Intermarriage between Turks and Kurds in contemporary Turkey: Inter-ethnic relations in an urbanizing environment

Data from the Turkish Demographic and Health Surveys are used to study Turkish-Kurdish intermarriage in contemporary Turkey. We find a strong tendency to marry within the own ethnic group (or towards 'ethnic homogamy') which, however, has decreased significantly between the early 1960s and the late 1990s. So, in spite of the conflict in south-eastern Turkey, the groups seem to have grown together somewhat in recent decades. This result remains intact if we control for the difference in group size between the groups and for the presence of educational homogamy. An individual-level analysis shows that most Turkish-Kurdish intermarriage takes place between Kurdish males and Turkish females and that both Turks and Kurds intermarry more in the large cities and in regions where their own group is small. With regard to education, the highest intermarriage tendencies are found among Turks with a low educational level and among Kurds with a high educational level. This finding is in line with social exchange theory.


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Data from the 1998 Turkish Demographic and Health Survey are used to gain insight into the characteristics of the non-Turkish speaking individuals in Turkey and in the socio-economic consequences of not speaking Turkish for them. The very large majority of non-Turkish speaking individuals turn out to be Kurdish and Arabic women, living in East Turkey and in the countryside. The data indicate that of the married women aged 15-49 in Turkey, about 4 per cent, or one in 25, is not able to speak Turkish. More th...
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Citation Formats
H. A. Hoşgör, “Intermarriage between Turks and Kurds in contemporary Turkey: Inter-ethnic relations in an urbanizing environment,” EUROPEAN SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW, pp. 417–432, 2002, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: