Around 70 percent of Turkish citizens have never participated in any culture or arts event in their lives, according to a new report from the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) based on data from research firms GfK and Ipsos.
According to the Ipsos 2016 “Understanding Turkey Guide,” 49 percent of Turkish people have never been to the cinema, 66 percent have never been to a concert, theater or opera events, and 39 percent have never read a book.
The study showed that some 85 percent of respondents said their favorite culture/arts activity is “watching TV,” while 47 percent of people said they do not read any magazines, while almost 90 percent said they have never been to a hobby or interest course in their lives.
According to another study by GfK prepared between June and September 2016, respondents in the 18-24 age range have the highest participation rate for arts and culture activities in Turkey. However, overall 70 percent of respondents said they had never participated in any such event.
GfK also found that it is the most highly educated portion of Turkish society that mostly participates in culture/arts events, while some 82 percent of the population said they are not interested in any arts or culture field.
Of all respondents, playing and learning how to play a musical instrument topped the list of interests in such activities with 7 percent, followed by painting and sculpture activities with 4 percent, and drama activities with 3 percent.
The İKSV study also touched on the use of YouTube in Turkey, finding that half of all active Internet users up to the age of 45 visit the website every day. Such regular usage of the website declines for people older than 55, with only a quarter of people in that category visiting YouTube on a daily basis.
The figures were published in the İKSV report titled “Public Engagement in Arts,” which also underscored the commonly made distinction between paid arts and culture activities and free activities.
The studies referenced in the report concluded that in Turkish society there is a widespread belief that free culture and arts activities would “lack quality.”