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22 Ancient Turkish Proverbs to Understand Today's World

Misbah loves to write on different topics. She loves to read and share quotes, sayings and poetry

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey


Turkey is a fascinating country rich in culture, mysteries, and folk wisdom. Country of incredible landscapes, great historical sites, lovely villages, historic cities, and delectable food that was once home to one of antiquity's most powerful empires. The Ottoman Empire was successful in preserving its popular proverbs and sayings, which are modest sketches of wisdom that can still help us understand the world today.

I have compiled some of the most beautiful, intelligent, and worth-knowing proverbs of the Turkish region. Get to know them.

The Best Turkish Proverbs and Their Meaning

  • The death of another does not save us

We cannot win by causing harm to others. Sometimes we do wrong or injustice to others in the mistaken belief that it would save us, but this is not the case. To avoid difficulties, we should always be careful and avoid causing harm to others. This Turkish proverb promotes kindness and love for others.

  • A lover is one who, running in the snow, leaves no traces of his footsteps

This is a beautiful and thought-provoking Turkish proverb, and I really love this one. Sometimes love happens in silence, and it is precisely that slow and peaceful love that lasts.

  • Work breeds prosperity

This Turkish proverb makes it very clear, that the only way to achieve prosperity in life is with a lot of effort and tenacity. The more you work, the more prosperous you will be.

  • Wish well be good

A popular Turkish saying teaches the importance of maintaining good feelings towards others. Wishing others good makes us good people.

  • Love is like a nest of sparrows that, once destroyed, can no longer be rebuilt

A realistic Turkish proverb that shows the truth about relationships. When a relationship is destroyed, it is practically impossible to rebuild it, so it is better to take care of it every day and not let it spoil.

  • There are two things that cannot be stared at: the sun and death.

We can confront anything in life, and there are no excuses for not moving forward, no matter where we are.

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  • Good words will open iron gates

The power of the word is infinite. If you want to accomplish something, good words full of affection and respect are the greatest way to do it.

  • Pick up a needle and prick yourself (to see how it hurts) before you prick others

This is my favorite: Before hurting others, ask yourself if what you are about to say or do to them is something you can tolerate. How does it taste to you? How would you react if this happened to you? This Turkish proverb serves as an excellent life lesson.

  • Two captains sink a ship

Although group work is usually appreciated and can yield numerous benefits, the meaning of this Turkish proverb is unclear because it relates to times when having only one leader is preferable. What are your thoughts on this popular saying? Do you concur? A similar proverb exists in Urdu, which translates as "a person who sails on two ships at the same time will sink." This Urdu one felt quite authentic to me.

  • If you don't keep seeing them, you will lose them.

Many friends lose their precision when they gradually drift apart and stop seeing each other. If you want the people you care about to stay in your life, you must never stop visiting and caring for them.

  • You should be the master of those who doesn't love you and the slave of those who love you.

Although this saying is a bit harsh, the fact is that when applied to modern life, it signifies that it is critical to leave behind and not get dependent on those who do not love you or do not know how to appreciate you. But love them and appreciate those who love you.

  • Love is a spring flower between two people that develop in summer and does not fade in winter.

True love does not fade; it endures life's challenges and continues to bloom. Isn't that a lovely Turkish proverb?

  • All misfortune is a lesson.

When something bad happens to you in life, take it as a lesson and move on. Never forget it.

  • Man is harder than iron, stronger than a bull, and more fragile than a rose.

This wise Turkish proverb describes human complexity. Behind our strength lies a beautiful weakness that might appear at any time. This one is quite deep.

  • There is no mountain without fog, in the same way, that there is no man of merit without slander.

Sometimes success comes with the cost of having to deal with envy and slander, but that is only a temporary side effect.

  • The fly is small, but it is big enough to make us sick.

As the Turkish proverb goes, it is better to be safe than sorry, so always remember to take care of yourself, no matter how minor the suffering, whether physical or mental, appears to be.

  • Patience is the key to paradise.

Being patient in life opens many doors to happiness and achieving our goals. Isn't this Turkish proverb perfectly true?

  • If skill could be gained by looking, a dog would be a butcher.

A popular Turkish proverb stresses the significance of earning expertise via hard work and endurance. If we want to reach our goals, we must get to work and learn.

  • It's not embarrassing to ask, it's embarrassing not to know.

Exactly! What a wonderful purpose this Turkish proverb serves. So, the next time you're too shy to ask a question, remember this saying.

  • Many ants kill a camel.

