Skip to main content
Select Source:




Republic of Turkey

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti


FLAG: The national flag consists of a white crescent (open toward the fly) and a white star on a red field.

ANTHEM: Istiklâl Marşi (March of Independence).

MONETARY UNIT: The new Turkish lira (ytl) was introduced in 2005. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 Kurus, and 1 lira. ytl1 = $0.73529 (or $1 = tl1.36) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; National Sovereignty and Children's Day, 23 April; Spring Day, 1 May; Youth and Sports Day, 19 May; Victory Day, 30 August; Independence Day (Anniversary of the Republic), 29 October. Movable religious holidays include Şeker Bayrami (three days) and Kurban Bayrami (four days).

TIME: 3 pm = noon GMT.


The Republic of Turkey consists of Asia Minor, or Anatolia (Anadolu); the small area of eastern Thrace (Trakya), or Turkey in Europe; and a few offshore islands in the Aegean Sea, with a total area of 780,580 sq km (301,384 sq mi), extending about 1,600 km (994 mi) senw and 650 km (404 mi) nesw. Comparatively, the area occupied by Turkey is slightly larger than the state of Texas. Of the overall area, 97% is in Asia, and 3% in Europe. Turkey lies athwart the important Black Sea straits systemthe Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara, and the Bosporus. It is bordered on the n by the Black Sea, on the ne by Georgia and Armenia, on the e by Iran, on the se by Iraq, on the s by Syria and the Mediterranean Sea, on the w by the Aegean Sea, and on the nw by Greece and Bulgaria, with a total land boundary of 2,648 km (1,645 mi) and a coastline of 7,200 km (4,474 mi). Turkey's capital city, Ankara, is located in the northwest central part of the country.


Other than the low, rolling hills of Turkish Thrace, the fertile river valleys that open to the Aegean Sea, the warm plains of Antalya and Adana on the Mediterranean, and the narrow littoral along the Black Sea, the country is wrinkled by rugged mountain ranges that surround and intersect the high, semiarid Anatolian plateau. Average elevations range from 600 m (2,000 ft) above sea level in the west to over 1,800 m (6,000 ft) amid the wild eastern high-lands. The highest point is Mount Ararat (Büyük Agri Dagi, 5,166 m/16,949 ft), which rises just within Turkey at the intersection of the Turkish, Armenian, and Iranian frontiers. There are over 100 peaks with elevations of 3,000 m (10,000 ft) or more.

Other than the Tigris and Euphrates, which have their sources in eastern Anatolia, rivers are relatively small. Because the watersheds of these streams are semibarren slopes, the seasonal variations in flow are very great. The largest lake is Lake Van (3,675 sq km/1,419 sq mi); the other major lake is Lake Tuz, whose water has a salinity level so high that it serves as a commercial source of salt. Turkey's 7,200 km (5,474 mi) of coastline provide few good natural harbors.

Most of Turkey lies within an earthquake zone, and recurrent tremors are recorded. On 2930 March 1970, more than 1,000 earthquakes were felt in the Gediz region of western Turkey, killing 1,086 persons. The most destructive earthquake in the country was that of 29 December 1939near Erzincanwhich killed 30,000 persons. On 17 August 1999, a 7.6 magnitude quake near Izmit was followed two days later by two aftershocks of about 4.8 and 5.0 in magnitude. At least 17,118 people died in the quake and nearly 50,000 injured were injured. A 6.1 magnitude earthquake on 1 May 2003 in eastern Turkey left 150 people dead and over 1,000 injured.


Turkey's southern coast enjoys a Mediterranean climate, and the Aegean coastal climate as far north as İzmir is much the same. The mean temperature range in these regions is 1720°c (6368°f), and the annual rainfall ranges from 58 to 130 cm (23 to 51 in). The Black Sea coast is relatively mild (14 to 16°c/57 to 60°f) and very moist, with 71 to 249 cm (28 to 87 in) of rainfall. The central Anatolian plateau is noted for its hot, dry summers and cold winters: the average annual temperature is 812°c (4654°f), and annual precipitation is 3075 cm (1230 in). With the exception of some warmer pockets in the valleys, the eastern third of Turkey is colder (49°c/3948°f), and rainfall averages 4151 cm (1620 in). The little precipitation there is on the central plateau tends to be concentrated during the late fall and winter months.


A wide variation of flora is found, from semitropical to temperate, and desert to alpine. In the mountains of southern, southwestern, and northern Turkey there are extensive coniferous stands of commercial importance and some deciduous forest. Licorice, valonia oaks, and wild olive trees grow in the southwest. Principal varieties of wild animals are the fallow deer, red deer, roe deer, eastern mouflon, wild boar, hare, Turkish leopard, brown bear, red fox, gazelle, beech marten, pine marten, wildcat, lynx, otter, and badger. There is a large variety of birds, including the snow partridge, quail, great bustard, little bustard, widgeon, woodcock, snipe, and a variety of geese, ducks, pigeons, and rails. About 30 species of snakes are indigenous. Bees and silkworms are grown commercially.

As of 2002, there were at least 116 species of mammals, 278 species of birds, and over 8,650 species of plants throughout the country.


Environmental responsibilities are vested in the Under Secretariat for Environment and in the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. Among Turkey's principal environmental problems is air pollution in Ankara and other cities. The smog in Ankara grew worse after 1979, when the government banned oil heating systems in new buildings in order to reduce costly oil imports; the resultant increased burning of Turkish lignite, which is high in sulfur content, greatly increased the levels of sulfur dioxide and dust in the air. In 1983, the government reversed itself and banned the conversion of heating systems to coal. At the same time, it introduced an antipollution program designed to reduce air pollution levels by more than 50% within a year. In addition to heating restrictions, the plan called for strict traffic controls, the closing of the worst industrial polluters, a prohibition on the import of high-sulfur fuel oil, special emergency hospital wards for smog victims, and the building of green areas and parks in and around cities. In 1992, Turkey had the world's highest level of industrial carbon dioxide emission, which totaled 145.5 million metric tons, a per capita level of 2.49 metric tons. In 1996, the total rose to 178.3 million metric tons. In 2000, the total of carbon dioxide emissions was at 221.6 million metric tons.

A $220-million project to clean up the polluted water in the Golden Horn, an inlet of the Bosporus forming a harbor in Istanbul, was implemented in the 1980s. The nation's rivers are polluted with industrial chemicals. Among them, mercury has created a serious threat to the nation's water supply. Soil erosion affects both coastal and internal areas. The combination of water and wind eliminates about 500 metric tons of soil each year.

According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 15 types of mammals, 14 species of birds, 12 types of reptiles, 5 species of amphibians, 30 species of fish, 13 species of invertebrates, and 3 species of plants. Threatened species include the Anatolian leopard, Mediterranean monk seal, bald ibis, slender-billed curlew, Atlantic sturgeon, and hawksbill and green sea turtles. Wild goats are among the vulnerable species.


The population of Turkey in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 72,907,000, which placed it at number 17 in population among the 193 nations of the world. Turkey is the most populous country in the Middle East. In 2005, approximately 6% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 29% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 102 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be 1.4%; the fertility rate has declined from 3.1 births per woman in 1990 to 2.7 births per woman in 2005; however, the government sought to reduce population growth further. The projected population for the year 2025 was 90,211,000. The population density was 94 per sq km (244 per sq mi).

The UN estimated that 65% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 1.93%. The capital city, Ankara, had a population of 3,428,000 in that year. Istanbul (formerly Constantinople), the largest city, had a 2005 metropolitan population of 9,760,000. The largest metropolitan areas after Istanbul were İzmir (formerly Smyrna), 2,500,000; Bursa, 1,413,000; Adana, 1,248,000; and Gaziantep, 1,004,000.


Much Turkish emigration has consisted of workers under contract for employment in European Community countries. Germany alone had 1,779,600 Turks at the end of 1991. There are also large numbers of Turks in prosperous Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, and Libya. In 1994, there were 14,000 Turkish Kurds in northern Iraq. The military conflict in southeastern Turkey has internally displaced hundreds of thousands of persons; however, this problem has not been officially recognized by Turkey.

After the 1991 Gulf War, 500,000 Iraqi Kurds fled to Turkey. Most of these refugees have since repatriated or resettled in third countries. In 1992, 20,000 Bosnians came to Turkey, though all have left except for 4,000 as of March 1997. In 1999, nearly 18,000 Kosovar refugees sought asylum in Turkey, including 8,000 people evacuated from Macedonia; nearly all were voluntarily repatriated. Non-European refugees are granted only temporary protection in Turkey, so nearly all must be resettled. In 2004, there were 3,033 refugees and 3,929 asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Somalia in Turkey, and an additional 16 returned refugees. In 2004 Turks sought asylum in 18 countries in Europe and in the United Kingdom.

The net migration rate was zero in 1999 and in 2005. Worker remittances in 2003 were $2.3 billion.


The constitution provides a single designated of nationality for all Turks; however, ethnic identification among the citizens themselves is strong. About 80% of the population is Turkish. The major ethnic minority (by mother tongue), the Kurds, is estimated at 20%. Arabs, Turkmen, Circassians, Greeks, and others do account for a small percentage of the population. The number of Roma within the country may be significant; however, many are unwilling to disclose their ethnic identity since discrimination against Roma has been common.

Hundreds of thousands of Armenians were either killed or forced to flee during and immediately following World War I; bitterness between Armenians and Turks continues to this day, and during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Armenian terrorists took the lives of more than two dozen Turkish diplomats. The Greek component in Turkey was reduced as a result of the 191922 hostilities with Greece, the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne (which provided for an exchange of population with Greece), and the postWorld War II Cyprus controversy.

The Kurds, some of whom were forcibly dispersed after an uprising in 1935, still tend to be concentrated in the southeastern provinces. The Arabs live in the south along the Syrian and Iraqi frontiers, and the Greeks, Armenians, and Jews live in Istanbul and, to a lesser extent, in İzmir. Separatist Kurdish groups are outlawed, and there is a heavy military presence in the nine provinces where a state of emergency has been in effect since 1987.


Turkish, which belongs to the Ural-Altaic group, is the official language. In addition to the Roman alphabet, modern Turkish uses the letters ç, ĝ, i (undotted), ö, ş, and ü, but no q, w, or x. With only minor exceptions, words are spelled phonetically. The language is agglutinative. A 1928 language reform substituted the Roman alphabet for the Arabic script, which had been used by the Turks since their conversion to Islam. During the 1930s there was a state-sponsored effort to rid the language of Arabic and Persian words and grammatical constructions. Turkish grammatical rules are now applied for all words, regardless of origin, though many Persian and Arabic expressions persist. Traditionally, there was a great difference between vernacular Turkish and written Ottoman Turkish, the latter being heavily influenced by Arabic and Persian and almost unintelligible to the mass of Turks. This difference has been almost obliterated, though some regional differences in dialect, particularly in the villages, still make effective communication difficult.

Kurdish and Arabic are also spoken. Kurdish is a language of the Iranian group and is written in Arabic script in Turkey. Two of the three major dialects are spoken in Turkey. Armenian and Greek are also spoken.


About 99% of the population is officially Muslim; however, the number of practicing Muslims may be lower. The vast majority of Turkish Muslims are Sunni, but there is a substantial Shia minority. About 512 million Muslims are believed to be Alevis, incorporating traditions of Sunni and Shia practices as well as other indigenous beliefs of Anatolia. A small number of people in western Anatolia practice a blend of Islam and shamanism. The Alevis and Tahtacilar are regarded as non-Muslim sects by the government. The only religious minorities official recognized by the government are Greek Orthodox Christians, Armenian Orthodox Christians, and Jews. The Greek Orthodox patriarch at Istanbul is considered first among equals of the seven patriarchs in the Eastern Orthodox churches. The Greek Orthodox Church has less than 3,000 members. The Armenian Orthodox church has about 65,000 members. Turkey was a haven for Jewish refugees from Spain and Portugal in the late 15th and 16th centuries, and Jews have lived there in relative peace until recent years. There are about 25,000 Jews in the country. Other unofficial religious groups include about 10,000 Baha'is, 15,000 Syrian Orthodox Christians, 5,000 Yezidi, 3,000 Protestants, and smaller numbers of Chaldean and Nestorian Christians, Roman Catholics, and Maronite Christians.

There is no official state religion and the constitution establishes the nation as a secular state; however, the state maintains urban mosques and other Muslim religious properties, and licenses Muslim religious leaders. Proselytizing by non-Muslims is generally discouraged. Laws against the use of religion for political purposes are rigorously enforced.


Turkey's size and difficult terrain, together with limited economic resources, have proved great obstacles to the construction of transportation facilities. When the republic was founded in 1923 there were about 4,000 km (2,500 mi) of railway track and 7,400 km (4,600 mi) of motor roads in Anatolia and Thrace, all in disrepair. By 2004, a total of 8,697 km (5,409 mi) of track (all of it standard gauge) connected most of the important points in the country with Ankara, Istanbul, and the Black Sea and Mediterranean ports. The railways are owned and operated by the Turkish State Railways, a public corporation. A total of 2,122 km (1,318 mi) are electrified.

Animal transportation in most of the country has gradually given way to trucks and buses that use roads provided by extensive construction programs since World War II. In October 1973, the Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul was opened, facilitating the crossing of the Straits of the Bosporus by motorists. This six-lane steel suspension bridge had a main span of 1,074 m (3,524 ft). As of 2002, there were 354,421 km (220,450 mi) of roadways, of which 147,404 km (91,685 mi) were paved, including 1,851 km (1,151 mi) of expressways. As of 2003, there were 4,700,343 passenger cars and 1,747,385 commercial vehicles registered for use.

The Turkish merchant fleet in 2005 consisted of 526 vessels of 1,000 GRT or more, totaling 4,666,895 GRT. The leading ports were Mersin (Icel), Istanbul, İzmir, Iskenderun, and Izmit (Kocaeli). As of 2003, Turkey had 1,200 km (746 mi) of navigable inland waterways.

Turkey had an estimated 119 airports in 2004. As of 2005 a total of 88 had paved runways, and there were also 16 heliports. Three international airportsAtatürk (Istanbul), Adnan Menderes (İzmir), and Esenboga (Ankara)are served by some 20 international air carriers. A new international passenger terminal in Istanbul is one of the largest in Europe able to handle 30 simultaneous gate arrivals and departures. The new Sabiha Gokcen International Airport on Istanbul's Asian side can handle 3.5 million passengers with a potential capacity for 10 million. Other international airports include Antalya, Dalaman, and Adnan Menderes at İzmir. With minor exceptions, domestic air transportation is the monopoly of the semipublic Turkish Airways Corp. (Türk Hava Yollari), which connects most major centers within the country on a regular schedule and operates some international flights. In 2003, scheduled airlines freight shipments totaled 379 million freight ton-km. In that same year, about 10.701 million passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.


In ancient times, Turkey was known as Asia Minor or Anatolia. Among the many inhabitants were the Hittites (c.1800c.1200 bc), the first people to use iron; the Greeks, who, according to legend, destroyed Troy (or Ilium) about 1200 bc and who colonized the Aegean coast from about 1000 bc on; the Phrygians (c.1200c.600 bc); the Lydians (c.700546 bc), the first people to mint coins; the Persians (546333 bc); and the Romans, beginning in the 2d century bc. Roman Emperor Constantine I (the Great) changed the name of the city of Byzantium to Constantinople (now Istanbul) and made it his capital in ad 330; a division between the Western and Eastern Roman Empires, with their respective capitals at Rome and Constantinople, became official in 395. Constantinople, seat of the Byzantine Empire, became the center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which officially separated from Roman Catholicism in 1054, when the pope and the patriarch of Constantinople excommunicated each other.

The Turks are a Ural-Altaic people who emerged from the plains between the Ural Mountains in Europe and the Altay Mountains in Asia. The forerunners of the inhabitants of present-day Turkey, known as the Seljuk Turks (named after the Turkish conqueror Seljuk, fl.10th century), defeated the Byzantines in the battle of Malazgirt (1071) and established themselves in Anatolia. They attained a highly developed Muslim culture in their great capital at Konya, in central Turkey. The Turkish conquest of Syria, including Palestine, led to the Crusades (10961270), a series of intermittent and inconclusive wars. Various Latin (Roman Catholic) and Greek (Eastern Orthodox) states were formed in parts of the Turkish Empire, but none lasted. The sack of the Christian city of Constantinople by Crusaders in 1204, followed by the establishment of the Latin Empire there (120461), shocked Europe and tended to discredit the Crusading movement.

Seljuk power was shattered when the Mongols, another Ural-Altaic people, swept across Asia Minor in 1243. As the Mongols withdrew, Turkish power revived and expanded under the Ottoman Turks, a group of frontier warriors whose first chief was Osman I (called Ottoman in the West, r.1300?26). In 1453, the Ottomans under Mehmet II (the Conqueror) occupied Constantinople and made it their capital. In 1516, they conquered Syria; in 1517, Egypt. In 1529, they were at the gates of Vienna, at which point the European expansion of Turkish power was stopped. The Turkish fleet was decisively defeated in a battle near Lepanto (now Navpaktos) in Greece in 1571. At its peak, generally identified with the reign of Sultan Süleyman I (the Magnificent, r.152066), the Ottoman Empire encompassed an estimated 28 million inhabitants of Asia Minor, much of the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa as far west as modern Algeria, the islands of the eastern Mediterranean, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and the Crimea. During the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, as a result of the rise of nationalism and encroachment by the European powers, it gradually shrank in size, the independence of the remainder being maintained only by shrewd balance-of-power diplomacy.

The process of modernization began with the Imperial Rescript of 1839, promulgated by Sultan Abdul Mejid (r.183961), and by a body of reforms known as the Tanzimat, which to some extent curbed the absolute powers of the sultan-caliph. (The Turkish sultans had added the title "caliph" following the conquest of Egypt in 1517.) The Illustrious Rescript of 1856 was largely dictated by Britain, France, and Austria as part of the negotiations leading to the settlement of the Crimean War (185356), a clash between the Russian and Ottoman Empires; it ensured equal rights for non-Muslims, provided for prison reform and the codification of Turkish law, and opened Turkey to European skills and capital. A constitution was introduced in 1876 by Sultan Abdul Hamid II (r.18761909) but was suspended in the following year. Thereafter, an absolute monarchy prevailed until the Young Turk revolution of 1908, at which time the constitution of 1876 was reinstated. In 1913, leaders of the Committee for Union and Progress (the organizational vehicle of the Young Turks) took effective control of the government under Sultan Mehmet V (r.190918). The principal leaders were Talat and Enver Pasha, who, at the outbreak of World War I, threw what little remained of Ottoman strength behind the Central Powers, which had sided with Turkey in its fruitless attempt to retain its last major European possessions in the Balkan Wars of 191213. Although the Turks were unable to make any headway against British forces defending the Suez Canal, they did offer a heroic defense at Gallipoli (the Gelibolu Peninsula) and the Dardanelles, in a prolonged battle between Turkish and British-French forces that lasted from February 1915 to January 1916 and took the lives of about 100,000 soldiers on each side. In 1917, however, Turkish resistance collapsed, and the British pushed Turkey out of Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and Arabia. An armistice was concluded on 30 October 1918, and Enver Pasha and his colleagues fled the country. Before and during the war, Armenians sought to establish their independence and were brutally repressed by the Turks. Over a million people are said to have died being driven from their homes; many survived in exile.

On the basis of a series of earlier Allied agreements, the Ottoman Empire was to be stripped of all non-Turkish areas, and much of what remainedAsia Minorwas to be divided among the United Kingdom, France, Greece, and Italy. A substantial portion was actually occupied. In 1919, with Allied assistance, the Greeks invaded Anatolia through İzmir, but a Turkish nationalist resistance movement under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal (later called Atatürk), who had commanded a division at Gallipoli, finally defeated them in 1922. The sultan, being virtually captive in Istanbul, was disgraced in Turkish eyes by his identification with Allied policy. After much maneuvering, a rival nationalist government under Mustafa Kemal was established in Ankara and gained national and international recognition. On 1 November 1922, the sultanate was abolished by Mustafa Kemal's provisional government. The following year, the Ankara government negotiated the Treaty of Lausanne with the Allies, which recognized Turkish sovereignty over Asia Minor and a small area in Thrace. There was a massive exchange of Greek and Turkish populations. On 29 October 1923, a republic was proclaimed, with Ankara as its capital, and on 3 March 1924, the caliphate was abolished and all members of the dynasty banished.

During the next few years, a series of social, legal, and political reforms were accomplished that, taken collectively, became known as the Atatürk Reforms. They included the substitution of secular law for religious law, the writing of a republican constitution based on popular sovereignty, suppression of religious education in Turkish schools, introduction of a Roman alphabet to replace the Arabic script, and the legal upgrading of the position of women. With minor exceptions, political power resided in a single party, the Republican People's Party, and to a very substantial extent in Mustafa Kemal personally until his death in 1938. His chief of staff, Ismet Inönü (Pasha), became president and established a two-party system of government with the formation of the opposition Democrat Party (DP) in 1946.

Although pro-Allied, Turkey remained neutral during most of World War II, but early in 1945 it declared war on the Axis and became a charter member of the UN. In 1947, the Truman Doctrine pledged US support to Turkey in the face of mounting Soviet pressure. This move was followed by large-scale military and economic assistance from the United States. Turkey thus became firmly committed to the Western alliancesNATO and the Central Treaty Organization, or CENTO (Baghdād Pact).

The DP came to power in 1950. Under Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, the government stressed rapid industrialization and economic expansion at the cost of individual liberties. Restrictive press laws were passed in 1954 and 1956, and by 1960 the Menderes government had curtailed judicial independence, university autonomy, and the rights of opposition parties. On 27 May 1960, after student demonstrations (joined by War College cadets and some army officers) were harshly suppressed, Prime Minister Menderes, President Celâl Bayar, and other government leaders were arrested by a newly formed Committee of National Unity. Gen. Cemal Gürsel became acting president and prime minister. Menderes was found guilty of violating the constitution and was hanged in 1961. A new constitution was popularly ratified in 1961, and elections were held in October. Gen. Gürsel was elected president by the New Grand National Assembly, and Inönü became prime minister of a coalition government.

The opposition Justice Party (JP) won 52.3% of the vote in the 1965 elections and formed a new government under Süleyman Demirel. Four years later, the JP was returned to power, and Prime Minister Demirel began a new four-year term. But Turkey's four top military commanders forced the resignation of Demirel's government in 1971 and called for a "strong and credible government" that would restore economic and political stability and suppress student disorders, which had steadily grown more frequent and more violent since 1968. Martial law had been imposed from June to September 1970, and a new "above party" government under Nihat Erim reimposed martial law in 11 provinces (including Ankara and Istanbul) from 1971 to 1973.

Political stability proved no easier to achieve: a succession of weak coalition governments, headed alternately by Demirel and Republican leader Bülent Ecevit, held office between 1973 and 1980. Ecevit's government was in power during the Greco-Turkish war on Cyprus in JulyAugust 1974. Relations with Greece, strained by a dispute over mineral rights on the Aegean continental shelf, reached the breaking point on 15 July, when Cypriot President Makarios was overthrown in a Greek-led military coup. Fearing the island would be united with Greece, Turkish forces invaded on 20 July. A UN cease-fire came into effect two days later, but after peace talks at Geneva broke down, Turkish troops consolidated their hold over the northern third of the island by 16 August. As the result of this action, the United States embargoed shipments of arms to Turkey until 1978; as of 1994, an estimated 25,000 or more Turkish troops remained on Cyprus to support the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus which only Turkey recognizes. In 1997, Turkish and Greek representatives met with a UN mediator in an attempt to resolve the issue. No results were reported.

During the late 1970s, escalating acts of violence by political groups of the extreme left and right, coupled with economic decline, threatened the stability of Turkey's fragile democracy. By April 1980, 47,000 people had been arrested, and martial law had spread to 20 of Turkey's 67 provinces; at midyear, more than 5,000 persons had been killed (including former prime minister Nihat Erim), and the factional strife was claiming an average of 20 victims each day. With the legislature deadlocked, the military intervened in the political process for the third time in 20 years. A five-man military National Security Council (NSC), headed by Gen. Kenan Evren, took power in a bloodless coup on 12 September 1980. The NSC suspended the 1961 constitution, banned all political parties and activities, and arrested thousands of suspected terrorists. With the entire country under martial law, factional violence was drastically reduced. By April 1982, 40,000 alleged "political extremists" had been arrested; 23,000 had been tried and convicted in martial law courts, some 6,000 of them for "ideological offenses." Under an NSC edict forbidding Turkey's former political leaders from speaking out on political matters, former prime minister Ecevit was twice arrested and imprisoned during 198182. In protest against the treatment of Ecevit, the EEC froze payment of $650 million in loans and grants previously pledged to Turkey.

In a national referendum on 7 November 1982, Turkish voters overwhelmingly approved a new constitution (prepared by a constituent assembly chosen by the NSC) under which Gen. Evren became president of the republic for a seven-year term; campaigning against ratification had been illegal under martial law. Parliamentary elections were held in November 1983, although martial law remained in effect. Following the elections, Turgut Özal, leader of the victorious Motherland Party, was installed as prime minister. Martial law was lifted in most provinces over the next two years, but emergency rule remained in effect; legislation was passed to broaden police powers, freedom of expression remained limited, and trials of alleged extremists continued. Human-rights groups complained of torture, suspicious deaths, overcrowding, and substandard conditions in Turkish jails; the government denied any improprieties. Özal's Motherland Party retained its parliamentary majority in November 1987 elections, and he was reelected for a second five-year term. In 1989, Özal was elected president. His Motherland Party continued in power but with declining popularity as shown in 1989 municipal elections. Özal's ambition was to tie Turkey closely to Europe but, despite improvements in Turkey's human rights record, its application for full membership in the European Union was deferred indefinitely. Özal also sought to give Turkey a leading role with the Turkic republics of former Soviet Central Asia. He continued Turkey's long-standing policy of quiet contacts with Israel while seeking better ties with the Arab states. During the Gulf War, he joined the embargo against Iraq, closed Iraq's oil pipelines, provided facilities for allied air raids and later supported protective measures for Iraqi Kurds. In compensation, Turkey received increased aid worth $300 million.

In October 1991 elections, the Motherland Party lost its parliamentary majority to the True Path and Social Democratic Party in coalition. True Path leader Demirel was named prime minister. He succeeded to the presidency in May 1993 following the death of Özal. Tansu Ciller, True Path chairperson, became Turkey's first female prime minister in July. In 1994, Ciller faced three major tasks: dealing with the problems of high inflation (about 70%) and unemployment as she continued Özal's free market policies of export-led growth (78%), reducing government regulations and privatization; pacifying the rebellious Kurdish areas of eastern Turkey where large numbers of troops have been tied down in a conflict that has taken thousands of lives and millions in treasure; and responding to the rising challenge to Turkey's secular nationalism from politically militant Islamic groups.

These problems continued, and in some cases escalated, and the Ciller government also faced scandals and a weakened resolve due to its fragile coalition majority.

Problems with Kurdish separatists, long-standing disagreements with Greece, and an unstable political environment plagued Turkey throughout the 1990s.

The battle between the Turkish government and members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that began in 1984 continued into 199495. The PKK sought the establishment of a separate Kurdish state. In fighting from 1984 until February 1995, more than 14,000 people had died. The battle spilled beyond Turkey's borders on 20 March 1995, as 35,000 troops backed by tanks and jets pursued rebels into northern Iraq. In the biggest military operation in the history of the Turkish republic, the troops hunted for suspected PKK bases. The PKK maintained the area was home only to Iraqi Kurds, not the PKK. Turkey said it was targeting 2,400 guerrillas who had been mounting cross-border raids and that it would not pull out until a buffer zone or other plan was set up to keep the PKK from moving back into the area. Western leaders condemned the incursion, and the eventual Turkish pullout was seen as a reaction to that negative pressure. Meanwhile, Turkey promised reforms to improve the lives of the 11 million Kurds living there. It said it would lift restrictions on broadcasts in Kurdish and allow Kurds to establish their own schools after the PKK was crushed. The battle would continue until 27 April, when Turkey declared that its mission to wipe out PKK base camps, arms depots, and supply routes in northern Iraq was a success. It said it would go back into Iraq if it again became necessary to strike at the rebels. Turkey said its next task would be to secure the border.

At the same time territorial conflicts with Greece erupted. On 1 June 1995, the Greek parliament ratified the international Law of the Sea treaty, drawing protests from Turkish leaders who saw the move as an attempt by Greece to extend its territorial waters. Almost eight weeks later the two nations narrowly avoided confrontation over a cluster of uninhabited islands in the Aegean Sea. Though on 31 January Greek Prime Minister Constantine Simitis withdrew forces from the area, tensions remained high through April, when a Greek coast guard patrol boat fired on Turkish fishermen suspected of smuggling illegal migrants to the Greek islet of Strongili. Meanwhile in May tensions between Greek and Turkish soldiers on Cyprus escalated, culminating in the fatal shooting of a Greek soldier.

The Kurdish and Greek issues were complicated by political instability within Turkey through the spring of 1996. On 20 September 1995, Prime Minister Tansu Ciller resigned when her coalition fell apart over budgetary matters. When Ciller lost a vote of confidence on 15 October, her own party, the True Path, called for national elections on 24 December. Turkey's president Suleyman Demirel asked Ciller to form a new interim government, a coalition destroyed almost two months later by the triumph of the Islamic Welfare Party in the December elections. In an effort to block Islamic fundamentalists from gaining power, Ciller made overtures to her longtime rivals in the conservative Motherland Party. When negotiations failed, President Demirel in early January invited Islamic Welfare Party leader Necmettin Erbakan to form a government. This effort was unsuccessful, as was the early February attempt by Motherland Party head Mesut Yilmuz. The stalemate ended early in March when Ciller and Yilmuz agreed on a government that left the Islamic Welfare Party out. The following month, in retaliation, Islamic representatives in parliament successfully moved to investigate allegations of corruption against Ciller. As a result of infighting, the center-right coalition fell apart in early June, allowing Erbakan to become modern Turkey's first conservative Islamic prime minister. The instability, as well as Erbakan's anti-West, antisecular slogans, caused Turkey's economy to lapse and slowed foreign investment significantly.

Beginning in early 1997, Turkey's military leaders began to speak openly of their displeasure with the Islamist turn the country had taken under Erbakan's governmenteven intimating that if the government did not return to secular policies instituted by Ataturk nearly a century earlier, it would overthrow the government militarily. Erbakan had angered the military, which considers itself the defenders of the country's secularism, by proposing mandatory Islamic education and by making political overtures to Libya and Iran. Pressure from the military increased in late spring and early summer, and Turkey's neighbors in Europe and allies in the United States also expressed concern over the direction the NATO member was taking. The crisis was resolved in July 1997, when the Welfare Party's coalition fell apart, and its leader, Erbakan, resigned his post. After the resignation, Mesut Yilmaz, leader of the Motherland Party, was asked by President Demirel to form a government. Erbakan, upon resigning, said he did so with the full intention of returning to office one day and predicted his ultraconservative Welfare Party would win more than 21% in the next elections, then scheduled for 2000.

Ciller came under heavy scrutiny again in early 1997 in a renewed round of allegations concerning her financial affairs. Opponents in parliament and within her own party accused her and her husband of enriching themselves during her term as prime minister. The parliamentary investigations came as Ciller was defending herself against charges that her government and previous administrations condoned death squads. The scandal came to light in November 1996 after an automobile accident that killed a senior police official. Also in the car was a convicted drug smuggler wanted by Interpol and a high-ranking member of parliament.

By November 1998, Yilmaz's government fell victim to another corruption scandal and Ecevit returned as interim prime minister. Within two months of returning to power, Ecevit scored a major victory for his government through the capture of Kurdish terrorist leader Abdulah Ocalan in Nairobi, Kenya. Ocalan had taken refuge in the Greek embassy in Nairobi and was apprehended while on the way to the airport (and an African country willing to provide him with asylum). Ocalan's capture brought relations with Greece to a new low as Ecevit accused Greece of being a state sponsor of terrorism.

In the wake of the terrorist leader's arrest, Ecevit called for early elections to be held in April 1999. The balloting resulted in a plurality for Ecevit's DSP (Democratic Left Party) which captured 136 out of 550 seats (22.3% of the vote) in the parliament. The MHP came second with 129 (18.1%), the Virtue Party (successor to the outlawed Welfare Party) dropped to 111 seats (15.5%), while the Motherland Party received 86 seats (13.3%). Ecevit formed a coalition with MHP and Motherland thus strengthening his position with the secularist military and isolating the Islamists.

Ecevit continued to make progress in foreign affairs throughout 1999 and into 2000. Relations in Greece saw marked improvement following a major earthquake that killed 20,000 Turkish citizens in August 1999. Greece was among the first nations to send aidan act of humanitarian assistance warmly received by the Turkish government and public. When Greece suffered a smaller earthquake the following month, Turkey returned the favor. A dialogue on cooperation between the two countries in areas of mutual interest subsequently resulted in accords in the areas of trade and the fight against terrorism. Many international observers placed emphasis on the warm personal relationship between Turkish foreign minister Ismail Cem and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou. Finally, at the December 2000 EU summit in Helsinki, the EU member-states placed Turkey's name on the list of candidates for entry. Although most observers ruled out Turkish membership for at least 1015 years, the decision was a symbolic victory for Turkey as it symbolized the efforts of most Turks to identify with the West.

In October 2001, the Turkish parliament voted for 34 changes to the constitution, as a way of improving Turkey's chances of joining the EU. Among the reforms were the abolition of the death penalty except in times of war and for acts of terrorism, ending torture in prisons, and allowances for the use of the Kurdish language in broadcasting and education. However, in May 2002, parliament approved a law increasing government control over the media, including the Internet. At an EU summit held in Copenhagen in December 2002, Turkey was not included in a list of 10 countries to be included in an expanded EU. US president George W. Bush had pressed for early accession talks on Turkey, but EU members stated the country needed more time to demonstrate progress on improving human rights, the economy, and on reducing the influence of the military on Turkish politics. Talks on Turkey's application were deferred until December 2004.

The situation on EU enlargement was made more difficult for Turkey as Cyprus was included in the group of 15 prospective new members: the EU accepted the Greek Cypriot government as a member in 2004 even though reunification was not achieved. In 2005, the EU stated Turkey would have to formally recognize Cyprus in order to join the organization. Accession talks were delayed until Turkey would agree to recognize Cyprus, something Turkey refused to do as of July 2005. However, Turkey decided in January 2004 to ban the death penalty in all circumstances. In June 2004, Turkish state television broadcast for the first time a Kurdish language program. In September 2004, parliament approved a set of penal reforms introducing tougher measures to prevent torture and violence against women. In May, parliament amended the new penal law to ease restrictions on the media. All of these measures were welcomed by the EU, although it still held Turkey failed to meet all of its concerns regarding human rights.

Ahmet Necdet Sezer was elected president on 5 May 2000. He was the first president in modern Turkish history to be neither an active politician nor a military commander. He is seen as a secularist. Early parliamentary elections were held on 3 November 2002, after eight ministers, including foreign minister Ismail Cem, resigned in July, protesting Prime Minister Ecevit's refusal to leave office despite a dire economic and political climate. Ecevit's health was poor, Turkey was in its most severe recession since World War II, the domestic political situation was volatile, and a US-led war with Iraq was looming, one that would depend upon Turkish cooperation. In the November elections, the newly formed Islamist-based Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi or AK) won a landslide victory, allowing it to rule without a coalition and amend the constitution by taking 363 of 550 seats in parliament. The AK pledged to adhere to the secular principles of the constitution. Abdullah Gül was named prime minister, largely because the party's leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was barred from the National Assembly due to a 1998 criminal conviction for inciting religious hatred, after he recited a religious poem deemed to be seditious. In February 2003, parliament amended the constitution, allowing Erdogan to be eligible as a candidate in parliamentary by-elections in March, which paved the way for him to become prime minister. He became prime minister on 14 March.

During 2002 and into 2003, the international community, led by the United States, placed pressure on Iraq to rid itself of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Weapons inspectors returned to Iraq, and a rift in the international community emerged as to whether "serious consequences" should result if Iraq was found to be in material breach of UN Resolution 1441, which called on Iraq to disarm. ("Serious consequences" were read as war). In December 2002, Erdogan stated the AK-led government was ready to support a military strike against Iraq. He stated that Turkey was concerned that the territorial integrity of Iraq be preserved after a war, that the economic effects of such a conflict should be taken into consideration, but that weapons of mass destruction in Iraq could not be tolerated. Turkey was also concerned about the possible effects of war on its Kurdish population: if the 3.5 million Kurds in northern Iraq organized following a defeat of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's forces, Turkey feared they might want to form an independent Kurdish state, and to potentially unite with the 12 million Kurds in southeastern Turkey.

In February 2003, the United States was negotiating a deal with Turkey for the use of its military bases in the event of an attack on Iraq, and in exchange, promised to prevent the Kurds from imposing a federation-style form of government in Iraq, ensuring their continued autonomy. The United States also agreed to allow Turkish troops to cross into Iraq to observe the disarmament of Kurds once fighting had stopped. The Turkish parliament voted on allowing as many as 62,000 US troops and 320 military aircraft to use Turkish bases in the event of war, in exchange for $26 billion in aid. At the time, 95% of the Turkish population was against a war with Iraq. Just prior to the launching of the Iraq War on 19 March 2003, parliament decided not to allow US troops to cross Turkish territory in order to set up a northern front in Iraq. However Turkey did allow the United States to use its airspace in the war with Iraq.

For years, foreign companies have been involved in plans for a hydro-electric dam, the Ilisu Dam project, to supply Turkey with irrigation and electricity. In November 2001, British contractor Balfour Beatty pulled out of the project, as did the Swiss bank UBS in March 2002, due to claims that the dam would have an adverse social and environmental impact on the region.

Turkey was a site of terrorist attacks in the early 2000s. In November 2003, 25 people were killed and more than 200 injured when two car bombs exploded near Istanbul's main synagogue. Just days later, two coordinated suicide bombings at the British consulate and a British bank in Istanbul killed 28 people. In March 2004, at least two people were killed in a suspected suicide attack on a building housing a Masonic lodge in Istanbul. In July 2004, three people died in a car bomb attack in the southeastern town of Van. Authorities accused the PKK of involvement, which the group denied. In July 2005, six people were killed in a bomb attack on a passenger train in the eastern part of the country. Again the authorities blamed the PKK for the act. That month, in the resort town of Kusadasi, an explosion on a minibus killed four people.

In January 2005, a new lira currency was introduced, as six zeros were stripped from old lira, ending an era in which banknotes were denominated in millions.


The 1961 constitution vested legislative power in the Grand National Assembly, consisting of the House of Representatives, with a membership of 450 (elected for four-year terms), and the Senate of 165 members, of whom 150 were elected and 15 appointed by the president. The president of the republicthe head of statewas elected for a single seven-year term by a joint session of the National Assembly. The president was empowered to designate the prime minister from among the Assembly members; the prime minister in turn chose other cabinet ministers, who were responsible for general government policy.

The constitution ratified in November 1982, which replaced the 1961 document, declares Turkey to be a democratic and secular republic that respects the human rights of its citizens and remains loyal to the nationalistic principles of Atatürk. It vests executive powers in the president of the republic and the Council of Ministers. The president is elected by the National Assembly for a seven-year term. Legislative functions are delegated to the unicameral National Assembly, consisting originally of 400 members elected for five-year terms (the Senate was abolished). Under the constitution's "temporary articles," the five-person National Security Council (NSC) remained in power until the new parliament convened, at which time the NSC became a presidential council, to function for a period of six years before dissolving. These "temporary" provisions expressly forbade all former leaders of either the Justice or the Republican People's Party from participating in politics for 10 years; all former members of the previous parliament were forbidden to found political parties or to hold public office for five years. A referendum in September 1987 approved a proposal to lift the 10-year ban on political participation by leaders of the Justice and Republican People's Parties and numerous other politicians. Proposals to change the voting age from 21 to 20 years and expand the National Assembly from 400 to 450 members were approved in May 1987. By 2005, there were 550 seats in the National Assembly and the voting age had been lowered to 18.

Although the constitution guarantees individual freedoms, exceptions may be made in order to protect the republic and the public interest, or in times of war or other national emergency. The provision holding that an arrested person cannot be held for more than 48 hours without a court order may likewise be suspended in the case of martial law, war, or other emergency.


The first significant nationwide party, the Republican People's Party (Cumhuriyet Halk PartisiCHP), was organized by Mustafa Kemal in 1923. Strong, centralized authority and state economic planning marked its 27 years of power (192350). It deemphasized everything religious to the point of subordinating religious activity and organization to state control.

Not until 1946 did a second popular party, the Democrat Party (Demokrat PartiDP), come into being. Initially formed by a small group of dissident CHP members of parliament, the DP demanded greater political and economic liberalism and specifically a relaxation of central controls. When they came to power in 1950, the Democrats put into effect their policies of economic expansion through rapid mechanization and free enterprise; they also emphasized rural development through liberal credit terms to farmers. These policies, aimed at broadening the base of the economy, helped to return the Democrats to power three times in succession. After 1954, however, the Democrat regime reinstituted many of the former controls and instituted others, notably over the press. The CHP condemned these moves as well as what it regarded as lack of economic planning and of adequate fiscal and commercial controls. Both the Democrats and the CHP supported a firmly pro-Western, anti-Communist foreign policy.

In the first elections of the Second Republic (October 1961), none of the four competing parties won a controlling majority in either chamber, and a coalition government was formed for the first time in 1962. The coalition, however, was short-lived, for the newly formed Justice Party (Adalet PartisiAP) withdrew from the governing group of parties and became the chief political opposition. The AP, which became the main political force in the country after the 1965 elections, favored private enterprise (in this respect it can be considered the successor of the DP, which was banned in 1960). Organized originally by local Democrat leaders, the AP came to reflect the views of modernization-minded professionals as well as workers and villagers. In the 1965 elections, the AP won 53.8% of the seats in the House of Representatives and 61% of the Senate seats. The elections of October 1969 confirmed its legislative predominance.

In December 1970, dissident members of the AP created the Democratic Party (Demokratik Parti). Another new organization, the Republican Reliance Party (Cumhuriyetçi Güven PartisiCGP), formed by dissident members of the CHP, put up its first candidates in the 1969 elections. The National Salvation Party (Milli Selâmet PartisiMSP) was created in March 1973 for the purpose of preserving Islamic traditions and bringing about economic and social reforms. In the general elections of 14 October 1973, the CHP replaced the AP as the most popular party in Turkey, although it did not achieve a parliamentary majority, and the CHP and MSP formed a coalition government under Bülent Ecevit. After the Ecevit government fell in September 1974, more than six months passed before a new permanent government was formed by Süleyman Demirel. His minority government of the Nationalist Front, which included representatives of the AP, CGP, MSP, and National Action Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi), commanded 214 out of 450 National Assembly seats. After the CHP won 213 Assembly seats in the 1977 elections, Ecevit, having formed a minority cabinet, lost a parliamentary vote of confidence and had to resign. But his rival, Demirel, fared little better as prime minister, and his coalition government soon dissolved. Each served another brief stint as head of government prior to the 1980 military coup.

The new military government banned all political parties and, under the 1982 constitution, forbade the leaders of the AP and CHP from active participation in politics for 10 years. After the new constitution was approved, however, the government allowed the formation of new political groups. The first new party, the Nationalist Democracy Party, was formed in May 1983 by certain retired military officers, former government officials, and business leaders; it received support from the military but fared poorly in local and national elections and was disbanded three years later. Another new group, the rightist Great Turkey Party, was abolished by the government soon after its founding because of alleged close resemblances to the banned AP; the True Path Party (Dogru Yol PartisiDYP) was established in its place but was not allowed to participate in the elections to the National Assembly on 6 November 1983. Also barred were the newly formed Welfare Party and the Social Democratic Party, and Demirel and other politicians were temporarily placed under military detention. The Populist Party, which the military was said to regard as a loyal opposition, and the Motherland Party (Anatavan PartisiANAP), formed by conservative business leaders and technocrats, did win approval to run. In the balloting, the ANAP won a majority in the National Assembly, with 212 out of 400 seats, and its leader, Turgut Özal, became prime minister on 13 December.

Subsequently, all parties were allowed to participate in local elections. In 1985, the Populist Party merged with the Social Democratic Party to form the Social Democratic Populist Party (Sosyal Demokrasi Halkçi PartisiSDHP). The Free Democrat Party was formed in 1986 as a successor to the Nationalist Democracy Party. In September 1987, the 10-year ban on political participation by over 200 leaders of the AP and CHP was lifted after a referendum indicated approval by a bare majority of just over 50%. At the same time, Özal announced elections in November of that year and had a law passed requiring nomination of candidates by party leaders rather than by popular choice. After challenges from opposition groups, the Constitutional Court declared the new procedure illegal. In the November 1987 elections, Özal was reelected as prime minister, with 36.3% of the vote; the ANAP won 292 of the 450 seats in the National Assembly (although polling only 36% of the vote), the SDHP won 99 seats, and the DYP took 59 seats. A coalition of True Path and Social Democrats defeated the Motherland Party in 1991. Outside the established political system are the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and other smaller separatist parties which have been banned.

In 1993, Motherland Party leader Turgut Özal died while serving as president. He was succeeded by True Path leader Suleyman Demirel. In July of that year, Tansu Ciller, chairperson of True Path, became prime minister (Turkey's first female prime minister). Ciller headed a shaky coalition and in a budgetary debate in September 1995, her government collapsed. She lost a vote of confidence in October and new elections were held in December. The elections were won by the Welfare Party, which took 158 of 550 seats; although hardly a majority, this was 23 more seats than Ciller's True Path. Fearing an Islamic government, secularists scrambled to form a majority but failed, and in January 1996 President Demirel invited Welfare Party leader Necmettin Erbakan to form a government.

The Erbakan government lasted barely a year and a half. While popular in rural areas, it faced strong opposition from the business elitewhich tends to be pro-Westernand the military. Beginning in 1997, the military let it be known that if Erbakan did not uphold Turkey's secular traditions, it would overthrow the government and return it to secular parties. In July 1997 Erbakan resigned and Motherland Party leader Mesut Yilmaz was asked to form a government. Following allegations of corruption, the Yilmaz government fell in November 1998 and was replaced by an interim minority government headed by Ecevit pending early elections.

Ecevit returned to head a minority government pending early elections in 1999. On 18 April 1999, Turkish voters gave Ecevit's DSP a plurality with 136 seats (22.3% of the vote). Ecevit went on to form a coalition government with the MHP and Motherland. In May 2000, President Demirel's long political career came to an end with the election of Ahmet Necdet Sezer as his successor. The next presidential election was to be held in 2007.

Political pressure brought to bear on the Ecevit government in mid-2002 led to the resignation of 8 of his cabinet ministers and a call for early parliamentary elections. The elections were won by the Islamic-based Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, or AK), in a landslide victory. The AK took 363 of 550 seats in parliament with 34.3% of the vote; the CHP took 178 seats with 19.4% of the vote; and independents took 9 seats, as other parties participating in the elections did not meet the 10% threshold for obtaining seats. Abdullah Gül became prime minister, but the AK leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, retained power in the party, and later became prime minister. The rise of the AK is one demonstration of the popularity of Islamic parties in Turkey, although the country is officially attempting to align itself with the West. The Islamic Welfare Party, which had appeal among the middle class, was banned and closed in 1998, and Erbakan was banned from participating in politics for 5 years. The Welfare Party's successor, the Virtue Party (Fazilet Partisi), was the main opposition party in 2001 when it was banned that June by the Constitutional Court for posing a threat to the state. A new party, the Felicity or Happiness Party (Saadet Partisi) was established by banned members of the Virtue Party. The AK also had its roots in the Virtue Party. The next parliamentary election was to be held 2007.

Former foreign minister Ismail Cem formed a new party, the New Turkey Party (Yeni Türkiye Partisi), which is centrist in orientation and polled 1% of the vote in the 2002 elections.

The PKK is also known as the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress (KADEK), and the People's Congress of Kurdistan or Kongra-Gel (KGK).


The chief administrative official in each of Turkey's 81 provinces (vilayets or iller ) is the provincial governor (vali ), an appointee of the central government who is responsible to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. During the military takeover in 1980s, governors were made responsible to the military authorities, and provincial assemblies were suspended. In 11 mainly Kurdish southeastern provinces, a regional governor exercised authority under a state of emergency declared in 1987. The state of emergency was lifted in November 2002. For administrative purposes, provinces are subdivided into districts (kazas or ilces ), which in turn are divided into communes (nahiyes or bucaks ), comprising kasabas and villages. In municipalities and villages, locally elected mayors and councils perform government functions. Both levels of government have specified sources of income and prepare budgets for the allocation of such income, which are then subject to approval by the central government. Most public revenue, however, is collected by the Ministry of Finance in Ankara.


The judicial system was left substantially intact by the 1982 constitution, except for the addition of special state security courts to handle cases involving terrorism and state security. There are four branches of courts: general law courts, military courts, state security courts, and a constitutional court.

The general law courts include civil, administrative, and criminal courts. Decisions of civil courts with original jurisdiction are appealable to a high court of appeals in Ankara. The high court of appeals also hears cases involving charges against members of the cabinet and other high functionaries. It also hears appeals for criminal cases, including appeals from the state security courts. A council of state hears appeals from administrative cases.

The military courts have jurisdiction over military personnel and include courts of first instance and a military court of appeals.

The state security courts are composed of five-member panels. They are found in eight cities and try defendants accused of crimes dealing with terrorism, gang-related crimes, drug smuggling, membership in illegal organizations, and sedition.

The constitutional court reviews the constitutionality of legislation at the time of passage both when requested by the required percentage of members of parliament and in the context of review of constitutional issues which emerge during litigation.

The constitution guarantees the independence of the judiciary from the executive and provides for life tenure for judges. It also explicitly prohibits state authorities from issuing orders or recommendations concerning the exercise of judicial power. A high council of judges and prosecutors selects judges and prosecutors for the higher courts and oversees those in lower courts. In practice, the courts act independently of the executive.

The constitution guarantees defendants the right to a public trial. The bar association is responsible for providing free counsel to indigent defendants. There is no jury system. All cases are decided by a judge or a panel of judges.

The European Court of Human Rights is the final arbiter in cases concerning human rights.


In 2005, Turkey's total armed forces had a strength of 514,850 active personnel and 378,700 reservists. The Army numbered 402,000 personnel and included 17 armored brigades, 15 mechanized brigades, 15 infantry brigades, and 2 infantry divisions. Army equipment included 4,205 main battle tanks, over 250 reconnaissance vehicles, 650 armored infantry fighting vehicles, 3,643 armored personnel carriers, and more than 7,450 artillery pieces. The Turkish Navy had 52,750 personnel, including 3,100 Marines and 1,050 active naval personnel in the Coast Guard. Major naval units included 13 tactical submarines, 19 frigates, 55 patrol and coastal vessels, 35 mine warfare, 67 amphibious, and 27 logistical/support ships. The naval aviation arm operated seven fixed wing and 16 rotary wing aircraft. The Air Force had 60,100 personnel and 445 combat capable aircraft, including 87 fighters and 358 fighter ground attack aircraft. Paramilitary forces included a 100,000-member national guard/gendarmerie (with 50,000 reservists). An estimated 36,000 Turkish soldiers were stationed on Cyprus. Turkey participated in other peacekeeping and other military missions in six regions or countries. The defense budget in 2005 totaled $9.81 billion.


Turkey is a charter member of the United Nations, having joined on 24 October 1945, and belongs to ECE and several nonregional specialized agencies, such as the IAEA, the World Bank, UNHCR, UNESCO, UNCTAD, ILO, and the WHO. Turkey is also a member of the WTO, the Asian Development Bank, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Zone, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the Islamic Development Bank, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), NATO, and the OECD. As of 2005, Turkey was a candidate for membership to the European Union. The nation holds observer status in the OAS and is an associate member of the Western European Union.

Turkey belongs to the Australia Group, the Zangger Committee, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (London Group), the Nuclear Energy Agency, and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It holds observer status in the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

Relations with the United States, Turkey's principal aid benefactor, were strained during the 1970s over the Cyprus issue. After the Turkish military forces, using US-supplied equipment, had occupied the northern third of the island, the US Congress in 1975 embargoed military shipments to Turkey in accordance with US law. In response, Turkey abrogated its 1969 defense cooperation agreement with the United States and declared that it would take over US military installations in Turkey (except the NATO base at Adana). The US government then relaxed the arms embargo and finally ended it in 1978, after which Turkey lifted its ban on US military activities. Turkish-US relations improved markedly thereafter, and a new defense and economic cooperation agreement between the two countries was signed in 1980. In 1986, the 1980 agreement was renewed, allowing the United States to use some 15 Turkish military bases in exchange for continuing military and economic subsidies. Relations between Greece and Turkey also remain strained over the issue of Cyprus.

In environmental cooperation, Turkey is part of the Antarctic Treaty, the Basel Convention, Conventions on Biological Diversity and Air Pollution, Ramsar, CITES, the Montréal Protocol, MARPOL, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on Climate Change and Desertification.


Since the end of World War II, the agricultural share of the economy has declined, while that of the industrial sector (including construction) has expanded. This shift in economic activity is in part the result of deliberate government policy. Mechanization of agriculture has produced a significant shift in population from farms to cities, necessitating substantial urban and industrial development and, hence, a high rate of investment. However, this heavy investment, plus an explosion of consumer demand, has also contributed to severe inflation and balance-of-payments problems. In the mid-2000s, agriculture contributed about 12% to nominal GDP, and employed over 35% of the workforce, including 25% of male employment and 60% of female employment. Industry accounts for about 30% of GDP and 25% of the labor force, and the service sector accounts for some 58% of GDP and 40% of the labor force.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Turkey enjoyed a high economic growth rate, averaging about 7% annually. This growth was financed largely by foreign borrowing, increased exports, and remittances from Turkish workers in Western Europe. As a result of the large increases in oil import costs during 197374, however, Turkey's economic growth declined in real terms during 197480, and the country suffered a severe financial crisis. Stabilization programs implemented in 1978 and 1979 under a standby agreement with the IMF proved inadequate, but in January 1980, as a condition of further IMF aid, Turkey imposed a more stringent economic reform program, involving currency devaluation, labor productivity improvements, and restructuring of the nation's inefficient state enterprises.

In response to the reforms, the GDP grew on average by 4.8% from 1980 to 1994, the highest rate of any OECD economy. In 1994, structural problems, including inflation rates of between 6090% and budget deficits of between 612%, eventually took their toll, plunging the economy into its worst recession since World War II. Real GDP declined by 6% and the inflation rate exceeded 130%. The underlying strength of the economy, together with a government austerity program designed to rein in spending, led to a turnaround in 1996, and in 1997 GDP grew by 8%. In 1998, real GDP growth slowed and then turned negative as the economy was effected by the Russian financial crisis and domestic political turmoil. Conditions worsened in 1999 as on 17 August 1999 Turkey was hit by the Kocaeli Earthquake (between Bursa and Izmik), the worst ever to hit the country, killing over 15,000, seriously injuring over 28,000, leaving about 500,000 homeless, and causing an estimated $5 billion worth of damage. In 1999, nominal GDP growth was 46.3%, but inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), was 68.8% and real GDP declined 6.1%.

At the end of 1999, Turkey entered into a three-year standby arrangement with the IMF with a approved credit line of sdr15.038 billion (1560% of its quota, well in excess of the 300% of quota that is IMF's normal limit), with a stringent set of conditions designed to bring Turkey's chronic inflation under control. The World Bank followed in 2000 with a Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) that provided external program lending, technical assistance, analytical and policy advice. In 1999, the government took over 10 insolvent private banks and then began criminal investigations into their operations. Several arrests were made of key bankers, including the nephew of a former president, accused of siphoning off funds in various ways. During 2000 real GDP grew at 6.3% and CPI inflation decreased to 39%. However, in late November the economy was suddenly beset with a banking crisis as foreign investors, apparently more concerned about what further investigations might reveal than convinced that banking was being cleansed, began to rapidly sell their Turkish assets and cut lending. An estimated $6 billion left Turkey in 10 days, $2.5 billion on 22 November 2000 alone. Overnight interbank interest rates climbed to an annualized 1700%, at one point reaching 1950%. Domestic interest rates rose to 60%, almost double the precrisis level.

