Turkey, in long form the Republic of Turkey, in Turkish: Türkiye and TürkiyeCumhuriyeti, is a transcontinental country located on the borders of Asia and Europe. It borders Greece and Bulgaria to the west-northwest, Georgia and Armenia to the east-northeast, Azerbaijan (Nakhchivan) and Iran to the east, Iraq (Kurdistan Regional Government ) and Syria to the east-southeast. It is a presidential republic whose official language is Turkish. Its official capital has been Ankara since October 13, 1923. Turkey is bordered to the north by the Black Sea, to the west by the Aegean Sea and to the southwest by the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea: the Levantine basin. Eastern Thrace (Europe) and Anatolia (Asia) are separated by the Sea of Marmara.

Motto in Turkish: Yurtta sulh, cihanda sulh (“Peace in the country, peace in the world”), unofficial
Anthem in Turkish: İstiklâl Marşı (“Hymn of Independence”)
National day October 29
Commemorated event Proclamation of the Republic (1923)
Turkey in the world
Turkey in the world
Form of the State Presidential Unitary Republic
President of the Republic Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Vice president Fuat Oktay
President of the Grand National Assembly Mustafa Şentop
Parliament Grand National Assembly
Official language Turkish
Capital Ankara
39°55’N 32°50″E
Largest city Istanbul
Total area 783,562 km2 (ranked 37th)
Water area 1,3%
Time zone UTC +3
Seljuk Empire 1037
Battle of Manzikert August 26, 1071
Sultanate of Rum 1077
Foundation of the Ottoman Beylicate 1299
Fall of Constantinople May 29, 1453
Battle of Vienna September 12, 1683
Battle of the Dardanelles March 18, 1915
Turkish War of Independence May 19, 1919
Grand National Assembly of Turkey April 23, 1920
Fall of the Ottoman Empire November 1, 1922
Treaty of Lausanne July 24, 1923
Proclamation of the Republic October 29, 1923
Demonym Turkish
Total population (December 31, 2021) 84,680,273 (ranked 18th)
Density 110 inhab./km2
Nominal GDP (2022) 853.490 billion + 4.4% (20th)
GDP (PPP) (2022) $3.32 trillion + 10.95% (11th)
Nominal GDP per capita (2022) $9,961+ 3.22% (77th)
GDP (PPP) per capita (2022) $38,760+ 11.12% (46th)
Unemployment rate (2021) 12% of pop. active
– 8.4%
Government gross debt (2022) Nominal
TL 4,952.367 billion + 66.22%
43.692% of GDP + 4.91%
HDI (2021) 0.838 (very high; 48th)
Currency Turkish
Lira(Türk Lirası, TL) (TRY)
ISO 3166-1 code TUR, TR
Internet domain .tr
Calling code +90
International organizations Bad
CPLP (observer)
Turkic Council

The Bosphorus (east-northeast) and Dardanelles (west-southwest) straits connect this sea to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, respectively. These two inlets form what are known as the Straits.

Turkey has part of its territory in Europe through Eastern Thrace (which is equivalent to 3% of its territorial area but represents 14% of its population, i.e. more than 10 million people). Due to its geographical location, an Asian country with a small portion on Europe, at the crossroads of the Russia-Mediterranean and Balkans-Middle East axes, on the ancient Silk Road, today on the route of strategically important oil pipelines, this region has always been a crossroads of economic exchanges, cultural and religious. It has made the link between East and West, hence its leading geostrategic position which is strengthened in view of the political events that shake both the Middle East and the hydrocarbon market or tensions related to the water problem.

Modern Turkey, founded under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1923 on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, defeated as a result of World War I and marred by the Armenian, Assyrian and Pontic Greek genocides, is a parliamentary, secular, unitary and constitutional republic. Since 1945, it has constantly moved closer to the West by joining, for example, cooperation organizations: NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the Council of Europe or the G20.

Turkey has been an official candidate since 1963 for entry into the European Economic Community (EEC), the current European Union (EU), with which it concluded a customs union agreement in 1995, in force since 1996. Negotiations for Turkey’s entry into the EU have been officially ongoing since 2005. At the same time, Turkey has maintained privileged ties with Muslim-majority countries such as Turkey, as well as with the Middle East and Central Asia, including participation in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Economic Cooperation Organization, and the Turkic Council.

Etymology of Turkey

“Turkey” is called Türkiye in Turkish. This name can be divided into two components: the ethnonym Türk, and the suffix – iye, meaning “possessor”, “country of” or “of the same family as” (derived from the Arabic suffix – iyya, similar to the Greek and Latin suffixes -ia). The first recorded use of the term Türk or Türük as a self-denomination is found in the Orkhon inscriptions of the Göktürks (Blue Turks, i.e. “celestial” in Turkish) of Central Asia (ca. VIII century AD). Tu-kin has been recorded since 177 BC. as the name given by the Chinese to the people living south of the Altai Mountains of Central Asia.

The French word “Turkey” comes from the medieval Latin Turquia or Turchia (ca. 1369), from Turcus (Turkish), which itself comes from the Byzantine Greek Τοῦρκος, from Persian and Arabic ترك.

On May 31, 2022, at the request of the Permanent Mission of Turkey, the UN adopted the local name “Türkiye” in French and other official languages. The name is also adopted in French by the International Organization for Standardization.

History of Turkey

Prehistory, Protohistory and Antiquity

The Anatolian Peninsula (or Asia Minor), which today accounts for 97% of modern Turkey, is one of the regions of the globe that has been continuously inhabited throughout human history.

Early settlements such as Çatalhöyük, Çayönü, Hacılar, Göbekli Tepe and Mersin are among the oldest in the world. The Turkish toponym Göbekli Tepe translates into English as “the hill at the navel”, in reference to its shape. On this site rests the oldest stone temple ever discovered (dating estimated between 11,500 and 10,000 BC).

The settlement of Çatal Höyük located in the Konya Plain, in central Anatolia, on the banks of the Çarşamba River, is one of the largest Neolithic sites in the Near East. It was founded around 7000 BC. and became an important center only between 6500 and 5700 BC. J.-C.

The first empire to emerge in Anatolia was undoubtedly the Hittite Empire, from the eighteenth to the thirteenth century BC. Subsequently, the Phrygians, another Indo-European people, ruled these lands until they were annihilated by the Cimmerians in the seventh century BC. Other Indo-European peoples succeeded one another in Anatolia, including the Lydians and Lycians.

Around 1200 BC. The Aeolian and Ionian Greeks dominated the west coast of Anatolia. Then the Achaemenid Persian Empire invaded all of Asia Minor in the sixth and fifth centuries BC. In 334 BC, Alexander the Great, beginning his great conquests, invaded Anatolia, which was divided after his death into Hellenistic kingdoms such as those of Bithynia, Cappadocia, Pergamon or Pontus.

The latter were overwhelmed by the Roman conquest. In 324 AD, the Roman Emperor Constantine I chose Byzantium as the new capital of the Empire. Under the name of Constantinople, it became the new Rome.

Seljuk Empire and early Anatolian Turks

The Turks, a nomadic people from the plains of Mongolia to those of Central Asia, experienced a vast and continuous movement of emigration to the west of the Asian continent. Organized into tribes and federations of tribes not exclusively Turkish, they have constituted over time kingdoms (like that of the Göktürk or Celestial Turks) more or less vast and more or less durable. The first time that history retains the name of the Turks in the Middle East is as mercenaries of the Abbasid caliphate, which they de facto rule from the tenth century. The Seljuks, Oghuz Turks, founded an empire that stretched from the plains of Central Asia to Anatolia. The Mongol invasions of Genghis Khan ruined the Seljuk Empire, already undermined by the Crusades and internal struggles.

Ottoman Empire (1299 to 1923)

In 1299, the Oghuz sultan Osman I conquered the Byzantine city of Mocadene. This event is considered the beginning of the Ottoman Empire. From then on, the Empire will continue to increase its territory and it reaches its peak in the sixteenth century under the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent.

The Balkans were conquered at the end of the fourteenth century and Serbia was fully annexed in 1459. 1453 saw the capture of Constantinople by the troops of Sultan Mehmet II. This is the end of the Byzantine Empire.

It was at this time that many Slavic, Greek or Armenian Christians, poor and destitute, converted to Islam to avoid paying the haraç (tax on non-Muslims) and became Ottomans.

In the sixteenth century, the Empire finds its place in the European diplomatic game where it is a traditional ally of France, in an alliance of reverses against the Habsburgs from the reign of Francis I. The defeat of the Empire at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 dealt a first blow to Ottoman power.

The Empire declines from the seventeenth century. The defeat at the Battle of Vienna in 1683 marked the beginning of the actual decline and the first territorial losses. In the nineteenth century, the disintegrated Empire tried to rebuild itself by modernizing itself through many reforms. But this period of reforms, called Tanzimat, will end in 1876 without preventing the loss of Egypt, after that of Greece, and Algeria years before. During the century, it was the Balkans that regained their freedom. At the same time, Armenian populations revolting for more rights and freedoms became a real problem within the Empire. Sultan Abdülhamid II ordered their massacre between 1894 and 1896. The Hamidian massacres claimed 200,000 Armenian victims.

In 1912, at the end of the Italo-Turkish War, the Ottoman Empire lost Tripolitania and Cyrenaica (Libya) as well as Rhodes.

In 1913, the defeat of the First Balkan War brought the Young Turks (Union and Progress Party) to power. At their instigation, the Ottoman Empire entered the war in 1914 on the side of Germany and its allies.

In 1915, faced with Russian threats (Caucasus campaign) and Franco-British threats (landing of the Dardanelles), the hard core of the party, and in particular Talaat Pasha, set up and organized, between 1915 and 1917, the Armenian genocide which cost the lives, according to a majority of historians, to 1.2 million Armenians of Anatolia and the Armenian highlands that is, two-thirds of the local Armenian population, without the intervention of the Western powers. The Armenian Genocide is sometimes referred to as the “first genocide of the twentieth century”.

On October 13, 1918, the Young Turk leaders were removed from power. The armistice of Moudros signed on 30 October endorsed the military defeat of the Ottoman Empire and its dismemberment. On November 12, British, French and Italian troops began the occupation of Constantinople (1918-1923).

War of Independence (1919-1923): end of the Empire and Treaty of Lausanne

On August 10, 1920, officially ending the First World War, the Treaty of Sèvres divided the Ottoman Empire; it provided for an autonomous Kurdistan and an independent Armenia, assigned Eastern Thrace and the Aegean region to Greece and put the Arab territories under the control of France and the United Kingdom.

Between 1920 and 1923, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk led the Republican War to recover a large part of the territories lost by the Treaty of Sèvres.

The deposition of Mehmed VI, the last Ottoman sultan and penultimate caliph of the Muslim world, took place on November 1, 1922.

On July 24, 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne annulled the Treaty of Sèvres by assigning all of Anatolia and Eastern Thrace to Turkey. The Greek minority in Turkey is the subject of a population exchange with the Turkish minority in Greece (1.6 million Greeks in Anatolia against 385,000 Muslims in Greece). However, the Greek inhabitants of Constantinople and the islands of Imbros and Tenedos, as well as the Muslim inhabitants of Western Thrace, were excluded from the exchange of populations; the last Armenians were driven out, except in Istanbul.

On October 29, 1923, is instituted in Ankara the modern Turkey, republican and independent.

Republic of Turkey (since 1923)

The Kemalist revolution completes the movement initiated by the Young Turks through the creation of a unitary state, the Republic of Turkey. The revolutionary movement took root in Anatolia, including in the parts occupied by Greece, France or Italy. It redefines Turkish national identity and reduces the religious dimension to a Sunni Islam tightly controlled and regulated by the state.

Non-Sunni Muslim communities such as the Alevi Bektachi or non-Turkic communities such as the Lazes and Kurds played a leading role in the war of independence. However, the various political parties that will succeed each other at the head of the State will not integrate the plural character of the Turkish revolution into the founding texts of the new State. On the other hand, to reward their active role during the war of independence, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk granted Turkish women the right to vote and stand for election in 1930, for municipal elections, and in 1934 for parliamentary elections.

