The culture of Turkey combines a heavily diverse and consists of various cultures from the Eastern Mediterranean, Western Asia, Central Asia, Middle East and Caucasian traditions. These traditions were initially brought together by the Ottoman Empire, a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state.
During the early years of the Republic of Turkey, the government invested a large amount of resources into fine arts such as paintings, sculpture and architecture. This was done as both a process of modernization and of creating a cultural identity.
The official flag of the Republic of Turkey is red background with a vertical white crescent (the closed portion is toward the hoist side) and white five-pointed star centered just outside the crescent opening. It’s called as “al sancak” in Turkish, meaning “red banner”.
Turkish language belongs to the Altay branch of the Ural-Altaic linguistic family, same as Finnish and Hungarian languages. It is the westernmost of the Turkic languages spoken across Central Asia and is generally classified as a member of the South-West group, also known as the Oguz group. Other Turkic languages, all of which are closely related, include Azerbaijani (Azeri), Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tatar, Turkmen, Uighur, Uzbek, and many others spoken from the Balkans across Central Asia into northwestern China and southern Siberia. Turkic languages are often grouped with Mongolian and Tungusic languages in the Altaic language family. Strictly speaking, the “Turkish” languages spoken between Mongolia and Turkey should be called Turkic languages, and the term “Turkish” should refer to the language spoken in Turkey alone. It is common practice, however, to refer to all these languages as Turkish, and differentiate them with reference to the geographical area, for example, the Turkish language of Azerbaijan.
Through the span of history, Turks have spread over a wide geographical area, taking their language with them. Turkish speaking people have lived in a wide area stretching from today’s Mongolia to the north coast of the Black Sea, the Balkans, East Europe, Anatolia, Iraq and a wide area of northern Africa. Due to the distances involved, various dialects and accents have emerged. Turkish is also the language spoken at home by people who live in the areas that were governed by the Ottoman Empire. For instance, in Bulgaria there are over a million speakers. About 50,000 Turkish speakers live in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Azerbaijan. In Cyprus, Turkish is a co-official language (with Greek) where it is spoken as a first language by 19 percent of the population, especially in the North (KKTC). Over 1.5 million speakers are found in Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Greece; over 3 million speakers live in Germany (and other northern European countries) where Turks have for many years been “guest workers.” About 40,000 Turkish speakers live in the United States.
Turkish Lira – TL or TRL or TRY (formerly New Turkish Lira- YTL)