Turkey is a multicultural country with two main ethnic groups, Turkish (75%) and Kurdish (19%). Other minorities and immigrants account for 7-12% of the population (2016 est.: CIA Factbook 2021). Turkey’s identity has been shaped by the Ottoman Empire over six centuries. Today, ethnic tensions between ethnic Turks which dominate the country’s government and military and ethnic Kurds over denial of minority rights, including bans on the Kurdish language and assembly of ethnic Kurds. In addition to the Kurdish issue, since 2012 Turkey have witnessed a large influx of refugees due to the Syrian conflict.
One of the most notable shifts in the Turkish approach to integration came in 2016 with the creation of Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey, which is a national anti-discrimination law and equality body (2016). This law aims to provide protection to all victims of racial, ethnic, and religious discrimination across all areas of social life. While this law helped raise awareness regarding discrimination, its enforcement mechanism is undermined by major gaps, leaving victims with weak protections (MIPEX 2020).
Turkey has achieved an overall ICDI score of 0.39. A score of 0.76 in the component of fractionalisation indicates that existing levels of cultural participation meets the conditions needed for a fairly positive degree of inclusion. Turkey has attained below average scores for all other components. A score of 0.07 in the component of social contact signals a lack of platforms for social contact. A score of 0.21 in the component of socio-economic inequality indicates relatively low levels of intergenerational social mobility and low levels of educational attainment amongst the population.
Current Situation and Outlook
Turkey has achieved lower scores in its structural and opportunities dimensions while its score for the legislative dimension is slightly above average. Turkey can improve its ICDI score by strengthening its structural and opportunities dimensions. It can enhance its structural dimension by increasing the platforms available for social contact through an encouragement of cultural participation and preserving the number of indigenous and immigrant living languages. It can boost its opportunities dimension by strengthening its global social tolerance index.