Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye), known officially as the Republic of Turkey ( Türkiye Cumhuriyeti (help·info)), is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia (mostly in the Anatolian peninsula) and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe. Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, Azerbaijan (the exclave of Nakhchivan) and Iran to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. The Mediterranean Sea and Cyprus are to the south; the Aegean Sea is to the west; and the Black Sea is to the north. The Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles (which together form the Turkish Straits) demarcate the boundary between East Thrace and Anatolia; they also separate Europe and Asia.
Turkey is one of the six independent Turkic states. Approximately 70–80% of the population are ethnic Turks. The country's official language is Turkish, which is spoken by approximately 85% of the population as mother tongue.Kurdish and Zazaki languages are spoken by Kurds and Zazas, who together constitute 9–25% of the population. The vast majority of the population is Muslim. Other minorities are thought to make up between 7 and 12% of the population.
Oghuz Turks began migrating into the area now called Turkey (derived from the Medieval Latin Turchia, i.e. "Land of the Turks") in the 11th century. The process was greatly accelerated by the Seljuk victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert. Several small beyliks and the Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion. Starting from the 13th century, the Ottoman beylik united Anatolia and created an empire encompassing much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia and North Africa. After the Ottoman Empire collapsed following its defeat in World War I, parts of it were occupied by the victorious Allies. A cadre of young military officers, led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues, organized a successful resistance to the Allies; in 1923, they would establish the modern Republic of Turkey with Atatürk as its first president.
Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage. Turkey has become increasingly integrated with the West through membership in organisations such as the Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, OSCE and the G-20 major economies. Turkey began full membership negotiations with the European Union in 2005, having been an associate member of the European Economic Community since 1963 and having joined the EU Customs Union in 1995. Turkey has also fostered close cultural, political, economic and industrial relations with the Middle East, the Turkic states of Central Asia and the African countries through membership in organisations such as the Turkic Council, Joint Administration of Turkic Arts and Culture, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Economic Cooperation Organisation.
Turkey's location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a country of significant geostrategic importance. In addition to its strategic location, Turkey's developing economy and diplomatic initiatives have led to its recognition as a growing regional power in the Middle East.
The name of Turkey, Türkiye in the Turkish language, can be divided into two components: the ethnonym Türk and the abstract suffix –iye meaning "owner", "land of" or "related to" (derived from the Arabic suffix –iyya, which is similar to the Greek and Latin suffixes –ia). The first recorded use of the term "Türk" or "Türük" as an autonym is contained in the Orkhon inscriptions of the Göktürks (Celestial Turks) of Central Asia (c. 8th century). The English word "Turkey" is derived from the Medieval Latin Turchia (c. 1369). The Greek cognate of this name, Tourkia (Greek: Τουρκία) was originally used by the Byzantines to describe medieval Hungary (since pre-Magyar Hungary was occupied by proto-Turkic and Turkic tribes, such as the Huns, Avars, Bulgars, Kabars, Pechenegs and Cumans.) Similarly, the medieval Khazar Empire, a Turkic state on the northern shores of the Black and Caspian seas, was referred to as Tourkia (Land of the Turks) in Byzantine sources. However, the Byzantines later began using this name to define the Seljuk-controlled parts of Anatolia in the centuries that followed the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.
The Anatolian peninsula, comprising most of modern Turkey, is one of the oldest permanently settled regions in the world. Göbekli Tepe is the site of the oldest known man-made religious structure, a temple dating to 10,000 BC, while Çatalhöyük is a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately 7500 BCE to 5700 BCE. It is the largest and best-preserved Neolithic site found to date and in July 2012 was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The settlement of Troy started in the Neolithic and continued into the Iron Age. Through recorded history, Anatolians have spoken Indo-European, Semitic and Kartvelian languages, as well as many languages of uncertain affiliation. In fact, given the antiquity of the Indo-European Hittite and Luwian languages, some scholars have proposed Anatolia as the hypothetical center from which the Indo-European languages radiated. The earliest recorded inhabitants of Anatolia were the Hattians and Hurrians, non-Indo-European peoples who inhabited the Central Anatolia and Eastern Anatolia, respectively, as early as ca. 2300 BC. Indo-European Hittites came to Anatolia and gradually absorbed Hattians and Hurrians ca. 2000–1700 BC. The first major empire in the area was founded by the Hittites, from the eighteenth through the 13th century BC. The Assyrians conquered and settled parts of southeastern Turkey as early as 1950 BC until the year 612 BC. Following the collapse of the Hittite empire c. 1180 BC, the Phrygians, an Indo-European people, achieved ascendancy in Anatolia until their kingdom was destroyed by the Cimmerians in the 7th century BC. The most powerful of Phrygia's successor states were Lydia, Caria and Lycia. The Lydians and Lycians spoke languages that were fundamentally Indo-European, but both languages had acquired non-Indo-European elements prior to the Hittite and Hellenistic periods.
Starting around 1200 BC, the coast of Anatolia was heavily settled by Aeolian and Ionian Greeks. Numerous important cities were founded by these colonists, such as Miletus, Ephesus, Smyrna (modern İzmir), and Byzantium (later Constantinople and Istanbul). The first state that was called Armenia by neighboring peoples was the state of the Armenian Orontid dynasty, which included parts of eastern Turkey beginning in the 6th century BC.