By early 2001, Turkey's stock market had lost nearly half of its value. A break in the precipitous divestment was achieved when the IMF announced an agreement to supply an additional $7.5 billion credit in a one-year program under its Supplemental Reserve Facility (SRF) to run from 21 December 2000 to 20 December 2001. The reversal of the outflow proved only temporary, however. By late February 2001 the economy was plunged into a full-blown financial crisis, precipitated by the president's criticism of the prime minister's handling of the banking investigations during a meeting on 19 February 2001. The interbank overnight rate reached an annualized 7500% and the stock market lost nearly 18% of is value within a day. The central bank reportedly sold $5 billion of its $28 billion of reserves trying to defend the lira's exchange rate, but on 22 February 2001 it announced its decision to allow the lira to float. Its value dropped 36% in two days, as the exchange rate for the lira moved to 1,223,140 per 1 US dollar. For the year, real GDP fell 9.4% and inflation, measured by 12-month end-of-period CPI, increased nearly 30% to 68.5%. Net public debt rose to 93.4% of GDP, up from 57.7% the year before. Net external debt doubled as a percent of GDP from 18.5% to 37.1%. In a step designed to restore investor confidence, Kemal Dervish, former vice president of the World Bank, was appointed head of the Turkish central bank. In July 2001 the World Bank revised its 2000 CAS program to include an additional $1.2 billion on Special Structural Adjustment Loan (SSAL) terms, for a total possible lending of $6.2 billion in the period 2001 to 2003. On 4 February 2001, the day Turkey's three-year stand-by arrangement with the IMF expired, the government entered into a new two-year stand-by arrangement with a sdr8.194 billion ($11.3 billion) line of credit.

As of 30 April 2002, Turkey had outstanding with the IMF over sdr14 billion ($19.3 billion). Turkey's economic prospects seemed to be balanced between the confidence that can be engendered by its strict adherence to anticorruption, fiscal, monetary, and privatization reform programs and the political resistance and instability such strict adherence might provoke. Real GDP growth for 2002 was projected to be 3% with inflation held to the official target of 35%.

By 2005, Turkey's recovery from the 2001 economic crisis was being regarded as a "miracle." GDP grew at a rate of 8% in 2004, and inflation was down to single digits (just over 9%) for the first time in 30 years. Turkey has a long-held objective of becoming a member of the EU, and EU accession negotiations were opened in October 2005, as if to cement confidence in Turkey's economic recovery. The EU's decision followed on the heels of a three-year, $10 billion IMF stand-by agreement. Credit disbursements from the agreement of May 2005 depended upon the implementation of policies to reduce government debt, lower inflation, and increase competitiveness. However, the stabilization program had the drawback of not promoting a reduction in unemployment and income inequality. Exports were doing well in 2005, even to Iraq, and the war in Iraq did not deter tourists from visiting Turkey (tourism receipts amounted to a record $12.6 billion in the first nine months of 2004). The banking system was restructured with a large injection of public funds. On 1 January 2005, Turkey introduced a new lira, eliminating six zeros from the old one. In 2006, however, a fall in the value of the lira was forecast to lead to slightly higher inflation and GDP growth of 3.5%, down from about 5% in 2005. An increase in domestic demand and strong exports were projected to lead to higher growth in 2007. Real GDP growth averaged 3.8% from 200105. The predicted slowdown in 2006 was forecast to reduce the current-account deficit from 5.9% of GDP in 2005 to 3.5% in 200607. The current-account deficit was estimated at $21 billion in 2005. The government's large debt, at 74% of GDP, remains a vulnerability. Unemployment remained high, at 10% in 2005, but it was as high as 70% in some Kurdish regions in the southeast.


The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Turkey's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $551.6 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $7,900. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 5.1%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 7.7%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 11.7% of GDP, industry 29.8%, and services 58.5%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $729 million or about $10 per capita and accounted for approximately 0.3% of GDP. Foreign aid receipts amounted to $166 million or about $2 per capita and accounted for approximately 0.1% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Turkey totaled $160.08 billion or about $2,264 per capita based on a GDP of $240.4 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 2.5%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 45% of household consumption was spent on food, 18% on fuel, 6% on health care, and 5% on education. It was estimated that in 2002 about 20% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.


Turkey's labor force in 2005 was estimated at 24.7 million. As of third quarter 2004, agriculture accounted for 35.9% of the workforce, with 41.2% in services, and 22.8% in industry. The unemployment rate was estimated at 10% in 2005, with another 4% of the workforce as underemployed. Approximately 1.2 million Turkish workers are employed in other countries.

A 1946 law authorized the formation of labor unions and enabled them to engage in collective bargaining, and the right to strike was legally permitted in 1963, although general, solidarity, and wildcat strikes are explicitly prohibited. Employers' unions also exist, but members of one kind of union are prohibited from joining the other. As of 2005, about 25% of the country's wage and salaried workforce were unionized. Union membership was largest in the textile industry, tobacco manufacturing, public utilities, transport and communications, and coal mining. After the 1960 overthrow of the Menderes government, trade unions pressed the government to act upon their demands for the right to strike, for collective labor contracts, and for various social benefits, which were provided for in law but had not been fully implemented. However, the right to strike and the right to bargain collectively remained restricted as of 2005.

A detailed labor code administered by the Ministry of Labor controls many aspects of labor-management relations. As of 2005, Turkey had a basic 45-hour workweek, with a weekly day of rest. Overtime was limited to three hours per day, for no more than 90 days per year. The minimum wage was $360 per month in the second half of 2005. Minimum wage rates are set semiannually by Turkey's Minimum Wage Commission. Workers usually are entitled to one paid day off per week. The minimum working age is 15, but in practice child labor, as of 2005, was widespread. Turkey's State Statistical Institute in 2004 reported that 764,000 children between the ages of 12 and 17 were working. However some observers claim that the figures were unreliable and that the number of child laborers was actually increasing.


About 26 million hectares (64.2 million acres), or 34% of Turkey's total land area, is considered arable; in any given year, about two-thirds of arable land is under crops, and one-third is fallow. Little uncultivated arable land remains. The average holding is not more than four or five hectares (1012 acres). Dry grain farmingin which half the land must lie fallow each yearoffers little more than a subsistence standard of living. About 35% of the labor force is engaged in agriculture, which provided 13% of GDP in 2003. Large farms are concentrated mainly in the Konya, Adana, and İzmir regions. Agricultural methods still tend to be primitive, but modern machinery has been introduced. Much new land has been brought under cultivation since World War II (193945), and the increased use of chemical fertilizers and expansion of irrigated lands have increased yields per acre overall. In 2003, about 20% of all arable land was irrigated. Nevertheless, crop yields are still extremely sensitive to variations in rainfall. In good crop years, Turkey exports cereals, but in drought years, it must import them.

About 90% of the cultivated area is devoted to cereals. Wheat is the principal crop, accounting for about 60% of total grain production in 2004; 21,000,000 tons of wheat were grown in that year, followed by barley with 9,000,000 tons. Turkey also produced 13,965,000 tons of sugar beets and about 3,600,000 tons of grapes. Other agricultural products were grown in lesser but still important quantities in 2004: maize, 3,000,000 tons; sunflower seeds, 900,000 tons; cotton, 903,600 tons; and oranges, 1,280,000 tons.

Turkish tobacco is world famous for its lightness and mildness. Most of the crop is grown in the Aegean region, but the finest tobacco is grown around Samsun, on the Black Sea coast. Tobacco and tobacco products represented 8% of total agricultural exports in 2004 and 0.8% of all Turkish exports that same year. Some 160,000 tons of tobacco were produced in 2004. Most of the cotton crop is grown around Adana and İzmir. Other crops of commercial importance include olives (1,600,000 tons in 2004), tea (153,800 tons), fruits, nuts, and vegetable oil. Turkey usually leads the world in the production and export of hazelnuts (about 425,000 tons produced in 2004) and also is a leading producer of pistachio nuts (30,000 tons).

The government stimulates production through crop subsidies, low taxation, price supports, easy farm credit, research and education programs, and the establishment of model farms. The government also controls the conditions under which farm products can move into world markets. For some products, such as grain, the government is the sole exporter. Turkey began exporting vegetables and fruits abroad, which affected domestic market prices. Cotton and tobacco production levels are increasing as demands by the textile and cigarette industries have risen.

Turkey is one of seven countries authorized under the 1961 UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs to grow opium poppies for legitimate pharmaceutical purposes. In June 1971, after persistent US complaints that up to 80% of all opiates smuggled into the United States were derived from Turkish poppies, the Turkish government banned poppy growing; however, after efforts to find substitute crops failed, the government decided to rescind the ban on 1 July 1974. Areas authorized for poppy cultivation were estimated at 37,500 hectares (92,700 acres) in 1983; 5,000 hectares (12,350 acres) of opium capsule were sown in 1985. Government steps to curtail illegal cultivation, refining, and export of opiates were reportedly successful; in fact, Turkey has been one of the few opium-growing countries to crack down hard on drug smuggling.


Turkey is heavily overgrazed. Many animals are used for transport and draft purposes as well as to supply meat and dairy products. The principal animals of commercial importance are mohair goats and sheep. The sheep wool is used mainly for blankets and carpets, and Turkey is a leading producer of mohair. Nevertheless, animal husbandry is generally poorly developed despite the great number of animals. In 2005 there were 25.2 million sheep, 10 million head of cattle, 6.6 million goats, and 297 million chickens. Production of wool was estimated at 46,000 tons in 2005. Other livestock products included cow's milk, 9.5 million tons; poultry meat, 940,000 tons; and hen eggs, 830,000 tons. Turkish apiculture produced some 73,900 tons of honey in 2005, fourth in the world.


The total marine catch by Turkey's deep-sea fishermen was 502,800 tons in 2003, most of it anchovies and sardines caught as they migrate seasonally through the Bosporus. In addition, 84,915 tons of freshwater fish were caught. Fishing equipment and methods have been substantially upgraded in recent years. For most of the population, however, the sea is not an important source of food. Exports of fish and fish products amounted to $148.8 million in 2003.


Forests occupy 10,225,000 hectares (25,266,000 acres), or 13.3% of Turkey's total land area. State forests include almost all the forestland, while community or municipal forests and private forests are small. Care of state forests and all cutting therein are the responsibility of the directorate-general of forestry within the Ministry of Agriculture. The timber cut in 2004 yielded 15,870,000 cu m (558 million cu ft) of roundwood, with 32% used as fuel wood. Production of sawn wood in 2004 was 5,615,000 cu m (198.2 million cu ft); wood pulp 225,000 tons; wood-based panels, 3,232,000 cu m (114 million cu ft) and paper and paperboard, 1,643,000 tons.


Although Turkey had a wide variety of minerals, its resources were only partially developed. Turkey was a leading producer of boron, and was known for such industrial minerals as barite, celestite (strontium), clays, emery, feldspar, limestone, magnesite, marble, perlite, pumice, and trona (soda ash). Other minerals actively exploited and marketed were copper, chromite, iron ore, sulfur, pyrite, manganese, mercury, lead, zinc, and meerschaum. Mining, steelmaking, petroleum, and construction, were leading industries in Turkey. Turkey was a significant exporter of borates and steel, and also exported chromite, copper, zinc, and a wide variety of industrial minerals and derived chemicals. In 2003, exports of minerals and chemical based commodities and products accounted for approximately 22% of Turkey's $47.2 billion in exports, or around $10,7 billion. Among crude minerals in 2003: copper exports earned $2,481 million; metal ores, about $56 million; and borates and concentrates, around $84 million.

In 2003 preliminary production of: copper (metal content) was 45,000 metric tons, down from 48,253 metric tons in 2002; dolomite, 1,158,539 metric tons; limestone (other than for cement), 28.609 million metric tons, down from 30.261 million metric tons in 2002; marble, 544,629 cu m, compared to 557,630 in 2002; quartzite, 2.908,584 metric tons; boron concentrates, 1.4 million metric tons, up from 1.346 million metric tons in 2002; bauxite from the public sector, 364,306 metric tons (about 30,000 metric tons per year were produced by the private sector); feldspar, 1,862,310 metric tons; iron ore (metal content), 2.1 million metric tons, down from 2.4 million metric tons in 2002; celestite strontium concentrates, 70,000 metric tons; and meerschaum, 200 kg (estimated), down from 200 kg in 2002. Eskisehir, in northwestern Anatolia, was the world center of meerschaum (sepiolite). Turkey was famous for its meerschaum pipes. Also produced in 2003 were alumina, antimony, gold, lead, manganese, silver, alumina sulfate (alunite), barite, hydraulic cement, clays (including bentonite and kaolin), emery, fluorspar, crude glass, graphite, gypsum, lime, magnesite, nitrogen, perlite, pumice, cupreous pyrite, sand and gravel, silica sand, sodium compounds (salt, soda ash [trona], and sodium sulfate), stone (basalt, diabase, granite, onyx, sandstone, serpentine, slate, and travertine), sulfur, talc, and zeolite. No smelted zinc or cadmium were produced in 2003.

Despite the divestment of a large portion of the state-owned minerals sector holdings, to domestic and foreign investors, the government remained a significant factor in most sectors of the minerals industry, through shareholdings in a number of private companies and various state-owned industrial corporations. In recent years, the government has been encouraging mineral exports as well as domestic and foreign private mining investment. Ongoing privatization costs were expected to result in layoffs and the closure of inefficient operations. Most of the nation's 3,000 mines were small. Resources of metallic commodities minable by largescale methods were known for bauxite, chromite, copper and copper-zinc, gold, iron, and silver.


Turkey has only modest reserves of oil and natural gas, while its coal reserves are generally of indifferent quality and highly polluting. However, the country's geographic location makes it a natural bridge between European consumer markets and the major oil producing areas in the Middle East and in the Caspian Sea region.

As of 1 January 2005, Turkey had proven oil reserves estimated at 300 million barrels. In 2004, oil output was estimated at 42,904 barrels per day, of which 42,421 barrels per day was accounted for by crude oil. However, in that same year, demand for oil averaged 685,000 barrels per day, of which net imports accounted for 642,081 barrels per day. Crude oil refining capacity is spread over seven refineries with a combined crude oil refining capacity of 802,275 barrels per day, which includes the privately owned Atas refinery at 88,000 barrels per day. Reported as of July 2005, by the Energy Information Agency, oil accounts for more than 40% of Turkey's total energy requirements, although its share is falling due to the increasing use of natural gas. Approximately 90% of Turkey's oil is imported.

Although Turkey has proven reserves of natural gas, nearly all of Turkey's demand for natural gas is met by imports. As of 1 January 2005, Turkey's natural gas reserves were estimated at 300 billion cu ft. Production in 2003 was estimated at only 20 billion cu ft while demand was estimated at 748 billion cu ft. Imports that year were estimated at 728 billion cu ft. The bulk of Turkey's demand for natural gas in 2003, around 65%, was accounted for by the country's power sector. Residential and industrial users accounted for 14% and 19% of demand, respectively, in 2003.

In 2003, Turkey's recoverable coal reserves were estimated at 4.6 billion short tons. Coal production that year came to 53.1 million short tons, with demand at 71.0 million short tons. Imports of coal in 2003 were estimated at 17.9 million short tons. Coal produced in Turkey is used largely for electric power generation.

As of early 2004, Turkey's electric generating capacity was estimated at 32.3 GW, of which 40% of capacity was fueled by natural gas, 28% by hydropower, 24% by coal, and only 7% by oil. In 2003, net electricity production totaled an estimated 133.6 terawatthours (Twh), with demand in that same year estimated at 124.9 Twh. For almost 20 years, Turkey has been one of fastest growing markets for electricity in the world. Although the country's 2001 economic crisis has dampened demand for electricity, the Turkish government foresees the need for a significant increase in the country's generating capacity.


Overall industrial production, which had increased by annual rates of close to or over 10% from 1973 to 1977, fell sharply because of Turkey's financial crisis in 197879 and actually declined by 5% in 1979 and 1980. After the government's economic reform program slowed inflation and stabilized the lira, industrial production improved. Production rose 28% during 198587. State enterprises were restructured to reduce their government subsidies and to make them more productive and competitive with private firms. However, industry has continued to suffer from structural weaknesses and, in many firms, production facilities are obsolete. Production rose by an annual average of almost 5% 1980 to 1993, but fell more than 6% in the recession of 1994 as the chronic double digit inflation rose to triple digits at 128%. Manufacturing output recovered strongly from 1994 to 1995, rising 30% from $34.3 billion to $44.7 billion, and then to $46.6 billion in 1996. The industrial production index (1992=100) rose to a peak of about 132 in May 1997, and capacity utilization peaked in September at 82%. The Russian financial crisis helped throw both indicators into decline and by August 1999 the industrial production index had fallen 20% to about 111 and capacity utilization to about 67%. Another period of recovery lasted until the banking crisis of late 2000, although capacity utilization remained below 77%. From November 2000 to October 2001 the industrial production index fell 20%, from 130 to 110, and capacity utilization dipped below 74%. The 2001 industrial output declined 8.9% including a 9.9% decline in manufacturing, a 7.9% decline in mining, and a 1.5% decline in utility outputs. Continuing its roller coaster pattern, in the first quarter of 2002, the industrial production index was back up to 132 as capacity utilization rose marginally to 75%.

As of 2005, industry, excluding construction, accounted for about 25% of GDP and just under 20% of employment. Construction contributes about 45% of GDP, down from 68% of GDP in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The industrial production growth rate in 2004 was 16.5%.

The textile industry, Turkey's largest manufacturing sector (accounting for one-third of industrial employment), is centered in İzmir, Istanbul, Adana, and Kayseri. The removal of EU quotas on imports of textiles and apparel when Turkey joined in a customs union with the EU in 1996 has improved growth prospects, but the removal of global quotas in 2005 causes Turkey to face stiff competition on international markets for its textiles and clothing.

Secondary mineral commodities, including refined petroleum products, steel, cement, glass, and certain chemicals account for over two-thirds of manufacturing output. Turkey's largest industry is petroleum refining. Turkey has very limited energy resources, but because of its strategic location between Europe and Asia, oil consumers and oil producers, it is crossed by several major oil and gas pipelines. Turkey has six oil refineries, four operated by the state. The four state refineriesat Izmit, at Aliaga, at Kirikkale, and at Batmanwere built by the National Oil and Gas Company of Turkey (TPAOTurkiye Petrolleri A.O.). The major private refinery in Turkey is Anadolu Tasfiyehanesi A.S. (ATAS). A small refinery in the southeast was bought in 1997 by Aladdin Middle East Ltd., a US-based company concerned mainly with oil exploration and development in this Kurdish-dominated region. Total refinery production suffered in the Russian financial crisis of 1998 and the Izmit earthquake of 1999, which damaged the Izmit Refinery in Kocaeli Province, epicenter of the earthquake.

Major industrial complexes include the government-owned iron and steel mill at Karabuk and the Eregli iron and steel works. Other important Turkish enterprises are brick and tile, glass, leather, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, metalworking, cordage, flour milling, vegetable-oil extraction, fats and oils, paper products, printing and publishing, plastic products, and rubber processing. The sugar-beet industry ranks first among food-processing industries and produces more than domestic consumption requires. The automobile industry expanded rapidly in the 1970s and continued to be a growth sector in the mid-2000s. Tofas, a joint venture between Fiat and Koc Holding A.S., Turkey's biggest industrial conglomerate, is the leading automotive producer. Much of the production of machines, consumer goods, and tools takes place in hundreds of small machine shops and foundries, where little special-purpose machinery is used. In addition to textiles and clothing and motor vehicles, consumer electronics was the most dynamic sector of the economy by 2006.


Turkey's industrial economy has just begun to apply advanced technology to basic industries. The government body that coordinates scientific research is the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (founded in 1963), in Ankara. The Mavmara Scientific and Industrial Research Institute (1972), in Istanbul, conducts research on basic and applied sciences, and industrial research. The Ankara Nuclear Research and Training Center (1967), attached to the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority, studies health physics, nuclear electronics, and plasma physics. The General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration (1935), also in Ankara, conducts the Geological Survey of Turkey and evaluates mineral resources. The Turkish Natural History Museum was founded in 1968 at Ankara. Turkey has 29 universities that offer courses in basic and applied sciences. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 45% of college and university enrollments. In 2002, of all bachelor's degrees awarded, 22.1% were for the sciences (natural, mathematics and computers, engineering).

In 2002, total expenditures on research and development (R&D) amounted to $2,965.522 million, or 0.67% of GDP. Of that amount, the government accounted for 50.6%, followed by the business sector at 41.3%. Private nonprofit organizations and foreign sources accounted for 6.9% and 1,3%, respectively. In that same year, there were 345 scientists and engineers, and 37 technicians engaged in research and development per million people. High technology exports in 2002 totaled $568 million, or 2% of the country's manufactured exports.


Individual firms tend to be small and specialized. There is virtually no commercial activity in villages; the villager comes into the market town to buy and sell. Government-operated exchanges for cereals are located in municipalities. If the price of grain in the free market falls below the supermarket price, the government-operated exchanges purchase the grain and market it. In this manner, the government controls the price range of cereals. Franchising has grown in the past few years, primarily in foreign fast-food and apparel firms. Value-added taxes apply to most goods and services with different rates for different products.

Because of the scarcity of some commodities, the government controls the distribution of various essential goods, notably cement, coal, lignite, and steel. Under a 1954 law, municipal authorities enforce specified profit margins on designated commodities. These margins are established at four levels: importer or manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, and retailer. Customarily, a Turkish wholesaler supplies credit to retailers who, in turn, often extend credit beyond their own means to consumers. Wholesalers' margins tend to be small because of low overhead and keen competition. Due to Turkey's high inflation rate, wholesalers usually try to maintain minimal stocks to reduce carrying costs.

Most commercial firms belong to chambers of commerce, which exist in all cities. Chambers of industry are increasingly important in larger manufacturing centers. The government sponsors an international trade fair every year at Iİzmir.

Shops are normally open from 9 am to 7 pm, Monday through Saturday; some establishments tend to stay open later in the evenings, some shops often have Sunday hours, and some close Friday nights for Muslim religious observances. Banking hours are from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Business hours are from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, with an hour for lunch.


Turkey's trade balance has long been negative, but the deficit reached crisis proportions in 1974/75 and again in 1980/81, when import value was nearly double that of exports and the annual trade deficit approached $5 billion. In 1985, the government mandated the creation of four free trade and export processing zones aimed at expansion and diversification of exports. By 1990, the deficit had risen to over $9 billion and the ratio of exports to imports fell to 58%, compared to 81% in 1988. The gap narrowed slightly in 1991 and 1992, but widened in 1993. Exports increased from $18.1 billion in 1994 to $21.6 billion in 1995 to $24.5 billion in 1996. Total imports in 1994 amounted to $23.3 billion, and rose to $35.7 billion in 1995 and $45 billion in 1996.

After 1994, strong domestic demand caused imports to surge, along with the reduction of import duties that accompanied the

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 47,252.8 69,339.7 -22,086.9
Germany 7,484.9 9,453.0 -1,968.1
United States 3,753.9 3,496.6 257.3
United Kingdom 3,670.1 3,500.0 170.1
Italy-San Marino-Holy See 3,194.8 5,471.6 -2,276.8
France-Monaco 2,826.1 4,164.1 -1,338.0
Free zones 1,928.3 588.9 1,339.4
Spain 1,792.2 2,003.8 -211.6
Netherlands 1,525.9 1,656.7 -130.8
Russia 1,367.6 5,451.3 -4,083.7
Israel 1,083.0 459.5 623.5
() data not available or not significant.

introduction of a customs union with the EU in 1996. By 2000, exports equaled only slightly more than half of imports (50.8%), bringing back memories of trade balances of the 1970s and '80s. The share of exports of goods and services in GDP surged to over 30% in the 2001 recession year in which domestic demand contracted sharply, but exports rose sharply, particularly due to the devaluation of the lira. That was the first time exports accounted for more than 25% of GDP. In 2002, the share of exports was 28.8%, and imports of goods and services amounted to about 30% of GDP. The foreign trade gap continued to widen in 2005, driven in part by high international oil prices.

The garment and textile industry in Turkey accounts for the largest amount of commodity exports. Other exports include iron and steel, fruits and nuts, and televisions.

Turkey's leading markets in 2004 were Germany (13.9% of all exports), the United Kingdom (8.8%), the United States (7.7%), Italy (7.4%), and France (5.8%). The 25 nations of the EU were the destination of 54.6% of Turkey's exports. In 2004, leading suppliers included Germany (12.8% of all imports), Russia (9.3%), Italy (7%), France (6.4%), and the United States (4.9%). Of Turkey's total imports, 46.6% came from the EU-25.


In 2000 and 2001, a trade deficit and a weak banking sector forced Turkey to float the lira, which caused the country to fall into recession. The economy improved in 2002, however, due in part to support from the IMF and tighter fiscal policies. The share of exports of goods and services in GDP rose to 31.5% in 2001, the first time it surpassed 25%. That year, imports of goods and services amounted to 29.2% of GDP. Total external debt by September 2001 stood at $118.3 billion. In 2004, exports amounted to $67 billion, while imports were $90.9 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $23.9 billion, compared with $14 billion in 2003. The foreign trade gap continued to widen in 2005, due in large measure to high international

Current Account -6,850.0
     Balance on goods -14,034.0
         Imports -65,240.0
         Exports 51,206.0
     Balance on services 10,505.0
     Balance on income -5,427.0
     Current transfers 2,106.0
Capital Account
Financial Account 6,959.0
     Direct investment abroad -499.0
     Direct investment in Turkey 1,562.0
     Portfolio investment assets -1,386.0
     Portfolio investment liabilities 3,955.0
     Financial derivatives
     Other investment assets -986.0
     Other investment liabilities 4,313.0
Net Errors and Omissions 3,978.0
Reserves and Related Items -4,087.0
() data not available or not significant.

oil prices. The current-account deficit was estimated at $21 billion in 2005, or 5.9% of GDP.


The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1930 as a privileged joint-stock company. It possesses the sole right of note issue and has the obligation of providing for the monetary requirements of the state agricultural and commercial enterprises by discounting the treasury-guaranteed bonds they issue. All foreign exchange transfers are handled exclusively by the Central Bank, which operates the clearing accounts under separate agreements with foreign countries. The bank has 25 domestic branches, plus a banknote printing plant and foreign branch offices in New York, London, Frankfurt, and Zürich.

As of 2002, Turkey had 69 banks. Banks supervised by the Central Bank play a declining role in the banking system, but 49% of total bank assets are still concentrated in three state-owned banks. The major private banks are mostly linked to industrial conglomerates, such as the Cukurova Group, owning the Construction and Credit Bank (Yapi ve Kredi Bankasi), Pamukbank, and Interbank; and the Sabanci Group, which owns Akbank. Several Western commercial banks are also active, as are some Middle Eastern trading banks. There are also three so-called special finance houses, which have adopted Islamic banking practices. Many observers predict large-scale bank consolidation as Turkey continues liberalizing its economy.

The five big state banks suffer from serious structural problems. These include overstaffing, political interference, and nonperforming loans to other state institutions, which are not recorded as such. Many small and medium-sized banks are also poorly run. Some of these were badly hit by the financial crash of early 1994, and three were forced to close. A widespread shakeout in the banking system is regarded as likely in the longer term.

Two of Turkey's most important banks, the Sümerbank and Etibank, are also state investment-holding companies. Another important state financial institution is the Agricultural Bank, which supplies credit to the farm population. The largest private commercial bank is the Business Bank. Another private bank, the Industrial Development Bank of Turkey, stimulates the growth of private industrial development and channels the flow of long-term debt capital into the private industrial sector for both short- and long-range development programs. The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $8.7 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $86.8 billion. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 91.95%. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 60%.

The first securities market in the Ottoman Empire was the Dersaadet Securities Exchange, established in 1866. The Istanbul Stock Exchange opened in 1985 and the Istanbul Gold Exchange commenced operations 10 years later.

Turkey's only securities exchange is located in Istanbul. Because of the shortage of foreign exchange, there are no transactions in foreign bonds and stocks. With few exceptions, trading is in government bonds. Virtually all securities issued by private enterprises are sold privately through personal arrangements between buyers and sellers. Still, the Istanbul Stock Exchange has developed impressively, if not erratically, in recent years. In 2001, there were 310 companies listed, the most in the exchange's history. Total market capitalization was $47 billion, and trading value was nearly $78 billion with a sky-high turnover rate of 162%. As of 2004, there were 296 companies listed on the Istanbul Stock Exchange, which had a market capitalization of $98.299 billion. Trading value that year came to $147.426 billion, with a turnover ratio of 182.3%.


Government regulations, effective 1929 and subsequently amended, require all insurance companies to reinsure 30% of each policy with the National Reinsurance Corp., a state organization. In 1954, life policies were exempted from this requirement. It is possible to secure insurance policies for flood damage, third-party liability, earthquake, commercial shipments, theft, fire, and accident, as well as life. Varied social security schemes are administered directly by the state. Third-party automobile liability, workers' compensation, and employers' liability are all compulsory. Workers' compensation is covered solely by the government as a part of the Social Security scheme. The insurance market is officially regulated through the Ministry of Commerce. In 2003, the value of all direct insurance premiums written totaled $3.242 billion, of which nonlife premiums accounted for $2.672 billion. In 2003, Axa Oyak was Turkey's top nonlife insurer, with gross written premiums of $286.3 million, while the country's leading life insurer, Anadolu H. Emekilik, had gross written life insurance premiums of $226.9 million.


Beginning in 1983, the fiscal year was shifted to the calendar year, starting on 1 January. (It had formerly begun on 1 March.) The consolidated budget includes the general budget of the government

Revenue and Grants 51,324.7 100.0%
     Tax revenue 43,126.5 84.0%
     Social contributions
     Other revenue 8,198.1 16.0%
Expenditures 81,545.9 100.0%
     General public services 56,229.4 69.0%
     Defense 5,456.9 6.7%
     Public order and safety 3,063.7 3.8%
     Economic affairs 2,569 3.2%
     Environmental protection
     Housing and community amenities 706.7 0.9%
     Health 2,598.5 3.2%
     Recreational, culture, and religion 557.9 0.7%
     Education 5,233.7 6.4%
     Social protection 5,130.2 6.3%
() data not available or not significant.

(by ministry) and a number of annexed budgets, which pertain to semiautonomous state activities, such as universities. Additionally, each section is divided into operating and investment expenditures. The budget is invariably in deficit. In 1994, when budget deficits led to an economic crisis with inflation peaking at 150%, the government launched an austerity program that reduced inflation but sent the economy into recession. When conditions improved, the government's commitment to austerity measures waned and expenditures again exceeded revenues. In 1999 the government initiated structural reforms under ongoing programs of standby agreements with the IMF. However, in 2000/01, banking crises, political disputes, and a rapidly growing current account deficit set the economy into a deep downturn that forced the government to adopt a floating exchange rate regime, an ambitious reform program, a tight fiscal policy, additional structural reforms, and unparalleled levels of IMF lending. By 2005, the economy was on stronger footing, with continued support from the IMF.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Turkey's central government took in revenues of approximately $93.5 billion and had expenditures of $115.3 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$21.7 billion. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 67.5% of GDP. Total external debt was $161.8 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2001, the most recent year for which it had data, budgetary central government revenues were tl51,324.7 trillion and expenditures were tl81,545.9 trillion. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 69.0%; defense, 6.7%; public order and safety, 3.8%; economic affairs, 3.2%; housing and community amenities, 0.9%; health, 3.2%; recreation, culture, and religion, 0.7%; education, 6.4%; and social protection, 6.3%.


All persons domiciled in Turkey, whether of Turkish citizenship or otherwise, are subject to taxation on income. Certain categories of foreigners are taxed only on income earned in Turkey, specifically, foreign business representatives, consultants, scientists, government officials, press correspondents, and others who do not intend to become permanent residents regardless of length of stay. Turkey, as of 2005, had a progressive personal income tax structure with a top rate for employment income of 30%, and a 40% rate for other types of personal income. Dividends paid to resident individuals are taxed at only 50% of the distribution. In addition, the withholding tax paid on that portion can be taken as a credit against the taxable dividend income.

As of 1 January 2005, the basic corporate tax rate, was 30%. Capital gains, as of that date, were also taxed at that rate and are included in ordinary income. Dividends paid by resident corporations to other resident companies are not subject to a withholding tax. However, a 10% withholding rate may apply to those dividends if: the recipients are residents not subject to or exempt from income or corporate taxes; are nonresident corporations without a permanent representative or office in Turkey; and if the nonresident recipients are exempt from Turkish corporate and income taxes. Interest income from Turkish government treasury bills and bonds, and on loans made by foreign financial institutions are not subject to a withholding tax. Interest income derived from other sources are subject to varying withholding tax rates. Royalties paid to nonresident companies or under licenses of rights are subject to a 22% withholding rate. A higher 25% rate applies payments on the sales of rights.

A value-added tax (VAT) with a standard rate of 18% applies to most transactions. However, an 8% rate is applied to basic foodstuffs, medical services, private education, books and some entertainment services. An even lower rate of 1% is applied to some immovable property, agricultural products, newspapers and used cars. In December 2001 two higher rates of 26% and 40% applied to luxury goods were abolished. Exemptions to the VAT include transactions subject to Turkey's insurance and banking transactions tax the pipeline transport of petroleum and crude oil, and the leasing of immovable property. Exports, international transport services provided abroad, and the supply of aircraft and ships are zero-rated.

Other taxes include excise taxes, stamp taxes, sales taxes consumption and property taxes, and inheritance and gift taxes. Business establishments are subject to an old age insurance tax and an illness and disability tax, shared by employers and employees.


Most imports are subject to the 18% VAT (with a ceiling of 26%) which is applied on the CIF (cost, insurance, freight) plus duty value. Turkey is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and aligns its customs policies with WTO regulations. Turkish customs duties are assessed on an ad valorem basis only. Present customs classification conforms to standardized international nomenclature. Duty-free entry is provided for many types of imports, such as some raw materials, imports by government agencies, and capital goods. In 1996, Turkey aligned its tariffs with the EU's common external tariff system. Importers no longer need an import license and import authorization from a bank. A government monopoly, TEKEL, controls alcohol and cigarette imports. Narcotics and weapons are strictly prohibited.


Although Turkey has been the recipient of considerable foreign aid, its leaders have also recognized the need for private foreign investment. By 1970, foreign capital could operate in any field of economic activity open to Turkish private capital, and there was no limit on the percentage of foreign participation in equity capital. However, direct capital investment by foreign companies from 1960 to 1979 averaged no more than $20 million annually, very low by OECD standards. This changed dramatically in 1980 with new foreign investment policies that cut red tape to gain more rapid approval for investment applications; inflows of private capital increased to $97 million in 1980, $337 million in 1981, and $913 million in 1992. In 1997, foreign direct investment in Turkey totaled over $1 billion. A majority (56.8%) of this investment went into manufacturing, while 40.5% was in services, 1.6% in agriculture, and 1.1% in mining.

Total Turkish direct foreign investments abroad totaled over $1.4 billion in 1997. Just over $323 million (22.2% of the total) was invested in the United Kingdom, $297.7 million in Germany, $102.2 million in the Netherlands, and $86.2 million in Russia. Other destinations for Turkish investors include Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Romania, and Kazakhstan.

Private investment in the early 2000s was sluggish: in 2001 and 2002 total fixed investment accounted for only some 17% of GDP, with more than 30% of this carried out by the public sector. Corporate taxes are high, although the basic rate of corporate tax was due to fall from 30% to 20% in 2006. As of June 2003, there were 6,511 foreign firms invested and operating in Turkey. Over the past two decades, France has been the largest foreign investor, followed by the Netherlands, Germany, and the United States. In 2004, FDI inflow (January to November) amounted to $2.2 billion, or 1% of GDP. As of December 2004, Turkey's total external investment abroad amounted to $6.5 billion.


Economic policy is formulated by the State Planning Organization. In June 1961, an integrated 15-year plan was announced, consisting of three five-year plans designed to achieve a 7% yearly increase in national income. In March 1963, the first five-year plan was inaugurated; this 196368 program to some extent fell short of its goals, but its average annual increase of 6.7% in GNP was still impressive. Two objectives of the second five-year plan (196872) were economic viability and social justice. The role of the public sector under this program was twofold: creation and expansion of the economic and social infrastructure and development of modern manufacturing industries. Economic policy, however, still sought the largest possible active role for private enterprise in the development of industries, and the government sought with limited success to encourage private activity through fiscal concessions, financial assistance, and state participation in mixed enterprises. The third five-year plan was inaugurated in 1973 with the objective of helping Turkey prepare for its future membership in the EC. The long-term goals were to increase the per capita GNP from $400 in 1972 to $1,500 by 1995, to reduce agriculture's share of the GDP to 12%, and to increase industry's share to 37%. One of the main aims of the third five-year plan, still largely unmet, was to increase the efficiency of the tax-collection service. In agriculture, the objectives were to increase food supplies for export and to feed a growing population through improved irrigation, technical advice to farmers, and the establishment of more cooperative farms.

All these efforts required large new investments and massive foreign loans which, coupled with the huge increases in the cost of oil imports after 1973, led to the financial crisis of 197778. Since 1980, Turkey has deliberately pursued a deflationary policy, allowing the international exchange rate of the lira to fluctuate on a daily basis from 1 May 1981. The government also delayed several ambitious development proposals, mainly because new foreign credits were not available. However, a number of smaller projects financed by the IBRD went forward. Meanwhile, the fourth (197983) and fifth (198590) five-year plans continued to stress industrial development, deflationary monetary policy, and export promotion. The creation of free trade zones, in the mid-1980s, was a major step in line with these policies.

Long-term economic programs adopted in 1991 and 1994 planned to reform social security and subsidy programs, implement tax reforms and improve tax administration, and restructure state enterprises, transferring certain inefficient ones to the private sector. By 1996, these plans had reduced the government's role in the economy, but huge budget deficits continued to plague the economy and further reforms are needed if Turkey is to solve its economic problems.

Turkey's geostrategic significance received a big boost in 1999 when its leaders, along with those of Azerbaijan, and Georgia agreed to the construction of an oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea port of Baku to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. The first section of the 1,100-mile pipeline opened in May 2005. The $3.2 billion pipeline has a capacity of one million barrels of oil per day.

Full membership in the European Union (EU) constitutes one of Turkey's chief aims. In December 1997 Turkey was effectively removed from the EU's list of candidates for entry. As a result, Turkey suspended its relations with the EU. However, the 1997 decision was reversed at the December 1999 EU summit in Helsinki as Turkey formally became a candidate for accession in the next round of EU enlargement. Turkey's economic problems along with reservations about human rights have put a brake on early Turkish entry to the EU. Nevertheless, Turkey's status as a candidate member provides clear goals for Turkish development, and accession negotiations were opened in October 2005. With the turnaround in the Turkish economy, which, by 2005, was booming, other longstanding problems could be addressed. They include the high government debt (74.3% of GDP in 2004), inflation, unemployment, and income inequality. Turkey is working to become more globally competitive, and government policies have shifted toward liberalization. However, efforts to reduce the role of the state have been hindered by special-interest groups and political instability.


The social insurance system provides old age, disability, and death pensions for employees in industry, commerce, and the service sector. Special systems cover other workers. The benefits are funded by payroll taxes and employee contributions. Sickness and maternity benefits are also covered. Employers contribute additional funds to cover worker's injury insurance. Unemployment benefits are available for most workers, are available after 600 days of contributions in the three years before loss of work. The Social Insurance Institution provides medical services in its own hospitals and other facilities.

The civil code explicitly bans sex-based privileges, yet proclaims the male as the legal head of the household. This grants the male the right to choose the place of residence, and most assets are held in the name of the husband. Women in urban areas are increasingly working outside the home. Women generally receive equal pay for equal work in the professions, but are underrepresented in managerial positions. Spousal abuse and violence are widespread. In 2004, a study showed that over 31% of women were beaten by their husbands, and 39% of women believed that men were justified in beating their wives in certain situations. Authorities hesitate to intervene in domestic matters, and violence against women goes largely unreported. Honor killings continue among some rural areas, and forced marriages are common. Reports of child abuse have increased in recent years.

Kurds are the largest ethnic minority and suffer discrimination, especially in less-industrialized areas. The government is responsible for widespread human rights abuses, including beatings, torture, and killings by security forces. Freedom of speech and of the press are limited. Human rights organizations are subject to harassment and possible closure by the authorities.


Free medical treatment, given at state hospitals or health centers, is provided by the state to any Turkish citizen who obtains a certificate of financial need from a local administrator. As of 2004, there were an estimated 124 physicians, 235 nurses, 23 dentists, and 33 pharmacists per 100,000 people. Approximately 83 % of the population had access to safe drinking water and 91% had adequate sanitation.

Malaria, cholera, and trachoma have been effectively controlled by large-scale public preventive measures. Immunization rates for children up to one year old were tuberculosis, 73%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 79%; polio, 79%; and measles, 76%. Diarrheal disease persists, especially in children under five years of age.

As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 17.9 and 6 per 1,000 people. About 64% of married women (ages 15 to 49) used contraception. The total fertility rate was 2.4 children for every Turkish woman who lived through her childbearing years. Average life expectancy was 72.36 years in 2005. In the same year, infant mortality was estimated at 34 per 1,000 live births. Maternal mortality was 130 per 100,000 live births.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.10 per 100 adults in 2003.


In 1999, major earthquakes in August and November left about 800,000 people homeless. The disasters brought to light the issues of substandard housing and illegal construction permits. The Turkish Chamber of Commerce estimated that about 65% of all buildings were built with illegal permits or below regulations, producing structures that are in no way suited to withstand the earthquakes to which Turkey is prone. International assistance has helped to rebuild and repair a number of homes. In 2000, there were about 16,235,830 dwelling units nationwide. The average household had 4.5 members. The Collective Housing Administration Directorate, founded in 1984, provides credit for residential construction projects.


Primary, secondary, and much of higher education is free. Education is compulsory for children ages 6 to 14 or until graduation from primary school (grade five). As of 1997, the regular school system consists of eight years of basic school and three years of secondary school. Technical, trade, and commercial schools are available at the secondary level. Some Anatolian high schools offer courses in English, French, or German in the first year and use those languages in instruction for the following years. There are also Anatolian fine arts high schools. Among private schools in operation are a number of foreign schools and those maintained by ethnic or religious minorities. The academic year runs from October to June.

In 2001, about 6% of children between the ages of three and six were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 86% of age-eligible students. In 2001, secondary school enrollment was less than 76% of age-eligible students. It is estimated that about 95% of all students complete their primary education.

Among Turkey's 53 universities are the universities of Istanbul (founded 1453) and Ankara (founded 1946), the Technical University of Istanbul (founded 1773), and the Middle East Technical University at Ankara (founded 1957). In 2003, it was estimated that about 28% of the tertiary age population was enrolled in tertiary education programs. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 88.3%, with 95.7% for men and 81.1% for women.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 3.6% of GDP.


The National Library in Ankara has over 960,000 volumes. There are two provincial branches of the library system as well: the Beyazit State Library in Istanbul with 500,000 volumes and the National Library of İzmir with 350,000 volumes. Major university collections include the Istanbul University and Documentation Center with 1.5 million volumes and one of the Middle East's finest rare book collections; the Middle East Technical University with 145,000 volumes, and the University of Ankara with 750,000 volumes.

The most famous museums and ancient buildings are located in Istanbul. The old seraglio, now Tip-top Museum, is perhaps the most famous; it houses a large collection of paintings, manuscripts, and historically important items. Nearby is the Ayasofya (Saint Sophia), the world-renowned Byzantine church that draws thousands of tourists to Istanbul. Next to it is the Blue Mosque, famous for the beauty of its interior and the grace of its dome. Also in Istanbul are the museums of archaeology and of the ancient Orient, housing one of the world's finest collections of Greek art, including the sarcophagus of Alexander the Great. Additionally, the city is home to the Museum of Turkish written Art, the Istanbul Museum of Painting and Sculpture, and the Museum of Revolution.

The Museum of Archaeology in Ankara contains the world's outstanding collection of Hittite works. Also in Ankara are Ataturk's Mausoleum and Museum, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, and the Museum of the Turkish Independence War and Turkish Republic. In Konya there are museums of Islamic art, one of which is housed in the mausoleum of Mevlana. Newer facilities include the decorative arts museums at the Beyler beyi and Dolmahbace palaces (both opened in Istanbul in 1984) and the Fire Brigade Museum in Fatib (1992). Along Turkey's Aegean coast are situated the ruins of Ephesus, Pergamum, Troy (Ilium), Halicarnassus, and other famous ancient cities. A zoological garden is located in Ankara.


Postal, telephone, and telegraph service is owned and operated by a semi-independent government enterprise under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transport and Communications. In 2003, there were an estimated 268 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people; about 77,200 people were on a waiting list for telephone service installation. The same year, there were approximately 394 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

The Government owns and operates the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT). In 2004, there were 226 local, 15 regional, and 16 national officially registered television stations, and 959 local, 104 regional, and 36 national radio stations. Some other television and radio stations broadcast without an official license. Foreign broadcasts are available via satellite. All broadcasts are monitored by the government through The High Board of Radio and Television. In 2003, there were an estimated 470 radios and 423 television sets for every 1,000 people. About 14.8 of every 1,000 people were cable subscribers. Also in 2003, there were 44.6 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 85 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were 882 secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

In 2002, there were over 100 daily newspapers in print many of which had small local circulations. The independent leftist Cumhuriyet (1999 circulation 120,000) has been closed and reopened a number of times. Other leading Istanbul dailies (with 2002 circulation figures) are Sabah (700,000); Hurriyet (542,780); Gunaydin-Tan (386,000) and Bugun (184,880). Turkiye and Milliyet are both distributed throughout the major cities; circulation figures were unavailable in 2002.

Although the constitution guarantees freedom of expression, it also authorizes newspaper confiscations and closures in the cases of crimes against the unity, security, or republican principles of the state.


Professional organizations, charitable associations, student organizations, and athletic clubs are active in the major cities. Chambers of commerce and chambers of industry are semiofficial agencies for the control of import license and foreign exchange allocations. The Union of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Maritime Commerce and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, established in 1952, is based in Ankara.

There are several Masonic lodges and branches of the Rotary and Lions clubs. Women are active in a number of their own charitable organizations. National women's rights and development organizations include the Federation of Women's Associations, the Turkish Cypriot Association of University Women, Women for Women's Human Rights/New Ways, and the Association of Women's Rights Protection. National youth organizations include the International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations, Youth for Habitat, the Youth Services Center, Junior Chamber, the Scouting and Guiding Federation of Turkey, and YMCA/YWCA. There are active sports associations promoting amateur competitions in a variety of pastimes; many such clubs are affiliated with international organizations as well as with the national Olympic Committee.

Since World War II, international cultural associations have appeared, chief among them being Turkish-American, Turkish-French, Turkish-German, and Turkish-English. The Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture, based in Istanbul, is multinational subsidiary organization of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey and the Turkish Academy of Sciences promote public interest, education, and research in a broad range of scientific fields. The Medical Association of Turkey also promote public health and advanced research in fields of medicine.

There are national chapters of the Red Crescent Society, UNICEF, Habitat for Humanity, and Amnesty International.


In addition to the museums and monuments of Istanbul, places of interest include the Aegean ports of İzmir and Bodrum; the ancient cities of Troy (Ilium), Ephesus, Tarsus, Konya, Samsun, Erzurum, and Trabzon; Mt. Ararat, traditionally considered the landing place of Noah's Ark, the remains of which some expeditions have tried to find; the ski resort of Uludag, 36 km (22 mi) south of Bursa; and the sea resort of Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast. Water sports, mountaineering, and football (soccer) are popular forms of recreation, as are such traditional Turkish sports as grease wrestling (yağli güreş), camel fighting (deve güreşi), and a horseback javelin competition (cirit oyunu) played mainly in eastern Turkey.

All visitors need a valid passport as well as a visa. Citizens of the United States and Canada may get their visas at the border; other nationals must obtain their visas in advance. A vaccination against meningitis is required by all tourists, and precautions are recommended for typhoid, malaria, and hepatitis.

In 2003, about 13,341,000 tourists arrived in Turkey, of whom 41% came from Western Europe. There were 201,510 hotel rooms with 418,177 beds and a 47% occupancy rate that year.

In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in Istanbul at $284; in Ankara, $278; and in other areas, $235.


The most famous rulers before the coming of the Turks were Croesus (r.560546 bc), a king of Lydia noted for his wealth and for the loss of his kingdom to the Persians; Constantine I (the Great; Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus, b.Moesia, ad 280?337), the first Roman emperor to accept Christianity and to use Constantinople as a capital; and Justinian I (the Great; Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Justinianus, b. Illyricum, 483565), a Byzantine emperor whose collection of laws and legal principles has been the model for European law down to modern times. Outstanding political figures since the arrival of the Turks include Sultan Mehmet II (142981), conqueror of Constantinople in 1453; Sultan Süleyman I (the Magnificent, 14951566); the Barbarossa brothers, Aruj (1473?1518) and Hayreddin Paşa (Khayr ad-Din, 1466?1546), naval commanders, born in Mytilene, who established Turkish supremacy in the Mediterranean; Mehmet Köprülü Paşa (15831661), Mehmet IV's grand vizier and founder of a family line of outstanding grand viziers; Sultan Abdul Hamid II (18421918), a despotic ruler whose tyranny led to the formation of the Young Turk movement; Enver Paşa (18811922), Young Turk leader who was the ruler of Turkey during World War I; Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (18811938), World War I military commander, nationalist leader, and first president of the republic; Ismet Inönü (Paşa, 18841973), Atatürk's chief of staff and prime minister, who succeeded him as president (193850) and was the first prime minister of the Second Republic (196165); Celâl Bayar (18831986), who helped found the Democrat Party and was president (195060) until ousted by the military; and Adnan Menderes (18991961), prime minister (195060) until he was forced to resign and then executed. Outstanding religious figures include Haci Bektaş Veli (12421337), founder of the Bektashi dervishes, and Mevlana (Celâleddin-i Rumi or Jalal al-Din Rumi, 120773), author of the epic Mesnevi (or Mathnavi ) and founder of the Mevlevi dervishes.

Revered literary figures include the mystical poets Yunus Emre (1238?1320?) and Süleyman Çelebi (d.1422), author of Mevlidi Sherif (Birth Song of the Prophet ). Other significant poets of the imperial epoch are Ahmedi (13341413), Şeyhi (d.1429?); Fuzulî (14941555), renowned for his lyrical verses about platonic love; Ali Şir Nevâí (14411501); Nef 'î (1582?1636); Nabî (1642?1712); Ahmet Nedim (16811730), perhaps Ottoman Turkey's greatest love poet; and Şeyh Galib (175798), the last great poet of the mystical and classical tradition. Renowned for his geographical and historical writings is Kâtip Çelebi (known in Europe as Haji Khalifa, 160957); the great traveler Evliya Çelebi (161182) is noted for his books on travel and history. The greatest folk poet was the 17th-century minstrel Karacaoglan.

Sinasi (182671), a dramatist, journalist, and essayist, was the first Turkish writer in the Western tradition. Other significant playwrights are Musaipzade Celal (18701959), Haldun Taner (191686), and Necati Cumali (19212001). The poet Ziya Paşa (182580) was the outstanding literary figure of the reform period. Namik Kemal (Ahmed Kemal, 184088) and Mehmet Emin Yurdakul (18691944) dedicated their poetry to the achievement of political ideals. Four widely read novelists are Huseyin Rahmi Gurpinar (18641944), Ahmet Rasim (18641932), Halit Ziya Usakligil (18651945), and Mehmet Rauf (18711931). Omer Seyfettin (18841920) was a major short-story writer. Ziya Gökalp (18751924) was a noted poet and sociologist. Significant contemporary novelists include Halide Edib Adivar (18841966), Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoglu (18881974), Refik Halit Karay (18881974), Reşat Nuri Güntekin (18921957), Kemal Tahir Demir (191074), Orhan Kemal (191470), and Yasar Kemal Gokceli (b.1922). Two fine modern poets were Yahya Kemal Beyatli (18841958) and Nazim Hikmet Ran (190160). Two prominent journalists and political writers were Hüseyin Çahit Yalçin (18751957) and Ahmet Emin Yalman (18891973). Outstanding historians were Naima (17521815), Mehmet Fuat Köprülü (18901966), and Ahmet Zekî Velidî Togan (18901970).

Other famous Turks include the architect Sinan (14901588), the miniaturist Abducelil Celebi Levni (d.1732), and the modern painter Bedri Rahmi Eyuboglu (191375). Famous contemporary composers include Ulvi Cemal Erkin (190672) and Ahmet Adnan Saygun (190793). The operatic soprano Suna Korad (19352003) and bass-baritone Ayhan Baran (b.1929) have won renown in European musical circles.


Turkey has no territories or colonies.


Alexander, Yonah (ed.). Combating Terrorism: Strategies of Ten Countries. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press, 2002.

. The Making of Modern Turkey. New York: Routledge, 1993.

Altinay, Ayse Gul. The Myth of the Military Nation: Militarism, Gender, and Education in Turkey. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Davison, Roderic H. Essays in Ottoman and Turkish History, 17741923: The Impact of the West. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1990.

The Economy of Turkey Since Liberalization. Edited by V.N. Balasubramanyam and Subidey Togan. New York: St. Martin's, 1996.

Finkel, Andrew, and Nukhet Sirman (eds.) Turkish State, Turkish Society. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Hale, William. Turkish Politics and the Military. New York: Routledge, 1994.

Heper, Metin. Historical Dictionary of Turkey. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 2002.

Olson, Robert (ed.). The Kurdish Nationalist Movement in the 1990s: Its Impact on Turkey and the Middle East. Lexington, Ky.: University Press of Kentucky, 1996.

Palmer, Alan Warwick. The Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire. New York: M. Evans, 1993.

Seddon, David (ed.). A Political and Economic Dictionary of the Middle East. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2004.

Shaker, Sallama. State, Society, and Privatization in Turkey, 19791990. Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Press Center, 1995.

Zurcher, Erik Jan. Turkey: A Modern History. New York: I.B. Tauris, 1993.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Turkey." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Turkey." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. . (September 19, 2019).

"Turkey." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Nations. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



Republic of Turkey

Major Cities:
Ankara, Istanbul, Adana, Izmir

Other Cities:
Antalya, Bursa, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, Kayseri, Kirikkale, Konya, Maraş, Mersin, Samsun


This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report dated June 1997. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at for the most recent information available on travel to this country.


No other nation spans two continents, incorporating such topographical diversity, so many strata of archeological wonders, and as much disparate, natural beauty as TURKEY. The northern Black Sea shores are cool and green, interspersed with lush rain forests and alpine mountains, while the hot, southern coasts are lined with magnificent rocky mountains reaching down to beaches varying from pebbled to smooth, white sand. The flat Anatolian plateau is interrupted here and there by lakes and hills or low mountains. The eastern portion of the country has alkaline volcanic lakes and is characterized by desert-like sparseness and impressive, stark mountains.

Amidst this natural setting are nestled countless artifacts, proof of the extraordinary role this land has played throughout historyfrom biblical Mount Ararat, a pilgrimage site for climbers in search of Noah's Ark, to the incomparable vitality and bustle of Istanbul. To come upon the natural "fairy chimneys" of Cappadocia, whose distinctive stone hills were carved out to create dwellings, churches and monasteries, some still ornate with age-old frescoes, or to crawl through the underground troglodyte cities nearby, is to imagine a civilization like none other. To see the exquisite riches of the ancient Hittite civilizations and the imposing amphitheaters of old is, simply, to delight in the history of man.

