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Türkiye Cumhuriyeti
Republic of Turkey
Flag of Republic of Turkey Coat of Arms of Republic of Turkey
(Flag) (Coat of Arms)
Motto: Peace in the Homeland, Peace in the World

(Turkish: Yurtta Barış, Dünyada Barış)

Anthem: İstiklâl Marşı
Location of Republic of Turkey
Capital Ankara
41°1′ N 28°57′ E
Largest city Istanbul
Official languages Turkish
Government Republic
Ahmet Necdet Sezer
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
 - Turkish State
 - Republic
21 May 1921
October 29, 1923
 • Total
 • Water (%)
780,580 km² (36st)
 • 2005 est.
 • 2000 census
 • Density
69,660,559 (17th)
230/km² (34th)
 • Total
 • Per capita
2004 estimate
$508,700 Billion (17th)
$7,400 (65th)
Currency New Turkish Lira (YTL)
Time zone
 • Summer (DST)
Internet TLD .tr
Calling code +90
1 Since January 1, 2005, the New Turkish Lira (Yeni Türk Lirası) replaced the old Turkish Lira.

The Republic of Turkey or Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye), is a bicontinental country that is located in the heart of civilisations, Anatolia. Its strategic location extends from the Middle East (Southwest Asia) to Southeast Europe. The Anatolian peninsula comprises most (97%) of its territory, and is situated between the Black Sea on the north and the Mediterranean Sea to south and west, with the Aegean Sea (and Marmara Sea) in between. 3% of the country's territory is situated in southeastern Europe, west of the Bosphorus straits.

Because of its position straddling the continents of Europe and Asia and surrounded by three seas, it has been a historical crossroads, the homeland of and battleground between great civilisations, and a centre of commerce. Turkey has eight European and Asian countries as neighbours: Bulgaria and Greece on the west; Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan on the northeast; Iran (Persia) on the east; and Iraq and Syria on the south.

The Republic of Turkey is a democratic secular constitutional republic, whose political system was established in 1923. Turkey is a member state of the United Nations, NATO, OSCE, OECD, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the Council of Europe and in the process of accession to the European Union.



Main article: History of Turkey
History of the Ottoman Empire Series
Rise | Growth | Stagnation | Decline | Dissolution | İstanbul | Russian Wars | Tanzimat | Tulip Era
History of Republic of Turkey Series
War of Independence Single Party Period Multi-Party Period Timeline Atatürk

The Republic of Turkey was established on October 29, 1923 from the remnants of the Ottoman Empire. The origins of modern Turkey can be traced back to the arrival of Turks in Anatolia in the 11th century under the Seljuks. They would be superseded by the Ottoman dynasty in the late 13th and early 14th centuries -- this empire would last until 1923. The historical richness of people and the land laid the foundations of the current republic. Even though official history of the state began on May 19, 1919, with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's onset of the Independence War, the issues and unique answers of the republic's history cannot be understood without the background on the Ottoman Empire, the spirit of people who fought to build the state, or the history of the land (Anatolia) that unites everything on it.

For more details on this topic, see History of ethnic Turks of Turkey.
Kemal Atatürk, founder of the modern Turkish Republic
Kemal Atatürk, founder of the modern Turkish Republic

The war of liberation began in protest to the Mondros Armistice and the Treaty of Sevres, under the command of Mustafa Kemal Pasha. The war mobilised every available part of Turkish society -- this would become the foundation of the Turkish nation. This national movement against the victorious Allies of World War I revoked the terms of the treaty which sought to carve up the Ottoman Empire. By September 18th, 1922 the invading Entente armies were repelled and the country was liberated. This was followed by the abolition of the Sultans office by the Turkish Grand National Assembly on November 1, 1922, thus ending 631 years of Ottoman rule. In 1923 the Treaty of Lausanne recognised the sovereignty of a new Turkish Republic, Kemal was granted the name Atatürk (meaning father of Turks) by the National Assembly and would become the republic's first President. There are many different ways of classifying the history of Turkey. The least disputed classification is based on three global periods: the war of independence, the single-party period, and the multi-party period. Even if these periods have distinct characteristics, some issues do repeat in every period with subtle differences.

