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General overview

  • Area: 779,452 km²
  • Population: 85.279.553 inhabitants. Population growth rate: 0.71% (2022 estimations) (Turkish Statistical Institute)
  • Capital: Ankara (5.782.285 inhabitants)
  • Major cities and number of inhabitants: The population is predominantly urban (65%).
    Major cities include Istanbul (15.907.951 inhabitants), Izmir (4.462.056), Bursa (3.194.720), Antalya (2.688.004).
  • Official language and other languages: Turkish (written in Latin alphabet since 1928). In addition, several Kurdish dialects are spoken. Greek, Armenian, Hebrew are languages of teaching in minority schools with Hebrew designated as the language of the Jewish community. 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 Hanafi Muslims 62%, Alevis (syncretic heterodox Islam having similarities to Shi’a Islam) 3.1%, Shafiite Muslims 9% and others (Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews) 1%. Since 2016, religious affiliation is no longer indicated on national identity cards, however, these cards contain a microchip that includes information on religious affiliation.Thus, the ’religion’ section is always kept in civil registers.

D 31 August 2023    AKerem Görkem Arslan

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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