Turkey Population

Turkey Population and Religion

Asia Europe


About 75% of the population are ethnic Turks. The Christian minority, which was very strong up to the First World War, and the group of Jews are insignificant today; both live mainly in Istanbul (around 18,000 Greeks, around 68,000 Armenians). The Kurds in Turkey (about 19% of the total population) are not officially recognized as a national minority. Their number has risen sharply since the last official information from 1965 (2.4 million Kurds, 7.6% of the total population). They form the majority of the population in Southeast Anatolia. The proportion of Arabs (especially in the border area with Syria) is around 2%. The languages ​​of the remaining groups, e.g. B. Lasen (20,000), Circassians, Georgians and Islamic Bulgarians (Pomaks) are only spoken by a few tens of thousands of people. An East American language island (Turoyo) is the Tur-Abdin (Mardin threshold). Turkey hosts (2019) 3.6 million refugees (mainly from Syria).

According to localtimezone, the population of Turkey has increased almost eightfold since the end of the First World War (around 12 million). Due to the pronounced rural exodus, cities, especially in the west, are growing at an above-average rate, despite higher rural birth rates. In mountainous regions, on the other hand, the population is stagnating or declining.

The regional population density varies between around 200 residents per km 2 in the coastal areas in the west and north and around 17 residents per km 2 in the mountains in the east. Three quarters of the population live in cities. The largest metropolitan area is Istanbul.

The biggest cities in Turkey

Biggest Cities (Inh. 2018)
Istanbul 14 670 000
Ankara 4,875,800
İzmir 2,931,400
Bursa 1 925 900
Adana 1,715,200

Social structure: For the approximately 25% of the residents who live in rural areas, the social bond in the extended Islamic-style family is often still the decisive system of order; it is at the same time a unit of work in the predominantly small to medium-sized agricultural social structure. Large estates only appear sporadically. The search for work leads to extensive inland migration and strong growth in the outskirts (Gecekondu settlement). The leading social upper class are officers, civil servants, academics and, increasingly, large entrepreneurs. An industrial workforce has meanwhile developed in the industrial metropolitan areas.

The number of emigrants is considerably higher than that of immigrants (net migration rate 2018: – 4.5 ‰).


The constitution (Article 2) defines Turkey as a secular state. Article 24 guarantees freedom of religion, grants all citizens the same rights regardless of their religious beliefs, and subjects the activities of religious communities to state control. This is done on the basis of Article 136 by the Bureau for Religious Affairs. Sunni Islam experiences state sponsorship as an important basis for Turkish national identity. Erdoğan strives to bring up a new pious generation. During his tenure, the number of religious schools increased tenfold; the theory of evolution was removed from the curriculum.

About 75% of the Turks are Sunnis (Hanefite school of law), about 20% belong to the special community of Alevis (Alawites). About 4% are made up of other Islamic minorities such as the Imamites (“Twelve Shiites”).

The predominantly oriental national churches, Eastern Catholic churches and the small minority belonging to the Orthodox Church comprise a total of around 100,000 Christians (over 0.1% of the population): Armenian Church (Patriarchate Istanbul), Catholic Church (five rites: Latin, Armenian, Eastern Syriac, West Syrian, Byzantine), Syrian Orthodox Church (Jacobites ; former center: Tur Abdin), Greek Orthodox Church (Patriarchate of Antioch, Ecumenical Patriarchate), Assyrian Church (Nestorians), Protestant and Anglican communities (especially foreigners).

The approximately 25,000 Jews (approx. 0.04% of the population) are descendants of 1492 Jews expelled from Spain and live predominantly in the Sephardic tradition v. Chr. a. in Istanbul and İzmir. Jewish communities in Asia Minor have been around since the 3rd century BC. Occupied. Another religious minority are the Yazidis in south-east Turkey.

Country facts

  • Official name: Republic of Turkey
  • License plate: TR
  • ISO-3166: TR, TUR (792)
  • Internet domain:.tr
  • Currency: 1 Turkish Lira (TRY / TL) = 100 Kuruş
  • Area: 783 562 km²
  • Population (2018): 82.3 million
  • Capital: Ankara
  • Official language (s): Turkish
  • Form of government: Presidential Republic
  • Government seat: Ankara
  • Administrative division: 81 provinces
  • Head of State: President RT Erdoğan
  • Religion (s): 78% Muslim, 20% Alevis
  • Time zone: Central European Time +2 hours
  • National Day: October 29th

Location and infrastructure

  • Location (geographical): Western Asia / Southern Europe
  • Position (coordinates): between 35 ° 51 ‘and 42 ° 06’ north latitude and 25 ° 40 ‘and 44 ° 48’ east longitude
  • Climate: In the north a warm temperate climate, in the west and south a Mediterranean climate, in the interior a dry continental climate
  • Highest mountain: Ararat (5137 m)
  • Road network (2018): 352 268 km (paved), 33 486 km (unpaved)
  • Railway network (2018): 12 008 km


  • Annual population growth: 0.49%
  • Birth rate (2017): Birth rate 15.4 per 1000 residents.
  • Death rate (2017): 6 per 1000 residents.
  • Average age: 31.4 years
  • Average life expectancy: 75.3 years (men 72.9; women 77.7)
  • Age structure (2018): 24.3% younger than 15 years, 7.8% are older than 65 years
  • Literacy rate (15 year olds and older): 96.2%
  • Mobile phone contracts (pre-paid and post-paid) (2017): 96.4 per 100 residents
  • Internet users (2017): 64.7 per 100 residents


  • GDP per capita (2017): US $ 10,537
  • Total GDP (2017): $ 851.5 billion
  • GNI per capita (2018: US $ 10,380
  • Education expenditure (2014): 4.4% of GDP
  • Military expenditure (2018): 2.9% of GDP
  • Unemployment rate (15 years and older) (2017): 11.3%

Turkey Population