The war of independence had three distinct phases. In the first period, tens of small regional resistance organisations came to gather to build a national force. The second one was a jurisdictional conflict to decide whether the Grand National Assembly or Ottoman Empire was the true source of power. The conflict ended with the abolishment of the Empire by the Grand National Parliament. The Third one is the active fight against the Allies and the newly established Armenian Republic. The results of this war created the conditions of the peace granted through the Treaty of Lausanne.

The single-party period covers the initial reforms during the Atatürk's presidency, World War II and Milli Sef, while the multi-party period describes the three coups and social changes that occurred within the last 45 years.


Main Articles: Politics of Turkey, Constitution of Turkey

Ahmet Necdet Sezer - President
Ahmet Necdet Sezer - President
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan - Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan - Prime Minister
Electoral System
Electoral System

Turkey's political system is based on separation of powers. Its constitution is called 'Anayasa' (Main Law).

Head of State - The function of Head of State is performed by the President. A president is elected every seven years by the Grand National Assembly. The President does not have to be a member of parliament.

Executive power - Executive power rests in the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. The PM and Ministers have to be parliamentarians. The Prime Minister is elected by the parliament with a vote of trust to his government.

Parliament - Legislative power rests in the 550-seat Grand National Assembly "Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi", representing 81 provinces. The Grand National Assembly is elected every five years. To be represented in Parliament, a party must win at least 10% of the national vote in a national parliamentary election. Independent candidates may run. To be elected, they must win at least 10% of the vote in the province from which they are running.

Legal System

Main article: Legal System in Republic of Turkey

The freedom and independence of the Judicial System is protected within the constitution. There is no organisation, person, or institution which can interfere in the running of the courts, and the executive and legislative structures must obey the courts' decisions. The courts, which are independent in discharging their duties, must explain each ruling on the basis of the provisions of the Constitution, the laws, jurisprudence, and their personal convictions.

The Judicial system is highly structured. Turkish courts have no jury system; judges render decisions after establishing the facts in each case based on evidence presented by lawyers and prosecutors. For minor civil complaints and offenses, justices of the peace take the case. This court has a single judge. It has jurisdiction over misdemeanors and petty crimes, with penalties ranging from small fines to brief prison sentences. Three-judge courts of first instance have jurisdiction over major civil suits and serious crimes. Any conviction in a criminal case can be taken to a court of Appeals for judicial review.

All courts are open to public. When a case is closed to public, the court has to publish the reason. Judge and prosecution structures are secured by the constitution. Except with their own consent, no judge or prosecutor can be dismissed, have his/her powers restricted, or be forced to retire. However, the retirement age restrictions do apply. The child courts have their own structure.

If there is a need to inspect a judge, that can only be performed with the Ministry of Justice's permission, in which case a special task force of justice experts and senior judges is formed. The High Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors is the principal body charged with responsibility for ensuring judicial integrity, and determines professional judges acceptance and court assignments.

Turkey is adapting a new national "Judicial Networking System" (UYAP). The court decisions and documents (case info, expert reports, etc) will be accessible via the Internet.

Turkey accepts the European Court of Human Rights' decisions as a higher court decision. Turkey also accepts as legally binding any decisions on international agreements.

Foreign Relations

Main article: Foreign relations of Republic of Turkey

Modern Turkish Republic which emerged from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, and guided by the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, has been pursuing a policy of "Peace at Home and Peace Abroad", in a region that has many conflicts. Some of these conflicts extents to republics boarders from historical and cultural bounds that link to issues originated at dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. In this geopolitical region, determinig factor on republics policies originates from its democratic and secular political system, with its choice on robust free market economy (Customs Union with the EU), and a social tradition of reconciling modernity with cultural identity.

