Turkey has a very diverse culture that is a blend of various elements of the Turkic, Anatolian, Ottoman (which was itself a continuation of both Greco-Roman and Islamic cultures) and Western culture and traditions, which started with the Westernisation of the Ottoman Empire and still continues today. This mix originally began as a result of the encounter of Turks and their culture with those of the peoples who were in their path during their migration from Central Asia to the West. Turkish culture is a product of efforts to be a "modern" Western state, while maintaining traditional religious and historical values.
Turkish painting, in the Western sense, developed actively starting from the mid 19th century. The very first painting lessons were scheduled at what is now the Istanbul Technical University (then the Imperial Military Engineering School) in 1793, mostly for technical purposes. In the late 19th century, human figure in the Western sense was being established in Turkish painting, especially with Osman Hamdi Bey. Impressionism, among the contemporary trends, appeared later on with Halil Pasha. The young Turkish artists sent to Europe in 1926 came back inspired by contemporary trends such as Fauvism, Cubism and even Expressionism, still very influential in Europe. The later "Group D" of artists led by Abidin Dino, Cemal Tollu, Fikret Mualla, Fahrünnisa Zeid, Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, Adnan Çoker and Burhan Doğançay introduced some trends that had lasted in the West for more than three decades. Other important movements in Turkish painting were the "Yeniler Grubu" (The Newcomers Group) of the late 1930s; the "On'lar Grubu" (Group of Ten) of the 1940s; the "Yeni Dal Grubu" (New Branch Group) of the 1950s; and the "Siyah Kalem Grubu" (Black Pen Group) of the 1960s.
Carpet weaving represents a traditional art, dating back to pre-Islamic times. During its long history, the art and craft of the woven carpet has integrated different cultural traditions. Traces of Byzantine design can be detected, Turkic peoples migrating from Central Asia, as well as Armenian people, Caucasian and Kurdic tribes either living in, or migrating to Anatolia, brought with them their traditional designs. The arrival of Islam and the development of the Islamic art also influenced Turkish carpet design. The history of its designs, motifs and ornaments thus reflects the political and ethnic history and diversity of the area of Asia minor. However, scientific attempts were unsuccessful, as yet, to attribute a particular design to a specific ethnic, regional, or even nomadic versus village tradition.
Turkish miniature is an art form, which can be linked to the Persian miniature tradition, as well as strong Chinese artistic influences. The words taswir or nakish were used to define the art of miniature painting in Ottoman Turkish. The studios the artists worked in were called Nakkashanes. The miniatures were usually not signed, perhaps because of the rejection of individualism, but also because the works were not created entirely by one person; the head painter designed the composition of the scene, and his apprentices drew the contours (which were called tahrir) with black or colored ink and then painted the miniature without creating an illusion of third dimension. The head painter, and much more often the scribe of the text, were indeed named and depicted in some of the manuscripts. The understanding of perspective was different from that of the nearby European Renaissance painting tradition, and the scene depicted often included different time periods and spaces in one picture. They followed closely the context of the book they were included in, resembling more illustrations rather than standalone works of art.
The earliest examples of Turkish paper marbling are thought to be a copy of the Hâlnâme by the poet Arifî. The text of this manuscript was rendered in a delicate cut paper découpage calligraphy by Mehmed bin Gazanfer and completed in 1540, and features many marbled and decorative paper borders. One early master by the name of Şebek is mentioned posthumously in the earliest Ottoman text on the art known as the Tertib-i Risâle-i Ebrî, which is dated based on internal evidence to after 1615. Several recipes in the text are accredited to this master. Another famous 18th-century master by the name of Hatip Mehmed Efendi (died 1773) is accredited with developing motifs and perhaps early floral designs, although evidence from India appears to contradict some of these claims. Despite this, marbled motifs are commonly referred to as "Hatip" designs in Turkey today.
