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General overview

  • Area: 779,452 km²
  • Population: 78,741,053 inhabitants (2015). Population growth rate - 1.34% (2015 estimations) (Turkish Statistical Institute)
  • Capital: Ankara (5.270.575 inhabitants)
  • Major cities and number of inhabitants: The population is predominantly urban (65%).
    Major cities include Istanbul (14.6 million inhabitants), Izmir (4.1 million), Bursa (2.8 million), Adana (2.2 million).
  • Official language and other languages: Turkish (written in Latin alphabet since 1928). In addition, several Kurdish dialects are spoken. Greek, Armenian, Judæo-Spanish (Ladino) are languages of teaching in minority schools. Kurdish language classes have been allowed since 2002 in private institutions and universities.

After several years of theocratic rule under the Ottoman Empire, Turkey has had a constitutionally secular status since 1937 (the Republic was formed in 1923). In 1924 with the aboilition of the Caliphate, the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs incorporated the Sunni Muslim clergy into the civil service. Since 1965, questions on religious belonging are no longer included in census questionnaires and the distribution of the different religions has always been estimated. Thus we have Sunni Muslims 80%, Alevis (syncretic heterodox Islam having similarities to Shi’a Islam) 17%, Shi’a Muslims 2% and others (Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews) 1%.

D 15 July 2016   

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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