|Turkey has been officially secular since 1924, although 98% of the population is Muslim. Most Turkish Muslims belong to the Sunni branch of Islam, but a significant number are Alevi Muslims. The appeal of political Islam and the Kurdish insurgency continue to fuel public debate on several aspects of Turkish society, including the role of religion, the necessity for human rights protections, and the expectation of security.
Turks of Kurdish origin constitute an ethnic and linguistic group. Estimates of their population range up to 12 million. Although an increasing number have migrated to the cities, the traditional home of the Kurds is in poor, remote areas of the east and southeast, where incomes are less than half the national average and all other economic and social indicators lag.