Literature and theatre
Turkish literature is a mix of cultural influences. Interaction between the Ottoman Empire and the Islamic world along with Europe contributed to a blend of Turkic, Islamic and European traditions in modern-day Turkish music and literary arts. Turkish literature was heavily influenced by Persian and Arabic literature during most of the Ottoman era. The Tanzimat reforms introduced previously unknown Western genres, primarily the novel and the short story. Many of the writers in the Tanzimat period wrote in several genres simultaneously: for instance, the poet Nâmık Kemal also wrote the important 1876 novel İntibâh (Awakening), while the journalist Şinasi is noted for writing, in 1860, the first modern Turkish play, the one-act comedy "Şair Evlenmesi" (The Poet's Marriage). Most of the roots of modern Turkish literature were formed between the years 1896 and 1923. Broadly, there were three primary literary movements during this period: the Edebiyat-ı Cedîde (New Literature) movement; the Fecr-i Âtî (Dawn of the Future) movement; and the Millî Edebiyat (National Literature) movement. The first radical step of innovation in 20th century Turkish poetry was taken by Nâzım Hikmet, who introduced the free verse style. Another revolution in Turkish poetry came about in 1941 with the Garip movement led by Orhan Veli, Oktay Rıfat and Melih Cevdet. The mix of cultural influences in Turkey is dramatised, for example, in the form of the "new symbols of the clash and interlacing of cultures" enacted in the novels of Orhan Pamuk, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature..
The origin of Turkish theatre dates back thousands of years to ancient pagan rituals. The dances, music and songs performed during the rituals of the inhabitants of Anatolia millennia ago are the elements from which the first shows originated. These rituals later became theatrical shows. In the 10th century, a blend of traditions occurred between the Seljuk Turks and those of the inhabitants of Anatolia. The interaction between the various tribal societies paved the way for new plays. After the Tanzimat (Reformation) period, characters in Turkish theatre were modernized and plays were performed on European-style stages with the actors wearing European costumes. Following the declaration of the second Constitutional Monarchy in 1908, theatrical activities increased and social problems began to be reflected in the theatre as well as in historical plays. A theatrical conservatoire, Darülbedayi-i Osmani, was established in Istanbul in 1914. During the years of chaos and war, the Darülbedayi-i Osmani continued its activities and attracted the younger generation. Turkish playwrights emerged. Some wrote on romantic subjects, others were interested in social problems and still others dealt with nationalistic themes. There were even those who wrote musicals. In time, Turkish ladies began to appear on stage and this was indeed a revolution of the time, since female roles had only been played by actresses who were members of Turkey’s ethnic minorities. Today, theatre acts are performed by numerous private theatre companies and subsidized companies such as the Turkish State Theatres.
Music and dance
Music of Turkey includes mainly Turkic elements as well as partial influences ranging from Central Asian folk music, Arabic music, Greek music, Ottoman music, Persian music and Balkan music, as well as references to more modern European and American popular music. The roots of traditional music in Turkey span across centuries to a time when the Seljuk Turks migrated to Anatolia and Persia in the 11th century and contains elements of both Turkic and pre-Turkic influences. Much of its modern popular music can trace its roots to the emergence in the early 1930s drive for Westernization.
With the assimilation of immigrants from various regions the diversity of musical genres and musical instrumentation also expanded. Turkey has also seen documented folk music and recorded popular music produced in the ethnic styles of Greek, Armenian, Albanian, Polish and Jewish communities, among others.
Many Turkish cities and towns have vibrant local music scenes which, in turn, support a number of regional musical styles. Despite this however, western-style music styles like pop music and kanto lost popularity to arabesque in the late 70s and 80s. It became popular again by the beginning of the 1990s, as a result of an opening economy and society. With the support of Sezen Aksu, the resurging popularity of pop music gave rise to several international Turkish pop stars such as Tarkan and Sertab Erener. The late 1990s also saw an emergence of underground music producing alternative Turkish rock, electronica, hip-hop, rap and dance music in opposition to the mainstream corporate pop and arabesque genres, which many believe have become too commercial.