Kemalist revolution and one-party

On September 9, 1923, the single party Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (Republican People’s Party) was created. This is the beginning of Kemalist reforms. In addition, on October 13, 1923, Ankara becomes the new capital replacing Istanbul. On October 29, 1923, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey proclaims the Republic headed by Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Atatürk) who thus becomes the first President of the Republic. In 1924, a new constitution was adopted. The caliphate is abolished, the 144 members of the imperial family (the Ottoman dynasty) are stripped of their nationality and expelled from the country.

In 1925, the Kurdish revolt led by Sheikh Said and supported by the British was suppressed. İsmet İnönü is appointed Prime Minister.

In 1926, the Civil and Penal Codes were adopted, polygamy was prohibited, and civil marriage was established as the only type of marriage recognized by the State. In 1928, the Latin alphabet was adopted. Primary school becomes free and compulsory. The reference to Islam as the official religion in the constitution is deleted.

In 1930, Atatürk asked his close friend, comrade and colleague Ali Fethi Okyar to establish an opposition party, in order to begin multiparty democracy in Turkey. On August 12, 1930, Okyar created the Serbest Cumhuriyet Fırkası (Free Party of the Republic). However, the party was soon dominated by Islamist opponents of Atatürk’s reforms, particularly with regard to secularism. On November 17, 1930, Okyar decided to dissolve this party: he believed that the Kemalist reforms needed more time to be fully consolidated before confronting an opposition party.

In 1930, Turkish women obtained the right to vote and stand for election in municipal elections, and in 1934 in parliamentary elections. 18 women parliamentarians were elected to the Turkish Parliament in the 1935 parliamentary elections.

Since January 30, 1932, the call to prayer, recited five times a day from the minarets, is made in Turkish (tr) instead of Arabic (this measure was changed to return to Arabic on June 16, 1950). Wearing religious habits outside places of worship is prohibited. The wearing of modern Western-style costumes and hats is made mandatory by laws and regulations.

In 1934, a law (Soyadı Kanunu, “Family Name Law”) was passed obliging Turks to take surnames: the Turkish Parliament granted Mustafa Kemal Pasha the honorific surname of Atatürk (“Father of the Turks”).

In 1935, Sunday was adopted as a weekly day of rest to replace Friday. Also,in 1936, the Montreux Convention restored Turkey’s total sovereignty over the Turkish Straits. Moreover, in 1937, via a constitutional amendment, Turkey was officially defined as a secular state.

In 1938, about 40,000 Zazas (Alevi Kurdish speakers) were killed in the Dersim revolt. On November 10, 1938, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk died. The new president, appointed by parliament, is İsmet İnönü.

In 1939, France ensured Turkey’s neutrality by ceding to it the sanjak of Alexandretta, first declared independent and then annexed. Moreover, in 1941, a non-aggression pact was signed with the Third Reich. In 1945, Turkey finally entered the Second World War against Germany, two months before the latter’s capitulation. It became one of the 51 founding members of the UN. In 1945, the one-party system ended.

Post-Kemalism and multiparty politics

The post-war period and the decades that followed were characterized by a slow abandonment of Mustafa Kemal’s principles, the gradual and legal return of religious forces that gradually reinvested the public space. This general movement was only slowed down by successive coups d’état by the army (27 May 1960, 12 March 1971, 12 December 1980, and 28 February 1997), which posed as the guardian of Kemalist values and the guarantor of the founding principles of the republic.

In 1946, the Demokrat Party (DP) was created by Celal Bayar, a long-time opponent of İnönü. In 1947, Turkey benefited from the Marshall Plan ($225 million).

On 14 May 1950, the Demokrat Party (DP) won the parliamentary elections. Adnan Menderes becomes Prime Minister and Celâl Bayar President of the Republic. Wanting to establish its popularity, the party adopted from the outset a clearly favorable line to Islam.

Many religious prohibitions dating back to Atatürk were abandoned. The call to prayer is again recited in Arabic.

A process of economic liberalization, with the reduction of the weight of the State, is being put in place. The new government embarked on a major economic development plan for the rural provinces. The DP encouraged an increase in agricultural mechanization (the number of tractors rose from 1,000 in 1950 to 42,000 in 1960), an increase in credits for the cultivation of cereals (wheat, maize, etc.). This policy, coupled with the Islamic rhetoric of the DP, established its popularity in rural Turkey (80% of the population). But it is reflected in the cutting of credits to (exporting) industry, a high public deficit, a significant increase in debt, balance of payments deficits and high inflation, masked by US aid. The party won the elections of 1954 and 1957 and remained in power until the coup d’état of 1960.

On February 18, 1952, Turkey becomes a member of NATO.

In 1952, pro-Kemalist journalist Ahmet Emin Yalman survived an assassination attempt by an underground religious organization. The DP, then in power, took measures to combat Islamist movements.

In 1953, the government dissolved many religious organizations and associations.

On September 6, 1955, and September 7, 1955, the Greek Orthodox community in Istanbul is attacked and its property is looted.

In 1955, the country experienced a serious economic crisis, linked to the weak industrialization of the country and the end of American credits. The Menderes government is embarking on a policy of budgetary rigor, coupled with a questioning of fundamental freedoms.

On May 27, 1960, a military coup takes place. The DP party is dissolved and a state of emergency is declared. Adnan Menderes and two other prominent figures of the Demokrat Party were tried by a special court and hanged for high treason in September 1961.

In 1961, a new constitution was adopted by referendum with 67% in favor. Much more democratic than the first, it established a National Security Council (MGK) that reinforced the political role of the army. The Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi came to power. İsmet İnönü became Prime Minister again, while the leader of the putschists, Cemal Gürsel, was elected the fourth President of the Republic.

On 11 February 1961, the Justice Party (PJ) was created, succeeding the Demokrat Party (DP).

On February 22, 1962, a coup attempt was led by Colonel Talat Aydemir. The putsch was aborted without casualties due to the vigorous resistance of Prime Minister İnönü. Aydemir surrendered on condition that he not be tried. On May 21, 1963, a second coup attempt was led by Colonel Talat Aydemir. Clashes took place in the streets of Ankara between Aydemir’s forces and those loyal to the government, leaving 8 dead. Talat Aydemir finally surrendered. He was tried and sentenced to death in 1964.

In December 1963, the first Cypriot crisis took place.

In 1965, the Adalet Partisi (PJ) won the parliamentary elections with 52.87% of the vote. Süleyman Demirel is appointed Prime Minister. It continues the DP’s policy of “return to Islam”. Note the development of the first Islamist movements (while they were absent in 1950) which the PJ will have to take into account to hope to retain power.

In 1966, Cevdet Sunay became the fifth President of the Republic.

The same year, the Justice Party saw the appearance of a fraction of MPs and political activists (to which the future Islamist leader Necmettin Erbakan belonged) demanding a much more Islam-oriented policy.

In 1969, Turkey joined the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Under the impetus of Mustapha Kemal, Turkey had left the Mecca conference in 1926, believing that its participation in an Islamic conference was contrary to its secular spirit.

In 1970, an economic crisis took place with a climate of violence and attacks by the extreme left.

On March 12, 1971, Süleyman Demirel resigned following a strong statement by the General Staff. Left-wing movements are experiencing violent repression. Freedom of the press and trade union rights are restricted. Parliament remains in office and technocratic governments are formed by “independent” politicians, close to the General Staff.

In 1973, Fahri Korutürk was elected the sixth President of the Republic. The general elections were won by Bülent Ecevit’s Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi who became Prime Minister.

On October 29, 1973, the Bosphorus Bridge is inaugurated.

On July 20, 1974, Operation Attila begins. Following a coup d’état by Greek nationalists against the incumbent Cypriot government aimed at attaching the island to Greece, and relying on the guarantee treaty of the 1960 Constitution, Turkey intervened militarily in Cyprus, and occupied the north of the island in two days. This rapid victory of the Turkish army will lead to the division of the island and the fall of the dictatorship of the colonels in Greece. A US military embargo is put in place.

In 1975, the first terrorist attacks of the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia took place. Until 1997, 120 attacks and 22 assassinations against Turkish diplomats were perpetrated by ASALA, which sought to force the Turkish government to recognize the Armenian genocide — and, failing that, to draw international attention to the Armenian question. In total, the toll of the attacks attributed to ASALA is 46 dead and 299 wounded.

In 1977, the traditional May 1 parade was attacked by far-right activists, killing 27 people. This carnage marked the beginning of a quasi-civil war between the left and right factions that killed more than 5,000 people until 1980.

On December 19, 1978, 111 Alevi citizens were killed during the Maraş massacre.

From May to July 1980, 57 left-wing activists, mainly Alevi, were killed during the Çorum massacre. In May 1980, a general strike protested against the violence of the extreme right.

Turkey is facing such security and economic chaos that the top general staff is preparing to bring in the army again to guarantee the country’s security.

The September 12, 1980, a military coup led to the arrest of 250,000 people and the dissolution of parliament and the banning of political parties. Chief of Staff Kenan Evren becomes President of the Republic.

In November 1982, a new constitution drafted by the military was adopted by referendum; Former parties remain banned. The army gradually returned power to civilians, introduced compulsory primary religious education, but strengthened its political control over the government and parliament through the National Security Council (MKG).

In December 1982, a financial crisis occurred; Tens of thousands of savers lose their savings.

On November 15, 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is created, but it is only recognized by Turkey.

Return to civilian rule

In December 1983: return to civilian rule. The newly created Anavatan Partisi wins the general elections and Turgut Özal is appointed Prime Minister. Neo-liberal turn (wave of privatizations).

On January 10, 1984, abortion is legalized.

On August 15, 1984, the guerrilla war led by Abdullah Öcalan’s PKK begins. The ensuing clashes with government forces resulted in more than 42,000 deaths by 2010 and scores displaced.

On September 6, 1986, a shooting took place in the Neve-Shalom synagogue in Istanbul, perpetrated by Palestinian terrorists, leaving 22 dead.

On June 18, 1988, an assassination attempt was perpetrated against Prime Minister Turgut Özal at his party’s congress. He was slightly injured. The gunman, Kartal Demirağ, an ultra-nationalist, claims to have acted alone.

In 1989, Turgut Özal was elected President by Parliament. Yıldırım Akbulut is appointed Prime Minister.

In 1990, the first private radio and television broadcasts began. The State’s monopoly on the audiovisual sector was not officially lifted until 1993.

In 1991, Mesut Yılmaz (ANAP) became Prime Minister. In 1991, Süleyman Demirel was appointed Prime Minister following the parliamentary elections of October 20, 1991.

On April 17, 1993, President Turgut Özal dies, he is replaced by Süleyman Demirel, who thus becomes the ninth President of the Republic.

In June 1993, Tansu Çiller (Doğru Yol Partisi) became the 1 st woman to hold the post of Prime Minister.

Rise of Islamist movements and first government

In 1990, a wave of political assassinations attributed to Islamists affected academic Muammer Aksoy (31 January), Hürriyet newspaper editor Çetin Emeç (7 March), essayist Turan Dursun (4 September) and academic and MP Bahriye Üçok (6 October).

On January 24, 1993, Uğur Mumcu, a columnist for the newspaper Cumhuriyet, was assassinated. His funeral turned into a large demonstration in favor of secularism. On July 2, 1993, 37 Alevi intellectuals die in the arson attack on the Madımak Hotel in Sivas, attributed to the Islamists.

On March 24, 1994, the municipal elections were massively won by the Islamists of the Prosperity Party (Refah Partisi, created in 1983). Recep Tayyip Erdoğan becomes Istanbul’s first Islamist mayor. On March 12, 1995, riots in Istanbul’s predominantly Alevi-dominated suburb of Gazi leave 17 people dead.

In December 1995, legislative elections were held, the Islamist party Refah emerged victorious. In July 1996, an Islamist government led by Refah Partisi leader Necmettin Erbakan was set up. He was forced to resign 11 months later, in June 1997, under pressure from the army and civil society (media, business and academia). Mesut Yılmaz becomes Prime Minister again.

Coalition governments

In October 1998, politico-military pressure was put on Syria to force it to extradite Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the PKK. Damascus resisted, but under pressure from the international community, it finally agreed to expel him. Öcalan went first to Russia and then to Italy via Greece.

In January 1999, Bülent Ecevit was appointed Prime Minister of a minority government. In February 1999, PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan was arrested in Kenya. He was tried and sentenced to death in June 1999, but his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment when the death penalty was abolished a few years later.

In May 1999, the early general elections saw the DSP (Ecevit’s party) emerge victorious. Bülent Ecevit becomes Prime Minister of a coalition rallying the left (DSP), the center-right (ANAP) and the nationalist far right (MHP).