Anatolia was conquered by the Persian Achaemenid Empire during the 6th and 5th centuries BC and later fell to Alexander the Great in 334 BC. Following Alexander's death in 323 BC, Anatolia was subsequently divided into a number of small Hellenistic kingdoms (including Bithynia, Cappadocia, Pergamum, and Pontus), all of which became part of the Roman Republic by the mid-1st century BC.
In 324, Constantine I chose Byzantium to be the new capital of the Roman Empire, renaming it New Rome (later Constantinople, modern Istanbul.) Following the death of Theodosius I in 395 and the permanent division of the Roman Empire between his two sons, Constantinople (Istanbul) became the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which would rule most of the territory of Turkey until the Late Middle Ages.
The House of Seljuk was a branch of the Kınık Oğuz Turks who resided on the periphery of the Muslim world, in the Yabghu Khaganate of the Oğuz confederacy, to the north of the Caspian and Aral Seas, in the 9th century.[page needed] In the 10th century the Seljuks started migrating from their ancestral homeland into Persia, which became the administrative core of the Great Seljuk Empire.
In the latter half of the 11th century the Seljuks began penetrating into the eastern regions of Anatolia. The victory of the Seljuk sultan Alp Arslan against the Byzantine emperor Romanos IV Diogenes at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 gave rise to the Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate, which developed as a separate branch of the Great Seljuk Empire that covered parts of Central Asia, Persia, Anatolia, the Levant and southeast Arabia.[page needed]
In 1243, the Seljuk armies were defeated by the Mongols, causing the Seljuk Empire's power to slowly disintegrate. In its wake, one of the Turkish principalities governed by Osman I would, over the next 200 years, evolve into the Ottoman Empire, expanding throughout Anatolia, the Balkans and the Levant.[page needed] In 1453, the Ottomans completed their conquest of the Byzantine Empire by capturing its capital, Constantinople.
Sultan Selim I (1512–1520) successfully expanded the Empire's southern and eastern borders by defeating Shah Ismail I of Safavid dynasty, in the Battle of Chaldiran(1514). Yavuz Sultan Selim expanded Ottoman rule in Egypt, and created a naval presence on the Red Sea. After this Ottoman expansion and following expansions, a competition started between the Portuguese Empire and the Ottoman Empire to become the dominant power in the region of Red Sea and Indian Ocean.
The Ottoman Empire's power and prestige peaked in the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. The empire was often at odds with the Holy Roman Empire in its steady advance towards Central Europe through the Balkans and the southern part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.[page needed] At sea, the Ottoman Navy contended with several Holy Leagues (composed primarily of Habsburg Spain, the Republic of Genoa, the Republic of Venice, the Knights of St. John, the Papal States, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Duchy of Savoy) for control of the Mediterranean Sea. In the Indian Ocean, the Ottoman Navy frequently confronted Portuguese fleets in order to defend the empire's monopoly over the historic maritime trade routes between East Asia and Western Europe; these routes faced new competition with the Portuguese discovery of the Cape of Good Hope in 1488, which had a considerable impact on the Ottoman economy. In addition, the Ottomans were occasionally at war with Safavid Persia over territorial disputes or caused by religious differences between 16th and 18th centuries.
From the beginning of the 19th century onwards, the Ottoman Empire began to decline. As it gradually shrank in size, military power, and wealth, many Balkan Muslims migrated to the Empire's heartland in Anatolia, along with Circassians fleeing the Russian conquest of the Caucasus. The decline of the Ottoman Empire led to a rise in nationalist sentiment among the various subject peoples, leading to increased ethnic tensions which occasionally burst into violence, such as the Hamidian Massacres. The Ottoman Empire entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers and was defeated. During the war, an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were deported and exterminated in the Armenian Genocide. The Turkish government denies that there was an Armenian genocide and claims that Armenians were only relocated from the eastern war zone. Large scale massacres were also committed against the empire's other minority groups such as the Greeks and Assyrians. Following the Armistice of Mudros on 30 October 1918, the victorious Allied Powers sought to partition the Ottoman state through the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres.
The occupation of Constantinople and Smyrna by the Allies in the aftermath of World War I prompted the establishment of the Turkish national movement. Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Pasha, a military commander who had distinguished himself during the Battle of Gallipoli, the Turkish War of Independence was waged with the aim of revoking the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres.
By 18 September 1922, the occupying armies were expelled, and the new Turkish state was established. On 1 November, the newly founded parliament formally abolished the Sultanate, thus ending 623 years of Ottoman rule. The Treaty of Lausanne of 24 July 1923, led to the international recognition of the sovereignty of the newly formed "Republic of Turkey" as the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, and the republic was officially proclaimed on 29 October 1923, in the new capital of Ankara. The Lausanne treaty stipulated a population exchange between Greece and Turkey, whereby 1.1 million Greeks left Turkey for Greece in exchange for 380,000 Muslims trasnferred from Greece to Turkey.
Mustafa Kemal became the republic's first President and subsequently introduced many radical reforms with the aim of founding a new secular republic from the remnants of its Ottoman past. With the Surname Law of 1934, the Turkish Parliament bestowed upon Mustafa Kemal the honorific surname "Atatürk" (Father of the Turks.)