To live in Turkey is not just to be tempted by the infinite sites to explore or seas to sail. It is to indulge in the delectable cuisine, to shop, bargaining for carpets, kilims, and copperware and, always, to be challenged and surprised. Turks are among the world's most gracious, hospitable people (except when driving). Yet, Turkey has a schizophrenic society where old and new, west and east, and numerous ethnicities and religious strains struggle to live harmoniouslya struggle that has become second nature to a Turk. Infinite proverbs and polite phrases, known to all Turks, serve as a universal tonic when times are bad and shared salutations in happy moments. They indicate a bond between the common good and the will to develop and persevere as a nation despite all the difficulties and divisions the country confronts.

Turkey's importance has not diminished with the end of the Cold War. As successor to the vast and influential Ottoman Empire, the modern republic of Turkey lies in a position strategic to the interests of many nations, including the United States, whose futures depend to some greater or lesser extent on Turkey's future. Turkey borders the Middle East, the newly independent states of the Caucasus and Central Asia, eastern Europe and the Mediterranean; its international influence is substantial. Domestically, Turkey struggles with chronically high inflation, an overlarge public sector and the need to support and capture a large unofficial economy; the country endeavors to balance the aspirations of its citizens of Kurdish descent and its conflict with the separatist terrorists of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), and to contend with difficult neighbors on all sides. Turkey's politics and economy are complicated and intriguing.

Ataturk, the founder and father of modern Turkey, coined the still popular saying, "Ne mutlu Turkum diyene""Happy is he who says I am a Turk." A foreigner will never fully comprehend what it means to be a Turk, nor will he ever feel he has learned all this country has to offer. It is a fascinating place with endless challenges for the outsider. The first thing a newcomer to Turkey is likely to hear is "Hos Geldiniz""Welcome." Most find it a pleasure to respond sincerely with the traditional, "Hos Bulduk""Pleased to be here."



Turkey's capital, Ankara, is located in the western portion of the Anatolian plateau at an altitude of 3,000 feet. It has a population of over 2.9 million and is situated at the bottom and up the sides of a deep bowl formed by bare, low mountains. The climate is pleasant; its rare extremes of hot and cold are moderated by the year-round dryness of the air and, in summer, by a mild breeze. Smog, though considerably improved in recent years with increased use of natural gas rather than lignite coal, gives the city a drab appearance for much of the winter.

Ankara was a provincial town when Ataturk established the capital along with the new Republic there in 1923. The city is modern, with wide boulevards intersecting at large circles often congested with bustling traffic. The architecture of the many government office buildings is generally a stark, concrete block style. Pleasant, tree-shaded streets with attractive gardens are disappearing rapidly as the city struggles to keep up with its influx of population. Single-family homes are rare today, having been replaced by a steadily increasing number of large apartment buildings. Nevertheless, modern Ankara has some pleasant parks, many with playground equipment for children. (Sidewalks, where present, are often uneven and discontinuous, making the use of strollers less convenient than backpacks for carrying babies.) Compared to other cities in Turkey, Ankara is quite livable; where it lacks charm, it gains convenience. Perhaps its most redeeming features are the steep hills upon which Ankara is built, providing for countless, panoramic views all over the city.

Ulus, the old city built around the ancient Byzantine citadel situated atop a steep hill, is dramatically different from the rest of Ankara. Its steep, winding streets, mosques, and small houses give it a quaintness and appeal that is lacking in the new parts of the city. Here you may still come upon an Anatolian peasant woman colorfully clad in traditional clothing, kneeling on the cobblestones while she rhythmically beats freshly shorn wool with a stick. The smell of newly baked bread emanates from crooked, high windows adorned with dangling, red peppers. Shops' warescopper and plastic, carpets, antiques, electrical paraphernalia and handmade basketsoverflow into the narrow streets, showing a lackadaisical disregard for contrasts of old and new. Ulus will remain the heart of Ankara, no matter how fashionable or modern other areas of the city become.

Roughly 1,000 Americans live in Ankara, including military and civilian employees of the U.S. government, exchange students and professors, business representatives, spouses and dependents. Except for business representatives from western Europe, the rest of the foreign community is primarily diplomatic (composed of 113 diplomatic missions). American visitors to Ankara more often come on business than as tourists.


For daily household needs local markets offer a good selection of food products and fresh produce. Neighborhood groceries (known as bakkal s) sell most staples and offer store-to-door delivery. Availability of fresh produce varies seasonally. Stores similar to supermarkets in America recently have opened in Ankara. Generally, most needs can be met on the local market, but imported goods are often expensive and shopping may take several stops, since specialty items often are stocked inconsistently.

Ankara has several restaurants that have become favorites in the foreign community. They range from Turkish to Italian, Chinese and international cuisines. Small kebab joints abound and American-type fast food places are beginning to catch on in Turkey. Ankara's fourth McDonald's has just opened.


Wardrobes can be supplemented easily by buying on the local economy. Clothing stores or tailor-made items of good quality are readily available. Taste in clothing in Turkish circles is similar to American taste, although Turkish women often wear dressier and more formal clothes to many social affairs.

Plan family wardrobes for Ankara's four-season climate. The summer months bring hot days and cool evenings. Men generally wear lightweight suits during the hot months. Shorts and sleeveless tops are more and more frequently seen on the streets, but women may feel less conspicuous in skirts and shirts with short sleeves. Swimming is a popular pastime during the hot summer months. Winter months can be cold and windy, requiring clothes similar to those needed for Washington, D.C. winters. Good rain gear, winter boots and gloves, and comfortable walking shoes are useful. It is a Turkish custom to remove shoes upon entering the home; many Americans adopt this practice, in which case slippers are needed to wear indoors during cold months and to offer guests who remove their shoes when they visit.

Supplies and Services

Toiletries, cosmetics, personal hygiene products, tobacco items, fabrics, toys, small appliances, housekeeping supplies, entertaining needs, household repair items and various other commonly-used items are available, though sometimes limited in selection and quality, on the Turkish economy.

Local tailors, dressmakers, hair stylists, shoemakers, dry cleaners and other assorted services are available. Quality of work may vary, but overall, results have been very acceptable.

Religious Activities

Interdenominational Protestant worship services are held each Sunday at the Department of Defense Dependents (DoDD) School. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also meets each Sunday at the school. Roman Catholic services are held at the French Embassy chapel, Italian Embassy chapel, and the Vatican Embassy chapel. Some Americans attend the Church of St. Nicolas, of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, which is located on the British Embassy compound. The Ankara Baptist Church holds services each Sunday in a member's home. Most of these groups have active auxiliary organizations.

A congregation of Turkish Sephardic Jews has a synagogue in the old part of Ankara.


Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) operates a school system for grades Kindergarten (mornings only) through 12. The school is at the American Support Facility (ASF) in Balgat. Dependent children of employees of all U.S. government agencies in Ankara are eligible to enter the elementary and high schools. Other non-Turkish students may be admitted on a space-available, tuition-paying basis. The school's address is:

George C. Marshall School
Unit 7010
APO AE 09822
Telephone: 90-312-287-2532, fax: 90-312-285-1791

The annual academic tuition rates are established by DoDDS in Washington, D.C. Registration for eligible children is ongoing throughout the summer. Children can be registered when they arrive in Ankara.

The school curriculum is similar to that of public schools in the U.S. In addition to the regular curriculum, courses sometimes can be arranged to meet students' special needs. To enter kindergarten a child must be age five on or before October 31st of the year they enroll. To enter the first grade a child must be age six on or before October 31st of the year they enroll. Admission to the various grades in the high school is contingent upon satisfactory completion of the preceding grade or its equivalent.

The faculty is recruited in the U.S. under the Department of Defense Educational System. At the present time about 90% of the faculty have Master's degrees; the remainder have Bachelor's degrees. The teachers have had an average of eighteen years of experience and about half of the school's faculty has been in Turkey over ten years.

In addition to the usual facilities, the school has a large gymnasium and an outdoor track, soccer field, and playground, well-equipped special purpose rooms for art, music, general science, biology, chemistry, physics, mechanical drawing, industrial arts and home economics. There is no school lunch program; most children bring bag lunches from home. The high school has an active program of extracurricular activities, including interscholastic sports, journalism, band (instruments furnished), choral groups, and host nation activities.

The high school is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The school uses the A-B-C-D-F grading system. There is a Parent-Teacher-Student Organization and a School Advisory Council.

The British, French and German Embassies operate study groups (schools), that enroll students of other nationalities. The British and French Schools go through the equivalent of the primary grades and have three terms per year. The German School extends through the equivalent of grade 10.

The British Embassy Study Group provides a British-style education based on the Common Entrance Examination syllabi for entrance to private schools in the U.K. The Study Group's present building, set on the grounds of the British Embassy, was built in 1964. The premises contain classrooms, a well-stocked library, computer resource room, hall/gymnasium and administration offices. There is an active Parent Teacher Association. Entrance priority is given first to British students and next to native English speakers.

Bilkent University Prep School is a private Turkish school taught in English. The school is expanding by one grade level per year and will have pre-grade six "prep" class through grade 12 by fall term 1997. Class size is limited to 20 students. The curriculum has a structure similar to the English National Curriculum but departs from it occasionally to suit the multi-cultural student body. The International General Certificate of Secondary Education curriculum is offered in grades nine and 10 and the International Baccalaureate curriculum in grades 11 and 12. Bilkent Prep's facilities include a sports hall, a band room and a general music room, two fully equipped science labs, audio visual rooms, a computer lab, ceramics and art rooms as well as ample classrooms. There is also a cafeteria which provides lunch.

There are a few excellent preschools taught in English, including the British Embassy Study Group which accepts children during the term in which they turn three years old, and the International Preschool.

College degree programs are available from Turkish universities, many of which are taught in English. Part-time attendance is not common in Turkey. Incirlik Air Base in Adana oversees University of Maryland and City College of Chicago extension programs in Adana and Ankara.


Sports in and around Ankara include tennis, softball, bowling, flag football, basketball, jogging, hunting, handball, squash, racquet-ball, weight-lifting, aerobics, fishing, swimming, ice skating and skiing. The DoDD School at the ASF in Balgat has a gym, weight room and racquetball court which are available after school hours for use by the American community. The Hash House Harriers have an active contingents in Ankara. They gather each Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoon to run somewhere in or around the city and occasionally travel to other parts of the country for additional fun on the run.

The Hilton and Sheraton Hotels offer year-round swimming pool/health club memberships. Sports International is a new sports and fitness club located near Bilkent University. The facility, built by a U.S.-Turkish joint venture, is well-maintained and impressive: it has both indoor and outdoor pools, numerous tennis courts, fitness equipment, a gymnasium and separate aerobics room, nutrition and fitness counseling, social areas, a restaurant and a cafe, saunas, solariums, a steam room, and a large child care/play area. Membership fees are high, although membership in a comparable fitness club in Washington, D.C. no doubt would be more expensive. There are other small fitness clubs located throughout the city offering workout equipment and aerobics classes.

Fairly good skiing is available in areas not too far from Ankara. The slope closest to the city is Elmadag, which offers a small T-bar lift, a nice lodge and restaurant, plus a small hill for sledding. Kartalkaya, near Bolu, about three and a half hours north of Ankara, offers several beginner and intermediate runs and has two large hotels. Uludag, near Bursa, is a popular, more upscale skiing spot with many good hotels and lifts. More adventurous skiing is available at Mt. Erciyes near Kayseri and near Erzurum in eastern Turkey. Ice skating and ice hockey are available at a large, modern, indoor ice skating rink in Ankara.

There are good freshwater fishing spots within three to five hours drive from Ankara. The rivers and streams of eastern Turkey, although difficult to reach, provide excellent trout fishing. Other freshwater fish such as giant catfish, carp, pike and bass, lurk in various corners of Turkey. At this time a fishing license is not required; however, there are specific fishing seasons. A hunting license is required for all game. Duck, geese, partridge, wild boar, wolf and numerous smaller game exist in many areas. Turkey also has its own species of quail and wild turkey. Often local forestry stations impose a substantial, additional fee for hunting in their jurisdictions.

Sports equipment such as tennis rackets and balls, softball gear, wet-suits and snorkels, are expensive and difficult to get in Turkey. The government of Turkey permits limited importation of shotguns and rifles.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

There are fine beaches on the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul, along the Aegean coast north and south of Izmir, along the Mediterranean coast, and at resort areas on the Black Sea.

More and more areas of Turkey are being set aside for camping. Many national parks and forestry camps have been developed in the past few years near popular beach resorts and tourist sites. Most campsites are well-suited for tents. Many Americans bring camping equipment with them and find camping an enjoyable way to vacation in Turkey.

Ankara has a few, small, neighborhood parks, some with simple playground equipment. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to walk on the grass and the children's equipment is often broken and located on cement or hard-packed dirt. Since there is virtually no shade in the parks, the hot summer sun often prohibits playing on the metal equipment, and in winter the parks are muddy. The large Youth Park (Genclik Park) in the center of the city contains restaurants and promenades, a boating lake, a children's playground, and a permanent midway with rides and attractions reminiscent of a country fair. Eymir Lake, affiliated with Middle East Technical University, offers a pleasant place to walk and picnic, and limited boating facilities. The current fee is about $40 per year for a family permit to the lake. Golbasi Lake is just outside of Ankara and accessible for walks and rowboat rental without a permit.

The old part of town, Ulus, has several ancient monuments which reveal the remarkable contrast of old and new in Ankara. The Byzantine citadel perches atop one of the two hills on which Ulus was built. Although the outer citadel walls have been destroyed or have fallen in ruins, the inner fortress still stands. The Roman baths date from the third century A.D. Little remains, but the baths still retain much of the essence of the original structure. Julian's Column near Ulus Square dates from the fourth century. It is thought that the monument was erected to commemorate a visit by Emperor Julian the Apostate to Ankara.

The Temple of Augustus was built in the late first century B.C. About five hundred years later, it was made into a Christian church and then in the fifteenth century one of its walls was used as a support for the roof of the Haci Bayram Mosque. The walls of this marble temple are still standing and bear the famous inscription in both Greek and Latin, "The Achievements of the Deified Augustus," a political autobiography of the Emperor.

Within the walls of the citadel is the Alaeddin Mosque, built in 1178 and renovated several times during the Ottoman Empire. Inscriptions on its finely carved, walnut pulpit that remain from its origins indicate it was built by the Seljuk Turks. Another Seljuk mosque, the Aslanhane Camii, or Lion House Mosque, built in 1289, still has its original structure and is noteworthy for its period wood-and tile-work.

Ankara houses two of the country's finest museums: the Ethnographic Museum which contains an extensive collection of old Turkish costumes, calligraphy, wood carvings, copper, brass, ceramics and pottery, and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations which has the world's finest collection of Hittite artifacts. The Anatolian Civilizations museum is housed in a 15th century "karavansaray" adjacent to the citadel.

Konya, ancient Iconium, is a four hour drive from Ankara. It was the capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum and contains many monuments dating from that period. Here also are the tombs and the chapter-house of the Turkish Islamic mystic, Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, founder of the 13th century order of dervishes widely known for their ethereal dancing. Every December many travel to Konya to see the festival of the Whirling Dervishes held in commemoration of their founder's death.

Kayseri is also a four hour drive from Ankara. Situated at the foot of Mt. Erciyes, it is rich in Seljuk architecture and decorative arts, most of which lie within its well-preserved medieval fortress. Near Kayseri is the area known as Cappadocia with a surreal landscape from the erosion of the soft layer of tufa stone. The countryside is a mass of stone waves that rise into pinnacles known as peri bacalari or "fairy chimneys." Early Christians carved these cones into homes, monasteries and churches, some still magnificently ornate with frescoes. The nearby underground cities of Derinkuyu and Kaymakli are but two of numerous troglodyte habitats in the area. These subterranean cities are fantastic to see, with their extensive ventilation shafts, round millstone-like doors and rooms that extend as deep as ten stories; it is believed that they were inhabited as early as pre-Christian times, and up until 1839 when locals sought refuge from the besieging Egyptian army.

Amasya, on the banks of the Yesil Irmak (Green River), is about five hours northeast of Ankara. The city is dominated by a massive cliff with the tombs of Pontic Kings carved into its face and ruins of the ancient fortress built when the kingdom was founded. Throughout the town are well-preserved examples of Seljuk and Ottoman architecture.

The Black Sea town of Amasra is about four hours by car from Ankara. Safronbolu, en route to Amasra, is known for its fine examples of Ottoman architecture, many of which recently have been renovated. Black Sea towns offer simple hotels and camping areas near pleasant, quiet beaches. Bolu, on the way to Istanbul, is about a three hour drive northwest of Ankara. Nearby is Lake Abant where you may fish, boat or swim. A hotel overlooking the lake provides good accommodations.

Istanbul is now five or so hours drive from Ankara, depending on how fast your car will goor how fast you will let it go. The new super toll highway linking the two cities is complete except for the tunnel through the mountain at Bolu. Once the tunnel is complete, the drive will be quick and painless, given decent weather. As it is, the area around Bolu can be congested and dangerous with trucks and foolhardy drivers daring blindly to pass them. Some still prefer to fly to Istanbul, get a sleeper car on the overnight train, or travel by intercity busesespecially the smoke-free, double-decker buses with dining and toilet facilities.


The Turkish State Opera and the Turkish State Conservatory are located in Ankara. The Presidential Symphony Orchestra offers two performances a week during its regular season. Several theaters present decent plays in Turkish. Occasionally touring foreign companies visit. USIS and the cultural departments of other embassies, especially the French and the British, sponsor musical and theatrical performances. Tickets for all of these are very modestly priced. The Turkish American Association sponsors concerts, lectures, movies and art exhibitions.

In addition to Turkish films, local movie theaters present American and European movies with Turkish subtitles.

Social Activities

There are numerous opportunities for activities within the American community in Ankara. Activities for children and teenagers generally revolve around the DoDD School. Active Boy and Girl Scout programs and youth sports programs involve many children and adult volunteers to run them.

The Ankara Women's Club provides monthly social and cultural programs for its members. The Ankara Professional Women's Network was founded as a forum for women who work or would like to work in Turkey and hosts periodic lectures and seminars. It aims to create a network of support readily accessible to foreign women who wish to work in Ankara; obviously, efforts to negotiate a bilateral work agreement are of great interest. The U.S. Embassy's Community Center, based in a small apartment in one of the embassy-leased buildings, is run on a member-volunteer basis and offers mother-toddler, bridge players', and cooking groups and other events members organize. The Community Center is open to the greater American community, and others on an associate member, space available basis. The ERA hosts occasional TGIF parties, Block Parties, Happy Hours and other seasonal events such as the winter Holiday Bazaar and a Fourth of July party. The greater American community and other guests are invited to these events.

Friends of ARIT was formed in 1983 by Americans in the Ankara community interested in the art, history and archaeology of Turkey to help promote the work of the Ankara Branch of ARIT (American Research Institute in Turkey). Friends of ARIT frequently sponsors lectures given by visiting or local scholars, informative tours around Turkey's archaeological sites, and benefit dinners. The ARIT library has a specialized collection of books and periodicals on archaeology in Turkey.

Many of the organizations mentioned above also offer opportunities for meeting Turks and other foreign nationals. There are several avenues for contributing to and volunteering for charitable organizations, including the Turkish-American Women's Cultural and Charitable Society, an active volunteer group with an international membership. The Cocuk Sevenler Dernegi (Child Lovers' Society) gives volunteer help to orphans in the Ankara area, and also has an international membership. The need for volunteer work is great, newcomers are always welcome, and any contribution is appreciated. The Turkish-American Association cosponsors an annual ARIT lecture series on archaeology. It also organizes guided tours for its members to areas of archaeological and scenic interest.


The mention of Istanbul evokes romantic images of the imperial sultans, janissaries and harems of the Ottoman Empire, of Byron and Keats who immortalized through verse the glories of Byzantium, of the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus, and the Orient Express. Istanbul has never been a monolithic Turkish city, but rather a cosmopolitan blend of nationalities. In 1906, only 44% of its 870,000 residents were Turkish or Arab Moslems. In the period from 1839-1880, large numbers of European workers and tradesmen settled in Pera on the European side of the Bosphorus, north of the Golden Horn, where they built hotels, houses and palaces and demanded a higher standard of city services. The remainder were a pastiche of Greeks, Armenians, Jews and foreigners from all over Europe. Old Stamboul, south of the Golden Horn and heavily Moslem, languished and suffered from the terrible destruction of the city's frequent fires. The European residents of Pera brought in urban planners from Germany and Italy who replaced traditional wooden structures with buildings made of stone. This created a European oasis in Istanbul, a distinction from the rest of the city that remains today.

Many middle-and upper-class members of contemporary Istanbul society are pro-western and consider themselves European. The city is a unique synthesis of east and west upon the exotic echoes of ancient Byzantium and old Constantinople. Simultaneously, it is a bustling, modern, industrial city of 8 million people. There is no end to the fascination of Istanbul. Those fortunate enough to be assigned to a tour of duty here should find it an enriching experience.


Istanbul markets offer a wide selection of excellent, seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. Each neighborhood has its own bakkal (small grocery), as well as fresh fruit and vegetable markets. Beef, lamb, mutton and chicken are available from local butchers. Fresh fish is available in season. There are a growing number of large supermarkets, which carry a wide range of local and imported foodstuffs. Turkish bread, baked throughout the day, is excellent. Local pastries, bottled fruit drinks, and other local foodstuffs are plentiful.

The overall quality of food in Istanbul is excellent. There are numerous restaurants throughout the city, ranging from tiny kebab shops to luxurious fish restaurants along the Bosphorus. Istanbul has a growing number of fast-food restaurants, including McDonald's, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Wimpy's, and Kentucky Fried Chicken.


Turks' taste in clothing is similar to that of Americans, but Turks generally wear dressier and more formal clothes to social affairs. Clothing stores feature current women's fashions in every price range, although at prices above those for comparable clothing in the U.S. and with a limited range of sizes. Local fabrics are available for those who sew or wish to hire a dressmaker. Many items can be made locally at reasonable prices. Locally made leather wear is a particularly good buy. Since the temperatures in Istanbul resemble those of Washington, D.C., clothing for all seasons is needed. Homes are generally maintained at cooler temperatures in Istanbul than in the U.S. Raincoats and boots are necessary because of winter rain and mud. Shoe selection is limited.

Men: Sportswear, shirts, sweaters, and other items may be purchased locally. The quality of these items ranges from acceptable to excellent; prices are higher than in the U.S. for comparable quality goods. Some local tailors are satisfactory for suits and jackets.

Women: Women should bring at least a couple of dresses or suits appropriate for receptions or dinners. Turkish women often wear black; a dark dress or suit would be useful. Long evening dresses are worn infrequently; but one or two suitable for the occasional black tie dinner might be needed. A long wool or velveteen skirt is worthwhile for cold winter evenings.

Children: Some children's clothing and shoes are also available locally in Turkish stores, but prices are high, even for Turkish-made items.

Supplies and Services

Foreign and local toiletries and cosmetics are available on the local market, but at substantially higher prices than in the U.S. Pharmaceuticals are often in short supply on the local market. Miscellaneous household supplies and gadgets are available locally. Bookstores sell English-language newspapers, magazines and books but at prices higher than in the U.S.

Shoe, watch, radio, phonograph, and automobile repair facilities are available. The quality of work varies. There are several excellent dry cleaning shops, though quality varies.

Religious Activities

Religious groups represented in Istanbul include Anglican, Protestant, Roman Catholic, Gregorian, Armenian, Greek Orthodox, and Jewish. Each has its charitable organizations and societies. Two social welfare centers originally founded as branches of the Young Men's and Young Women's Christian Associations are directed by Americans but are now registered as local institutions with Turkish names.

Several Roman Catholic churches are located throughout the city and offer services in English. The Cathedral of the Holy Spirit is directly across the street from the Hilton Hotel, and services in English are also held at the Church of St. Anthony in Beyoglu and in the Chapel of the Little Sisters of the Poor (in Sisli). The Anglican Community holds services at the Crimean Church near the Consulate, and once a month on the grounds of the British Consulate General (also not far from the U.S. Consulate). Protestant services in English are held in the Interdenominational Union Church (Dutch Chapel). The Jewish Community is mostly Sephardic; synagogues are Orthodox.


English-language schooling for American dependents in Istanbul is available through grade 10. Schooling is available beyond this level, but the schools either do not readily accept American students or are inadequate.

American children from kindergarten through grade 10 usually attend the Istanbul International Community School (IICS), an autonomous school originally affiliated with Robert College. The school is directed by an American headmaster and follows a combined American/International curriculum. A school board representing parents is responsible for educational, financial, and personnel policies. The school is working towards a European Council of International Schools accreditation. Students from IICS have been readily accepted by schools in the U.S. and Europe. Standardized achievement and aptitude tests are given at all grade levels. The school is a member of the Educational Records Bureau and the Educational Testing Service, and is a test center for the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT). The school's curriculum includes science, computers, mathematics, art, music, physical education, French, and Turkish. The school has a library of about 5,000 volumes. The school does not provide lunch. IICS receives grant assistance from the State Department Office of Overseas Schools. Information on the school is available from the annual school fact sheets prepared by that office.

School opens in late August and closes in late June, providing about 180 days of instruction. The calendar is similar to that of American schools, but with two-week vacations at Christmas and in the spring. Average yearly enrollment is 150 to 170 students representing 20 or more nationalities. Class size seldom exceeds 20 students.

There are long waiting lists of students seeking admission to IICS.


Istanbul offers a variety of sports facilities and activities. The ENKA Sports Club in Istinye has a full range of sports facilities, including tennis courts, Olympic-sized swimming pools, and indoor racket courts. However, membership fees are very expensive. Robert College in Arnavutkoy has a tennis court. The British Consulate General also has a tennis and squash court and Americans can become members of this club. The Hilton Hotel and some of the other five star hotels have tennis courts and gym facilities, but memberships are expensive. There are also a variety of sports clubs which offer free-weight or universal-gym weight training and/or aerobics classes.

Istanbul affords swimming opportunities at the sea of Marmara and the Black Sea; however, some areas are less polluted and safer for swimming than others. Some hotels have swimming pools. Again, memberships are very expensive. Opportunities for lap swimming are rare in Istanbul.

Istanbul entertains many boating fans. The best known of several yacht clubs is the Moda Club, located on the Sea of Marmara. Privileges at this club, including boat rentals, are for members only but foreigners may join. Sailing on the Bosphorus can be dangerous because of unpredictable winds and very strong currents, so it is not recommended for novices. Rowboats and runabouts are popular for sport fishing, and water skiing. Some Americans have brought motors from the U.S. to avoid paying high prices for those imported into Turkey. Locally produced boats and small motor craft, although usually expensive, may be purchased or rented.

Bird and duck hunting in the vicinity of Istanbul are fair, but game resources are depleted early in the season. Hunting season is from September to April. Small game within one or two hours drive of Istanbul include European quail, wild pigeon, woodcock, and duck. Wild boar are also hunted in Turkey.

Horseback riding is not very popular in Istanbul and facilities are limited. There is, however, a small riding academy. The academy offers lessons in riding and jumping for persons of all ages at reasonable rates (instruction is in Turkish). Bring safety helmets.

Uludag (near Bursa) and Kartalkaya (near Bolu on the Ankara road) offer good accommodations for skiing enthusiasts. Modern ski tows are in operation, and ski equipment may be rented inexpensively. Cross-country skiing trails are available, but rare. IICS sponsors a ski trip every winter to Uludag for its students, their parents, and other interested adults in the American community.

Istanbul has two nine-hole golf courses. Entry fees are expensive. Caddies charge reasonable fees but are not always available. Clubhouses serve refreshments. Squash courts are available to members of the British Consulate Club and their guests. Some fencing and ping-pong are available at the Hilton Tennis Club. Pickup basketball, volleyball, softball, and touch football games are organized occasionally. An ice-skating rink is located in the Galleria shopping mall near the airport. Fame City, a complex of video games and arcades, is also located in the Galleria.

Some individuals jog along the Bosphorus, but exhaust fumes and pollution take some of the joy out of this sort of activity. There are, however, fitness trails and jogging paths in the Belgrade Forest and in some wooded park areas of the city. The Hash House Harriers find weekly occasion to do their thing and encourage participation by all.

Soccer is the national mania; tickets to major games are scarce, but readily available for other games. Turkey's national team plays a confederation of middle European teams at home and abroad. There are professional basketball and volleyball teams, and the games are well-attended.

Children's Recreation

Istanbul has practically no children's sports facilities, although a few playgrounds and parks are in or near the city, such as Yildiz Park and Gulhane Park. Scouts and Brownies are very popular. Troops are organized through IICS. Other children's activities, such as an annual ski trip, are also organized through IICS.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

It is impossible to exaggerate the magnificence of the museums and variety of collections in Istanbul. Topkapi and Dolmabahce Palaces, and the Aya Sofya and Sultan Ahmet Mosque are but a few of the famous, grand monuments and treasures Istanbul has to offer. The Kariye museum, restored by Dumbarton Oaks, has some of the finest examples of Byzantine mosaics and frescoes in the world. The Archeological Museum has an extensive collection and the Museum of Ancient Oriental Art houses rare artifacts from Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyptian, and Hittite civilizations. Strolling through various quarters of the city or shopping at the incomparable covered bazaar are popular weekend pastimes.

Excellent sight-seeing tours are organized by the Turkish-American University Association and American Research Institute in Turkey. Lectures, films, and other cultural events are also sponsored by these groups, along with their annual fund-raising activities. Ferries crisscross the Bosphorus and the Marmara on regular runs. Some boats can be chartered. Touring outside Istanbul and around Turkey reveals abundant historical and scenic sites. Many posted to Istanbul enjoy a popular "mavi yolculuk," or "blue cruise" along the Aegean and Mediterranean coastlines and the Black Sea.

Ample opportunities exist for outdoor activities. A series of automobile camping sites has been established along well-traveled routes. The planning and implementation of hiking expeditions require individual initiative, as few organized groups or facilities exist. The many hotels are reasonably clean and uncrowded making Istanbul a good location from which to plan weekend getaways. There are historical sites of great interest in every direction and many are within a few hours drive or less from the city. Travel possibilities are practically limitless.

The Belgrade Forest, a park built around Istanbul's reservoir north of the city, has excellent picnic facilities. Permission has been obtained for Scouts and other groups to camp overnight within the park.


The Ataturk Cultural Center, located at Taksim Square in downtown Istanbul, is the center of the city's cultural life. The Center's cultural season runs from October to early June and includes opera and ballet as well as other productions. Plays are performed at several theaters throughout the city. The Istanbul orchestra has an annual concert program. The annual Istanbul Festival of Culture and the Arts takes place from mid-June until mid-July and is the highlight of the musical entertainment year. This international festival includes participants from many countries that have diplomatic representation in Turkey. Exciting music, dance, and theater events permeate the city and are reasonably priced.

Most of Istanbul's many movie houses show foreign films with Turkish subtitles. Each spring the city hosts the Istanbul International Film Festival which brings some of the best new foreign films to local screens.

Istanbul has many excellent restaurants ranging from kebab shops located throughout the city to more expensive fish restaurants on the Bosphorus to very expensive restaurants with European cuisines. Turkish cooking is varied, colorful, and delicious.

Istanbul also has an abundance of night clubs, taverns, discos, neighborhood bars, fast-food restaurants, casinos, cozy restaurants, tea gardens, waterside cafes, museums, exhibitions, art galleries, shopping malls, department stores, English-language bookstores, and Bosphorus cruises.

Although Istanbul is a remarkable, cosmopolitan city, increasingly congested traffic makes it difficult and time consuming to get out and do things, especially during messy winter days. Most programs (including English and American movies) on Turkish television have been dubbed in Turkish; occasionally these English-language programs are simulcast in the original language on one of the Turkish radio stations.

Social Activities

Most Americans in Istanbul are either of the U.S. government civilian, business, or institutional community. The latter includes teachers and others, many of whom have had broad and varied experiences in Turkey. Both the American Women of Istanbul and the International Women's Club sponsor a number of cultural, social, and charitable events throughout the year. Children's social contacts are largely organized through the IICS and Consulate-sponsored events.

Organizations such as the Turkish-American University Association (particularly the women's group), the Propeller Club, and Rotary Club provide excellent opportunities to meet Turks. Tours organized by local agencies also offer these opportunities. The non-Turkish speaker may find himself somewhat limited in his contacts. Nonetheless, Turks are very patient, friendly and hospitable, and many speak English, German, or French.

Istanbul has a large consular corps and foreign business community. The Propeller Club is a good introduction to foreign and Turkish business representatives. The International Women's Club of Istanbul holds monthly meetings and sponsors a variety of activities. The American Girls Dershane (originally a YMCA project), the Vehbi Koc Vakfi American Hospital and other charities afford those who are interested a chance to assist local groups and to meet members of the Turkish and international communities.


Adana is 30 miles from the Mediterranean Sea, a five to seven hour drive from Ankara and eight hours by car from Damascus. The fifth largest city in Turkey with a population of over one million, it is a wealthy provincial capital on the rich delta plain of the area once known as Cilicia. Adana is a rapidly expanding agricultural and industrial center. The old town center lies along the banks of the Seyhan River. As in many Turkish cities, this original hub is surrounded by newer residential areas and fringed with squatter settlements. New Adana lies to the north, between the railroad and Cukurova University, on the lake formed by the Seyhan Dam.

Adana has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Excavations at Tarsus and Mersin (within an hour's drive of Adana) have exposed layers of civilizations going back to Neolithic times, possibly as early as 6000 B.C. Numerous powers have dominated and settled Adana as they fought their way across Anatolia. Alexander the Great passed through the area when he destroyed the Persian Empire and conquered the Middle East. After Alexander's death, Adana became part of the Seleucid State. The area was conquered by the Romans after centuries of Greek rule. Reminiscent of Roman rule is a stone bridge built by Hadrian across the Seyhan River that is still in use today. In 1132 A.D., Armenians took over Adana and it became a center of Armenian culture. In 1515 it was captured by the Turks. It remained a part of the Ottoman Empire until the end of World War I.

Adana's summers are hot and humid with very little rainfall. In winter the temperature rarely falls below freezing, yet rains that last for days make it seem colder. Fall and spring are magnificent with sunny days and pleasantly cool evenings. When compared to the U.S. the climate of Adana resembles that of the cotton growing areas of Mississippi and Texas. The Cilician plain (now called Cukurova) has been described as the "Texas of Turkey," where cotton and citrus fruits are the principal crops, and wealthy farmers and textile manufacturers dominate the region's economy.

Adana is connected with the rest of Turkey by a good system of roads, and with Ankara and Istanbul by daily air and train service. Coastal steamers call at nearby Iskenderun and Mersin en route to Turkish ports and Northern Cyprus. Travel on secondary roads is difficult during the rainy seasons, but feasible throughout the rest of the year. Transportation within the city includes both motor and horse-drawn vehicles.

Most of the American community is made up of U.S. Air Force and attached U.S. government civilian personnel stationed at Incirlik, a Turkish air base nine miles east of the city. About 500 American families reside in Adana proper. Given the large local Kurdish population, Kurdish is widely spoken in the eastern provinces. Many Turks in the area also speak some Arabic or another European language, but English is the most common second language for businessmen.


Food supplies on the local market vary widely according to the season. In the fall and winter months, meats, fruits and vegetables are plentiful. Local beef and lamb are inexpensive and easy to find although quality may vary. Fruits and vegetables are seasonal but abundant, inexpensive, and of excellent quality. Local pastries and bread are quite good.

A liquor store at Incirlik carries wine, beer, spirits and liqueurs. Spirits are rationed to five bottles per person per month. Good Turkish wines are available on the local market.


In the intense summer heat, lightweight cottons and washable fabrics are most comfortable. Sports attire and swimming suits are useful for picnics and beach parties. During the winter, warm clothing is necessary since seasonal rains bring damp cold. Indoor clothing needs to be warmer than normally worn in U.S. homes since the apartments are heated less; medium-weight coats are sufficient for outdoors. Raincoats, boots and umbrellas are also necessary during the winter rainy season. Ready-made clothing of suitable quality and style is usually available. Adana has good tailors and dressmakers. Good local fabrics are also available.

During the summer and warm months of spring and fall, local custom is going tieless and coatless in short-sleeved shirts. Summer suits or sports coats are normally worn only for evening social functions. At daytime social functions, Turkish women wear attractive dressy suits and afternoon dresses. Women customarily go without stockings during the hot summer months. Most foreign women feel self-conscious on the streets in shorts or sleeveless clothes. At dinners and cocktail parties, well-to-do Turkish women wear European fashions either purchased abroad or made by local dressmakers after European fashions. Evening wear is usually dark or black. Turkish businesswomen wear attire appropriate for the season and similar in style to that worn by American businesswomen.

During both summer and winter, children need clothing that will survive the many washings necessary after play in alternating dust and mud. This means many changes of light cotton clothes in the summer and numerous sweaters and overalls in the winter.

Supplies and Services

Community services are adequate. Good barbering is available both at Incirlik and in Adana proper. Several beauty shops in town are satisfactory. Adequate dry cleaners exist locally and at Incirlik.

Religious Activities

The USAF Chapel at Incirlik offers Catholic and Protestant services. There is also a Catholic Church in downtown Adana. Jewish, Mormon and other denominational services occasionally are held at Incirlik. Adana has a small Jewish community and a synagogue.


Children of U.S. government personnel attend the dependent school at Incirlik on a tuition basis. The school, fully accredited by the North Central Association, offers kindergarten through high school. Pre-school is available at Incirlik for three-and four-year-olds.


A gymnasium, swimming pool, tennis courts, handball and squash

courts, a nine-hole golf course, and a bowling alley at Incirlik are open to American citizens.

Ample opportunity for hunting (license necessary and available to diplomats only) and fishing exists within a day's drive of Adana. Wild boar are found near Tarsus and migratory waterfowl gather in the salt marshes south of Adana. Trout fishing is available in the mountains near Kahramanmaras.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

Recreation for most Americans revolves around picnicking and swimming. The nearby beaches and mountains provide relief from the heat on weekends. Beaches along the Mediterranean are undeveloped and beautiful. A few campgrounds have been established as part of the national program to attract tourists to Turkey. Several moderately-priced hotels with excellent beaches are within a two hour drive of Adana.

Adana is literally surrounded by undeveloped archeological sites. Ruins of medieval castles and cities from Greek to Armenian eras are within easy driving distance over good but heavily traveled roads. The Adana district is rich in historical sites, many dating back to Hittite times. The town of Tarsus, about 25 miles west of Adana on the Mersin Road, is renowned as the birthplace of St. Paul the Apostle.


There is little cultural activity in Adana. Occasional local theater productions are in Turkish. Numerous indoor and outdoor movie theaters feature Turkish, European and some American films. Foreign films usually have Turkish subtitles. The movie theater at Incirlik offers American movies, including a Saturday children's matinee. The best food served in local restaurants is Turkish, although some European dishes are offered. There are several nightclubs that offer dancing, food and snacks, and a variety of musical entertainment. Several clubs, hotels and restaurants patronized by Adana officials and business representatives are also enjoyed by Americans.

Social Activities

A large number of Americans posted to Adana reside in the village of Incirlik outside the base. Aside from cocktail and dinner parties at home, the social activities of the American military community center around the facilities at Incirlik.

Entertainment within the Turkish community consists largely of dinner parties during the fall, winter and spring to which Americans or other foreigners are frequently invited. In the summer months, Turkish wives and children move to Istanbul or to the mountains to escape the heat and humidity, and social life in Adana is virtually suspended. Even though many of the locals speak English, any effort made to speak Turkish is welcome and appreciated. The Turkish-American Association affords excellent opportunities for making Turkish friends. It is staffed by a locally-hired director and is located at No. 27, Bes Ocak Caddesi, Resat Bey Mahallesi.

Special Information

There are English-speaking Turkish doctors in the city of Adana who have had training in the U.S. or Europe, but their equipment is limited and certain medicines are sometimes not available on the local market. Necessary surgery, eye examinations, and diagnostic work should be taken care of before coming. Those planning to reside in Adana for some time should be inoculated against typhoid, polio, tetanus, cholera and diphtheria. Gamma globulin shots also should be considered. Because of the hot weather in the summer and humidity in both summer and winter, persons with arrested TB or sinus conditions should consult a doctor before coming to post. Dental care also is available from western-trained local dentists, many of whom speak excellent English.

The rapid urbanization of the area has had negative effects: noise, dirt, inadequate sewage disposal systems, and severe traffic jams. Malaria outbreaks unfortunately have become more frequent in the past several years. This is due to an increase in breeding places resulting from expanded irrigation in rural areas, poor drainage in the city itself, and the development of the anopheles mosquito resistant to conventional insecticides. Many people take malaria prophylactics. Hepatitis is endemic.


Izmir, with an estimated metropolitan population of 2.1 million, is Turkey's third largest city and the unofficial capital of Aegean Turkey, the country's scenic and fruitful southwestern region. With a fine harbor midway down the western coast, it is Turkey's second busiest port. Its hinterland, rich in tobacco, cotton, fruits, and vegetables, makes it even more important than Istanbul as an export center. In recent years, Izmir has also become the country's second industrial area. The city boasts of being "the pearl of the Aegean." Increasing numbers of foreign tourists are finding that it is surrounded by some of the world's loveliest scenery.

Historically, Izmir was better known under the Greek form of its name, Smyrna. It has been an important center for over 3,000 years, seeing the passage of Lydians, Ionian Greeks, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Saracens, Seljuks, Tartars, Crusaders, Venetians, and Ottomans. A modern Greek invading force was driven from Izmir into the sea in 1922, and the city was subsequently incorporated into the Republic of Turkey. The surrounding area abounds in relics of earlier times, especially of classical antiquity, but in Izmir itself, the only relics of earlier eras are the foundations of the earliest Greek city, a part of the Roman agora, a hilltop castle of indeterminate age, some handsome Ottoman mosques, and a few streets of rapidly disappearing 19th-century buildings.

Not only the monuments, but also the people of old Smyrna, have given way to the new. Until World War II, the population was largely non-TurkishGreeks, Armenians, Jews, and "Leventines" (Italian, French, British, Dutch, and German nationals whose families had lived in Smyrna for generations). Today, the population is almost entirely Turkish, a large part of it first or second generation Izmirlis whose families were Turkish refugees from Greece or Bulgaria or migrants from interior Anatolia. If Izmir is still the most "Western" of Turkish cities, it is so because of its location, its wealth, and its general vitality, as well as the consequence of its history.

Izmir extends along the U-shaped head of a bay which runs east-west and is surrounded mostly by high hills. The major part of the city is on the southern shore. Closest to the center is the Konak quarter, which is both the traffic hub and the main shopping district. In appearance and atmosphere, this is the most picturesque part of Izmir; it has much of the character of an old Near Eastern marketing center.

North of this area is the quarter of Alsancak, most of which is quite modern. It is a level area with well-designed streets, modern apartment blocks, and stores and warehouses. Alsancak is the district where most Americans live and spend the greater part of their time. The U.S. Consulate is at one end of this area, and the best hotels at the other. Here also are the best apartment buildings, shops, restaurants, the fair grounds (Culture Park), the cathedral, and the offices of the Turkish-American Association.

Like most rapidly developing cities in older countries, Izmir is a city of contrasts. Beneath the attractive and almost serene skyline, seen from a distance, are all the problems of contemporary urban blightfrom housing shortages to air and water pollutionmuch aggravated by a population that has not yet made the adaptation from rural to metropolitan living. For all its problems, however, Izmir remains a thriving, vital city. Minor frustrations in daily living abound, but the climate, scenery, history, and a friendly population more than compensate for them.

American associations with Izmir go back to the early 19th century, when American traders, shippers, missionaries, and teachers first settled in the then predominantly foreign city. Apart from the U.S. Consulate General, and a long tradition of good will, the only remainder of this earlier association is the American Girls' School, a fine secondary school for Turkish girls which is largely managed and staffed by Americans. At a later date, oriental tobacco was exported from Izmir to the U.S. in large quantities. This remains an important trade today, and every major American tobacco company has its permanent representative in Izmir.

By far the largest number of Americans to visit Izmir in recent years have been military personnel. The U.S. Air Force maintained a base at Cigli (now the site of the city's civil airport) for many years. This base was relinquished in 1970, and almost half of the American military and their dependents left. A smaller military presence remains, however.

Izmir is the site of two important NATO commands, Headquarters Landsoutheast and Headquarters Sixth Allied Tactical Air Force. Serving these commands is a U.S. Air Force logistical support organization, known as 7241 Air Base Group.

In the future, it seems likely that new Turkish-American ties in Izmir will develop through tourism and industrial investment and development. The total American population of Izmir (military and civilian) is over 2,000.


Children of U.S. Government employees in Izmir attend the Department of Defense schools in Alsancak. These schools, operated by 7241 Air Base Group primarily for the American military, include an elementary section and a high school, covering grades one through 12. They offer courses and extracurricular activities normally found in public schools in the U.S. Qualified American teachers are employed. The high school is fully accredited. There are no boarding facilities.

The Izmir-Amerikan Kiz Lisesi at Goztepe (Izmir) is a girls' church-related day school, accredited by the Turkish Ministry of Education. The American/Turkish curriculum for the 1,200 enrolled students is mainly college preparatory. Classes are held in grades seven through 12. An American headmaster is the administrator. The school address is: Inonu Caddesi 476, Goztepe, Izmir, Turkey.


Touring is the foremost attraction of a visit to Izmir. An enjoyable outing is a drive (over fairly good roads and through magnificent scenery) to one of the picturesquely located ancient city temple sites for a picnic and a few hours of walking and climbing among the ruins. Sometimes rocky climbs and overgrowth make walking difficult, but it is an activity enjoyed by young and old. In summer, it is often possible to include some swimming in such an excursion.

The roster of place names is enough to excite any amateur historian's imagination. Within an hour or so are Ephesus, Sardis, Teos, and Claros; within two to three hours are Priene, Miletus, Didymae, and Aphrodisias. Requiring overnight stays, but within easy reach, are Hierapolis (Pamukkale), Termessos, Halicarnassus (Bodrum), Antalya, Perge, Side, and Aspendos and Troy and Assos.

Acceptable tourist hotels and restaurants are found at or near most of the touring sites. Camping is also possible at many spots.

European football (soccer) is the great spectator and participant sport in Izmir. In summer, sea bathing is the most popular outdoor activity for Americans. The local season runs only from the beginning of July to the end of August, but those accustomed to cooler waters find the Aegean pleasant from the end of May through October. Pollution makes the inner Bay of Izmir unfit for bathing, but good swimming is found between 45 and 90 minutes' drive to the south, west, or north. The favored sand beaches suitable for children are at Çeşme (75 minutes west), Gumuldur (60 minutes south), and Kuşadasi (90 minutes south). Swimming is also possible along some of the rockier parts of the coast, and some areas provide good snorkeling and scuba diving.

Most resort hotels make bathing facilities available for the day at a small cost. Elsewhere, facilities are rustic and informal. A sturdy wind-proof tent is a useful item for changing, as is a large canvas beach umbrella for sunning in isolated areas. Fitted rubber or plastic bathing shoes are desirable.

The Bay of Izmirindeed, the whole Aegean coastis ideal for sailing. The sport is new to the area, with the result that boats are hard to find during the summer, either for sale or for rent. For those willing to rough it, small wooden coasters with minimal facilities can be rented, with crew, for cruises along the coast and to the nearby Greek islands. Favorite areas for sailors are the lower Bay of Izmir, Bodrum, and Marmaris.

Sea fishing is good, but seasonal. The Izmir area has good hunting in fall and winter. The favorite game are wild boar, partridge, duck, and woodcock. Private hunting parties are usually pleased to take along Americans. Primitive accommodations must be expected.

The Izmir Tennis Club and the Buyuk Efes Hotel Tennis Club both admit nonpermanent resident Americans for reasonable fees. Horseback riding facilities are available at the nearby suburb of Buca (nominal fees). The closest skiing area is a day's drive away at Mount Ulu Dag, near Bursa; rates are below those of European counterparts.

For those whose favorite activity is walking, Izmir is disappointing. The lack of sidewalks, constant construction, and heavy traffic make walking difficult everywhere but on a few streets (including the water-front) in Alsancak. Numerous places for hikes or strolls exist, however, within an hour's drive.


Entertainment in Izmir is largely an individual activity. Concerts of Western music are rare; no opera exists; and the occasional plays performed by the State Theater are in Turkish. A Little Theater group presents about five plays each season, primarily in English, but occasionally in French. The Izmir Symphony performs weekly from October to June.

All movies, even imported ones, have Turkish soundtracks. The annual Izmir Fair provides "amusement park" entertainment from August 20 to September 20. Nightclubs with floor shows are numerous, but only two or three are appropriate for foreign clientele. The 7241 Air Base Group operates a post motion picture theater with a fair selection of American films. The Turkish-American Association and the French and German cultural centers sponsor occasional classic films, concerts, recitals, and exhibits.

In the Turkish-American building, the United States Information Service (USIS) has a good reference and lending library of English-language books and periodicals. The Air Force maintains, for its personnel, a well-stocked library of English-language books and periodicals, including a special section devoted to Turkey and the Middle East.

Although English and French are spoken in Izmir, a knowledge of Turkish is almost essential for genuine intercultural exchange and for any travel outside the city. Real social contact (except at the household domestic, shopkeeper, and tourist-establishment level) may be difficult for Americans because of language barriers and cultural and economical differences. This does not mean that relations are in any way unfriendly or strainedquite the contrarybut merely that real communication is established only with the relatively thin stratum of educated and "Westernized" Turks in the city, or with other foreign residents. Acceptance is quicker, and hospitality warmer, than one could expect to find in Europe. It is often the Turk who seeks out the American, rather than vice versa. The use of even limited Turkish is an effective icebreaker, and a knowledge of French or German will open up a range of contacts.

Some opportunities exist for voluntary and charitable services.


ANTALYA (formerly called Adalia) is the main tourist resort on the Turkish Riviera. Situated 250 miles southwest of Ankara on the Gulf of Antalya, this Mediterranean port has a population of 509,000. Besides tourism, the local economy is based on fruit and timber production. Established in the second century B.C., Antalya was the departure point for the apostle Paul on his first missionary journey. The city was a Byzantine bulwark in the Middle Ages. The old town, enclosed by fortified walls, is set on the summit of a low cliff. Travel writers presented this district with their Golden Apple award in 1985 for its successful restoration. Architectural features from the past have been retained in the midst of a busy leisure center. A hotel and several restaurants on the waterfront accommodate the tourist trade. Antalya has panoramic vistas over the Bey Mountains.

BURSA , in the northwest, is the capital of the province whose name it bears. It is a commercial and industrial center (noted especially for textiles) in an agricultural region. Its current population is approximately 1.1 million. Bursa was founded at the end of the third century by Prusius I, the king of Bithynia, and was named Prusa ad Olympium. It was captured in 1075 by the Seljuk Turks, less than 20 years later by the Crusaders and, early in the 13th century, was passed to the Byzantines. In 1326, the city was taken by the forces of Orkan I, and became the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Many baths, caravanserais, and mosques remain from that period.

ESKIŞEHIR , the capital of the eponymous province in the west-central part of the republic, lies in a rich agricultural area. It is home to a population of about 450,000. Chief among its monuments are the Ptolemaic temple in the city and, nearby, a Christian monastery dating from the 10th century.

GAZIANTEP is an ancient Hittite city in the southern province of the same name. It was the center of resistance against French occupation of the region in 1920-21 and, although taken by the French, it was soon returned to Turkey. It was for this heroic resistance that the city, formerly Aintab, was given its present name, derived from Gazi, meaning "warrior for the faith." In earlier centuries, it was a strategic place in war against the Crusaders. Gaziantep has a current population of about 702,000.

KAYSERI (also called Kaisaria), in central Turkey, is situated at the foot of Erciyas Dagi peak. As Caesarea Mazaca, it was the chief city of ancient Cappadocia. It was founded as a modern city in the fourth century, and became important as a trade center. Kayseri is a large marketplace for Turkish carpets, and now has a population estimated at 491,000. At Kanesh, in the immediate area, is an archaeological site which dates to the third millennium.

KIRIKKALE is the principal city in Kirikkale District, located 38 miles east of Ankara. The introduction of steel mills to the city in the 1950s spurred rapid growth. Today, these factories are among Turkey's largest. Chemical plants were opened here in the 1960s. Plans have been announced for the erection of an oil refinery. Kirikkale is also a local market for livestock products and cereals from the Kizil River valley area. The city has an estimated population of more than 205,000.

KONYA is a city of approximately 611,000 residents in south-central Turkey. It is an agricultural and livestock center, but is known also for the carpets and silks it produces. Konya's ancient name was Iconium. As a religious center, it was the seat of the Order of Whirling Dervishes, and the tomb of the order's leader, the mystic Celaleddin Rumi, is preserved here, as are many of the ancient city walls.

MARAŞ (also called Kahramanmaraş), located at the base of the eastern Taurus Mountains, 275 miles southeast of Ankara, has a population of over 180,000. It is a commercial and light industrial center; carpets and embroideries are among its products. The city is close to the southern opening of three principal passes through the mountains. It has always been a strategically important trade center between inner Anatolia and upper Syria. Maraş was under Muslim control from 700 to 1197, when it was captured by Crusaders. It became Turkish in the 16th century. The area is connected to the rest of Turkey by road and rail.

MERSIN , a city of close to 500,000, lies on the Mediterranean in southern Turkey. It is a seaport and rail terminus, exporting minerals and agricultural products. It is located 40 miles west-southwest of Adana. Excavations in the area have revealed the remains of a settlement which existed in 3600 B.C.

SAMSUN , the largest Turkish city on the Black Sea, has roughly 332,000 residents. It is situated 200 miles northeast of Ankara, between the mouths of the Kizil and Yeşil rivers. A major port, Samsun exports tobacco, wool, and cereals. The city also is a metropolitan hub for the outlying agricultural region. The Greeks first developed the city in the seventh century B.C., naming it Amisus. It was the most successful Milesian colony on the Black Sea, after Sinop, and thrived until the invasion and conquest of the Romans in 71 B.C. The Seljuk Turks named the city Samsun after taking it in the 12th century. The Turkish war of independence began here with the beginning of the organization of national resistance, on May 19, 1919. May 19 University, named for this date, opened here in 1975. Samsun has air, rail, and road connections to other Turkish cities.


Geography and Climate

Aside from Russia, Turkey is the largest country in Europe. Its 296,185 square miles lie between the Aegean, Black and Mediterranean Seas. It stretches about 950 miles from west to east and 400 miles north to south.

Thrace, the European portion of Turkey, ends at the Bosphorus Strait, and across it, Anatoliaand Asiabegin. Anatolia is a high plateau bounded on the north by the Pontic Mountains, the Taurus Mountains on the south, and stretching to the peak of Mount Ararat (nearly 17,000 feet) among the Caucasus Mountains in the east. Mountains ranges give way to narrow coastal plains on the northeast and south, and to treeless valleys between rolling hills and low mountains in the center.

The climate varies a great deal across Turkey. Precipitation is highest on the Black Sea where, in Rize, an average of 98 inches of rain falls each year. Ankara averages only 14 inches (chiefly accumulating from November to May) and Antalya on the south coast gets about 28 inches. Istanbul has an average of 25 inches of annual precipitation. The plateau region has hot, very dry summers where temperatures in July range from the mid-70s to the low 90s. The skies are almost always clear and cloudless during the day and nights are cool. Winters in this region are generally windy and cold (the mean temperature for January is 30°F). Around the Marmara Sea and Istanbul, the average temperature in July is 83°F and 35°F in January. The south coast has long summers that are often hot and humid both night and day in the midsummer months (average temperature in mid-August is 94°F), but very pleasant in spring and autumn. Winters in the south are usually fairly mild. The north coast Black Sea region tends to have cooler summers and warmer winters than the other coastal areas.

Turkey's variety of climates allow for the production of a large diversity of crops from subtropical bananas, figs, tobacco, cotton and citrus fruits to cereal grains on the plateau and tea on the wet Black Sea coast.


According to the 1997 census, Turkey's population has reached over 62.6 million with an annual growth rate of 1.2%. If current conditions persist, the population will double in 33 years. Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara are Turkey's largest cities and incorporate nearly a third of the country's population. The growth rate of Istanbul is 5% per year and is indicative of the alarming pace of migration from village to city and from the east and southeast to southern and western cities. Cities are increasingly surrounded by squatter settlements that create great urban difficulties.

