People and Society in Turkey

People and Society in Turkey

Debunking the myths about Turkish people and the society, answers for the questions what is the religion of Turkey, what language do people in Turkey speak.

Turkey has a very young and versatile society that comes from different background and live in harmony. Let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of Turkish people and society.

Population of Turkey

In 2019, more than 80 million people live in Turkey, which makes it the world's 18th most populated country. Back when Turkey was first established, most of the population was living in Eastern Thrace and Anatolia consisted of small towns with very few people in them. However Istanbul was a big city where most of the population resided. After the foundation of the country, many people moved to Anatolia and the cities there grew. The city of Ankara became the capital and had one of the fastest growing populations in Anatolia. Also, the coasts of the Aegean Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea have been popular places to live ever since. After the 1980s, the population of Anatolia began to exceed the population of Eastern Thrace.

The most populated cities in Turkey are as following in descending order; Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, Konya, Mersin, Adana, Samsun, Şanlı Urfa, Kocaeli, Kayseri, Manisa, Antalya, Diyarbakır and Trabzon.

Turkey has a very young population. From the 2006 census, it was seen that the average age of the citizens of Turkey was 28.1. The average age of men was 27.9 and the average age of women was 28.3. From the same census, it was gathered that 25.5% of the people were aged 0-14, 67.7% were aged 15-64, and 6.8% were aged 65 and above.

What is the population of Turkey in 2019?

According to the UN, population of Turkey in 2019 is 83,429,615. On the other hand, according to the data provided by CIA, in July 2018, population of Turkey was 81,257,239.

Religion in Turkey

Turkey is a secular country where religion and state affairs are separated. In the early years of the republic, an administration of religious affairs was founded to provide religious services to citizens.

Most of the Turkish population is Muslim and a very small percentage of the country (less than 0.2%) is non-Muslim. They consist of Armenians, Gregorians, Jews, Assyrians, Orthodox Greeks, and other minorities. After WWI, most of the Greek Orthodox people were sent to Greece when a deal was struck between the two countries.

What Languages Are Spoken In Turkey?

The official language of Turkey is Turkish. Today, most of Turkey's citizens speak Turkish and Turkish is the mainly spoken language in Turkey. In many areas of Turkey, there are different dialects of Turkish, but most people with a certain level of education prefer to use the Istanbul dialect.

Other than the official Turkish language, there are more than thirty languages spoken by different minorities. The most common of them Kurdish which has different dialects spoken in Turkey. Over 5 million citizens of Turkey speak a dialect of Kurdish as their first language. Some of the other languages spoken include, Abkhazian, Lazuri, Albanian, Bosnian, Georgian and Arabic.

Turkish itself is a language which can explain more things with fewer words, because a word can become a clause by the addition of suffixes. This sometimes makes Turkish look and sound intimidating, with examples such as this:

korkusuzlaştırılmış – the one who has been made fearless

Education System in Turkey

When the republic of Turkey was first founded, most of its 12 million citizens weren't able to read or write. Over a short period of time, the education level of Turkey's citizens increased dramatically. Today, about 90% of the population can read and write.

Education is a constitutional right for the citizens in Turkey and primary education is mandatory. High school that comes after primary school is for 4 years. Many of the students choose to go to university. Students can earn their place in a university after completing a nation-wide multiple choice examination.

In Turkey, state universities are free and as long as you meet the required entrance scores, you are accepted. Most of the top universities in the country are state owned, which brings about equality in education.

The first university of Turkey, Istanbul University dates back to 1453 and Istanbul Technical University dates back to 1773. By the 1930's these two universities were the only ones in Turkey. With the education system growing rapidly, the number of universities increased. Today, there are 203 universities in Turkey. 130 of them are state universities and 73 of them are privately owned.

Özge Erdem

Özge’s career goals changed big time during the third year of her major, when she realized she had no wish to be a chemical engineer. After traveling Asia and doing various nomadic jobs, she settled back in Turkey to start her dream job of building websites and copy-writing with her high school friend.

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