The Most Westernized Country in Central Asia

Determining the “most westernized” country in Central Asia requires considering various social, cultural, economic, and political factors. One way to answer this complex question is by analyzing the data from the Country Similarity Index. The index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries, using a variety of statistics from five broad categories: demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The data suggests that among Central Asian countries, Turkey is the most similar to Western nations. This is no surprise since Turkey is sometimes considered to be part of Europe. In contrast, Mongolia is the least similar, exhibiting more traits of East Asia.

(Western countries defined as Europe, USA, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Central Asian countries are defined as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan)

graph of how westernized Central Asian countries are

Turkey is at the crossroads of Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East. The Country Similarity Index shows that it is best categorized as a Central Asian country, but it also has many similarities with European countries, especially in the Balkans. This is why Turkey is easily the “most westernized” country in Central Asia.


Genetic studies have revealed that Turkish people have more ancestry in common with people in Southern Europe than in Central Asia. In contrast, the eastern portions of Central Asia show closer genetic ties with East Asian people. Furthermore, Turkish people tend to be taller and heavier than other countries in Central Asia, so they are more similar to European countries in this regard.


Turkey has a long history of interaction with Western civilizations. The region of Anatolia, in particular, has been home to various civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans. These historical interactions have left a lasting imprint on Turkish culture, including language, architecture, art, and cuisine. While Turkey is now a predominately Muslim nation, it has a significant Christian history, with many historical Christian sites and influences.


Turkey’s government is secular. There is a strict separation between religious institutions and the government like most western nations. The state does not favor any particular religion, and individuals are free to practice their religion of choice. Turkey has undergone legal reforms over the years to align its legal system with European standards as part of its efforts to join the European Union. These reforms have aimed to strengthen the rule of law, human rights, and civil liberties.


Turkey has experienced significant economic growth and development over the past few decades. This economic progress has allowed for substantial investments in infrastructure projects, including transportation, energy, and telecommunications. Unlike most Central Asian countries, its railroads use the standard gauge, like the majority of countries in Europe. In addition, it is part of Europe’s synchronous electrical grid.


Part of Turkey is literally in Europe. It is closer to most European countries than the rest of Central Asia, since it borders both the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. It is the only Central Asian country is not landlocked. Turkey is also one of the most densely populated countries in the Central Asian region, so its density is more similar to Europe.

The Most Similar Western Country to Turkey

The Country Similarity Index suggests that Albania is the most similar western country to Turkey. Albania is the country with the highest percentage of Muslims entirely located within Europe. Furthermore, Albania and Turkey both were ruled by the Ottoman Empire for centuries.

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