The 1923 Lausanne Treaty helped define the nature of Turkish society. It gave a special status to three religious minorities in TurkeyGreek Orthodox, Armenian and Syriac Christians, and Jews, most of whose ancestors had been accepted as refugees by the Ottoman Empire in 1492 after they were expelled from Spain. The Treaty, which Turkey still respects, defined all others in Turkey, the vast majority, simply as Muslims. It recognized neither ethnic nor sectarian divisions in this ethnically and religiously heterodox state.

Over 99% of Turks are Muslims; the vast majority are Sunni, but there is a significant population of Turkish Alevis (whose beliefs are akin to those of Shia Muslims but whose religious practices are much less rigid), and among the Sunnis, a large number are attached to mystical Sufi brotherhoods. It is noticeable, especially in the large cities, how minimally the strictures of Islam affect the lives of some Turks. Many drink alcohol, do not restrict their diets and rarely, if ever, attend prayer. In the cities, women can be seen in attire that fully covers them, head to toe, walking alongside relatively scantily clad women wearing the latest in western fashions. Inhabitants of rural areas are much more conservative. The Islamist Refah party, whose popularity has been on the rise, is challenging Ataturk's secularist ideal. The potential repercussions of this challenge are the subject of hot debate among the intelligentsia of Turkey.

Despite the official nonrecognition of ethnic identity as a legitimate organizing principle, many Turkish citizens are becoming increasingly aware of their ethnic origins. Recently, a myriad of private television and radio stations have carried vivid accounts of conflicts involving Muslims in Bosnia, Chechnya and Azerbaijan. This media coverage along with the reestablishment of ties with the Turkic peoples of the newly independent states in the Caucasus and Central Asia have contributed to the awakening in many Turks of long dormant feelings of connection to ancestral homelands.

By some estimates, the population of the Turkish Republic at its inception included people from as many as 80 different ethnic backgrounds; but as the Republic's founder Ataturk maintained, one and all are "Turks." Turkish is the only official language, but some citizens continue also to speak the language of their ethnic origin. The government long insisted on the exclusive use of Turkish as a tool to build and unite the nation. Turks of Kurdish origin constitute Turkey's largest ethnic and linguistic subgroup and number as many as twelve million. Turkey's southeastern region is majority Kurdish, though more than half of the Kurds in Turkey now live outside of this area. Since 1984, the Southeast has been an area of great unrest due to clashes between Turkish government forces and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a separatist terrorist group seeking to establish an independent Kurdish state encompassing much of southeastern Turkey as well as parts of Iran, Iraq, and Syria.


Mustafa Kemal, a Turkish World War I hero, later known as "Ataturk" or "Father of the Turks," founded the Republic of Turkey in 1923 after the collapse of the 600-year old Ottoman Empire. At its peak, the Ottoman Empire stretched from southern Spain and Morocco in the east to Saudi Arabia and Iran in the west, and almost to Vienna in the north.

The Empire weakened over time as it failed to keep up with European social and technological developments and came under pressure from other powers. The rise of nationalism within the Empire impelled numerous groups to seek independence, leading to the Empire's fragmentation. This process culminated in the Empire's disastrous participation in World War I as a German ally.

Defeated and shorn in the postwar settlements (Treaty of Sevres) of much of its former territory, parts of modern-day Turkey were occupied by forces of the victorious European states. Turkish nationalists, who rallied under Ataturk's leadership, expelled invading Greek forces from Anatolia after a bitter war. They repudiated the Ottoman structure, and abolished the temporal and religious ruling institutions of the old Empire (the Sultanate and the Caliphate).

In its place, Ataturk established a republic with secularism, nationalism, modernization and a European orientation as its guiding principles. Social, political, linguistic, and economic reforms and attitudes introduced by Ataturk before his death in 1938 continue to have strong influence in Turkey today. The Turkish Grand National Assembly, Turkey's parliament, opened in 1920. Ataturk was its first speaker. The Turkish Republic was formally established in 1923. Ataturk announced the goals of "Peace at Home, Peace in the World," a slogan which has defined Turkish foreign policy ever since.

Turkey stayed neutral through much of World War II, entering on the Allied side shortly before the war ended. Demands by the Soviet Union for military bases in the Turkish Straits, combined with difficulties faced by Greece after World War II in quelling a Communist rebellion, prompted the U.S. 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 aid. Turkey joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1952 after participating with United Nations forces in the Korean conflict.

Public Institutions

One-party rule under Ataturk's leadership gave way to multi-party democracy in 1950. Domestic political crises sparked military interventions in 1960, 1973, and 1980, but in each case the military returned power to civilians in a relatively short period of time. Civilian governments have ruled continuously since 1983.

The present structure of the Turkish state was established by the military-sponsored 1982 Constitution, which has been amended twice by civilian governments. There are executive and legislative branches, and an independent judiciary. There are more than 20 political parties today, 5 of which are represented in Parliament. Recent changes to the Constitution added 100 members to the previously 450-member Parliament, and lowered the minimum voting age from 20 to 18. Elections must be held at least every five years. A nonpartisan president serves one 7-year term. A constitutionally-mandated National Security Council, composed half of members of the Turkish General Staff and half of Cabinet ministers, advises the government on security issues.

Turkey remains the world's only secular democracy in a Muslim country. The government worked hard in the last year to update its commercial and economic legislation to European standards to prepare Turkey for greater integration with the European Union; a customs Union went into effect on January 1, 1996. Turkey is increasing its ties with the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union, especially those with a shared Turkic culture and history. Turkey continues to play an important role in efforts to resolve regional conflicts in Iraq, the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Balkans, and Cyprus. It has long been a NATO member, and lies astride what could become key pipeline routes to transfer oil and natural gas from the Caucasus and Central Asia to Western markets.

Arts, Science and Education

Turks maintain a high regard for the arts, both for their own traditional heritage and for creativity beyond their borders. While Istanbul is by far the more sophisticated city, Ankara enjoys an active cultural arena of its own. Ankara has eight state-owned theaters, one of which is dedicated to opera and ballet (and includes a modern dance company).

The state companies are energetic and creative given their tight budgets, and their performances are well worth the nominal fee for tickets. A number of private theaters offer other forms of entertainment. Both Ankara and Istanbul have annual performing arts festivals that host a great variety of artists, both local and from abroad. Istanbul's International Festival of Culture and the Arts brings renowned artists from across the globe to perform in its many theaters. Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir each has a symphony orchestra that gives regular concerts.

Turkish folk dancing and singing performances can be seen throughout the country. The numerous ethnicities in Turkey make for a colorful array of dances and songs. Each December brings a week-long festival in Konya where the Mevlevi order of dervishes, known as the "Whirling Dervishes," twirl in long, white robes and hats to the ethereal music of the Turkish flute.

The Ankara and Izmir Turkish-American Associations (TAAs) schedule cultural presentations by American and Turkish artists as well as lectures, tours, hobby clubs, discussion groups, and film showings. Of special interest among the activities carried on by other binational cultural centers in Ankara is the French Cine Club, which regularly screens recent French films. The British, German, and Italian cultural centers also sponsor concerts, lectures, and performances by national artists. Museums, binational centers, and galleries hold art exhibits in major cities.

Archeological excavations are underway in various parts of Turkey. Gordion (within 100 kilometers of Ankara), Sardis, and Aphrodisias are among centers of archeological work on ruins dating from Hittite through Ottoman times. Among these enticing sites are Ephesus (Efes), Bergama, and Troy in Western Turkey.

Turkey has made great strides in establishing a modern educational system since the Ottoman religious school system was abolished in the early years of the republic. Primary and secondary public education is free, coeducational, and compulsory between ages seven and 12. In the large cities, the system offers primary, secondary, and university education, but some villages still lack even a primary school. Most major cities have private secondary schools with curriculums in English, French, or German. The adult literacy rate in Turkey is about 85%.

Turkey has 54 universities and a number of technical schools. The first private university, Bilkent University, was established in 1986 using English as its medium. Both Baskent University of Ankara and Koc University in Istanbul were established in 1993 and are also in English. Admission to universities is based on competitive examinations. As in many countries, children of upper and middle-class families more frequently receive the secondary school education necessary to pass university entrance examinations.

Ankara University, Hacettepe University, Middle East Technical University (METU), Gazi University, Bilkent University, and Baskent University, all in Ankara, offer degrees in a broad range of fields including the humanities, science, engineering and, at Ankara University, agriculture. Several offer degrees in medicine.

Istanbul has seven major universities. The most prominent are Istanbul University and Istanbul Technical University, Koc University (noted above), and Bogazici (Bosphorus) University, the oldest English-medium university, established in 1971 when the former Robert College was turned over to the Turkish government. USIA recently has granted money to Bogazici to establish a J. William Fulbright Chair of American Studies. To facilitate the success of this program, Bogazici will be given an extensive American Studies library collection. Robert College continues as a separate, now secondary, institution supported by the U.S. government and private sources.

Commerce and Industry

From the establishment of the republic until the early 1980s, Turkey had an insulated, state-directed economy. The early 1980's, however, brought an economic turnaround based on increased reliance on market forces, export-led development, lower taxes, integration with the world economy, and privatization. These reforms gave Turkey the highest average annual growth rates over the past decade of any OECD country.

As the economy recorded impressive gains, however, its perennial economic problemslarge public sector deficits and high inflationcontinued to worsen. By 1994, Turkey was in an economic crisis: 150% inflation, high unemployment, and a 6% drop in GNP. After 13 straight years of growth, the private and public sectors put investments on hold. The government was forced to implement an economic austerity program. The resulting currency depreciation boosted exports and produced a healthy current account surplus. Turkey had no problem meeting its substantial foreign debt payments in 1994, though at the cost of a spiraling domestic debt burden.

Turkey's effort to implement structural reform measures has been only partially successful. Steps such as privatization of money-losing state enterprises, improved efficiency of tax collection, and streamlining of the social security system are necessary to alleviate pressure on the state budget and promote stable and sustainable growth.

In December 1999, Turkey received a $4 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to begin programs for disinflation and structural reform. Inflation dropped from 69 to 39% as a result of these actions. However, delays on key structural reforms, particularly in the banking sector, eroded market confidence.

Turkey's long-term potential, however, is bright. Its dynamic private sector and the customs union with the European Union (EU) are powerful forces for growth. The fundamentals that made Turkey the fastest-growing country in the OECD during the 1980's have not changed and, in many respects, have even improved.

Agriculture accounted for 15% of GNP in 1999. Its output was essentially unchanged from 1993. Industry is responsible for about 29% of GNP while services accounted for 56% of GNP, up by over 10% since 1994.

Agriculture employs 38% of the labor force in the production of crops such as grains, cotton, hazelnuts, tobacco, fruits and vegetables. Turkey is unusual in that it is not only basically self-sufficient in food, but it is able to export as well. It is an important market for U.S. tobacco, soybeans and soybean products, rice, wood logs, cotton for quality blue denim, tallow for making soap, and breeding and feeder cattle.

The best commercial prospects for U.S. exporters and investors are in energy, telecommunications, environment, transport and textiles.

The Turkish government is encouraging foreign companies to invest in the power sector. Electrical energy demand in Turkey is also growing rapidly. The government estimates that electricity consumption was about 140 billion kw/h in 2001 and expects that usage to double by 2010. Turkey will require approximately $3-$4 billion in annual investment to increase its current installed power generation capacity of 28,000 megawatts to 80,000 MW, which the government predicts it will need by 2020.

The future is also bright for suppliers of autogeneration, transmission and distribution, and renewable energy technology.

In 1991, a Ministry of Environment was established increasing the attention paid to environmental issues. New regulations regarding sewage, medical waste and power plant emissions, among others, will add to the growth of this sector. Major projects are under development for air quality control, solid waste disposal, and municipal waste water treatment and water provision.

The textile sector is Turkey's largest manufacturing industry and its largest export sector. Sales in western Europeits most important markethave been limited by quotas. These restrictions are to be removed under the customs union that came into effect in January, 1996. The global phaseout of textile quotas called for in the Uruguay Round also increases the potential of this sector. Projects to expand and modernize are already underway.

Other principal growth sectors are tourism, automobiles and electronics.



The cardinal rules of safety to survive Turkish driving are: drive very defensively, avoid driving at night, and never let emotions affect what you do.

Turkey's main highways are generally well-paved and properly maintained. However, there are traffic hazards such as slow moving farm equipment and animals, overloaded trucks, buses, and cars passing on hills, and vehicle repairs made on the roadway. When driving in Turkey's countryside, it is wise to expect the unexpected. The construction of new super highways on some frequently traveled routes (e.g., from Ankara to Istanbul), has improved cross-country driving considerably. Winter snows and ice require caution in city and highway driving, and even a light rain can cause surfaces to become extremely slippery. Traffic moves on the right. Turkey uses the same international system of road signs as in the rest of Europe.

City streets are crowded with all sorts of vehicles. Streets are narrow and traffic congestion is an increasing problem, especially in Istanbul and Ankara. Although traffic moves on the right, "dolmuses" (shared taxis traveling set routes), regular taxis, and often others, too, do not always observe this rule or other traffic regulations such as red lights or one-way roads. This eccentricity can be confusing and dangerous.

In the highly congested city of Istanbul, a high percentage of traffic-related deaths are pedestrians. The highest risk group for pedestrians is children and adolescents-totaling about 40%. Statistics released by the Istanbul Traffic Police, for example, indicate that evening rush hour (5-8 p.m.) is the most dangerous time on local highways. Not surprisingly, it is also the time of day when drivers are the least attentive. In 1995, Ankara and Istanbul provinces accounted for almost half of the total vehicle accidents in Turkey; Ankara 43,517, Istanbul 74,905, countrywide total 233,803. 1996 figures are even higher with 156,000 accidents in the first six months.

A number of defensive measures can and should be taken to increase the odds in your favor for accident-free driving:

Always wear seat belts.

Children should ride in the back seat with seat belts on and/or in a child safety seat.

Drive defensively, defensively, defensively.

Dusk is a particularly dangerous time on intercity highways because most drivers delay turning on their headlights until well after dark. Oncoming traffic can be very difficult to see.

Don't be afraid to use your horn to get the attention of pedestrian's and other drivers.

Use four-way flashers to warn drivers behind of slowed/blocked traffic to avoid being hit from behind.

Watch out for trucks and buses that take the right-of-way without signaling, whether they are entitled to it or not.

During rain and snowstorms, drivers must be extremely attentive and situationally aware. Accidents increase dramatically during storms and particularly at night.

Pay particular attention to all of the following which are common in Ankara, Istanbul and others parts of the country:

Passing on the right and cutting in front of other vehicles from the right side.

Unexpected stops or turns without signaling, for no apparent reason and stopping in unexpected locations to pick up or let off passengers by cars, buses and trucks, including main highway entrance ramps, intersections, and along major highways.

Pedestrians seemingly completely oblivious to oncoming traffic who continue to walk or run in front of vehicles to cross streets and main highways.

Trucks parked at night without lights on the highway rather than on the side of the road.

Disabled vehicles parked without warning signs.

Tractors, horse carts and farm vehicles traveling without lights at slow speed on highways.

In the countryside, the use of stones rather than warning signs to mark accidents, breakdowns, and road work.

Road surfaces that are much smoother and provide less traction than normal.

Vehicles backing up (in reverse) on exit ramps and on main highways.

Animals on highways. In the countryside, watch for herds of sheep, goats and other animals on roads.

Drivers that drive in the middle of the road and yield to no one.

Drivers that overtake on blind curves.

At night, cars without lights or lights missing.

Oncoming drivers who play inscrutable light games, flashing and flashing whether you have your "brights" on or not.

Tire-shredding potholes.

Tailgating drivers.

Drivers that attempt to pass while you are passing another vehicle.

Unmarked intersections (i.e., no stop signs), primary road has right of way, but proceed with caution.

Watch for temporary checkpoints and traffic stops particularly at night. These are usually set up for one of three reasons: (1) routine license and registration checks, (2) during times of high terrorist threat, to watch for certain individuals, (3) DWI checks, which are normally done late at night and on weekends in areas with restaurants and clubs. Often, vehicles with diplomatic, consular or Turkish General Staff (TGS) license plates will be waved through once the police see that a foreigner is driving. In case you are stopped, be prepared to show your Turkish identification card or passport and U.S. driver's license and vehicle registration. (Note: If you are involved in an accidenteven when not found at faulta Breathalyzer or blood test is almost always mandatory. If you are not considered responsible for the accident, positive test results will not be used against you by the police. However, they may be used by an insurance company as grounds to deny an accident claim.) The unofficial "protocol" for military and Jandarma checkpoints in the eastern provinces is to turn on the vehicle's inside lights and dim the headlights while stopping for inspection. Roll down the driver's side window in vehicles with tinted glass. This makes it easier for soldiers to safely identify and check the vehicle and its occupants. During this type of inspection, remain calm, do not make any quick movements and obey instructions.

You should always have your vehicle registration, insurance policy, and driver's license (or copies) in your car. If there is an accident, you will need all three.

Vehicle Equipment

A first-aid kit and a reflective warning triangle are mandatory in all vehicles. You may want to carry: a fire extinguisher, locking gas cap, an inexpensive camera with flash to document accidents, chalk to mark accident scenes, tow rope or cable, jumper cables, snow chains (required on some roads and bridges during storms), special reflective tape inside the trunk lid (or rear hatch) and on door jams that can be illuminated by approaching vehicles, PTT Jetons and phonecards for telephone calls, spare directional and headlamp bulbs.

Increased Driver Awareness during Ramadan

The Moslem holy month of Ramadan is celebrated in Turkey between the months of January and February. During Ramadan, many people fast between the hours of sunrise and sunset. The fast includes not taking food, water, tea/coffee, and no smoking. This temporary lack of food and stimulants while fasting during Ramadan has in the past had a deleterious effect on levels of alertness, particularly for persons driving trucks, buses, taxis and cars. Consequently, it is important for all employees and family members to be particularly aware of this potential danger and alert to other drivers. Practice defensive driving, particularly during this month of the year. The holidays or "Bayrams" that follow Ramadan result in a dramatic increase in intercity vacation traffic and the highest accident rates of the year.

Here's a taxi safety tip: Always ride in the rear of a taxi, never in the front. In the event of an accident, the risk of serious injury is generally reduced by more than 50%.

Please note that the following are English approximations of Turkish.

Important Road Signs


Tek yon One way

GirilmezNo entry (in general)

Tasit Giremez No vehicle entry



Park yapilmaz/edilmezNo parking

Parketmek yasaktirNo parking

Sehir merkezi City center

Arac cikabilirVehicles exiting

Askeri bolgeMilitary Zone


Yaya gecidiPedestrian Crossing

Tirmanma seridi. Climbing Lane (on hills for slower vehicles)

Yol calismasiRoad work

Yol tamiriRoad repair

Yol yapimiRoad construction

Servis YoluTemporary road (detour)

Agir Tasitlar Sagdan gidiniz Trucks use right lane

Dinlenme AlaniRest area

Servis AianiService area

Uzun arac Long vehicle

Tirmanma sagdan Slower vehicles use right lane

TEM "Tem Oto Yolu"Transit European Motorway (Turkish Interstate)

AS. iZMilitary Police (Askeri inzibat)

Key Motoring Terms


KursunsuzLead free gas


Tehlikeli MaddeDangerous materials (pro-pane, gas, etc.)

Lastikci Tire repair

Sanayi bolgesiRepair shop zone

Otogar Bus station



Kaza raporuAccident Report


Allah korusun May God protect me (sign on many trucks)

Dikkatsiz Careless

Duzensiz Disorder/erratic

Cities have municipal bus systems that are cheap and extensive but do not necessarily adhere to any set schedule. Dolmuses and minibuses also run along bus routes for a slightly higher fee. Taxis are plentiful, convenient and metered. Dolmus and taxi fares are fixed.


The Turkish State Railways provides rail service to many points within Turkey and has routes connecting to Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Direct rail service is offered from major European cities to Istanbul. Railway service is usually slower than bus service, but dining and sleeping cars on domestic lines help make the trip comfortable.

Delta Airlines provides regular passenger and freight services to Istanbul. Turkish Airlines (THY) flies to many points in Turkey, Europe and the Middle East with daily flights connecting Istanbul, Ankara and Adana. The airport in Istanbul is the country's primary international airport. Antalya's airport is also a hub, especially for tourist groups in the summer. More than 20 airlines connect Turkey with all parts of the world.

Turkish Maritime Lines provides ferry service for passengers and automobiles between Europe and Asia in Istanbul (to cross the Bosphorus) and at Canakkale (to cross the Dardanelles). Turkish Maritime Lines also provides service to Adriatic, Aegean and Mediterranean Sea ports. There is a ferry that travels from Venice to Izmir.


Telephone and Telegraph

The lines and service are generally very good but occasionally outages do occur in inclement weather.

Calls to the U.S. can be placed using AT&T, MCI or Sprint phone cards. Calls to the U.S. are currently about $5.00 for the first minute, $1.59 every minute thereafter using AT&T, or about $1.70 a minute if placed directly through local PTT with no initial connection charge. Call-back services are also available. Figures shown are based on weekday rates and, as in the U.S., weeknight and weekend rates are considerably cheaper. Calls to other countries besides the U.S. are cheaper using the local PTT than U.S. companies.

Radio and TV

Both privately-owned and state-owned radio and television stations broadcast in Turkey. Turkish Radio and Television (TRT, state-owned) operates four radio and five television networks. Most of the population, however, tunes into the half-dozen most popular, privately-owned television channels.

There are at least 72 FM radio stations and about 635 TV stations operating in Turkey. Eight of the TV channels are nationally-televised networks. Cable television is also available and broadcasts several foreign channels including BBC, CNN International, Eurosport, and German, Italian and French stations. Some private radio stations are owned by newspapers, some by businessmen. These stations broadcast an assortment of formats, from Turkish and western pop to classical. Voice of America and BBC radio can be heard in most of Turkey via short-and medium-wave bands. VOA Europe programs are broadcast on an FM station in Istanbul 24 hours a day.

TV channels operate on the European standard of 625 lines. Color system is PAL.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir have many shops selling foreign news publications including the International Herald Tribune, Time, and Newsweek. Several general-interest U.S. magazines, as well as many British, French, German, and Italian publications are widely sold. The Turkish Daily News, weekly Probe, and weekly Briefing are published in English and are available in major Turkish cities.

Ankara has Turkish government libraries and American, British, French, German and Italian government cultural services which are open to the public. USIS in Ankara has a library as does USIS in Istanbul. Istanbul also has several foreign cultural centers.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Turkish hospitals vary greatly. The private, new hospitals in Ankara have the most modern facilities and equipment.

Community Health

Bottled spring water is available in restaurants and grocery stores. Tap water should be boiled for three minutes after filtering to remove particulate matter. Local wine, bottled soda, fruit juice and beer are considered safe to drink. Most local dairy products, including milk, yogurt, and cheese are safe to consume; however, care must be taken when purchasing perishable products from local shops as many do not have adequate refrigeration.

Locally-produced beef, lamb, and poultry can be of good quality, but should be purchased from refrigerator-equipped, sanitary shops and cooked thoroughly before eaten. In smaller towns lamb may be the only meat available. Fresh fish and seafood are available in major cities in winter but difficult to find in summer months except by the sea. Refrigerated transport of fish may be unreliable in the summer. Fresh vegetables and fruits are excellent, but should be washed thoroughly and soaked in a mixture of water and bleach prior to eating raw. Raw salads in local restaurants should be avoided.

Turkish cuisine is excellent and should be enjoyed during a tour in Turkey. In the larger cities restaurants offer both international and local specialties. New arrivals often experience mild stomach upsets before adjusting to local conditions; and even old-timers have periodic stomach problems, especially during the warmer months.

Preventive Measures

Tuberculosis does not pose a risk in Turkey, but child care providers should be screened with a chest xray before they are employed. Rabies is prevalent in Turkey and people are cautioned against handling stray animals. If bitten, a post-exposure rabies vaccination is given. Recommended immunizations for adults and children include typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B; it is advised that children have all the recommended childhood immunizations. Immunizations should be obtained prior to arrival.

Air pollution is a problem in Ankara and Istanbul, but is more pronounced in Istanbul. Ankara's air problems have decreased significantly since the introduction of natural gas; however, increased vehicular pollution and the natural bowl configuration of the city, still bring a large number of poor air quality days. Most complaints about irritating air quality in Ankara regard the burning of trash within residential areas and the constantly dry, dusty environment.

Istanbul has a more serious air pollution problem that is the worst in winter. The pollution can constitute a health hazard, especially to children, smokers, and those with chronic respiratory disorders. Sulfur dioxide levels often far exceed healthy limits established by the World Health Organization.


Passage, Customs & Duties

A passport and visa are required. Holders of all types of passports can purchase a 90-day sticker visa at the port of entry for $45, if they are traveling to Turkey as tourists. For further information, travelers in the U.S. may contact the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey at 2525 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone: (202) 612-6700, or the Turkish consulates general in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, or New York. Information may also be found at Internet address Overseas, travelers may contact a Turkish embassy or consulate. Holders of official and diplomatic passports on official business must obtain a visa from a Turkish embassy or consulate before arrival in Turkey. Holders of official and diplomatic passports on private travel may receive a visa free of charge from a Turkish embassy or consulate, or obtain one upon arrival at the port of entry for $45. All those who are planning to stay more than three months for any purpose are required to obtain a visa from a Turkish embassy or consulate. Such travelers must also apply for a residence/work permit or Turkish ID card within the first month of their arrival in Turkey. For example, this would include anyone who plans to spend more than three months doing research, studying, or working in Turkey.

All travelers are advised to obtain entry stamps at the first port of entry on the passport page containing their visa before transferring to domestic flights. Failure to obtain entry stamps at the port of entry has occasionally resulted in serious difficulties for travelers when they attempt to depart the country.

The PKK retains a residual presence in certain parts of southeastern Turkey. The following provinces are under a state of emergency: Hakkari, Sirnak, Tunceli, and Diyarbakir. The following additional areas are considered "sensitive areas" or one level below state-of-emergency status: Van, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, and Bitlis. The southeast provinces of Adana, Adiyaman, Antakya (Hatay), Elazig, Gaziantep, Kahraman Maras, Kilis, Malatya, Icel, Osmaniye and Sanliufra are not under a heightened state of alert. Mount Ararat is a special military zone and access permission must be obtained from the Turkish Government.

Visitors to the emergency and sensitive areas of southeastern Turkey are advised to travel only during daylight hours and on major highways. The Turkish Jandarma and police forces monitor checkpoints on roads throughout the southeastern region. Drivers and all passengers in the vehicle should be prepared to provide identification if stopped at a checkpoint. Travelers are cautioned not to accept letters, parcels, or other items from strangers for delivery either in or outside of Turkey. The PKK has attempted to use foreigners to deliver messages and packages in or outside of Turkey. If discovered, individuals could be arrested for aiding and abetting the PKK-a serious charge.

Turkey customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Turkey of items such as antiquities (very broadly defined) or other important artwork and cultural artifacts. At the time of departure, travelers who purchase such items may be asked to present a receipt from the seller as well as the official museum export certificate required by law. Smuggling of large quantities of other items, such as cigarettes, out of Turkey is also a punishable offense. Contact the Embassy of Turkey in Washington or one of Turkey's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Americans living in or visiting Turkey are encouraged to register at the nearest Consular Office, at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, the U.S. consulates in Istanbul or Adana, or the Consular Agency in Izmir. Updated information on travel and security within Turkey is available while registering, or on the Embassy website at

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara is at 110 Ataturk Boulevard, tel: (90)(312) 455-5555, fax (90)(312) 468-6131. Visa information is available at (90)(312) 468-6110. The Internet address is Non-emergency e-mail messages about consular matters may be sent to [email protected].

The U.S. Consulate in Istanbul is at 104-108 Mesrutiyet Caddesi, Tepebasi, tel: (90)(212) 251-3602, fax (90)(212) 252-7851. Istanbul-specific information can also be accessed via the Consulate's website Non-emergency e-mail messages about consular matters may be sent to [email protected].

The U.S. Consulate in Adana is at the corner of Vali Yolu and Ataturk Caddesi, tel: (90)(322) 459-1551, fax (90)(322) 457-6591.

The U.S. Consular Agent in Izmir is at Kazim Dirik Caddesi 13/8, Atabay Is Merkezi, Daire 805, Pasa-port, Izmir, 35210, tel: (90)(232) 441-0072/2203, fax (90)(232) 441-2373. A variety of information on visa procedures, American citizen services, road safety, etc. is also available on the mission's web site,

Social Customs & Laws

Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Turkey's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Turkey are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

Below are some of the laws foreign travelers should be aware of:

Insulting the State: It is illegal to show disrespect to the name or image of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic, or to insult the Turkish government, flag, or security forces.

Proselytizing: Although there is no specific law against proselytizing, some activities can lead to arrest under laws that regulate expression, educational institutions, and religious meetings. The Department of State's Annual Report on International Religious Freedom contains additional information on religious freedom in Turkey. The report is available on the Department's website,

Cultural Artifacts: Turkish law has a broad definition of "antiquities" and makes it a crime to remove any from the country. Offenders are prosecuted. Under Turkish law, all historic sites such as fortresses, castles and ruins, and everything in them or on the grounds or in the water, are the property of the Turkish government. While many sites do not have signs cautioning the unwary, official silence does not mean official consent. One may buy certain antiquities, but only from authorized dealers who have been issued a certificate by a museum for each item which they are authorized to sell. If one has acquired a possible antiquity without having obtained the necessary certificate, competent museum personnel should evaluate it before its removal from Turkey.


Pets may be brought into Turkey without quarantine provided they have certificates showing inoculation against rabies within the past six months, and freedom of communicable disease within 48 hours of the time of departure for Turkey. These documents should be prepared by a veterinarian, notarized by a notary public in the country in which the veterinarian is authorized to practice, and authenticated at a Turkish embassy or consulate.

Some people have found it difficult to keep dogs as pets in Ankara and Istanbul. Apartment living presents obvious difficulties, and it is unwise to allow a dog to run free in the streets. The city authorities periodically round up, poison or shoot stray animals, sometimes including licensed animals running free at the time.

Disaster Preparedness

Several major earthquake fault lines cross Turkey. A number of Turkish cities including Istanbul, Izmir, and Erzincan lie on or near fault lines, making these areas particularly vulnerable to earthquakes. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Management Agency (FEMA) at Detailed information on Turkey's earthquake fault lines is available from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) at

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures

Local banks offer checking and savings accounts and exchange facilities, but they are not often used by American's because of the complexity of local banking laws Travelers checks are acceptable in Turkey and in all nearby countries but sometimes difficult to cash. Turkish lira (TRL), the official unit of currency, is used for purchasing goods and services on the Turkish economy.

Transfer of Turkish lira from one part of Turkey to another is easily done using Turkish postal money orders. Most banks also are able to transfer funds electronically.

The rate of exchange for the Turkish lira has fluctuated greatly throughout the past several years; during the past year the rate of inflation has been around 90%. The exchange rate is approximately 1,391,946.77 TRL to US$1.

Turkey uses the metric system.


Turkey observes both civil and religious holidays. While dates for civil holidays are determined by the Gregorian calendar, religious holidays are set by the Muslim/lunar calendar, resulting in observance on different days each year.

Jan. 1New Year's Day

Apr. 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day (Milli Egemenlik ve Cocuk Bayrami)

May 19Ataturk Memorial Youth and Sports Day (Ataturk'u Anma Genclik ve Spor Bayrami)

Aug. 30Victory Day (Zafer Bayrami)

Oct. 29 Anniversary of the Founding of the Turkish Republic (Cumhuriyet Bayrami)

Ramazan Bayrami (Ramadan begins)*

Kurban Bayrami (Ramadan ends)*



These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

History/Foreign Policy/Travel Akurgal, Ekrem. Ancient Civilizations and Ruins of Turkey. 1985.

Alexandris, Alexis. The Greek Minority of Istanbul and Greek-Turkish Relations, 1918-1974. Athens: Center for Asia Minor Studies, 1983.

And, Metin. A History of Theatre and Popular Entertainment in Turkey. Ankara: Forum Yayinlari, 1964.

Bahceli, Tozun. Greek-Turkish Relations Since 1955. Boulder: West-view Press, 1990.

Bean, George E. Aegean Turkey. North Pomfret, VT: Trafalgar Square, 1989.

. Lycian Turkey. North Pomfret, VT: Trafalgar Square, 1989.

. Turkey Beyond the Meander. North Pomfret, VT: Trafalgar Square, 1989.

. Turkey's Southern Shore. North Pomfret, VT: Trafalgar Square, 1989.

Berlitz. The Berlitz Travellers Guide to Turkey. 1993.

Blake, Everett C. and Anna G. Edmonds. Biblical Sites in Turkey, 4th ed. Istanbul: Redhouse Press, 1990.

Brosnahan, Tom. Turkey, A Travel Survival Kit, 3rd ed. 1990.

Bugra, Ayse. State and Business in Modern Turkey. Albany: State University of New York, 1994.

Constas, Dimitri, ed. The Greek-Turkish Conflict in the 1990s: Domestic and External Influences. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991.

Dindi, Hasan, et al. Turkish Culture for Americans. Boulder, CO: International Concepts, Ltd.

Erim, Kenan. Aphrodisias, The City of Venus Aphrodite. 1986.

Freely, John. The Companion Guide to Turkey. London: Collins, 1979.

Fodor's Turkey. New York: David McKay, latest edition.

Fuller, Graham E. and Ian O. Lesser, eds. Turkey's New Geopolitics: From the Balkans to Western China. Boulder: Westview Press, 1993.

Gunter, Michael M. The Kurds in Turkey: A Political Dilemma. Boulder: Westview Press, 1990.

Heper, Metin and Jacob M. Landau, eds. Political Parties and Democracy in Turkey. New York: I.G. Tauris & Co., 1991.

Hershlag, Z.Y. The Contemporary Turkish Economy. New York: Routledge, 1988.

Inalcik, Halil. The Ottoman Empire. 1973.

Itzkowitz, Norman. The Ottoman Empire and Islamic Tradition. 1973.

Kinross, Lord. Ataturk: A Biography of Mustafa Kemal, Father of Modern Turkey. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1965.

Kinross, Lord. The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire. New York: Morrow Quill Paperbacks, 1979.

Kostof, Spiro. Caves of God: Cappadocia and Its Churches. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Kuniholm, Bruce. The Origins of the Cold War in the Near East. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980.

Landau, Jacob M. Ataturk and the Modernization of Turkey. Boulder: Westview Press, 1984.

Lawlor, Eric. Looking for Osman. New York: Vintage Departures, 1993.

Lewis, Bernard. The Emergence of Modern Turkey. London: Oxford University Press, 1961.

Lloyd, Seton. Ancient Turkey: A Traveller's History of Anatolia. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.

McCarthy, Justin. Muslims and Minorities, The Population of Ottoman Anatolia and the End of the Empire. 1983.

McDonogh, Bernard. Blue Guide Turkey, The Aegean and Mediterranean Coasts. 1990.

Morris, Roderick Conway. Jem: Memoirs of an Ottoman Secret Agent. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988.

Nagel's Encyclopedia Guide: Turkey. Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Publishing Group, 1987.

Olson, Robert. The Emergence of Kurdish Nationalism and the Sheikh Said Rebellion, 1880-1925. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1989.

Orga, Irfan. Portrait of a Turkish Family. New York: Macmillan, 1957.

Renda, Gunsel, and C. Max Korte-peter, eds. The Transformation of Turkish Culture. Princeton: Kingston Press, 1986.

Robins, Philip. Turkey and the Middle East. New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1991.

Rustow, Dankwart A. Turkey's Forgotten Ally. New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1987.

Settle, Mary Lee. Turkish Reflections, A Biography of a Place. New York: Prentice Hall, 1991.

Stark, Freya. Ionia, A Quest, 1954; The Lycian Shore, 1956; Alexander's Path from Caria to Cilicia, 1958; and, Gateways and Caravans: A Portrait of Turkey, 1971.

Stearns, Monteagle. Entangled Allies: U.S. Policy Toward Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1992.

Stirling, Paul. Turkish Village. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1965.

Sumner-Boyd, Hilary and John Freely. Strolling Through Istanbul, 4th ed. Istanbul: Redhouse Press, 1989.

Turkey 1992 Traveller's Guide. New York: Berlitz, 1992.

Young, George. Constantinople. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1992.


Acar, Belkis Balpinar. Kilim, Cicim, Zili, Sumak: Turkish Flatweaves. 1983.

Atil, Esin. The Age of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1987.

Freely, Maureen. Life of the Party. 1984. fiction

Kemal, Yasar. trans., Edouard Roditi. Mehmet My Hawk. New York: Pantheon, 1961. fiction

Kuran, Aptullah. Sinan, The Grand Old Master of Ottoman Architecture. 1987.

Macaulay, Rose. The Towers of Trebizond. 1956. fiction

Menemencioglu, Numan. Penguin Book of Turkish Verse. London: Penguin Books, 1978.

Rogers, J.M., ed. The Topkapi Saray Museum: Carpets ; and, The Topkapi Saray Museum: The Treasury. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1987.

Settle, Mary Lee. Blood Tie. 1977. fiction

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Turkey." Cities of the World. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Turkey." Cities of the World. . (September 19, 2019).

"Turkey." Cities of the World. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



Republic of Turkey

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti



Turkey is a peninsula that, uniquely, straddles 2 continents. Located in southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia, 97 percent of its area occupies Anatolia, the peninsula of land that lies between the Black Sea on the northern coast of the country, and the Mediterranean to the south, where the continents of Asia and Europe meet. The remaining 3 percent of the country is in Thrace, a region in the southeastern Balkan peninsula, north of the Aegean Sea. Turkey has an area of 780,580 square kilometers (301,382 square miles) with a total coastline of 8,430 kilometers (5,238 miles), and shares its land borders with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. The country is strategically situated since it controls the Turkish Straits, comprised of the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles, which connect the Black Sea to the Aegean on the west coast. Comparatively, Turkey is slightly larger than the state of Texas. The capital city, Ankara, is located in the northwest center of Anatolia.


In July of 2000, Turkey's current population was estimated at 65,666,677. Between 1990 and 2000, the average annual growth rate of the population was 1.27 percent, with a total fertility rate of 2.16 children born per woman. The World Bank expects Turkey's population to reach 91 million by 2025. Since 1986, the state has actively promoted population control but, ironically, for about 40 years following the establishment of the republic in 1923 the government actually encouraged population growth.

The Turkish population is very young with only 6 percent aged 65 and over, and 65 percent between the ages of 15 and 65. In 1995, approximately 67 percent of the population lived in urban areas. As of 1999, urban dwellers increased to 75.3 percent of the total population. Approximately 20 percent of them live in Istanbul, making it the most heavily populated city in the country.

Turks constitute almost 80 percent of population and Kurds 20 percent. The rest of the population is made up of small minorities of Arabs, people from the Caucasus, Greeks, Armenians, and Jews. The ethnic Turks are a diverse people who differ from one another in dialect, customs, and outlook. The 3 major groups are the Anatolian Turks, who have lived in the Central Anatolian Plateau for centuries; the Rumelian Turks, who were originally mainly immigrants from the Ottoman territories in the Balkans; and the Central Asian Turks, descended from Turkic-speaking immigrants from the Caucasus region, southern Russia, and Central Asia. Turkey is the only country with a Muslim majority population (99.8 percent) that operates under a secular constitution and a democratic government.


Modern Turkey is a free market economy oriented to Western markets. While the private sector continues to be the country's powerful engine of rapid economic growth, the state has a significant involvement in essential sectors such as communication, transport, and banking. Modern industry and commerce play the majority role in the economy, although traditional village agriculture and crafts are still nurtured.

By the end of World War I, the long, drawn-out collapse of the Ottoman Empire was complete. Having lost the war, Turkey was not left with much in the way of an economy. The few factories that remained were in foreign hands, agricultural output had dropped significantly, and, with the loss of the Ottoman territories, many traditional markets disappeared. The country's technology was out-dated and there was a shortage of skilled labor. The several years of struggle for independence following World War I offered little opportunity for recovery.

With the establishment of the republic in 1923, the government was faced with the formidable task of rebuilding the country's economy. Initially, the focus was on returning agricultural production to pre-war levels while building a transport infrastructure , particularly railroads. Meanwhile, steady encouragement of private enterprise was evident in various government policies and measures. The economy exhibited impressive growth levels until 1930, when the Great Depression caused the collapse of external markets for Turkey's agricultural products. This prompted the state to take a more active role in the economy, adopting a policy of etatism (an economic doctrine where individual enterprise retains its fundamental role in the economy, but active government intervention is considered necessary. It applies particularly to basic industries and public services).

The economic role of the state continued until the early 1980s, when Turkey's policy makers embarked on a new course of liberalization , abandoning protection-ist policies and initiating several reforms aimed at opening up the Turkish economy to foreign trade and investment. These new policies brought an annual growth rate averaging 5 percent over the last 2 decades of the twentieth century, giving Turkey the highest growth rate of any OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) country. By 2001, Turkey was one of the 20 largest economies in the world.

The path to economic growth in Turkey, however, has not been smooth. Since the 1950s, the country has suffered serious disruption to its economy every 10 years. At times, this has been due to poor political leadership, at other times, the cause has been structural inadequacies and balance of payment problems. In 1994, the country faced one of its worst recessions , bringing an end to 13 straight years of growth, but the economy bounced back strongly over the next 3 years, growing by over 8 percent. In 1998, slowdown returned as a result of the Asian and Russian financial crises; in 1999, disaster struck in the form of 2 deadly earthquakes, measuring 7.4 and 7.2 on the Richter scale, which hit northwestern Turkey right in the middle of its industrial heartland. The World Bank estimated the economic loss at approximately US$10 billion, and Turkey suffered its worst contraction since World War II. That the country has survived this miserable period is seen as a positive sign for its economic future. A larger problem is that of persistent inflation , which has been over 60 percent annually for 5 years, and remained in the double digits in 2001. The expectation of inflation has become a way of life in Turkey, bringing an inertia that has made it extremely difficult to tackle the situation.

Despite these problems, several factors have allowed Turkey to remain attractive to foreign investors. A population of 64 million with significant purchasing power represents a big and fast-growing market, with strong potential for further development. Also, Turkey lies in the middle of the rich oil-producing area of the Caspian Sea and the consumer markets in Europe, while its strategic geopolitical position at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East makes it a prime gateway. In addition, Turkey has close relations with the Central Asian Republics, forged by ethnic and linguistic ties, and is the leading investor in many of these countries. Last, but certainly not least, Turkey entered a customs union agreement with the European Union (EU) in 1996, thus enabling the free flow of goods to and from other European markets. All these factors make Turkey an attractive destination for trade as well as for cost-effective export industries.

Turkey's economic profile is multi-dimensional in nature. Tourism is a significant economic sector, while textiles and clothing are the most important manufacturing industries, supplying the largest percentage of goods for export. Other important industries include iron, steel, cement, chemicals, and the automotive industry. The Turkish private sector is dominated by a number of large holding companies , whose senior management is controlled by prominent families. The best known and strongest of these are the Sabanci Holding and Koc Holding companies, both of which have a significant presence in most sectors of the economy. In order to limit outside interference in company management, most large businesses only float a small portion of company shares in the public market.


The Turkish political system is a secular parliamentary democracy that recognizes the separation of executive, legislative, and judicial powers. The executive branch of government includes the president, the prime minister, and the cabinet (council of ministers responsible for a variety of governmental tasks). The president is elected by parliament for a period of 7 years. He serves as the head of state, has broad powers of appointment and supervision, and is non-partisan. The prime minister is the head of the government and is responsible for appointing the cabinet. The Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM), or parliament, is the legislative branch of government and consists of 550 elected representatives voted for by the citizens of Turkey. The judicial system consists of a constitutional court, a series of state courts, a council of state, and a high council of judges and prosecutors.

Modern Turkey has suffered several periods of instability and authoritarian rule. When the Turkish Republic was established in 1923, Turkey was governed under 1-party rule by the Republican People's Party (CHP) established by Kemal Ataturk, who founded the modern republic. This situation lasted until 1945, when the multi-party era commenced. The first change of power took place in 1950 when the Democrat Party won the national elections. They ruled until 1960, when power was seized in a military coup intended to end internal political tensions and growing economic problems. Democracy returned in 1961 as soon as a new constitution was written, but only lasted until 1971 when, after a 3-year period of political strife and resultant domestic violence, another coup was staged, replacing the civilian government with a succession of semi-military, non-partisan governments. In 1973, general elections were held once again in an effort to re-start the democratic process but, by 1980, a military coup was again necessary to restore order and stop political violence that was claiming more than 20 victims daily.

Another new constitution was drafted in 1982. It was approved in a national referendum, and elections were held 1983. The Motherland Party, formed by Turgut Ozal, won an absolute majority, formed a government, and won a second election in 1987, making for 6 years of stable rule until, in 1989, Turgut Ozal left the Motherland Party to become Turkey's new president. Many of the structural and economic reforms that have led to liberal trade policies and reduced the government's role in the economy were initiated during this period in the 1980s. Since then, however, no single party has been able to capture a majority in elections, and the Turkish political scene has witnessed one coalition after another failing in attempts to bring stability back to government.

In the 55 years since the beginning of the multi-party era, Turkey has had 43 governments (in addition to the 14 different governments in the single-party era). In 1999, the country witnessed the fall of yet another government, the establishment of an interim government, and the election of a third. With each government averaging just over 15 months in power, it is not surprising that the country has found it difficult to develop and execute a stable, long-term economic plan. The fundamental problem lies with the fact that there are too many political parties in operation (21 parties participated in the 1999 elections), many of them following similar pro-reform, centrist policies, offering little difference of choice other than between the distinctive personalities of their various leaders.

The last elections were held in April 1999. The Democratic Left Party (DSP), led by Bulent Ecevit, received 22 percent of the votes and won the most seats in parliament. This was not enough to secure a majority and, in June 1999, DSP formed a coalition with the National Action Party (MHP) and the Motherland Party (ANAP). If this coalition proves stable, the next elections will be held in 2004. There are grounds for optimism, since the 3-party coalition has a strong parliamentary majority, and has been aggressive in pushing an ambitious reform program, well supported both domestically and externally.

Of the 21 parties that participated in the 1999 elections, 6 are prominent. Two of these are center-left parties: the Democratic Left Party (DSP), who is the majority partner in the current coalition government, and the Republican People's Party (CHP). Bulent Ecevit, the current prime minister, leads the DSP, a social democratic party with a strong free-market economic agenda. Ecevit has had decades of experience in Turkish politics (he was prime minister 3 times during the 1970s). The CHP tries to carry on the tradition of the party's early days as the first political party in Turkey, but in the last elections it failed to get the 10 percent of the vote necessary to enter parliament. Thus excluded from parliament for the first time in its history, the CHP has embarked on a process of rebuilding itself.

On the opposite side of the political spectrum are 2 center-right parties: the Motherland Party (ANAP), a junior coalition partner in the current government, and the True Path Party (DYP), which holds 85 parliamentary seats. Both are parties of the conservative mass, have similar ideologies (social and political beliefs), and, in common with the center-left, support free trade and growth led by the private sector. However, such slight policy differences as there are have favored ANAP popularity in urban areas, while the DYP has more visibility in smaller towns and villages.

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) was the big surprise of the 1999 elections, capturing second place with 18 percent of the national vote and a partnership in the coalition government. It has a strong nationalist agenda, and has been historically connected to right-wing organizations partly responsible for the violence preceding the military coup in 1980. Despite retaining hard-line attitudes on certain issues, the MHP seems, overall, to have softened somewhat. It has strongly supported the economic reforms and has co-operated in maintaining the stability and continuity of the coalition government.

The Virtue Party (FP) is the successor to the Welfare Party, which was in government in 1996-97 but was shut down in 1998 for undermining the principles of Ataturk and secular Turkey. FP has a religious agenda, and rejects the secular principles on which the republic is based in favor of Islam. It won 15 percent of the vote in the 1999 elections, making it the main opposition party to the 3-party coalition government.

In Turkey, the military has traditionally exerted significant pressure on ruling parties, and military intervention in government has been frequent. Since the first coup in 1960, representatives of the army, air force, and navy join the president, the prime minister, several key ministers, and the Chief of the Turkish General Staff on the National Security Council (NSC), an advisory body that oversees the president and the cabinet. At times, the NSC has had a marked effect on the political agenda. The military played a major role in the resignation of the Welfare Party government by publicly supporting a popular opposition movement comprised of businesses, labor, and community groups. The influence of the military (which has closer ties with the center-right parties) seems to have diminished in the new government, although its stance on several sensitive issues is well known to the public.

The Ecevit government restarted structural reform, trying to make up for the time lost during the political uncertainties of the 1990s. In addition to social security reforms, one of the primary tasks of the new government was the reduction of the national deficit through accelerated privatization . A series of legislative measures have been designed to allow for the process to be as smooth as possible. These privatization projects will make Turkish industry more efficient and globally competitive, and will bring increased revenue to the government. The government is also trying to tighten its fiscal discipline by cutting expenditures and tightening up on tax collection. This latter measure is important, since Turkey has a large unregistered economy that could account for an increase in the official GNP by up to 50 percent. Indeed, although Turkey's population has grown by 30 percent over the last 15 years, its taxpayer base has remained static, indicating the seriousness of the problem. If the government can succeed in reducing this un-registered economy, the tax base will broaden and bring some much-needed relief to the country's finances.


As an emerging market Turkey has a competitive commercial infrastructure. However, the government faces a continual challenge to meet the demands of a rapidly growing economy, and gives special priority to major infrastructure projects, particularly in the transport and energy sectors.

By the end of 1999, Turkey had 118 airports, 22 of which were open to international traffic. However, a large majority of international traffic targets 3 main airports: Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, Adnan Menderes Airport in Izmir, and Esenboga Airport in the capital, Ankara. The new international passenger terminal in Istanbul, which opened in January 2000, is one of the largest in Europe. Several more new airports are under construction, including one on the Asian side of Istanbul. Over 300 foreign airlines serve Turkey, in addition to Turkish Airlines (THY). THY, with its fleet of 73 passenger planes, operates to both domestic and international destinations. There are 15 additional public and private domestic airlines operating on a smaller scale.

Shipping plays an important role in the Turkish economy. This is no surprise, since over 70 percent of Turkey's boundaries consist of 4 seas: the Black Sea in the north, the Marmara in the northwest, the Aegean in the west, and the Mediterranean in the south-southwest. The country's 8,430-kilometer coastline is covered with large and small ports, 21 of them international. Five ports, all state-owned, handle most of the country's sea freight: Istanbul and Kocaeli on the Sea of Marmara, Izmir on the Aegean, and Mersin and Iskenderun on the Mediterranean. Seaports on the Black Sea coast mainly handle export cargo of steel products, tea, and hazelnuts, and import cargo of coal, iron ore, raw minerals, fertilizers, and bulk construction materials. The area around the Marmara Sea is the country's industrial heartland and these ports serve a vital function in Turkey's economy, handling cargo carrying raw industrial materials, semi-finished materials, chemicals, steel, and petroleum. The Marmara Sea is also the only connection between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean through 2 straits, and is therefore one of the busiest maritime routes in the world. The Mediterranean ports also handle domestic and international cargo traffic. Iskenderun handles 75 percent of Turkey's steel exports, while a nearby port serves both the domestic and the Iraqi oil pipeline. Mersin, one of the main ports of the eastern Mediterranean, acts as an export hub for southeast Anatolia's products.

The railway system is one of the weakest modes of transportation in Turkey. Although the country has 10,933 kilometers (6,778 miles) of railways running between its western and eastern borders, only 2,133 kilometers (1,322 miles) are electrified. The railroads are state-owned and operated, but rail expansion has not been politically popular for the last several decades and has lacked funding. Most commercial and public transportation, therefore, must rely on other means while the aging rail system, badly in need of renovation, is primarily used to carry minerals and bulk commodities over long distances. The government has, however, begun engaging in plans for both the modernization of existing lines and the addition of up to 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) of railway.

The highway transport system carries over 95 percent of passenger transport and over 90 percent of the surface transport of goods in Turkey. The country's road network is extensive, with over 382,000 kilometers (nearly 237,000 miles) of roads. By the end of 1999, 1,726 kilometers (1,070 miles) of this network consisted of motorways, and a total of 96,000 kilometers (59,520 miles) was tarred. The government has made strenuous efforts to extend and improve its road network, especially in the building of additional motorways. The economic crisis of 1998 and the earthquakes of 1999 caused some of these projects to be postponed, but they, and others, are expected to go ahead.

Turkish telecommunications services are undergoing rapid modernization and expansion. As of 1999, Turkey

Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Turkey 111 180 286 9.2 53 1.7 23.2 8.06 1,500
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
United Kingdom 329 1,436 645 45.9 252 33.9 263.0 270.60 12,500
Greece 153 477 466 1.2 194 3.8 51.9 59.57 750
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium ( and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

had more than 19 million telephone lines, exceeding a density of 25 percent. The target density for 2005 is 40 percent. Turk Telekom, a state-owned enterprise, provides basic telephone services in the country, utilizing a variety of communication systems including satellite, submarine cable, and fiber-optic cable. The government has announced plans to privatize up to 49 percent of the company in the near future. The country is also seeing a rapid expansion in cellular telephone services, with many licenses sold to private companies. The current cellular density is estimated at 15 percent and is expected to reach 30 percent by 2010. Cellular phones have received widespread acceptance in the large cities, where they have become a part of daily life among both business executives and teenagers. The Internet is also a well-accepted communication/information medium in Turkey, again primarily in the urban areas. At the end of 1999, Turkey had 1.7 million Internet users, 70 Internet service providers, and 8.06 Internet hosts per 10,000 people. Internet usage is seeing rapid growth, primarily due to cutting-edge Internet banking operations.

Turkey faces one of its biggest challenges in the energy sector. Rapid urbanization and strong economic growth have led to one of the fastest growing power markets in the world. It is no secret that Turkey is facing a major hurdle in trying to meet the demands of such growth. In 1999, imported energy supplied 60 percent of the country's primary energy consumption, and energy imports are expected to reach 75 percent by 2020. Turkey has an installed electric capacity of 26,500 megawatts, of which about 11,000 megawatts is hydroelectric and the balance is thermal power. This capacity not only cannot meet the 8-10 percent projected annual increase in demand, but is also insufficient for present needs. The Turkish government has been actively seeking investments and developing projects to triple energy production by 2010. The Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) is expected to be completed in 2005, and is the most crucial public project in Turkey. When complete, the 22 dams and 19 hydroelectric power plants that are a part of this project will produce 22 percent of Turkey's projected electricity requirements. Due to the current shortage of electric capacity, the 220-volt power system has suffered from occasional blackouts.


Turkey's economy has been able to supply a broad range of goods and services since the early 1950s. Since then, the mix of domestic production has seen a shift from agriculture to manufacturing, and then to services. In the early 1950s, agriculture made up a little under 50 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), while the manufacturing sector's share was about 20 percent. In the 1970s, with the government's continued emphasis on industrialization, manufacturing caught up with agriculture for the first time and surpassed it. This trend continued until the 1980s. With the economic reforms of the 1980s, the economic shift accelerated as all sectors exhibited strong growth, though both manufacturing and services grew much more rapidly. By the late 1990s, the services sector began to dominate the domestic economy: in 1999, the services sector made up 56 percent of GDP, while manufacturing was at 29 percent and agriculture at 15 percent. However, all 3 remain vital to the Turkish economy.


Historically, the agriculture sector has been Turkey's largest employer and a major contributor to the country's GDP, although its share of the economy has fallen consistently over several decades. In 1999, it accounted for 15 percent of GDP, while employing about half of the labor force . Although the sector has grown over time, the growth has been only about 1 percent faster than the country's population, and much slower than that of the industrial and services sectors. Farmers have been slow to adopt modern techniques, and much of the potential land and water resources are inefficiently managed.