As detailed on the article "foreign relations of Turkey", Turkey pursue its stated objective by following a principled and proactive foreign policy that employs a broad spectrum of peaceful means. These entail, inter-alia, membership in the NATO Alliance and full integration with the European Union, taking the lead in regional cooperation processes, promoting good neighborly relations and economic cooperation, extending humanitarian aid and assistance to the less fortunate, participating in peace-keeping operations, and contributing to the resolution of disputes as well as post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction efforts.

Please, refer to the article "foreign relations of Turkey" for details.


Main article: Turkish Armed Forces

Turkish Armed Forces (Turkish: Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri TSK) consists of the Army, Navy (includes Naval Air and Naval Infantry) and Air Force. The Gendarmerie and Coast Guard operate as the parts of internal security forces in peacetime and are subordinate to the Army and Navy Commands respectively. In wartime, both has so law enforcement and military functions.

The Commander-in-Chief is Chief General Staff General Hilmi Özkök.

After becoming a member of the NATO Alliance on February 18, 1952, the Turkish Republic initiated a comprehensive modernisation programme for its Armed Forces. Towards the end of the 1980s, a restructuring process has been initiated in the Turkish Armed Forces.

The Turkish Armed forces, with a combined troop strength of 635.500 people, is the second largest standing force in NATO after the United States. Currently, 36,000 troops are stationed in the Turkish-recognised Northern Cyprus.


Main article: Geography of Turkey, Provinces of Turkey

The territory of Turkey extends from 36° to 42° N and from 26° to 45° E. It is roughly rectangular in shape and is 1,660 kilometers wide. The area of Turkey inclusive of lakes is 814,578 square kilometres, of which 790,200 are in Asia and 24,378 are located in Europe. The land borders of Turkey total 2,573 kilometres, and the coastlines (including islands) total another 8,333 kilometres.


Turkey is generally divided into seven regions: the Marmara, the Aegean, the Mediterranean, Central Anatolia, East Anatolia, Southeast Anatolia and the Black Sea region. The uneven north Anatolian terrain running along the Black Sea resembles a long, narrow belt. This region comprises approximately 1/6 of Turkey's total land area.

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 (also known as Asia Minor) consists of a high central plateau with narrow coastal plains, in between the Köroğlu and East-Black Sea mountain 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.

Fault lines & Earthquakes
Fault lines & Earthquakes

Turkey is also prone to very severe earthquakes. The Bosphorus and the Dardanelles owe their existence to the fault lines running through Turkey, leading to the creation of the Black Sea. There is an earthquake fault line across the north of the country from west to east. Within the last century there were many earthquakes along this fault line, the sizes and locations of these earthquakes can be seen on the Fault lines & Earthquakes image. This image also includes a small scaled map that shows other fault lines in Turkey.

Turkey is subdivided into 81 provinces (iller, singular - il). Each province is divided into subprovinces (ilçeler in Turkish; singular ilçe). The provincial capital, also called the central subprovince usually bears the same name as the province; the exceptions are Hatay (cap: Antakya), Kocaeli (cap: İzmit), and Sakarya (cap: Adapazarı). Major provinces include: Istanbul 11 million, Ankara 4 million, Izmir 3.5 million, Bursa 2.1 million, Konya 2.2 million, Adana 1.8 million.

The capital city of Turkey is Ankara, but the largest city is İstanbul. Other important cities include İzmir, Bursa, Adana, Trabzon, Malatya, Gaziantep, Erzurum, Kayseri, İzmit (Kocaeli), Konya, Mersin, Diyarbakır, Antalya and Samsun. See the list of cities in Turkey.

The climate is a Mediterranean temperate climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet and cold winters, though conditions can be much harsher in the more arid interior.