On August 17, 1999, a devastating earthquake in the northwest of the country kills 17,000 people.

On 16 May 2000, Ahmet Necdet Sezer becomes the tenth President of the Republic.

In February 2001, a serious financial crisis led to the devaluation of 50% of the Turkish lira, hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs. Moreover, in 2001, Kemal Derviş, Minister of Economy, implemented important economic reforms, with the establishment of the autonomy of the central bank and the recapitalization, restructuring or seizure of financial institutions.

In August 2002, the death penalty was officially abolished, except in times of war (total abolition in 2004); The last execution was in 1984.

Rapprochement with the European Union

In 1949, Turkey was co-opted (along with Greece) by the founding members of the Council of Europe three months after the signing of the Treaty of London.

In 1959, Turkey applied for associate membership of the EEC. Moreover, in 1963, an association agreement was signed between Turkey and the EEC.

In April 1987, Turkey applies for accession to the European Union. In December 1989, the European Commission declared Turkey eligible for application, but postponed consideration of the dossier.

The 1 January 1996, the Customs Union between the European Union and Turkey enters into force. Turkey abolishes import taxes on products from the European Union.

December 1999: The European Union officially accepts Turkey’s candidacy at the Helsinki summit and stresses the country’s “European vocation”, but sets conditions for its entry into the EU that Turkey accepts.

In October 2010 Turkey radically amended its constitution to meet the political criteria set by the EU. Paradoxically, these changes, which are part of Western logic, undermine the desire for secularization introduced by Atatürk: the disappearance of the political role of the army “favors center-right parties in favor of the re-Islamisation of Turkish society”.

In December 2013, an agreement on immigration was signed between Turkey and the European Union: the former would henceforth recover illegal migrants who had arrived in Europe through its territory; in exchange, the EU acceded to its request to put an end to the visas required of Turkish nationals to be able to enter the Schengen area, according to a timetable for negotiations initially planned to last three and a half years. The effective implementation of this agreement was however questioned in 2016 following the diplomatic tensions that appeared during the purges following the coup attempt of July.

AKP and Erdoğan

The coming to power on 3 November 2002 of the AKP Party and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who became Prime Minister (March 2003) confirmed the success of the strategy linking constitutional and economic liberalism and the traditional values of Sunni Islam.

This coming to power of the conservatives determines a shift in foreign policy toward the Sunni world while remaining an important ally of the United States in the region. The 1 March 2003, the Turkish Parliament refuses to allow US troops to be stationed on Turkish soil at the outbreak of the war in Iraq. This diplomatic repositioning is also marked by the attack on the Mavi Marmara in 2010 which led to a serious deterioration in relations between Israel and Turkey, then since 2011 in the face of the Syrian civil war, by Ankara’s active engagement in trying to bring about the fall of the Alawite regime of Bashar el-Assad and on the contrary, in 2014, its refusal to engage in the fight against the Islamic State.

On November 15 and 20, 2003, two Al-Qaeda car bomb attacks in Istanbul were set up, against Jewish and British interests, killing 60 people.

In 2004, the broadcasting of minority languages was authorized. The first Kurdish-language broadcasts on public television, on TRT, were launched. In 2005, a new Turkish lira (YTL) was introduced. 1 YTL = 1,000,000TL.
3,212.072 billion
1 June 2005, a new penal code is adopted granting more individual freedoms and more in line with European requirements. On 3 October 2005, accession negotiations with the European Union begin.

On 19 January 2007, Hrant Dink, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Agos (published in Istanbul in Turkish and Armenian), was assassinated. 200,000 people attended his funeral on January 23.

In April and May 2007, a political crisis takes place around the election of the new president by the National Assembly, triggering early elections. Despite the end of his mandate on 16 May, President Sezer remains in office pending his successor.

On 22 July 2007 in the early parliamentary elections, the AKP won 46.7% of the vote. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan retains the post of Prime Minister.

On 28 August 2007, Abdullah Gül was elected the eleventh President of the Republic thanks to the AKP’s parliamentary majority. On 21 October 2007, by a constitutional amendment by referendum (70% in favor), the President of the Republic will henceforth be elected by universal suffrage.

The 9 February 2008, a constitutional amendment is put in place to remove the ban on the Islamic headscarf at universities. This amendment was annulled by the Constitutional Court, on 5 June 2008 on the basis of Article 2 of the Constitution, which guarantees secularism. On 30 July 2008, the Constitutional Court rejects a request to ban the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), accused of anti-secular activities. The case was referred to the Court on 14 March 2008 by the Chief Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation.

On 29 March 2009, Municipal elections are held. The AKP, in power, lost votes but remained the country’s leading political party.

On 19 October 2009, following the call of the former PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan (imprisoned on the island of Imrali in Turkey), the PKK sent to Turkey a group, which it called a peace group composed of 34 people (8 PKK members and 26 Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin from the Mahmour camp in Iraq) for a resolution of the Kurdish question.

In November 2009, the Ergenekon trial began. More than 300 pro-Kemalist military, politicians, academics and journalists were arrested for plotting against the state. From this date, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan began a policy much more favorable to Islam (authorization of the veil in the administration, restriction of alcohol consumption, end of coeducation at school, etc).

On September 12, 2010, Turkey approved a constitutional reform in a referendum with 57.9% and a turnout of 77.6%.

In addition, on June 12, 2011, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) won the general elections.

On 29 May 2013, the Taksim Gezi Park protests oppose a real estate project in Istanbul, strongly supported by the government. The movement quickly turned into a massive protest movement against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s power. Protest rallies in Istanbul and in 24 cities of the country last more than two months and are harshly repressed (4 dead).

On August 10, 2014, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected the twelfth President of the Republic for the first time by universal suffrage.

In the parliamentary elections of June 2015, the AKP lost its absolute majority. Political negotiations do not allow the formation of a government. The main stumbling blocks are the establishment of an independent judiciary rejected by the AKP and the settlement of the Kurdish question ignored by the MHP.

On October 10, 2015, the deadliest attack in the history of the Turkish Republic killed 102 people in Ankara and targeted left-wing activists demonstrating for peace. Both human bombs were affiliated with Daesh. Despite an internal note from the security services, no measures were taken by the Ministry of the Interior to ensure the smooth running of the meeting.

The AKP regained an absolute majority in parliament in the Turkish parliamentary elections of November 2015.

On July 15, 2016, an attempted military coup threatens Erdoğan’s rule. He called on his supporters to defy the curfew. The coup attempt is aborted. It left at least 290 dead, including 104 putschists shot dead, and more than 1,440 wounded. Approximately 7,500 members of the armed forces were arrested his was also followed by purges targeting tens of thousands of people and, at the same time, a prior tightening of the law on the Internet allowed the continued blocking of thousands of sites (including Wikipedia, Youtube, Vimeo, Twitter, Dailymotion, Blogger or WordPress).


Turkey is located for its majority (97%) in Asia (Anatolia), where its capital Ankara is located, but a small part of the country is in Europe (3%), Eastern Thrace.

The main city is Istanbul. It was previously called Byzantium until 330 and was then renamed Constantinople by Emperor Constantine, a name it kept until 1930, when Mustafa Kemal Atatürk gave it its current name. It straddles Thrace and Anatolia, with the two parts of the city separated by the Bosphorus Strait.

Geology and Landscape of Turkey

Turkey consists of two mountain ranges, the Taurus Mountains and the Pontic Range, which enclose the Anatolian plateau and the Armenian highlands. These are young geological formations, always active, as indicated by the numerous faults and folds. About 80% of the country is in an extremely active tectonic zone. Northern Turkey is bordered by a very active fault: the North Anatolian fault. Turkey has eight main river basins, the most important of which are those of the Euphrates (Firat) and Tigris (Dicle). About a quarter of the country is covered by forests — pine, spruce, cedar and deciduous trees.


In the north of the country, the Pontic chain sees a succession from west to east the schist massif of Istranca Dai (Eastern Thrace), the plateaus of Bithynia and the series of increasingly high mountain ranges dominating the Black Sea. The Kizil Irmak and Yesil Irmak deltas form the only two coastal plains.

To the south, the Taurus, the second largest mountain group, draws two large arcs separated by the reentrant from the Gulf of Antalya and the Pamphylia plain.

Taurus and Pontic chains meet in eastern Anatolia, also called the Armenian highland (Western Armenia) where Mount Ararat (5,165 m), on which Noah’s ark would have washed up after the Flood, is the highest point of the country.


Due to its position in the northeast of the Mediterranean basin, Turkey belongs, overall, to the Mediterranean climatic domain: winter is mild, while summer is hot and dry. However, the peripheral position of the main reliefs introduces profound disturbances in this scheme. Thus, all inland regions are marked by continentality: colder winters, lower total precipitation, maximum rainfall shifted to spring. Conversely, the Pontic region, approached head-on by humidified air masses over the Black Sea, receives abundant and regular rainfall.


Turkish environmental associations mobilized in 2013 against the “law of conservation of nature and biodiversity” which will make possible industrial or urbanization projects in natural areas if they meet a “higher public interest”. A vague notion that “opens the door to all abuses”, according to the associations.

In 2013, the construction of sixty coal-fired power plants is underway or planned. According to Greenpeace, the government “leaves very little room for renewable energy projects” and greenhouse gas emissions are rising.

Political and historical geography

Current provinces and regions, and historical regions.
Current provinces and regions, and historical regions.

Turkey has had five main successive regional divisions, each of which has evolved over time:

  • the ancient divisions: those of the Anatolian populations of origin and the Persian, Hellenistic and Roman dominations;
  • the divisions of the Eastern Roman Empire (known as Byzantine);
  • the divisions of the time of the Beylicates which inaugurates Turkish domination;
  • the divisions of the Ottoman Empire;
  • the divisions of the Republic of Turkey.

Current administrative divisions

The capital of Turkey is Ankara. The national territory is divided into 81 provinces (Turkish: il). The provinces are organized into 7 regions (bölge) established to carry out the national census; however, they do not represent an administrative structure. Each province is divided into districts (ilçe), for a total of 957 districts.

The provinces and districts are administered respectively by prefects (vali) and sub-prefects (kaymakam) appointed by the State. The province is the electoral district for the election of members of parliament. Commune mayors (belediye başkanı) are elected by universal suffrage, at the same time as neighborhood or village mayors (muhtar). In some large cities, there is an administrative level grouping several municipalities, the metropolitan municipality (büyükşehir).

The provinces have the same name as their provincial capital, also called the central district; the only exceptions are Hatay (capital: Antakya), Sakarya (capital: Adapazarı) and Kocaeli (capital: Izmit). The most populous provinces are Istanbul (+12.6 million), Ankara (+4.5 million), Izmir (+3.7 million), Bursa (+2.5 million), Adana (+2 million) and Konya (+1.9 million). Nineteen provinces have populations of more than one million, twenty provinces between 500,000 and one million, and only two provinces have populations of less than 100,000.

The largest city and pre-Republican capital Istanbul is the financial, economic and cultural heart of the country. Other important cities are Izmir, Bursa, Adana, Trabzon, Malatya, Gaziantep, Erzurum, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Mersin, Eskişehir, Diyarbakır, Antalya and Samsun.

About 75% of Turkey’s population is urban.

Regions in Turkey

Turkey has seven regions divided into eighty-one provinces:

  • Aegean region (Ege Bölgesi);
  • Black Sea Region (Karadeniz Bölgesi);
  • Central Anatolia Region (İç Anadolu Bölgesi);
  • Eastern Anatolia Region (Doğu Anadolu Bölgesi);
  • Marmara Region (Marmara Bölgesi);
  • Mediterranean Region (Akdeniz Bölgesi);
  • Southeastern Anatolia Region (Güneydoğu Anadolu Bölgesi).


The seven regions of Turkey are divided into eighty-one provinces.


Turkey had a population of 76,667,864 in on December 31, 2013, in addition to 1.9 million Syrian refugees. The urban population represents 75% of the population.

Turkey’s population growth is significantly higher than that of other European countries (around 1.3% per year). In 2020, the fertility rate is 1.76 children per woman.

In 2020, the Western Black Sea region has the lowest fertility rate in Turkey, with 1.46 children per woman while the Southeastern Anatolia region reaches 2.83 children per woman.

Life expectancy in 2019 is estimated to average 78.3 years (75.6 years for men, and 81 years for women).

