Is Turkey A Third World Country?

Turkey has seen its fair share of conflict and struggle as a country, especially when reviewing factors such as the economy, financial equality, and the overall happiness of the people of Turkey. So is Turkey considered a third-world country because of this, or has the country been able to advance past this?

Turkey would not be considered a third-world country. However, whether or not Turkey would be the first or second world is up for debate. Similarly, much of Turkey could be considered developed, while some aspects of the country would be considered still developing. Turkey has been touted as a beautiful country to live in, but as with every country, Turkey has room to grow. 

Turkey has made significant progress in terms of developing a more stable economy and improving the quality of life for the people who live there. 

Is Turkey A Third World Country?

Based on various definitions of this outdated term, Turkey would not be considered third world. It would be more appropriate to classify Turkey as either a developing or developed country. The economy has been healthy for some time, though a recent financial crisis has slowed down some of the progress made. 

Around the 1990s, Turkey was in a worse position than they are now. Quality of life was not as advanced as it is now, and the country’s economic health was not as strong as it is now. Much of the damage done to the economy was a result of the Persian Gulf War. 

In order to recover, Turkey made connections with other countries by instilling confidence in these partnerships with their strong economic history before this event. As such, this was only a temporary hiccup, though Turkey has experienced waves in their economic prosperity afterwards. 

Is Turkey An Underdeveloped, Developing, Or Developed Country?

Turkey is developed in many aspects, with a few aspects of the country still developing. Turkey could still be considered developing as they do not have access to as many natural resources as other countries. As a capitalist country, there is also income disparity and inequality in the country that has yet to be improved. 

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In terms of what makes up a developed country, Turkey meets the generally accepted standards to be classified as such. As mentioned, Turkey has a capitalist economic structure, which has its pros and cons. Turkey is also a democratic country, and its people are generally happy with the standards of living in the country. 

Since Turkey is not home to many resources, the country has had to create sectors for production, employment, and exports. While Turkey does have an agricultural sector, it’s not the main provider of exportable goods. Turkey has built up industrial capabilities as well as service-related industry to ensure they are able to not only develop internally, but create more goods and services to trade with other countries. 

Today, Turkey follows a democratic system of government where citizens are able to elect party officials into parliamentary office. The country of Turkey truly believes in true democracy where freedoms are respected and the voice of the people is listened to. 

The Economy Of Turkey 

Turkey’s economy is diverse, as they have ensured they have a variety of industries built up to support multiple streams of income through exports. Turkey employs what is known as an emerging market, which is common for countries that are developing and on the path to becoming developed. 

Turkey isn’t immune to the drastic impacts of high inflation. Like many countries, Turkey has struggled to maintain wages that coincide with the rate of inflation. Likewise, Turkey has also experienced their currency drop in value, which makes economic growth on an individual and country-wide scale more difficult. 

These factors, along with the country’s debt, has led to a financial crisis that began in 2018, with tremors still being felt in the country now. Confusion about how interest rates work by the President and conflict with Turkey’s financial institutions have also had an impact on the value of Turkey’s lira currency and the ability to adjust to inflation. 

All that said, Turkey and its government have put forth a plan to help the country recover from these crises. The Finance Minister of Turkey has proposed that the best approach is to reduce government spending and halt unnecessary projects to free up money to reduce debt. Things could get worse before they get better, but any economic strife caused by this plan should be temporary. 

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The Quality Of Life In Turkey

When examining the Human Development Index’s criteria for quality of life or standards of living, Turkey scores very high on this index. Criteria includes access to and quality of education, income per capita, and life expectancy. The people of Turkey also have a quality health care system with subsidies from the government making access much more affordable for the average citizen, though accessibility in rural areas needs development. 

Turkey can also be considered progressive in terms of equality for women, as they were one of the first countries to allow women to vote. Women have the freedom to choose whether or not they want to work, and have access to the same opportunities for education and employment as men. 

Post-secondary education is subsidized in Turkey, but this causes competition to be quite high as not all post-secondary institutions in the country are public. However, for those who are able to meet the requirements to get into these colleges or universities, they are not required to pay. There are private post-secondary institutions who charge tuition as well. 

It is important to note that poverty still exists in Turkey, and as mentioned, the distribution of wealth in the country is inadequate. Financial struggle is often seen in rural areas of the country more than urban areas, as those who rely on agriculture for income and production aren’t immune to agricultural instability. More industrialized and modern areas have access to more income-making opportunities and safer living conditions. 

Is Turkey A Safe Country?

Turkey is a highly desirable place for a vacation due to its beautiful weather, scenic beaches, and friendly people. Turkish food is also amongst the major reasons people choose to visit the country. Turkey is a safe country for tourists to visit. As with any country, crime happens, but tourists are not known to be specifically targeted by criminals. 

Of course, recent tensions occuring in and around Turkey have seen threats of attacks and terroristic activity, so there is a degree of uncertainty for those planning to travel to Turkey as well as those who live there. Generally speaking, however, Turkey has been safe to live in or travel to. 

Areas of Turkey that are close to the Syrian border tend to come with safety risks for both locals and tourists. In these areas, it’s crucial to remain alert and aware to avoid interacting with potential criminals who are known to rob and assault people. Terrorism isn’t necessarily targeting Turkey as a country, but terroristic threats can pour into the country, especially close to the border. 

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About Turkey 

Turkey is known as a transcontinental country, as its land is split between Asia and Europe. While not called Turkey until the 1900s, the land now known as Turkey held some of the earliest known settlements in human history. Turkey is full of ancient historical significance and important landmarks, as several ancient civilizations called the area home in their time. 

Turkey did not become its own independent nation until after the First World War. In order to establish sovereignty, the Turkey National Movement was formed. This movement aimed to remove any countries trying to occupy the land at the time amongst other actions. In 1923, efforts paid off and the Republic of Turkey was formed. 

Turkey also enjoys some beautiful, Mediterranean weather. Temperatures remain pretty warm throughout the year, and winters are cooler with some wet conditions. Because of Turkey’s geographical location, earthquakes are known to occur from time to time. 

Biodiversity is also vast and healthy in Turkey, with some stunning national parks and forests that are home to a variety of animals. To keep biodiversity in such great condition, Turkey also has wildlife preservation areas, and large amounts of rain throughout the year helps to keep all the plants and trees healthy and thriving. 

Final Thoughts 

Since Turkey has endured such a varied history built with both successes and conflict, is Turkey a third world country? It is not, and projections indicate that Turkey is well on its way to becoming a developed country. The pandemic and the current conflict in Syria hasn’t been easy on Turkey, but the country as a whole is resilient. 

Once the economy is able to get some of its goals realized, there is hope that the government will shift its focus to closing the income gaps that exist in the country and will continue to innovate and build. Turkey has incredible potential to become a first world, developed, or high income country, depending on how you choose to classify a country’s overall condition. 


Marta Kovachek
About the author: Marta Kovachek graduated from the university with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.
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