Europe & Asia
Map of Turkey
Excerpted from Wikipedia,
the free encyclopaedia.
The Republic of Turkey is a Middle
Eastern country with territory in
both Europe and Asia.
The Anatolian peninsula in between the
Black Sea and the Mediterranean
Sea forms the core of the country.
Turkey is bordered to the east by
Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran,
to the south by Iraq and Syria, and
to the west by the Aegean Sea and
its islands, Greece and Bulgaria.
National motto: Yurtta Sulh, Cihanda Sulh
(Turkish: "Peace at Home, Peace in the World")
Official language; Turkish
President; Ahmet Necdet Sezer
Prime minister; Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Area; 780,580 kmē
Establishment; October 29, 1923
Currency; Turkish lira
Time zone; UTC +2
National anthem; Istiklal Marsi
Internet TLD; .TR
Phone Calling Code; 90
Anatolia (Asia Minor) had been a cradle to
a wide variety of civilisations and
kingdoms in antiquity.
The Seljuk Turks were the first Turkic
power to arrive in the 11th century
as conquerors (earlier Turkic peoples
such as the Pechenegs had become allies
and subordinates of the Byzantine Empire),
who proceeded to gradually conquer
the existing Byzantine Empire.
Their Turkic successors, the Ottoman Empire,
completed this in the 15th century with
the fall of Constantinople, after which
the empire expanded across
the eastern Mediterranean.
Rising nationalism in the 19th century
and the First World War caused the
embattled empire to crumble in
the aftermath of the war.
The Republic of Turkey was created in 1923 by Mustafa
Kemal Ataturk, who reformed Turkey into a modern, secular,
and western-oriented republic.
Turkey became a member of NATO in
1952, and is seeking membership
of the European Union.
Issues such as the Turkish involvement
in Cyprus, a long standing Kurdish
insurgency in the east, and the
increasing appeal of political
Islam continue to fuel public debate
in Turkey and influence its
The 1982 constitution provides for
a democratic, secular, parliamentary
form of government with a strong
presidency and an
Internationally recognised human
rights are protected but can be
limited in times of emergency and
cannot be used to violate the integrity
of the state or to impose a non-secular
or non-democratic system of government.
A number of State Security Courts
also exist to deal with offensives
against the integrity of the state.
The president and the Council of Ministers
(the cabinet) led by the prime minister
share executive powers.
The president, who has broad powers
of appointment and supervision, is chosen
by the legislature for a term of 7
years and cannot be re-elected.
The unicameral Turkish parliament, the Grand National
Assembly of Turkey or Turkiye Buyuk Millet Meclisi carries
out legislative functions.
Election of its 550 members, who serve
five-year terms, is by proportional
To participate in the distribution of
seats, a party must obtain at least
10% of the votes cast at the national
level as well as a percentage of votes
in the contested district
according to a complex formula.
Turkey is subdivided into 81 provinces.
Turkey forms a bridge between Europe and Asia,
with the division between the two running from
the Black Sea to the north down along
the Bosporus strait through the Sea of
Marmara and the Dardanelles strait to the
Aegean Sea and the larger
Mediterranean Sea to the south.
The Anatolian peninsula consists of a
high central plateau with narrow coastal
plains, in between the Pontus range to
the north and the Taurus
Mountains to the south.
To the east is found a more mountainous
landscape, home to the sources of
rivers such as the Euphrates, Tigris
and the Araks, as well as Lake
Van and Mount Ararat, Turkey's
highest point at 5,166 m.
The climate is a Mediterranean
temperate clime, with hot, dry
summers and mild, wet winters,
though conditions can be much harsher
in the more arid interior.
Turkey is also prone to very
The capital city is Ankara, but the
largest Turkish city is Istanbul.
Other important cities include Izmir,
Bursa, Adana, Kocaeli, Konya,
Diyarbakir, Antalya, and Samsun.
Turkey's dynamic economy is a complex
mix of modern industry and commerce
along with a traditional agriculture
sector that in 2001 still accounted
for 40% of employment.
It has a strong and rapidly growing
private sector, yet the state still
plays a major role in basic industry,
banking, transport, and communication.
The most important industry - and largest
export - is textiles and clothing, which
is almost entirely in private hands.
In recent years the economic situation
has been marked by erratic economic
growth and serious imbalances.
Real GNP growth has exceeded 6% in
many years, but this strong expansion
has been interrupted by sharp declines
in output in 1994, 1999, and 2001.
Meanwhile the public sector fiscal deficit
has regularly exceeded 10% of GDP - due
in large part to the huge burden of
interest payments, which in 2001 accounted
for more than 50% of central government
spending - while inflation has remained
in the high double digit range.
Perhaps because of these problems,
foreign direct investment in Turkey
remains low - less than USD 1
In late 2000 and early 2001 a growing
trade deficit and serious weaknesses in
the banking sector plunged the economy
into crisis - forcing Ankara to float
the lira and pushing the
country into recession.
Results in 2002 were much better, because
of strong financial support from the IMF
and tighter fiscal policy.
Continued slow global growth and serious
political tensions in the Middle East cast
a shadow over growth prospects in the future.
The majority of the Turkish population (around 80%)
is of Turkic ethnicity, who speak the only
official language of the country, Turkish.
The most significant minority is that of the
Kurds, who constitute up to 20% of the population
(including groups such as the Zaza), and who
are found predominantly in the east in Kurdistan
and in major Turkish cities.
Other smaller minorities include Levantines,
Syriacs, Arabs, Laz, Greeks, and Armenians.
Nominally, some 98% of the population is Muslim.
Most belong to the Sunni branch of Islam, but
a significant number are Alevi Muslims, a
branch related to Shi'a Islam.
Smaller Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox
(Gregorian), Jewish, Roman Catholic and
Protestant minorities are also present.
All text is available under the terms of the
GNU Free Documentation License.
This information correct at December 2003. E.
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