Home What Is It About Turkey? It’s A Lot of Things

What Is It About Turkey? It’s A Lot of Things

TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher reports about Turkish social network Yonja‘s

$12.5 million worth of funding
and asks, “What is it about Turkey?.” As a Turkish
native, I think I am the right person to answer that question and also, this can be an
opportunity to shed some light on the latest intriguing developments at Facebook,
LinkedIn, Xing, and Ning, as they relate to the European and world social networking markets.

First things first, this investment is actually quite old.
It was announced in Turkey in
August 2007, and since, there have been a lot of changes on the Yonja side,
including the

sell out
of some more shares to Turkey’s Yahoo!,
, for an estimated amount of $15 million. These moves are actually a
response to the growing popularity of Facebook in
Turkey. Turkey is now the 4th biggest local network on Facebook following the USA,
Canada, and England, and it is the biggest non-English speaking community on the site. Numbers below are from December 22, 2007:

  • The Turkish population on Facebook is estimated to exceed 2.1 million, which places Turkey just
    behind the USA, UK, and Canada, and ahead of English-speaking Australia.
  • 10 out of the 150 most active applications on Facebook are in non-English languages. 1 is in Spanish,
    the other 9 are in Turkish.
  • There are 6 non-English apps in the first 10 pages of the Recently Popular list
    – they are all in Turkish.

Further, some of Facebook’s fascinating visitor numbers coming out of ComScore and other web metric firms come from the Turkish effect. I had the chance to ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about it at the Crunchies event, and he agreed that Turkey was having an effect on Facebook’s traffic. This is actually a threat for
Facebook. Because if non-English speakers dominate an entire network, it could lead to the alienation of the existing user base, similar to what happened
with Orkut in its early days. Honor Gunday, the founder of one the largest
social networks in Turkey, Zurna, enviously calls this

Secondly, this investment in Yonja is not the only success we’ve heard about lately out of
Turkey. As Mike Butcher recalls, cember.net was recently

by the European business networking leader
Xing. This is actually a rather big move, because
while LinkedIn has a very strong
position in America, they have zero presence in other locations. LinkedIn might be fast
being erased by Xing’s global expansion. In a global, connected world, that’s
not a good sign for LinkedIn. And note that Xing is already a public company. So
if LinkedIn delays an exit a little more, it may lose its advantageous position,
even in the US. In other words, I’m not as optimistic about LinkedIn as our own Bernard Lunn. A small delay may make us call LinkedIn, LinkedInDust.

Similarly when you take a look at Alexa’s ranking of
Ning‘s biggest networks, you see that they are
either adult-oriented or Turkish. So Ning is being nourished by Turkish traffic
as well.

Last but not least, Turkey’s high potential in social networking comes from its
very young demographics. The number of young people in Turkey exceeds even
the most populated countries in Europe. Moreover, the
Internet penetration is quite high, and similar to Brazilians, Turkish people
have very social characteristics; Turkey was the 2nd biggest market for Live Messenger, after all.

As for Mike’s question, some influential people behind the world’s most
popular social networks come from Turkey. To name a couple, the founder of
Orkut and the project manager of Windows Live
are Turkish. So, “what is it about Turkey,” is not actually the right type of
question, although I can understand Mike, because Turkey is generally still a market in
the dark, awaiting more exploration.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.