Turkish speakers: 88 million (L1+L2). Cyprus has requested that the European Union add Turkish as an official language, even though Turkey is not a member state. Turkey joined the UN in 1945 and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. In 1964, Turkey became an associate member of the European Community. Over the past decade, they have undertaken many reforms to strengthen its democracy and economy. And they began accession membership talks with the European Union in 2005.
Modern Turkey was founded in 1923 from the Anatolian remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire by national hero Mustafa KEMAL, who was later honored with the title Ataturk or “Father of the Turks.” Under his leadership, the country adopted wide-ranging social, legal, and political reforms. After a period of one-party rule, an experiment with multi-party politics led to the 1950 election victory of the opposition Democratic Party and the peaceful transfer of power. Since then, Turkish political parties have multiplied, but democracy has been fractured by periods of instability and intermittent military coups (1960, 1971, 1980), which in each case eventually resulted in a return of political power to civilians. In 1997, the military again helped engineer the ouster—popularly dubbed a “post-modern coup”—of the then Islamic-oriented government. Turkey intervened militarily on Cyprus in 1974 to prevent a Greek takeover of the island and has since acted as patron state to the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” which only Turkey recognizes. A separatist insurgency begun in 1984 by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)—now known as the Kurdistan People’s Congress or Kongra-Gel (KGK)—has dominated the Turkish military’s attention and claimed more than 30,000 lives. After the capture of the group’s leader in 1999, the insurgents largely withdrew from Turkey mainly to northern Iraq. In 2013, KGK and the Turkish Government agreed to a ceasefire that continues despite slow progress in ongoing peace talks.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has actively pursued the goal of asserting civilian control over the military since first taking power in 2002; the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) role in internal security has been significantly reduced; the TSK leadership continues to be an influential institution within Turkey, but plays a much smaller role in politics; the Turkish military remains focused on the threats emanating from the Syrian civil war, Russia’s actions in Ukraine, and the PKK insurgency; primary domestic threats are listed as fundamentalism (with the definition in some dispute with the civilian government), separatism (Kurdish discontent), and the extreme left wing; Ankara strongly opposed establishment of an autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq; an overhaul of the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC) taking place under the “Force 2014” program is to produce 20-30% smaller, more highly trained forces characterized by greater mobility and firepower and capable of joint and combined operations; the TLFC has taken on increasing international peacekeeping responsibilities including in Afghanistan; the Turkish Navy is a regional naval power that wants to develop the capability to project power beyond Turkey’s coastal waters; the Navy is heavily involved in NATO, multinational, and UN operations; its roles include control of territorial waters and security for sea lines of communications; the Turkish Air Force adopted an “Aerospace and Missile Defense Concept” in 2002 and has initiated project work on an integrated missile defense system; Air Force priorities include attaining a modern deployable, survivable, and sustainable force structure, and establishing a sustainable command and control system; Turkey is a NATO ally and hosts NATO’s Land Forces Command in Izmir, as well as the AN/TPY-2 radar as part of NATO Missile Defense (2008).
Complex maritime, air, and territorial disputes with Greece in the Aegean Sea; status of north Cyprus question remains; Syria and Iraq protest Turkish hydrological projects to control upper Euphrates waters; Turkey has expressed concern over the status of Kurds in Iraq; in 2009, Swiss mediators facilitated an accord reestablishing diplomatic ties between Armenia and Turkey, but neither side has ratified the agreement and the rapprochement effort has faltered; Turkish authorities have complained that blasting from quarries in Armenia might be damaging the medieval ruins of Ani, on the other side of the Arpacay valley;
(End of text/excerpt from the CIA World FactBook. You can download the book via a CIA-post on our frontpage.)
Turkish (Türkçe), also referred to as Istanbul Turkish, and sometimes known as Turkey Turkish, is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages, with around ten to fifteen million native speakers in Southeast Europe (mostly in East and Western Thrace) and sixty to sixty-five million native speakers in Western Asia (mostly in Anatolia). Outside Turkey, significant smaller groups of speakers exist in Germany, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, Greece, the Caucasus, and other parts of Europe and Central Asia.
To the west, the influence of Ottoman Turkish—the variety of the Turkish language that was used as the administrative and literary language of the Ottoman Empire—spread as the Ottoman Empire expanded. In 1928, as one of Atatürk's Reforms in the early years of the Republic of Turkey, the Ottoman Turkish alphabet was replaced with a Latin alphabet.
The distinctive characteristics of the Turkish language are vowel harmony and extensive agglutination. The basic word order of Turkish is subject–object–verb. Turkish has no noun classes or grammatical gender. The language has a strong T–V distinction and usage of honorifics. Turkish uses second-person pronouns that distinguish varying levels of politeness, social distance, age, courtesy or familiarity toward the addressee. The plural second-person pronoun and verb forms are used referring to a single person out of respect.
Turkish isn't difficult to learn; it's difficult to use.
The grammar is simple, with no gender, articles or irregular verbs, and the spelling is almost completely phonetic thanks to the fact that they switched to the Latin alphabet in 1928.
Learning a new structure is basically a matter of learning a new verb ending.
Turkish Language Learning Pack (Updated).
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