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As of 2005, the population of Turkey stood at 72.6 million with a growth rate of 1.5% per annum. The Turkish population is relatively young with 25.5% falling within the 0-15 age bracket. Life expectancy stands at 68.9 years for men and 73.8 years for women.
Education is compulsory and free from ages 6 to 15. The literacy rate is 95.3% for men and 79.6% for women, for an overall average of 87.4%.
The majority of the Turkish population are of Turkish ethnicity. Other major ethnic groups include the Kurds, Circassians, Roma, Arabs and the three officially-recognized minorities (per the treaty of Lausanne) of Greeks, Armenians and Jews. The largest non-Turkic ethnicity is the Kurds, a distinct ethnic group traditionally concentrated in the southeast of the country.
Due to a demand for an increased labor force in post-World War II Europe, many Turkish citizens emigrated to Western Europe (particularly West Germany), contributing to the creation of a significant diaspora. Recently, Turkey has also become a destination for numerous immigrants, especially since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the consequent increase of freedom of movement in the region. These immigrants generally migrate from the former Soviet-bloc countries, as well as neighboring Muslim states, either to settle and work in Turkey or to continue their journey towards the European Union.
Nominally, 99.0% of the Turkish population is Muslim, of whom a majority belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. The remainder of the population belongs to other beliefs, particularly Christian denominations (Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Syriac Orthodox), Judaism, Yezidism and Atheism.
There is a strong tradition of secularism in Turkey. Even though the state has no official religion nor promotes any, it actively monitors the area between the religions. The constitution recognizes freedom of religion for individuals whereas religious communities are placed under the protection of the state, but the constitution explicitly states that they cannot become involved in the political process (by forming a religious party for instance) or establish faith-based schools. No party can claim that it represents a form of religious belief; neverheless, religious sensibilities are generally represented through conservative parties. Turkey prohibits by law the wearing of religious headcover and theo-political symbolic garments for both genders in government buildings, schools, and universities; a law upheld by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights as "legitimate" in Leyla Sahin v. Turkey on November 10, 2005.
For more info: www.wikipedia.org