Ethnic Composition of Turkey

The Turkish people are a mosaic of ethnic groups, each contributing to the cultural and linguistic richness of Anatolia:

  • Turkic peoples: Afchars, Yörüks, Tahtacı, Turks of Kosovo, Turks of Bulgaria, Turks of Macedonia, Turks of Western Thrace, Turks of the Dodecanese, Turks of Crete, Turks of Romania, Turks of Ada Kaleh, Çepni, Meskhetians (Ahıskalı), Bayındır (Oghuz), Oghuz, Karamanlids, Pechenegs, Turkish Cypriots, Azeris, Crimean Tatars, Karaites, Tatars, Karapapaks, Krymchaks, Karachays, Balkars, Uzbeks, Nogaïs, Kumyks, Uyghurs, Kyrgyz;
  • Balkan peoples: Bosniaks and Sanjak of Novipazar, Albanians, Pomaks;
  • Indo-European or Kurdish-speaking people: Kurds, Zazas, Dımılices (tr);
  • peoples of the Caucasus or Northeastern Anatolia: Georgians, Circassians or Cherkess, Abkhazians, Chechens, Ossetians, Laks, Lazes;
  • Others: Roma, Arabs, Hemichis, Armenians, Greeks, Chaldeans, Afro-Turks, Poles, Romaniotes, Sephardim, Ashkenazim.

Genetic data

Principal component analysis of more than 500,000 SNP genotypes reveals significant overlap between present-day Turks and Middle Easterners and a relationship with Europeans and South and Central Asians. According to this study, the genetic ancestry of Turks is 38% European, 35% Middle Eastern, 18% South Asian and 9% Central Asia. The genetic structure in the samples observed was homogeneous and unique.

Religions and spirituality

Religion Percentage
Islam 98,0 %
Agnosticism, atheism 1,2 %
Christianity 0,4 %
Other 0,4 %

The percentage of people considering themselves pious tends to decrease: 55% in 2008, compared to 51% in 2018.


Islam has been present in the region of present-day Turkey since the second half of the eleventh century, when the Seljuks began to expand from the east to eastern Anatolia. According to Halil İnalcık, at that time and during the foundation of the Ottoman Empire, Anatolia was predominantly Alevi Bektashi. Thus, the Çandarlı family – which is at the origin of the creation of the Empire – is a member of the Ahilik brotherhood that is to say bektachi.

In addition, the Turkmen tribes who arrived in Anatolia were spiritually influenced by great figures of Sufi and heterodox Islam such as Ahmed Yesevi, Yunus Emre, Haci Bektas Veli, Mevlana, Ibn Arabi, Abdal Musa (tr) and Kaygusuz (in). The first madrasah (theological university) was created by Davud el-Kayserî (tr) who taught the concept of Wahdat al-wujud. For Levent Kayapinar, in the fourteenth century and fifteenth century, the Bektashi Alevis are the majority in the provinces of Anatolia and many elements suggest that the founders of the Empire were members of heterodox tariqa close to Bektashism. Thus, Sheikh Edébali is a member of the Tariqa Vefâi (babailik). Gazi Evrenos Bey (tr) of the Kayı tribe from which the Ottoman dynasty descended was also committed to the cause of the Ahl Al-Bayt.

The year 1517 marks a turning point in the confessional history of Anatolia. Before 1517, the Ottoman Empire had no religion or was not based on a religious system. In 1516, the Ottomans put an end to the caliphate of the Mamluks and Yavuz Sultan Selim seized the insignia of the caliphal power held in Cairo (end of Al-Mutawakkil III). Moreover, in 1517 Yavuz Sultan Selim made Sunnism the official religion of the Empire.

In doing so he distinguished himself from his great rival Shah Ismail I and won the cause of Ahl Al-Bayt. About two thousand ulema were imported from the al-Azhar mosque in Egypt to “Sunnize” the country and the Alevi, Bektashi and Mevlevi religious leaders who were at the origin of the Islamization of Anatolia and the Balkans were executed or exiled. From then on, Alevism was considered heretical by the Ottoman Sunni central power. Yavuz Sultan Selim launched a policy of denigration, repression and assimilation or conversion of the Alevis that lasted until the Republican era.

Today Islam is the majority religion of Turkey and the main current is Sunnism. However, Anatolian Islam is not uniform and has many variations: the mainstream is Hanafi Sunnism, followed by Alevism-Bektashism, Shafi’i Sunnism and Jafarism.

According to the references,

  • 70-85% of Turks are Sunni Muslims (Hanafi and Shafi’i);
  • Between 15 and 25% of Turks are Alevis.

The majority of Alevis are of Turkish and Turkmen origin (about 70%), Kurmanji Kurds or Zazas. It is difficult to quantify the number of these in Turkey:

  • in 1826, the date of the massacres that put an end to the Janissary Corps, closely associated with the Bektashi order, the Ottoman Empire had seven million Bektashi Alevis;
  • No statistical source of the Republican era today provides reliable indications allowing a demographic assessment of this minority. Opinions differ on their number: officially, they are between 10 and 15% but according to Alevi sources they represent 20 to 25% of the national population. The repression exerted on the community under the Ottoman Empire and the Republic provoked in the Alevis a feeling of fear that forced them to practice their worship in secret or “takiye”. Also, as long as religious and political freedom of conscience is not complete in Turkey, no estimate can be reliable. Demographers and academics put the figure at 15 to 20 million.

A survey published in December 2004 in The Wall Street Journal, the European version, announced that 96% of Turks define themselves as Muslims and 72% observe the prescriptions of Islam. Two-thirds of Turkish women wear the Islamic veil.

Conservative President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is pursuing a policy of Islamization, which has drawn criticism from secular circles. In 15 years, the budget of the Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı, the Directorate of Religious Affairs, responsible for financing the construction of mosques and paying imams, has multiplied by ten, reaching 1.75 billion euros in 2016, double that of the Ministry of Health and triple that of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Other religions

Anatolia (Asia Minor) is one of the cradles of Christianity. According to the Acts of the Apostles, it was in Antioch that the disciples first received the name of Christians. Saint Paul is a native of Tarsus and he traveled extensively in Asia Minor: Antakya, Konya, Ankara (capital of the Galatians), Ephesus. The latter city is attached to the memory of Saint John. According to tradition, the Virgin Mary spent her last years near Ephesus, in Selçuk. The Cave of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus is located near Ephesus as its name suggests. The Seven Churches of Asia or Seven Churches of the Apocalypse are seven diocesan communities mentioned in the book of Revelation in the New Testament (the episcopal sees were located in Asia Minor (Anatolia), today in Turkey).

Saint Nicholas, who was born in Patara and died in Myra, was from the region of Lycia in Anatolia. The seven ecumenical councils (Nicaea I, Constantinople I, Ephesus, Chalcedon, Constantinople II, Constantinople III, Nicaea II) met in present-day Turkey (in Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus, Chalcedon). Two of the five Churches of the Pentarchy (Church of Constantinople and Antioch) are in present-day Turkey. There are remnants of early Christianity (in Cappadocia) and medieval Christianity (in the Trabzon region). In Constantinople, Christians represented 40% of the population in the sixteenth century and at the very beginning of the twentieth century, still more than 20%.

In the sixteenth century, many Jews took refuge in the Ottoman Empire because of the expulsions ordered to Spain by Isabella the Catholic. Moreover, in the nineteenth century, the multiplication of pogroms in Europe provoked new waves of refugees.

This religious diversity decreased sharply from the beginning of the twentieth century with the desire of the Ottoman Empire to homogenize and Turkify the country, eradicating all ethnically non-Turkish and non-Muslim groups. The new Kemalist Turkey will continue this policy.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Christian Armenians lived in eastern Turkey on the Armenian highland and Greek Orthodox on the coast of the Aegean Sea as well as on the northern and southern coasts (Trebizond, Antalya, Smyrna…). During World War I, most Armenians were killed, deported or fled during the Armenian Genocide. Greeks first fled after their homes were burned by Turkish forces, during the Greco-Turkish War of 1920-1922, then were subject to a population exchange between Greece and Turkey between 1923 and 1927, with a transfer of Greek populations from Anatolia to Greece and Turkish populations from Greece to Turkey.

Still representing 20% of the population on the eve of the First World War, Christians represent only between 0.2% in 2015 and 2% of the population.

The number of Christians in Turkey does not exceed 200,000 to date, although the country’s largest city, Istanbul, is the seat of two prestigious patriarchates: that of the Greeks and the Armenians. Armenians constitute the largest Christian community in the country (60,000 including 45,000 in Istanbul), divided into three communities: apostolic (57,000), Catholic (3,000) and Protestant (500) in Istanbul, Antakya and Kayseri). We can also mention the Syriacs (15,000 including 2,000 Catholics, in Istanbul and Mardin), the Chaldeans (10,000, mostly of Iraqi nationality), the Latins (5,000, concentrated in Istanbul and Izmir; small communities in Bursa, Konya, Mersin, Tarsus, Antakya, Iskenderun, Samsun, Trabzon), the Greek Orthodox (3,000, in Istanbul, Antakya, Gökçeada and Bozcaada). It is also necessary to add the “new” Protestants, i.e. Muslims converted to evangelical Protestantism, who number 5,000. In 2018, Jehovah’s Witnesses numbered 3,506.

Jews (25,000) are concentrated in Istanbul (22,000), İzmir (2,500), Bursa (ca. 500) and Çanakkale. Nearly 10,000 Turks of the Jewish faith have reportedly left the country since the AKP came to power in 2002, fearing the rise of militant Islamism. There are only 15,000 in Turkey in 2016. Many AKP officials occasionally make anti-Semitic speeches, attributing economic difficulties or protests against President Erdogan.

Another religious group, derived from Judaism, is that of the Sabbateans or Dönme (+/- 20,000). There are also Baha’is (of which Edirne is the holy city) and Yazidis (of Kurdish origin) in small numbers.

Main “holiest” places in Turkey
  • Antakya:
    • St. Peter’s Church, carved into the rock, probably the first Christian church;
    • mausoleum of Hz. Hizir or Al-Khidr, an enigmatic figure of Islam. He is considered a saint by some, a prophet by others;
  • Alaşehir: Philadelphia Church, one of the Seven Churches mentioned in Revelation.
  • Istanbul:
    • Topkapi Museum, personal items of Muhammad and his cousin and son-in-law Hz. Ali or Ali ibn Abi Talib;
    • Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate or Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople or Fener Rum Orthodox Patrikhanesi;
  • Konya: mausoleum of Mevlana, a Muslim Persian mystic who deeply influenced Sufism, and developed the mystical and universal dimension of Islam. His name is intimately linked to the order of the “whirling dervishes” or mevlevis, one of the main Sufi brotherhoods of Islam. UNESCO proclaimed 2007 the year in his honor to celebrate the eighth centenary of his birth.
  • Manisa:
    • Thyatira Church, one of the Seven Early Churches mentioned in Revelation;
    • Sardinian Synagogue: building located in the ancient city of Sardis, the ancient capital of Lydia. Built towards the end of the third century, it is the largest synagogue known in the Jewish diaspora;
  • Nevşehir: mausoleum of Haci Bektas Veli, holy man, mystic and philosopher of Alevism and Bektashism. Classified in the Sufi tradition, this current claims within it the universal and original tradition of Islam. Haci Bektas Veli is the eponymous founder of the Bektashi brotherhood that played a key role in the Islamization of Anatolia and the Balkans. According to UNESCO, with the interpretation of Haci Bektas Veli, Alevi Bektashi Islam shows an early modernity: with the words of the thirteenth century, Haci Bektas Veli conveys ideas that eight centuries later coincide with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Haci Bektas Veli had a great influence on the Turkization of Anatolia as well as the creation of the Ottoman Empire. It is also known and respected in Bulgaria, Greece, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Hungary and Romania;
  • Şanlıurfa: birthplace of Abraham, an important figure in Judaism, Christianity and Islam;
  • Selçuk (Izmir): house in which the Virgin Mary is supposed to have lived her last years;
  • Tarsus: birthplace of Saint Paul, it houses the Church of Saint Paul.


