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Country Profile


The People

Ethnic Composition
Turkish 80%
Kurdish 20%

Religious Composition
Muslim (primarily Sunni) 99.8%
Other 0.2%

Languages Spoken
Turkish (official), Kurdish, and Arabic.

Education and Literacy
The literacy rate is 82.3 percent. Though education is compulsory and free for children aged 6 to 14. However, only two-thirds of school-aged children receive an education.

Labor Force
Total: 22.7 million
By occupation:
Agriculture 42.5%
Services 34.5%
Industry 23%

Note: Almost 1,500,000 Turks work abroad.

Economy & Trade
Despite its formidable inflation rate and heavy national debt, Turkey is considered to be in decent, if tenuous, economic condition. Government still controls major portions of the financial, telecom and transportation industries. However, the nation’s leading export, textiles, is primarily in private sector control. The government is attempting to rework the social welfare and taxation system to help attract foreign investment. Turkey’s on-again, off-again relationship with the EU, coupled with internal strife concerning the Kurdish minorities and Islamic fundamentalists, have kept foreign investors wary. Neither thought of as fully Muslim nor fully European, Turkey faces a continual economic identity crisis without sufficient resources or investment to forge its own future. Like its geographic situation, it could go either way—or both.

7.3% plus underemployment of 6.9% (April 1999)

Inflation Rate
65% (1999)

Textiles, food processing, autos, mining (coal, chromite, copper, boron), steel, petroleum, construction, lumber, paper.

US$26 billion (f.o.b., 1999)

US $40 billion (c.i.f., 1999)

Total Trade
US$86 billion (1999)

Top Export Partners
E.U., United States, Russia.

Top Import Partners
E.U., United States, C.I.S., Russia.

Top Exports
Textiles and apparel, foodstuffs, iron and steel products.

Top Imports
Machinery and equipment, fuels, minerals, foodstuffs.

Debt - external
$104 billion (1999)

Economic aid
ODA, $195 million (1993)

Fiscal Year:
Calendar year.

Business Workweek

Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Post Offices in cities are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Note: Offices open and close one to two hours earlier during the hot summer months. Businesses also make allowances for Muslim prayer throughout the day and some may be closed for brief periods.


Official Holidays
New Year's Day January 1
Kurban Bayram, Feast of the Sacrifice March 4-8
National Sovereignty and
Children's Day
April 23
Commemoration of Atatürk and Youth and Sports Day May 19
Victory Day August 30
Republic Day October 29
Ramazan Bayrami
(End of Ramadan) December 15-18*

Note: * Based on 2001. Dates may vary by year.