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Which Languages Are Spoken in Turkey?

Posted by Ethan N. on December 18, 2023.

Which language is used across Turkey? Turkish is the primary language spoken there and is recognized as such by the Turkish Constitution. As the mother tongue of 85–90% of the people, it is utilized for both speech and writing in daily life by the majority of Turkish citizens as well as by the government, media, schools, and other institutions. 

Though more than thirty minority, immigrant, and foreign languages spoken in Turkey, Turkish remains the primary language of the nation. Arabic, Zazaki, and Kurdish are the most spoken languages after Turkish. Each of these is covered in detail below, along with the other languages spoken in Turkey. 

1. Languages Spoken in Turkey



About eight million people speak Kurmanji, commonly referred to as Northern Kurdish, in Turkey. It is the northern dialect of Kurdish, and written records of it go back at least to the sixteenth century. 

It was previously claimed that over three million people living in Turkey speak just Kurmanji, the native language of the country. This may cause problems, especially considering that the nation mandates that instruction and training be offered exclusively in Turkish. 


Arabic is one of the languages spoken in Turkey. There are about 2.4 million speakers of this minority language. 

There are four primary dialects of Arabic spoken in Turkey, with the following speaker counts: 

  • Modern Standard Arabic 686,000 North Levantine Arabic 1,130,000
  • 520,000 Arabic in North Mesopotamia
  • Additional Arabic in Mesopotamia 101,000

Due to considerable Turkification of the Arab minority, the majority of Arabic speakers in Turkey are also fluent in Turkish. 


About 13,000 people speak Ladino besides languages spoken in Turkey, which is sometimes referred to as Judeo-Spanish, Judesmo, and Sephardi in Turkey. Because of the 1923 Lausanne Treaty, it is legally protected there, along with Greek and Armenian. This indicates that compared to other minorities, the Jewish, Greek, and Armenian minorities in Turkey frequently have their language rights more fully acknowledged. This is true even though there are far fewer speakers of Ladino (as well as Greek and Armenian) than there are of Kurmanji and Arabic. 

Ladino is a dialect of Castilian Spanish that developed in Spain. After 1492, Spanish Jews were driven from the nation and took Ladino with them. It has incorporated Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, Turkish, Greek, and other languages over time. 


Armenian is another Turkish language that has legal protection because of the Lausanne Treaty. Among languages spoken in Turkey, there are currently 61,000 Armenian speakers, although their numbers are declining. 

Given that the majority of its 50,000 or so speakers reside in and around Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city with a population of 15 million, Armenian is very much in the Istanbul language. 

Within the borders of what is now the Republic of Turkey, the Armenian language and identity were mainly suppressed for a long time. The World War I ethnic cleansing, which resulted in the deaths or displacement of 1.5 million Armenians, served as the impetus for this. 

For many years, the Armenian language in Turkey was essentially spoken in secret. In fact, few were as shocked as the Armenian community in Istanbul when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tweeted in Armenian to try and win over their support ahead of the 2019 mayoral elections. 


There are about a million speakers of Kabardian, one of non-native languages spoken in Turkey. Kabardian, sometimes called Kabardino-Cherkess or East Circassian, is a language of the Northwest Caucasus that is unique in that very few other languages can clearly distinguish between ejective fricatives and ejective affricates phonemically. 

2. The Official Language of Turkey

The GTE Localize team has devoted many hours over the years to offering Turkish translation services. As a result, we are knowledgeable about the languages spoken in Turkey and the unique needs associated with translating it. 


There exist several dialects spoken in Turkey, while the Istanbul dialect of Anatolia serves as the foundation for Modern Standard Turkish. These can be categorized as either Eastern or Western dialects. Because of this split, we make a great effort to keep up a wide network of translation experts so that we can always find the right translator on hand to work with a particular dialect. 

Out of the approximately 35 recorded tongues that comprise the languages spoken in Turkey, Turkish is the most extensively spoken. It’s a Category IV language, meaning that it differs significantly from English linguistically and/or culturally, according to the Foreign Service Institute. To become proficient, English speakers studying Turkish need to put in about 1,100 hours of study time. 

The literary and administrative languages of the Ottoman Empire were both Ottoman Turkish. It became the only official language of the newly formed Republic of Turkey in 1923. As part of Atatürk’s Reforms, the previous Ottoman Turkish alphabet was replaced with a Latin alphabet five years later. 

The Turkish Language Regulation Board was established a few years later, in 1932, by the Society for Research on the Turkish Language. Under the name Turkish Language Association, it still functions in the same capacity today, handling everything from loanwords to phrasing and diction. 

3. GTE Localize Provide The Best Turkey Translation Services For Business

In Turkey, what language is spoken? Turkish! If you intend to go to or conduct business in Turkey, you will need to speak this language as it is the primary language spoken there. 

The Treaty of Lausanne protects three minority tongues: Ladino, Greek, and Armenian. These languages spoken in Turkey can be called official languages of Turkey, however Turkish is the only national language of the country. 

Due to Turkey’s demographics, Kurmanji, Arabic, Zaziki, and Kabardian are among the languages spoken in Turkey that have a million or more speakers. 

GTE Localize can assist you if you require Turkish translation services. Our qualified Turkish translators offer exceptional language proficiency together with subject-matter expertise in a variety of fields. To begin your Turkish translation project, why not utilize our website’s rapid translation quote feature or give our helpful staff a call to learn more? 

GTE Localize can provide translation services if you require them. Our human translators provide exceptional language abilities together with subject-matter expertise in a variety of fields. Why not start your worldwide translation journey by utilizing the website’s rapid translation quote feature or giving our helpful staff a call to learn more?