Turkey remained neutral during most of World War II, but entered the war on the side of the Allies on 23 February 1945, as a ceremonial gesture; and on 26 June 1945, became a charter member of the United Nations. Difficulties faced by Greece after the war in quelling a communist rebellion, along with demands by the Soviet Union for military bases in the Turkish Straits, prompted the United States to declare the Truman Doctrine in 1947. The doctrine enunciated American intentions to guarantee the security of Turkey and Greece, and resulted in large-scale U.S. military and economic support.[page needed] Both countries were included in the Marshall Plan and OEEC for rebuilding European economies in 1948, and subsequently became founding members of the OECD in 1961.
After participating with the United Nations forces in the Korean War, Turkey joined NATO in 1952, becoming a bulwark against Soviet expansion into the Mediterranean. Following a decade of Cypriot intercommunal violence and the coup in Cyprus on 15 July 1974 staged by the EOKA B paramilitary organization, which overthrew President Makarios and installed the pro-Enosis (union with Greece) Nikos Sampson as dictator, Turkey invaded Cyprus on 20 July 1974. Nine years later the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey, was established.
The single-party period ended in 1945. It was followed by a tumultuous transition to multiparty democracy over the next few decades, which was interrupted by military coups d'état in 1960, 1971, 1980 and 1997.[page needed] In 1984, the PKK began an insurgency against the Turkish government; the conflict, which has claimed over 40,000 lives, continues today. Since the liberalisation of the Turkish economy during the 1980s, the country has enjoyed stronger economic growth and greater political stability.
Turkey is a parliamentary representative democracy. Since its foundation as a republic in 1923, Turkey has developed a strong tradition of secularism.Turkey's constitution governs the legal framework of the country. It sets out the main principles of government and establishes Turkey as a unitary centralized state.
The President of the Republic is the head of state and has a largely ceremonial role. The president is elected for a five-year term by direct elections. Abdullah Gül was elected as president on 28 August 2007, by a popular parliament round of votes, succeeding Ahmet Necdet Sezer.
Executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers which make up the government, while the legislative power is vested in the unicameral parliament, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature, and the Constitutional Court is charged with ruling on the conformity of laws and decrees with the constitution. The Council of State is the tribunal of last resort for administrative cases, and the High Court of Appeals for all others.
The prime minister is elected by the parliament through a vote of confidence in the government and is most often the head of the party having the most seats in parliament. The current prime minister is the former mayor of İstanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose conservative Justice and Development Party won an absolute majority of parliamentary seats in the 2002 general elections, organized in the aftermath of the economic crisis of 2001, with 34% of the suffrage.
In the 2007 general elections, the AKP received 46.6% of the votes and could defend its majority in parliament. Although the ministers do not have to be members of the parliament, ministers with parliament membership are common in Turkish politics. In 2007, a series of events regarding state secularism and the role of the judiciary in the legislature occurred. These included the controversial presidential election of Abdullah Gül, who in the past had been involved with Islamist parties; and the government's proposal to lift the headscarf ban in universities, which was annulled by the Constitutional Court, leading to a fine and a near ban of the ruling party.
Universal suffrage for both sexes has been applied throughout Turkey since 1933, and every Turkish citizen who has turned 18 years of age has the right to vote. As of 2004, there were 50 registered political parties in the country. The Constitutional Court can strip the public financing of political parties that it deems anti-secular or separatist, or ban their existence altogether.
There are 550 members of parliament who are elected for a four-year term by a party-list proportional representation system from 85 electoral districts which represent the 81 administrative provinces of Turkey (İstanbul is divided into three electoral districts, whereas Ankara and İzmir are divided into two each because of their large populations). To avoid a hung parliament and its excessive political fragmentation, only parties winning at least 10% of the votes cast in a national parliamentary election gain the right to representation in the parliament. Because of this threshold, in the 2007 elections only three parties formally entered the parliament (compared to two in 2002).
Human rights in Turkey have been the subject of much controversy and international condemnation. Between 1998 and 2008 the European Court of Human Rights made more than 1,600 judgements against Turkey for human rights violations, particularly the right to life and freedom from torture. Other issues such as Kurdish rights, women's rights and press freedom have also attracted controversy. Turkey's human rights record continues to be a significant obstacle to future membership of the EU. The Turkish Journalists Association says that 58 of the country's journalists have been imprisoned. A former U.S. State Department spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, said that the United States had "broad concerns about trends involving intimidation of journalists in Turkey."
Turkey is a founding member of the United Nations (1945), the OECD (1961), the OIC (1969), the OSCE (1973), the ECO (1985), the BSEC (1992) and the G-20 major economies (1999). On 17 October 2008, Turkey was elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Turkey's membership of the council effectively began on 1 January 2009. Turkey had previously been a member of the U.N. Security Council in 1951–1952, 1954–1955 and 1961.
In line with its traditional Western orientation, relations with Europe have always been a central part of Turkish foreign policy. Turkey became a founding member of the Council of Europe in 1949, applied for associate membership of the EEC (predecessor of the European Union) in 1959 and became an associate member in 1963. After decades of political negotiations, Turkey applied for full membership of the EEC in 1987, became an associate member of the Western European Union in 1992, joined the EU Customs Union in 1995 and has been in formal accession negotiations with the EU since 2005.