While the Constitution of on January 20, 1921, did not mention religion, the Constitution Act of on October 29, 1923, amends Article 2 by stating that “the religion of the Turkish State is Islam” (“Türkiye Devletinin dini, Dîn-i İslâmdır“). This reference is retained in the Constitution of on April 20, 1924 (whose article 75 nevertheless proclaims freedom of conscience and worship — provided that they do not conflict with the laws), deleted on April 11, 1928 and replaced on February 5, 1937 by “the Turkish state is republican, nationalist, populist, statist, secular and reformist”, the “six principles of Atatürk”.

All this translated under Atatürk as:

  • granting women the right to vote in 1934;
  • the closure of certain places of pilgrimage;
  • the prohibition of religious brotherhoods (nakşibendis, nurcus…);
  • banning the veil for women in public administrations and schools.

Some of these measures were abolished when Adnan Menderes’ Demokrat Party (Democratic Party) came to power in 1950, but religion remained under state control.

Although secular reforms were carried out under Atatürk (abolition of the caliphate, etc.), Turkey is not a strictly secular state in the sense that there is no separation between religion and state, but rather a tutelage of religion by the state; However, everyone remains free of his beliefs.

Thus, religion is mentioned on identity papers and there is an administration called “Presidency of Religious Affairs” (Diyanet) which sometimes instrumentalizes Islam to legitimize the State and which manages the country’s 77,500 mosques. This state body, set up by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on March 3, 1924, finances only the Sunni Muslim faith, non-Sunni religions must ensure a financially autonomous functioning, when they do not encounter administrative obstacles to this same functioning. When collecting taxes, all Turkish citizens are equal. The tax rate does not change according to religious denomination. However, through the “Presidency of Religious Affairs” or Diyanet, Turkish citizens are not equal in the use of revenues.

The Presidency of Religious Affairs, which has a budget of more than US$2.5 billion in 2012, funds only the Sunni Muslim faith. This situation is problematic from a theological point of view, insofar as Islam stipulates through the notion of the haram that it is necessary to “give the right measure and the right weight, in all justice”. However, since its creation, the Diyanet, through taxation, has used the resources of non-Sunni citizens to finance its administration and its exclusively Sunni places of worship.

Thus, Caberia Muslims (mainly Azeris) and Abevis Bektashi Muslims (mainly Turkmen) participate in the financing of mosques and the payment of salaries of Sunni imams, while their places of worship, which are not officially recognized by the State, receive no funding. However, Alevi Bektashi Islam is the second largest belief in Turkey after Sunni Islam. Opinions differ on their number: officially they are between 10 and 15% but according to Alevi sources they represent between 20 and 25% of the national population. Caferi Islam officially has 3 million believers in Turkey.

In theory, Turkey, through the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, recognizes the civil, political and cultural rights of non-Muslim minorities.

In practice, Turkey recognizes only Greek, Armenian and Jewish religious minorities without granting them all the rights mentioned in the Treaty of Lausanne.

Alevis Bektashi and Câferîs Muslims, Latin Catholics and Protestants are not officially recognized. Turkey is regularly condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for violating the rights of the Alevis.

Situation of religions in Turkey
Cult Estimated population Expropriation measures Official recognition in the Constitution or through international treaties State funding of places of worship and religious personnel
Islam – Sunni 70 to 85% (52 to 64 million) No Yes through the Diyanet cited in the Constitution (Art. 136) Yes through the Diyanet
Islam – Bektashi Twelver 15 to 25% ($11 to $19 million) Yes Not. Balim Sultan ensures a total control over the body of the Janissaries whose bektachism will be the main religious reference. In 1826, Mahmud II definitively put an end to the Janissary system. The Bektashi order was outlawed, many dignitaries of the capital were executed, others were deported to Anatolia. Tekke are closed, destroyed or assigned to Orthodox institutions such as the Naqshbandiyyas order. No
Islam – Twelver Alevi No. At the beginning of the fifteenth century, the Ottoman oppression towards the Alevis became unbearable and the latter supported Shah Ismail I of Turkmen origin. His followers, who wear a red cap with twelve folds in reference to the 12 imams of Twelver Shiism, call themselves Qizilbash. The Ottomans who had Persianized and Arabized considered as enemies the Qizilbash (Alevis) of Turkmen origin. Today, cemevis, places of worship common to the Alevis Bektashi, have no legal recognition. However, the oldest known cemevi to date in Turkey dates from 1224 (Onarlı Köyü, district of Arapgir in Malatya)

Islam – Twelver caferi

4% ($3 million) No No
Islam – Twelver Alawites or Nusayris 300 to 350,000 No No
Judaism 20 000 Yes Yes through the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 No
Christian – Protestant 5 000 No No
Christian – Latin Catholics No No
Christian – Greek Catholics Yes Yes through the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 No
Christian – Orthodox – Greek (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople) Yes Yes through the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 No
Christian – Orthodox – Armenian (Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople) 57 000 Yes Yes through the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 No
Christian – Chaldean Catholics (Armenian) 3 000 Yes Yes through the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 No
Christian – Syriac Theological and Rite Churches (Orthodox and Catholic) 15 000 Yes No No
Yazidism 377 No No

With more than 100,000 civil servants, the Diyanet is a kind of state within a state.

In 2013, the Diyanet, or Ministry of Religious Affairs, was the 16th largest expenditure item in the central government.

The budget allocated to Diyanet in 2013 is 4.6 billion Turkish liras.

Despite the implementation of secular politics in Turkey, the proportion of the Christian population fell from 10% in 1920 to 0.3% at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Christians also suffer attacks because of their confession.

Under Turgut Özal, religious education in secondary schools became compulsory.

In February 2008, the Turkish Parliament passed a law allowing women to wear the veil in universities; this law was annulled by the Constitutional Court in June 2008.

Any criticism of Islam can earn the perpetrator a conviction under Article 216 of the Turkish Penal Code, which punishes anyone guilty of denigrating the religious values of the population with six months to one year. It is on this principle that the writer Nedim Gürsel is currently being prosecuted after the publication of his book The Daughters of Allah.


Status of women

  • Turkey is the country in Europe where women have the least status of employees:
    • 49.3% of Turkish women who are employed, self-employed or self-employed;
    • 50.7% of Turkish women in employment are salaried workers: this is the lowest rate in Europe. In the European Union, 87.4% of employed women enjoy the benefits of employee status (social security, unemployment contributions and pensions). For comparison, this indicator is 95.8% in Norway and 92.4% in France;
  • Turkey is one of the countries in Europe that sends its daughters the least to higher education: only 49.9% of Turkish women of enrolment age are enrolled in higher education compared to 68.7% in the EU;
  • in 2005, 11.4% of Turkish companies were owned by women, compared to 41.6% in Ireland, 34.1% in Spain, 20.3% in Germany, 26% in Romania and 21.5% in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
  • In 2016, 26% of girls were married before the age of 18.
  • Turkey, under the impetus of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, granted women the right to vote in 1930 and eligibility in 1934, well before France (1944). Eight decades after these rights were achieved, the representation of Turkish women in their national parliament is very low. In 2012, only 14.2% of seats in the Turkish National Parliament (TBMM) were held by women. This proportion is lower than that of Sweden (44.7%), Senegal (42.7%), Tanzania (36%), Algeria (31.6%), Ethiopia (27.8%), Afghanistan (27.7%), France (26.9%), Tunisia (26.7%), Iraq (25.2%), Sudan (24.6%), Pakistan (22.5%), Bosnia and Herzegovina (21.4%), Bangladesh (19.7%) and Tajikistan (19%). In Europe, Turkey is at the bottom of the table but ahead of Romania (11.2%), Cyprus (10.7%) and Hungary (8.8%). No chapter of the Turkish constitution or legislation requires political parties to field as many male and female candidates.

Turkey, which was the first to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence in 2012, announced its withdrawal from it on 19 March 2021. According to the association “We will end femicides”, the murders of women have increased in recent years and reached 300 in 2020.

Education in Turkey

The Ministry of National Education is responsible for education. This is compulsory and lasts twelve years: four years for each cycle from primary school, middle school, then secondary school. Less than half of Turks aged 25-34 have completed secondary education, compared with the OECD average of over 80%. Basic education in Turkey is considered to lag behind other OECD countries, with significant differences between high- and low-level students. Turkey is ranked 32nd out of 34 in the OECD’s PISA study. Access to a high-quality school is highly dependent on the result obtained in the secondary entrance exams, to the point that some students start taking private tutoring lessons when they are 10 years old. The overall adult literacy rate in 2011 was 94.1%, of which 97.9% was male and 90.3% female.

As of 2017, there are 190 universities in Turkey. Entry into higher education depends on the Student Selection and Placement System (ÖSYS). In 2008, the quota of admitted students was 600,000, compared to 1,700,000 who took the higher education examination in 2007. With the exception of the Faculties of Open Education (AÖF) in Anadolu, Istanbul and Atatürk University, entry is regulated by the ÖSYS national examination.

After which high school graduates are assigned to universities based on their results. According to the 2012-2013 World University Rankings of Higher Education, the top university in Turkey is the Middle East Technical University (ranked between 201 and 225), followed by Bilkent University and Koç University (both in the 226-250 bracket), then Istanbul Technical University and Bosphorus University (in the 276-300 bracket). All public and private universities are under the control of the Council for Higher Education (YÖK), whose head is appointed by the President of Turkey. Since October 2016, the President has also directly appointed all rectors of all public and private universities. Turkey is a member of the European Higher Education Area and actively participates in the Bologna Process.

Since 2019, the theory of evolution has been banned from secondary school curricula (middle and high school) to be addressed only in higher education.

There are several French-speaking schools in the country: the Lycée Français Charles-de-Gaulle, the Lycée Français Pierre-Loti, the Lycée Saint-Benoît in Istanbul, Lycée Tevfik Fikret (one in Ankara and one in İzmir), Lycée Notre-Dame de Sion, Lycée Sainte-Pulchérie, Lycée Saint-Michel, Lycée Saint-Joseph (one in Istanbul and another in Izmir), Galatasaray High School, Galatasaray University and Burak Bora High School.

Social protection

Social protection in Turkey is structured between various mechanisms, the whole of which does not cover the entire Turkish population (67.3 million inhabitants in 2000). Four public social protection systems coexist in Turkey: the Memur Saglik is intended for civil servants and their direct beneficiaries; Emekli Sandigi concerns retired civil servants, as well as their direct beneficiaries; the SSK covers employees in the private sector and workers in the public sector; the Bag-Kur insures artisans, traders and members of the liberal professions.

There is a form of personal insurance that allows you to voluntarily join the SSK. This membership is individual or collective, voluntary or compulsory. Individually, any person can voluntarily join the SSK in exchange for the payment of an insurance premium. Collectively, insurance is either voluntary or collective. Voluntary, it concerns groups excluded from the automatic benefit of the SSK and who freely negotiate their affiliation against payment of a contribution; Mandatory, the device is identical but the groups choose to force their members to affiliation.

There are about thirty private insurance companies with 300,000 people; They offer their services to people who do not have social security coverage and cannot financially afford the cost of membership. Their membership increased during the 1990s.

These various mechanisms do not cover the entire Turkish population. In particular, farmers and the urban poor, whose income level precludes any recourse to private supplementary insurance, are excluded. The reform of the SSK (which covers half of the Turkish population), imposing a minimum contribution period of 120 days before any coverage, has reinforced this state of affairs. To compensate for the shortcomings of social coverage, several measures have been put in place: the green card; the social assistance fund; municipal systems; foundations.

Hospital system

Two main categories can be distinguished: private hospitals and public hospitals, and — within the latter — state hospitals and those of the SSK. State hospitals are in turn divided between hospitals of the Ministry of Health, hospitals dependent on this or that ministry (Defense, Police, Interior…), and university hospitals.

In total, Turkey has 1,256 public hospitals with 176,121 beds, in addition to the network of clinics. The latter number about 5,700, cover a population of 7,500 people and control several sub-units (three to four on average).

Public health institutions are divided into:

  • Ministry of Health facilities (commonly referred to as “state hospitals”);
  • the particular hospitals of the ministries (Defense, Police…), which have several. They are also State hospitals whose access is reserved in principle for officials of the ministries in question;
  • university hospitals: state hospitals which, like their French counterparts, have a teaching and research vocation;
  • SSK hospitals, Turkish social security. They are public hospitals, but they do not depend on the state.

The initial tightening between public hospitals – particularly between state and SSK hospitals – is gradually giving way to a form of integration, which is still very fragmented and incomplete.

