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Lesson Transcript

Ece: Merhaba! Welcome back to TurkishClass101.com. This is Ece.
Gina: And I’m Gina. This is All About, Lesson 8 - Introduction to Turkish Society.
Ece: In this lesson you’ll learn some basic information about Turkey.

Lesson focus

Gina: The country is placed between the Mediterranean and Black Seas, and is close to both Europe and the Middle East. However, the social structure of Turkey is not totally similar to any of these areas. Turkish culture is very rich and eclectic, carrying both European and Asian traits, so there is a lot to talk about!
Ece: You’re right Gina, but at least we can discuss some major points in this lesson - major cities, family life, work life, the economy, and politics.
Gina: Okay, let’s start with the most popular major city...
Ece: Which is Istanbul! In our previous lessons and especially in the lesson notes, we’ve talked about Istanbul’s importance.
Gina: Area-wise it’s not very big, but its geographical variety and unique features are worth mentioning.
Ece: That’s right! Istanbul’s skyline features minarets, towers, bridges, crosses and some of Europe’s tallest skyscrapers standing side by side. And we even have an inland sea in Istanbul!
Gina: The views of the Bosphorus are spectacular, and villas with these views are some of the most expensive real estate in the world.
Ece: Istanbul is the business, industrial, international relations, art and entertainment center of the country. And the Bosphorus and Dardanelles, which together form the Turkish Straits, are two of the most important intercontinental marine routes in the world.
Gina: And most of the famous Turkish dramas are shot in Istanbul, right?
Ece: Yes, because the city offers all the natural, historical and social sites for various scenes.
Gina: All right, now let’s continue with the next topic - family life in Turkey.
Ece: Turkish people tend to have close relationships with their relatives and neighbors. They are always there for each other in hard times and on special days. Relatives who are old, who need care or who’ve lost their own families are often welcomed into other families.
Gina: I see. And who is the breadwinner in most Turkish families?
Ece: That’s usually the father’s responsibility. But mothers may like to work, too. However, traditionally, a husband can’t ask his wife to work, or tell her not to work.
Gina: Can you explain what you mean by that?
Ece: It’d hurt a man’s pride if he had to ask his wife to work. Equally, he has no right to stand against it if his wife is willing to work. Ideally, it’d be his wife’s choice. Modern Turkish women work mostly for their career, not particularly for helping their husbands financially.
Gina: How about children?
Ece: They only have to start earning money once they’ve finished their education, and they have the freedom to live with the family until they want to start their own families. Daughter or son, elder or younger, there’s no difference. Working part time for an allowance is not common in Turkey.
Gina: Okay, and how about the economy?
Ece: Turkey is a founding member of the G-20 Major Economies, and has the world’s 15th largest economy by gross domestic product. It’s a free market economy that’s mostly concentrated on Western markets.
Gina: Alright, now let’s move on to politics.
Ece: Turkey is a democratic, secular, constitutional, unitary and parliamentary republic state based on a multi-party system. The national motto is “Peace at home, peace in the world.”
Gina: As proof of this motto, Turkish forces have completed missions in many countries, from Korea to Somalia, as a Peace Force. The Turkish army also participated in Humanitarian Assistance in many wars and natural disasters, like the Gulf War and Hurricane Katrina.
Ece: Whenever there’s trouble in the world, we as a nation take action. We are so proud of that!
Gina: Ok, now back to the political structure - it’s not a presidential system, right?
Ece: Well, we have a president, but also a prime minister. The president is elected by the National Assembly, but the prime minister, by the people.
Gina: Who is more powerful?
Ece: Well, when it comes to the position, the presidency of the republic is more powerful. The president represents the republic and the law. However, the prime minister is the representative of the nation. The prime minister is more active in the country’s internal and external affairs. Yet the president is the one who welcomes the presidents and kings of other countries, and is responsible for building strong international connections..
Gina: As for its role on the international stage, Turkey is a founding member of many organizations, including the United Nations and the Council of Europe.


Ece: Well listeners, we hope that you learned something about Turkish society in this lesson.
Gina: Be sure to check the lesson notes, and join us to learn more about Turkey in the next lesson.
Gina: See you soon!
Ece: Hoşça kalın!