Since 1974, Turkey has not recognized the Republic of Cyprus, but instead supports the Turkish Cypriot community in the form of the de facto Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which was established in 1983 and is recognized only by Turkey. The Cyprus dispute complicates Turkey's relations with both NATO and the EU, and remains a major stumbling block to Turkey's EU accession bid.
The other defining aspect of Turkey's foreign relations has been its ties with the United States. Based on the common threat posed by the Soviet Union, Turkey joined NATO in 1952, ensuring close bilateral relations with Washington throughout the Cold War. In the post–Cold War environment, Turkey's geostrategic importance shifted towards its proximity to the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans. In return, Turkey has benefited from the United States' political, economic and diplomatic support, including in key issues such as the country's bid to join the European Union.
The independence of the Turkic states of the Soviet Union in 1991, with which Turkey shares a common cultural and linguistic heritage, allowed Turkey to extend its economic and political relations deep into Central Asia, thus enabling the completion of a multi-billion-dollar oil and natural gas pipeline from Baku in Azerbaijan to the port of Ceyhan in Turkey. The Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline forms part of Turkey's foreign policy strategy to become an energy conduit to the West. However, Turkey's border with Armenia, a state in the Caucasus, remains closed following Armenia's occupation of Azerbaijani territory during the Nagorno-Karabakh War. Under the AK Party government, Turkey's influence has grown in the Middle East based on the strategic depth doctrine, also called Neo-Ottomanism.
The Turkish Armed Forces consists of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. The Gendarmerie and the Coast Guard operate as parts of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in peacetime, although they are subordinated to the Army and Navy Commands respectively in wartime, during which they have both internal law enforcement and military functions.
The Turkish Armed Forces is the second largest standing armed force in NATO, after the U.S. Armed Forces, with a combined strength of just over a million uniformed personnel serving in its five branches. Since 2003, Turkey contributes military personnel to Eurocorps and takes part in the EU Battlegroups. Turkey is also considered to be the strongest military power of the Middle East region besides Israel.
Every fit male Turkish citizen otherwise not barred is required to serve in the military for a period ranging from three weeks to fifteen months, dependent on education and job location. Turkey does not recognise conscientious objection and does not offer a civilian alternative to military service.
Turkey is one of five NATO member states which are part of the nuclear sharing policy of the alliance, together with Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. A total of 90 B61 nuclear bombs are hosted at the Incirlik Air Base, 40 of which are allocated for use by the Turkish Air Force.
In 1998, Turkey announced a modernization program worth US$160 billion over a twenty year period in various projects including tanks, fighter jets, helicopters, submarines, warships and assault rifles. Turkey is a Level 3 contributor to the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program.
Turkey has maintained forces in international missions under the United Nations and NATO since 1950, including peacekeeping missions in Somalia and former Yugoslavia, and support to coalition forces in the First Gulf War. Turkey maintains 36,000 troops in northern Cyprus; their presence is supported and approved by the de facto local government, but the Republic of Cyprus and the international community regard it as an illegal occupation force, and its presence has also been denounced in several United Nations Security Council resolutions. Turkey has had troops deployed in Afghanistan as part of the United States stabilisation force and the UN-authorized, NATO-commanded International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) since 2001. In 2006, the Turkish parliament deployed a peacekeeping force of Navy patrol vessels and around 700 ground troops as part of an expanded United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in the wake of the Israeli-Lebanon conflict.
The Chief of the General Staff is appointed by the president and is responsible to the prime minister. The Council of Ministers is responsible to parliament for matters of national security and the adequate preparation of the armed forces to defend the country. However, the authority to declare war and to deploy the Turkish Armed Forces to foreign countries or to allow foreign armed forces to be stationed in Turkey rests solely with the parliament. The actual commander of the armed forces is the Chief of the General Staff General Necdet Özel since August 4, 2011.
The capital city of Turkey is Ankara. The territory of Turkey is subdivided into 81 provinces for administrative purposes. The provinces are organized into 7 regions for census purposes; however, they do not represent an administrative structure. Each province is divided into districts, for a total of 923 districts.
Provinces usually bear the same name as their provincial capitals, also called the central district; exceptions to this custom are the provinces of Hatay (capital: Antakya), Kocaeli (capital: İzmit) and Sakarya (capital: Adapazarı). Provinces with the largest populations are Istanbul (13 million), Ankara (5 million), İzmir (4 million), Bursa (3 million) and Adana (2 million).
The biggest city and the pre-Republican capital Istanbul is the financial, economic and cultural heart of the country. An estimated 75.5% of Turkey's population live in urban centers. In all, 19 provinces have populations that exceed 1 million inhabitants, and 20 provinces have populations between 1 million and 500,000 inhabitants. Only two provinces have populations less than 100,000.
Turkey is a transcontinental Eurasian country. Asian Turkey (made up largely of Anatolia), which includes 97% of the country, is separated from European Turkey by the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles (which together form a water link between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean). European Turkey (eastern Thrace or Rumelia in the Balkan peninsula) comprises 3% of the country.
