Turkish expats in Dubai
From one of Europe's most vibrant and diverse countries to a new life in the UAE. Turkish expats talk about their life in Dubai 13 Comments
Semih Ozkan, 28M
My first impressions of Dubai? Artificial. In Istanbul, you feel the whole city has character, and it goes back 3,000 years. No one feels they belong here, or that they own the country, which is unfortunate.
I didn’t plan to come here, it just happened. I was working for a bank in Istanbul, and I got a call from a recruiter at Standard Chartered, and said, ‘Why not?’ I’m from Mersin, a small town in the south. Dubai’s big compared to there, but I worked in Istanbul, which is so big it makes Dubai seem small. Also, the traffic in Dubai is nothing compared to Istanbul.
Being a Turk in Dubai is easy because they appreciate our history, and that our culture dates back to the Ottoman Empire. Here, they praise you everywhere you go. I think we can thank our soaps, especially Noor, for that.
There’s a lot of good Turkish food here. For lunch, I like to eat at Mado in DIFC. I also enjoy Istanbul Flowers and Istanbul Doner. Kosebasi, an upscale chain, is opening in JBR. Next year, they’re opening a Turkish-themed hotel, the Ottoman Palace, on the Palm.
When people back home say they want to move to the Middle East, I always suggest they come to Dubai, because I think they’d find it extremely challenging to move somewhere like Riyadh or Doha. What’s hard is not having open spaces to walk around, which we have a lot of in Istanbul. That’s why you’ll usually see Turks in places like Barasti and the Irish Village, which are more open, or places like Dubai Creek; anything natural that reminds them of Turkey.
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