Nevertheless, Turkey is one of the few countries in the world that is self-sufficient in terms of food. The country's fertile soil, access to sufficient water, a suitable climate, and hard-working farmers, all make for a successful agricultural sector. In addition, a broad range of crops can be raised because of the variety of different climates throughout the land. This has allowed Turkey to become the largest producer and exporter of agricultural products in the Near East and North African regions. In fact, according to The Economist 's world rankings, Turkey is one of the top 10 producers of fruit, wheat, and cotton in the world. More impressively, it ranks among the top 5 producers of vegetables, tea, and raw wool. As a result of this massive production base, Turkey enjoys a comparative advantage in many agricultural products, and a positive trade balance in agriculture that contributes significant relief to an overall trade deficit . The country's main export markets are the EU and the United States, to which Turkey exports dried fruit and nuts, cotton, and tobacco. Another major export market is the Middle East, which buys fresh fruit, vegetables, and meats from Turkey. By 1999, the value of agricultural exports had risen to US$2.4 billion and accounted for 9 percent of Turkey's export earnings (down from 60 percent in 1980). However, these figures could be misleading insofar as almost 50 percent of the manufactured exports also originate in the agricultural sector (primarily textiles and clothing). Therefore, the agricultural sector's direct and indirect total contribution would still account for 50 percent of total exports. Of Turkey's agricultural sector, crops account for 55 percent of the gross value, livestock represents 34 percent, and forestry and fishing make up the rest.

The vegetal (of, or relating to, plants and vegetables) production is primarily made up of cereals, pulses (edible seeds of various pod-bearing plants such as peas, beans, or lentils), industrial crops, and perishables. Of these, cereal crops occupy more than half of the cultivated land. The main species of cereal crops produced in Turkey are wheat, barley, oats, rye, maize, millet, and rice. These crops are produced in most parts of the country, with a heavier concentration in the central regions.

Of all these, wheat has a special place in the Turkish economy. Turkey is both a top 10 producer and a top 10 consumer of wheat in the world. It is the essential food element in the Turkish diet, generally eaten in the form of bread. Production increases in the late 1970s enabled the country to become a wheat exporter and, although the output slowed down in the early 1980s, renewed efforts have seen wheat production continue to expand. In 1998, the total wheat production was 21 million tons.

Turkey is also the main pulse producer in the Middle East and one of the leading producers in the world. The pulse output increased from 617,000 tons in the early 1970s to 1.1 million tons in the 1980s and 1.6 million tons in 1998. Since the mid-1990s, over 60 countries import Turkish pulses, primarily chickpeas and lentils.

The major industrial crops produced in Turkey are cotton, tobacco, and sugar beets. Cotton is crucial to the wider economy since it provides the fiber for textiles, the leading category of Turkish exports. Cotton is primarily grown on the coastal plains of the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, in the south and southwest. Cotton production in 1999 was 855,000 tons. Only 10 percent of cotton is exported in raw form, while the rest feeds the domestic textile industry. The Southeastern Anatolian Project is Turkey's largest development project. It seeks improvements in energy production, tourism, mining, gasoline, education, health, communications, industry and transport, and in active farming by means of extensive irrigation systems. When the project is completed, it is estimated that Turkey's cotton production will expand to twice the level of production in the year 2000. Another industrial crop, sugar beets, saw a dramatic increase in production in the 1980s and 1990s. In the 1970s, annual production was around 650,000 tons, meeting only domestic needs. In the 1980s, this increased to 1.5 million tons, and in 1998 the total production of sugar beets was 22 million tons.

Tobacco has been grown in Turkey for many centuries, and the tobacco industry is a major player in the Turkish economy, contributing 18 percent of total agricultural exports. Turkey ranks as the fifth largest tobacco-producing country in the world, and its number-one producer of Oriental tobacco, of which it grows over half of the world's supply. The country is also the world's fourth largest tobacco exporter. The crops are primarily concentrated on the Aegean coast and Black Sea regions, but eastern Anatolia also contributes to the output. The crop yield varies considerably from year to year due to climatic changes, but averages around 200,000 to 300,000 tons annually. On average, 30 percent of this output is exported to the United States and another 20 percent to the EU.

Perishable fruit and vegetables are also important to the Turkish economy. Out of the 140 perishables grown in the world, the country produces 80 varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables and exports 30 kinds of vegetable and 20 kinds of fruit. These include grapes, citrus fruit, melons, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, olives, and cucumbers. These exports are worth over US$1 billion annually to Turkey.

Turkey is prominent, too, in the world trade of edible nuts and dried fruits. In this category of agricultural products, hazelnuts, pistachios, sultanas, dried apricots, and dried figs are important exports. Records indicate that hazelnuts have been grown along the Black Sea coast since 300 B.C. and Turkey is a major producer, competing with Spain, Italy, and the United States in the international markets. In 1998, Turkish hazelnut production reached 580,000 tons. Turkey also leads the world in figs, producing 36 percent of the world's total production and accounting for 70-75 percent of total world exports.

Animal husbandry is also significant in the agricultural sector. Turkey has traditionally been an important supplier of live sheep, lamb, and mutton to the Middle East, especially Iran and Iraq, but the United Nations (UN) embargo on Iraq, following the Gulf War, adversely affected domestic meat exporters and led to a significant decline in exports in the 1990s. Sheep constitute 59 percent of the existing animal total in Turkey, followed by cattle (22 percent) and goats, both the common goat and the Angora breed (16 percent). Most livestock is grazed in the central and eastern Anatolian plains, as well as in the western Anatolian region. Turkey is self-sufficient in milk products, supplying around 10 million tons per year.

Turkey's basic agricultural resources are vast and offer considerable potential for expansion. However, to maximize this potential and increase efficiency, the agricultural sector needs government involvement in structural reforms and development projects. One of the several aims of the Southeastern Anatolian Project (GAP) is to strengthen and expand the agricultural resource base for one of the most underdeveloped parts of the country. Indeed, GAP is possibly one of the most crucial projects for Turkey, since the large economic disparity between urban and rural areas has created social tension, and contributed to damaging levels of migration from the countryside to the cities, primarily in the southeast. This situation poses a serious threat to future agricultural development and to the general economic health of Turkey.


The industrial sector in Turkey has been the primary focus of government policies since the early 1950s. Industrial policy until 1980 was based on an import-substitution strategy. This protectionist approach was very successful for several decades, and the sector grew at an average rate of 8.6 percent annually until the late 1970s. The first factories built in the country processed food and non-durable consumer goods , and remain among Turkey's most competitive manufactures. The next phase of development was in industries such as iron and steel, chemicals, and cement. By the end of the 1970s, capital goods and high-technology products had become the primary focus, but the rapid industrialization was taking its toll on the sector. Efficiency problems and energy shortages began to slow down growth, and prevented industry from becoming competitive in the international markets. The liberal economic policies introduced in 1980 were designed to address these issues by establishing a less protectionist, more outward-looking industrial policy. The idea was to use market signals to identify un-competitive industries, transfer their resources to those industries where Turkey enjoys a comparative advantage, and thus compete in world markets. This strategy necessitated a greater emphasis on private sector-led growth. Accordingly, policies and reforms were designed to facilitate rapid expansion of the private sector.

While much progress has been made in the industrial sector since 1980, the process is still not complete. Public sector companies continue to dominate a number of critical industries, particularly those such as energy and steel whose products are crucial to private sector companies. Still, the industrial sector has achieved an average growth rate of 6 percent since 1990, and Turkey competes successfully in several areas of the international market. The country's abundance of natural resources, its geographical proximity to export markets, and the existence of a large domestic market give Turkey competitive strength in a diversity of industrial sectors. In 1999, the industrial sector in Turkey contributed to 29 percent of GDP and employed 27 percent of the labor force. More remarkably, industry accounts for 89.4 percent of Turkey's total export earnings. The key industries in Turkey are textiles, iron and steel, chemicals, cement, food processing, motor vehicles, construction, glass and ceramics, and mining.


Industrial expansion in the 1960s and 1970s gave birth to the modern textile industry in Turkey. Currently, it is one of the most important sectors in the Turkish economy, accounting for 10 percent of GDP, 20 percent of the labor force, and 40 percent of total manufacturing output. This sector is the largest in the country and it is the largest supplier of exports as well. Today, Turkey is extremely competitive in international markets and was ranked sixth in world exports of clothing in 1998.

The fact that Turkey is a major grower of cotton is a great advantage for the textile and clothing sector. Thanks to the easy availability of the raw materials, Turkish spinning and weaving industries have developed significantly, creating integrated and diversified production in all sub-sectors of the textile industry. In terms of cotton spinning, the installed capacity in Turkey is equivalent to around 33 percent of that of the EU as a whole. The export value of cotton and cotton textile products was US$777 million in 1999 and the main destinations were the EU countries and the United States.

In addition to the cotton-based textile industry, Turkey makes a strong showing in both woolen textiles and man-made fibers. It is the third largest mohair producer and has the sixth largest synthetics capacity in the world. In 1999, the export value of wool or woolen textile products was US$107 million, while the man-made fibers industry accounted for US$1.1 billion.

The Turkish home textile industry has also been a strong competitor in world markets. Turkish towels and bathrobes, produced primarily around the western cities of Denizli and Bursa, enjoy a worldwide reputation for quality, and the home textiles sector accounted for 3.2 percent of Turkey's total exports in 1999, bringing in US$859 million.

The clothing industry has shown stable growth over the years and is today one of the most important manufacturing sectors. In 1999, the production volume of clothing equaled 223,000 tons, and its export revenues reached US$6.2 billion, giving it a 23 percent share of Turkey's total exports. The major markets for clothing exports are again the EU and the United States. The EU accounts for 71 percent of all clothing exports, and Germany leads all European countries with 38 percent of total exports. The clothing manufacturers are spread through the west and south of the country, with the majority based in Istanbul.


The foundations of the iron and steel industry were laid in the late 1930s with the establishment of the first integrated steel mill (a steel mill that takes raw materials in the form of iron ore and coke to produce molten iron, which is further processed to produce finished steel products) in 1939. At present, there are 3 integrated steel mills: the recently privatized KDCI (Karabuk, Black Sea region) plant and the 2 public-sector plants, Erdemir (Eregli, Black Sea region) and Isdemir (Iskenderun, East Mediterranean region). With the 1980 reforms, private sector investments accelerated, and several private electric arc furnaces (lower capacity mini-mills that produce steel from iron-bearing scrap) were established. Today, there are 17 electric arc furnaces (EAFs), only one of which is state-owned. The total steel production capacity of these 20 plants is 19.9 million tons, of which over 70 percent comes from EAFs.

Since 1980, the Turkish iron and steel industry has been one of the fastest growing in the world. In 1999, Turkey's raw steel production rose to 14.3 million tons, with a 1.9 percent share of the total world production.

Turkey currently ranks seventeenth among the 66 steelmaking countries in the world and fifth in Europe. In 1999 steel products were exported to 149 countries, with the top 6 buyers being Italy, Israel, the United Kingdom (UK), the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and Greece. With a total export value of US$2.1 billion in 1999, the steel industry is the second most important export sector in the country, after textiles and clothing.


Turkey has been manufacturing chemicals since the very early years of the republic. Although it has not been a high-flying sector, it has shown slow but steady improvement over time. Currently, it is one of the country's largest industries in terms of value, and is the fourth major export sector, accounting for 6.6 percent of Turkey's total exports and worth US$1.7 billion. The major chemical exports are plastic raw materials and plastic products, followed by rubber and rubber products. There are 6,000 companies manufacturing chemicals in Turkey, the most prominent being Petkim, a state-owned petrochemical company established in 1965, which supplies around 40 percent of the domestic market. Petkim's 2 major complexes are located at Kocaeli (Marmara Region) and Izmir (Aegean Region). Aside from Izmir and Kocaeli, most of the private sector companies are located in Istanbul, Ankara, and Adana. Primary chemicals produced in Turkey include boron products, caustic soda, chlorine, industrial chemicals, and sodium phosphates.


In comparison with the rest of Europe, Turkey was a latecomer to the cement industry. However, with accelerated investments and a number of structural reforms such as the elimination of government price-setting practices in 1984 and privatization of the industry from 1989, Turkey has become self-sufficient in this sector. Today, there are 51 cement plants in Turkey, all of which are private companies. By 2001, the country was the eighth largest cement producer in the world with a 2.5 percent share of the world market, and the largest producer in Europe. In 1999, Turkey produced 38.1 million tons of cement. While 34.7 million tons of it went to the domestic market, the balance was exported. The chief markets for Turkish cement are the United States, Spain, Israel, Egypt, and France.


A domestic construction sector did not exist in the founding days of the Turkish Republic, with almost all building done by foreign companies. The sector developed steadily over 50 years following the establishment of the Republic. The 1970s and early 1980s saw a period of international expansion for Turkey's construction sector, and Turkish firms became quite successful in the oil-producing states of the Middle East. The industry contracted with the Iran-Iraq war, but large domestic infrastructure projects enabled it to survive the difficult period. The break-up of the Soviet Union marked the beginning of a new era in the Turkish construction sector, and led to the diffusion of Turkish construction firms throughout Russia and Central Asia. Today, the construction sector makes up about 6 percent of the gross national product (GNP), and Turkey's share in international global contracting services is about 2-3 percent. (Since most construction is offered outside the country, the industry contributes only to GNP, and not to GDP.) During the 1990s, 34 percent of construction services performed were located in the Russian Federation, while Libya accounted for another 15 percent, followed by Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Saudi Arabia.


Geologically complex, Turkey possesses some of the richest and most diverse mineral deposits in the world numbering 4,400, excluding petroleum and coal. Today, 53 minerals are produced in the Turkish mining sector, with 85 percent of production belonging to the state-owned enterprises that predominate in the production of mineral fuels and metallic ore. The 15 percent that belongs to the private sector is concentrated in industrial minerals. Turkey is a major producer of boron, chromite, marble, barites, magnesite, pumice, feldspar, celestite, and emery. Two-thirds of boron reserves and 40 percent of marble reserves in the world are located in Turkey, and the country provides 80 percent of the world demand of emery. In 1999, mining products accounted for 1.4 percent of total exports, worth US$353 milliondown from 1998, when mining exports accounted for a 1.9 percent share of total exports, worth US$531.6 million.


The services sector accounted for 64 percent of GDP in 1999, while employing over one-third of the total labor force. Tourism and banking are the 2 primary service industries in Turkey.


With a share of nearly 26 percent of GDP, the tourism industry in Turkey is strategically important to the Turkish economy. The industry entered the 1980s with 1.5 million tourists annually and a global market share of 0.3 percent. However, the sector took off between 1983 and 1993, growing at an average annual rate of 18 percent, the highest tourism growth rate in the world for the period. In 1998, the number of foreign visitors reached 9.7 million, bringing revenues estimated at US$7.1 billion. As such, Turkey is currently in the world's top 20 tourist destinations, both in terms of visitor numbers and earnings.

Despite these statistics, Turkey remains a relatively undiscovered land for tourists. The country's long and gorgeous coastline, high mountains and lakes, and wealth of historical, religious, and archaeological sites offer opportunities for massive development of tourism. However, the growth of the sector has been plagued with problems, chief among them the fallout from the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in the Soviet Union, Kurdish terrorist campaigns, and economic problems in neighboring regions. In addition, access to natural and historical wonders is difficult in most parts of the country, and much investment in transportation, waste management, and infrastructure is required to remedy this problem. Since the 1980s, the government has identified tourism as a high-priority industry and has been steadily developing the sector, encouraging both private and foreign investment through new laws and incentive programs.

Today tourism is considered to be one of the leading industries in the Turkish economy. It creates jobs for at least 10 million Turkish citizens and offers a capacity of 563,000 beds. Further capacity of nearly 8,500 beds is available on some 990 yachts that cruise the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. These are operated by over 100 yacht agencies. The largest number of tourists are from Germany, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS, formerly the USSR), the United Kingdom, the United States, and France.


The Turkish financial system is based upon a universal banking system that legally enables commercial banks to operate in all financial markets. As such, banks carry out nearly all of the activities in the money and capital markets in Turkey, and the banking sector has become almost synonymous with the Turkish financial system. The only 2 areas prohibited to commercial banks are leasing and the trading of goods for commercial purposes. On the other hand, development and investment banks may not accept deposits, but can engage in the 2 activities prohibited to the commercial banks. Excluding the Central Bank of Turkey, there were 80 banks operating in Turkey by the end of 1999. Of these, 61 are commercial banks and 19 are development and investment banks. Seven of the banks are state-owned. Much like their counterparts in Germany and Japan, the major private banks have ownership linkages with large non-financial conglomerates. Most state banks are located in Ankara, while many of the private banks are centered in Istanbul.

The banking system has undergone a rapid technological transformation in the last decade. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in terms of trade finance, treasury operations, electronic banking, and information management, the dozen leading Turkish banks are as sophisticated as their counterparts in developed countries. Certainly, Turkish banks are among the most profitable in Europe, but this statistic could prove misleading in the long term. Given the high budget deficit and high inflation, operations have a short-term focus and profits come primarily from banking investment in short-term government securities and short-term loans with high real interest rates. Therefore, profitability has not been loan-based (contrary to their counterparts in developed countries) and banks lack a lending culture and risk-asset management systems. Therefore, as inflation responds to recent measures and begins to fall, banks will begin losing their highly profitable short-term operations, and will have to focus more on core banking operations with low margins.

The Central Bank of Turkey is responsible for the supervision of the banking sector in order to guarantee that banks meet liquidity requirements and operate responsibly. However, banking has suffered in the past from weak supervision and inconsistent accounting practices. The banking sector passed through a crisis in 1999 when 3 small banks failed. The same year, a new law was passed calling for the creation of an independent regulatory agency, toughening operating conditions, and giving weight to regulatory and sanctioning powers. It is expected that, under stricter supervision, the financial sector will grow considerably stronger.


Trade played a minor role in the Turkish economy before 1980, but grew rapidly after economic reforms promoted liberalization of foreign trade. These reforms were designed to remove price controls , decrease subsidies , reduce tariffs , and promote exports. In addition to rapid growth in both exports and imports, the reforms brought a change in the structure of foreign trade, and the predominant role of agricultural products came to an end with the emergence of a greater emphasis on industrial products.

In addition to being a World Trade Organization (WTO) member, Turkey has also entered a number of multilateral trade relationships to increase its presence in the world trade arena. It signed a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in 1991. In 1992, Turkey and 10 other nations in the Black Sea region formed the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization. Turkey is also a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation (covering Central Asian

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Turkey
Exports Imports
1975 1.401 4.739
1980 2.910 7.910
1985 7.958 11.343
1990 12.959 22.302
1995 21.637 35.709
1998 25.938 45.369
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

countries) and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Separately, Turkey has entered into free trade agreements with Israel, and with several Central and Eastern European countries.

On 1 January 1996 the EU and Turkey entered into a customs union, covering industrial products and processed agricultural goods, but excluding traditional agricultural products from the agreement. Turkey's adoption of the EU's Common External Tariff has resulted in lower duty rates for third-party countries, including the United States.

In 1980, Turkey's total merchandise exports yielded US$2.9 billion. The share of agricultural products was 56.7 percent, while industrial products made up only 36.3 percent. Another 6.5 percent consisted of mineral products. In 1999, Turkish exports reached US$26.6 billion, a figure actually 1.4 percent lower than in 1998. The drop was primarily due to the difficult economic conditions that prevailed in Turkey as a result of the Asian financial crisis and the 2 earthquakes. The share of agricultural products in 1999 was only 9 percent, and mineral products 1.4 percent. By contrast, the share of manufactured products, on the other hand, made up 89.4 percent of total exports in 1999.

The 1991 Gulf war between the U.S.-led coalition and Iraq, and its resultant economic embargo against Iraq, have had adverse effects on Turkish exporters. While exports to Iraq were US$986 million in 1988, this figure had fallen to US$124.1 million by 1995. As a result, Iraq's share in Turkey's exports dropped from 8.4 percent (which would have been enough to rank Iraq as the third largest export market) to 0.56 percent in 1995. The 1992-95 war in Bosnia also took a toll on Turkish exports. Since most of Turkey's exports are to the European markets, the main method of transportation is surface freight. The Bosnian war brought a significant increase in freight costs, as well as causing numerous administrative difficulties. The 1997 Asian financial crisis also had a large impact on Turkey's exports, since the Asian countries are important competitors for Turkish products in overseas markets. The devaluation in Asian countries lowered their export prices and gave them a clear advantage over Turkey.

Edible fruits constitute a majority of Turkey's agricultural exports, and this trend continued in 1999. Among industrial products, textiles and ready-to-wear industries remained the major contributor. Other important industrial export sectors were iron and steel, electrical machinery, and motor vehicles and equipment. While Turkey's export markets are highly diversified, OECD countries make up a majority of the trade and took 67.8 percent of exports for 1999. Germany is the largest single export market for Turkey. In 2000, Germany took up 18.7 percent of Turkey's exports. The United States is the second largest export market, with a share of 11.4 percent, and the United Kingdom the third largest, with 7.4 percent. Italy and France take up the remaining 12.3 percent.

Turkish imports exhibit similar patterns of growth to their exports. In 1980, total imports amounted to US$7.9 billion. The figure grew to US$45.9 billion by 1998 and, by 1999, with economic difficulties affecting domestic demand, imports decreased by 11.4 percent to US$40.7 billion. In 2000, imports totaled US$55.7 billion. In 1999, 28.3 percent of Turkey's imports were made up of machinery, while chemicals made up 15.2 percent, semi-finished goods made up 14.5 percent, fuels made up 11 percent, and transport equipment made up another 9.5 percent.

Looking at the suppliers of the Turkish market, the patterns are very similar to the Turkish exports. OECD countries have taken the largest share of imports, a fact unchanged by 1999 when OECD countries constituted 69.6 percent of total supplies. Imports from the EU countries have the largest share within the OECD group, and 52.6 percent of total imports in 1999. Germany is the first import source for Turkey with a share of 14.5 percent. Italy ranks second with 7.8 percent, and France is third with 7.7 percent. The United States was the fourth most important source of Turkish imports, with a share of 7.6 percent.


Inflation remains Turkey's principal economic problem. During the 1970s, inflation averaged about 20 percent, rising to 40 percent during 1981-87, 65 percent during 1989-93 and 85 percent during 1994-95. In late 1997, inflation reached 100 percent before the government launched another attempt at deflating the economy in mid-1998.

The extensive role of the government in the Turkish economy, coupled with weak political leadership, is the primary reason behind the country's chronic inflation. While the program of structural change and liberalization in the 1980s proved successful in promoting

Exchange rates: Turkey
Turkish liras (TL) per US$1
Dec 2000 677,621
2000 625,219
1999 418,783
1998 260,724
1997 151,865
1996 81,405
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

economic growth, the government remained hesitant in relinquishing the economic power it held through the strong public sector. However, inefficiencies in the public sectorprimarily the expenditure on state economic enterprisesresulted in large, ever-increasing budget deficits. The situation was made worse by political uncertainty as the lack of a stable majority government led to frequent elections. Prior to each election, governments have tended to boost spending in an effort to gain short-term popularity, a ploy that results in even larger national debt . Such serious deficits naturally lead to very high rates of inflation.

In 1994, high inflation, coupled with government attempts to manipulate interest rates and an overvalued currency, brought financial crisis and economic recession. Things picked up in 1995, and financial expansion continued until 1998, when the economic difficulties of Russia impacted Turkey. This led to an 18-month program of deflationary measures, which was followed up by an IMF-backed 3-year program initiated in December 1999. This aggressive program rested on 3 pillars: an up-front fiscal adjustment to decrease the public deficit in the short-term, structural reforms to ensure long-term stability and a balanced fiscal budget, and a firm exchange rate commitment to control external factors. Based on the first 6 months' performance, it seems that the budget deficits have largely been brought under control. Several steps have been taken, and the rate of inflation has been visibly declining. However, more structural reforms need to be completed if this long-term problem is to find a permanent solution.

The Turkish lira (TL) has been a fully convertible currency since 1990. With the major economic reforms of the early 1980s, the financial policies were also revamped. For the first 5 years following these reforms, the Central Bank determined the foreign exchange rates on a daily basis, targeting a 5-10 percent per year real depreciation of the Turkish lira as an incentive to exports. After the first 5 years, the foreign exchange rates were completely freed. In 1994, the financial crisis led to a major depreciation of the lira against the U.S. dollar. From 1994 until the end of 1999, the Central Bank allowed the lira to depreciate against a trade-weighted dollar/Euro basket. In 1995, 1 U.S. dollar was worth 45,845 Turkish liras. In January 2000, the same U.S. dollar was worth 545,584 liras. Since the end of 1999, with the initiation of the 3-year deflationary program, the TL is allowed to depreciate based on a targeted inflation rate . By 2003, it is expected that the currency will be allowed to float freely, assuming that the deflationary goals are met. However, the uncertainty caused by the high inflation rate has led to the "dollarization" of the economy, where most business transactions and major consumer transactions are usually denominated in U.S. dollars or German marks. This limits the Central Bank's ability to maintain price stability and control inflation.

The Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE) is the only securities exchange in Turkey. It allow the trading of a wide variety of instruments including stocks, depository receipts, government bonds, treasury bills , and real estate certificates. The exchange only began its operations in 1986, but it grew quickly to become one of the top emerging market exchanges of the world. In 1993, the ISE was the best performing stock market in the world, and foreign investment accounted for 25 percent of daily trading volume. By mid-1999 there were 268 companies listed on the exchange. In comparison, the New York Stock Exchange has 3,025 companies listed. The main indicator of the market is the ISE National-100 Index, comprising 100 companies with high market capitalization that are also representative of the major economic sectors.


Using per capita income statistics, Turkey is ranked internationally in the low to medium income group. When compared to countries that were once at the same level but have gone on to make dramatic improvements in their income distribution, it is easy to see that Turkish efforts have been largely unsuccessful. In fact, the renewed and accelerated effort toward economic development and industrialization that began in the early 1980s has had the effect of sharpening the extreme income divide in Turkey. Between 1987 and 1994 the share of the national income earned by the bottom 20 percent of the population dropped by 7.25 percent, and in 1994 the richest 20 percent of the population controlled 47.7 percent of the wealth, while the poorest 20 percent controlled only 5.8 percent.

In addition to their primary residence, a wealthy family in Turkey typically owns several homes around the country. These usually include a second establishment for renting out, and one or more summer homes, mostly in the coastal regions of the Mediterranean or Aegean. Family ties are quite strong in Turkey; therefore most families

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Turkey 1,898 1,959 2,197 2,589 3,167
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
United Kingdom 13,015 14,205 15,546 18,032 20,237
Greece 8,302 9,645 10,005 10,735 12,069
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.
Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Turkey
Lowest 10% 2.3
Lowest 20% 5.8
Second 20% 10.2
Third 20% 14.8
Fourth 20% 21.6
Highest 20% 47.7
Highest 10% 32.3
Survey year: 1994
Note: This information refers to expenditure shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita expenditure.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

invest in real estate and rent those homes out until their children grow up and move into them. The children of such families thus have the advantage of starting out in life as well-educated homeowners.

A poor family in Turkey might own a home. This could be a farming shelter in a rural area or a makeshift home on the outskirts of urban areas. Some poor families rent low-level apartments, or move into their parents' homes. Where numerous people share one dwelling, unsafe conditions can result from the overcrowding. The children of these families get some education through the public school system, and might occasionally even make it to college, but in rural areas where the nearest school is miles away, the family might choose not to send their children to school. As in the rest of the world, for those in poverty, life in general is hard.

The fostering of industrialization by Turkish governments has had a negative effect on the farming communities. Even though the agricultural sector has, historically, been Turkey's largest employer, it has declined in importance relative to the rapidly developing industrial sector. As a result, the disparity in income between the rural and urban parts of the country has also widened, and has been the cause of significant migration from rural to urban areas. Primarily due to economic instability, emigration to other countries has also been a factor since the 1970s.

High inflation and the constantly decreasing purchasing power of the Turkish lira create additional problems. Typically, wages and salaries have failed to keep pace with the increasing prices of consumer goods and services. The average consumer price index inflation in 1999 was 65 percent, reflecting a monthly increase in the prices of goods and services of approximately 5 percent. Even when earnings are adjusted for inflation, the adjustments are generally made at the end of the year, forcing consumers to absorb the mid-year price increases until the year-end.

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Turkey 45 7 18 6 5 2 16
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
United Kingdom 14 7 9 3 3 6 58
Greece 32 11 14 5 14 8 16
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
aExcludes energy used for transport.
bIncludes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

The structure of social classes in Turkey is similar in all large cities where the population exceeds 100,000 and evolved with urbanization and industrialization. The urban upper class is mainly made up of government officials, wealthy business people, and professionals, and is primarily determined by political power and/or education. The urban upper class is smaller than the urban middle class and less diverse. Education, particularly a college degree, is the passport to joining the urban middle class. Even though the middle class was expanding steadily during the early 1980s, persistently high inflation rates impeded its stability and growth. The biggest social class to influence the growth of cities since the 1950s is the rural working class. Large numbers of rural poor migrated to the cities, and the movement continues. Prior to the 1950s, more than 80 percent of Turkish residents lived in rural areas, and most of the migrants who came to the cities were unable to find affordable housing. They built shelters on the outskirts of the cities without official permission or approval and, by 1980, up to 60 percent of the inhabitants of big cities were living in these primitive settlements, with no electricity, plumbing, or paved roads. Eventually, some of these neighborhoods were incorporated into the cities and provided with those amenities. About 65 percent of the poor classes depend on unskilled work for their livelihood.

The Turkish government subsidizes education at all levels, from pre-school to university, for all citizens. The law enforces attendance at primary and secondary schools, which accounts for 8 years of education and takes pupils to age 14 or 15. However, due to the insufficient number of higher education institutions, only a select few candidates for college actually get to attend. The selection process is conducted through a nationwide examination held every year, from which students with the highest scores are placed in accordance with their choices. There are also a limited number of private universities for those who can afford to pay.

The Ministry of Health is legally empowered to provide medical and preventive health care services. It establishes and operates hospitals and other health care centers, trains health personnel, and supervises private health facilities. The ministry also supervises the medical and health care personnel who work for the public sector. The pay for state-employed physicians is considerably lower than the earnings of private-practice doctors, and medical facilities are still concentrated in urban areas. Consequently, although steadily improving, access to medical and health care in most rural areas is inadequate.


Statistics for 1995 declared that the Turkish work-force is comprised of approximately 36 percent of the population, or 23.8 million people, 1.5 million of whom work abroad. The agricultural sector employs 46 percent of this workforce. Even though the number of female workers has increased considerably, the Turkish work-force is still male-dominated, with men making up 71 percent of the workforce.

The unemployment rate for 1999 was 7.3 percent, though the U.S. Department of State's Country Commercial Guide notes that it could be considerably higher, especially in urban areas, due to discouraged workers leaving the labor force. Even though Turkey has large numbers of unskilled and semi-skilled workers, there is a relative shortage of skilled labor, but the Country Commercial Guide also reports that the Turkish labor force is hardworking, productive, and dependable. In addition, labor-management relations have been generally good in recent years.

Labor laws in Turkey support a nominal 45-hour workweek, and the amount of overtime that employers may request is limited. Non-wage benefits that most workers receive include transportation and meals, and some jobs include housing and subsidized vacations. In recent years, fringe benefits have accounted for as much as two-thirds of total remuneration in the industrial sector. Even though the law mandates occupational safety and health regulations and procedures, limited resources and lack of safety awareness often result in inadequate enforcement.

With the exception of the police and the armed forces, Turkish workers have the right to unionize or join existing labor unions. The right to strike exists for most workers except those employed in the public utilities, education, and the petroleum, sanitation, and national defense industries, as well as those who are responsible for life and property protection. The law requires collective bargaining to have taken place before a strike. In order for a union to become a bargaining agent, the law requires that it must represent "50 percent plus one" of the employees at a particular work place and 10 percent of all workers in the particular branch of industry nationwide. However, since 1980 Turkey has been criticized by the International Labor Organization (ILO) for some of the above restrictions. The government has passed constitutional amendments to allow civil servants, who include central government employees such as teachers, to form unions, but it is still illegal for them to strike or bargain collectively.

Under the labor laws and constitution of Turkey, workers must be at least 15 years of age to qualify for full-time employment. Children of ages 13 and 14 can work in jobs that are not physically demanding or part-time if they are enrolled in school or in vocational training. Children are also prohibited from working at night or in physically demanding jobs such as mining. However, in practice, many under-age children continue to work in order to provide badly needed supplementary income for their families. In farming communities for example, the whole family can be seen at work during harvest times. The Turkish government has identified the child labor problem and is working with the ILO to find a solution.


2000 B.C. Hittites begin migrating to the Anatolian (Asia Minor) area of Turkey. Phrygians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans follow this migratory pattern.

1000-1100 A.D. Immigrants from Russia and Mongolia arrive in the area.

1100-1200. Islam becomes entrenched in Turkey and the residents are involved in the Crusade battles.

1300-1400. The Ottoman Empire is established and prevails as a vast trans-continental empire for several centuries. At the peak of its powers, the empire rules vast areas of northern Africa, southeastern Europe, and western Asia. However, it is unable to keep up sociologically and technologically with developments in Europe. The influence of nationalism causes the diverse ethnic groups within the empire to seek independence, which leads to the fragmentation of the 600-year-old empire.

1923. After World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founds the Republic of Turkey. Under Ataturk's leadership, the new republic focuses on reformpolitical, linguistic, economic, and social. Ataturk forms the Republican People's Party, which stays in control until 1950. A republic based on secular governance replaces the once religious and monarchist rule of the Ottoman Empire.

1938. Ataturk dies, having established the ideological base of Turkey as secular, nationalistic, and modern. Since then, the Turkish military has assumed the guardianship of Ataturk's vision.

1945. Turkey joins the United Nations (UN). The Democratic Party is founded and the multi-party era begins in Turkish politics.

1949. Turkey becomes a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

1950. The Republican People's Party loses the elections to the Democratic Party.

1960. Growing economic and internal political problems under the Democratic Party government result in a military takeover.

1961. The civilian government is reinstated and a new constitution written, which enshrines the formation of a National Security Council, composed of the president, the prime minister and other key ministers, and representatives of the army, air force, and navy.

1968. Political disturbance erupts between political extremists of the left and right, bringing domestic instability.

1971. The military interferes in order to deal with domestic disturbance, and calls for a replacement government.

1973. General elections result in a coalition government, which falters a year later.

1974. Turkey occupies Northern Cyprus in order to prevent a Greek takeover of the island.

1975. Until 1980, political and social instability increases under the coalition governments of Suleyman Demirel and Bulent Ecevit.

1980. Under the direction of General Kenan Evren, the National Security Council moves to restore public order and remains in control of the government for 2 years. During this time, a national referendum appoints General Evren as president for a 7-year term. A temporary law bans former political party leaders from political involvement for 10 years.

1983. New elections bring in the Motherland Party under Prime Minister Turgut Ozal. Under Ozal's leadership, the country sees the introduction of liberalizing economic reform.

1987. The 10-year ban on former politicians is lifted by a referendum and the government calls a national election. Turgut Ozal wins a second 5-year appointment as prime minister.

1989. Parliament elects Ozal as president of Turkey.

1991. Early elections are held and result in former prime minister Suleyman Demirel's new True Path Party forming a coalition government with the Social Democratic Populist Party.

1993. Demirel is elected president after Ozal's death and Tansu Ciller becomes the country's first female prime minister.

1994. Turkey suffers its worst recession since World War II after government attempts to influence interest rates. In local elections, the Welfare Party wins local elections.

1995. After much political turbulence during a very short period of time, the True Path Party, Welfare Party, and Motherland Party each emerge with a similar number of electoral seats. The coalition collapses in a year and the True Path Party forms a coalition with the Welfare Party, making Necmettin Erbakan the first Islamic prime minister of Turkey.

1996. Turkey enters into a customs union with the European Union.

1997. The coalition government is as unsuccessful as the previous one. The military's political role is challenged by Erbakan's anti-secular efforts, and the military supports business and community groups calling for the government's resignation. In order to ensure compliance with the secular state, the military takes measures that include banning Erbakan from government participation.

1999. The country experiences 2 devastating earthquakes and 3 changes of government. The economy holds up despite expectations of an economic downturn. The 57th government of Turkey, like its predecessors a coalition, is elected. The new government restarts structural reforms to bring stability back to the Turkish economy. In December, the European Union declares Turkey a candidate for full membership.


Turkey entered the new millennium with renewed hopes of economic, political, and social development and reform. The 3-party coalition that came into power in April 1999 has shown signs of stability, and many international sources are hopeful that the government will achieve its aims in the next 3-5 years. Its aggressive reform program addresses most of the country's outstanding critical issues, including the often appalling human rights record, undisciplined fiscal policy , and state interference in the economy. These financial measures should help to reduce inflation, and speed up privatization of public sector enterprises. There is also a program for structural reform in the social security and taxation systems. With the completion of the Southeastern Anatolian Project (GAP) within the next few years, the Turkish economy should receive a boost. In addition, the project could accomplish much in terms of reducing the disparities in income in different regions of the country, and between rural and urban areas. The possibility of joining the EU in due course should act as a major incentive for the nation to continue on a path of democratization, industrialization, and modernization.


Turkey has no territories or colonies.


Colakoglu, N.M. Executive's Handbook: Turkey Almanac 1998. Istanbul: InterMedia, 1998.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Turkey. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

Export Promotion Center of Turkey (IGEME), Trade Point Ankara. Economic Outlook 2000. <>. Accessed January 2001.

Export Promotion Center of Turkey (IGEME), Trade Point Ankara. Foreign Trade of Turkey. <>. Accessed January 2001.

International Monetary Fund, Staff Country Reports. Turkey: Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix. <>. Accessed December 2000.

Republic of Turkey. <>. Accessed September 2001.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2001: Turkey. <>. Accessed September 2001.

U.S. Department of State, Bureau of European Affairs. Background Notes: Turkey. <>. Accessed December 2000.

U.S. Department of State. 1999 Country Reports on Economic Policy and Trade Practices. <> . Accessed December 2000.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2001 Country Commercial Guide: Turkey. <>. Accessed September 2001.

U.S. Library of Congress. Turkey: A Country Study. <http://>. Accessed December 2000.

World Trade Organization, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Trade Policy Review: Turkey: October 1998. <>. Accessed December 2000.

Tunga Kiyak




Turkish lira (TL). One Turkish lira equals 100 kurus (pronounced kouroush). However, because of the high inflation rates Turkey has faced in the past 20 years, kurus are no longer used due to the low purchasing power. As of the end of 2000, there are coins of 10,000, 25,000, 50,000, and 100,000 liras. The 10,000 and 25,000-lira coins were expected to be phased out by 2001, and probably replaced with new coins of 500,000 and 1 million liras.


Clothing, foodstuffs, textiles, metal manufactures.


Machinery, semi-finished goods, chemicals, transport equipment, fuels.


US$444 billion (purchasing power parity, 2000 est.).


Exports: US$26.9 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.). Imports: US$55.7 billion (c.i.f., 2000 est.).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Turkey." Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Turkey." Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies. . (September 19, 2019).

"Turkey." Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



Basic Data
Official Country Name: Republic of Turkey
Region: Middle East
Population: 65,666,677
Language(s): Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, Greek
Literacy Rate: 82.3%
Number of Primary Schools: 47,313
Compulsory Schooling: 8 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 2.2%
Foreign Students in National Universities: 14,719
Libraries: 1,171
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 6,389,060
  Secondary: 4,760,892
  Higher: 1,434,033
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 107%
  Secondary: 58%
  Higher: 21%
Teachers: Primary: 233,073
  Secondary: 218,829
  Higher: 50,313
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 28:1
  Secondary: 24:1
Female Enrollment Rate: Primary: 104%
  Secondary: 48%
  Higher: 15%

History & Background

The Republic of Turkey is an independent country in the Middle East located in southwestern Asia Minor and southeastern Europe surrounded on three sides by the Mediterranean, Aegean, and Black seas. It is known locally as Turkiye Cumhuriyeti ; the shortened form of this name is Turkiye. Neighboring counties are Greece to the west; Bulgaria to the northwest; Georgia, Armenia and Iran to the east; and Iraq and Syria on the south. The majority of these boundaries were established after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Throughout history, Turkey has been the center of trade and migration route because of her long shoreline and her strategic location as a bridge between continents.

Turkey lies within one of the most active earthquake regions in the world, the Alpine-Himalayan mountain belt, and severe earthquakes, especially in northern Turkey, are not uncommon. There are many active fault lines. In the 1900s seven major quakes occurred along the North Anatolian fault. The Marmara earthquake occurred on August 17, 1999, and was one of the most severe earthquakes in Turkish history. The quake measured 7.4 on the Richter scale and was one the most devastating disasters of the century.

Approximately 3 percent of Turkey is located in Thrace on the European continent. The remaining 97 percent, called Anatolia, is located on the European continent. In 1941, the First Geographic Congress divided Turkey's total area of 780,580 square kilometers into seven geographical provinces: the Marmara Region, the Aegean Region, the Mediterranean Region, the Central Anatolia Region, the Black Sea Region, the Eastern Anatolia Region, and the Southeastern Anatolia Region. Four of the regions (the Marmara Region, the Aegean Region, the Mediterranean Region, and the Black Sea Region) are named for the seas that are adjacent to them; the Marmara Sea is an internal sea entirely surrounded by land and connected to the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea through straits. The other three regions were named in for their location in the central plateau, the Anatolia.

In 2000, the population of Turkey was approximately 65.7 million. Approximately 30 percent of the population is under age fifteen. Almost half of this number live in costal areas. Approximately 80 percent of the population is Turkish, and 20 percent is Kurdish. The annual population growth rate was estimated at 1.27 percent at the turn of the century with 29 percent of the population fourteen years of age or younger, 65 percent were between fifteen and sixty-four years of ages, and 6 percent were aged sixty-five and older. In 2000, Turkey's literacy rate was 82.3 percent. More males were literate (91.7 percent) than females (72.4 percent). Some 45.8 percent of the labor force works in agricultural areas, 33.7 percent in service areas, and 20.5 percent in industrial areas.

About 99.8 percent of all Turks are Muslims; most of these are Sunni. The small non-Muslim population is comprised of Christian and Jews. Turkish is the official language, but Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, and Greek are also spoken. English is taught in the compulsory primary school, so its use is becoming more widespread.

Anatolia, the western portion of Turkey, is one of the oldest continually inhabited regions of the world. The earliest major empire in the area was the Hittites who controlled the territory from 18th through the 13th centuries BC. An Indo-European people, the Phrygians, invaded the land and controlled the region until the Cimmerians conquered them in the 7th century BC. The state of Lycia was formed when this people defeated the Cimmerians. During these years, Greeks were settling along the west coast of Anatolia and using the ports to transport goods produced in the region. Persians, coming from the east, invaded the area and controlled Anatolia for the next two centuries until Alexander the Great conquered them in 334 BC. Subsequently the land was divided into a number of Greek kingdoms.

The Romans invaded the region and by the middle of the first century B.C. controlled all of Anatolia. In 324 Constantine I moved the capital of the Roman Empire to the ancient city of Byzance and renamed it Constantinople; this move divided the empire into two segments: the East and the West. Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire.

In 1055 the Seljoukites, a group of Central Asiatic Turks, conquered Baghdad and established a Middle Eastern and Anatolian empire. This empire was broken up by Mongol invasions, but small Turkish states remained on the periphery of Anatolia. One of these emerged as the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans conquered Constantinople in 1453 and renamed the capital city Istanbul. A series of sultans waged war on many fronts and extended the territory controlled by the Ottomans. At the peak of their powering the 16th century, the Ottomans controlled most of the eastern Mediterranean and were one of the biggest empires in history.

As the Ottoman Empire began to collapse in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, European powers began fighting for control of the territory. In 1908 a group of young Turks led a successful revolution to regain control of the empire and introduced many civil and social reforms. The Ottomans were drawn into World War I as an ally of Germany. At the end of the war the empire was formally dissolved the empire and its territory dramatically reduced.

Turkish nationalists led by Mustafa Kemal, a war hero later know as Atatürk or father of Turkey, organized a resistance force and took the offensive against the Allies in Anatolia. Following a series of impressive victories, he led the nation to full independence. In November 1922, the National Assembly became the government in Turkey. In October 1923, the Republic of Turkey was proclaimed and Kemal was unanimously elected President of the Republic. The constitution was ratified in 1924. Kemal moved the capital to Ankara and worked to transform Turkey into a modern westernized nation. He created a new political and legal system, abolished the sultanate and caliphate, made both government and education secular, gave equal rights to women, changed the Arabic script to a Roman alphabet and number system, and advanced Turkey's industry, agriculture, arts, and sciences.

These reforms introduced by Atatürk before his death in 1938 are still the ideological foundation of modern Turkey. Until 1950, the political party established in 1923, the Republican People's Party, dominated all elections. From 1950-1960, the Democratic Party governed Turkey. In 1960 a military coup ousted the government; a new constitution was written, and a civilian government was reinstated in 1961. For the remainder of the twentieth century, there were many political upheavals and changes. The current constitution was ratified in November 1982. Throughout all the changes, the ruling government has remained committed to the basic principles established when the republic was formed in 1923.

Constitutional & Legal Foundations

Because of Turkey's emphasis on education, there are many laws and regulations that deal with education. Policies and programs for Turkey's national education system are determined and executed within the framework of Atatürk's Thoughts and Opinions Concerning Education, the country's constitution, and the laws governing education and training. The government programs and development plans emphasize education because it is seen as the most important component for Turkey's economic, technological, and social developments.

According to Article 42 of the Constitution, everyone has the right to receive an education. Depending upon individuals' interests and capabilities, they are guided through various programs and schools. The Education Integrity Law of March 3, 1924, made the Ministry of National Education responsible for all educational institutions and all educational training.

Basic National Education Law Number 1739 provides for the organization and general structure of the educational system and delineates the State's responsibilities in education and training. The law states that the objective of education is to educate individuals who adopt the values of the Turkish nation, who know and have accepted their duties and responsibilities to their country, who have mastered the subject matter and can apply that knowledge and technology, and who are democratic citizens that respect human rights. Article 2 of the Law on Private Education Institutions stipulates that programs and curricula of all private education institutions must be aligned with the Turkish National Education objectives and principles.

The Primary Education and Training Law Number 222 organized primary education in a systematic, integrated manner. Regulation Number 2201 on Guidance Services of the Ministry of National Education recognizes the importance of training advisors and guidance counselors to work with students and evaluate their interests, talents, and potentials in vocational and academic areas. One provision of Law Number 2841 requires public institutions to provide reading and writing courses for their illiterate employees.

Basic Law Number 1735 on National Education established the objectives and functions of secondary education, identified those eligible to attend, and delineated the types of programs available. The law also provided for early admission to the secondary program for those who demonstrated special abilities in the fine arts.

The National Education Principal Law Number 1739 divided the Turkish educational system into two parts: formal and nonformal. Formal education covered the four-level school system: preschool education, primary education, secondary education, and tertiary education. Nonformal education covered vocational and training programs for those who had never received any formal education or who left the formal education program.

The Basic Law of National Education Number 1739, passed in 1973, focused on higher education. In 1981, the Higher Education Law was passed, leading to the reorganization of academies, teacher training colleges and vocational schools. Private universities were the subject of Higher Education Law Number 2547, which was passed in 1984. The Apprenticeship and Vocational Law Number 3308 of June 5, 1986, was enacted to develop Turkey's vocational and technical education system so that it is a cooperative program between schools and industries. This law established a system for students to attend schools two days each week and receive on the job training for three days each week. The business pays the students who receive this skill training a set wage, and the government provides students with insurance.

Turkey's Five-Year Development Plan for 1996-2000 lead to the passage of Law Number 4306, which went into effect in August 1997. This law extended the number of years of compulsory primary education from five to eight beginning with the 1999-2000 academic year and provided for an increase in the number of teachers and classrooms so that the maximum number of students in each room is thirty. One of the first steps to implementing this provision has been hiring 27,000 new teachers. Law number 4306 also directed that foreign language instruction would begin in the fourth grade rather than the sixth and that computer and audio-visual equipment would be more widely used.

Turkey's formal and nonformal education and training are included in the country's five-year development plans. The State Planning Organization coordinates the implementation and evaluation of the plans. The Five Year Development Plan for 1996-2000 placed education in the highest priority sector. A master plan for the educational system through 2010 is being developed. This plan will stress the need to be flexible to meet the advancing needs of the individual and the nation as well as the global demands for a changing society.

Educational SystemOverview

The Republic of Turkey places utmost importance on the development of human resources; therefore, education has always been one of its highest priorities. The contemporary Turkish education system was established in 1924 after Atatürk closed the religious schools, set up new secular schools, and made elementary school attendance compulsory. Atatürk regarded education as the force that would galvanize the nation's social and economic development. When the republic was established, less than 10 percent of its approximately thirteen million people were literate. There were twenty-three high schools, one university, and a small number of trade or vocational schools. Turkey began a program to educate both children and adults. From grade school to graduate school, education was made free, secular, and coeducational. Five years of elementary school were made compulsory. By 1938, one-third of the people were literate.

One of the major factors contributing to this increase in literacy was Atatürk's decision in 1928 to abolish the complex Arabic script that had been used for thousands of years and replace it with the Latin alphabet. In the early 1930s, other language reforms eliminated thousands of Arabic, Persian, and French words and replaced them with original words, provincial expressions, and coined words. This commitment to creating a national language continued over the years. In the early 1920s, over 80 percent of Turkey's written language was Arabic, Persian, and French words; by the early 1980s only 10 percent of the vocabulary was foreign words.

It took many years for the country to develop the infrastructure needed to provide universal primary education, but since the 1980s almost all children between ages six and ten have been enrolled in schools. Turkey's literacy rate in 1990 was 81 percent. Since then the number of Turkish citizens who can read and write has increased each year. The Turkish National Education System is composed of two main sections: formal education and nonformal education. Formal education includes preschool education, primary education, secondary education, and higher education. Nonformal education includes all programs and activities outside the school or along with the school for those who have dropped out of or never attended formal education programs. A total of 14,668,444 students received formal or nonformal instruction in the 1998-1999 school year. That year a total of 512,522 teachers worked in the 64,489 institutions. Approximately 31 percent of Turkey's population is between ages twelve and twenty-four. In an effort to deal with the interests and problems of its young people, Turkey plans to establish the Higher Council of Youth with representatives from both the public and private sectors. This council will assume the responsibilities of the many ministries that have been focusing on one or more components of youth, such as education, health, working life, and utilization of free time.

The importance of educating both males and females has been recognized since the Republic of Turkey was established. While the principle of gender equality is present in the Constitution and various laws, females at all levels have traditionally received less formal education than males and had less opportunities because the great majority of Turkey's patriarchal society practice Moslem beliefs. The position of females in modern society has improved and several decrees have focused on eliminating gender discrimination. Women's issues were key portion of the Fifth Five Year Development Plan (1985-1990). Part of this plan was the establishment of the General Directorate for the Status and Problems of Women in 1990. This directorate has been active, working to improve the status and opportunities for women. Among the facilities now available are a central women's library, shelters for battered women, and women's study centers.

In 1995 at the Fourth World Women's Conference, Turkey adopted the conference platform for improving education and job opportunities for women. One of the goals was to increase the ratio of literacy among women to 100 percent by 2000. This goal was not attained, however. In 1999, one-third of the women were illiterate although 135,000 had enrolled in literacy courses in 1998. The increase in the number of years of compulsory education ensures that females will receive more formal education than in the past. The urban unemployment of women is twice that of men; however, the unemployment rate for urban, educated women (28.6 percent) is comparable to their male counterparts (30 percent), thus underscoring the value of education in Turkish society. The number of women enrolled in higher education programs has increased over the years. In 2000, almost one-third of the students were women. Many of these were enrolled in programs that have been traditionally considered appropriate for females, such as the humanities and social sciences and fine arts, but the number of women studying medicine and engineering has increased.

In 1999, Turkey had 106 youth centers where young people could spend their free time in a variety of educational, social, cultural, and athletic activities or they could meet with guidance counselors. Over 22,000 youths participated in youth center programs in 1999. In addition to these programs, youths can visit one of the fifty-two youth and guidance bureaus or participate in one of the youth festivals that occur across Turkey. The General Directorate of Youth and Sports sponsored the Fourth International Folk Dance Festival in 1999 so Turkish young people would become better educated about the cultures of other countries and those countries' youths would learn more about Turkey's customs and traditions.

Private schools are available at all levels of education. Because Turkey's constitution prohibits the public wearing of clothing of a religious nature, even those attending Islamic private schools must comply. The ban on females wearing headscarves has been strictly applied in public schools for some time, but the ban was not applied in the private sector until 2000. This ban has been especially controversial. Although most Turks are Muslim, the state is officially secular.

Most private schools are found in urban regions. Their curricula often include an emphasis developing the knowledge and skills needed to prepare university entrance exams. English is taught in many of the private schools, and in some schools is the language of instruction.

The Ministry of National Education oversees private schools and ensures the State policies and guidelines are followed. In 1997, amendments were passed that allow private schools to have a greater role. In 1999, approximately 1.6 percent of the students attended private schools, but the number is increasing. The ministry projects that 15 percent or more of the population will attend these schools. In the 1998-1999 school year, there were 1,704 private preschools, primary schools, and secondary schools attended by 238,079 students. Approximately 21,000 teachers were employed at these schools.

There are over 200 special training schools and over 100 centers for students who need special services because of their physical, mental, emotional, or social development disabilities. Special training schools are provided for children and youths in five different disabilities groups including blindness, deafness, orthopedic disabilities, mental retardation, and long-term illnesses. The primary objectives of these programs are to meet the individual educational needs of the students, to integrate them into society, and to provide them with a vocation. Efforts are underway to integrate the special needs students at regular schools with students their own ages. This process is called "combining," In the 1998-1999 school year, over 32,500 students were in special training schools and institutions. Approximately one-third of these were combined in regular classroom programs. Job and vocational programs are also available for adults with special needs.

Turkey has educational, scientific, and cultural agreements with many countries and is an active member of a number of organizations that benefit education. Among these are the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF); and the World Health Organization (WHO). The Ministry of National Education actively participates in the Center for Research and Innovation (CERI) and the in the Educational Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Turkish youths are encouraged to participate in international organizations and activities. The Ministry of National Education has begun courses aimed at educating youth leaders for exchange programs.

Preprimary & Primary Education

Preschool education begins at birth and ends when the child is six years old. The Ministry of National Education recognizes that education provided during these years affects the development of the child in later years and acknowledges this is an important stage of education, but attending a preschool program is not compulsory.

According to the Basic Law on National Education, the goals of preschool education are to provide for children's physical, mental, and spiritual development; to the help them acquire good habits; to prepare them for the compulsory primary education program; to provide children with a common education opportunity, regardless of the family income or environment; the ensure that children speak the Turkish language correctly and fluently. The Regulation on Preschool Education Institutions covers public and private programs affiliated with the Ministry of National Education.

Optional paid preschool education programs were established in 1953. Preschool programs are most common in large cities, where, since the 1980s, they have been increasing in popularity. Beginning with the 1994-1995 school year, the Ministry of National Education in cooperation with universities and other institutions, designated three primary types of preschool programs: kres and yuva (day nurseries), anaokulu (kindergartens), and anasinifi (preschool classes). The day nurseries are for children from birth to 36 months old. Kindergartens are for children 37 months to 60 months old, and preschool classes are for those 67 months to 72 months old. In addition, private preschool institutions provide both full-day and half-day programs. In the 1998-1999 school year, there were 207,319 students enrolled in 7,946 preschools, and there were 11,825 teachers.

The goal of Turkey's preschool education program is to prepare children for primary school by developing their mental and physical abilities as well as their language skills. The Ministry of National Education regulates preschool programs and determines whether or not additional programs are needed in an area. More parents are learning about the benefits of preschool programs and enrolling their children in one of the programs.

There are some government funded parenting programs. Mothers of preschool aged children (birth-2, 2-4, 4-6) attend classes to learn about childcare, child development, nutrition, immunization, accident prevention and first aid, parent-child relationships, and similar topics. The goal of the program is to help mothers become more involved with their children's needs and realize the importance of preschool education.