The territory of Turkey is more than 1,600 kilometres (1,000 mi) long and 800 km (500 mi) wide, with a roughly rectangular shape. It lies between latitudes 35° and 43° N, and longitudes 25° and 45° E. Turkey's area, including lakes, occupies 783,562 square kilometres (300,948 sq mi), of which 755,688 square kilometres (291,773 sq mi) are in Southwest Asia and 23,764 square kilometres (9,174 sq mi) in Europe. Turkey is the world's 37th-largest country in terms of area. The country is encircled by seas on three sides: the Aegean Sea to the west, the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean to the south. Turkey also contains the Sea of Marmara in the northwest.
The European section of Turkey, East Thrace, forms the borders of Turkey with Greece and Bulgaria. The Asian part of the country, Anatolia, consists of a high central plateau with narrow coastal plains, between the Köroğlu and Pontic mountain ranges to the north and the Taurus Mountains to the south. Eastern Turkey has a more mountainous landscape and is home to the sources of rivers such as the Euphrates, Tigris and Aras, and contains Mount Ararat, Turkey's highest point at 5,137 metres (16,854 ft), and Lake Van, the largest lake in the country.
Turkey is divided into seven census regions: Marmara, Aegean, Black Sea, Central Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia, Southeastern Anatolia and the Mediterranean. The uneven north Anatolian terrain running along the Black Sea resembles a long, narrow belt. This region comprises approximately one-sixth of Turkey's total land area. As a general trend, the inland Anatolian plateau becomes increasingly rugged as it progresses eastward.
Turkey's varied landscapes are the product of complex earth movements that have shaped the region over thousands of years and still manifest themselves in fairly frequent earthquakes and occasional volcanic eruptions. The Bosphorus and the Dardanelles owe their existence to the fault lines running through Turkey that led to the creation of the Black Sea. There is an earthquake fault line across the north of the country from west to east, which caused a major earthquake in 1999.
The coastal areas of Turkey bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea have a temperate Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters. The coastal areas of Turkey bordering the Black Sea have a temperate Oceanic climate with warm, wet summers and cool to cold, wet winters. The Turkish Black Sea coast receives the greatest amount of precipitation and is the only region of Turkey that receives high precipitation throughout the year. The eastern part of that coast averages 2,500 millimetres annually which is the highest precipitation in the country.
The coastal areas of Turkey bordering the Sea of Marmara (including Istanbul), which connects the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea, have a transitional climate between a temperate Mediterranean climate and a temperate Oceanic climate with warm to hot, moderately dry summers and cool to cold, wet winters. Snow does occur on the coastal areas of the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea almost every winter, but it usually lies no more than a few days. Snow on the other hand is rare in the coastal areas of the Aegean Sea and very rare in the coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea.
Conditions can be much harsher in the more arid interior. Mountains close to the coast prevent Mediterranean influences from extending inland, giving the central Anatolian plateau of the interior of Turkey a continental climate with sharply contrasting seasons.
Winters on the eastern part of the plateau are especially severe. Temperatures of −30 °C to −40 °C (−22 °F to −40 °F) can occur in eastern Anatolia, and snow may lie on the ground at least 120 days of the year. In the west, winter temperatures average below 1 °C (34 °F). Summers are hot and dry, with temperatures generally above 30 °C (86 °F) in the day. Annual precipitation averages about 400 millimetres (15 in), with actual amounts determined by elevation. The driest regions are the Konya plain and the Malatya plain, where annual rainfall frequently is less than 300 millimetres (12 in). May is generally the wettest month, whereas July and August are the driest.
Turkey has the world's 15th largest GDP-PPP and 17th largest nominal GDP. The country is a founding member of the OECD and the G-20 major economies. During the first six decades of the republic, between 1923 and 1983, Turkey has mostly adhered to a quasi-statist approach with strict government planning of the budget and government-imposed limitations over private sector participation, foreign trade, flow of foreign currency, and foreign direct investment. However, in 1983 Prime Minister Turgut Özal initiated a series of reforms designed to shift the economy from a statist, insulated system to a more private-sector, market-based model.
The reforms, combined with unprecedented amounts of foreign loans, spurred rapid economic growth; but this growth was punctuated by sharp recessions and financial crises in 1994, 1999 (following the earthquake of that year), and 2001; resulting in an average of 4% GDP growth per annum between 1981 and 2003. Lack of additional fiscal reforms, combined with large and growing public sector deficits and widespread corruption, resulted in high inflation, a weak banking sector and increased macroeconomic volatility. Since the economic crisis of 2001 and the reforms initiated by the finance minister of the time, Kemal Derviş, inflation has fallen to single-digit numbers, investor confidence and foreign investment have soared, and unemployment has fallen.
Turkey has gradually opened up its markets through economic reforms by reducing government controls on foreign trade and investment and the privatisation of publicly owned industries, and the liberalisation of many sectors to private and foreign participation has continued amid political debate. The public debt to GDP ratio, while well below its levels during the recession of 2001, reached 46% in 2010 Q3. The GDP growth rate from 2002 to 2007 averaged 7%, which made Turkey one of the fastest growing economies in the world during that period. However, growth slowed to 1% in 2008, and in 2009 the Turkish economy was affected by the global financial crisis, with a recession of 5%. The economy was estimated to have returned to 8% growth in 2010.
In the early years of this century the chronically high inflation was brought under control and this led to the launch of a new currency, the Turkish new lira, on 1 January 2005, to cement the acquisition of the economic reforms and erase the vestiges of an unstable economy. On 1 January 2009, the new Turkish lira was renamed once again as the Turkish lira, with the introduction of new banknotes and coins. As a result of continuing economic reforms, inflation dropped to 8% in 2005, and the unemployment rate to 10%.
