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Modern day Turkey has its roots in the former Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire had begun in the 13th century and stretched across the Middle East, including parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The Ottoman Empire largely collapsed after defeat in the First World War.
After the World War, the Turkish War of Independence resulted in Turkey, in its modern day form, being founded in 1923. (CIA World Factbook) Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, also goes back to ancient times as it was formerly known as Constantinople. Further back in history, it was called Byzantium. It has been part of the Ottoman Empire as well as the Roman and Byzantine Empires.
After the founding of Turkey, the country operated with a one party system. The first occurrence of an opposition party winning power was in 1950, with a peaceful transfer of power. (CIA World Factbook). However, this has not always been the case. Turkey has been unstable in the past. Military coups have taken place in 1960, 1971, and 1980, with civilians regaining power each time. (CIA World Factbook)
Turkey’s current government is a republican parliamentary democracy. There are three branches of government. The executive branch has a president who is elected to a five year term, but has a largely ceremonial role. The prime minister is the head of the government and is appointed by the president. The legislative branch is made up of the unicameral Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The judicial system contains the Constitutional Court, functioning much like the United States Supreme Court. (CIA World Factbook).
Geographically, Turkey lies in the Middle East. Most of the country is part of southwestern Asia, with a small portion spilling into southeastern Europe. The country borders the Black Sea and Mediterranean Seas. Bordering countries include Iraq, Iran, Syria, as well as Greece and Bulgaria. (CIA World Factbook) While Turkey identifies more with the Middle East geographically, the country is more European than its neighbors. Turkey is a NATO member and has been since 1952. It is also a UN member since 1945. Currently, Turkey is a candidate to join the EU. (CIA World Factbook)
Turkey has a population of almost seventy-seven million, ranking it seventeenth in the world. Its population is currently growing at a rate of 1.312%. (Dept. of State) The predominant religion is Muslim, with 99.8% of the population identifying themselves as such. (CIA World Factbook). Most of the Muslim population is Sunni. The other 0.2% of the population is made up mostly Christians and Jews, however this number pales in comparison to the Islamic population. (CIA World Factbook)
Economically, Turkey is fairly developed. The economy consists of a mix of modern industry, commerce, with a fair amount of agriculture. 45.8% of the labor force works in the service sector. 29.5% spend their lives working in the agriculture sector, while the remaining 24.7% are in the industrial sector. (CIA World Factbook) Turkey has a gross domestic product of $863.3 billion, ranking it 18th in the world. (CIA World Factbook).
The largest industrial sector is the textile industry, making up 33% of industry in the country. Automotive and electronic industries are growing. (CIA World Factbook) Another industry in Turkey is the oil industry. Oil pipelines connecting oil from the Middle East to Europe. (CIA World Factbook)
The government has been a major participant in industry, banking, transport, and communication in the past, however this role is in decline as the country has experienced a move towards privatization. (CIA World Factbook) Turkey has not been immune to the current economic downturn that is facing the world. The gross domestic product shrunk 5.6% in the past year. Turkey also faces a high external debt. $274 billion dollars are owed to various countries. (CIA World Factbook)
The Corruption Perception Index gives a score based on a perceived level of public corruption, ranking 180 different world countries. Turkey scores a 4.4 on the Corruption Perception Index, on a scale from zero to ten, with lower scores indicating more perceived corruption. Turkey’s moderate score of 4.4 ranks them the 61st least perceived corrupted country in the world. (Transparency International)
Geert Hofstede scores countries on different cultural dimensions in order to give a better understanding of the culture of a particular country. Hofstede measures the dimensions of power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism and masculinity. (itim International) Turkey scores high at 66 in power distance, indicating that the level of inequality in society is accepted and embraced.
Turkey scores low in individualism at 37. This shows that Turkey has a more collectivist culture. In masculinity, Turkey receives a low score of 45. The last dimension, uncertainty avoidance measures with the tolerance of uncertainty in society. Turkey scores a 85 on this dimension. (itim International) This high score indicates that Turkey has a stricter, more intolerant society.
S.J. Gray expanded on the ideas of Hosfstede, using Hofstede’s dimensions to form additional hypothesis about a country and its accounting systems. Gray’s first hypothesis states that the higher a country ranks in individualism and lower it ranks in uncertainty avoidance and power distance, the higher the country will rank in professionalism. (Gray)
According the Turkey’s Hofstede values, it does not fall into the professional category. At the other end of the spectrum from professionalism is statutory control; an idea stating that the people of Turkey prefer a more rule-based approach with less judgment exercised.
Gray’s second hypothesis states that the higher a country scores uncertainty avoidance and power distance and lower it scores in individualism, the more likely the country will value uniformity. Turkey’s Hofstede values indicate that Turkey does in fact have high uniformity. According to Gray, Turks value a uniform and consistent approach, rather than adjusting to individual circumstances.
The third hypothesis from S.J. Gray says that a country high in uncertainty avoidance and low in individualism and masculinity will rank high in conservatism. Hofstede values for Turkey indicate that Turkey does rank high in conservatism. This idea means that Turks prefer to be conservative in their measurements, allowing for an uncertain future, rather than taking an optimistic approach that may be less accurate.
Gray’s last hypothesis states that a country that is high in power distance and uncertainty avoidance, and low in individualism and masculinity is a country that is high in secrecy. Turkey is likely to be high in secrecy according to its Hofstede values. According to Gray, Turks value confidentiality in business information.
Together, Gray’s hypothesis theorize that Turkey is a country valuing statutory control, uniformity, conservatism, and secrecy. This puts Turkey on par with other Muslim countries in the Middle East such as Iran and Pakistan.
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