The ministry's goal is to increase the number of students enrolled in preschool programs to 16 percent by the end of 2000. To provide for the projected increase in preschool enrollments, an amendment to the Regulations for Private Educational Institutions requires each primary school to have at least one preschool class. The ministry is also working toward development and standardization of preschool educational materials and equipment.

Preschool education is compulsory for children diagnosed as having certain physical or mental disabilities. Each child has an individual training plan. Parents work with the teachers at each phase of the child's education.

Primary education covers education and training of children aged six to fourteen. Primary education is compulsory for all citizens and is offered free of charge at state schools, but parents must buy the schools uniforms, books, and school supplies. The Ministry of National Education oversees the primary education program and establishes guidelines for passing classes, exams, and attendance. Prior to 1982, students began the primary program at age seven. Turkey has allocated the funds necessary to build additional schools and hire the teachers needed for the compulsory eight-year primary school program. In the 1998-1999 school year, there were 9,512,044 students enrolled in 44,525 primary schools, and there were 316,991 teachers. The success of Turkey's primary education program is evident: in 2000, only 3 percent of males aged fifteen to nineteen were illiterate, and only 10 percent of females in this age bracket were illiterate.

The primary program's objective is to provide children with the knowledge and skills needed for further education or skill training and with the behaviors and habits of good citizens. The goals of Turkey's primary education program focus on creating the type of educational environment in which students learn subject matter knowledge and information about Turkish society; develop a comprehensive, broad view of the world; become knowledgeable about information technologies; and develop interpersonal skills. Parental involvement is important because the family is viewed as an integral component of the education system.

Students in the primary education program are expected to complete one grade level each year; thus the program covers grades one to eight. They are graded on a scale of 1-5. A grade of 2 is the minimum passing score. Those who successfully complete the primary program receive the Ilkögretim Diplomasi (Basic Education Diploma). The countywide average rate of repetition for grades one five was 5.7 percent in 1997. There was no significant difference in the number of males being retained and the number of females. The eighth grade repetition rate in 1997 was 3.1 percent for males and 2.1 percent for females.

The Ministry of National Education must approve all materials used in schools. Students' textbooks and worksheets as well as teachers' resources are prepared by the Ministry, which also develops and prescribes the curricula. All primary schools offer the same courses which include Turkish language and literature; mathematics; social studies; science; civics and human rights; the history of the Turkish Republic and Atatürk's reforms; a foreign language (English, French, or German); individual and group activities; religious culture and ethics; art/handicraft; music; physical education; traffic safety and first aid; career guidance; and elective course.

When Law Number 4306 was passed in 1997 changing the primary education program to a compulsory program for six to fourteen year olds, the Basic Education Program was initiated. This program's purpose is to prepare Turkey's schools for the twenty-first century. It is increasing the coverage and quality of primary education, promoting the public's interest in primary education, and making primary schools learning centers for their communities. Because of the program's goals, many improvements are ongoing. Computer laboratories are being installed in all primary schools and there is a transition to computer-assisted education. All primary education teachers are becoming computer literate and learning how to integrate computer-aided instruction into the curriculum. New schools are being constructed or renovated in rural areas. The program also contains an Açik Ilkögretim Okulu (Open Basic Education School) that allows students fifteen years of age and older to complete their education as external students.

The Contemporary Education Project 2000 has been implemented to improve primary education program. Class size is being reduced to thirty pupils. Some students that live in sparsely populated rural areas and attend schools with multi-grade classrooms are being bussed to centrally located schools which offer an improved education program; school uniforms, textbooks and other educational materials as well as lunch are provided for these students.

Since 1962, those six to fourteen year olds who live in rural areas, in villages, and sub-village settlements that do not have schools or who are from poor families may attend a Regional Primary Education Boarding School or a Primary School with Pension; all expenses are paid by the State. In 1999, pilot programs were initiated at some of the education boarding and pension schools that target preparing students for vocational training as well as for the secondary school program. In 2000, there were over 280 regional primary boarding schools and over 250 primary schools with pensions. Over 100,000 students were given the option of studying in boarding schools and in pensioned schools.

Several primary school programs are underway in cooperation with the United Nations. These are aimed at improving students' personal hygiene and health and at bringing working children into primary education programs to increase their education achievement levels. Many of these programs take place in remote, poverty stricken areas where as many as 30 percent of the boys and 60 percent of the girls work rather than attend primary school.

Secondary Education

An optional secondary education program follows the eight years of basic education. Fourteen-year-old students who complete the basic education program may enroll in one of the over 1,300 public high schools whose programs match their abilities and interests. All schools are coeducational. The academic year is from October to July. The percent of students choosing to enroll in the secondary program has increased. In 1980, some 44 percent of males were enrolled, and in 2000, some 68 percent of males were enrolled. During that same period the number of females secondary students doubled, increasing from 24 percent to 48 percent. In the 1998-1999 school year, there were 1,094,610 students enrolled in the 2,611 general high schools, and there were 70,936 teachers at these schools. During this school term, another 918,542 students were enrolled in Turkey's 3,097 technical and vocational high schools; 68,728 teachers taught at these schools.

The goal of secondary education is to provide students with general knowledge and prepare them for a profession and for higher education. The Ministry of National Education supervises the high schools. Programs last for three to four years and cover general, vocational, and technical education. There are two main categories of secondary schools: general high schools and vocational-technical high schools. There are five types of general secondary schools: Genel Lise (General High School), Yabanci Dil Agirlilki Lise (Foreign Language High School), Anadolu lisesi (Anatolian High School), Fen Lisesi (Science High School), Anadoulu Güzel Sanatlar Lisesi (Anatolian Fine Arts High School), and Anadoulu Ögretmen Lisesi (Anatolian Teacher Preparatory High Schools). Students completing these schools receive the Lise Diplomasi.

The Genel Lise (General High School) is a three-year program that prepares students for higher education. In the 1997-1998 school year, there were 1,606 general high schools serving 928,545 students. The Yabanci Dil Agirlilki Lise (Foreign Language High School) is a four-year program designed to prepare high achieving students for higher education programs. These schools were first introduced in the 1992-1993 school year at twenty-eight high schools. In the 1998-1999 school year there were 674 Foreign Language High Schools.

Anadolu lisesi (Anatolian High School) were first opened in 1955 in several major cities as Ministry of Education Colleges. In 1975 they were renamed Anatolian High Schools. These selective four-year schools use a foreign language, often English, as the language of instruction in certain subjects. Admission to Anatolian High Schools is based upon a competitive placement examination. The graduates of these schools are often score well on the university entrance exams. In 1998-1999, there were 406 Anatolian High Schools.

The first Fen Lisesi (Science High School) was established in 1982 to provide education to the exceptionally gifted mathematics and science students. In 1998-1999, there were thirty-nine Science High Schools. All are boarding schools. The language of instruction is Turkish. Class size is limited to twenty-four. These four-year schools emphasize research and laboratory activities. The first Sanatlar Lisesi (Anatolian Fine Arts High School) opened in 1989 for gifted students. In 1999, there were nineteen Anatolian Fine Arts High Schools. The first year of the four-year program is an intense foreign language preparatory program.

Anadoulu Ögretmen Lisesi (Anatolian Teacher Preparatory High Schools) are four year schools designed to prepare teachers to enter university teacher education programs. In addition to the core curriculum courses, students take courses in general education theory and methodology as well as the history of education. In 1997-1998, there were 23,437 students enrolled at 78 schools.

Students enrolled in all general high schools are subject to the Ministry of National Education Regulations Governing Grading and Passing at Secondary Institutions. All examinations, homework assignments, and projects are graded on a 100-point scale which correlates with a five-point grading scale: five (85-100) is excellent, four (70-84) is good, three (55-69) is satisfactory, two (45-54) is passing, one (25-44) is failing, zero (0-24) is failing and not included in the grade point calculation.

All secondary schools have the same core curriculum: Turkish language and literature, religious culture and ethics, history, geography, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, health, foreign language, physical education, military science, history of the Turkish revolution and the reforms of Atatürk, and philosophy. In addition to the core courses, the General High Schools, Anatolian High Schools, and Foreign Language High Schools offer concentrations in six subject areas: science, social studies, Turkish language and literature and mathematics, foreign language, fine arts, and sports. At Science High Schools, only the concentration in science is available. Students at the Anatolian Fine Arts High Schools can specialize in either art or music.

A select number of high schools in the largest cities are bilingual, teaching classes in Turkish and either English, French, or German. Twelve high schools are open to students from the three legally recognized minorities: Armenians, Greeks, and Jews. These schools teach some subjects in Armenian or Greek.

Meslek ve Teknik Lise (Vocational and Technical High Schools) prepares students for employment or for higher education. Meslek high schools are three-year vocational high schools (grades nine to eleven) that offer courses such as binding and screen printing, ceramics, electrical engineering and electronics, food technology, library science, and telecommunications. Graduates of these schools receive the devlet mesiek high schoolssi diplomasi (State Vocational School Diploma). Teknik high schools are four-year technical high schools (grades nine to twelve) that offer courses such as electronics, technical drawing, and communications. Graduates of these schools receive the devlet teknik high schoolssi diplomasi (State Technical School Diploma).

There are four main groups of Vocational and Technical High Schools: Erkek Teknik Ögretim Okullari (Technical Schools for Boys), Kiz Teknik Okullari (Technical Schools for Girls), Ticaret ve Turizm Ögretimi Okullari (Commerce and Tourism Schools) and Din Egitimi Okullari (Religious Education Schools).

Erkek Teknik Ögretim Okullari (Technical Schools for Boys) train students to become skilled as technical personnel needed in science and technology areas. Kiz Teknik Okullari (Technical Schools for Girls) educate females to work in technical and scientific areas so they can supplement the family income. These programs are available in both formal and nonformal education systems. Ticaret ve Turizm Ögretimi Okullari (Commerce and Tourism Schools) train students for a variety of public and private sector jobs as well as providing the skills needed for higher education programs. There are a number of schools devoted to specialized areas such as hotel management and tourism, foreign trade, commerce. culinary arts, mass communications. Many of these programs provide on the job vocational training for students. The number of students enrolled in Commerce and Tourism Schools has steadily increased; in fact, more schools are needed to accommodate all the applicants.

Din Egitimi Okullari (Religious Education Schools) were established to prepare male student to become imams (prayer leaders) and males and females to be preachers or course instructors. In 1997-1998, there were 605 Religious Education Schools attended by over 178,000 students.

Most students with special needs are educated in special schools, but there is some mainstreaming of special needs students at regular schools with students their own ages. Special schools are designed for the visually impaired, the hearing impaired, the orthopedically impaired, and the chronically ill. Each province has a special education guidance and counseling service unit to organize, coordinate, supervise, and evaluate the special education services.

In addition to the public high schools, there are a number of private educational institutions. Most of these are preparatory schools for Turkey's higher education program. All of these schools operate under the supervision and control of the Ministry of National Education.

Higher Education

Higher education is comprised of all postsecondary programs that are at least two years in length. The academic year begins in October and ends in July. The languages of instruction are English, French, German, and Turkish. The higher education system consists of fifty-three state and nineteen private universities and non-university institutions of higher education, such as colleges and police and military academies. Public universities' academic and administrative staff receive civil service status and can earn tenure. Research assistants and assistant professors are non-tenure track positions.

Until 1984, there were no private universities in Turkey. Higher Education Law Number 2547 allowed non-profit foundations to establish universities that must be accredited periodically. The Council of Higher Education (YOK) supervises and regulates all private universities. It is possible for a private university to receive public funds, if it meets certain criteria.

The law founds universities, faculties, institutions, and four-year schools. They offer degrees at three levels or stages: bachelors, masters and doctorate. Student who complete the first stage of a four-year two-stage program earn a pre-Licenciate degree. When the four-year program is completed, they receive the Licenciate degree. Dentistry and veterinary medicine programs are five-years long. Medicine is a six-year program that leads to the Doktor degree. In engineering, a Mühendis Diplomasi is awarded after completion of a four-year program.

To enter the second level of higher education, students must first take an entrance examination. If accepted into a program, they must complete an additional two years of study. The first is primarily devoted to course work, and the second is primarily spent writing a thesis. The Uzmanlik Belgesi (specialist certificate) is conferred in agriculture, pharmacy, or veterinary medicine. To work toward the Yüksek Lisans Diplomasi (Higher Licenciate Degree), an individual must first pass an entrance examination and then complete two years of study.

Those completing of the third state of higher education earn a Doktora Diplomasi (Doctoral Degree). Candidates must have completed the previous stages and must pass an entrance examination. The degree is conferred after two years of additional study and completion of a doctoral dissertation. The Tip Uzmanlik Belgesei (specialist certificate) in medicine is conferred on those who complete advanced studies. This degree is the equivalent of a Doktora Diplomasi.

In November 1981, Law Number 2547 established the Higher Education Council (YOK), a twenty-two member autonomous organization that connects all universities and higher education institutions and coordinates their activities. Seven of the members are elected by the Interuniversity Council, seven are appointed directly by the President of the Republic, and eight are appointed by the government, mostly from the senior civil servants. The term of office is four years, and council member may be reappointed. A nine-member executive committee elected by the council handles YOK's day-to-day operation. The Minister of National Education represents higher education in Parliament and can chair YOR meetings, but he has no vote. Decisions made by YOK do not have to be ratified by the Ministry.

YOK prepares short and long-term plans to establish and develop higher education institutions and to educate the teaching staff needed either in Turkey or abroad. One of the council's primary goals is reorganizing the current higher education system and freeing it from a centralized, bureaucratic structure. To accomplish this goal, YOK is working to increase the power of the boards of directors and faculty at the universities and faculties and to improve the relationships with industries. Another focus of YOK is working to ensure the education-training systems and programs meet international systems and standards. Open university education using distance-learning programs has supplemented the formal education programs. A non-profit foundation to establish higher education law went into effect in 1981.

In addition to YOK, two other bodies greatly influence higher education administration: the Interuniversity Council, which is comprised of all the rectors of all universities and one member elected by the senate of each university, and the Turkish University Rectors' Committee, which is made up of all university rectors and five ex-rectors.

Effective 1998-1999, admission to higher education is based upon a national entrance exam, which has verbal and quantitative sections. Those scoring between 105 and 120 points on the exam are offered a limited choice of programs. The Student Selection and Placement Center administer the exam each year. This center was established in 1974. In 1981 it became affiliated with YOK.

Anadolu University offers both a two-year and a four-year degree via distance learning. Lectures are televised. Students accepted into the program must meet stringent entrance requirements.

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

Turkey invests a substantial amount of its budget in education and educational research. The ratio of the annual cost of one pupil in primary education to per capita gross national product was 9.6 percent in 1997.

The effectiveness of the five-year development plans are continually assessed and data analyzed to determine if the stated objectives have been met. Public documents report the results of the comprehensive analysis. Educational research is the basis of many changes. Needs assessments, economic reports, government indicators are some of the ways in which the Ministry of National Education gathers information. Since the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, involving the public in educational matters has been important. The country's goal is to have universal literacy and life-long learning.

A network linking all universities' libraries and computing facilities' networks with major international networks and databases is underway. This project is in cooperation with the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey.

Nonformal Education

Nonformal education is one of the two components of the national education system. This component is for those who never received any formal education, those with certain skill and ability levels who are currently enrolled in a formal education program, and those who left the formal education program without receiving a degree.

The objectives of Turkey's nonformal education program are to teach reading and writing to adults who have not mastered these skills; to provide these individuals basic knowledge and, if they attended any formal education program, to build on the knowledge base of the last level they attended; and to create new opportunities that will help them earn a living. The program also explains and promotes Atatürk's reforms and principles to further develop the country's sense of national unity and solidarity. It is concerned with educating this segment of the population about new agricultural and industrial technologies and techniques so the standard of living can be improved.

Nonformal education has two components: general and vocational technical nonformal education programs. Institutes providing nonformal education include the practical arts schools for girls, advanced technical schools for girls, industrial practical arts schools, technical education centers for adults, public education centers, and apprenticeship training centers. The programs may be classified as public education, apprenticeship training, and distance education.

Most of the public education programs and activities take place in formal education centers. Any individual, regardless of age or educational background, can enroll in literacy courses, vocational courses, and social and cultural courses that are offered in many of the formal education buildings. In the 1998-1999 school term, 1,055,936 individuals participated in public education courses.

Apprenticeship training is available to fourteen to nineteen year olds who have not received formal education, to those who completed the eight-year compulsory program but were not eligible to continue their formal education, and to those who never completed the required formal education program. Individuals between the ages of fourteen and nineteen who have complete the primary education program may enter a three to four year apprenticeship training program. The apprentices attend training centers one day each week for eight to ten hours of training each time. Those who complete the training program may take the journeyman examination. If they pass the examination, they receive a journeyman certificate and may take the master's examination after three years of work experience if they continue mastership training. 267,074 students received apprenticeship training in one of 328 centers during the 1998-1999 school year.

Other options are available for those who have completed formal vocational training. They may take the master's examination after one year of work experience. Those who work at a workplace included in the law's list of vocations and who sign an apprenticeship contract are classified as students and the Ministry of National Education pays their insurance premiums during the training period. Those who complete the program receive journeymen's certificates and may enter a three-year mastership-training program. Turkish law requires a master's certificate for anyone who is employed as a foreman or who opens an independent business.

Every Turkish citizen may participate in distance education courses. Beginning in 1997 when the compulsory primary education program was extended from five to eight years, open primary education school programs were available for those who, under the previous national education program, had completed the required five-year program but not continued for the then optional three-year middle school program. This open primary education program allows individuals to compete the compulsory eight-year primary program. In the 1998-1999 school term, this program enrolled 69,076 students. The open education high school program is available to three groups of students: those who are unable to continue their formal education, those who too old to continue in the formal education program, and those who are currently enrolled in a formal education program who prefer to complete their formal education via distance learning. There were 223,184 students in open education high schools in the 1998-1999 school year.

In addition to these nonformal education programs, Turkey provides educational and training services to Turkish citizens living aboard. Turkish educational consultancies in twenty-one locations and educational attaches oversee these programs. In 1999, almost 800,000 Turkish students received education abroad; over 1,000 teachers were sent from Turkey to provide the necessary instruction.

Teaching Profession

Turkey recognizes the importance of teacher training and preparation. Students wishing to become teachers must complete the secondary Anatolian Teacher Preparation High School program. They then must meet entrance requirements at a university faculty of education and compete the required curriculum before being allowed to teach. Approximately 17,000 prospective primary teachers graduate annually. Primary education teachers for the first five grades must complete at least a four-year bachelors program where they must obtain a Lisans Diplomasi. They must also demonstrate teaching competencies in order to receive the Primary Education Teachers Certificate. To teach in grades six through eight, teachers must complete additional more specialized subject matter courses. When they begin to teach, the instructors must successfully complete a one-year probationary program before they are appointed as regular teachers.

In 1999 a project was begun to prepare teachers' manuals that would guide teachers as they implement pupil-centered instruction. Some teachers are having to learn a new teaching methodology that emphases actively involving students in the learning process. In-service training programs have target teaching primary school teachers more about computers and computer-assisted instruction. All teachers, inspectors (supervisors), and administrators should be computer literate by the end of the year 2000.

Teachers at the secondary level must also complete at least a four-year bachelor's program where they obtain a Lisans Diplomasi. In order to be considered for a teaching position at certain secondary schools, such as the Science High Schools, teachers must take a competitive examination. To teach at a higher education institution, individuals must meet various criteria. According to the Higher Education Law, higher education institutions are responsible for training their own academic staff.


The Republic of Turkey recognizes that a quality education system is essential for the country's development. High priority is placed on literacy and providing opportunities for all citizens, regardless of age, to have access to free programs that teach reading and writing. The Ministry of National Education recognizes the need to integrate traditional curricula with computer science and technology training.

In 2000, the population of Turkey was approximately 65.7 million. Approximately 30 percent of the population is under age fifteen. Thus, many Turks are being educated in schools that are undergoing continual changes in curricula and instructional techniques. The implementation of computers and information technology training at all levels of formal education will impact future generations.


The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The World Factbook 2000. Directorate of Intelligence, 1 January 2000. Available from

Columbia University. Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online. 2001. Available from

Embassy of the Republic of Turkey - Washington, DC. "Turkey: Crossroads of Civilization." 1999. Available from

FORSNET. "Türkiye 2000." March 2000. Available from

Gorvett, Jon. "Casualties of Conflict." Middle East 306 (November 2000): 44-46.

Güvenç, Bozkurk. History of Turkish Education. Turkish Education Association. 1999. Available from

Library of Congress. Federal Research Division. January 1995. Available from

"Mustafa Kemal Atatürk." January 1999. Available from http://www.Atatü

Population Reference Bureau. "PRB 2000 World Population Data Sheet." 2000. Available from

Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 1999. Available from

Simsek, Hasan and Ali Yildirim. "Vocational Schools in Turkey: An Administrative and Organizational Analysis." International Review of Education 46, no. 3 (July 2000): 327-343.

Sahin, Ismet, and Yener Gülmez. "Efficiency of Education: The Case in Eastern and South-Eastern Turkey." Social Indicators Research 49 (2000):213-236.

Taylor and Francis Group. The World of Learning 2001,51st ed. London: Europa Publications Limited. 2000.

"Turkey Bans Head-scarves from private Schools." August 28, 2000. Available from

UNESCO. "The EFA 2000 Assessment County Reports: Turkey." February 2000. Available from

. "Turkey - Education System." 1999. Available from

"Turkey's System of Education." eWERN 13, no. 6 (November/December 2000). Available from

Jo Anne R. Bryant

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Turkey." World Education Encyclopedia. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Turkey." World Education Encyclopedia. . (September 19, 2019).

"Turkey." World Education Encyclopedia. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



Basic Data

Official Country Name: Republic of Turkey
Region (Map name): Middle East
Population: 66,493,970
Language(s): Turkish (official),Kurdish,Arabic,Armenian,Greek
Literacy rate: 95.0%
Area: 780,580 sq km
GDP: 199,937 (US$ millions)
Number of Daily Newspapers: 45
Total Circulation: 4,047,000
Circulation per 1,000: 95
Newspaper Consumption (minutes per day): 30
Total Newspaper Ad Receipts: 213,867 (Turkish Lira billions)
As % of All Ad Expenditures: 35.10
Number of Television Stations: 635
Number of Television Sets: 2,900,000
Television Sets per 1,000: 43.6
Television Consumption (minutes per day): 180
Number of Cable Subscribers: 875,020
Cable Subscribers per 1,000: 13.4
Number of Satellite Subscribers: 1,836,000
Satellite Subscribers per 1,000: 27.6
Number of Radio Stations: 94
Number of Radio Receivers: 11,300,000
Radio Receivers per 1,000: 169.9
Number of Individuals with Computers: 2,500,000
Computers per 1,000: 37.6
Number of Individuals with Internet Access: 2,000,000
Internet Access per 1,000: 30.1

Background & General Characteristics

In 1923 Mustafa Kemal (188l-1938) founded the modern Republic of Turkey (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti ). Later in his life (1934), for his dedicated service to the state and people of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal was honored with the designation Atatürk (Father Turk) by the Grand National Assembly. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, allowed Atatürk to pursue his objectives of freeing and keeping Anatolia whole. Having become an accomplished military officer under the Ottomans, including having earned his military fame at Gallipoli where the Allied forces were halted in their progress, Atatürk maintained enough military savvy to manage the eradication of the remaining Greek occupying forces from the area (1921-1922) in the aftermath of Ottoman dissolution. With his military prowess and political charisma Atatürk outlasted the Sultanate which ended on November 1, 1922and had advocated the partitioning of Turkey with the Allied forcesand established the Republic of Turkey almost exactly one year later, October 29, 1923.

Understanding Atatürk's leadership is essential for deciphering reasons behind the state of the press and the media that exists in Turkey today. Atatürk's initial leadership and legal enactments set Turkey on the path it is currently journeying. He provided Turkey with the positive building blocks for creating a strong nation-state, but also negatively allowed for the beginning of some of the repressive practices concerning freedom of the press that are still being suffered.

By 1928, Atatürk had implemented the reforms necessary for Turkey to become a secular state; he removed the constitutional provision decreeing Islam as the state religion, abolished the caliphate which was symbolic of the Sultanate's religious authority, eliminated all other Islamic institutions, introduced a Westernized system of law and dress, and also instituted the use of the Latin calendar and alphabet. As well, by 1934, women obtained the right to vote. All of these reforms, besides fostering the secularization of the state of Turkey, also emphasized Atatürk's desire to move Turkey toward its European influences. As a result of Atatürk's massive, sweeping reforms his administration gained the status of an ideology by 1931Kemalism or Atatürkism. The guiding principles of this ideology, while describing the foundational as well as the sometimes seemingly chaotic and contradictory nature of Atatürk's tenure, have been labeled as: republicanism, nationalism, populism, statism, secularism, and revolutionism.

As was mentioned, though Atatürk's regime was monumentally important for the founding of Turkey, it also facilitated some long-term, detrimental principles.By 1926, through the combined cooperation of landowners, the country's bourgeoisie, and the civil and military bureaucracies, Atatürk ruled as an autocrat. All opposition had been silenced. Yet, despite the relatively draconian nature of his rule, Atatürk's policies brought stability to the newly founded country; setting Turkey on a course to United Nations membership in 1945 and NATO membership in 1952 (NATO membership is mentioned as an expression of Atatürk's Europeanizing principles; it actually contradicts with his stance on neutrality). Kemal Atatürk ruled for a total of 14 years, being reelected in 1927, 1931, and 1935, and died in 1938.

From Turkey's founding until 1946, it was largely a single party operation. In 1946 a multiparty political system was established. Primarily (despite the years 1960, 1961, and 1980-1983 when the military took direct, intervening action to halt coups meant to override the state's policies of secularism) Turkey has been civilian ruledat least theoretically. To be accurate, Turkey's civilian rule is a rather broadly defined notion of the idea. The military in Turkey has always had significant veto power concerning any action of which it did not approve. In many senses, civilian rule in Turkey could be thought of as a legitimizing front for military rule.

That being as it is, Turkey is, in the early twenty-first century, a parliamentary democracy as guided by its November 1982 constitution enacted by popular referendum. Under this constitution there is universal suffrage for all citizens over the age of 18. Legislative power rests in the National Assembly (550-member unicameral body directly elected to five-year terms), the head of government is the prime minister (representing the majority party or coalition in parliament and appointed by the president), and the president (chief of state) is chosen by parliament for seven-year terms.

Country Geography

Turkey is located on the northeastern edge of the Mediterranean Sea and is often thought of as the bridge country between Europe and the Middle East. In fact it fluctuates between being designated as being part of southeastern Europe or as part of northwestern Asia. Literally, the portion of Turkey that lies west of the Bosporus Strait, the strait of the Dardanelles, and the Sea of Marmara (which altogether are known as the Turkish Straits and are extremely strategic as they are the only outlet linking the Black Sea with the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas) is designated as part of Europe. The rest of the country is considered Middle Eastern and/or Asian. This amounts to roughly 3 percent of the land and 8 percent of the population being in Europe. The rest of the land (97 percent) and people (92 percent) are in the Middle East.

To the northwest of Turkey lies Greece and Bulgaria. To the west lies the Aegean Sea. Directly north is the Black Sea. On Turkey's northeast to its southeast, in descending order, lies Georgia, Armenia, the Azerbaijani exclave of Naxçivan, and the northwestern tip of Iran. South of the country, east to west, lie Iraq and Syria. Also south of the country, but separated by the water of the Mediterranean, lie the islands of Crete and Rhodes belonging to Greece, and the island of Cyprus which, as of 1974, is jointly shared and disputed between Turkey and GreeceTurkey occupies the northern portion with a UN buffer zone lying between the northern and southern sections. In 1983 Turkish controlled Cyprus designated itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, but Turkey is the only country recognizing this designation. In contrast, the southern section, controlled by the Greek Cypriot government, is internationally recognized.

Turkey's total land area, depending on the source, is between 780,580 square kilometers and 779,452 square kilometers (301,380 square miles and 300,948 square miles)somewhat larger than Texas. Mt. Ararat, the legendary location of Noah's Ark, is in the eastern section of the country. All told, Turkey is divided into 80 iller (provinces) with Ankara being the capital city and Istanbul being the largest.

State of the Press

The press can be considered semi-vigorous, semi-independent, and often on the defensive. There are numerous dailies, weeklies, and other publications available, but the government has established numerous laws that stifle freedom of expression.

Positively, the press often opposes these laws, being seen as the voice of the conscience of the nation and trying to be a check on the government. This causes numerous government imposed shutdowns of press institutions and also causes many journalists to face state sponsored intimidation, fines, and prison time. Negatively and conversely, the press also often inverts and becomes the mouthpiece of governing political parties and of large corporations in order to receive social, political, and monetary benefits.

The use of the press and broadcasting stations as the organ of large corporations is currently a major concern in Turkey. Media centralization/concentration in the hands of ever fewer owners threatens the health of quality journalistic output and quality journalistic practice in the country and is also becoming detrimental to journalists' ability to maintain employment. In February of 2001 some 4,000 people in the media lost their positions. The International Federation of Journalists blamed the Turkish government for allowing such a state of media concentration where this could happen.

The trend continues to worsen with Aydin Doǵanan and his company Doǵan Group, one conglomerate, owning 70 percent of all Turkish media. Doǵan Group owns numerous papers, including Hurriyet and Milliyet, several leading magazines, printing houses, a distribution network, and the Doǵan News Agency. They own and control the radio stations Radyo D, Radyo Klüp, Foreks, and Hur FM, along with the television stations Kanal D, CNN-Turk, Bravo TV, and Kanal D Europe. All told, as of 2001, Doǵan Holding possessed more than 31 media oriented organizations, including some of the most influential broadcasting and press companies in the country.

While there are cross-sector broadcasting restrictions on media companies and ownership percentage limitations meant to create a greater sense of equability and diversity in the media arena (though even these have been increased; such as individual limitations being raised from a maximum 20 percent stake in a television station to a 50 percent stake), as in many other portions of the world, the larger the conglomerate the easier regulations are side-stepped. Thus, instead of the regulations providing a more equitable playing field they create insurmountable hurdles for everyone except the conglomerate, providing a monopolistic market for the large corporation. Typically, less competition means reporting accuracy falls, simply less is reported, and the greater the likelihood for corruption. For instance, it is likely that with a large concentration of media ownership occurring and the ban on larger media groups bidding for state tenders being lifted fraud will go unreported due to the bidders having inordinate access to those in power because they are themselves in power as well. An example of the potential of this type of scenario was enacted in April 2001 when Dinç Bilgin, the owner of the Sabah group, was arrested and accused of embezzling funds after the Turkish government seized Etibank, a small private bank he owned.

Underscoring all of the above is a statement offered by journalist Enis Berberoglu, "I sometimes wonder who is really my boss. Aydin Doǵan or the politicians in Ankara?" Berberoglu's statement, as much of the above, implicitly suggests the power orientation that is involved as large corporations buy up media more for economic or social benefits rather than because of a passion for journalism. A final statement from one of the Turkish new media corporate owners, Korkmaz Yigitquoted in I Am Ashamed but I Am a Journalist makes the power orientation more explicit. Yigit explains, "When you grow economically, there will be people attacking at you. But, if you have the media power in your hand, they will think twice before attacking you. This [entering into media] has a defensive aim. They cannot attack you." And therein lies the concern.


Turkey's dailies are published primarily as morning editions, but there are some evening papers filling out the offerings. Dailies are published seven days a week, with some papers printing multiple daily editions. As well, larger circulation dailies include color extras in their Sunday editions, analogous in principle with press traditions in the United States and United Kingdom.

The daily foreign language press remains relatively small, but weekly, journal, and quarterly publications bolster this. The English language Turkish Daily News coming out of Ankara holds the largest foreign language circulation at 54,000 and is also available on the Internet. Istanbul houses the Greek language daily Apoyevmatini (circulation 1,200) and the Armenian language Nor Marmara (circulation 2,200). Additionally, other English, French, and German foreign dailies are available in the larger cities.

The largest dailies originate from Istanbul and almost all papers from the city are published simultaneously in Ankara and Izmir, and some in Adana. These papers are distributed nationally to even the small towns and are significant competition to papers produced in other various large and small cities throughout Turkey that are circulated only provincially or locally. From at least an electronic perspective though, local newspapers are not being left behind. On the Internet site of the Office of the Prime MinisterDirector General of Press and Information (Basin Yayin ve Enfomayson Genel Mürdürlüğü ; there are links to 58 local papers above and beyond national dailies.

The largest dailies by circulation include: Hürriyet (circulation 542,797), Milliyet (circulation 630,000), Sabah (circulation 550,000), Türkiye (circulation 450,000), and Zaman (circulation 210,000). Furthermore, due to the significant expatriate population of Turkish workers in Germany, Istanbul's top circulating papers are also published in Munich. Also, as might be imagined, four of the top circulating dailies are also considered as the "most popular' in Turkey: Sabah, HürriyetMilliyet, and Zaman.

Milliyet and Cumhuriyet (circulation 75,000) are considered to be dailies that are among the most serious and influential in the country. Milliyet is a moderate-liberal independent and the moderate-liberal pro-RPP Cumhuriyet, one of Turkey's oldest papers being founded in 1924 to support Atatürk's revolution, has been referred to as the New York Times of the Turkish Press. Other papers that could be considered for this category could include: Hürriyet, due to its independent nature and large circulation, even though it can be sensationalist and the right-wing, conservative, pro-JP Tercüman (circulation 32,869). Outside of Istanbul and surrounding areas, Yeni Asar (circulation 60,000)originating in Izmir from the Aegean region and political in focusis considered to be the best-selling quality daily.

The oldest running dailies still in publication are Yeni Asir (New Century ) out of Izmir, founded in 1895 and Yeni Adana out of Adana, founded in 1918. Prices for dailies averages around US$.25.

A listing of principle dailies includes:

In Adana

  • Yeni Adana. Circulation 2,000; founded 1918; political; Proprietor and editor-in-chief, Çetin Remzi Yüüreóir

In Ankara

  • Ankara Ticaret. Circulation 1,351; founded 1954; commercial; Managing editor, Nuray Tüzman; Editor-in-chief, Mummer Solmaz
  • Belde. Circulation 3,399; founded 1968; Proprietor, Ilhan Işbilen
  • Tasvir. Circulation 3,055; founded 1960; Editor, Ender Yokdar
  • Turkish Daily News. Circulation 54,500; founded 1961; English; Publisher, Ilhan Çevik; Editor-in-chief, Ilnur Çevik; Internet,
  • Türkiye Ticaret Sicili. Founded 1957; commercial; Editor, Yalcin Kaya Aydos
  • Vakit. Circulation, 3,384; founded 1978; Managing editor, Nali Alan
  • Yeni Tanin. Circulation 3,123; founded 1964; political; Managing editor, Ahmet Tekeş
  • Yirmidört Saat. Founded 1978; Proprietor, Beyhan Cenkçi

In Eskisehir

  • Istikbal. Founded 1950; Editor, Vedat Alp

In Gaziantep

  • Olay Manager Erol Maras

In Istanbul

  • Apoyevmatini. Circulation 1,200; founded 1925; Greek; Editor, Istefan Papadopoulos
  • Bugün. Circulation 184,884; founded 1989; Proprietor, Önay Bilgin
  • Cumhuriyet. Circulation 75,000; founded 1924; liberal; Managing editor, Hikmet Çetinkaya; Internet,
  • Dünyald. Circulation 50,000; founded 1952; economic; Editor-in-chief, Nezih Demirkent; Internet,
  • Fotomaç. Circulation 250,000; founded 1991; Chief officer, Ibrahim Seten; Internet,www.fotomac.
  • Günaydin-Tan. Founded 1968; Editor-in-chief, Seckin Turesay
  • Hürriyet. Circulation 542,797; founded 1948; independent political; Proprietor, Aydin Doǵan; Chief editor, Ertuǵrul Özkök; Internet,www.hurriyet.
  • Maydan. Founded 1990; Proprietor, Refik Aras; Editor, Ufuk Guldemir
  • Milli Gazete. Circulation 51,000; founded 1973; pro-Islamic, conservative; Editor-in-chief, Ekrem Kiziltaş; Internet,
  • Milliyet. Circulation 630,000; founded 1950; political; Publisher, Aydin Doǵan; Editor-in-chief, Derya Sazak; Internet,
  • Nor Mamara. Circulation 2,200; founded 1940; Armenian; Proprietor and Editor-in-chief, Rober Haddeler; General manager, Ari Haddeler
  • Sabah. Circulation 550,000; Proprietor, Dinç Bilgin; Editor, Zafer Mutlu; Internet,www.turkiye
  • Yeni Nesil. Founded 1970 as Yeni Asya ; political; Editor-in-chief, Umit Simsek
  • Yeniyüzyil. Editor, Kerem Çaliskan
  • Zaman. Circulation 210, 000; founded 1962; political, independent; Managing editor, Adem Kalac; Internet,

In Izmir

  • Rapor Circulation 9,000; founded 1949; Owner Dinç Bilgin; Managing editor, Tanju Ateşer
  • Ticaret Gazetesi. Circulation 5,009; founded 1942; commercial news; Editor-in-chief, Ahmet Sukûti Tükel; Internet,
  • Yeni Asir. Circulation 60,000; founded 1895; political; Managing editor, Aydin Bilgin; Internet,

In Konya

  • Yeni Konya. Circulation 1,657; founded 1945; poitical; Chief editor, Adil Gücüyener
  • Yeni Merem. Circulation 44,000; founded 1949; political; Proprietor, M. Yalçin Bahçivan; Chief editor, Tufan Bahçivan; Internet,

Weeklies and other Periodicals

Among the weeklies, Istanbul's Girgir is the undisputed leader. The paper is well known for its political satire and boasts a circulation of 500,000; outselling any other weekly in publication by hundreds of thousands. Of course, weeklies tend to be more niche oriented in general, Girgir simply exploits a niche that is extremely broad in its appeal and they make it intellectually accessible and aesthetically palatable socio-political commentary laced with humor. This said to both note Girgir's singular impact upon Turkish society, but as well to note that circulation statistics are not the sole criterion for judging importance to society; many of the other weeklies provide needed and important socio-intellectual stimulation as well, fulfilling a valuable civic function, despite their circulation numbers (this of course could be echoed for dailies, periodicals, or any other press publication).

Turkey's oldest running periodical currently in publication, as well as what appears to simply be the oldest publication still running overall, is Istanbul Ticaret Odasi Mecmuasi founded 1884. It is the English quarterly journal of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ICOC).

A listing of major weeklies includes:

In Ankara

  • EBA Briefing. Founded 1975; published by Ekonomik Basin Ajansi (Economic Press Agency); political and economic survey; Publishers, Yavuz Tolun, Melek Tolun
  • Ekonomi ve Politika. Founded 1966; economic and political; Publisher, Ziya Tansu
  • Türkiye Iktisat Gazetesi. Circulation 11,500; founded 1953; commercial; Chief Editor, Mehmet Saǵlam
  • Turkish Economic Gazette. Published by UCCET
  • Turkish Probe. Circulation 2,500; English; Publisher A. Ilhan Çevik; Editor-in-chief, Ilnur Çevik

In Antalya

  • Pulse. Politics and business; Editor-in-chief, Vedat Uras; Internet only,

In Istanbul

  • Aktüel. Managing editor, Alev Er
  • Bayrak. Circulation 10,000; founded 1970; political; Editor, Mehmet Güngör
  • DoǵananKardes. Circulation 40,000; founded 1945; illustrated children's magazine; Editor, Şevket Rado
  • Ekonomik Panorama. Founded 1988; General manager, Aydin Demirer
  • Ekonomist. Founded 1991; General Manager, Adil Özkol
  • Girgir. Circ. 500,00; satirical; Proprietor and editor, Oǵuz Aral
  • Istanbul Ticaret. Founded 1958; commercial news; Publisher, Mehmet Yildirim
  • Nokta. Circulation 60,000; Editor, Arda Uskan
  • Tempo. Founded 1987; Director, Sedat Simavi; General manager, Mehmet Y. Yilmaz
  • Türk Dünyasi Araştirmalar Dergisi Director, Sedat Simavi; General manager, Mehmet Y. Yilmaz

Economic Framework

Turkey can be considered to have both the vital and dynamic economy of a developing/industrializing nation as well as its instability. The country's major industries include: textiles, food processing, autos, mining (coal, chromite, copper and iron ore, mercury, antimony, boron), steel, petroleum, construction, wine, chemical fertilizer, lumber, and paper. Notwithstanding new forms of commercialization, traditional agriculture, using 4 percent of the land for crops and 16 percent as pastureland, still accounts for 40 percent of employment in the country. The main crops are: tobacco, cotton, wheat, barley, corn, rye, oats, rice, figs, olives, raisins, sugar beets, pulse, and citrus. Primary livestock are cattle, sheep, and goats. Overall, as of 2000, approximately 25 percent of GDP comes from industry, 16 percent from agriculture, and 59 percent from government and private services.

Foreign investment in Turkey remains low, due to any number of factors including double digit inflation (39 percent as of 2000) that has plagued the country for years, human rights abuses, drug trafficking, censorship issues, and the military's continual intervention in politics. Stricter control of economic matters by Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's government and IMF-backed support may enhance Turkey's future economic prospects concerning outside capital inflow as well as better internal creation of capital. However, as of 2001, a number of experts remained skeptical concerning Turkey's economic potential. Additionally in March 2001, in a populist uprising thousands protested the IMF-backed austerity plan.

As of 2000 it was estimated that GDP per capita stood at US$6,800 (677,621 liras to the dollar).

Press Laws

Largely, Turkey has not been known for the positive nature of the government's orientation toward the press. Laws have typically been repressive in nature concerning freedom of expression. However, there has been a recent, encouraging semi-shift in trends due to Turkey's desire to gain membership into the European Union (EU). The EU has been consistent in requiring improvements in Turkey's human rights record as well as their economic infrastructure. All of this accords to some loosening in the restrictive laws of the past. Yet, it is by no means a straight road of improvement. Sometimes intermingled with the improvements are offsetting legal enactments that hinder press/broadcast freedoms through new approaches even as the old methods are being abolished.

Actions of the 1994 government created Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council (Radyo Ve Televizyon Üst Kurulu, RTÜK) are a case in point relating current damaging practices of the Turkish government. RTÜK was created to keep firmer regulatory control over television and radio. In 2000, it ordered more than 4,500 days of suspension on media organizations for violations of the country's broadcast principles. Yet apparently, it was perceived that RTÜK was being hindered in performing its restricting practices, because an early June 2001 legal decision bestowed further constricting, regulatory powers on the RTÜK. This decision was to allow the agency to impose fines ranging from $8,500 to $85,000 if any station seems to threaten "the indivisible unity of the state with its people or Ataturk's principles and revolutions (or) the national and moral values of society and the Turkish family structure." Punishment, in this scenario, could also have been levied for broadcasts which cause the population to experience feelings of "hopelessness and pessimism." This measure was subsequently vetoed by President Ahmed Necdet Sezer on June 18, 2001.

A more positive note concerns a 1999 speech given by the chief justice of the constitutional court, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who as of May 2000 became the first modern Turkish president without military command experience or an active political background. Sezer, in the 1999 speech, criticized Turkey's 1982 constitution as restricting democratic rights and freedoms. Criticism is one thing and positive legal enactments are another, but as previously noted, due to Turkey's desire to gain admittance into the EU there is likelihood for improvement in oppressive laws and practices if for economic rather than humanitarian reasons.

Also, while dealing with the heavy-handed RTÜK remains a reality, recent legal decisions enacted in August 2002 seem to be the most promising yet.

Censorship & State-Press Relations

Censorship in Turkey remains ubiquitous. Especially sensitive issues include the military, political Islam, and the Kurds. Generally, any printed or broadcast issues that are deemed detrimental to national security, disruptive of the peace, contrary to governmental views on secularism, or critical of those in power have the possibility of being censored along with the offending journalist and press/ broadcast organization receiving punishments; which, according to human rights organizations reports, have included arrest, criminal prosecution, imprisonment, and even attacks by the police.

One of the largest censorship issues on the "international radar screen" for Turkey remains its treatment of the Kurdish population. The government of Turkey has promoted a campaign of intolerance toward the Kurdish population that has been labeled by human-rights organizations as genocidal at times. As a lesser portion of such actions, even though 20 percent of the population is Kurdish (80 percent being Turkish), teaching in the Kurdish language, all Kurdish-language publications and Kurdish-language broadcasts was strictly forbidden for years. In 1991, the Law Prohibiting Languages Other than Turkish was repealed allowing the public use of oral and written Kurdish, but this did not apply to broadcasting. Due to the Law Concerning the Founding and Broadcasts of Television and Radio (No. 3984, adopted April 13, 1994, especially Article 4[t]), broadcasting in Kurdish remains forbidden. Also, an October 2001 parliamentary vote for 34 revisions in the constitution included the abolishment of capital punishment in all areas except for times of war, acts of terrorismof which all those currently on death row are convicted, and acts of treason. With the October 2001 ruling Kurdish broadcasting was supposed to be allowed, but such broadcasting had always been seen as an action of treason against the state in the past, and with treason still a provision allowing for the death penalty it was unlikely that anyone would be attempting such broadcasts. Thus, this law was expected to "look good on the books," but be negligible in reality.

However, a recent parliamentary vote in August 2002 has guaranteed the legalization of Kurdish broadcasting and education and the abolishment of the capital punishment except solely in times of war. This vote has been seen as another step being taken by the Turkish government to bolster their possibilities of being accepted for EU membership, but nonetheless it is welcomed news. Despite this promising piece of legislation, the government's historically repressive actions have underscored the importance of having the option to utilize foreign satellite broadcasting channels on behalf of the Kurdish population in Turkey as one small means to attempt to rectify ongoing injustices. While there seems to be hope available, yet, at the end of 2001, 13 journalists were still imprisoned primarily due to affiliation with pro-Kurdish or leftist publications.

Other recent examples of censorship and or other limitations of press/broadcast freedom include: RTÜK banning broadcasting by Ozgür Radio for a period of 180 days in December 2000 for allegedly having slandered Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on air; 20 attacks on, 30 arrests of, and 18 jailings of journalists while in the line of duty in 2001; the continuing imprisonment of academic Fikret Baskaya since June 2001, sentenced under Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law, for writing an article on the Kurdish issue; the January 2002 charging of the Turkish publisher Abdullah Keskin for violating Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law by publishing a translation of a U.S. journalist's book about the Kurdish minority in Turkey and Keskin's subsequent charging and sentencing in April 2002 to a six-month prison sentence that was converted into a $500 fine.

Among the plentitude of Turkish laws that have the potential of being used to censor media a couple others include Article 33 of the Radio and Television Law which allows the simple revocation of a broadcasting license or a warning being give with subsequent closure of a broadcasting outlet for up to a year and Article 35 of the same law that also permits the confiscation of equipment if a station continues to broadcast following the imposition of a ban. These sanctions are among the most commonly applied. One final example of restrictive regulation is Article 25 of Law 3984 which states that "when national security is clearly threatened or when there is a risk of a serious breach of the peace, the prime minister may intervene to prevent a program being broadcast."

Despite a relatively bleak picture that has been presented concerning censorship (introducing only the very beginning of the issue) there are also organizations that do encourage and provide social sustenance for Turkish journalists. Aiding and representing these journalists in their struggle against censorship and other abuses in Turkey are various associations including: Basin Konseyi (Press Council), the Turkish Journalists' Association, the Journalists' Federation, the Progressive Journalists' Association, and the Contemporary Journalists' Association.

The Turkish Journalists' Association (Turkiye Gazeteciler Cemiyeti or Turkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi (TGS); founded June 10, 1946; more than 2,900 members all from all over Turkey with the majority based in Istanbul; Chair. Nail Gureli; Internet, is Turkey's oldest and largest professional organization. Its Istanbul branch is Çaǵdaş Gazetciler Derneǵi (Progressive Journalists' Association; Internet, An example of the work that TGS has recently been doing is the newly drafted Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities accepted by TGS on November, 18, 1998. It is an important document stating the ethical responsibilities of journalists towards society as well as strongly supporting their freedom of expression. It has been signed by over 3,500 journalists and has been accepted as the primary national code of ethical journalistic conduct.

Another earlier document that has been important in reaffirming the charge of journalism is the Code of Professional Principles of the Press adopted by the Basin Konseyi (Press Council) in April 1989.

However, despite positive moves made on the part of the Turkish government, it must be recognized that Turkey currently imprisons more journalists than any other country in Europe or the Middle East.

Attitude toward Foreign Media

Turkish attitude toward foreign media remains ambivalent. The government is happy to have correspondents and bureaus present in their country disseminating information to the broader world, so long as it is primarily positive. Though somewhat rare, if the government feels that reporting boundaries have been breached correspondents can be (and have been) dismissed from the country. Overall, Turkey has remained focused on analyzing and critiquing the publication and slant of particular articles/issues by foreign media and has remained more akin to Atatürk's traditional stance of neutrality as concerns boycotting whole countries.

News Agencies

Eight major national news agencies in Turkey with five of the eight being based in Ankara and the other three in Istanbul include (in alphabetical order):

  • Anatolian News Agency (founded in 1920; Ankara; Chair. Ali Aydin Dundar; Gen. Dir. Behiç Ekşi)
  • ANKA Ajansi (Ankara; Director general Müşerref Hekimoglu;
  • Bagimsiz Basin Ajansi [BBA] (Istanbul)
  • EBA Ekonomik Basin Ajansi (Economic Press Agency; founded 1969; Ankara; private economic news service; Propr. Melek Tolun; Editor, Yavuz Tolun; Internet,
  • Hürriyet Haber Ajansi (founded 1963; Istanbul; Director general, Uǵur Cebeci)
  • IKA Haber Ajansi (Economic and Commmerical News Agency; founded 1954; Ankara; Director, Ziya Tansu)
  • Milha News Agency (Istanbul)
  • Ulusal basin Ajansi (UBA) (Ankara; Managing editor, Oǵuz Seren).
  • There are 10 Foreign Bureaus in the country with seven having representation based in Ankara, five in Istanbul, and one in Izmir. The bureaus are:
  • Agence France-Presse (AFP), Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir; Correspondent Florence Biedermann
  • Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA), Italy; Ankara; Correspondent Romano Damiani
  • Associated Press (AP), USA, Ankara, Istanbul; Correspondent Emel Anil
  • Bulgarska Telegrafna Agentsia (BTA), Bulgaria; Ankara; Correspondent Lubomir Gabrovski
  • Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa), Germany; Istanbul; Correspondent Bahadettin Gungor
  • Informatsionnoye Telegrafnoye Agentstvo Rossii Telegrafnoye Agentstvo Suverennykh Stran (ITAR-TASS), Russia; Ankara; Correspondent Andrei Palaria
  • Reuters, Istanbul; Gen. Man. Sameeh El-Din; Internet,
  • United Press International (UPI), USA; Istanbul; Correspondent Ismet Imset
  • Xinhua (New China) News Agency, People's Republic of China; Ankara; Correspondent Wang Qiang
  • Zhongguo Xinwen She (China News Agency), People's Republic of China; Ankara; Correspondent Chang Chiliang.

Broadcast Media

Considering all of the hindrances (the common practice of suspending broadcaster's operating licenses for airing controversial material for example) and the potential physical and psychological dangers that the Turkish government provides broadcasters, an amazing variety of broadcast organizations are available. Türkiye Radyo ve Televizyon Üst Kurulu [RTÜK] (Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council; Chair. Sedat Nuri Kayis), created in 1994, is the government agency responsible for supervision of the broadcast media in the country. It allocates channel, frequency, and band assignments; it controls the transmitting facilities of radio stations and television networks; it draws up regulations on related audiovisual concerns; and as it monitors all broadcasting, also issues warnings and assesses punishments when broadcasting laws are violated.

Until August 1983 the state possessed a monopoly on radio and television broadcasts guaranteed by Article 133 of the Constitution and also by Law No. 2954, the 1983 Radio and Television Law. In August of 1983, Parliament amended Article 133 and annulled Law No. 2954 opening the door for privately owned broadcasting to proliferate. The state still maintains its original organization founded in 1964, Turkiye Radio ve Televizyon Kurumu [TRT] (Turkish Radio and Television Corporation; Internet,, but is far outpaced by the number of competing options available.

TRT's radio operations consist of four national channels headed by Çetin Tezcan and the Voice of Tukey, its foreign service channel, managed by Danyal Gürdal. As of 2000, the state's television operations consist of five national channels and two satellite channels broadcasting to Europe. The general head of television operations is Nilgun Artun and directing Ankara TV is Gürkan Elçi. Other anomalies outside of the sphere of private commercial broadcasting are the radio and television services run by the United States' military forces based in Turkey and the radio operations ran by the Turkish State Meteorological Service.

Due to the proliferation of both radio and television stations the South-Eastern European Network of Associations of Private Broadcasters (SEEANPB) reports that it is can be difficult to discern which stations operate legally and which do not. Of course, steep penalties can be levied against any station found operating without a license or in violation of any government set ban. However, both the government and the media often lean on each other as supporting towers and the rule of scratching-backs can sometimes apply here; a few favors and legal infractions can "disappear." Conversely, stations that are operating illegally are by nature more difficult for the government to controlmany of them originating specifically in opposition to government policies and often have methods of thwarting government detection of their broadcasting location or causing other interference in their operations.

While most of Turkey's regulatory requirements placed on broadcasting organizations seem to be detrimental to civic life there are a few which appear more supportive. The government requires some public service obligations of private broadcasting companies. Included among these are that anti-smoking, drinking and drug-taking programs must account for at least 25 percent of total weekly airtime and be aired between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.children being the target audience, and that educational programs aimed at preventing traffic accidents must be offered.


According to the Central Intelligence Agency, apart from the state-run TRT, Turkey has approximately 635 broadcast stations and 2,394 repeaters broadcasting to 20.9 million television sets. Also, as in other countries, satellite broadcasting continues to play an ever stronger role.

Until 1999 when its license was revoked, MED TVa United Kingdom-based station founded in 1995was one of the most recognized (and notorious depending on one's position) satellite channels broadcasting into Turkey. The station claimed an audience of some 35 million Kurds across Europe and the Middle East. Turkey continually lobbied for its closure and often jammed its signals. MED TV finally lost its license for what was reported to be a continued imbalance in political coverage that was deemed "likely to encourage or incite to crime or lead to disorder" by UK's Independent Television Commission (ITC).

After MED TV's demise, CTV (Cultural Television) began broadcasting, also targeting Kurdish populations and is available in Turkey. Also available in Turkey is MEDYA-TV. It broadcasts from mainland Europe, but is officially banned by the government because of its sympathies for the Kurdish separatist movement. One other channel that is available by satellite in Turkey and is of interest to the Kurdish population is Kurdistan-TV. It broadcasts from Iraq and, as opposed to MEDYA-TV, is not banned.


Beyond the TRT, there are 1044 local, 108 regional, and 36 national privately/corporately owned radio stations. Of the local stations, 229 are considered to be moderate conservative, 211 leftist, 100 extreme right wing, 92 Islamic, 45 liberal, and the remainder neutral or un-categorized. The stations reach an audience in possession of 11.3 million personal radios.

An example of the repressive policies that broadcasters have to endure can be illustrated by a statistical example concerning the RTÜK. Between April 1994 and April 2000, 184 warnings were issued to 48 radio stations. Of these, 21 radio stations experienced 6,839 days of closure. This equates to nearly 19 years worth of closure in a six-year period. TurkeyUpdate put the closure days at 4,500 levied in 2000 alone, which suggests an upward trend in sanctions.


Turkey actively utilizes the Internet both in the public and the private sphere. However, government legislation and bureaucracy will likely significantly hinder the country's progress in the area.

As of 2000, there were 22 Internet service providers (ISPs) in the country and 2 million Internet users.


Amazingly, Turkey has a rather vital press that seems to be the personification of the statement, "if it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger." Though teetering due to corporate consolidation of ownership, there is a diversity of opinion available in the country. However, whether broadly diverse or rather narrowly sectarian, press and media institutions continue to be beset by unacceptable legal regulations stifling freedom of expression. Journalists also remain subject to physical and psychological human rights abuses. Potentially, Turkey's desire to gain access to EU membership could have a positive effect across all areas and interests in the country. This seems to be the best hope for the press and the people of Turkey in the near future.