Tourism in Turkey has experienced rapid growth in the last twenty years, and constitutes an important part of the economy. In 2008 there were 31 million visitors to the country, who contributed $22 billion to Turkey's revenues. Other key sectors of the Turkish economy are banking, construction, home appliances, electronics, textiles, oil refining, petrochemical products, food, mining, iron and steel, machine industry and automotive. Turkey has a large and growing automotive industry, which produced 1,147,110 motor vehicles in 2008, ranking as the 6th largest producer in Europe (behind the United Kingdom and above Italy) and the 15th largest producer in the world. Turkey is also one of the leading shipbuilding nations; in 2007 the country ranked 4th in the world (behind China, South Korea and Japan) in terms of the number of ordered ships, and also 4th in the world (behind Italy, USA and Canada) in terms of the number of ordered mega yachts.
Turkey's economy is becoming more dependent on industry in major cities, mostly concentrated in the western provinces of the country, and less on agriculture. However, traditional agriculture is still a major pillar of the Turkish economy. In 2010, the agricultural sector accounted for 9% of GDP, while the industrial sector accounted for 26% and the services sector 65%. However, agriculture still accounted for 24.7% of employment. In 2004, it was estimated that 46% of total disposable income was received by the top of 20% income earners, while the lowest 20% received 6%. According to Eurostat data, Turkish PPS GDP per capita stood at 49% of the EU average in 2010.
Turkey has taken advantage of the European Union – Turkey Customs Union, signed in 1995, to increase its industrial production destined for exports, while at the same time benefiting from EU-origin foreign investment into the country. Turkey now has also opportunity of a free trade agreement with the European Union (EU) – without full membership – that allows it to manufacture for tarif-free sale throughout the EU market.
By 2009 exports were $110 bn and in 2010 it was $117 bn (main export partners in 2009: Germany 10%, France 6%, UK 6%, Italy 6%, Iraq 5%). However larger imports, which amounted to $166 billion in 2010, threatened the balance of trade (main import partners in 2009: Russia 14%, Germany 10%, China 9%, US 6%, Italy 5%, France 5%).
After years of low levels of foreign direct investment (FDI), Turkey succeeded in attracting $22 billion in FDI in 2007 and is expected to attract a higher figure in following years. A series of large privatisations, the stability fostered by the start of Turkey's EU accession negotiations, strong and stable growth, and structural changes in the banking, retail, and telecommunications sectors have all contributed to a rise in foreign investment.
The last official census was in 2000 and recorded a total country population of 67,803,927 inhabitants. According to the Address-Based Population Recording System of Turkey, the country's population was 74.7 million people in 2011, nearly three-quarters of whom lived in towns and cities. According to the 2011 estimate, the population is increasing by 1.35% each year. Turkey has an average population density of 97 people per km². People within the 15–64 age group constitute 67,4% of the total population; the 0–14 age group corresponds to 25.3%; while senior citizens aged 65 years or older make up 7.3%. In 1927, when the first official census was recorded in the Republic of Turkey, the population was 13.6 million.
Life expectancy stands at 71.1 years for men and 75.3 years for women, with an overall average of 73.2 years for the populace as a whole. Education is compulsory and free from ages 6 to 15. The literacy rate is 97.79% for males and 90.13% for females as of the year 2010.
Article 66 of the Turkish Constitution defines a "Turk" as "anyone who is bound to the Turkish state through the bond of citizenship"; therefore, the legal use of the term "Turkish" as a citizen of Turkey is different from the ethnic definition. However, the majority of the Turkish population are of Turkish ethnicity. They are estimated at 70–75% by the CIA and at 76.0% by a survey of Milliyet in 2007.
The three officially recognized major minorities ethnic groups (per the Treaty of Lausanne) are Armenians, Greeks and Jews. Signed on 30 January 1923, a bilateral accord of population exchange between Greece and Turkey took effect in the 1920s, with close to 1.1 million Greeks moving from Turkey and some 380,000 Turks coming from Greece. Following decades of state-sponsored discrimination, the formerly 110,000-strong Greek community of Istanbul has now shrunk to approximately 3,000. Other ethnic groups include Abkhazians, Albanians, Arabs, Assyrians, Bosniaks, Circassians, Georgians, Hamshenis, Laz, Pomaks (Bulgarians), Roma.
The Kurds, a distinct ethnic group concentrated mainly in the southeastern provinces of the country, are the largest non-Turkic ethnicity, variously estimated between 15.7–25%. Minorities other than the three officially recognized ones do not have any minority rights, while the term "minority" itself remains a sensitive issue in Turkey and Turkey has been severely criticized for its treatment of minorities. Reliable data on the ethnic mix of the population is not available, because Turkish census figures do not include statistics on ethnicity.
Minorities of West European origin include the Levantines (or Levanter, mostly of French, Genoese and Venetian descent) who have been present in the country (particularly in Istanbul and İzmir) since the medieval period.
An estimated 71% of the population live in urban centers. In all, 18 provinces have populations that exceed 1 million inhabitants, and 21 provinces have populations between 1 million and 500,000 inhabitants. Only two provinces have populations less than 100,000.
