My husband and I are staying in Sultanahmet and really enjoying the atmosphere, food and sights. But we must look very attractive to carpet salesmen, because whenever we go near the main tourist sights, we are constantly followed around by men trying to "help" us. They always ask us where we are from and what hotel we are staying in, and we don't know the appropriate response. We have tried everything we can think of, from not acknowledging the people at all, just smiling, saying no thank you, entering into friendly conversation with them, etc. If we don't acknowledge them, say no thank you, or say hello but then give them some excuse right away, they tell us we are rude and one man started cursing at us because we stopped responding to him. If we act at all friendly, they follow us around for many minutes, talking to us, asking us questions, giving us unnecessary pointers about the area, and then trying to get us to come to their father's carpet store or to take us into the sights. At that point, a no thank you, have a nice day usually works. But does anyone have tips for politely getting them to leave us alone within the first minute of approaching us? I'd like to avoid getting to the point where they ask us where we are staying or where we're from.
We have this same issue with men outside restaurants and those selling tours, but it has not been as much of an issue as the conversation is much shorter before you can politely move on. And sometimes we enjoying chatting for a few minutes.
I apologize if this question has been asked before and if it seems negative. I looked through 20 pages of questions and didn't find anything similar. We ran into similar situation with vendors in Mexico, but for the most part (with only one exception), if you said no thank you, they would immediately leave you alone.