Istanbul Metropolis alone has 39 Ministry of Health hospitals, 3 university hospitals, 16 SSK hospitals; it has 234 dispensaries, 220 of which are linked to the Ministry of Health.

There are about 150 private hospitals with 11,500 beds. This health sector is in full development, in particular at the instigation of major international financial organizations that demand from the Turkish authorities a liberalization of the supply of care. Examples of private institutions include the Acibadem hospital chain, Universal Vatan (52 institutions). In Istanbul, “national” hospitals are very present: French, American, German, Italian, Bulgarian, Armenian, Greek…

Private hospitals are often particularly well staffed and very well equipped: the first PET scan installed worldwide by Siemens was installed in a hospital in Acibadem. They have all the diagnostic and treatment tools: laboratories, blood transfusion centers, emergency services.


The homosexual minority remained largely invisible until the 1970s. During this decade, Turkey experienced a period of relative social liberation. In 1980, the military coup changed the situation: the small LGBT movement was subjected to virulent repression with the rest of the alternative left and was decimated.

Homosexuality is legal in Turkey but homosexuals can be exposed to discrimination in access to employment and the army refuses them in its ranks. Among the main political parties, the AKP is openly hostile to homosexuality. The social-democratic CHP has gradually opened up relatively but only the HDP defends LGBT demands.


The sovereign security missions are carried out in Turkey by the Turkish Gendarmerie and the General Directorate of Security. They have been under the direction of the Ministry of Interior since the 2016 coup attempt. The Turkish security forces have more than 400,000 men responsible for maintaining law and order on the national territory.

Today, the Turkish gendarmerie and police are massively engaged with the army in violent clashes with the PKK in Kurdistan. In parallel, they have been tasked by the government with carrying out a major political cleansing in Turkey since the failure of the coup d’état of July 2016.

In 2017, more than 50,000 people were arrested by the security services and another 200,000 dismissed from their.

Gun violence increased by 60% between 2015 and 2018.


Turkey has a very diverse culture that is a mixture of elements of Oghu, Anatolian (Armenian, Greek, Kurdish, Aramaic, Laze…), Ottoman (which themselves are a continuation of Greco-Roman and Islamic cultures) and Western cultures, which began with the westernization of the Ottoman Empire and continues to this day. This mixture began with the encounter of the Turks and their culture with those of the peoples who were on the way to their migration from Central Asia to the West.

With the gradual transformation of an Ottoman Empire based on religion into a modern nation-state, with a strong separation of state and religion, methods of artistic expression developed. During the early years of the Republic, the government invested a lot of resources in fine arts, museums, theaters, operas and architecture. Different historical factors play an important role in defining contemporary Turkish identity and Turkish culture is the product of efforts to be “modern” and Western with the proven need to maintain traditional, religious and historical values.


There are several typical Turkish instruments, such as the saz, the ney which are still practiced in modern Turkish life. Rap and rock are especially appreciated by young people.

The different cultural influences that Turkey undergoes are at the heart of his music, mixing traditional and Western sounds.

Turkey’s pop music grew after the opening of new TV channels in the early 1990s. To name a few Turkish artists, there is Sezen Aksu, Tarkan (with an album that made him famous in Europe), Sertab Erener who won the Eurovision Grand Prix in 2003.


At the end of the eleventh century, the Turks began to settle in Anatolia, and, in addition to oral traditions, there developed a written literary tradition close to the Arabic style and Persian literature. For the next 900 years, until shortly before the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1922, oral and written traditions remained largely independent of each other.

With the Tanzimat reforms in the nineteenth century, European styles and literary works (novels and plays) began to appear in Turkish literature.

With the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923, and reforms aimed at modernizing the Turkish language, a new national Turkish literature was formed, increasingly influenced by Western styles.

Orhan Pamuk (winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006) and Elif Şafak are among the major Turkish novelists today.


Although the beginning of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s mandate (2003) was marked by some relaxation concerning press freedom, such as the replacement of prison sentences in the press law by fines, the amended laws nevertheless contain provisions allowing journalists to be sent to prison. Other laws and articles of code repressive against the press remain unchanged.

The following years in which the Justice and Development Party (AKP) was in power were characterized by a hardening of the media and a restriction of press freedom. This trend is reflected in Turkey’s sharp decline in the World Press Freedom Index. Between 72 and 97 Turkish journalists were in prison in 2012, compared to 13 at the end of 2002, the year the AKP came to power.

The Ergenekon affair (2007-2009) saw the sentencing in 2013 of some 20 journalists to heavy prison terms and made it possible to deal a blow to an increasingly critical journalistic secular opposition against the regime. The government systematically prosecutes opposition newspapers, so that these newspapers are subject to seizure or are heavily penalized by fines. The left-wing opposition is mainly bearing the brunt of these trials, as in 2011 the Workers’ Party newspaper Aydınlık. In 2012, Turkey was considered by Reporters Without Borders “the world’s leading prison for journalists”.

In 2015, the authoritarian drift is reinforced: 15 television channels are seized or banned from broadcasting by the government, hundreds of journalists are under prosecution for having “insulted the president”. In November 2015, journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül were accused of “espionage” for having published in May an article on the delivery of weapons by the Turkish secret service (MIT) to rebel groups in Syria.

On October 31, 2016, in the context of repression following the July 2016 coup attempt, the editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu and his representative in Ankara Güray Öz as well as 16 journalists and cartoonists from the newspaper Cumhuriyet, were arrested and taken into custody. Coming after the closure of fifteen daily newspapers, magazines and news agencies, mostly based in the Kurdish-majority southeast, these arrests are interpreted as a desire by the Turkish authorities to silence the “last major opposition daily in the country”.

According to the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC), since the July 15 coup attempt, 170 media outlets have been shut down, 105 journalists detained and 777 press cards canceled. In the 2016 World Press Freedom Index, Turkey is 151st just ahead of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Currently, nearly 90% of Turkish media are close to the government and the AKP. The others, however, face a high degree of censorship.

National dailies

Cumhuriyet, Hürriyet, Milliyet, Posta, Radikal, Zaman.


Television appeared in the country in 1968. TRT (Türkiye Radyo Televizyon Kurumu) or Turkish Radio and Television theoretically retained a state monopoly on the airwaves until 1993 (in fact, the private channel Star TV took its first steps in 1990).

Since then, many private channels have appeared, and are broadcast both on the terrestrial network, on the cable networks of major cities and by satellite. The main public channels are TRT 1 (generalist), TRT Haber (continuous news), TRT Spor (sport), TRT Çocuk (cartoons) and TRT Müzik (variety). TRT Kurdî broadcasts to the Kurdish-speaking populations and TRT Avaz to the Turkic peoples of Central Asia. Finally, TRT Türk (formerly TRT Int) serves as a showcase for the country worldwide. Broadcast exclusively in Turkish, it broadcasts television news and magazines dealing with life in Turkey and Turkish culture.

Among the private channels, the main ones are ATV, Kanal D, Show TV, Samanyolu TV, Hayat TV (general), Powertürk TV, MTV Türkiye (music), CNN Türk, CNBC-e, NTV (continuous news) and Lig TV (sports). Available on the national territory, they are also available in international versions for the Turkish diaspora in Europe, under a slightly different name (Kanal D becoming Euro D and Star TV, EuroStar TV, for example).


Football is quite possibly the most popular sport; life practically stops at the meetings between Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor. Turkey participates in the European Football Championship. It is also a member of UEFA (Union of European Football Associations). Between these 4 teams, the Istanbul team Galatasaray is the only one to have won the European Cup on 17 May 2000 and the 2000 UEFA Super Cup. The national team came 3rd in the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

Turkey also has good basketball players like Mehmet Okur, NBA champion in 2003-04 with Detroit Pistons, the first Turk selected for the NBA All-Star in 2007, or Hidayet Türkoglu, best sixth man in his second season (2007-2008), achieving two triple-doubles and best progression NBA Most Improved Player in 2008. At the European level, two big Turkish clubs are among the top Europeans: Efes Pilsen and Fenerbahçe Ülker. Both clubs are constantly in the Euroleague. The women’s national team won the silver medal at the 2011 European Championship.

Volleyball and beach volleyball are very popular with both women and men. The Turkish women’s volleyball team has made great strides in recent years and has become one of the strongest teams in Europe, thanks to Eylem Dağli, who was very popular in Istanbul.

In 2007, Kenan Sofuoğlu became the first Turkish world champion in motorsport: he won the World Supersport Championship, a motorcycle competition reserved for 600 cm3. The city of Istanbul also organizes a Formula 1 race every year since 2005.

Greco-Roman wrestling is the national sport in Turkey. The most important fighting took place during the Kirpinar Yagli Guresi which took place in the province of Edirne.

The country has many medals and records in weightlifting, thanks to Naim Süleymanoğlu and Halil Mutlu.

Semih Saygıner brought many medals in billiards to Turkey. After its performances, Turkey has a federation.

National symbols of Turkey


Date French name Turkish name
January 1 New Year’s Day Yılbaşı
April 23 Children’s Day Milli Egemenlik ve Çocuk Bayramı
May 19 Youth and Sports Festival Gençlik ve Spor Bayramı
August 30 Victory Day Zafer Bayramı
October 29 National day Cumhuriyet Bayramı
November 10 Minute of silence at 9:05 a.m. for the anniversary of the death of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
After Ramadan (for three days) Eid al-Fitr, Ramadan Ramazan Bayramı
Ten weeks after the end of Ramadan Eid al-Kebir, Feast of Sacrifice Kurban Bayramı
July 15 (since 2016) Democracy Day Demokrasi Bayramı


Turkey’s electoral reputation was quite good until 2018. Indeed, the 2018 presidential election has been the subject of debate. The conditions in which this campaign, won by outgoing Head of State Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party, took place were not fair, according to observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

The elections themselves do not give rise to massive fraud. This does not exclude the persistence of clientelist practices or intimidation, or even some electoral manipulation in the eastern provinces. Elections are held regularly and observation missions from several international institutions are often present. However, the ruling party has almost all the media speaking time and uses public resources to support its campaigns. After the resumption of the war between the state and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP, often referred to as pro-Kurdish) was targeted by terrorist attacks. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) considered the campaign for the 2015 parliamentary elections “marred by inequity and, to a worrying extent, fear”.

For some observers, the relevance of the left/right divide in Turkey is questionable, as Turkey’s legal political landscape has always been dominated by right-wing parties. A Communist Party was founded in 1920 but its leaders were almost immediately liquidated and its militants persecuted. The prohibition of communism was enshrined in the penal code. In 1960, a military coup led to the adoption of a more liberal constitution. The first legal socialist parties and unions were founded. In 1980, another coup d’état led to a new eradication of the legal left, executions and arrests numbered in the tens of thousands. Parties of the liberal right then monopolized power, sometimes allying themselves with the nationalist or Islamist right, until the eruption of the AKP.

The notion of a “deep state” is common in Turkish political vocabulary. It designates a political structure that would decide in the shadows: a state behind the state, or even the heart of the state itself. One of the best-known manifestations of this deep state is the Susurluk scandal, which exposes the close links maintained at the time between political leaders, police and mafia, against the backdrop of the war against the PKK and control of drug trafficking. In 2007, the trial of the Ergenekon network was held, which brought together ultranationalist activists, army and gendarmerie officers, mafiosi and magistrates. The network is accused of murdering journalists and organizing anti-Kurdish death squads.

Domestic policy

Turkey is a presidential-type republic.

The current constitution dates from 1982. It has been amended several times, in particular following the referendum of 12 September 2010 and the referendum of 17 April 2017.

The President of the Republic is Head of State and Head of Government. Elected by Parliament until 2007, he is now elected by universal suffrage and for a five-year term. The President of the Republic chooses the Vice-President(s) and appoints senior officials of the judiciary; He is also head of the armed forces. The post of Prime Minister was abolished on 8 July 2018.

Legislative power is exercised by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, now composed of 600 seats renewed every five years.

Political system

According to its constitution, Turkey has a presidential system. Turkey is governed by the 1982 constitution, promulgated by the military junta. It has been amended many times and, in particular, by the 2017 referendum in which the previous parliamentary system gave way to a presidential system.

