bars where smoking wasn't banned at the time I realized how it permeates your skin, hair, lungs etc. and now really appreciate that they passed the law to ban smoking inside. They are supposed to impose a similar law here in Turkey in July so you can't smoke in bars anymore. This law keeps being pushed back to a later time and I wonder how it will go over this July? A ban or the "No, but of course yes"? Slow changes I wonder? Please just be aware of your second hand smoke!
We went to Bursa a year or two ago for my husband's work. It was a fair at one of the universities with bands, cotton candy and other fair food, pop the balloon games, a few rides, for the most part usual fair activities until I noticed the above game, "Ring-a-round a ciggy pack". If you can throw a ring around the cigarette pack it is yours. It made me laugh and I had to take a pic. I think my husband probably played a few rounds actually. The love/addiction to cigarettes is no joke especially when it is so culturally accepted. We'll see... "No but of course yes????"