Image:27px-Turkey-Regions.png Average Temp High Temp Low Temp Average Hum. Average Rain
Marmara Region 13.5 44.6 -27.8 71.2 564.3
Egean Region 15.4 48.5 -45.6 60.9 706.0
Mediteranian Region 16.4 45.6 -33.5 63.9 706.0
Black Sea Region 12.3 44.2 -32.8 70.9 828.5
Central Anatolia 10.6 41.8 -36.2 62.6 392.0
East Anatolia 9.7 44.4 -45.6 60.9 569.0
Southeast Anatolia 16.5 48.4 -24.3 53.4 584.5


Main article: Economy of Turkey

Turkey's 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. Turkey has a strong and rapidly growing private sector, yet the state still plays a major role in basic industry, banking, transport, and communication. It is estimated that 50% of the population lives under the international standards of poverty, especially in the war torn south-east areas.

Trading Partners
Imports (2005 est) $105bn
Main Partners (2003) Germany 13.6%, Russia 7.8%,
USA 5.0%, UK 5.0%,
France 6.0%, Italy 7.9%,
Switzerland 4.3%
Exports (2005 est.) $75bn
Main Partners (2003) Germany 15.8%, USA 8.0%,
UK 7.8%, France 6.0%,
Italy 6.8%
Public Debt 78.7% of GDP (2003)


Turkey has been self-sufficient in food production since the 1980s. The agricultural output has been growing at a respectable rate. However, since the 1980's agriculture has been in a state of decline compared to the total economy. Agricultural loans are issued with negative interest rates. Today, many of the institutions established between 1930 and 1980 continue to play important roles in the practices of farmers. Many old agricultural attitudes remain widespread. These traditions are expected to change with the EU accession process. Turkey is continuously improving the process of dismantling the incentive system; fertiliser and pesticide subsidies have been curtailed, and remaining price supports have been gradually converted to floor prices. The government has also initiated many planned projects, such as the G.A.P project. G.A.P shows a very promising future for the southeastern agriculture.

For more details on this topic, see Southeastern Anatolia Project.

Given all the efforts of the government, agricultural extension and research services are poorly organised in Turkey. This has been attributed to shortages of qualified advisers, transportation, and equipment. Agricultural research is distributed among nearly 100 government institutions and universities. The inability to spread the use of new technologies has been attributed to a reluctance of trained personnel to work in the field. The pay disparity in this sector is traditionally very high and incentives to train people do not cover this gap. Research is organised by commodity, with independent units for such major crops as cotton, tobacco, and citrus fruit. Observers note that coordination of the efforts of different research units and links between extension services are inadequate.

The livestock industry, compared to initial years of the republic showed little improvement in productivity, and the later years of the decade saw stagnation. However livestock products, including meat, milk, wool, and eggs, contributed to more than 1/3 of the value of agricultural output.

Industrial sector

The largest industry - and largest exporter - is textiles and clothing, which is almost entirely in private hands, next to petrolium rafineries (Izmir, Istanbul, Adana, and Kayseri), Iron and Stell Mill at Karabuk and Eregli Iron and Stell works. Also, brick, tile, glass, leather, chemicals and pharmecceuticals, metalworking, cordage, flour milling, vegetable oil, paper products, plastic products and rubber processing.

Sugar-beet industry is the number one, which produces more than domestic use.

The automotive industry, which is the seventh largest in Europe, is also an important part of the economy, since 1970s. Most of the production of machines, consumer goods, and tools take place in hundrets of small machine shops. Automation at this industry type is just begining.

Service sector

The road network was an estimated 382,397 km in 1999, including 95,599 km of paved roads and 1,749 km of motorways. The rail network was 8,682 km in 1999, including 2,133 km of electrified track. There are 1,200 km of navigable waterways. There were 118 airports in 1999, including five international airports at Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Trabzon and Dalaman.

For more details on this topic, see Transportation in Turkey.