All the World's Newspapers. Available fromwww.

Amnesty International. LibraryCountries/Turkey. Available from turkey.

British Broadcast Company. Country Profiles. Available from

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The World Factbook 2001. Available from

Code of Professional Principles of the PressTurkey.Available from

Columbia Encyclopedia. Turkey, Country, Asia and Europe. 6th Ed., 2001. Available from http://www.

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). 2002 News AlertTurkey: Publisher Convicted. Available from

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Middle East and North Africa 2001: Turkey. Available from

Dogan, L. Media Ownership Structure in Turkey, ÇGD Progressive Journalists' Association. Available from Turkey Media Links. Available from

Free Speech TV. Available from http://www. Available from http://www.

Freedom House. Freedom in the World. Available from

Hellenic Resources Net. The Consitution of the Republic of Turkey. Available:

Human Rights Watch. List of Turkish Laws Violating Free Expression. Available

Index on Censorship. New Law to Bar "Pessimistic' News. Available from

Index on Censorship. Turkey: Military Up-in-Arms over Paris Protest. Available from http://www.index .

Index on Censorship. Turkey: Publisher Escapes Jail Chomsky Adds Tone to Troubled Debate. Available from

International Federation of Journalists. IFJ Condemns Turkish Media Panic As Jobs Massacre Follows Cash Crisis. Available from

International Press Institute. World Press Freedom Review. Available from

Jones, Dorian. "Turkish Internet Clampdown", Radio Netherlands Wereldomroep (24 May 2002) Available from

Karelmas, Nilay. "Turks Get Some of the News Not All," World Press Review, Vol. 48, No. 12. (Dec. 2001) Available from

Kurian, George, ed. World Press Encyclopedia. Facts on File Inc., New York: 1982.

Library of Congress. Country Studies. Available from .

Maher, Joanne, ed. Regional Surveys of the World: The Middle East and North Africa 2002, 48th ed. Europa Publications, London: 2001.

Office of the Prime Minister, Director General of Press and Information. Available from .

Peterson, Laura. "CNN Meets the Turkish High Council," Pew International Journalism Program. Available from .

Press Wise. National Codes of Conduct: Turkey. Available from

Redmon, Clare, ed. Willings Press Guide 2002, Vol. 2. Waymaker Ltd.,Chesham Bucks, UK: 2002.

Reporters Sans Frontieres. Turkey Annual Report 2002. Available from

Reporters Sans Frontieres. Middle East Archives 2002. Available from .

Russell, Malcom. The Middle East and South Asia 2001, 35th ed. United Book Press Inc., Harpers Ferry, WV: 2001.

Stat-USA International Trade Library. Country Background Notes. Available from .

South-Eastern European Network of Associations of Private Broadcasters (SEEANPB). Media Legislation: Tur key. Available from .

The Middle East, 9th ed. Congressional Quarterly Inc., Washington, DC: 2000.

Tilic, L.D. Utaniyorum Ama Gazeteciyim (I Am Ashamed but I Am a Journalist). Iletisim, Istanbul: 1998.

Turkey Update. Available from

UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Available from http://

U.S. Department of State. Background Note: Turkey. Available from .

World Bank. Data and Statistics. Available from http:// .

World Desk Reference. Available from http://

Clint B. Thomas Baldwin

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Turkey." World Press Encyclopedia. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Turkey." World Press Encyclopedia. . (September 19, 2019).

"Turkey." World Press Encyclopedia. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.




Kaymakli Kuru Kayisi (Cream-Stuffed Apricots) ............ 46
Pasta with Yogurt-Mint Sauce ..................................... 47
Muhallabi (Rice Pudding with Cinnamon) ................... 48
Naneli Limonata (Lemonade with Mint)...................... 49
Halva .......................................................................... 50
Köfte (Turkish Meatballs)............................................. 50
Simit (Sesame Rings)................................................... 51
Locum (Turkish Candy) ............................................... 52
Bulgur Pilavi (Cracked Wheat Pilaf).............................. 53
Lokma (Golden Fritters)............................................... 53
Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza)............................................ 55


The Republic of Turkey consists of Asia Minor, the small area of eastern Turkey in Europe, and a few offshore islands in the Aegean Sea. It has a total area of 780,580 square kilometers (301,384 square miles), which is slightly larger than the state of Texas.

Turkey's landscape is made up of low, rolling hills, the fertile river valleys that open to the Aegean Sea, the warm plains along the Mediterranean Sea, the narrow coastal region along the Black Sea, and the rugged mountain ranges that surround and intersect the high, desert-like Anatolian plateau.

Most of Turkey lies within an earthquake zone, and recurrent tremors are recorded.


Turkish cuisine is often regarded as one of the greatest in the world. Its culinary traditions have successfully survived over 1,300 years for several reasons, including its favorable location and Mediterranean climate. The country's position between the Far East and the Mediterranean Sea helped the Turks gain complete control of major trade routes, and an ideal environment allowed plants and animals to flourish. Such advantages helped to develop and sustain a lasting and influential cuisine.

The Turkish people are descendents of nomadic tribes from Mongolia and western Asia who moved westward and became herdsmen around A.D. 600. Early influence from the Chinese and Persians included noodles and manti, cheese- or meat-stuffed dumplings (similar to the Italian ravioli), often covered in a yogurt sauce. Manti has often been credited with first introducing dolma (stuffed foods) into the Turkish cuisine. The milk and various dairy products that became staple foods for the herdsmen were nearly unused by the Chinese. This difference helped the Turks to establish their own unique diet.

By A.D. 1000, the Turks were moving westward towards richer soil where they grew crops such as wheat and barley. Thin sheets of dough called yufka along with crushed grains were used to create sweet pastries. The Persians introduced rice, various nuts, and meat and fruit stews. In return, the Turks taught them how to cook bulgur wheat. As the Turks moved further westward into Anatolia (present-day Turkey) by 1200, they encountered chickpeas and figs, as well as Greek olive oil and an abundance of seafood.

A heavily influential Turkish cuisine was well established by the mid-1400s, the beginning of the (Turkish) Ottoman Empire's six hundred-year reign. Yogurt salads, fish in olive oil, and stuffed and wrapped vegetables became Turkish staples. The empire, eventually spanning from Austria to northern Africa, used its land and water routes to import exotic ingredients from all over the world. By the end of the 1500s, the Ottoman court housed over 1,400 live-in cooks and passed laws regulating the freshness of food. Since the fall of the empire in World War I (19141918) and the establishment of the Turkish Republic, foreign dishes such as French hollandaise sauce and Western fast food chains have made their way into the modern Turkish diet.

Kaymakli Kuru Kayisi (Cream-Stuffed Apricots)


  • 1 pound dried apricots
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 pound marscapone (sweet cheese); cream cheese softened with a little sour cream, heavy cream, or even milk may be substituted. Add 1 Tablespoon of the cooking syrup if using cream cheese.
  • ¾ cup pistachio nuts, chopped


  1. Soak the apricots in cold water overnight and drain.
  2. Heat the sugar and water together over medium heat for 10 minutes, then add apricots.
  3. Cook the apricots until they are tender and syrup is formed.
  4. Add the lemon juice and remove from heat. With a slotted spoon, transfer apricots to a plate to cool.
  5. With a spoon, open the apricots halfway and fill the inside with cream or sweet cheese.
  6. Arrange the apricots (slit side up) on a platter, pouring over them as much syrup as they can absorb. Garnish with grated nuts.

Serves 18 to 20.

Pasta with Yogurt-Mint Sauce


  • 1 pound penne or rigatoni pasta
  • 3 cups yogurt, room temperature
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh mint leaves, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried mint, crushed
  • Salt


  1. Cook pasta according to directions and drain.
  2. Mix the yogurt, crushed garlic, salt, and mint leaves together in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is very creamy.
  3. Pour the warm sauce over the prepared pasta and toss.

Makes 4 servings.

Muhallabi (Rice Pudding with Cinnamon)


  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon


  1. In a large saucepan, mix the rice, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract together.
  2. Bring to a boil on medium to high heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Immediately reduce heat.
  4. Continue boiling for 1½ to 2 hours, or until a pudding consistency is reached.
  5. If not boiled long enough, the rice gains remain too hard.
  6. Put in individual cups or shallow serving dishes, cover the top, and chill before serving. To serve, sprinkle with cinnamon.
  7. If desired, orange zest, cinnamon, cloves, or rose water can be used instead of, or in addition to, vanilla.

Serves 12.


Turkey is one of only seven countries in the world that can produce enough food to feed its people. This advantage gives the Turks access to fresh, locally grown ingredients that help to create some of the freshest dishes available. Contrary to common belief, Turkish cuisine is generally not spicy (though this varies throughout the seven regions). Seasonings and sauces, although frequently used, are simple and light and do not overpower the food's natural taste. The most popular seasonings include dill, mint, parsley, cinnamon, garlic, cumin, and sumac (lemon-flavored red berries of the sumac tree). Yogurt is often used to complement both meat and vegetables dishes.

Rice, wheat, and vegetables are the foundation for Turkish cuisine. Dolma, rice- and meat-stuffed vegetables, is frequently prepared throughout the country, most often with peppers, grape leaves, or tomatoes. The eggplant is the country's most beloved vegetable, with zucchini a popular second and then beans, artichokes, cabbage, particularly when prepared in olive oil. Pilav (pilaf), Turkish rice, is a common filling for dolma, as well as a common side dish. Various grains are used to make pide (flat bread), simit (sesame rings), and börek, a flaky, layered pastry filled with meat or cheese that is often eaten for breakfast.

Turkish meat usually means lamb, the main ingredient to the country's most popular national dish, kebap (skewered grilled meat). The kebap resembles the familiar shish-kebab (onions, tomatoes, and peppers threaded on a skewer between pieces of meat and grilled) commonly eaten in the United States. Patties of seasoned minced meat called köfte are also popular. Most cattle are raised for their milk rather than for beef, and pork is prohibited in the Islamic religion (which nearly all Turks practice). Poultry and seafood, however, are second in popularity for meat-based meals.

Naneli Limonata (Lemonade with Mint)


  • 1½ cups, plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon rind
  • 1 cup (6 to 8) fresh mint leaves
  • 6 lemons


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the 1½ cups sugar in the water, stirring well.
  2. Using a wooden spoon, rub the lemon rind and mint leaves with the 2 Tablespoons sugar in a small bowl until the sugar absorbs the flavors. (Alternatively, pound the lemon rind, mint leaves, and sugar with a mortar and pestle.)
  3. Stir in the sugar-water solution, mixing well. Strain this mixture through a sieve.
  4. Squeeze the lemons to extract their juice.
  5. Combine the lemon juice with the strained sugar solution, mixing well. Cover and chill.
  6. Serve over ice (if desired), garnished with mint leaves.

Serves 8.

Turkish sweets are most frequently eaten with coffee or as a snack, rather than an after-dinner dessert. The most common dessert is a bowl of seasonal fresh fruit, such as strawberries or apricots. Baklava, widely known throughout the Western world, and other nutty pastries consisting of a sweet, flaky pastry made with honey and nuts; Halva (a sesame paste), dondurma (ice cream), and muhallebi (milk-based desserts, such as pudding) are all popular. Some adults prefer tea, strong Turkish coffee, or raki, the clear liquorice-flavored national beverage, in place of dessert. Children enjoy ayran, a refreshing yogurt drink, or meyva suyu (fruit juice).



  • 1 cup farina (Cream of Wheat)
  • cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • Sesame seeds


  1. Mix the water, sugar, and cinnamon together in a saucepan and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Using about of the stick of butter, brown the pine nuts.
  3. Add the remaining butter and farina and stir until the farina is a light brown color.
  4. Very carefully add the cinnamon syrup to the farina mixture.
  5. Stir until most of the water is absorbed and forms a sticky mixture.
  6. Remove from the heat and leave uncovered for 1 hour, until it dries to a crumbly consistency.
  7. Shape in individual molds or spoon into dishes.
  8. Serve at room temperature topped with ground cinnamon and sesame seeds.

Köfte (Turkish Meatballs)


  • 1 pound minced lamb (or beef)
  • 2 slices stale bread, crusts removed, briefly soaked in water
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon dried mint
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Flour
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  1. Squeeze out the excess water from the soaked bread.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Make walnut-shaped balls and keep them covered until they are to be eaten.
  4. Place flour in a shallow dish, and roll the meatballs lightly in flour to coat.
  5. Heat oil in a shallow frying pan. Carefully add meatballs and fry in hot oil for 6 to 8 minutes, turning frequently, until browned and cooked through.
  6. They may be shallow- or deep-fried.

Serves 4 to 6.

Simit (Sesame Rings)


  • 8 ounces flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons (½ stick) margarine, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon milk, plus extra
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Sesame seeds


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a hole in the middle.
  3. Into this hole pour the margarine, olive oil, milk, water, and beaten egg.
  4. Stirring from the outside into the middle, gradually mix all the liquids into the flour until you have a dough. It will feel a bit oily.
  5. With floured hands, shape the dough into rings about the diameter of a saucer, and arrange them on a baking sheet.
  6. Brush them over with milk and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.
  7. Bake them for about 30 minutes, or until they are nicely browned.


Turkey celebrates three kinds of celebrations: national religious holidays, national secular (nonreligious) holidays, and local events and festivals. National Islamic holidays are important to the Turks since 99 percent are of the Islamic faith. To celebrate religious events, special dishes for family and friends are frequently prepared.

The first significant holiday of the Muslim year, Muharrem, takes place on the tenth day of the first lunar month. On this day in history, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed was martyred and Noah and his family were able to leave the Ark after the floodwaters receded. A thick, sweet pudding called aure (also called Noah's pudding) is traditionally prepared. Its ingredients (fruits, nuts, and grains) are supposedly the same ones that remained on the Ark after it was able to land.

A Typical Turkish Ramazan Menu

Various cheeses

Roast lamb or sucuk (spicy sausage)

Bulgur Pilavi (cracked wheat pilaf)

Pide (Turkish flat bread)

Various soups

Güllâç (rose-flavored pudding)

Baklava (sweet, flaky, nutty pastry)

The ninth month marks Ramazan (also known as Ramadan in Arabic countries), a month-long period of fasting in which Muslims refrain from food and drink during daylight hours. Iftar is the meal eaten at the end of each day that breaks the daily fasting period.

Seker Bayrami, or translated as Candy Festival or Festival of Sugar, is a three-day national festival marking the end of Ramazan (also known as Eid al-Fitr in Arabic countries). On this day, elaborate desserts are prepared throughout the country and children visit door to door, asking for sweets. On this special day, lokma (deep-fried batter in syrup) and locum (a popular Turkish candy, also known as Turkish Delight), are commonly distributed to neighborhood children in small tins.

Locum (Turkish Candy)


  • 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 1½ cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons white corn syrup
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup nuts, coarsely-chopped (pistachio, almonds, or walnuts)
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar


  1. Sprinkle gelatin into ½ cup water and set aside to soften for about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour another ½ cup water into a medium-size saucepan, bringing to a boil over medium to high heat.
  3. Add the sugar and corn syrup, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 1 minute.
  4. Continue cooking until mixture reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer, or until it forms a soft ball when ½ teaspoon of mixture is dropped into a cup of cold water.
  5. Reduce heat to medium.
  6. Dissolve cornstarch in remaining ½ cup water and mix well.
  7. Add to sugar mixture, and stirring constantly, simmer slowly until very thick, about 3 minutes; remove from heat.
  8. Add lemon juice and gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin dissolves.
  9. Add nuts and stir thoroughly.
  10. Line bottom and side of 8-inch cake pan with foil and sprinkle with thick layer of powdered sugar.
  11. Pour in candy. Allow to stand, undisturbed, for about 4 hours, or until firm.
  12. Cut into 1-inch squares, and roll each piece in powdered sugar to coat all sides.

Makes about 60 pieces.

Bulgur Pilavi (Cracked Wheat Pilaf)


  • 4 Tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup bulgur cracked wheat (available at most supermarkets and health food stores)
  • 3 cups water or canned beef broth
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Melt 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine in large skillet over medium to high heat.
  2. Add onion, and stirring constantly, fry until soft, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add bulgur and remaining 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, and fry for another minute, stirring constantly to coat well.
  4. Stir in water or broth, and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for about 25 minutes until bulgur is tender.
  6. Add salt to taste, and stir well. Serve warm.

Serves 4 to 6.

Large feasts are also prepared for national secular holidays such as Independence day and Children's Day, both on April 23, New Year's Day on January 1, and Victory Day on August 30, marking independence from Greece in 1922. In addition, June's Strawberry Festival in Bartin, July's Apricot Festival in Malatya (Turkey's apricot capital), and September's Watermelon Festival in Diyarbakir draw large, local crowds who gather to honor these crops.

Lokma (Golden Fritters)


  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1½ cups warm water
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • Pinch of salt
  • Oil, for frying (preferably peanut oil)


  1. Make the syrup by simmering the 1½ cups sugar and 2 cups water for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the lemon juice, bring to a boil, and set aside.
  3. To make the dough, dissolve the yeast in the warm water with a pinch of sugar, and leave in a warm place for 10 minutes until frothy.
  4. Put the flour in a large bowl, make a well in the center, and put in the butter, salt, and yeast mixture.
  5. Mix into a batter and beat for 5 minutes, using an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook or a paddle. (Alternatively, knead it for about 8 minutes.)
  6. Cover and let rise for 1 to 2 hours.
  7. Heat the oil for deep-frying (a small square of bread should brown in 30 seconds).
  8. Keeping the heat at medium, drop small balls of dough into the hot oil.
  9. Drop 5 or 6 lokma into the oil, depending on the size of the pan, but do not crowd them.
  10. They should immediately rise to the surface and puff up. Stir them to ensure an even browning.
  11. They should brown in 3 or 4 minutes.
  12. Drain on paper towels, then dip them briefly into the syrup mixture.
  13. Serve warm or cold.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Turks enjoy three meals a day. Kahvalti (kah-vall-tuh), or breakfast, is generally a light meal consisting of fresh tomatoes, beyaz (salty cheese), black olives, bread with jam and honey, and an occasional soft-boiled egg. Freshly baked bread and tea are almost always present. Sucuk (a spicy sausage) and pastirma (seasoned beef) are frequently prepared in the wintertime. Those in a hurry often stop at a street cart or büfe (food stand) to grab a quick börek, a flaky, mince- or cheese-filled pastry or simit, a bread ring topped with sesame seeds. Muslims almost never consume pork products, making bacon absent from most menus.

Öyle yemek (oy-leh yem-eck), or lunch, is traditionally a heartier (and warmer) meal than breakfast. Çorbalar, or soups, are served in a variety of ways, most commonly including lentils and various vegetables and meats. Larger lunch items include baked lamb or chicken served with peppers and eggplant, and fresh grilled fish with a side of lemon. Rice and bulgar pilaf dishes are also popular. Lahmacun (lah-mah-jun), Turkish pizza, is popular among children. It consists of a thin crust and a layer of spicy ground lamb and tomato sauce. Tost, a grilled cheese sandwich, will please even the pickiest eater.

Akam yemek (ak-sham yem-eck), or dinner, is the largest meal of the day. Mezeler (or mezze, singular), are "appetizers" served before the main meal. Ironically, most mezeler dishes are large enough to comprise an entire meal by themselves. Salads, soups, pilaf-stuffed fish, and köfte (fried minced meatballs) can leave diners quite full. A meat dish accompanied by starchy vegetables (such as potatoes) typically follows. Seasonal fresh fruits or milky puddings are most often enjoyed for dessert.

Turks, who are extremely hospitable and enjoy company, will welcome even unexpected guests with Turkish coffee. Meals are traditionally served on a large tray, placed on a low table or on the floor. The family and guests sit on cushions on the floor around the prepared foods. To avoid accidentally insulting the host, it is best to not refuse second or third helpings. It is also customary to remove one's shoes at the door and offer a small gift to the host for their generosity.

Restaurants, open markets, and büfe (food stands) offer a wide variety of on-thego snacks, including simit, köfte, seeds and nuts, and seasonal fruit and fruit juice. Patates Firin (baked potato carts) can be found for kumpir (potatoes) topped with lentils, butter, cheese, pickles, and mayonnaise.

Lahmacun (Turkish Pizza)


  • Pitas
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound white onion
  • 1 or 2 tomatoes (or 2 Tablespoons tomato puree)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Peel and quarter onions with the tomatoes in a food processor or blender and process (blend) until smooth.
  3. Add the salt, black pepper, and meat, and ground for 30 seconds more.
  4. With a spoon, spread the mixture over the pitas. Place them in the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Make certain meat is fully cooked (not pink inside). Serve hot.

Makes 6 to 8 pizzas, serving 12 to 16.


About 2 percent of the population of Turkey are classified as undernourished by the World Bank. This means they do not receive adequate nutrition in their diet. Of children under the age of five, about 10 percent are underweight, and over one-fifth are stunted (short for their age).

Crops such as wheat, barley, sugar beets, grapes, maize (corn), sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and oranges are grown on 90% of Turkey's arable land. Crops are sensitive, however, to variations in rainfall and output is often unpredictable. Some years enough is produced for export, while at other times limited rainfall may only produce enough grain to feed the Turkish population. Despite such uncertainty, Turkey is one of the few countries in the world that produces enough food to feed its people. In addition, the adoption of modern machinery has allowed more land to be used for cultivation, helping to increase food production.



Ayliffe, Rosie, Marc Dubin, and John Gawthrop. Turkey: The Rough Guide, 3rd edition. London: Rough Guides Ltd., 1997.

Facaros, Dana and Michael Pauls. Cadogan Guides: Turkey. Guilford, CT: The Globe Pequot Press, 2000.

Let's Go Publications. Let's Go Turkey. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2001.

Peck, Adam and Manja Sachet. Turkey Guide. Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Open Road Publishing, 1999.

Robertson, Carol and David. Turkish Cooking: A Culinary Journey through Turkey. Berkeley, CA: Frog, Ltd., 1996.

Salaman, R. The Cooking of Greece and Turkey. Cambridge, England: Martin Books, 1991.

Web Sites

Beltur. [Online] Available (accessed March 8, 2001).

Cankan Real Estate Agency. [Online] Available (accessed March 8, 2001).

Cypriot-Turkish Cuisine. [Online] Available (accessed March 26, 2001). [Online] Available (accessed March 21, 2001).

Istanbul Homepages. [Online] Available (accessed March 8, 2001).

Mersina. [Online] Available (accessed March 8, 2001).

Ministry of Tourism, Republic of Turkey. [Online] Available (accessed March 22, 2001). [Online] Available (accessed March 2, 2001).

Story of Turkish Food. [Online] Available (accessed March 2, 2001).

Toto Hostel and Guest House. [Online] Available (accessed March 8, 2001).

Turkish Cuisine. [Online] Available (accessed March 21, 2001).

Turkish Cultural Foundation. [Online] Available (accessed March 21, 2001).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Turkey." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Foods and Recipes of the World. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Turkey." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Foods and Recipes of the World. . (September 19, 2019).

"Turkey." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Foods and Recipes of the World. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



The family is both the strongest social institution in Turkey and the foundation that supports the twin pillars of tradition and adaptation. The durability of marital unions, coupled with pressures for mutual commitment and obligation, contribute to this family stability. In 2001, for example, Turkey experienced a serious economic crisis, but despite severe levels of unemployment, rampant inflation, and frequent devaluations of the Turkish lira, there were few public protests towards the policies of the government or the World Bank. Many experts have attributed this to the strength of the traditional Turkish family, where members continue to support each other in times of need and crisis, offsetting the negative effects of such economic problems as unemployment. The family thus provides not only a supportive network for individuals, but forms a framework to enforce social controls and acceptable patterns of public behavior.

Situated in Eastern Europe, Turkey has a population of about 68 million (SIS December 2001). Founded in 1924 as a secular republic, Turkey was the last nation-state to be formed out of the geographic entity that once was the Ottoman Empire, which contained many of the modern states of the Middle East, North Africa, the Balkans, and southeastern Europe.

The majority of the population is Muslim (about 99%), most being Sunnis. Shiite Muslims represent about 15 percent of the population, and there are smaller groups of Christians and Jews. Turkey has inherited a complex historical and cultural legacy. Ethnically, the predominant majority are Turks, and there are also groupings of Kurds, Greeks, Armenians, Caucasians, Arabs, and others. The official language of the country is Turkish, a Ural-Altaic language spoken by most citizens.

Family law in Ottoman society was mainly defined by Islamic sharia law. The laws allowed polygamy, with men legally entitled to four wives as long as they could support them all and treat them fairly. Men also had the exclusive right to dissolve their marriages. These laws began to change only in the twentieth century, with, for example, a rule that made it obligatory for a man who wanted to marry a second wife to gain the permission of the first.

After the caliphate was abolished (in 1923), and with the establishment of the Republic of Turkey (in 1924), secular law replaced the sharia. The 1926 Civil Code, modeled on the Swiss Civil Code, abolished polygamy and endorsed compulsory civil marriage for all citizens, regardless of their religious affiliations. The new laws recognized the right of divorce for both partners and accepted egalitarian inheritance laws and the separation of property in marriage. Since then, when the law set itself the task of improving the status of women and making a break with the past, it has become extremely difficult for a man to obtain a divorce without the consent of the wife.

Geography and Demographics

Turkey occupies about 780 square kilometers. Approximately 97 percent of its land area lies in Asia, on an extended peninsula called Anatolia. The country has seas on three sides: The Black Sea on the north, the Aegean on the west, and the Mediterranean to the south. The straits of the Bosphorous and the Dardanelles, which along with the Sea of Marmara link the Black Sea to the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, is an important international waterway and is completely under Turkey's control. Turkey borders on Greece and Bulgaria in the west, on the republics of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia to the north, and Syria, Iran, and Iraq to the east. This significant geographical location places Turkey amid the Balkans, the states of the former Soviet Union, Central Asia, and the Middle East, and has forced Turkey to be an active player in geopolitics.

Over the past fifty years, Turkey has also absorbed waves of immigrants and refugees in large numbers. In this context, recent immigrants have come from the Balkans, as well as those who fled the political turmoil in Iran in the 1980s, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and Iraq after the Gulf War in 1990. Turkey is the centerpiece of a very unstable region, both geographically and politically, and its institutions have shown remarkable resilience in dealing with an unending series of crises.

Turkey's gross national product (GNP) per capita is estimated to be about $2,986 U.S. (SIS 2000). The economy is based mostly on agriculture, along with the construction industry, mining, textiles, and tourism. Turkey's chief exports include cement, citrus fruits, cotton, figs, hazelnuts, hides and leather goods, minerals, sultana raisins, textiles, and tobacco. Its chief imports are chemicals and related products, natural gas and crude oil, electrical and transportation equipment, rubber, and plastics. The percentage of households below poverty line is estimated to be 14.2 percent (SPO 1997).

About 35 percent of the population lives in rural areas, and 65 percent in urban areas. However, the rate of urbanization has been so rapid that sociologists have defined this process as "the ruralization of towns and cities." The three most populous cities of Turkey are Istanbul, Ankara (the capital), and Izmir. The population of Istanbul rose from about five million in 1965 to over ten million in 2000. There is also a small population of nomadic pastoralists, but their numbers, never high, are decreasing rapidly as animal husbandry loses its economic significance, and urban areas steadily expand. The country has eighty-one provinces and is divided into seven regions that feature significantly different climatic, economic, and social conditions. These are the Marmara, the Aegean, the Mediterranean, Central Anatolia, the Black Sea, Eastern Anatolia, and Southeastern Anatolia. This diversity is also reflected in the dynamics of regional family structures, which adds to the complexities in the rapidly expanding urban configurations.

Family Life and Structure

Turkey has a young age structure: 10 percent of the population is under five years of age and 32 percent below the age of fifteen. The percentage of the population sixty-five and over, however, constitutes only 6 percent of the total. Life expectancy is sixty-six years for men and seventy-one years for women. (TDHS 1998, p. 4). The literacy rate in 1998 was 94 percent for men, and 74 percent for women (UNICEF 2001), but few adults have progressed beyond primary school.

Households. Households in Turkey hold an average of 4.3 persons. In urban areas, this figure drops to an average of four persons; in rural areas, it rises to 4.9. Only 5 percent of Turkish households are single-person households, while two in every five households have five or more members (TDHS 1998:4).

Today, about 70 percent of Turkish households are nuclear, with at least one child and both parents, and 20 percent of households are extended families, married couple living with other kin, mostly the parent(s) or other relatives of the husband. Even when a household is classified as nuclear, most often close extended family members will be living in very nearby. About 5 percent of households can be defined as dispersed families, in which single parents or some kinfolk living together. Polygamous households are statistically negligible, but remain despite their illegality.

Marriage. Since the enactment of the republic's 1926 Civil Code, municipal authorities perform marriages in a secular ceremony. Marriages carried out only by religious authorities are considered legally invalid, so people who want to be united in a religious marriage must do so after their official service. Nevertheless, despite this clear requirement, it is estimated that religious marriages (those not accompanied by civil ceremonies) often take place, especially in the eastern and southeastern parts of Anatolia. Therefore, the number of marriages appears lower than it actually is because religious marriages are not included in official statistics (SIS Marriage Statistics 1997).

Even taking only the official statistics into account, however, marriage is almost universal in Turkey. By the time women have reached their early thirties, 93 percent are or have been married, and by the end of their reproductive years, only 2 percent of women have never married. The 1998 Turkish Demographic and Health Survey found 15 percent of women aged fifteen to nineteen to be married (THDS 1998). Divorce rates are very low. The crude divorce rate of Turkey is less than one per thousand per year, quite low when compared to international divorce rates, and much lower than those of Europe. In 1999, the crude divorce rate was 0.49 per thousand.

The diversity of marriage ceremonies and customs reflect the regional, urban, rural, ethnic, and socioeconomic differences within the country. In rural areas (35%) and small towns (30%), the girl's family receives a dowry from the groom's family. Newcomers to metropolitan areas (25%) are not always able to give a dowry to the bride's family. Among the established population in metropolitan areas (10%), many couples marry later, after they complete their education. Parents give their children substantial presents and may assist them financially, at least in early married life. There are many colorful varieties of weddings, but most couples marry with the bride wearing a white wedding dress, and the groom a dark suit.

Fertility. Turkish families greatly value children, and the desire to have children is universal. Traditionally, families prefer boys over girls. Women at the start of the twenty-first century gave birth to an average of 2.6 children. Childbearing occurs often between the ages of fifteen and nineteen, with the highest fertility rate among women between twenty and twenty-four. There are, however, wide variations in fertility levels among regions, with the highest rate in the east (4.2 children per woman) and lowest in the west (2.0 children). Women living in the east marry nearly two years earlier than those living in the west. Fertility also varies widely with urban and rural residence, with women living in rural areas having an average of almost one child more than those living in urban areas. Education levels affect fertility levels, with those lacking a primary education having an average of almost one child more than women who have primary education, and 2.2 children more than those with at least a secondary-level education (TDHS 1998). Overall, when asked how many children they would choose to have if they could live their lives over, women gave an average ideal family size of 2.5 children, which is very close to actual fertility rates.

Maternal and child health. For many years Turkey has been troubled by infant and child mortality rates that are higher than might be expected, given the economic and demographic figures of the country and other development criteria. The infant mortality rate (a reflection of overall child health in a society) is about forty per thousand, and among children under five, the mortality rate was about forth-eight per thousand in the late 1990s. Infant and child mortality rates declined in the past decade. However, the infant mortality rate in the rural areas is about 1.6 times higher than in urban areas. Infant mortality rates are lower than the national average in the western and southern regions, close to the national average in the central and northern regions, and nearly 1.5 times higher than the national average in the eastern region (TDHS 1998). Among other factors, children's chances of survival are closely related to the parent's levels of education (Gürsoy 1992).

Medical care is another important factor in the reduction of mortality rates, which drop significantly if the mother has received both antenatal and delivery care from health professionals. If she has received neither, under-five mortality can be as high as 116 per thousand and infant mortality as high as 95 per thousand. About three-fourths of births now occur in health facilities, although this figure varies from around 44 percent in the east to 87 percent in the west. About 80 percent of all births are assisted by either a doctor or a qualified midwife-nurse. Infants born less than two years after a sibling have a considerably higher chance of dying. For these children, mortality risks are 2.8 times higher than for children born after an interval of four years or more (TDHS 1998).

Almost all babies are breastfed. The median duration of breastfeeding is twelve months. Most children are also given supplementary foods and liquids at an early age, which medical authorities consider not only unnecessary, but a potential source of infection. Twenty percent of children under age five are short for their age; this is more prevalent in rural areas, in the east, and among children of uneducated mothers (TDHS 1998).

Issues Related To Family Life

Because almost the entire adult population is married, the meaning and quality of marital and family life are extremely important and dominate the social, sexual, economic, and cultural aspects of adult life. No public or private initiative, for example, may be considered without reference to its possible impact on the somewhat idealized environment of the "average" Turkish family. Much of the urban informal economy, for example, relies on home-based work, engages the labor of women, but is conceived in family and kin-terms (White 1994, 2000).

With the lives of most adult Turks defined by their roles and positions in these family systems, their status and worth as individuals are closely linked to the public perception of the family's strengths and extended relationships. This is positive in some ways, in that every person has a place in the family; that the weak, the aged, and the handicapped are seen primarily as family responsibilities and not the sole concern of the state; and that the extended family functions as a single unit in times of stress, whether due to natural disasters (Turkey is located in a highly active earthquake zone), economic instability, medical emergencies, or threats in general from the outside world.

Just as the family protects its individual members, however, so must they unite to protect the family and its honor in terms of both public behavior and popular perception. This duty is an important mark of individual worth. One does not do things that will embarrass the family or tarnish its public image, and this rule is rigidly enforced. For example, female sexual purity, or honor before marriage must be preserved at all costs. In certain regions, honor is preserved in an extreme form of honor killings, whereby male kinsmen may kill their errant daughters or sisters. In similar fashion, feuds between families may force individual male family members to take revenge for killings of their own kinfolk or become targets themselves. Both honor killings and feuds are against the law, but given the strength of customs in certain regions, they prevail.

The patriarchal structure of society means girls are subject to a much stricter code of sexual purity, and that in general, they are rarely given the opportunities available to boys. In rural areas, every member of the family works, but girls look after siblings and carry goods to the field, while boys tend animals. In towns, girls help mothers while boys follow fathers to work and coffeehouses. The heads of families arrange most marriages, and girls are trained to be subservient to males in most situations. This pattern was changing, but remained the dominant feature of married life at the start of the twenty-first century.

The children of working families are also viewed as economic contributors from an early age, with schooling a secondary consideration. As the family ascends the ladder of economic wellbeing, however, this picture changes dramatically, and education becomes much more important. A larger middle class is developing, slowly, and this shift has profound implications for the family structure.

Within a male-dominated society, and one that prizes masculine codes of behavior, the discipline within a family is frequently harsh and may be based on physical punishment. This does not rule out affection, togetherness, or mutual love, but a stern system of respect has a strict code of discipline at its core.

Changes in Family Life

Only a generation ago, the majority of Turkish families lived in rural areas, and every member of the family had a place, a position, and a function. Young children and the elderly were cared for, everyone else contributed what he or she could. With the onset of industrialization and urbanization, however, the extended family network came under great strain. Fewer of the elderly, for example, can now live with their sons or daughters in small urban apartments, and so they must make other arrangements. The urge to acquire more material goods (televisions, automobiles, mobile telephones, etc.) has become more important, and the family may enjoy the benefits of a consumer society only by reducing its contributions to the extended family.

Faced with perceived threats towards the traditional Turkish family in 1990, the Prime Ministry Division for Family Research convened the First National Assembly on the Family (Aile Surasi). Attended by selected scholars, social service professionals, civil representatives, politicians, bureaucrats, and the media, the assembly developed multiple policy recommendations in family-related areas of economic life, health and nutrition, and other areas, with resolutions calling for increased child-care services and more public attention to the care of the elderly.

Constant change is a permanent aspect in most Turkish families. Some of this change is reflected in national statistics, but some is not. Change has also rearranged family values and priorities, to the extent that suicides, for example, rose because more people simply could not cope with modern life. Suicides have been uncommon in Turkey, but analysis suggests that the most prevalent reasons in 1998 were related to family and marital life, with 26 percent of suicides attributed to incompatibilities and conflicts within the family. Additionally, 13 percent of suicides were due to emotional relationships or the inability to marry the person of one's choice. These two categories together account for the majority of suicides. Most suicides occur in relatively young age groups (15–34), with women being more prone to suicide (SIS 1998).

As Turkey strives to become a successful member of the European Community, it is also changing its Civil Codes (2002), with profound implications for the rights of the individual, the legal status of women, children's rights, democratic practices, and social services.

Increasingly, the European and American models, through mass media, films, international agreements, more foreign tourists (more than 9 million in 2001), along with the explosive development of the Internet, are influencing the younger generation and providing alternatives to the traditional family structure. Literally, and often painfully, Turkey has, in the words of a former politician "leapt an era" and moved in a lifetime from being an insular, predominantly rural, and conservative society to a prominent player in the larger world, in almost every category of modern development. This change is continuing, with constant reliance on and modifications of traditional family structures throughout Turkey.

See also:Islam; Kurdish Families


anadan-unat, n. (1981). women in turkish society. leiden, the netherlands: e. j. brill.

arat, y. (1989). the patriarchal paradox: women politicians in turkey. rutherford, nh: furleigh dickinson university press.

bultay, t., ed. (2000). employment and training projectlabour market information (tor 6) informal sector. ankara: state institute of statistics prime ministry republic of turkey.

delaney, c. (1991). the seed and the soil: gender andcosmology in turkish village society. berkeley: university of california press.

duben, a., ed. (1986). family in turkish society, sociological and legal studies. ankara: turkish social science association.

duben, a., and behar, c. (1991). istanbul households:marriage, family and fertility 1880-1940. cambridge, uk: cambridge university press.

gürsoy, a. (1992). "infant mortality: a turkish puzzle?" health transition review 2(2)131–149.

gürsoy, a. (1994). "traditional practices affecting the health of women and children." in the basics of maternal and child health, ed. o. neyzi. istanbul: institute of child health, istanbul university/unicef.

gürsoy, a. (1995). "child mortality and the changing discourse on childhood in turkey." in children in the muslim middle east, ed. e. w. fernea. austin: university of texas press.

gürsoy, a. (1996). "abortion in turkey: a matter of state, family, or individual decision." social science & medicine 24(4):531–542.

kagitçibasi, Ç., ed. (1982). sex roles, family and community in turkey. bloomington, in: indiana university press.

kagitçibasi, Ç. (1996). family and human developmentacross cultures—a view from the other side. mahwah, nj: lawrence erlbaum associates.

measure dhs+ macro international inc. (1999). turkey demographic and health survey 1998 summary report. ankara: hacettepe institute of population studies.

ministry of health general directorate of mother and child health and family planning, hacettepe university institute of population studies, demographic and health surveys macro international inc., (1995). trends in fertility, family planning, and childhood mortality in turkey, findings from national demographic surveys and population censuses. ankara: author.

state institute of statistics, prime ministry, republic of turkey. (2001). statistical indicators 1923—1998. ankara. census of population provisional results. ankara: author.

state institute of statistics, prime ministry, republic of turkey. (2001). suicide statistics 1998. ankara: author.

state institute of statistics, prime ministry, republic of turkey. (2001). divorce statistics 1999. ankara: author.

state institute of statistics, prime ministry, republic of turkey. (2000). household labour force survey results. ankara: author.

state institute of statistics, prime ministry, republic of turkey. (1999). marriage statistics 1997. ankara: author.

state institute of statistics, prime ministry, republic of turkey. (1995). women in statistics 1927–1992. ankara: author.

state institute of statistics, prime ministry, republic of turkey, and international labor organization. (1997). child labor in turkey 1999—türkiye'de Çalişan Çocuklar 1999 (in turkish).

united nations development programme. (1999). humandevelopment report, turkey 1999. ankara: author.

unicef. (2001). the state of the world's children 2001. new york: author.

white, j. (1994). money makes us relatives, women's labor in urban turkey. austin: university of texas press.

white, j. (2000). "kinship, reciprocity, and the world market." in dividends of kinship, meanings and uses of social relatedness, ed. p. p. schweitzer. new york: routledge.


Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Turkey." International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Turkey." International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family. . (September 19, 2019).

"Turkey." International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



Modern republic formed from the central regions of the Ottoman Empire.

The Republic of Turkey (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti) was established in 1923. Its government was an authoritarian, one-party state until 1946, when the first competitive elections were held. In subsequent decades there have been three military coups, and one instance of military pressure that forced a civilian government to resign.

According to the 2000 census, Turkey's population was 67,844,903, an increase of 18.34 percent over the population of 56,473,035 enumerated in October 1990. In 2000 the population distribution was 65 percent urban and 35 percent rural.

The total area of Turkey is 300,948 square miles (779,456 sq. km). The Asian portion of Turkey, Anatolia (historically Asia Minor), comprises 291,773 square miles (755,693 sq. km), or about 97 percent of the total; the section located on the European continent totals 9,175 square miles (23,763 sq. km). The European portion of Turkey is separated from the Asian by the Sea of Marmara, which in turn is connected to two larger bodies of water by two narrow straits. In the northeast, the Bosporus Strait connects the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea, while in the southwest, the Dardanelles Strait connects it to the Aegean Sea. Turkey borders the Aegean Sea and Greece on the west, Bulgaria on the northwest, the Black Sea on the north, Georgia on the northeast, Armenia on the east, Iran and Iraq on the southeast, and Syria and the Mediterranean Sea on the south.

The capital of Turkey, Ankara, is located in the central Anatolian plains; a small market town in 1923, Ankara today is home to more than 3.5 million people. The largest city, Istanbul, straddles the European and Asian sides of Turkey and has a population of 9.1 million. An important historical city, Istanbul (formerly Byzantium, then Constantinople) was first the capital of the Byzantine Empire and later the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Today, it is the cultural and business capital of Turkey. The third-largest city is İzmir (English, Smyrna), a major industrial center with a population of 2 million. Other major cities, each with populations over 1 million, include Adana, Bursa, and Konya.

Geographically, Turkey consists of a ring of mountains that enclose a series of plateaus that lie between 2,625 and 6,560 feet (800 and 2,000 m) above sea level. The highest mountains are in the east, with Mount Ararat reaching 16,945 feet (5,165 m). In the west, the highest mountain, Mount Erciyas, reaches 12,800 feet (3,900 m). The coastal regions on the south, west, and north are extremely narrow. Most of the coastal regions receive adequate rainfall; as much as 100 inches (254 cm) falls annually on the eastern Black Sea coast, and almost as much on the Aegean coast. The central plateau, on the other hand, is sheltered by its ring of mountains and receives little rainfall, generally under 10 inches (250 mm) annually. There are extensive expanses of arid steppe and even desert. Turkey's two major rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, are both in the east. There are many lakes, both salt and freshwater; the largest is Lake Van, which covers 1,100 square miles (2,850 sq. km). Climate in the central plain ranges from severe winters with temperatures often dropping to minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 30 degrees Celsius) to hot and dry summers, with temperatures ranging from highs of 85 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (30 to 43 degrees Celsius) in the southeast. In the western region, winters are relatively mild, hovering around freezing, and summers are hot. The Aegean coast is mild in winter and temperate in summer.

Turkey is divided into seventy-three provinces, each administered by a governor. According to the
1982 constitution, legislative power is vested in a unicameral Grand National Assembly composed of 400 deputies elected by universal adult suffrage and serving five-year terms. In 1987 the number of deputies was raised to 450. Executive power is vested in the office of the prime minister and in the office of the president, who is elected to a seven-year term by the assembly. Although the prime minister heads the government, the president has the power to appoint a prime minister, senior civil servants, and senior members of the judiciary; submit constitutional amendments for popular referenda; challenge the constitutionality of laws by submitting them to the constitutional court; call for new elections; declare martial law; and order the armed forces into action domestically or internationally. In addition, the National Security Councilcomposed of the president; prime minister; chief of staff; heads of the army, navy, air force, and police; and
ministers of interior, foreign affairs, and defensehas the power to present compulsory orders to the government in matters of national security.

There are no official census data on the ethnic, religious, and linguistic composition of the population of Turkey. The majority of Turks are native Turkish speakers. Ethnically, they trace their roots back to central Asia, although many Turks are Caucasians, particularly Circassians and Georgians. There is also a significant population of Kurds, a people of Indo-European descent who speak Kurdish, a language closely related to Persian. Kurds comprise an estimated 15 to 20 percent of Turkey's total population. Kurds are concentrated in the east and southeast and along the Syrian and Iraqi borders, but significant numbers have migrated to major cities in western Turkey. A large number of Arabs inhabit the region of Hatay, a small territory formerly part of Syria but ceded by the French to Turkey in 1939. The large populations of Greeks and Armenians in the nineteenth century were reduced by war and deportations during and after World War I to relatively small numbers living in Istanbul: roughly 6,000 Greeks and 60,000 Armenians. The vast majority of Turkish citizens are Muslim. Most Kurds and Turks are Sunni Muslims, but an estimated 20 to 30 percent of the population are Shiʿite Muslims, primarily of the Alevi sect. There are also small numbers of Jews (22,000), Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Assyrian Christians.

Agriculture and Industry

Turkey's major agricultural products are cereals, cotton, tobacco, grapes, figs, olives, hazelnuts, oil-seeds, and tea. Until 1980 agricultural products, particularly cotton, provided the bulk of exports. Despite continued government attention to raising agricultural output, growth has been slow, limited by the lack of irrigated land and the low rainfall on the central plateau. Only about one-third of all land is cultivated, mostly on family-size plots, with larger farms in the coastal regions. Agriculture provides about 20 percent of the gross national product.

The Turkish government initiated a strategy of state-led industrialization in the 1930s, when a series of public enterprises were established. After 1950 increasing support was given to the private sector, so that by 1970, private-sector industrial output and investment was almost equal to that of the public sector. In 1980 the government launched a program of liberalization, designed to diminish state economic intervention and increase the role of market forces. Since 1987 the government has been privatizing some state economic enterprises, though progress has been slow. The largest industry is textiles, providing about one-third of output and export earnings. Turkey's production and export of iron and steel have increased rapidly, as has production of cement and paper products. Motor vehicle production began in the 1950s but consists mostly of assembly industries; because production has been spread out over a large number of small plants, production costs are high and exports have been negligible. Turkey's petrochemical industry produces fertilizers and a range of industrial inputs.
Other manufacturing industries include tobacco, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, glassware, and engineering.

Turkey has a large mining industry, mostly in the public sector, employing over 200,000 workers. Important mineral resources include bauxite, borax, chromium, copper, iron ore, manganese, and sulfur. The center of coal mining is at Zonguldak, on the Black Sea coast. Oil was discovered in 1950 in the southeast, but production is limited, accounting for about 10 percent of domestic consumption; the remainder is imported. In 1990 petroleum products accounted for about 15 percent of all imports. Of Turkey's natural mineral resources, only borates and petroleum products are exported, in small quantities.

Imperial History

Urban culture in Asia Minor dates to the second millennium b.c.e. In 330 c.e., the Roman emperor Constantine founded the city of Constantinople (now Istanbul), which became the capital of the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine, Empire. In the eleventh century, Ghuzz Turks who had established the Seljuk empire in the area that is today Iran and Iraq began to migrate into Anatolia, conquering territory from the Byzantine Empire. By the thirteenth century, independent princedoms were established in Anatolia, including the principality of the House of Osman, or Othman, in the northwest. Over the next several centuries, the Ottoman (from Othman) Empire conquered all of the Byzantine Empire, capturing Constantinople in 1453, as well as much of eastern Europe and the Middle East.

By the year 1800, however, several European states as well as the Russian Empire had become stronger than the Ottoman Empire. Throughout the nineteenth century, the government undertook various reform efforts to strengthen the Ottoman military, administration, political organization, and economy in order to meet the competition presented by rivals.

In the course of the nineteenth century, a middle class emerged in the Ottoman Empire. Educated in the new schools of the empire, members of the middle class had a vision of a liberal society ruled by a constitutional government and formed movements to achieve their goal, such as the Young Ottomans and later the Young Turks. These groups alternately were supported by reformist governments or suppressed by autocratic governments. In 1908, the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) overthrew Abdülhamit II and restored the constitution. The CUP government initially enjoyed widespread popular support. But subsequent opposition to its modernizing reforms, combined with foreign wars, led the CUP to establish its own dictatorship. In 1914 the CUP formed an alliance with the Central Powers and entered World War I. After four years of fighting a bitter defensive war against the Allies on many fronts, the empire was defeated; Allied armies captured the Middle Eastern territories of Palestine, Syria, and Iraq; and Allied forces occupied Istanbul. On 30 October 1918 the Turks signed an armistice at Mudros.

Birth of the Modern Republic

On 15 May 1919, Greek forces invaded western Turkey, triggering the formation of a new Turkish army that would defeat the Greeks and then establish the modern Turkish republic. The leader of the Turkish war of liberation was Mustafa Kemal, later given the name Atatürk (Turkish: "father of the Turks"). On 23 July 1919 Kemal convened a nationalist congress in Erzurum, delegates to which later issued the National Pact (Mithaq al-Watani), a declaration calling for the dissolution of the empire and control over non-Turkish provinces, the end of foreign occupation, and the independence of all areas inhabited by Turks. Pulling together an army, the independence movement succeeded in defeating the Greek army and negotiating a withdrawal of Allied forces. The Treaty of Mudanya recognizing Turkish sovereignty was signed on 24 July 1923. On 29 October 1923 Turkey was declared a republic with Kemal as its first president and Ankara as its capital.


The next two decades were years of reform, as Kemal and his associates attempted to complete the now 100-year-old project of modernizing Turkey. The 1924 constitution created an elected parliament as the sole repository of sovereignty and a presidency exercising executive power. In practice, however, Kemal's government was a dictatorship. A single party, the Republican People's Party (RPP), was formed as the agent of central government rule and control. In 1924 the caliphate, the highest religious office, was abolished, and in 1928 Turkey was declared a secular state. The old legal codes were annulled and replaced with civil and criminal codes adopted from Europe. The fez, the trademark Ottoman headgear adopted in the nineteenth century, was considered a symbol of the old order and was declared illegal, while the Arabic alphabet was replaced with a Roman one.

In 1929, with the onset of the Great Depression and the lapsing of the Treaty of Lausanne, which had imposed a laissez-faire trade policy on Turkey, Kemal launched a program of state-led economic development. Influenced by the Soviet experiment with its five-year development plans, in 1934 the government formulated its own five-year plan for industrial investment. Completed in 1939, the plan introduced heavy industry into Turkey while allowing the country to weather the depression with a trade surplus.

During the 1930s Kemal transformed the RPP on the model of European fascist parties. The distinction between party members and government officials was blurred, as all public officials were expected to work to implement the new ideology of the party. This ideology, officially adopted in 1931 and known as Kemalism, emphasized six themes: republicanism, nationalism, populism, statism, secularism, and devrimçilik, which was interpreted by moderates as reformism and by radicals as revolutionism. In 1938 Kemal Atatürk died and was replaced as president by his lieutenant, Ismet Inönü. Although Inönü kept Turkey neutral during World War II, a number of government policies on resource mobilization created widespread economic austerity, alienating large sectors of the population including those businessmen who opposed the policy of state-led economic development.

Political Reforms and Military Coups

The postWorld War II period was a new era for the Turkish republic. Responding to the dissatisfaction of wartime economic policies and feeling the need to win American support against Soviet encroachments, Inönü announced the resumption of multiparty politics and competitive elections. There had been two experiments with a second party in the 1920s, but in both cases the opposition party was closed down after a short life. This time, the commitment to political pluralism was greater, and in the general elections of May 1950, the chief opposition, the Democrat Party (DP), won an overwhelming victory. The DP had campaigned on a platform of economic and cultural liberalism and increased political freedoms. Its new economic policies, based on import-substituting industrialization and the encouragement of agriculture, increased the standard of living of wide sectors of the population, particularly peasants. The DP permitted more freedom of religion than the Kemalists, who were militantly hostile to religion. But the DP increased the role of the state in the economy instead of reducing it; as the 1950s passed, the party showed signs of becoming dictatorial. A combination of incipient economic crisis and antidemocratic measures prompted a military coup on 27 May 1960.

The new military rulers formed a thirty-seven-member National Unity Committee (NUC) and convened a constitutional convention, dominated by supporters of the RPP. A new constitution was promulgated in 1961, and it included several liberal provisions. The NUC also allowed political parties to resume their activities. The two principal parties, the RPPstill led by Inönüand the Justice Party (JP), the successor to the DP, formed a series of short-lived coalition governments, first together, and later between the RPP and several smaller parties, and then the JP with smaller parties. In October 1965 the JP, led by Süleyman Demirel, won a majority. The Turkish economy, now supervised by the State Planning Organization, which issued five-year development plans, grew at a rapid rate during the 1960s. But political instability came from two sources: numerous defections of members from existing parties and the proliferation of smaller parties; and the eruption of street violence as radical students and organizations on the left clashed with extremist students and organizations on the right.

On 12 March 1971 the military leadership accused the government of allowing the country to slip
into anarchy and called for the creation of a stable government. The Demirel government resigned, and subsequently martial law was declared. After martial law was finally lifted in September 1973, Turkey was ruled by a series of weak coalition governments as economic conditions deteriorated. By the end of the decade, the economy was in critical condition; beginning in 1978, political violence once again erupted in the streets. On 12 September 1980 the military intervened for the third time in two decades. All existing political parties were banned, and their members prohibited from engaging in politics. A new constitution, promulgated in 1982, reversed some of the liberal measures of the 1961 constitution by enhancing the authority of the president and the cabinet vis-a-vis parliament and placing restrictions on political activity.

Party Politics

In 1983 elections were held among three new parties. The winning party was the Motherland Party (Anavatan Partisi; ANAP), led by Turgut Özal, a technocrat who had designed the January 1980 measures. Özal formed a new government and accelerated the strategy of economic liberalization and encouraging exports. Despite some success at economic liberalization, persistent government deficits resulted in high inflation and eroded popular support for the government. New parties emerged to rival ANAP: the True Path Party (TPP; Doğru Yol Partisi), a continuation of the Justice Party, led by Süleyman Demirel after 1987; the Social Democratic Populist Party (Sosyal Demokrat Halkci Parti; SHP), a continuation of the RPP under the leadership of Erdal Inönü, the son of Ismet Inönü; and the Refah Party, the continuation of the National Salvation Party. In 1989 Özal was elected president. In the 1991 elections ANAP, now led by Mesut Yilmaz, came in third, and the top two parties, the TPP and the SHP, formed a coalition government. On 17 April 1993 Özal died, and Demirel replaced him as president. On 13 June 1993 Tansu Çiller, an American-trained economist and former professor at Bosporus University, became the new head of the TPP and prime minister. Çiller was the first woman to serve as prime minister of Turkey.

In the 1995 parliamentary elections, the Refah Party obtained the largest number, but not a majority, of parliamentary seats, the first time an avowedly religious party had done so well since the establishment of the republic more than seventy years earlier. In 1996 Necmeddin Erbakan formed a coalition government, but the military effectively forced him to resign one year later. During the next five years, a series of coalition governments that purposefully excluded Refah and its successor failed to implement programs to deal with the country's economic problems. In the fall 2002 elections, the Justice Party and the Development Party, one of the successor parties to Refah, won an overwhelming majority of parliamentary seats in an election that saw the virtual elimination of ANAP and TTP from politics.

see also abdÜlhamit ii; adana; alevi; anatolia; ankara; atatÜrk, mustafa kemal; bursa; Çiller, tansu; committee for union and progress; demirel, sÜleyman; democrat party; erbakan, necmeddin; erzurum; inÖnÜ, erdal; inÖnÜ, İsmet; istanbul; İzmir; kemalism; konya; kurds; national unity committee (turkey); Özal, turgut; young ottomans; young turks.


Ahmad, Feroz. The Making of Modern Turkey. New York: Routledge, 1993.

