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

© ITP Images
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.

By Daisy Carrington
Time Out Dubai,

User reviews:

Posted by: Kenan Ahmed Siddiqi on 28 Nov ' 14 at 20:48

Hi there. I want to learn the Turkish language in Dubai. Is there anyone who can help with a teacher or an institute contact? Thanks.

Posted by: Ayaz on 26 Dec ' 13 at 14:50

I would like to know any tutor or institute for Turkish language in Abu Dhabi.


Posted by: Richard zia on 05 Apr ' 13 at 06:02

Hey I would like to know where could one find Turkish soaps and stuff once the global village ends. Are there any stores in town offering such products.

Posted by: Paul Dias on 03 Apr ' 13 at 12:45

I have travelled to Istanbul last October 2012 I would love to go again and again this place makes me feel at home.Few months from now i will have portuguese citizenship which will allow me to travel European Union Countries freely but i chose to settled down in Istanbul . I would like to have friendship with any residents from Turkish origin

Thank you

Posted by: David on 01 Apr ' 13 at 04:39

Merhaba, I,m from England originally, I work here in Dubai (2 months). My wife is Turkish and we live in Ankara. Having just finished working in yanbu, Saudi Arabia I find Dubai to be a great place to work and live, very relaxed with a normal feel to it. My wife visits here, she likes it also. If you have just come from Turkey to work here and the freedoms and life style found there you may not appreciate Dubai. To me Dubai is a revelation after working in a strict and rigid country.

Posted by: AJAY on 02 Oct ' 11 at 07:34

Hi, Just visited turkey and i think its the most amazing place on earth. Most amazing food and people as well. Tried some cheese there that was shredded . Would any of you know the name of this cheese and if it would be available somewhere in dubai??? Thank you;. Ajay

Posted by: Kanan on 23 Apr ' 11 at 05:24

Edited by TimeOutDubai.com

Hi all, good article and I completely with the author about living in Dubai. I'm from baku, Azerbaijan and we have very close ties and warm relationship with Turks and Turkey. I have been in Dubai for 10 months now, I live and work in JLT area. Our language and culture is quite close to turkish, so I wouldn't mind making new friendships with Azerbaijanies and Turks living in Dubai. Regards, Kenan

Posted by: Sharbat Rajabov on 14 Apr ' 11 at 11:45

Hi everybody, I am trying to find a Turkish school for my daughter who will complete her 9th class soon, She knows Turkish & English, but I want her to continue at Turkish school, Can anybody help me regarding this.

Thanks & Regards,

Sharbat Rajabov

Posted by: neslihan Torgut on 12 Apr ' 11 at 04:43

I am writing from ny but I want to come to uae to teach english I am a native english speaker but my roots are turkish does anyone have any idea where I can look for jobs in uae? thank you

Posted by: Dolly on 30 May ' 10 at 11:04

Hello all Turkish here in Dubai.
I know that what I am just about to ask is completely odd one out of the topic that's probably being discussed here.
I am not a Turkish or never have been there, but I have been to Amsterdam recently and being a vegetarian most of the times all I could have was those amazing street side Falafel sandwiches.
Firstly, when I heard about it I thought it would be same as what we get here at Shawrma outlets, but I was so wrong. They were truly divine ... loaded with salad, all different stuffings and sauces, so sumptous and yummy.
Sometimes I wonder, being in middle east for so long why I have not come acorss them, why don't they make such sandwiches here?
Or if they do and any of you know about it, please do let me know ... I would love to get my taste of Amsterdam (Turkey) once in a while.

Posted by: Hani Yousef on 10 Mar ' 10 at 18:51

greetings to every one on this site,
I'm a new learner of the amazing Turkish language and would like to meet turkish people for friendship and to practice speaking turkish.
any one available for this noble cause :-)

Posted by: John P. O'Neil on 27 Jul ' 09 at 08:27

Hello to all you Turkish expats here in Dubai. First of all you may be wondering what does an American with an Irish name have in common with Turkey and its people? I am married to a lovely Turkish woman from Istanbul whom I met over 20 years ago when we both worked in Saudi. We have a beautiful daughter who is now 15 and is named Dilara. I actually work at the airport in Abu Dhabi and live in Dubai which is what many people have done due to the high rental rates in Abu Dhabi. I've only been in Dubai since March of this year and am having a bit of difficulty adjusting. My work contract for the first year is a single status deal meaning that I have to be here on my own which is not easy. I've been to Turkey a number of times and have always loved it there with each experience being a unique one. I just returned from a lovely week's holiday in Antalya with my wife's sisters, brother-in-law, nephew and with my daughter Dilara. My wife unfortunately could not be there due to her work obligations back in the U.S. Again, I just found Antalya lovely and charming as always and had such a wonderful time with family. I have found it hard to make friends here and would love to meet up with some people from Turkey. It's ok if I'm the lone English speaker in the crowd since I have such an affinity for the Turkish people and the culture. I can be reached at my personal e-mail address which is johnponeil55@yahoo.com so I hope to hear from some of you soon. My best regards/John O'Neil

Posted by: Mujeeb Ahmed Sheikh on 27 May ' 09 at 11:51

It's nice to hear the semih thinking and comparision with her country. Ofcoarse many things are fimilar as our native lands.

I visits dubai frequently, but not longer as I have no friend there and in my sphere time, I do roaming in different malls only just to spend the time.


Add your review/feedback

Subscribe to Daily Dubai newsletter

Prove you're not a robot:



Explore by

Our favourite features