The AKP came to power in 2002 with a reformist image and a strategy of rapprochement with the European Union. The government plans to rename the “Copenhagen criteria” (“Ankara criteria”) to continue the democratization of the country in the event of a European deadlock. Domestic politics hardened on societal issues and the management of the Gezi protest movement and corruption cases affecting those close to the president was authoritarian. According to The Economist Group, Turkey’s Democracy Index ranks the country 97th out of 167 with the qualification of a so-called “hybrid” political regime. In terms of press freedom, Reporters Without Borders ranks Turkey 151st out of 180 (2016).

From Turkish Gladio to the summer 2016 putsch

The Özel Harp Dairesi is a secret organization created during the Cold War as part of SHAPE (NATO Command) and in close collaboration with the CIA. Until the 1990s, governments had no knowledge of this structure, which received direct orders from SHAPE or the CIA. Equivalent to the Italian Gladio, the Özel Harp Dairesi, also called “stay-behind” or “counter-guerrilla”, aimed to organize a form of resistance in case of invasion of Warsaw Pact troops. The extreme right and religious movements are used to create a climate of terror in order to increase authoritarianism and block the electoral advance of progressive movements.

Mehmet Ağar, a key figure in internal security in the 1990s, declared in 2016 that with hindsight “left-wing organizations contrary to what we thought were safe”. This period was marked by unsolved murders of left-wing intellectuals or sympathizers. The Turkish Gladio is also at the origin of the coups that follow one another in Turkey. With the 1982 putsch, led by General Kenan Evren, and the arrival of Turgut Özal in power, the Turkish state permanently damaged the principle of constitutional secularism by promoting the development and intrusion of religious currents into the spheres of power.

Thus, Fethullah Gülen talks in turn with Turgut Özal, Süleyman Demirel, Tansu Çiller, Mesut Yılmaz and Bülent Ecevit and Hizmet will expand its activities and network. The interweaving of the Gülenists and the AKP is such that when they break the president declares: “What did you ask that we did not achieve”. Despite warnings from military intelligence and the opposition, the network infiltrates all spheres of the state in collaboration with the AKP. Justice does not escape the web of hizmet and it is from there that a campaign is launched against left-wing officials or Kemalists at the cost of many irregularities, injustices and judicial falsifications. Indicted in the Ergenekon case by Gulenist jurists, General İlker Başbuğ declared “today we suffer, tomorrow it will be you”.

This hunt also targets religious minorities and many cases report the dismissal of Alevi citizens from the administration. In 2003, as part of the negotiations for accession to the European Union, the AKP undertook a series of reforms to submit the army to civilian power. In December 2013, relatives of the president were implicated in a corruption case. Erdoğan then accused the Gülen movement and his followers of having fomented a “judicial coup” against him and his relatives.

In July 2016, a faction of officers attempted a military putsch. The loyalty of many Kemalist officers to state institutions prevented Erdogan’s overthrow. The failure of the putsch can also be explained by the rallying of the Kemalist, Kurdish and nationalist opposition to the government in place. In addition, the media and social networks, undermined by the AKP since the Gezi events, allow the president to launch an appeal to the population via CNN Türk and FaceTime. The executive accuses the renowned Gülenists FETÖ/PDY of being behind the putsch and since 20th July 2016 Turkey has been living under a state of emergency. From then on, the Gülenist movement was repressed and an unprecedented purge affected the administration, which emptied itself of tens of thousands of civil servants.

The aftermath of the putsch

After the first purges, the government briefly showed some signs of openness, national unity and the president apologized in public for having developed close ties with religious brotherhoods and called for combating the exploitation of religion. A new constitution co-drafted with the opposition was announced, judicial officials dismissed from their posts by Gülenist jurists were reinstated and the president withdrew complaints filed for “insults” against him.

Those accused of taking part in the coup were arrested and prosecuted and the authorities announced the victory of democracy. However, restrictions on freedoms, declared non-compliant with the status of a state of emergency by the UN and OSCE, increase authoritarianism and plunge Turkey into a political regime where the rule of law has disappeared. According to Nils Muižnieks, European Commissioner for Human Rights, “the almost unlimited discretionary powers of the authorities give rise to arbitrary power”.

He adds that “contrary to what the Turkish government claims, the state of emergency in Turkey is not comparable to that of France where the government does not act by decree”. Any form of criticism of the government, defense of the rights of Kurdish minorities and the simple fact of supporting the revival of the peace process is punishable by indictment for glorifying terrorism. The president promised the return of the death penalty and cases of torture were reported. This “witch hunt” affected the Gülenist movement accused of being at the origin of the putsch but also the secular left traditionally opposed to links with religious brotherhoods and the opposition press (Cumhuriyet, Özgür Gündem and Evrensel) is deprived of its imprisoned or temporarily closed journalists. The Peoples’ Democratic Party, the country’s third largest political force, saw its leader Selahattin Demirtaş and high-ranking officials imprisoned.

The European Union, the OSCE, the UN and NATO condemn the coup d’état while criticizing the restrictions on fundamental freedoms that call into question Turkey’s place in some of these institutions. For John Kerry, Turkey will have to avoid “any slippage” so as not to call into question its role within NATO. For Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO, “it is essential for Turkey, as for all other allies, to fully respect democracy and its institutions, the constitutional order, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms”.

The European Parliament calls for Turkey’s accession negotiations to be frozen and the Austrian Chancellor, Christian Kern, declares that the EU must put an end to accession negotiations (Turkey started EU accession negotiations in 2005). As for Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, economic sanctions are possible (Turkey has been a member of the Customs Union since 1996).

International relations

Turkey is a founding member of the UN (1945), OECD (1960), the Organization of Islamic Cooperation OIC (1969), OSCE (1973), G-20 (1999) and (non-founder) member of the Council of Europe (since 9 August 1949) and NATO (since February 18, 1952). It houses US bases in İncirlik, Izmir and Ankara. Turkey has been an important historical ally of the United States since the Cold War because of its position in relation to the USSR. This understanding nevertheless weakened during the last war in Iraq, where the two countries opposed each other on the Kurdish question, Turkey fearing that too strong a Kurdish power in Iraq would favor the pro-independence claims of the Kurds of Turkey. Turkey holds a position close to Iran on this issue.

Since the Turkic language is part of the Altaic languages spoken by the Turkic peoples of Asia Minor and Central Asia, Turkey also participates in several international economic and cultural cooperation organizations:

  • TIKA (Turkish-speaking Cooperation Agency – Turk Isbirligi ve Kalkinma Ajansi);
  • TÜRKSOY: (International Organization for Turkish Culture – Uluslararası Türk Kültürü Teşkilatı);
  • TURKPA, Cooperation Council for Turkic-speaking States, recognized as an observer of the United Nations since 2011.

Turkey was the first Muslim-majority country to recognize the State of Israel in 1949 and the only one to maintain good relations with it. It supplies Israel with fresh water: the two states have signed an agreement for 50 million cubic meters per year for twenty years, worth about one billion euros. Very close military cooperation has been developing between Israel and Turkey since 1996, with several agreements on defense and high-tech exchange. The two states are also undertaking joint military exercises, supported by the United States. But since June 2010 relations between Turkey and Israel have deteriorated sharply following the IDF assault on a Turkish humanitarian convoy bound for Gaza.

Turkey does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus, whose northern part of its territory it has occupied, but is the only State to recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus created after the intervention in 1974 by the Turkish army. Tensions arise sporadically with Greece over the Aegean Sea.

After the first victories of the Armenian army over the Azeri army during the Nagorno-Karabakh war, Turkish President Süleyman Demirel decreed an embargo against Armenia in 1993. Turkey stands in solidarity with the Azeris, a Turkic people, and has always maintained stormy relations with Armenians (especially the Armenian diaspora) on the issue of genocide. The embargo is still in force today, the two countries have no formal diplomatic relations and the border remains closed.

Turkey is hosting the recent Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline jointly with Azerbaijan and Georgia. These three countries are the main pro-Western nations in the Caucasus, opposed to the Russia-Armenia axis. The interest of this pipeline for the West is to access the oil of the Caspian Sea bypassing Russia and Iran. However, on 6 September 2008, on the occasion of a meeting between the two national football teams counting towards the qualifiers of the 2010 World Cup, the Turkish president travels to Yerevan to attend the match alongside his Armenian counterpart.

Turkey is a candidate for membership of the European Union; Negotiations began in October 2005. Since Turkey has occupied the northern part of the Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union, since 1974, negotiations have dragged on.

The most frequently mentioned conditions constituting the Copenhagen criteria are adapted to Turkey’s situation:

  • the independence of the civilian power from the army (which is problematic because the army is the guarantor of secularism);
  • the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus, the normalization of relations with that country, the departure of Anatolian settlers and the return of Turkish and Greek Cypriots;
  • the application of standards for the protection of minorities, in particular, the Kurdish minority;
  • the promotion of women’s rights;
  • respect for the environment.

Since 2016, Turkey has experienced a deterioration in its international relations following a change in diplomatic policy led by President Erdoğan. This deterioration is expressed in the Mediterranean in 2020 through strong tensions with the European riparian countries (Greece, France, Cyprus…). This deterioration has spread to riparian Arab countries including Egypt.

On the other hand, Turkey is trying to get closer to China, the world’s leading power in the making, which is investing in the Turkish economy at the price of silence on the situation of the Uyghurs.

Defense and geopolitics

For decades, the Turkish army has weighed heavily as an actor in political life. The separation between the democratic state and the generals was blurred, to the point that the notion of democracy could fade in the face of the temptation of nationalism. At this level, NATO membership and lengthy negotiations with the European Union have allowed for a clearer separation, but the internal war against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the common border with Iraq have not allowed for significant change.

Kurdish conflict

In 29 years, the human toll of the conflict between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party is as follows:

  • deaths of more than 45,000 people;
  • unsolved murders: between 2,000 and 17,000;
  • displacement of 386,000 inhabitants in 14 departments;
  • heavy trauma in Turkish society.

Since the resumption of Kurdish attacks around Diyarbakir and the multiplication of military interventions in the buffer zone of northern Iraq, Turkish generals have been trying to multiply pressure to obtain extraordinary prerogatives in the context of “counter-terrorism”. These prerogatives would be undemocratic:

  • increase in military responses decided by the General Staff;
  • right to search without the prosecutor’s permission;
  • freedom of intervention in police-controlled areas;
  • lengthening of detention periods for suspects.

The participation of the Kurds in Turkey’s political life has often been thwarted. In particular, the Kurds began to become involved in institutional politics in the early 1960s, with the creation of the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TIP) by left-wing trade unionists who challenged pro-American trade unionism in Turkey. The party developed thanks to the support of Kurdish militants and won fifteen seats in the Assembly, including several Kurds. The TIP was banned after the 1971 coup for declaring that “the Kurdish people have the right to exercise their political rights in Turkey”.

Subsequently, militant Kurds sought an autonomous political solution. After the 1980 coup, it was the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that launched an armed struggle and gained significant support for Turkish Kurdistan. In the 1991 parliamentary elections, the People’s Labour Party (HEP) elected twenty-two Kurdish deputies. When its leader Leyla Zana was sworn in in Kurdish, she and her companions were stripped of their mandate and sentenced to fifteen years in prison for treason and links with terrorism.

Parties from the so-called “pro-Kurdish” current were regularly formed before being generally banned: the People’s Labour Party (HEP, created in 1990 and banned in 1993); the Freedom and Democracy Party (Ozdep, created in 1993 and banned in 1993); the Democracy Party (DEP, created in 1993 and banned in 1994); the People’s Democratic Party (Hadep, created in 1994 and banned in 2003); the People’s Democratic Party (Dehap, created in 1997 and banned in 2005); the Party for a Democratic Society (DTP, created in 2005 and banned in 2009); the Party for Peace and Democracy (BDP, created in 2008); and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP, created in 2012).

Economy of Turkey

The Turkish lira lost 30% of its value in 2018 and the unemployment rate reached 14.7% in 2019. Inflation is over 30% for food products in 2019. Turkey is also facing the emigration of part of its educated youth as a result of the economic crisis and political repression. The number of departures is up sharply with 113,326 departures in 2017, 63% more than the previous year.

The role of the informal economy is important and is growing. In 2015, an OECD study indicated that the share of activities producing goods and services outside the control of the State exceeded 28% of GDP. Work without contracts, tax evasion, corruption and illegal trafficking in goods are on the rise. The war in Syria has led to the immigration to Turkey of millions of Syrian refugees, who form a workforce vulnerable to exploitation; Many of these workers are not reported by their employers and are paid very little.

