Ask Mehmet: Salute Exchange

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Hey Mehmet, "I try to salute our Turkish counterparts on the base at Incirlik. They salute me back. Some friends of mine told me that I do not need to salute the Turkish officers. It sounded awkward to me. What is the reality about that issue?"

We share the same base, the same environment and in some offices we work together. We work for the mission. Then, why shouldn't we salute/greet each other?

Saluting, greeting is a sign of goodwill at any time of the day. Traditionally and culturally Turks consider greeting as a message from God. Therefore, any Turk you salute and/or greet will salute or greet you back. Not salute or greet back is considered as an unmannerly act by Turkish public.

There are several greetings words and phrases in Turkish, but "Selam" /seh-lahm/, (greetings in Turkish) verbally means, 'May (God's) peace be with you. Other greeting words/phrases are:
GUNAYDIN  (ghue-ni-dehn): Good morning
IYI AKSAMLAR (ee akh-sahm-lahr): Good evening
IYI GUNLER (ee ghuen-lehr): Have a nice day
MERHABA (merh-hah-bah): Hello

Turkish Armed Forces personnel salute the higher ranking personnel for sure and traditionally they salute the higher ranking foreign armed personnel of friendly and ally countries.

Out of courtesy and to show your goodwill, I highly recommend you exchange salute with your Turkish counterparts on the base here.

The ranking system is very similar in both Turkish and US Air forces. Officers wear their ranks on their shoulders while the enlisted ones wear their ranks or stripes on their arms.

Editor's note: Ask Mehmet is a monthly series by host nation advisor Mehmet Birbiri giving Titans an opportunity to ask the host nation advisor questions about Turkey and Turkish customs. To submit a question, email, "Hey Mehmet" and your question to 39ABW.PA@US.AF.MIL.