According to this saying, even if you are a minority but are united. You can achieve everything you set your mind to. As we all know that unity breeds strength.

Bird on tree branch

Bird on tree branch

  • The bird that sings at the wrong time will die.

This saying means that you must know when to speak and when to remain silent because saying the right thing at the wrong time might lead to trouble.

  • A fighter is never defeated if he does not tire of fighting again.

This is a powerful proverb. No matter how many setbacks you have in life, if you keep fighting, you will always be a fighter capable of getting forward. So, even if we lose, we should never give up.

I hope you enjoyed reading these Turkish proverbs.

© 2021 Misbah Sheikh


Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 21, 2021:

Priya Barua, thanks a lot for your kind comments. I am glad you liked it. Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate that.

Stay happy and safe

Sending Blessings

Priya Barua on May 21, 2021:

This is quite an amazing article you shared with us. The second proverb, about love, was one that resonated most with me.

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 21, 2021:

No worries, Gyanendra. I am glad you liked it.

Blessings and Peace

gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on May 21, 2021:

Misbah, Sorry technical glitch. This coomenteant be for article about Maher Zain who keeps you inspired.

Thank you

gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on May 20, 2021:

Masbah, Your article itself is awesone and inspiring for me You have made me understand how inspiration works through your words.

Personally, I've never heard of Maher Zain. Because I hardly listen to the music these days.

You have shared about him to me and the world

So, I've listen to his song on this article itself. Surely, I will listen to more of his songs on the youtube later on

It would be wonderful to activate my mind through his songs in this lockdown period in Kathmandu.

Thank you

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 20, 2021:

Thanks a lot for the information, cmoneyspinner1tf

Blessings and Peace

Treathyl FOX from Austin, Texas on May 20, 2021:

I have joined so many of these social blogging communities that I have lost count. I still have an account at MyLot and I sign in every now and then; but I am no longer as active as I used to be. In fact, I have deleted some of my posts because they were not getting any interaction. I took those posts, added a little bit more detail, and either posted the content at one of my blogs or in an article writing community.

MyLot does not penalize you if you deleted your content. Nor do they back track and take away anybody's earnings. I imagine that would be too much trouble for them. But the fact that I can delete and repurpose my content, and republish it elsewhere is a real PLUS for me.

I have joined a few other communities after joining MyLot and I am more active because the earnings are better. These platforms, however, pay in cryptocurrency or have their own form of virtual currency. They have a mechanism for exchanging the digital currency for traditional fiat currency (US dollars) so I can request payment via PayPal. This is working out well for me!

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 18, 2021:

Hi Devika,

Turkey is a fascinating country, full of culture, mysteries, and popular wisdom. very famous for its Ottoman empire known as khilafat e Usmania

Thanks for your kind comments

Blessings and Love

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 17, 2021:

Misbah I was not familiars with Turkey culture and this brings light to the subject.

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 17, 2021:

Thanks a lot for the kind words, Mary. I too love to study about Turkish culture and history. I have few more articles regarding the history of Turkey and the ottoman empire. If you wish to read them. Gratitude

Stay happy and healthy

Blessings and Peace

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 17, 2021:

I loved my visit to Turkey and have a strong admiration for its culture. I love these quotes and would love to read more of Turkish Literature.

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 17, 2021:

Thanks a lot for your kind words, Devika. I am pleased to know you like to learn proverbs from different cultures. Much gratitude, dear friend

Blessings and Peace

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 17, 2021:

Hi Misbah I like to learn of proverbs in other cultures and this is a great thought from you. You shared lovely photos and a unique hub indeed!

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 17, 2021:

Thanks for your lovely comment, Linda. I am so glad to know that you liked the idea of sharing these Turkish proverbs and found them useful. They are words of wisdom. Much gratitude, dear friend

Blessings and lots of Love

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 16, 2021:

I love your idea of sharing and explaining proverbs, especially ones that some people may not know. You’ve created an interesting and useful article.

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 16, 2021:

Thanks a lot for your kind words, Gyanendra. I am glad you liked them. Much appreciated

Blessings and Peace

gyanendra mocktan from Kathmandu,Nepal on May 16, 2021:


I love the proverbs you have beatufully decorated in your fabulous article. Ameen.

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 15, 2021:

Thanks a lot for your kind words, Peggy. I am so glad to know that you liked these Turkish Proverbs.

Blessings and Love

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 15, 2021:

There is a lot of wisdom in these Turkish Proverbs! Thanks for sharing them with us.

