This is also one of the most common questions that I get during my tours. What these gentlemen are playing with?
While you are walking around the country you may see Turkish men (not necessarily with mustache) sitting or standing by playing with a string of beads.
They are size of hand span, different colored, 33 rounded and 1 rectangularish (I don’t know if that word even exists) string of beads that is actually made for praying. It is used to track of counting prays however by the years it became such a common thing to hold in hand for Turkish men without religious motivation.
In Islam there are 99 names of Allah, so if you finish this string for 3 times you would be able to count that right.
They might be made from semi precious like onyx, quartz, turquoise; also during the Ottoman times, the quartz Tespih (rosary) used to be given to soldier to take their negative energy.
If you are looking for a gift for your recently retired, incredibly nervous uncle may be this is it!