Turkish Distribution

Turkish is natively spoken by the Turkish people in Turkey and by the Turkish diaspora in some 30 other countries. In particular, Turkish-speaking minorities exist in countries that formerly (in whole or part) belonged to the Ottoman Empire, such as Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece (primarily in Western Thrace), the Republic of Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia. More than two million Turkish speakers live in Germany; and there are significant Turkish-speaking communities in the United States, France, The Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Due to the cultural assimilation of Turkish immigrants in host countries, not all ethnic Turkish immigrants speak the language with native fluency.

The number of native speakers in Turkey is over 67 million, corresponding to about 93 percent of the population. There are roughly another 10 million native speakers worldwide. Turkish is spoken as a first or second language by almost all of Turkey’s residents, with Kurdish making up most of the remainder (about 3,950,000 as estimated in 1980). However, even most linguistic minorities in Turkey are bilingual, speaking Turkish as a second language to levels of native fluency.

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