Languages of Turkey
|Languages of Turkey|
|Minority languages||Kurmanji, Zazaki, Arabic, Laz, Georgian|
|Main immigrant languages||Albanian, Bosnian, Pomak/Bulgarian|
|Main foreign languages||English (17%)
|Sign languages||Turkish Sign Language
Mardin Sign Language
|Common keyboard layouts||
|Part of a series on the|
The Languages of Turkey, apart from the only official language Turkish, include the widespread Kurdish language, the moderately prevalent minority languages Arabic and Zazaki and a number of less common minority languages, some of which are guaranteed by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne.
Minority language rights
Article 42 of the Constitution explicitly prohibits educational institutions to teach any language other than Turkish as a mother tongue to Turkish citizens.
No language other than Turkish shall be taught as a mother tongue to Turkish citizens at any institutions of training or education. Foreign languages to be taught in institutions of training and education and the rules to be followed by schools conducting training and education in a foreign language shall be determined by law. The provisions of international treaties are reserved.— Art. 42, Constitution of the Republic of Turkey
Due to Article 42 and its longtime restrictive interpretation, ethnic minorities have been facing severe restrictions in the use of their mother languages.
Concerning the incompatibility of this provision with the International Bill of Human Rights, Turkey signed the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights only with reservations constraining minority rights and the right to education. Furthermore, Turkey hasn't signed either of the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, or the anti-discrimination Protocol 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights.
This particular constitutional provision has been contested both internationally and within Turkey. The provision has been criticized by minority groups, notably the Kurdish community. In October 2004, the Turkish State's Human Rights Advisory Board called for a constitutional review in order to bring Turkey's policy on minorities in line with international standards, but was effectively muted. It was also criticized by EU member states, the OSCE, and international human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch who observe that "the Turkish government accepts the language rights of the Jewish, Greek and Armenian minorities as being guaranteed by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. But the government claims that these are Turkey's only minorities, and that any talk of minority rights beyond this is just separatism".
Supplementary language education
Lists of languages
|Other Turkic languages||0.28|
|West European languages||0.02|
|Turkish||63,000,000 (2007)||Turkic (Oghuz)|
|Kurmanji||8,735,108||Indo-European (Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western)||also known as Northern Kurdish|
|Zazaki||1,000,000 (1998/1999)||Indo-European (Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western)||also known as Dimli|
|Kabardian||1,000,000 (2005)||North Caucasian languages (aka Caucasic)|
|South Azerbaijani||530,000||Turkic (Oghuz)|
|North Mesopotamian Arabic||400,000 (1992)||Semitic languages (Arabic)|
|Balkan Gagauz Turkish||327,000 (1993)||Turkic (Oghuz)|
|Bulgarian||300,000 (2001)||Indo-European (Slavic)|
|Adyghe||278,000 (2000)||North Caucasian languages|
|Kirmanjki||140,000||Indo-European (Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Western)||another name of the Zaza language|
|Armenian||40,000 (1980)||Indo-European (Armenian languages)|
|Georgian||40,000 (1980)||South Caucasian languages|
|Laz||30,000 (1980)||South Caucasian languages|
|Domari||28,500 (2000)||Indo-European (Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan)|
|Balkan Romani||25,000||Indo-European (Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan)|
|Serbian||20,000 (1980)||Indo-European (Slavic)|
|Tosk Albanian||15,000 (1980)||Indo-European (Albanian)|
|Abaza||10,000 (1995)||North Caucasian languages|
|Ladino||8,000 (1976)||Indo-European (Romance)||spoken by the descendants of Jewish refugees from Spain|
|Pontic||4,540 (1965)||Indo-European (Greek)||spoken on the shores of the Black Sea, most speakers were moved to Greece in the 1920s|
|Greek||4,000 (1993)||Indo-European (Greek)||most speakers were moved to Greece in the 1920s|
|Abkhaz||4,000 (1980)||North Caucasian languages|
|Turoyo||3,000 (1994)||Semitic languages (Aramaic)|
|Nordic Languages||3,000 (2000)||Nordic languages (Swedish, Danish and Norwegian)|
|Crimean Tatar||2,000||Turkic (Oghuz)||actual number is unknown|
|Southern Uzbek||1,980 (1982)||Turkic (Uyghuric)|
|Kyrgyz||1,140 (1982)||Turkic (Western)||(aka Kirghiz)|
|Hértevin||less than 1,000 (1999)||Semitic languages (Aramaic)|
|Turkmen||920 (1982)||Turkic (Oghuz)|
|Kazakh||600 (1982)||Turkic (Western)|
|Uyghur||500 (1981)||Turkic (Kayseri)|
|Kumyk||few villages||Turkic (Western)|
|Kazan Tatar||handful||Turkic (Western)|
|Osetin||??||Indo-European (Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Eastern)|
|Turkish Sign Language||?||Sign languages||Numbers are unknown though likely to number in the thousands|
|Ubykh||extinct||North Caucasian||became extinct in the 1990s|
Turkey has historically been the home to many now extinct languages. These include Hittite, the earliest Indo-European language for which written evidence exists (circa 1600 BCE to 1100 BCE when the Hittite Empire existed). The other Anatolian languages included Luwian and later Lycian, Lydian and Milyan. All these languages are believed to have become extinct at the latest around the 1st century BCE due to the Hellenization of Anatolia which led to Greek in a variety of dialects becoming the common language.
Urartian belonging to the Hurro-Urartian language family existed in eastern Anatolia around Lake Van. It existed as the language of the kingdom of Urartu from about the 9th century BCE until the 6th century. Hattian is attested in Hittite ritual texts but is not related to the Hittite language or to any other known language; it dates from the 2nd millennium BCE.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Languages of Turkey.|
- Europeans and Their Languages
- "Constitution of the Republic of Turkey". Republic of Turkey. Article 3.
- "Constitution of the Republic of Turkey". Republic of Turkey. Article 42.
- European Commission 2005, pp. 35 f..
- European Commission 2005, p. 35.
- Questions and Answers: Freedom of Expression and Language Rights in Turkey. New York: Human Rights Watch. April 2002.
- KONDA 2007
- Lewis, M. Paul (ed.) (2009). "Ethnologue report for Turkey (Europe)". Ethnologue: Languages of the World. SIL International. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
- Lewis, M. Paul (ed.) (2009). "Ethnologue report for Turkey (Asia)". Ethnologue: Languages of the World. SIL International. Retrieved 2009-09-08.