Overwhelmingly Muslim, mostly Sunnis
Turkey population is believed to be 99.8% Muslim. Sunnis make up around 80% of this and Shias around 20%. There are very small Christian and Jewish populations though these were bigger before the turn of the century. When Attaturk, the founder of modern Turkey wrote up the constitution he ensured it was a strongly secular one. However since the 1980s the role of religion in the state has been much debated. The secular nature of the state is sometimes questionable in practice.
Young and growing
Turkey has a relatively young population - over 25% of the population are under 15 - and quite high population growth at over 1% per annum. The population stands at over 70m, 1m of which are foreigners. Ethnically Turkey is made up of Turkic-speakers (including Anatolian Turks, Turkmens, Kazakhs and many more), Indo-European language speakers (mostly Kurds and Zazas), Semetic-speaking and Caucasian-speaking peoples. The literacy rate is 95.3% for men and 79.6% for women.
Turkish, Kurdish, Dimli and more
Turkish is the only official language in Turkey and at present the only one through which education may be practiced. Kurdish is widely spoken particularly in the East and Southeast and many are fighting for the right to an education through Kurdish. The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne guarantees the language rights of Armenian, Jewish and Greek minorities. Other significant minority languages include Dimli (a Zaza langiage), Kabardian (a Caucasian language) and South Azerbaijani.
A fusion of Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan
Turkish cuisine is a synthesis and refinement of Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines. There are many regional differences, for example kebabs, mezze (small side dishes served together often as a starter), and dough-based pastries are popular in the Southeast, pasta is popular in Anatolia and Mediterranean style food is popular in the West of the country. Ayran (a salty yoghurt drink) is popular throughout Turkey as are strong black (Turkish) tea and coffee. Efes beer is a popular local brand and wine is popular in some regions.
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Travel The Unknown is a UK based tour operator specialising in off the beaten track travel in some of the least explored places on Earth.
We are currently offering tours to North East India: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya; Serbia, Syria and Colombia. Our off the beaten track tours are diverse and include tribal tours, cultural tours, Kaziranga safari trips, mountain trekking expeditions, village tours, Buddhist temple tours and camping in stunning remote places. We also offer festival tours including the Ras Festival in Majuli and many festivals in Arunachal Pradesh including Nyochum, Si-Doni, Losar, Tawang Torgya, and many more. In Colombia the Barranquilla festival is available.
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