Turkish is the sole official language throughout Turkey. Reliable figures for the linguistic breakdown of the populace are not available for reasons similar to those cited above. According to the CIA World Factbook, the Turkish language is spoken by about 70–75% of Turkey's population, while Kurdish is spoken by approximately 18%. The public broadcaster TRT broadcasts programmes in the local languages and dialects of Arabic, Bosnian, Circassian and Kurdish a few hours a week. A Kurdish language public television channel, TRT 6, was opened on 1 January 2009. It was followed by TRT Avaz which was launched on 21 March 2009 and broadcasts in the Azeri, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek and Turkmen languages; while the TRT Arabic television channel started broadcasting on 4 April 2010.
Turkey is a secular state with no official state religion; the Turkish Constitution provides for freedom of religion and conscience. Islam is the dominant religion of Turkey, it exceeds 99% if secular people of Muslim background are included. Research firms suggest the actual Muslim figure is around 98% or 97%.
There are about 120,000 people of different Christian denominations, including an estimated 80,000 Oriental Orthodox, 35,000 Roman Catholics, 5,000 Greek Orthodox and smaller numbers of Protestants. Today there are 236 churches open for worship in Turkey. The Eastern Orthodox Church has been headquartered in Istanbul since the 4th century. Christians represent less than 0.2% of Turkey's population, according to the CIA World Factbook.
There are about 26,000 people who are Jewish, the vast majority of whom are Sephardi.
The Bahá'í Faith in Turkey has roots in Bahá'u'lláh's, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, being exiled to Constantinople, current-day Istanbul, by the Ottoman authorities. Bahá'ís cannot register with the government officially but there are probably 10 to 20 thousand Bahá'ís, and around a hundred Bahá'í Local Spiritual Assemblies in Turkey.
Academics suggest the Alevi population may be from 15 to 20 million. According to Aksiyon magazine, the number of Shiite Twelvers (excluding Alevis) is 3 million (4.2%), and they live in Istanbul, Iğdır, Kars, Ankara, İzmir, Manisa, Çorum, Muğla, Ağrı and Aydın. There are also some Sufi practitioners. The highest Islamic religious authority is the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Turkish: Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı), it interprets the Hanafi school of law, and is responsible for regulating the operation of the country's 80,000 registered mosques and employing local and provincial imams. The role of religion has been a controversial debate over the years since the formation of Islamist parties, especially in education. Turkey was founded upon a strict secular constitution which forbids the influence of any religion, including Islam. There are sensitive issues, such as the fact that the wearing of the Hijab is banned in universities and public or government buildings as some view it as a symbol of Islam – though there have been efforts to lift the ban. The vast majority of the present-day Turkish people are Muslim and the most popular sect is the Hanafite school of Sunni Islam, which was officially espoused by the Ottoman Empire; according to the KONDA Research and Consultancy survey carried out throughout Turkey on 2007: 52.8% defined themselves as "a religious person who strives to fulfill religious obligations" (religious); 34.3% defined themselves as "a believer who does not fulfill religious obligations" (believer); 9.7% defined themselves as "a fully devout person fulfilling all religious obligations" (fully devout); 2.3% defined themselves as "someone who does not believe in religious obligations" (non-believer/agnostic); and 0.9% defined themselves as "someone with no religious conviction" (atheist).
Turkey has a very diverse culture that is a blend of various elements of the Oğuz Turkic, Anatolian, Ottoman (which was itself a continuation of both Greco-Roman and Islamic cultures) and Western culture and traditions, which started with the Westernisation of the Ottoman Empire and still continues today. This mix originally began as a result of the encounter of Turks and their culture with those of the peoples who were in their path during their migration from Central Asia to the West.
As Turkey successfully transformed from the religion-based former Ottoman Empire into a modern nation-state with a very strong separation of state and religion, an increase in the modes of artistic expression followed. During the first years of the republic, the government invested a large amount of resources into fine arts; such as museums, theatres, opera houses and architecture. Diverse historical factors play important roles in defining the modern Turkish identity. Turkish culture is a product of efforts to be a "modern" Western state, while maintaining traditional religious and historical values. The mix of cultural influences is dramatized, for example, in the form of the "new symbols of the clash and interlacing of cultures" enacted in the works of Orhan Pamuk, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Turkish music and literature form great examples of such a mix of cultural influences, which were a result of the interaction between the Ottoman Empire and the Islamic world along with Europe, thus contributing to a blend of Turkic, Islamic and European traditions in modern-day Turkish music and literary arts. Turkish literature was heavily influenced by Persian and Arabic literature during most of the Ottoman era, though towards the end of the Ottoman Empire, particularly after the Tanzimat period, the effect of both Turkish folk and European literary traditions became increasingly felt. The Tanzimat reforms of 1839–1876 brought changes to the language of Ottoman written literature, and introduced previously unknown Western genres, primarily the novel and the short story. Many of the writers in the Tanzimat period wrote in several different genres simultaneously: for instance, the poet Nâmık Kemal also wrote the important 1876 novel İntibâh (Awakening), while the journalist Şinasi is noted for writing, in 1860, the first modern Turkish play, the one-act comedy "Şair Evlenmesi" (The Poet's Marriage). Most of the roots of modern Turkish literature were formed between the years 1896 and 1923. Broadly, there were three primary literary movements during this period: the Edebiyyât-ı Cedîde (New Literature) movement; the Fecr-i Âtî (Dawn of the Future) movement; and the Millî Edebiyyât (National Literature) movement. The Edebiyyât-ı Cedîde (New Literature) movement began with the founding in 1891 of the magazine Servet-i Fünûn (Scientific Wealth), which was largely devoted to progress (both intellectual and scientific) along the Western model. Accordingly, the magazine's literary ventures, under the direction of the poet Tevfik Fikret, were geared towards creating a Western-style "high art" in Turkey.