Turkey has a diverse folkloric dance culture. Hora is performed in East Thrace; Zeybek in the Aegean Region, Southern Marmara and East-Central Anatolia Region; Teke in the Western Mediterranean Region; Kaşık Oyunları and Karşılama in West-Central Anatolia, Western Black Sea Region, Southern Marmara Region and Eastern Mediterranean Region; Horon in the Central and Eastern Black Sea Region; Halay in Eastern Anatolia and the Central Anatolia Region; and Bar and Lezginka in the Northeastern Anatolia Region.
The architecture of the Seljuk Turks combined the elements and characteristics of the Turkic architecture of Central Asia with those of Persian, Arab, Armenian and Byzantine architecture. The transition from Seljuk architecture to Ottoman architecture is most visible in Bursa, which was the capital of the Ottoman State between 1335 and 1413. Following the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453, Ottoman architecture was significantly influenced by Byzantine architecture. Topkapı Palace in Istanbul is one of the most famous examples of classical Ottoman architecture and was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years. Mimar Sinan (c.1489–1588) was the most important architect of the classical period in Ottoman architecture. He was the chief architect of at least 374 buildings which were constructed in various provinces of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.
Since the 18th century, Turkish architecture has been increasingly influenced by European styles, and this can be particularly seen in the Tanzimat era buildings of Istanbul like the Dolmabahçe, Çırağan, Feriye, Beylerbeyi, Küçüksu, Ihlamur and Yıldız palaces, which were all designed by members of the Balyan family of Ottoman court architects. The Ottoman era waterfront houses (yalı) on the Bosphorus also reflect the fusion between classical Ottoman and European architectural styles during the aforementioned period. The First National Architectural Movement (Birinci Ulusal Mimarlık Akımı) in the early 20th century sought to create a new architecture, which was based on motifs from Seljuk and Ottoman architecture. The movement was also labelled Turkish Neoclassical or the National Architectural Renaissance. The leading architects of this movement were Vedat Tek (1873–1942), Mimar Kemaleddin Bey (1870–1927), Arif Hikmet Koyunoğlu (1888–1982) and Giulio Mongeri (1873–1953). Notable buildings from this era are the Grand Post Office in Istanbul (1905–1909), Tayyare Apartments (1919–1922), Istanbul 4th Vakıf Han (1911–1926), State Art and Sculpture Museum (1927–1930), Ethnography Museum of Ankara (1925–1928), the first Ziraat Bank headquarters in Ankara (1925–1929), the first Türkiye İş Bankası headquarters in Ankara (1926–1929), Bebek Mosque, and Kamer Hatun Mosque.
Turkish cuisine is regarded as one of the most prominent in the world, its popularity is largely owed to the cultural influences of the Ottoman Empire and partly because of its major tourism industry. It is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine, which can be described as a fusion and refinement of Central Asian, Caucasian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Balkan cuisines. The country's position between the East and the Mediterranean Sea helped the Turks gain complete control of major trade routes, and an ideal environment allowed plants and animals to flourish. Turkish cuisine was well established by the mid-1400s, the beginning of the Ottoman Empire's six hundred-year reign. Yogurt salads, fish in olive oil, and stuffed and wrapped vegetables became Turkish staples. The empire, eventually spanning from Austria to northern Africa, used its land and water routes to import exotic ingredients from all over the world. By the end of the 16th century, the Ottoman court housed over 1,400 live-in cooks and passed laws regulating the freshness of food. Since the fall of the empire in World War I (1914–1918) and the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923, foreign food such as French hollandaise sauce and western fast food have made their way into the modern Turkish diet.
The most popular sport in Turkey is association football (soccer). Galatasaray won the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 2000. The Turkish national football team has won the bronze medal at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup and UEFA Euro 2008.
