Country Listing

Turkey Table of Contents



Population: (1994) Turkish government figure 61.2 million, growing at 2.1 percent a year.

Languages and Ethnic Groups: Turkish, official language, spoken by most citizens; mother tongue of about 82 percent. Kurdish spoken by roughly 17 percent of population. Arabic and Caucasian languages spoken by small minority groups. Turks constitute at least 80 percent of population; Kurds form at least 10 percent. Other minorities include Arabs, people from Caucasus countries, Dönme, Greeks, and Jews.

Religion: About 99 percent nominally Muslim, of whom about 66 percent Sunni Muslims, and about 33 percent Alevi (Shia) Muslims. Constitution proclaims Turkey secular nation.

Education: Steadily increasing enrollments in tuition-free schools, universities, and numerous technical institutes. Attendance compulsory at five-year primary schools and three-year middle schools. Middle and high schools offer academic, technical, and vocational education. Twenty-seven public universities form core of higher education system. In 1990 literacy above 81 percent for people over fifteen years of age.

Health: Inadequate sewer systems in some urban areas and poor water supplies in many villages pose continuing health threats, but major infectious diseases under control. Life expectancy (1992): males, sixty-eight years; females, seventy-two years; infant mortality fifty-five per 1,000 births.


Gross Domestic Product (GDP): US$312.4 billion in 1993 (US$5,000 per capita). Economy gradually being liberalized and industrialized; real growth averaged 7.3 percent in 1993.

Agriculture: Less than 15 percent of GDP in 1993 but remains crucial sector of the economy, providing more than 50 percent of employment, most raw materials for industry, and 15 percent of exports. Wheat and barley main crops; cotton, sugar beets, hazelnuts, and tobacco major cash crops. Livestock production extensive and growing. Valuable forest areas poorly managed; fisheries underdeveloped.

Industry: Major growth sector contributing more than 30 percent of GDP in 1993, employing 33 percent of labor force. Food processing and textiles major industries; basic metals, chemicals, and petrochemicals well established.

Imports: US$29.4 billion in 1993. Main imports included machinery and equipment, 60 percent; petroleum, 8.5 percent; and foodstuffs, 4 percent.

Exports: US$15.3 billion in 1993, consisting of manufactured goods (mainly textiles and processed leather products), 70 percent; foodstuffs, 20 percent; mineral products, 4 percent.

Major Trading Partners: Industrialized countries, especially members of European Union, United States, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.

Balance of Payments: In 1993-94 Turkey experienced its fourth major balance of payments crisis in last forty years. Domestic fiscal policy and International Monetary Fund (IMF) helped reduce imports in 1994. Trade deficit was US$4.8 billion in 1994. Soaring imports during first seven months of 1995 pushed trade deficit up to US$6 billion.

General Economic Conditions: In 1995 economy grew during first nine months; inflation became more severe. December 1995 elections important for fiscal stability.

Currency and Exchange Rate: 1 Turkish lira (TL) = 100 kurus; (August 31, 1995) US$1.00 = TL47,963.00.

Data as of January 1995