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 15, 2021:

Thanks a lot for your kind response, Ravi. You chose a wise proverb. Yes we should keep on learning from everything. It's not embarrassing to ask but it is embarrassing not to know. These Turkish proverbs are very old and wise. I am glad you liked them.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend.

Stay safe.

Blessings and Peace

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 15, 2021:

Thanks a lot for your beautiful words of wisdom, Lorna. I respect you for your beautiful and kind words. I am so glad to know you liked them. Much Gratitude.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend. Stay safe

Peace and Blessings

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 15, 2021:

Thanks for your kind response, Moon. I am glad you liked them. Stay blessed dear sister. Take care

Have a lovely weekend

Blessings and love

Ravi Rajan from Mumbai on May 15, 2021:

A wonderful collections of proverbs Misbah. Each proverb is so profound and converys such a powerful meaning over time immemorial. My favorite is "It's not embarrassing to ask, it's embarrassing not to know". Thanks for sharing.

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 15, 2021:

Chitra Di, Thank you so much for your lovely reply. I'm glad you liked 'em. Yes, these proverbs are really words of wisdom. Thank you so much for the Eid greetings, Eid Mubarak to you as well. God bless you always.

Much Love. Gratitude Di. Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Blessings and Peace always

Lorna Lamon on May 15, 2021:

A wonderful collection of Turkish proverbs Misbah, full of life's wisdom. Understanding other cultures is the best way to build bridges and bring the world closer together. I enjoyed reading your explanations which was an education in themselves.

EK Jadoon from Abbottabad Pakistan on May 15, 2021:

A fabulous piece of writing, Misbah. Thanks for sharing these Proverbs with us.

Stay blessed...

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 15, 2021:

Thank you so much for your lovely reply, Vidya. I'm glad you liked 'em. Yes, these proverbs are extremely profound and significant. Learning about other cultures undoubtedly enhances our knowledge. We should always learn good things from everywhere. A lot of gratitude, my dear friend.

Have a blissful weekend.

Blessings and Love

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 15, 2021:

Thanks a lot for the appreciation, Tobe. I am so glad you enjoyed reading them. Happy weekend!!

Blessings and Peace

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 15, 2021:

Great article about the Turkish proverbs! These are words of wisdom and you did a good job by explaining them!

Thank you for sharing and Happy Eid to you and your family!

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 15, 2021:

Thanks a lot, Brenda. Yes, that one is my favorite too. Maybe if we can try to taste our words and actions before doing/speaking them, we wouldn't do half of them. We should care about other's feelings and shouldn't hurt other's sentiments.

Thanks for reading. I am glad you found this to be interesting.

Much Love. Gratitude, dear friend

Blessings and Peace

VIDYA D SAGAR on May 14, 2021:

Beautiful article Misbah. I loved reading it. The proverbs are deep and meaningful. The pictures are also nice. It is always interesting to learn about other cultures. Thanks for sharing. Stay blessed

Peace Tobe Dike from Delta State, Nigeria. on May 14, 2021: put them together so well and it was such a good read....thanks for sharing, Misbah.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on May 14, 2021:


These are very interesting.

My favorite

Pick up a needle and prick yourself (to see how it hurts) before you prick others

You are so right that we should stop & listen to our own words before well as our own actions .

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 14, 2021:

Mr. Bill, I am Glad to know that you loved it. Thanks for sharing that you love to learn things about different cultures. Thank you so much for your kind and generous comment. Highly appreciated, Sir

Wishing you a joyful and peaceful weekend

Blessings and Peace always

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 14, 2021:

Thanks a lot for your kind response, Pamela.I am glad to know you liked these proverbs. Yes, the patience one is lovely. Much appreciated

Blessings and love

Misbah Sheikh (author) on May 14, 2021:

Thanks a lot, Liz. I am glad you liked them. Yes, these Turkish proverbs are beautiful and worth knowing.

I am glad you liked the proverbs and the explanation as well. Much Appreciated

Gratitude, dear friend

Blessings and love

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 14, 2021:

I love articles like this one because I learn things about different cultures. For that I thank you! Loved the article, loved the proverbs.

Have a brilliantly happy weekend, and blessings to you always

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 14, 2021:

This is an interesting article, Misbah. There is so much wisdom in those sayings. I liked all of them, but I think the one about patience is so true. This is a very well-written article, and I enjoyed reading it.

Liz Westwood from UK on May 14, 2021:

You have compiled an interesting list of Turkish sayings. Many have deeper meanings, which you explain well.

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