To learn about tipping in Turkey is as important as in any other country. It is a gesture showing your gratitude for a service.
You can leave a tip in an “a-la-carte” restaurant, café or bar if you wish. Although it is a common practice to leave 10% of the total bill as a tip, please don’t forget that you don’t have to. You should remember that you don’t need to do it if you are not satisfied with the service. Likely, you are free to leave more than 10% if you are extremely happy with the kindness and the service.
Being served is not enough to give a tip to someone. The tip is given for a smile on the face, for a kind and respectful interaction and for a timely service which make you feel comfortable. Yes, they may expect to receive a tip, but you can show them that you are not satisfied with the service or food they offer by leaving nothing or less than 10%. Tip is for the person who served you, not for the bar or restaurant itself.
One important note for the tippers: all the tips are in cash and you cannot charge it to your credit card. There are no tip slot on credit card receipts you sign. Any amount you have signed for will be received by the business owner.
I have seen some travelers trying to leave a tip by asking the waitress to charge the bill after adding the tip. But it doesn’t work because of the tax system of the country. For any business receiving a payment with a credit card, should report that amount as an income and pay tax for it. So it is not possible to pass any amount to the employees as a tip from a happy customer.
When you check-in to your hotel, a bellboy may show up to carry your luggage to your room. This guy is the guy you can leave a tip and the amount is up to you. 5 to 20 TL may be suitable depending on the luxury of your hotel. Again, it is not a necessity even if they expect.
For your hotel reception, no tip is needed. Normally they wouldn’t expect to receive any but of course they would receive it happily if you want to leave.
If you are in a tour group, a fair tip for your guide and driver would be a kind one. Just talk to your group, collect the tip and give it to your guide. S/he will take care of the driver.
Taxi drivers would be surprised if you try to leave a tip because it is not a common practice. But I am pretty sure they won’t say “no” if you prefer to do it.