Other mainstream sports such as basketball and volleyball are also popular. The men's national basketball team won the silver medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and at the EuroBasket 2001, which were both hosted by Turkey. The basketballing team is one of the most successful in the Mediterranean Games. Basketball club Anadolu Efes S.K. won the 1995–96 FIBA Korać Cup, won silver at the 1992–93 FIBA Saporta Cup, and won bronze at the Euroleague and Suproleague in 2000 and 2001. Basketball club Beşiktaş won the 2011–12 FIBA EuroChallenge. Galatasaray won the 2015–16 Eurocup, while in the same season, Fenerbahçe won the silver medal in the 2015–16 Euroleague. Fenerbahçe managed to win the gold medal in the 2016–17 season. The final of the 2013–14 EuroLeague Women basketball championship was played between two Turkish teams, Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe, and won by Galatasaray. The women's national basketball team won the silver medal at the EuroBasket Women 2011 and the bronze medal at the EuroBasket Women 2013. Along with the men's team the women's team is one of the most successful in the Mediterranean Games.
The women's national volleyball team won the gold medal at the 2015 European Games, the silver medal at the 2003 European Championship, the bronze medal at the 2011 European Championship, and the bronze medal at the 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix. They also won multiple medals over multiple decades at the Mediterranean Games. Women's volleyball clubs, namely Fenerbahçe, Eczacıbaşı and Vakıfbank, have won numerous European championship titles and medals. Fenerbahçe won the 2010 FIVB Women's Club World Championship and the 2012 CEV Women's Champions League. Representing Europe as the winner of the 2012–13 CEV Women's Champions League, Vakıfbank also became the world champion by winning the 2013 and 2017 FIVB Volleyball Women's Club World Championship.
The traditional national sport of Turkey has been yağlı güreş (oil wrestling) since Ottoman times. Edirne has hosted the annual Kırkpınar oiled wrestling tournament since 1346, making it the oldest sporting competition in the world. International wrestling styles governed by FILA such as freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling are also popular, with many European, World and Olympic championship titles won by Turkish wrestlers both individually and as a national team.
Media and cinema
Hundreds of television channels, thousands of local and national radio stations, several dozen newspapers, a productive and profitable national cinema and a rapid growth of broadband Internet use all make up a very vibrant media industry in Turkey. In 2003 a total of 257 television stations and 1,100 radio stations were licensed to operate, and others operated without licenses. Of those licensed, 16 television and 36 radio stations reached national audiences. The majority of the audiences are shared among public broadcaster TRT and the network-style channels such as Kanal D, Show TV, ATV and Star TV. The broadcast media have a very high penetration as satellite dishes and cable systems are widely available. The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) is the government body overseeing the broadcast media. By circulation, the most popular newspapers are Posta, Hürriyet, Sözcü, Sabah and Habertürk.
Turkish television dramas are increasingly becoming popular beyond Turkey's borders and are among the country's most vital exports, both in terms of profit and public relations. After sweeping the Middle East's television market over the past decade, Turkish shows have aired in more than a dozen South and Central American countries in 2016. Turkey is today the worlds second largest exporter of television series.
Yeşilçam is the sobriquet that refers to the Turkish film art and industry. The first movie exhibited in the Ottoman Empire was the Lumiere Brothers' 1895 film, L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat, which was shown in Istanbul in 1896. The first Turkish-made film was a documentary entitled Ayastefanos'taki Rus Abidesinin Yıkılışı (Demolition of the Russian Monument at San Stefano), directed by Fuat Uzkınay and completed in 1914. The first narrative film, Sedat Simavi's The Spy, was released in 1917. Turkey's first sound film was shown in 1931. Turkish directors like Ferzan Özpetek, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Yılmaz Güney won numerous international awards such as Palme d'Or and Golden Bear.
Despite legal provisions, media freedom in Turkey has steadily deteriorated from 2010 onwards, with a precipitous decline following the attempted coup in July 2016. As of 2017, at least 81 journalists are imprisoned in Turkey. Ranking 1st in the world, all of them facing anti-state charges, in the wake of an unprecedented crackdown that has included the shuttering of more than 100 news outlets. Freedom House lists Turkey's media as not free. The media crackdowns also extend to Internet censorship with Wikipedia getting blocked since April 2017.