Telecommunications were liberalised in 2004 after the creation of the Telecommunication Authority. Private sector companies operate in mobile telephony and Internet access. There were 19 million fixed phone lines, 36 million mobile phones, and 12 million Internet users by the August, 2005.

For more details on this topic, see Communications in Turkey.

Financial sector

"The Central Bank of Republic of Turkey" was founded in 1930, as a privilaged joint-stock company. It possesses the sole right of note issue. It also have the obligation to providing for the monitary requirements of the state agricultural and commertial enterprises. All foriegn exchange transfers are exclusively handeled by the central bank. The bank has 25 domestic and New York, London, Frankfurt, and Zurich units.

In 1998 there were 72 banks. In late 2000 and early 2001 a growing trade deficit and weaknesses in the banking sector plunged the economy into crisis. The lira left to float and pushed the country into recession. This financial breakdown brought the number of banks to 31. Currently more then 34% of the assets are concentrated on Agricultural Bank (Ziraat Bankasi), Housing Bank (Yapi Kredi Bankasi), IsBank and Akbank. There are also Middle Eastern Trading Banks, which practices Islamic type of trading. The five big state own bank had passed restructuration during the 2001. The political interfering minimized and loaning policies are changed. However over staffing is a problem.

The Istanbul Stock Exchange opened in 1985 and Istanbul Gold Exchange in 1995.

Goverment regulations effective 1929 amended all insurance companies to reinsure 30% of each policy with policy with National Reinsurance Corp. In 1954, life insurance is exampted from this. The insurance market is officially regulated through the Ministery of Commerce.

Foreign direct investment in Turkey remains low - less than USD 1 billion annually. 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.

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.

Turkey has recently adopted a new currency, slashing away many "zeros" from the old currency after years of double digit inflation.

Natural resources

Main article: Natural Resources in Republic of Turkey

Turkey is an oil producer, but the current levels are not enough to make it self-sufficient.

The pipeline network in Turkey included 1,738 km for crude oil, 2,321 km for petroleum products, and 708 km for natural gas in 1999. Several major new pipelines are planned, especially the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline for Caspian oilfields, the longest one in the world, which recently opened in 2005.


Turkeys labour force is flexible, with a wide spectrum of skills from the unskilled to highly educated. Turkey is obliged to apply EU employment and social laws to qualify for membership.



Main article: Demographics of Turkey

The political use of term "Turkish", which is different than the ethnic definition, covers all the ethnic groups, besides the legally defined minorities, within the boarders. However, the majority of the Turkish population is of Turkic ethnicity, among Abkhaz, Albanians, Arabs, Bosniaks, Chaldeans, Chechens, Circassians, Laz, Syriacs, and Zazas.

Data of FAO, 2005; Number of inhabitants in thousands.
Data of FAO, 2005; Number of inhabitants in thousands.

The largest Turkish people of non-Turkic ethnicity are Kurds, a distinct ethnic group concentrated in the east, consisting of 10-20% of the total population. The 1965 census determined that 7.1% of the population used Kurdish as their primary language and the knowledge of the language was stated by the 12.7% of the population in total, but there are many Turkish-speaking Kurds.

The term "minority" itself remains a sensitive issue in Turkey, since the Turkish State only considers the communities mentioned in the text of Treaty of Lausanne. Minorities include Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, Georgians, Hamshenis, Jews, Levantines, Ossetians, Pomaks, and Roma (Roma is a name for Gypsies).

Due to a demand for an increased labour force in Western Europe between 1960 and 1980 many Turkish citizens emigrated to West Germany, the Netherlands, France and other Western European countries, forming a significant overseas population. Recently, many have also settled in Russia and other neighbouring countries.


Main article: Turkish education system

Education is compulsory and free from ages 6 to 14. There are around 820 higher education institutes including universities, with a total student enrollment of over 1 million. The 15 main universities are in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. Tertiary education is the responsibility of the Higher Education Council, and funding is provided by the state. From 1998 the universities were given greater autonomy, and were encouraged to raise funds from partnerships with industry.

