How To Apologize In Turkish

‘Sorry’ and ‘excuse me’ are two of the most important phrases to know.
woman comforting crying child sorry in turkish

It never hurts to know how to say that you’re sorry. It doesn’t hurt to know how to say you’re sorry in Turkish either, especially if you’re a student of the language, or you’ve got upcoming travel to Istanbul, or you have Turkish in-laws you’re trying to make a good impression on.

The thing about learning to apologize in a new language is that there are usually a handful of words and phrases you’ll have to learn — ways to say “I’m sorry,” ways to say “excuse me,” ways to express true regret and ways to express sympathy. Even more important is learning the appropriate contexts to use them in.

Here’s a quick guide to a couple of the most common ways to say sorry in Turkish.

How To Say Sorry In Turkish

The ‘Excuse Me’ Sorry

A good deal of the time, you’ll probably want to express a more casual version of “sorry,” like the kind you use when you apologize for bumping into someone, or for bothering someone on the street when you stop to ask for directions.

There are two ways to say “excuse me” in Turkish. One is simply pardon, which is a word you’re already familiar with. Here’s how that might look in a sentence:

  • Pardon. Burası boş mu? — Excuse me. Is this seat free?
  • Pardon. Hemen geliyorum. — Excuse me. I’ll be right back.
  • Pardon. Türkçe anlamıyorum. — Excuse me. I don’t understand Turkish.
  • Pardon, durak nerede? — Excuse me, where is the stop?

Another way of saying “excuse me” is affedersiniz.

  • Affedersiniz, bir fırın arıyorum. — Excuse me, I’m looking for a bakery.
  • Affedersiniz, yakında bir süpermarket var mı? — Excuse me, is there a supermarket near here?

A More Formal Apology

For when you need to acknowledge your own wrongdoing and wish to express a sincere apology, the following phrase is more appropriate:

Özür dilerim. — I’m sorry/I apologize.

  • Doğum gününü unuttuğum için çok özür dilerim. — I am very sorry that I forgot your birthday.
  • Özür dileriz anneanne! — We apologize grandmother!
  • Aşkım, tekrar özür dilerim! — My love, I apologize again!

If you wish to make it sound even more formal (for instance, if you’re addressing your boss at work), you could also say the following:

Özür dilemek isterim. — I would like to apologize.

A Sympathetic ‘Sorry’

In some situations, you say “sorry” because you want to express empathy or sympathy toward someone, but not because you necessarily did anything wrong. Or maybe you ran late, but it was out of your control. Üzgünüm is the right word for this scenario.

  • Üzgünüm geciktim. — Sorry I’m late.

A ‘Sorry’ For Small Mistakes

What happens when you need to acknowledge wrongdoing on your part, but the offense isn’t that big of a deal? For when you make a mistake or wish to be polite about disagreeing with someone, you can say kusura bakma (which literally translates to “please tolerate my mistake”).

  • Ne tesadüf! Çok teşekkür ederim. Kusura bakmayın, bu şehirde yeniyim. — What a coincidence! Thank you very much. Sorry about that, I am new in this city.
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