The first radical step of innovation in 20th century Turkish poetry was taken by Nâzım Hikmet, who introduced the free verse style. Another revolution in Turkish poetry came about in 1941 with the Garip Movement led by Orhan Veli Kanık, Melih Cevdet Anday and Oktay Rıfat. Explicitly opposing themselves to everything that had gone in poetry before, they sought instead to create a popular art. They employed not only a variant of the free verse introduced by Nâzım Hikmet, but also a highly colloquial language, and wrote primarily about mundane daily subjects and the ordinary man on the street. The reaction was immediate and polarized: most of the academic establishment and older poets vilified them, while much of the Turkish population embraced them wholeheartedly.
Architectural elements found in Turkey are also testaments to the unique mix of traditions that have influenced the region over the centuries. In addition to the traditional Byzantine elements present in numerous parts of Turkey, many artifacts of the later Ottoman architecture, with its exquisite blend of local and Islamic traditions, are to be found throughout the country, as well as in many former territories of the Ottoman Empire. Mimar Sinan is widely regarded as the greatest architect of the classical period in Ottoman architecture. Since the 18th century, Turkish architecture has been increasingly influenced by Western styles, and this can be particularly seen in Istanbul where buildings like Dolmabahçe and Çırağan Palaces are juxtaposed next to numerous modern skyscrapers, all of them representing different traditions.
Eurovision Song Contest 2003 was won by singer Sertab Erener with the song "Everyway That I Can" which was written by Erener and Demir Demirkan.
The most popular sport in Turkey is association football (soccer). Turkey's top teams include Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray, Beşiktaş and Trabzonspor. In 2000, Galatasaray cemented its role as a major European club by winning the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup. Two years later the Turkish national team finished third in the 2002 World Cup Finals in Japan and South Korea, while in 2008 the national team reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Euro 2008 competition. The Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul hosted the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final, while the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium in Istanbul hosted the 2009 UEFA Cup Final.
Other mainstream sports such as basketball and volleyball are also popular. Turkey hosted the finals of EuroBasket 2001 and the finals of the 2010 FIBA World Championship, winning second place on both occasions; while Efes Pilsen S.K. won the Korać Cup in 1996, finished second in the Saporta Cup of 1993, and made it to the Final Four of Euroleague and Suproleague in 2000 and 2001. Turkish basketball players such as Mehmet Okur and Hedo Turkoglu have also been successful in the NBA. Women's volleyball teams, namely Fenerbahçe, Eczacıbaşı, Vakıfbank Güneş Sigorta and have won numerous European championship titles and medals.
The traditional Turkish national sport has been yağlı güreş (oiled wrestling) since Ottoman times.Edirne has hosted the annual Kırkpınar oiled wrestling tournament since 1361. International wrestling styles governed by FILA such as Freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling are also popular, with many European, World and Olympic championship titles won by Turkish wrestlers both individually and as a national team.
Weightlifting has been a successful Turkish sport. Turkish weightlifters, both male and female, have broken numerous world records and won several European, World and Olympic championship titles. Naim Süleymanoğlu and Halil Mutlu have achieved legendary status as one of the few weightlifters to have won three gold medals in three Olympics.
Motorsports are also popular in Turkey. The Rally of Turkey was included in the FIA World Rally Championship calendar in 2003, while Formula One race weekends held at the Istanbul Park racing circuit occurred annually between the 2005 and 2011 Formula One seasons. The Turkish Grand Prix was, however, not included in the 2012 Formula One season's calendar. Other important annual motorsports events which are held at the Istanbul Park racing circuit include the MotoGP Grand Prix of Turkey, the FIA World Touring Car Championship, the GP2 Series and the Le Mans Series. From time to time Istanbul and Antalya also host the Turkish leg of the F1 Powerboat Racing championship; while the Turkish leg of the Red Bull Air Race World Series, an air racing competition, takes place above the Golden Horn in Istanbul. Surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, paragliding and other extreme sports are becoming more popular every year.
- Outline of Turkey
- Index of Turkey-related articles
- List of Turkish people
- Turkish people
- Public holidays in Turkey
- Timeline of Turkish history
- Outline of the Ottoman Empire
- List of Turkic dynasties and countries
- Official website of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
- Turkey entry at The World Factbook
- Turkey from UCB Libraries GovPubs
- Turkey at the Open Directory Project
- Turkey profile from the BBC News
- Turkey at Encyclopædia Britannica
- Wikimedia Atlas of Turkey
- Turkey's Official Tourism Portal
- Turkey travel guide from Wikitravel
Geographic data related to Turkey at OpenStreetMap
- Key Development Forecasts for Turkey from International Futures
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