There are approximately 85 universities in Turkey. There are two types of universities, state and (private) foundational. State universities charge very low fees and foundationals are highly expensive with fees up to $15 000 or sometimes even more. The capacity in total of Turkish universities is approximately 300.000. Some universities can compete with the best world universities whereas some are unable to provide the necessary educational standards due to financial problems and underfunding. However, university students are a lucky minority in Turkey. Universities provide either two or four years of education for undergraduate studies. For graduate studies, two further years is necessary, as is typical throughout the world.

The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey coordinates basic and applied research and development. There are 64 research institutes and organisations. R&D strengths include agriculture, forestry, health, biotechnology, nuclear technologies, minerals, materials, IT, and defence.


Main article: Culture of Turkey

Turkey has a very diverse culture derived from various elements of the Ottoman Empire, European, and the Islamic traditions. As Turkey successfully transformed from a religion-driven former Ottoman Empire into a modern nation-state with a very strong separation of state and religion, the increase in the methods of artistic expression followed. During the first years of the republic, the government invested a large amount of resources into the fine arts, such as paintings, sculptures and architecture amongst other things. This was done as both a process of modernisation and creating a cultural identity. Today, the Turkish economy is diverse enough to subsidise individual artists with great freedom.

Image:27px-Turkey-Regions.png Culture of Republic of Turkey
Music Cinema Poetry Prose Turkish Cuisine History of Turkish Literature


Main article: Islam in Turkey

Nominally, 98% of the population is Muslim. Most belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. About 15-20% of the population are Alevi Muslims. There is also a Twelver Shia minority, mainly of Azeri descent. Jewish, and Christian Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic (Gregorian), Assyrian Christians, Roman Catholic and Protestant minorities are also present, as well as Yezidis.

Although, unlike other majority Muslim countries, there is a strong tradition of separation of church and state in Turkey. Even though the state does not have any/or promote any religion, it actively monitors the area between the religions. The constitutional rule that prohibits discrimination on religious grounds, is taken very seriously. The Turkish constitution recognises freedom of religion for individuals, and the religious communities are placed under the protection of state, but the constitution explicitly states that they cannot become involved in the political process, by forming a religious party for example. No party can claim that it represents a form of religious belief. The religious sensibilities are represented through conservative parties, such as the currently rulling AKP party.

The mainstream Hanafi school of Sunni Islam is largely organised by the state, through Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı (Department of Religious Affairs). The Diyanet is the main Islamic framework established after abolition of the Ulama and Seyh-ul-Islam of the old régime. As a consequence, they control all mosques and Muslim clerics. Imams are trained in Imam vocational schools and at theology departments at universities. The department supports Sunni Islam and has commissions authorised to give Fatwa judgements on Islamic issues. The department is criticised by the Alevi Muslims for not supporting their beliefs. The orthodox patriarch(Patrik) rules the Greek-Orthodox church in Turkey, the Armenian patrik the armenian church, while the Jewish community is lead by the Hahambasi, the Main Rabbi, all in Istanbul. Because of different historical factors playing an important role in defining a Turkish identity, the culture of Turkey is an interesting combination of clear efforts to be "modern" and western European, combined with the necessity felt of maintaining their religious and historical values.


Miscellaneous Topics

Main article: Festivals in Republic of Turkey
Main article: Museums in Republic of Turkey
Main article: Media in Republic of Turkey
Main article: Sports at Republic of Turkey
Main article: Holidays in Turkey

External links

Travel guide to Turkey from Wikitravel

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
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Look up Turkey on Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
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  1. ^  Atreya, Navita, McDowall, David, Ozbolat, "Asylum Seekers from Turkey: the Dangers They Flee", (Report of a mission to Turkey), Perihan, 28 February 2001)
David McDowall, "The Kurds", Minority Rights Group International (MRG), September 1991

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