Which Countries are Most Similar to Turkey?


Have you ever wondered how similar or different two countries are? The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. The index weights equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, technology, and geography. In addition each aspect was roughly balanced evenly between quantity/percentage and quality/type. See this post for a full explanation: https://objectivelists.home.blog/2020/05/30/country-similarity-index/

Similar with countries formerly part of the Ottoman Empire

The top 5 countries most similar to Turkey have all been part of the Ottoman Empire at one time or another. These countries are have a high percentage of Muslims, however their governments tend to be more secular and less conservative than other Muslim countries.

Top 10 Places Most Similar to Turkey

  1. Azerbaijan is by far the most similar country to Turkey. The most similar language to Turkish is Azeri. The populations of both countries are mostly Muslim, although Azeri are mostly Shia, in contrast to Turkey. In addition, both countries have secular governments with strongmen as rulers.
  2. Albania had been part of the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years, until it gained independence in 1912. It has the highest percentage of Muslims of any country entirely in Europe. Like Turkey, its government is officially secular.
  3. Tunisia is yet another Mediterranean country on this list. It is one of the most liberal and secular Arab countries. Tunisia and Turkey’s flags are extremely similar. In addition, Tunisia has a similar level of development as Turkey. However, it has a warmer and drier climate. 
  4. North Macedonia, unlike other countries on this list, does not have a Muslim majority population, but it still shares many similar customs and infrastructure. However, one big difference is that North Macedonia is landlocked.
  5. Bosnia & Herzegovina was the western-most portion of the Ottoman Empire. It is now a unique mix of Muslims, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians. Not only are its demographics and culture similar to Turkey, but also its mountainous geography.
  6. Montenegro, 7. Uzbekistan, 8. Iran, 9. Bulgaria, 10. Morocco

Top 10 Places Least Similar to Turkey

  1. Papua New Guinea is one of the hottest and wettest countries in the world, in contrast to Turkey’s drier and more temperate climate. Furthermore, its people are Christian and have little genetic similarity to Turks. In addition, they drive on the left and use Type I electrical outlets, unlike Turkey.
  2. Solomon Islands is another country in the Pacific Ocean, which is very similar to Papua New Guinea. The tropical rainforest nation located in Melanesia shares few things in common with Turkey.
  3. Malawi is located in Southern Africa. It is another poor country, which has a majority Christian population like South Sudan. It is much more rural and its infrastructure is less developed than Turkey.
  4. South Sudan is a newly formed Christian country that broke off from Sudan. Its infrastructure has yet to be fully modernized and its people are more conservative than Turks.
  5. Liberia is located in West Africa. Unlike other countries around it, it is a Christian country, since it was founded by freed slaves from the United States.
  6. Lesotho, 7. Somalia, 8. Central African Republic, 9. East Timor, 10. Dem. Republic of Congo

Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Turkey

As correctly predicted by the index, most people voted for Azerbaijan as the most similar country to Turkey. However, it did not get over 50% of the votes, so there isn’t an obvious answer.


  1. As a person living abroad for 15 years, Turkey is interestingly similar to many Latin American countries other than religion.


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