Watch this webcast for a quick introduction to Turkish language and culture.

Wikipedia: Turkey, Turkish language

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Turkish Language

The Turkish language for many years was regarded as being something of a mystery – in that experts were unsure about its origins. However, it is a very widely spoken language and its speakers can be understood in countries far into Central Asia. The links and the information on this page will tell you more about this fascinating language.


Turkish Today (.wma 116KB)
Origins of the Turkish Language (.wma 115KB)
Influences on Turkish (.wma 302KB)
Atatürk and the Turkish Language (.wma 248KB)

Features of Turkish Language

Many people who start learning Turkish today are often both surprised and relieved to find that a Roman alphabet is used. Even better, it is a completely phonemic script - what you see is what you say, and what you say is what you write. Turkish even goes so far as to include ‘buffer letters’ (e.g. when you say ‘I am’ in English you effectively insert ‘y’ between the two words so as to allow the transition between the vowel sounds. In Turkish, you not only do this in speech, but insert it in the written form e.g. arabadayım).

The other major feature of the Turkish language is vowel harmony. In Turkish, meaning is constructed by adding suffixes. Therefore:

  • araba = car
  • arabada = in the car (‘da’ is ‘in’)
  • arabadayım = I am in the car (‘ım’ is ‘I’)

However, this building of sentences by the adding of suffixes could become difficult to pronounce if one had to constantly shift between vowels produced at the back of the mouth and those produced at the front. To solve this problem, Turkish requires that the suffixes added; shift to fit the vowel from the root word. So, with a word like ‘ev’ which means ‘house’ the following changes are made:

  • ev = house
  • evde = in the house (‘de’ is ‘in’)
  • evdeyim = I am in the house

There are eight vowels in Turkish – four produced at the front of the mouth and four produced at the back of the mouth, which stand in for each other depending on the root word:

Front vowels e, i, ö, ü

Back vowels a, ı, o, u

Turkish also has some consonants that English does not:

ç pronounced ‘ch’ as in ‘chair’

ş pronounced ‘sh’ as in ‘shout’

Turkish does not use the consonants ‘q’ or ‘w’


Turkey is an amazing place – full of history, culture and stunning natural scenery. Each year tourists come in huge numbers to enjoy Turkey, but even those who have been on several holidays will only have scratched the surface of this remarkable country. From the beautiful waters of the Mediterranean to the wild forests of the Black Sea coast, from the strange landscape of Cappadocia and the deserts of the south east; the diversity of the country is matched by few other countries. Aside from the natural wonders of Turkey there are also the cultural and historical sides to the country. For example, there is only one city in the word that can claim to span two continents, and even fewer that have been the capital of three major empires. Istanbul is that city. While it is no longer the capital city, it is the largest city in Turkey and a fascinating place to visit.

The links below will help to introduce you to many of the wonders of Turkey and tell you more about the culture and history of this astonishing country.

Audio - Climate of Turkey (.wma 574KB)
Audio - Neighbours of Turkey (.wma 338KB)


People have lived in Anatolia since the Stone Age; in fact the country boasts one of the best preserved Neolithic settlements in the world at Catalhoyuk near Konya. Over the centuries many cultures have made their home in Anatolia, from the Hittites to the Lycians, Romans, Selcuks and the Turks. The country is literally covered with the remains of these civilisations and for anyone interested in ancient history, Turkey is a treasure trove.

Audio - Who are the Turks? (.wma 691KB)
Audio - The creation of modern Turkey (.wma 386KB)

Visiting Turkey

People who have visited the country are almost always overwhelmingly positive about their experiences. Whether you are a sun-seeker, a culture vulture or an adrenalin junkie, Turkey is a fantastic place to visit.

Audio - Places to visit in Turkey (.wma 1.36MB)
Audio - Tips for travel to Turkey (.wma 799KB)

Doing business process in Turkey is much easier than in other Eastern European countries. Turkey has been opening up its economy in a series of privatisations of state-owned companies.

Audio - The Turkish economy (.wma 649KB)  
Audio - Purchasing property in Turkey (.wma 854KB)
Audio - General taxes and utility costs (.wma 481KB)


Turkish food varies from region to region with each having their own special dishes. For example, vegetable dishes are common on the western side of Turkey, such as vine leaves (stuffed vine leaves). Further east you will find more dishes that use flour and meat-based ingredients such as Mantו (a type of ravioli with minced meat inside) or kebabs.  

Audio - Turkish food (.wma 801KB)

Popular Culture in Turkey

With a population of around 73 million, it is not surprising that Turkey has a rich popular culture. The country has a strong film and television industry, making products for its domestic audience and in recent years some of the country’s directors have gained critical acclaim internationally. You can also find a very wide range of musical styles in Turkey, from pop to rock as well as classical Turkish music and arabesque.

Audio - TV in Turkey (.wma 676KB)
Audio - Film in Turkey (.wma 626KB)
Audio - Music in Turkey (.wma 607KB)

General Resources

Essential holiday phrases - (With mp3 downloads) from the BBC languages website
The hundred most useful words in Turkish - Get started with Turkish with these hundred words
Turkish Language - Helps you learn Turkish


Ministry of Tourism and Culture
Turkish Cultural Foundation - Get access to useful portals giving you information about Turkish culture
Turkish Culture - Useful information about various aspects of Turkish culture