Turkish families play a crucial role in the lives of all their members. Family members related by both blood and marriage live close to each other so that they can provide daily social contact, financial and emotional support, and help with aging parents and growing children. People from the same village are often related to each other by blood or marriage.

In traditional families, women and men play distinct roles in their families that reflect Islamic values. A man's honour and the honour of the family depend on the way in which the women of the household behave and are perceived by other families. Parents are highly respected and children are taught to obey their parents' wishes.

Traditionally, marriages are seen not as the joining of two individuals but as a social and financial arrangement between two families. Arranged marriages are common, although the man and woman are not forced to marry the person chosen by their families if they find they are incompatible.

Wedding celebrations last many days and involve several ceremonies. In Islamic families, the groom is expected to pay the bride a sum of money before the wedding. If the family is poor, the sum may be small, but a wealthier family usually pays a large amount.

Turkey has become a primarily urban society. About two-thirds of the population live in cities. The largest city is Istanbul, former capital of the Ottoman Empire, with about 10 million people. In 1922, Atatürk moved the capital to Ankara, which is now the country's second largest city, with 4 million people.

As people move from villages to cities, they try to maintain the same family relationships in their new surroundings. However, some traditions are changing. For example, children may not continue to live with their parents after they have grown up. In the cities, women play a far more public role than they do in villages because they often work outside the home, sometimes in professional positions. For several years in the 1990s, Turkey had a woman prime minister, Tansu Ciller.

 Did you know?
In some rural areas, it is possible to identify the region that a woman is from by her clothes. The traditional form of dress for women is baggy trousers (called salvar) or skirts, and a long blouse. Turkish village women wear head-scarves (called basortusu) to cover their heads.