Turkey occupies a strategic geographical position; It is at the crossroads of the major energy routes, and uses this position to try to impose itself in a broker role. It can thus defend its energy security and the interests of its companies at a regional level, and increase its revenues by levying taxes on oil and gas pipelines passing through its territory. In 2019, Turkey completely stopped buying Iranian oil to comply with sanctions imposed by the United States.

According to Nasdaq data, on September 10, 2020, Turkey’s unemployment rate rose to 13.4% and participation increased slightly during the May-July period during which a coronavirus lockdown was lifted and a layoff ban remained in place. The Turkish Statistical Institute showed that workers said they were too discouraged to look for work, reaching a record 1.38 million, despite the reopening of the economy in early June.

Some indicators

  • The national currency is the Turkish Lira.
  • A market of more than 75 million consumers.
  • 7th largest economy in Europe (relative to current US GDP).
  • 11th largest gold reserve in the world.
  • Public finances under control in 2014: central government debt represents 33% of GDP. The public debt-to-GDP ratio increased from around 70% in 2004 to 33% in 2014. During the same period, external debt rose from $147 billion in 2004 to $401 billion in 2014, or 40% of GDP.
  • Foreign trade balance sheet in 2013: deficit close to $ 100 billion. Foreign trade is described as structurally in deficit.
  • Borsa İstanbul or BIST, the Istanbul Stock Exchange, is the 8th largest stock exchange in Europe just behind the Milan Stock Exchange.
  • Member of the Group of Twenty.
  • Member of the European Customs Union.
  • Member of the OECD.
  • GDP 2016:
    • US$864 billion in current funding, down 9% from the peak recorded in 2013. This figure makes Turkey the 17th largest economy in the world;
    • $1,941 billion Current international PPP, the 13th largest economy in the world.
  • GDP per capita 2016:
    • US$11,230 current, down 11% from 2013.
  • Research and development spending as % of GDP: 1.0 in 2015.
  • Unemployment rate in 2016: 13.3 (Eurostat statistics). In one year it increased by 1.9 points.
  • 1 January 2005: Introduction of the new Turkish lira (YTL, approximately €0.50) replacing 1 million Turkish liras (TL).
  • Inflation, consumer prices in 2017: 11.9% annual.
  • In 2011 Turkish exports amounted to 134.9 billion dollars.
  • In 2017 the rating agencies downgraded Turkish debt to the speculative category.
  • Projection to 2050. According to a Goldman Sachs projection made in 2012 on the basis of annual growth of 3%, Turkey could become the 2nd largest economy in Europe in 2050.
  • Geographical position:
    • Economic openness: free trade agreements with:
      • European Union
      • EFTA (European Free Trade Association): Iceland Liechtenstein Norway Switzerland;
      • other countries: Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Palestine, Tunisia, Morocco, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Albania, Georgia, Montenegro, Serbia, Chile, South Korea;
    • Energy corridor: Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Nabucco (gas pipeline), South Stream, Blue Stream, Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline, Turkey-Greece-Italy interconnector.
  • In 2022, the country is ranked 37th on the Global Innovation Index.


In 2010, Turkey is the 1st economic power in the Middle East ahead of Iran and Saudi Arabia, the 7th economic power in Europe and the 15th economic power in the world. As a member of the Group of Twenty and the Customs Union, Turkey formally began accession negotiations with the European Union in October 2005.

According to Forbes magazine, Istanbul had a total of 37 billionaires in 2013, ranking 5th in the world, behind Moscow (84 billionaires), New York (62 billionaires), Hong Kong (43 billionaires) and London (43 billionaires).

In 2000, the country experienced the most serious financial crisis in its modern history.

In 2001, Kemal Derviş, Minister of Economy, implemented important economic reforms:

  • autonomy of the central bank;
  • recapitalization of the two largest public banks and some private banks;
  • seizure or closure of insolvent banks;
  • restructuring of major institutions.

These reforms are at the root of Turkey’s current soundness.

Political stability (AKP parliamentary majority since 2002), the start of accession negotiations with the EU, the introduction of a new currency and the control of public spending also improve the confidence of economic agents in the country’s political and monetary authorities and contribute to stabilizing the general price level and strengthening the financial sector.

In 2010, Turkey posted a growth rate of +9.1%, higher than that of Brazil (+7.5%) or Germany (3.7%). Turkey’s production structure is characterized by an over-representation of industry and agriculture and an under-representation of services. Turkey is an industrial country where agriculture occupies an important place in the production of national wealth. The value added of industry represents 26.6% of GDP against 63.7% for services and 9.6% for agriculture.

The vitality of the Turkish economy is explained by:

  • the presence of a large internal market (75 million consumers): private consumption is sustained and its purchasing power is increasing. Turkey has a GDP per capita growth rate of 7.8% compared to 1.4% in the United Kingdom;
  • significant investments: these represent a significant share of GDP in 2010 (20% against 17.3% in Germany).

The Turkish economy is a relatively open economy. Foreign trade accounts for 48% of GDP, compared to 22% in Brazil and 88% in Germany. The European Union is the country’s largest trading partner. In 2010, the country’s foreign trade was largely in deficit. Since the early 1990s, Turkey has strengthened its economic openness by signing a series of free trade agreements. In doing so, it opens up new opportunities for its exporting companies and promotes their supply of raw materials. At the same time, the Turkish Government is pursuing a policy of abolishing visas with third countries to facilitate the prospection of Turkish entrepreneurs. For the centenary of the Turkish Republic (2023), the government’s goal is to reach $500 billion in exports. To achieve this goal, Turkey must:

  • increase its research and development efforts (0.73% of GDP in Turkey against 2.68% in Germany);
  • export products with high added value to regain a balance of trade (exports of high-tech products represent 1.93% of exports of manufactured goods in Turkey against 11.2% for Brazil and 15.2% for Germany).

Sustained private consumption, high investment and trade deficit are pushing the country to resort to foreign capital flows (FDI and portfolio investment). The savings rate (14.5% of GDP) although higher than that of the United Kingdom (12.9%) or the United States (11.6%) is not enough to provide the sums necessary for the economic development of the country. The strength of the Turkish economy in 2010 was accompanied by inflationary pressures (+8.7%).

In 2010, public finances are under control and Turkey will have repaid all its debt to the International Monetary Fund in April 2013:

  • the government’s debt amounts to 50.7% of GDP against 117% for Italy and 56% for Germany;
  • the budget deficit represents -2.25% of GDP against -3.14% in Germany.

and the country has relatively good reserves in months of imports.

Country risk is approaching European countries. However, Turkish savings are insufficient and the country, dependent on foreign capital, sees its external private debt rise sharply, increasing the exchange rate risk. Between 2000 and 2010, Turkey’s external debt multiplied by 3 and reached 294 billion $US. The political risk is further highlighted by rating agencies.

In order to avoid social unrest, Turkey must establish a strong democracy, which is the only way to ensure that all its people adhere to national development goals. By thinking of democracy as a lever for growth, by granting real freedom of thought and expression to its intellectual researchers, by granting rights to its ethnic minorities (Kurdish, Zaza, Laze, Tatar, Azeri, Roma, Abkhaz …), by granting rights to its religious minorities (Alevi Bektachi, caferî, Christian and Musevi), Turkey will move away from the religious and ethnic tensions that its geography imposes on it, It will ensure its political stability and increase its economic attractiveness.

In doing so, several billion dollars spent each year on its security policy will be allocated to the country’s human and economic development. The drafting of the new Turkish constitution is an opportunity to firmly anchor Turkey in the circle of democratic, peaceful and stable countries. It is up to Turkish politicians to take up the challenge and to involve all the components of Turkish society without sectarianism.

In 2010, Turkey was the 15th largest economy in the world in terms of GDP but in terms of the Human Development Index the ranking is less favorable and shows that Turkey needs to step up its investments in education, research and health and pursue less unequal policies. In 2021, Turkey’s HDI stands at 0.838. Globally, Turkey is ranked 48th.

The outbreak of corruption scandals in 2013, the authoritarian turn of political power and the end of the peace process with the Kurds in 2015 increase the shortcomings in terms of transparency, judicial independence and stability. These shortcomings appear to be obstacles to the country’s good economic development and the attraction of foreign capital. Corporate leaders who politically oppose governments are systematically punished. Thus, the umbrella companies Koç and İpek Koza are punished the first for its support of the Gezi protesters and the second for the political opposition of its media branch. The means used by the government range from announcing record tax fines to placing companies under guardianship without a court order.

  • in terms of judicial independence, Turkey was ranked 88th out of 142 in 2012;
  • in terms of press independence, Turkey is ranked 148th out of 179 in 2012;
  • in terms of corruption, Turkey is ranked 64th out of 175 in 2014.

In 2021 the EU is planning to place Turkey on its list of tax havens, accusing it of not respecting its commitments in terms of tax evasion.

Tourism in Turkey

Turkey is the sixth largest tourist destination in the world. More than 51 million foreign tourists visited Turkey in 2019. Tourism brought the country more than $34 billion in the same year.

Turkey is a very visited country thanks to attractive natural sites and a singular history in the world, as evidenced by the city of Istanbul. Antalya is in fourth place and Istanbul in tenth place of the most visited cities in the world in 2013. The major tourist regions of Turkey are mainly Istanbul, the coasts of the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea and Cappadocia.

Medical tourism is a new constant in the Turkish tourism sector, many Europeans come to spend holidays while taking care of themselves. The country has a good number of hot springs that draw tourism from the coasts to the center of the country. Trekking and sports tourism are also experiencing great expansion, thanks to private investment.

Trade unions and professional organizations

Employees unions

In the private sector:

  • TÜRK-İŞ (Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions);
  • DİSK (Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions of Turkey);
  • Hak-İş (Confederation of True Turkish Trade Unions).

In the audience:

  • BASK (tr);
  • Birleşik Kamu-İş (tr);
  • Haksen;
  • KESK Kamu Emekçileri Sendikaları Konfederasyonu (Confederation of Civil Servants’ Unions);
  • Memur-Sen;
  • Confederation of Trade Unions of Public Service Workers of Turkey;
  • Hürriyetçi Kamu-Sen;
  • Anadolu Kamu-Sen.

Contractors unions

  • Employers’ organizations:
    • TÜSİAD (tr) (Association of Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen), which weighs heavily on economic and political decisions (EU membership, constitutional reforms…);
    • TUSKON (Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey);
    • MÜSIAD (Independent Organization of Industrialists and Businessmen), the counterpart of TÜSIAD for small and medium-sized enterprises, which has developed a very active network internationally.
  • Industry Associations:
    • ÇEİS (Çimento Endüstrisi İşverenleri Sendikası);
    • İNTES (Türkiye İnşaat Sanayicileri İşveren Sendikası);
    • KAMU-İŞ (Kamu İşletmeleri İşverenleri Sendikası);
    • MESS (Türkiye Metal Sanayicileri Sendikası);
    • PÜİS (Petrol Ürünleri İşverenler Sendikası);
    • TİSK (Türkiye İşveren Sendikaları Konfederasyonu);
    • TÜTSIS (Türkiye Tekstil Sanayii İşverenleri Sendikası).

Social climate

  • May-June 2012: Air transport strike. The Turkish parliament adopts a law banning strikes in air transport.
  • May 2012: National public sector strike. The unions are protesting against the low increase in wages.

Child labor

According to a 2012 Turkish government report on child labor, around 900,000 children worked in different industries, including agriculture. One reason for this is that agricultural businesses with fewer than 50 employees are not subject to the Labour Code.

Poor working conditions are regularly pointed out by workers’ rights associations. The director of innovation and research for the Fair Labor Association, Richa Mittal, says that “in six years of monitoring, we have never found a single hazelnut farm in Turkey in which all the basic standards of decent work were met.” In 2018, 67 children and adolescents died in the workplace according to official data”.


Turkey has the following codes:

  • .tr, according to the list of Internet Top Level Domains;
  • TR, according to the list of international number plate codes;
  • TR, according to ISO 3166-1, alpha-2 code (list of country codes);
  • UT, according to the list of country codes used by NATO, alpha-2 code;
  • TUR, according to ISO 3166-1 (list of country codes), alpha-3 code;
  • TUR, according to the IOC country code list;
  • TUR, according to the list of country codes used by NATO, alpha-3 code;
  • TC, according to the ICAO Aircraft Registration Prefix List.

References (sources)