Bianchi, Robert. Interest Groups and Political Development in Turkey. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984.

Findley, Carter V. Bureaucratic Reform in the Ottoman Empire: The Sublime Porte, 17891922. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980.

Fisher, W. B. The Middle East: A Physical, Social, and Regional Geography, 7th edition. London: Methuen, 1978.

Tapper, Richard, ed. Islam in Modern Turkey: Religion, Politics, and Literature in a Secular State. London: I. B. Tauris, 1991.

Waldner, David. State Building and Late Development. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999.

david waldner
updated by eric hooglund

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Turkey." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Turkey." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . (September 19, 2019).

"Turkey." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



Official name: Republic of Turkey

Area: 780,580 square kilometers (301,382 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: Mount Ararat (5,166 meters/16,949 feet)

Lowest point on land: Sea level

Hemispheres: Northern and Eastern

Time zone: 3 p.m. = noon GMT

Longest distances: 1,600 kilometers (994 miles) from southeast to northwest; 650 kilometers (404 miles) from northeast to southwest

Land boundaries: 2,627 kilometers (1,632 miles) total boundary length; Armenia 268 kilometers (167 miles); Azerbaijan 9 kilometers (6 miles); Bulgaria 240 kilometers (149 miles); Georgia 252 kilometers (157 miles); Greece 206 kilometers (128 miles); Iran 499 kilometers (310 miles); Iraq 331 kilometers (206 miles); Syria 822 kilometers (511 miles)

Coastline: 7,200 kilometers (4,474 miles)

Territorial sea limits: 11 kilometers (6 nautical miles) in the Aegean Sea, 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles) in the Black and Mediterranean Seas


Turkey is located in the Middle East, with territory in both Europe and Asia. The country shares borders with Bulgaria, Greece, Iraq, Syria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Georgia. It also has coastal borders on the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Aegean Sea. With a total area of about 780,580 square kilometers (301,382 square miles), the country is slightly larger than the state of Texas. Turkey is administratively divided into eighty provinces.


Turkey has no outside territories or dependencies.


The southern part of Turkey enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with a mean annual temperature of 17°C to 20°C (63°F to 68°F). In Istanbul, temperatures average 4°C (40°F) in winter and 27°C (81°F) in summer. The northern area along the Black Sea is slightly cooler, with a mean annual temperature range from 14°C to 16°C (57°F to 60°F). In the north, winter temperatures average about 7°C (45°F) and summer temperatures average 23°C (69°F). The central plateau region experiences wider daily and seasonal temperature variation, with cold winters and hot summers; annual mean temperatures range from 8°C to 12°C (46°F to 54°F). The eastern region has higher elevations and temperatures there are cooler, with the yearly mean between 4°C to 9°C (39°F to 48°F). Winters can be severe in the east, with 120 days of snow cover and minimum temperatures of -30°C to -38°C (-4°F to 3°F). The average winter temperature in the east is -13°C (21°F) and in summer, the average is 17°C (63°F).

Adequate rainfall of about 58 to 130 centimeters (23 to 51 inches) occurs along the Mediterranean coast and the western coast of the Aegean Sea. The region bordering the Black Sea is also well watered, with annual rainfall in the range of 71 to 220 centimeters (28 to 87 inches). The Taurus Mountains along the Mediterranean prevent rain from reaching the heart of the country, which is therefore much drier, with annual rainfall between 56 to 71 centimeters (22 to 28 inches).


About 3 percent of the territory in Turkey belongs to the European region known as Thrace. This region shares borders with Greece and Bulgaria. It is separated from the Asian portion of Turkey by a series of waterways that connect the Black Sea with the Aegean Sea. The rest of the country is located in Asia, mostly on the peninsula of Asia Minor, which is the westernmost extension of the continent. This region is also called Anatolia, or simply Asiatic Turkey.

Turkey's terrain is structurally complex and divides into five regions: the Black Sea region in the north; the Sea of Marmara region in the northwest; the Aegean Sea region in the far west; the Mediterranean Sea region in the south; and the Anatolian Plateau region in the country's center. All of the regions share a generally mountainous terrain, and many large lakes and rivers appear throughout the country.

Turkey is located on the Eurasian Tec-tonic Plate; however, the southern borders of the country rest atop the boundaries with the Arabian Tectonic Plate and the African Tectonic Plate. There is also a major fault line beneath the northern part of Asia Minor. As a result of its geological location, the country is subject to a very high level of seismic activity. The tremors cause massive damage to buildings and numerous deaths and injuries, especially if they occur at night during the winter months. The most earthquake-prone region centers on an arc that stretches from the general vicinity of the Sea of Marmara to the area north of Lake Van (Van Gölü), on the border with Georgia and Armenia.


Seacoast and Undersea Features

Turkey has coastlines on four different seas: the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara, the Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. The northern coast of Turkey is on the Black Sea, an inland body of water that separates Europe from Asia. The Black Sea contains calm waters that are free of tides and dangerous marine life. Called the "Hospitable Sea" by the ancient Greeks, the Black Sea is only half as saline as the Mediterranean Sea and has gentle sandy slopes, making it ideal for swimming.

The Mediterranean Sea, which lies on Turkey's southern coast, is an almost completely landlocked sea. It links to the Atlantic Ocean at its western point through the Strait of Gibraltar and to the Red Sea at its southeastern shore though the Suez Canal. The Aegean Sea to the west of Turkey is an extension of the Mediterranean.

The Sea of Marmara (Marmara Denizi) is a small inland sea that is situated between Asiatic and European Turkey. It has a surface area of about 11,350 square kilometers (4,382 square miles).


The term "Middle East" was coined by western Europeans as a geographic designation for those countries of southwest Asia and northeast Africa that stretch from the Mediterranean Sea to the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan, including nations on the Arabian Peninsula. This area was considered to be the midpoint between Europe and East Asia, which was usually called the Far East. In a cultural sense, the term sometimes includes all the countries in the region that are primarily Islamic. In this sense, the Middle East includes the countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as some of the North African countries that border the Arabian Peninsula.

Sea Inlets and Straits

The Dardanelles Strait (also known as Çanakkale Boğazi) connects the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean Sea in the west, while the Bosporus Strait (also known as Istanbul Boğazi or Karadeniz Bogazi) connects it to the Black Sea in the northeast. The great city of Istanbul (formerly known as Constantinople and Byzantium) is located on the Golden Horn (Haliç) estuary of the Bosporus. These two straits and the Sea of Marmara itself are what separate Europe and Asia.

Along the Aegean Sea coast are a number of inlets, including the Gulf of Edremit. This protected gulf encloses clear Aegean waters. The shores lining the gulf feature sandy beaches surrounded by olive groves. The Gulf of Antalya indents the middle of the southern coast and the Gulf of skenderun marks the southeastern edge of Asia Minor.

Islands and Archipelagos

There are numerous islands off the western coast in the Aegean Sea, but almost all of them belong to Greece. One of the few exceptions is the island of Gökçeada (mroz). Turkey's largest island, located not far from the Dardanelles, is covered with pine and olive trees and surrounded by sparkling clear water. There is also an archipelago of nine small islands in the Sea of Marmara, where wealthy Turks have summer homes.

Coastal Features

There are narrow coastal lowlands along the Black Sea and Mediterranean coasts. The Aegean coastline is extremely irregular, with dramatic mountain faces rising perpendicularly from the sea and many islands just off shore (most of which belong to Greece). The Gallipoli Peninsula extends southwest from Thrace to form the northern side of the Dardanelles.


The largest lake in the country, Lake Van (Van Gölü), is situated near the border with Iran. It covers an area of about 3,713 square kilometers (2,545 square miles). Other lakes in this eastern region include Ercek, Cildir, and Hazar. Turkey's second-largest lake, the shallow and salty Lake Tuz (Tuz Gölü), lies in central Anatolia directly south of Ankara. Lakes Akşehir and Eber lie west of Lake Tuz. Further to the southwest, in the Taurus Mountains west of Konya, are Lakes Beyşehir and Eğridir. Lying around the Sea of Marmara are numerous small lakes, the largest of which are Kuş, Ulubat, and Iznik.


The Temple of Artemis was built around 550 b.c. in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, which is now a part of western Turkey. In Greek mythology, Artemis (known as Diana to the Romans) was the daughter of Zeus and goddess of the hunt and of the moon. The temple at Ephesus constructed in her honor was one of the largest and most complex temples built at that time. The foundation was about 61 meters (200 feet) wide and 122 meters (400 feet) long, with a large marble sanctuary containing over 106 columns, each one about 18 meters (60 feet) tall. Fire destroyed the temple in 356 b.c. but it was later rebuilt on the same site; this second temple also burned in 262 a.d. Sculptures and other surviving artifacts are currently owned by the British Museum in London. The foundation site still remains mostly intact. Along with the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, also located in Turkey, the Temple of Artemis is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Turkey has extensive wetlands, most of which provide protected habitat for birds. The most important wetland area forms part of Kuscenneti National Park near Lake Kuz, where the habitat supports more than 225 bird species and an estimated three million individual migratory birds. Kuscenneti was established as a national park in 1959. Eleven other parks protect wetland bird habitats.


The Euphrates (Firat) River has its source in eastern central Turkey. With a total length of about 2,800 kilometers (1,750 miles), it is the longest river in Turkey and in all of the Middle East. The Euphrates flows west initially, then curves south, crosses the Taurus Mountains, and enters Syria. It eventually flows southeast through Iraq and into the Persian Gulf. There are two large reservoirs on the Euphrates in Turkey, the Keban and the Atatürk. The Tigris (Dicle) river also has its source in Turkey, somewhat farther south and west than that of the Euphrates in the Taurus Mountains. It follows a southeasterly path and soon exits Turkey for Iraq, where, hundreds of miles later, it joins the Euphrates shortly before reaching the Persian Gulf.

The longest river that flows completely within Turkey is the Kizil (Kizilirmak, Halys) with a length of about 1,355 kilometers (847 miles). It follows a twisting path through central Anatolia. It forms a broad half-circle just east of Ankara, first flowing southwest and then curving all the way to the northeast to empty into the Black Sea at the headland of Bafra. Other rivers that empty into the Black Sea are the Yeşil in the east and the Sakarya in the west. The Çoruh River, renowned for its whitewater rafting, rises in the mountains of eastern Turkey and reaches the Black Sea through neighboring Georgia.

The Gediz and Büyükmenderes Rivers flow westward to the Aegean Sea in Anatolia. The Maritsa River also empties into the Aegean in Europe and marks most of Turkey's border with Greece. The Seyhan, Ceyhan, and Göksu rivers flow southward into the Mediterranean Sea. Lying 76 kilometers (47 miles) south of Kayseri is the Kapuzbasi waterfall, which features a 70-meter (230-feet) cascade that is fed by seven underground springs.

Southwest of the Sea of Marmara region lies Gönen, where hot springs bubble from deep underground, reaching the earth's surface at about 82°C (180°F). Gönen has been the site of therapeutic mineral baths since the fifth century. In and around Bursa, thermal springs and therapeutic baths may also be found.


There are no desert regions in Turkey.


The Ergene Plain is a lowland region in Thrace that extends along rivers that discharge into the Aegean Sea or the Sea of Marmara. There are many grassland areas in Anatolia. To the east and south of the Sea of Marmara, fertile plains stretch from west to east, following the flow of the Gediz and Bakir Rivers. Grassland plains reach an elevation of about 899 meters (2,967 feet) around Lake Tuz (Tuz Gölü). Relatively flat land is also found to the east of Konya and south of Ankara. A fertile broad valley lies west of Lake Van, centered on Mus.

Slightly more than 10 percent of Turkey is covered by forest, most of which lies in protected national reserves or parks. Forests are found in the mountainous areas near the Black Sea, Sea of Marmara, Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. Small pine forests are found in central Anatolia, but the most common forest type is oak.

There are regions of moderate hills in Thrace and in the region along the eastern border with Syria.


Except for a relatively small segment along the Syrian border that is a continuation of the Arabian Platform, Turkey is part of the great Alpine-Himalayan mountain belt. The intensive folding and uplifting of this mountain belt during the Tertiary Period was accompanied by strong volcanic activity and intrusions of igneous rock material, followed by extensive faulting in the Quaternary Period. As a result, mountain ranges can be found throughout most of the country.

The most important mountain range in the south is that of the Taurus Mountains (Toros Dağlari). They run along the entire Mediterranean coast and extend far inland to the border with Iran. They also include many peaks of over 3,048 meters (10,000 feet). Smaller mountain ranges surround the Taurus on all sides, including the Aydin, Nur, Tahtali, Karagöl, and Mardin Mountains.

Another series of mountain ranges runs along the northern coast on the Black Sea. Principal among these are the Köroğlu, Küre, and Pontic Mountains. In the Marmara region of the northwest, the highest peak is Mount Olympus (Ulu Dağ), which rises to 2,543 meters (8,392 feet) and provides a center for winter sports. Further east, the mountains rise as high as 3,931 meters (12,897 feet) at Mount Kaçkar (Kaçkar Dagi).

The nation's highest peak is the extinct volcano Mount Ararat (Buyuk Agri Dagi), which rises to 5,166 meters (16,949 feet) in the far east near the border with Iran. To its southwest is a 3,896-meter- (12,857-feet-) high peak known as Little Mount Ararat. A plateau of lava covers the territory between the two peaks.


In about 353 b.c., the Greek architects Satyrus and Pythius built a huge white marble tomb in the ancient city of Halicarnassus to hold the remains of King Mausolus (a ruler of the Persian Empire) and his wife Artemisia. It was designed and built to stand about 135 feet tall with a beautiful ornamental frieze (a decorative band or border) sculpted around the top. The grandeur and beauty of Mausolus's tomb became so well known throughout the ancient world that the word "mausoleum" began to be used to indicate any large decorative tomb. In the fifteenth century, an earthquake caused serious damage to the tomb. The structure was eventually dismantled and several of its sculptures are now installed in the British Museum in London. The foundation of the building remains near the modern city of Bodrum, Turkey. The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.


In the central Anatolian region, the Melendiz River has eroded the Ihlara Valley to produce a deep canyon. The walls of the canyon have been carved to form Byzantine chapels, featuring many frescoes. Dwellings and tombs have also been found hewn into the rock. In a nearby region known as Cappadocia, early Christians chiseled villages into the canyons and lived there in hiding to avoid persecution. Archaeologists have uncovered five complete underground settlements here, all of which have been preserved and are open to the public. These rock sites of Cappadocia have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.


The large, central Anatolian Plateau is wedged between the northern and southern mountain ranges. It is composed of uplifted blocks and downfolded troughs, covered by recent deposits and giving the appearance of a plateau with rough terrain. This plateau is the heartland of the country, with altitudes rising from west to east from 600 to 1,200 meters (1,980 to 3,960 feet). Except in the northwest, the mountains act as formidable barriers between the coastal regions and the plateau. The plateau is crossed by many rivers and also contains several large lakes.

In the tourist center of Ügrüp, between Lake Tuz and Kayseri, exposed rock has eroded into strange monolithic formations called fairy chimneys. These resemble mushrooms, inverted cones, and obelisks; various civilizations throughout history have further shaped the fairy chimneys to provide living space.


Twenty-two dams and nineteen hydroelectric stations along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers distribute irrigation and electricity throughout the country. The largest is the Atatürk Dam, which stands at 184 meters (604 feet) high and 1,820 meters (5,971 feet) long. The Atatürk is one of the tallest dams in the world, as well as one of the largest earth and rock fill dams.

The Bosporus Bridge, which crosses the Bosporus Strait at Istanbul and connects the continents of Europe and Asia, is one of the world's longest suspension bridges. Completed in 1973, the bridge spans 1,074 meters (3,524 feet). Ancient writings indicate that there may have been a type of bridge constructed at this same crossing as early as 512 b.c.; if this is true, that structure would have been the first intercontinental bridge in the world. In 1988 a second bridge, Bosporus II, was built at a narrower point on the strait, north of the first bridge.



Facaros, Dana. Turkey. London: Cadogan, 2000.

Karpat, Kermit H., ed . Ottoman Past and Today's Turkey. Boston: Brill, 2000.

Kinzer, Stephen. Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001.


Allen, Thomas B. "Turkey Struggles for Balance." National Geographic, May 1994, 2-36.

Web Sites

Embassy of Turkey. (accessed April 18, 2003).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Turkey." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Physical Geography. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Turkey." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Physical Geography. . (September 19, 2019).

"Turkey." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of Physical Geography. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.


turkey as food it is especially associated with festive occasions such as Christmas and (in the US) Thanksgiving. The name (recorded from the mid 16th century) is short for turkeycock or turkeyhen, originally applied to the guineafowl (which was imported through Turkey), and then erroneously to the American bird.
like turkeys voting for Christmas used to suggest that a particular action or decision is hopelessly self-defeating.
talk turkey talk frankly and informally; a US expression recorded from the early 19th century, which originally could also mean talk agreeably or affably. The origin is not clear, but turkey appears to stand for something of substance (the ‘meat’) needing to be said.
turkey, heresy, hops, and beer came into England all in one year proverbial saying, late 16th century; perhaps referring to 1521. The turkey, found domesticated in Mexico in 1518, was soon afterwards introduced into Europe, in 1521, the Pope conferred on Henry VIII the title Defender of the Faith, in recognition of his opposition to the Lutheran heresy, the hop-plant is believed to have been introduced into the south of England from Flanders between 1520 and 1524, and beer as the name of hopped malt liquor became common only in the 16th century.

See also cold turkey, on St Thomas the Divine, kill all turkeys, geese and swine.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"turkey." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"turkey." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . (September 19, 2019).

"turkey." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

turkey (in zoology)

turkey, common name for a large game and poultry bird related to the grouse and the pheasant. Its name derives from its "turk-turk" call. Turkeys are indigenous to the New World; American fossils date back 40 million years to the Oligocene. The Mexican turkey, taken to Europe in the 16th cent. by the conquistadors, is the original of the domestic race. The wild eastern turkey, Meleagris gallapavo, was common in New England at the time of the Pilgrims, but has been exterminated there and now ranges from New York to Missouri. Commercial operations produced 260 million turkeys in the United States in 1989. Wild turkeys are woodland birds, gregarious except at breeding time. They are nonmigratory, although they are good fliers. Like pheasants, they are polygamous, and the male, who eats little during courtship, depends at this time on a fatty breast appendage for nourishment. The female alone builds the nest on the ground; she lays 8 to 15 eggs per clutch and also broods the young. The colorful ocellated turkey, Agriocharis ocellata is found in Central America. Turkeys are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Galliformes, family Meleagrididae.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"turkey (in zoology)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"turkey (in zoology)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (September 19, 2019).

"turkey (in zoology)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Turkey (country, Asia and Europe)

Turkey, Turk. Türkiye (tür´kēyĕ´), officially Republic of Turkey, republic (2005 est. pop. 69,661,000), 301,380 sq mi (780,574 sq km), SW Asia and SE Europe. It borders on Iraq (SE), Syria and the Mediterranean Sea (S), the Aegean Sea (W), Greece and Bulgaria (NW), on the Black Sea (N), and Armenia, Georgia, and Iran (E). Ankara is the capital of the country and İstanbul is its largest city.

Land and People

Asian Turkey (made up largely of Asia Minor), which includes 97% of the country, is separated from European Turkey (made up of E Thrace) by the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles (which together form a water link between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean). Northeast Asian Turkey includes part of historical Armenia, and SE Asian Turkey includes part of Kurdistan (see Kurds). European Turkey, which includes Edirne and most of İstanbul, is largely rolling agricultural land, drained by the Ergene River. Asian Turkey is mostly made up of highland and mountains, with some narrow strips of lowland in the west on the coasts of the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara and along the Simav, Gediz, and Menderes rivers; in the north on the Black Sea coast and along the Sakarya and Kizil Irmak rivers; and in the south on the Mediterranean coast and along the Aksu, Göksu, Seyhan, and Ceyhan rivers.

The center of W Asian Turkey is made up of the vast semiarid plateau of Anatolia (average height c.3,000 ft/914 m), which includes lakes Tuz and Beyşehir and which is fringed in the north by the Köroğlu Mts. and in the south by the Taurus Mts. In NE Turkey are the Pontic Mts. and in E Turkey are the Eastern Taurus Mts. Great Ararat Mt. (16,945 ft/5,165 m), the highest point in Turkey, and Lake Van are in the extreme eastern part of the country. SE Turkey is drained by the upper courses of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Turkey is subject to strong, sometimes devastating earthquakes.

Although the Turks regard the Osmanlis, or Ottomans, as their ancestors, they are a highly composite ethnic mixture. About 80% of the population is Turkish; Kurds make up most of the rest. The official language is Turkish, and Kurdish is widely used in the south and southeast; there is also an Arabic-speaking minority. About 99% of the people are Muslim, mostly of the Sunni branch; there is a significant Alevi minority, whose heterodox Islamic beliefs have led to anti-Alevi violence and discrimination. There are also small groups of Orthodox Christians (İstanbul is the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch) and Jews.


Turkey's economy is a mixture of modern industry and traditional agriculture; great strides have been made since the 1970s to strengthen and diversify the economy. The most productive farmland is in W Turkey, but in the 1970s the country began the massive Southeast Anatolia Project to use the Tigris and Euphrates rivers for irrigation and hydroelectric power. Although plagued by the conflict with Kurdish separatists and bitterly opposed by Syria and Iraq (who are concerned that the downstream water flow from the rivers to them will be severely impeded), the project has nine dams and eight hydroelectric stations in operation (out of 22 and 19 originally planned). The government's goal is to transform arid SE Turkey into a prosperous agricultural-industrial region.

Turkey's chief crops are tobacco, cotton, wheat, barley, corn, rye, oats, rice, olives, sugar beets, pulses, and citrus. Large numbers of sheep, goats (including many mohair-producing Angora goats), and cattle are raised.

The principal minerals extracted are coal, chromium, copper and iron ores, boron, antimony, and mercury. Some petroleum is produced. The leading industrial centers are İstanbul, Ankara, Karabük, Bursa, Izmir, Adana, Samsun, and Diyarbakir. The country's chief industries include food processing, mining, and the manufacture of textiles, motor vehicles, electronics, steel, construction materials, and forest products. Turkey is also noted for the manufacture of carpets, meerschaum pipes and artifacts, and pottery. There is a substantial tourist trade.

Turkey's main ports are İstanbul, Izmir, Samsun, Iskenderun, Mersin, and Trabzon. Turkey has one of the Middle East's best road and rail systems, which includes the Baghdad Railway. The annual value of Turkey's imports is usually considerably higher than that of its exports. The chief imports are machinery, chemicals, semifinished goods, fuels, and transportation equipment. The principal exports are textiles and clothing, foodstuffs, iron and steel products, and transportation equipment. The leading trade partners are Germany, Italy, Great Britain, the United States, Russia, and France. Large numbers of Turks are employed in Western Europe, especially in Germany.


Turkey is a parliamentary democracy governed under the constitution of 1982 as amended. The president, who is the head of state, is elected by the legislature for a single seven-year term. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is appointed by the president. The unicameral legislature consists of the 550-seat Grand National Assembly, whose members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms; a party must receive at least 10% of the vote to be seated in the assembly. Administratively, Turkey is divided into 81 provinces.


Although Anatolia (the western portion of Asian Turkey) is one of the oldest inhabited regions of the world, the history of Turkey as a national state began only with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. For the earlier history of the region now constituting Turkey, see (for the ancient period) Asia Minor; Ionia; Pontus; Thrace; Byzantium; (for the medieval period) Byzantine Empire; Armenia; Turks; Konya; Karaman; Nicaea, empire of; Trebizond, empire of; (for the modern period before 1918) Ottoman Empire; Eastern Question.

The Establishment of Modern Turkey

The Ottoman Empire, which had been tottering since the Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji in 1774, was dealt its death blow in World War I. By the Treaty of Sèvres (1920; see Sèvres, Treaty of) the victorious Allies reduced the once mighty empire to a small state comprising the northern half of the Anatolian peninsula and the narrow neutralized and Allied-occupied Zone of the Straits. Sultan Muhammad VI accepted the treaty, but Turkish nationalists rallied under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal (from 1934 known as Kemal Atatürk) and organized their forces for resistance.

In Apr., 1920, even before the Treaty of Sèvres was signed, a Turkish national government and national assembly began to function at Ankara. The nationalists defied the authority of the sultan, took the offensive against the Allies in Anatolia, and concluded (1921) a treaty of friendship with the USSR, which restored the Kars and Ardahan regions to Turkey in exchange for Batumi. In the meantime the Greeks, encouraged by the Allies, launched an offensive against the nationalists from their base at Izmir. The Turkish counteroffensive, beginning in Aug., 1922, ended with the complete rout of the Greeks and with the Turkish capture of Izmir (Sept., 1922). On Nov. 1, 1922, the Ankara government declared the sultan deposed, but it allowed his brother, Abd al-Majid, to succeed to the spiritual office of caliph.

Shortly afterward, a conference opened at Lausanne (see Lausanne, Treaty of) to revise the Treaty of Sèvres. The Treaty of Lausanne (1923) established the present boundaries of Turkey, except for the disputed region of Alexandretta (Iskenderun; see Hatay). Turkey was to exercise full sovereign rights over its entire territory, except the Zone of the Straits (see Dardanelles), which was to remain demilitarized. Under a separate agreement negotiated at Lausanne in 1923, approximately 1.5 million Greeks living in Turkey were repatriated to Greece, and approximately 800,000 Turks living in Greece and Bulgaria were resettled in Turkey.

Kemal Atatürk and the Republic

Turkey was formally proclaimed a republic in Oct., 1923, with Kemal as its first president; he was reelected in 1927, 1931, and 1935. The caliphate was abolished in 1924, and in the same year a constitution was promulgated that provided for a parliament elected by universal manhood suffrage (extended to women in 1934), and for a cabinet responsible to parliament. However, Kemal governed as a virtual dictator, and his Republican People's party was the only legal party, except for brief periods. During the 14 years of Kemal's rule, Turkey underwent a great transformation, which changed the religious, social, and cultural bases of Turkish society as well as its political and economic structure.

In 1925, the government intensified its antireligious policy, abolished religious orders, forbade polygamy, and prohibited the wearing of the traditional fez. In 1926, Swiss, German, and Italian codes of law were adopted and civil marriage was made compulsory. In 1928, Islam ceased to be the state religion and the Latin alphabet was substituted for the Arabic script. In 1930, Constantinople, which had been replaced as capital by Ankara in 1923, was renamed İstanbul.

At the death (1938) of Kemal, Turkey was well on its way to becoming a state on the Western model. In the economic field, Kemal aimed at obtaining self-sufficiency for Turkey without the aid of foreign capital. Foreign investors had virtually taken over the finances of the Ottoman Empire, and one of the major problems of the Turkish republic was to pay off the old Ottoman debt; the refusal of foreign loans thus was a basic point in Kemal's nationalist program. The difficulties of establishing basic heavy industries without foreign investment and in the absence of much domestic capital required the government to assume a large role, and state ownership became the rule in the new industries.

In foreign policy, Turkey sought friendly relations with all its neighbors. It entered the League of Nations in 1932, guaranteed its European borders by joining (1934) with Greece, Romania, and Yugoslavia in the Balkan Entente, and signed (1937) a treaty (the Saadabad Pact) with Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq. Although Communism was severely suppressed at home, relations with the USSR were cordial until World War II. Turkey was able to obtain a revision of the Straits Convention by the Montreux Convention of 1936 and gained a satisfactory solution of the Alexandretta dispute through an agreement with France in 1939.

Turkey after Atatürk

Ismet Inönü, who succeeded Kemal as president in 1938, warily steered a neutral course through the first five years of World War II, although Turkey received lend-lease aid from the United States after 1941. Despite considerable Allied pressure, Turkey declared war on Germany and Japan only in Feb., 1945; as a result of its declaration of war, Turkey took part in the conference (Apr.–June, 1945) at San Francisco that founded the United Nations. Relations with the Soviet Union became acrimonious after the USSR denounced (Mar., 1945) its friendship pact with Turkey and demanded a thorough revision of the Montreux Convention and joint control of the Straits. Turkey rejected all Soviet demands, and in 1947 it became, with Greece, the recipient of U.S. assistance under the Truman Doctrine (see Truman, Harry S.).

In the elections of 1950, the government party was defeated and Celal Bayar, leader of the Democratic party (established in 1946), succeeded Inönü as president. With Adnan Menderes as prime minister, the new government followed a policy of firm alignment with the West. Turkish troops fought with distinction in the Korean War, and in 1952 Turkey became a full member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; U.S. air and missile bases were subsequently established at Izmir and Adana. Turkey concluded a military defense pact with Yugoslavia and Greece (the Balkan Pact) in 1954 and played a leading part in the creation (1954–55) of the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO; until 1959 known as the Baghdad Pact). Tension with Greece over the island of Cyprus, whose population is mostly Greek but includes a sizable Turkish minority, began in the mid-1950s and continued after Cyprus became independent in 1960.

Partly as a result of aid under the Marshall Plan, the Turkish economy expanded considerably after 1950, and foreign capital was attracted by favorable investment laws. The Menderes government was returned to power in 1954 and 1957, although a serious economic crisis had developed. Growing discontent led to the enactment of restrictive laws by the government. Many leading journalists were jailed, and tension erupted into the open in Apr., 1960, when university students demonstrated against the government. The attempts to suppress these outbreaks led directly to a coup in May by an army junta headed by Gen. Cemal Gürsel. The junta, which favored a return to Kemalist principles, placed Menderes, Bayar, and several hundred other Democratic party leaders on trial for having violated the constitution; Menderes and several others were executed.

The Second Turkish Republic

In 1961, a new constitution providing for a bicameral legislature and a strong executive was approved in a referendum, thus establishing the second Turkish republic. General Gürsel was elected president and Inönü became prime minister at the head of a coalition government. During the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the Turkish government strongly supported U.S. President Kennedy's refusal to close down the U.S. bases in Turkey in exchange for the dismantling of Soviet bases in Cuba; thus, close U.S.-Turkish ties were reaffirmed.

Following a reversal in parliament, Inönü resigned in 1965 and was succeeded as prime minister by Suat Hayri Ürgüplü. After the center-right Justice party won a majority in the lower house of parliament in the general election of 1965, Süleyman Demirel replaced Ürgüplü as prime minister. Gürsel died in 1966 and was succeeded as president by Cevdet Sunay. In 1969 the United States and Turkey signed a military agreement under which Turkey gained some influence over the number of troops and types of weapons the United States deployed in Turkey.

Domestic and Foreign Strife

Demirel won the 1969 general elections handily, but his government was soon undermined by civil unrest caused by conflicts between leftists and rightists and by a separatist movement among the Kurds. Western Turkey suffered severe earthquakes in 1970–71. Civil strife continued and Demirel was followed by a succession of prime ministers in the early 1970s. In 1973, Fahri Korutürk succeeded Sunay as president of the country. Bülent Ecevit of the Republican People's party became prime minister in 1974.

Turkey maintained its close ties with the United States in the early 1970s and at the same time cultivated better relations with the USSR. Largely as a result of U.S. pressure, the growing of opium poppies in Turkey was banned in 1971 (effective 1972), although in 1974 the government announced it would allow cultivation of opium poppies under state control for medical purposes only. In mid-1974, Turkish troops invaded Cyprus following a Greek-oriented coup there, and they gained control of 30% of the island. Also in the early 1970s, the discovery of oil on the continental shelf under the waters surrounding the Greek Islands caused further conflict between Greece and Turkey. Largely because of the diplomatic intervention of the United States, Great Britain, and the United Nations, war between the two countries was averted.

Between 1975 and 1980, Demirel and Ecevit alternated as heads of minority governments while economic and social conditions worsened. In 1980 martial law was declared after civil violence claimed over 2,000 lives. Gen. Kenan Evren seized control of the government and forcibly restored order, harshly repressing opponents. A new constitution was approved in 1982, reestablishing the unicameral parliament with the proviso that Evren would remain head of state until 1989. The constitution also gave the military influence over civilian matters and autonomy in military affairs. In 1983 the conservative Motherland party won an overall majority, and its leader, Turgut Özal, became prime minister. By 1987 martial law had been lifted, except in the four Kurdish-dominated provinces in SE Turkey where a guerrilla campaign by the separatist Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) had begun in the mid-1980s. In 1987, Özal was reelected.

In 1989, Özal succeeded Evren as president. In the same year about 300,000 Muslim Turks crossed from Bulgaria into Turkey to avoid government attempts to forcibly Bulgarianize them. During the Persian Gulf War (1991), Turkey allowed the United States to launch air strikes against Iraq from Turkey. Although the war caused a massive dislocation of Kurds in Iraq, Turkey kept its borders closed in an effort to avoid an increase in Kurdish nationalism.

Parliamentary elections in 1991 ousted Özal's Motherland party from government and Demirel, now leader of the conservative True Path party, became the new prime minister. When President Özal died in 1993, he was succeeded by Demirel, and Tansu Çiller of True Path became prime minister, the first woman to hold that post. After an economic boom in the late 1980s, high inflation, a large foreign debt, and the impact of deficit spending led to a financial crisis in 1994. Social stability was disrupted, and Islamic fundamentalists became increasingly popular. Turkey continued periodic assaults on Kurdish guerrilla bases in Turkey and N Iraq, with heavy casualties on both sides. Human-rights groups accused Turkish forces of atrocities against civilians, including the razing of villages to deny Kurds safe harbor and the use of torture and summary executions. In 1995, Turkey joined in a customs union with the European Union.

A close parliamentary election in Dec., 1995, gave the Welfare party (an Islamist party), the largest single share (21%) of the vote, with the Motherland and True Path parties each winning 19%. A series of attempts to form a government resulted in a Welfare–True Path coalition in June, 1996, and Welfare leader Necmettin Erbakan became prime minister, ending 75 years of exclusively secular governments. Erbakan's overtures to Libya and Iran, as well as his support for Muslim education and culture, alarmed the secular military, and he was pressured to resign in June, 1997; Mesut Yilmaz of the Motherland party became the new prime minister. The Welfare party was banned in 1998, and Erbakan was forbidden to participate in politics for five years. Although other Welfare officeholders were allowed to retain their positions as independents, many of them reorganized as the Virtue party.

Yilmaz lost a confidence vote in Nov., 1998, as a result of a bank privatization scandal, and President Demirel appointed Bülent Ecevit, now head of the Democratic Left party, to form a government. Following elections held in Apr., 1999, Ecevit continued as prime minister, heading a three-party coalition government. High inflation persisted into the late 1990s. There were increasing disputes with Greece over territorial waters, airspace, and especially the partition of Cyprus. Conflict with Kurdish nationalists also heightened; by the late 1990s, the Kurdish rebellion had cost some 30,000 lives. PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan was captured in 1999 and sentenced to death for treason (later commuted to life imprisonment). The PKK announced in Feb., 2000, that they would end their attacks, but the arrest in the same month of several Kurdish mayors accused of aiding the rebels threatened to revive the unrest.

Two major earthquakes hit NW Turkey in 1999, killing thousands. Greece sent aid to Turkey, and when Turkey did likewise after an earthquake in Greece, it marked the beginning of an improvement in bilateral relations. Late in 1999, Turkey was invited to apply for membership in the European Union (EU); the action reversed a 1997 rejection of Turkey's candidacy that was prompted by Turkey's human-rights record. President Demirel sought a second term in 2000, but the constitutional amendment that would have permitted a second term failed to win the required votes in parliament in early April. Ahmet Necdet Sezer, the president of Turkey's highest court, was elected to succeed Demirel later the same month.

An yearlong effort in 2000 to bring Turkey's long-standing inflation under control began to undermine weaker banks late in the year, causing a drop in the stock market and requiring a $7.5 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan in December. Disagreements over the pace of reform between the president, who favored stronger moves, and the prime minister aggravated the crisis, and when the Turkish lira was floated in Feb., 2001, it sank more than 30%. In March and May, as Turkey's economy continued to falter, agreements were reached with the IMF on additional economic aid and an economic reform package. Although the immediate crisis was stemmed, economic difficulties continued into 2002; the recession was the country's worst since World War II.

The Virtue party was banned by Turkey's high court in June, 2001, on charges of pro-Islamic and antisecular activities; its members in parliament were, however, allowed to keep their seats. The center-right Justice and Development party (AKP) was subsequently formed as its successor. A split in Ecevit's government over whether to pass reforms needed to join the EU paralyzed the government in 2002 and led to the defection of many high-ranking members who supported passing the reforms. The erosion of the coalition forced (July, 2002) the ailing Ecevit to call for new elections. A reform package, including legalizing the use of Kurdish in private education and in broadcasts, was passed in August, and emergency rule in the four Kurdish-dominated provinces was ended in stages in 2002. (The changes, however, did not end the fighting between Turkish government and Kurdish rebel forces.)

The parliamentary elections in Nov., 2002, resulted in a landslide victory for the AKP, which won 34% of the vote and 66% of the seats in the national assembly; the Republican People's party was the only other party to win enough votes to qualify for representation. Abdullah Gül became prime minister because the AKP leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had been banned from running in the elections. The new parliament, however, passed a constitutional amendment permitting Erdoğan to run, and he was elected to parliament in a Feb., 2003, by-election and became prime minister. Gül became foreign minister.

In Dec., 2002, the EU refused to set a date for the start of negotiations for Turkey's admission to that body. The decision was prompted by EU uneasiness concerning the state of Turkish democracy and human rights and, many Turks believe, by EU discomfort with the fact the Turkey is an Islamic nation. Relations with the EU further soured in early 2003 when UN-sponsored Cyprus reunification talks collapsed, due in large part to Turkish Cypriot rejection of the proposed terms. Subsequently in 2003, however, the parliament passed a series of reforms designed to facilitate Turkey's admission.

In Mar., 2003, the Turkish parliament refused to grant the United States permission to invade N Iraq from bases in Turkey, despite the Turkish government's having negotiated a multibillion-dollar aid package in exchange for such rights; most Turks opposed U.S. military action against Iraq. Although permission to overfly Turkey was subsequently granted to U.S. forces, U.S.-Turkish relations were strained, and the situation was aggravated by Turkey's considering invading N Iraq to forestall any attempt by the Kurds there to move toward independence.

Erdoğan's government supported renewed UN-sponsored negotiations on reunifying Cyprus, and pressed for ratification of the accord (Apr., 2004) by Turkish Cypriots. Rejection of the accord by Greek Cypriots, however, left the situation on the island unresolved. In May, 2004, Congra-Gel, the PKK's successor, announced that it was ending its cease-fire because of government attacks against it, and by 2006 there was renewed violence and unrest in Kurdish areas. A new cease-fire was declared in Sept., 2006, and again in June, 2007, as the government mounted a vigorous offensive against Kurdish separatists.

Revisions to the penal code, the final part of the package of reforms sought by the EU, were passed by the Turkish parliament in Sept., 2004. Despite that, however, it was evident that there was strong sentiment against admitting Turkey in a number of EU countries, and a suggestion of possible new conditions for Turkey's admission to the EU elicited a strong protest from Turkish leaders in Dec., 2004. At the same time, there were also many nationalists in Turkey who objected to its joining the EU. The EU nonetheless agreed to begin negotiations in 2005 with Turkey on its admission, and they were officially opened in Oct., 2005.

The killing, in May, 2006, of a high court judge by an Islamist sparked secular, sometimes antigovernment, protests in Turkey; the military's open approval of the demonstrators brought criticism from Prime Minister Erdoğan, who accused the chief of the army of encouraging ongoing protests. A Turkish law that makes "insulting Turkishness" a crime led to several highly publicized controversial court cases (2005–6) against well-known authors, but most of the cases were dismissed. However, the law and other human rights issues, as well as Turkey's relations with Cyprus, were sticking points in negotiations with the EU. The latter issue led to a partial suspension of the accession negotiations in Dec., 2006, as Turkey refused to open its ports to trade with Cyprus unless the EU eased its trade restrictions on North Cyprus. An EU report on the accession process (Nov., 2007) said that Turkey still needed to make progress on a number of reforms. Despite some progress on reforms, a report three years later again focused on shortcomings in political and civil rights as well as Turkey's relations with Cyprus, and there was little subsequent movement toward accession.

In Apr., 2007, the AKP nominated Foreign Minister Gül for the presidency, but his election was defeated through parliamentary maneuvering. The party then sought to change the constitution so that the president would be popularly elected, but President Sezer vetoed the measure. A referendum on the amendment, which should have been forced by the passage of the amendment a second time, was stymied when the president vetoed (June) legislation that would have scheduled the vote in July, during the general election. Sezer's term meanwhile expired in May, but he remained in office until a new president was chosen.

The political battling over the presidency sharpened the tensions between the Islamists and secularists, but the AKP again won a sizable parliamentary majority (with 47% of the vote) after the July, 2007, elections. Gül was subsequently (August) elected president when the several smaller opposition parties refused to boycott the vote in parliament. Voters subsequently approved the direct election of the president by popular vote. Escalating fighting in between Turkish forces and Kurdish separatists in the second half of 2007 led Turkey to threaten to invade N Iraq in an attempt to destroy PKK bases there. Beginning in Oct., 2007, and continuing through 2008, Turkish forces mounted generally small-scale strikes into N Iraq.

In Feb., 2008, the government passed constitutional amendments that eased the ban against the wearing of headscarves by female university students; the amendments were challenged in court as contrary to Turkey's secular constitution. The following month, partly as a result of those amendments, a prosecutor brought a case before Turkey's constitutional court that sought to have the AKP closed and its leaders banned from politics for five years for antisecular actions. The move was widely regarded as an attempt by secularists to remove the government by "judicial coup." In June the headscarf reform was blocked by the constitutional court, which ruled that it was in violation of the constitution's secular principles.

More than 80 persons were charged in July, 2008, with attempting to provoke the overthrow of the government; the trial began in October. A second major indictment in Mar., 2009, charged more than 50 persons with plotting a coup, and by 2010 some 400 people had been arrested and put on trial in connection with plot, allegedly masterminded by a secret secular nationalist group called Ergenekon. The continuing probe into the alleged plot, which led to the arrest of journalists, politicians, and lawyers as well as military officers but no convictions by early 2012, led to charges by the opposition and criticism from abroad that the government was using the case to silence its secularist critics. In Aug., 2013, more than 250 people were convicted in the case, including a former head of the armed forces, İlker Başbuğ.

Meanwhile, in July, 2008, the constitutional court narrowly decided not to ban the governing party, instead imposing financial sanctions on it as a warning; the court later specifically accused the prime minister of antisecular activities. The government subsequently abandoned its attempt at headscarf reform. The AKP's failure to win as large a share of the vote (39% instead of 47%) in the Mar., 2009, local elections was seen as a setback for its policies.

Turkey and Armenia in Oct., 2009, signed protocols normalizing their relations, to take effect when ratified by both nations' parliament. Unresolved issues relating to the mass murder and deportation of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I (see Armenia) and Armenia's occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding Azerbaijani territory stoked opposition to the accord in both nations, and neither ratified the accord. In Dec., 2009, the constitutional court banned the Democratic Society party (DTP), the largest legal Kurdish party, for alleged links to Kurdish rebels; a number of Kurdish politicians were arrested subsequently. The moves raised tensions with Turkey's Kurds and led to several days of unrest. In Feb., 2010, however, DTP lawmakers formed the Peace and Democracy party (BDP).

Revelations in Jan., 2010, concerning a second alleged coup plot, this one dating to 2003 and known as Sledgehammer, led to dozens of arrests in February; among those arrested and charged were serving generals and admirals. In Dec., 2010, nearly 200 people were put on trial in connection with the alleged plot; by the time of the trial's end in 2012, more than 350 defendants were involved. Some of the documents supposedly associated with the plot contained clear anachronisms, and the trial was denounced by government opponents, but 326 officers, including the former chiefs of the air force and navy, were convicted of plotting a coup. In 2013 more than 80 convictions of lower-ranking officers were overturned on appeal. In 2014 the release of, and new trials for, the rest were ordered after the constitutional court ruled that their rights were violated, and the defendants were acquitted in 2015.

In May, 2010, the government passed a package of constitutional changes that were challenged in the constitutional court by the opposition; although the court rejected some changes that would increase presidential influence over the appointment of judges, it otherwise allowed the package to be voted on in a referendum, and the amendments were approved in September. Also in May, Turkey's increasingly independent foreign policy was shown by its ultimately unsuccessful attempt with Brazil to mediate a solution to the standoff between Iran and the UN Security Council over Iran's nuclear policies. Relations with Israel were strained by a deadly Israeli raid at the end of the month that seized a convoy attempting to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza; the convoy had been organized by a Turkish group.

The university headscarf ban ended in Jan., 2011, when the government announced it would support any woman disciplined for wearing one. In June, 2011, the AKP, benefitting from Turkey's significant economic growth since it first took power in 2002, won about half the vote in the parliamentary elections, and again won a sizable majority in the parliament, though not the two thirds of the seats required to amend the constitution. The following month the military chiefs of staff resigned in protest against the arrests of senior officers accused of plotting against the government, in apparent attempt to provoke a political crisis. Occurring relatively uneventfully, the resignations were instead seen as a marker of the military's loss of influence.

The Turkish government was critical of the Syrian government's increasingly repressive response during 2011 to opposition Syrian protests, and the crisis in Syria also strained relations with Iran, which was a strong supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Tensions with Syria sharply increased in mid-2012 after a Turkish military jet was shot down by Syria while flying along Syria's sea border, and later in the year Turkish forces regularly returned fire whenever Syrian fire landed in Turkey. Turkey shot down a Syrian helicopter in 2013 and a Syrian fighter jet in 2014; it said both had violated Turkish airspace

There were increased tensions with the Kurdish minority beginning in the second half of 2011, and fighting intensified with Kurdish rebels based in Iraq, leading Turkey to send sizable forces across the border; significant fighting with Kurdish rebels in Turkey continued into 2012. The government also moved against Kurdish politicians, journalists, and academics in Turkey after Turkish Kurds announced plans to establish democratic autonomy.

A strong earthquake in Oct., 2011, killed more than 600 and caused extensive damage near Lake Van in E Turkey. Erciş and Van were among the cities that suffered the greatest damage. In Jan., 2012, former president Evren was arrested on charges relating to his role in the 1980 coup; he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in June, 2014. The arrest of Evren, of those in the two coup cases (including a former head of the army in Jan., 2012), and of Turkish Kurds increased the perception that Prime Minister Erdoğan was using the justice system to settle scores and silence critics, and led to increased criticism of his government abroad. Negotiations with imprisoned Kurdish leader Ocalan, which began in late 2012, led in Mar., 2013, to a Kurdish guerrilla cease-fire and, later, to the gradual withdrawal of guerrilla forces to Iraq. The withdrawal halted in September, and the guerrillas accused the government of failing to make progress to resolution of the Kurdish problem.

In early 2013 a number of generals, include a former chief of the general staff, were detained and questioned concerning the forced resignation of Erbakan in 1997; subsequently some 100 officers were charged with overthrowing Erbakan and put on trial later in the year. Protests in late May, 2013, against proposed development in İstanbul developed into nationwide protests and strikes in June that were directed against Erdoğan; the government responded with a crackdown against the demonstrations and mounted counterdemonstrations of its supporters. In Sept., 2013, Erdoğan announced a package of human-rights reforms, including some language concessions to Kurds and an end to the ban on headscarves on female workers in government offices.

In Dec., 2013, revelations of a corruption investigation involving the families of cabinet ministers and others associated with the government led Erdoğan to accuse the moderate Islamic Gülen movement (see Gülen, Fethullah), a former political ally, of attempting to undermine his government. In response, his government purged police and prosecutorial officials throughout the country (some of whom were also arrested and charged with crimes in 2014 and 2015), blocked additional investigations, passed legislation establishing tighter control over the judiciary and increasing police powers, and targeted businesses and media associated with the movement. The revelations and government reaction also had economic repercussions, as the crisis caused the Turkish currency to drop in value and the government's actions were criticized by the EU. In local elections in Mar., 2014, the AKP largely retained the support it had had in the last parliamentary elections.

The European Court of Human Rights in May, 2014, ordered Turkey to pay Cyprus €90 million as compensation for the effects of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974; the case had been brought by Cyprus in 1994 and decided in its favor in 2001. Turkey announced it would not make the payment. In Aug., 2014, Erdoğan won Turkey's first direct presidential election. Ahmet Davutoğlu, his foreign minister, succeeded him as AKP party leader and prime minister. Kurds rioted in parts of E Turkey in Oct., 2014, over Turkey's refusal to send significant aid Syrian Kurds under attack by the Islamic State. In May and October, many charges in the Dec., 2013, corruption investigation were dismissed, and in Jan., 2015, the parliament voted not to send the former cabinet ministers involved in the investigation to trial. An arrest warrant for Fethullah Gülen was issued in Dec., 2014. In the June, 2015, elections the AKP lost its majority but remained the largest party in parliament; the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic party attracted support from left-wing voters and placed fourth.


See G. E. Bean, Turkey beyond the Meander: An Archaeological Guide (1971); G. Renda and C. M. Kortepeter, ed., The Transformation of Turkish Culture (1986); D. Facaros and M. Pauls, Turkey (1987); T. Bahcheli, Greek-Turkish Relations since 1955 (1988); M. Heper and A. Evin, ed., State, Democracy, and the Military: Turkey in the 1980s (1988); N. and H. Pope, Turkey Unveiled: A History of Modern Turkey (1999); S. Kinzer, Crescent and Star (2001); A. Mango, The Turks Today (2006); M. Bogdani, Turkey and the Dilemma of EU Accession (2010); B. Eligur, The Mobilization of Political Islam in Turkey (2010); C. V. Findley, Turkey, Islam, Nationalism, and Modernity: A History, 1789–2007 (2010).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Turkey (country, Asia and Europe)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Turkey (country, Asia and Europe)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (September 19, 2019).

"Turkey (country, Asia and Europe)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.


tur·key / ˈtərkē/ • n. (pl. -keys) 1. a large mainly domesticated game bird native to North America, having a bald head and (in the male) red wattles. It is prized as food, esp. on festive occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. • Meleagris gallopavo, family Meleagridae (or Phasianidae). ∎  the flesh of the turkey as food. 2. inf. something that is extremely or completely unsuccessful, esp. a play or movie. ∎  a stupid or inept person. PHRASES: talk turkey inf. discuss something frankly and straightforwardly.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"turkey." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"turkey." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . (September 19, 2019).

"turkey." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



Culture Name



Identification. The English word "Turkish" comes from the ancient Turkish word Türk, which can be used as an adjective or a proper noun. In Turkish, the name of the country is Türkiye. After decades of nationalistic indoctrination, most citizens self-identify as Turks regardless of ethnic background. Some of the major non-Turkish ethnic groupsthe Kurds in the southeast, the Arabs in the south, the Laz of the western Black Sea coast, and the Georgians in the northeast and northwestexpress double identities.

Location and Geography. Turkey occupies Asia Minor and a small portion of Europe. Its area is 301,382 square miles (814,578 square kilometers). It is bounded on the west by the Aegean Sea; on the northwest by the Sea of Marmara, Greece, and Bulgaria; on the north by the Black Sea; on the east by Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran; and on the south by Iraq, Syria, and the Mediterranean. Although Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) is the major city and was the capital of the Ottoman Empire, the first presidentMustafa Kemal Atatürkchose Ankara, an interior Anatolian city, as the capital in 1923. Militarily Ankara was less exposed and more easily defended than Istanbul. The choice also symbolized Atatürk's policy of nationalism, because Ankara was more Turkish and less cosmopolitan than the old capital.

Turkey has 4,454 miles of coastline. The interior consists of mountains, hills, valleys, and a high central plateau. The western coastal plains are generally more densely populated and industrial than are the central and eastern regions, except for Ankara on the central Anatolian plateau. Because Asia Minor had been home to Lydians, Hittites, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottomans over the centuries, it is dotted with historic monuments.

Physiographically, the country may be divided into five regions. The Black Sea region has a moderate climate and higher than average rainfall. It is dominated by the Pontic mountain range. The west is noted for agriculture, including grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and tobacco. In the more humid east, the mountains leave a narrow coastal plain rarely exceeding twenty miles wide. The Black Sea peoples settled and farmed the valleys and narrow alluvial fans of the area's rivers, developing a form of steep slope agriculture to grow vegetables and fruits. Tea, the major cash crop, did not become popular until the 1960s. Some villagers combined gardening with transhumant pastoralism, which involves grazing small herds of sheep, goats, and cattle on the lowlands in the winter and in the high Pontic pastures in the summer.

Until recently, the rugged topography limited agriculture, and alternative land-based industries were virtually absent. Thus, many western Black Sea men sought work outside the region in the navy and merchant marine or in major cities, later returning home to retire. While the men worked away, the women kept up the home, farmed the land, and cared for the livestock.

The central Anatolian plateau region is dotted with mountains and denuded of trees. It has a semi-arid climate with high temperatures in summer and low ones in winter. Villagers engage in animal husbandry and cultivate wheat, barley, and sugar beets. Areas unsuited for cultivation are used to graze large herds of sheep, cattle, and goats.

Eastern Anatolia is the most mountainous, remote, undeveloped, and sparsely populated region. Its elevation and cold temperatures make it less suitable for crop cultivation than the rest of Anatolia. Historically, its people engaged predominantly in animal husbandry, especially transhumant nomadism with herds of sheep, cattle, and goats. A tribal social organization survived longer in this area among the Turkish and Kurdish peoples.

The Mediterranean coastal region is lined by the Taurus Mountains. It has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, humid winters. The eastern part, around Mersin and Adana, is known for extensive cotton production by wealthy landowners. Mersin is an important seaport and oilrefining center. The western region is noted for citrus and banana groves. Seminomadic peoples traditionally utilized the Taurus Mountains to graze sheep, goats, cattle, and camels. Women among the Turkish Yürük pastoralists made woolen kilims, rugs, and saddlebags. Tourism is now a major industry.

The Aegean region also has a Mediterranean climate. It contains rich valleys and alluvial plains as well as rolling hills and mountains. A wide variety of crops are produced, including citrus fruits, olives, nuts, sunflowers, tobacco, sugar beets, grains, fruits, and vegetables. The area contains most of Turkey's prosperous small farmers and food-processing plants. Izmir is the region's major commercial and industrial center; it is the third largest city and second major port.

The MarmaraIstanbul region, a crossroads of Europe and Asia, is the most densely settled, commercial, industrial, and touristic region. It has a moderate climate, rich soil, and extensive coastlines. As a result of modern development, it has the highest percentage of the population engaged in nonagricultural pursuits of any region in the country. Istanbul, the largest and most cosmopolitan city, leads the country in commerce, shipping, fashion, literature, arts, and entertainment. Over the decades, it has attracted a steady stream of migrants from all parts of the country.

Demography. The annual population increase fell to 1.6 percent in 1998 after decades of annual growth over 2.5 percent. The 1998 population was estimated at 64,566,511, with 65 percent of the people living in urban areas and 35 percent in some thirty-five thousand villages. Turkey does not categorize its population by ethnicity, and the sizes of ethnic groups must be estimated. There are at least thirty-five non-Turkish ethnic groups, including other Turkic peoples who speak different Turkic languages, such as the Uygurs, Kirgiz, Kazaks, Uzbeks, Balkar, and Azerbaijanis. Those who speak non-Turkic languages include Kurds, Armenians, Greeks, Circassians, Georgians, Laz, Arabs, Rom (Gypsies), Ossetes, Albanians, and Chechens. The Kurds are the largest of these groups, probably numbering over ten million. The next largest may be the Arabs concentrated along the Syrian border at about one million and the Laz of the Eastern Black Sea coastal region, who may number about three hundred thousand.

Linguistic Affiliation. The Turks originated in inner Asia. Their language belongs to the Altaic family. The earliest evidence of Turkish writing dates to eighth-century c.e. runic inscriptions on steles along the Orkhon River near present-day Ulan Bator, Mongolia. The language was influenced by Persian and Arabic after the ninth century, when Turks began moving into the Middle East and converting to Islam. After the establishment of the Turkish Republic, many Arabic and Persian words were replaced with words derived from ancient Turkish. As part of Atatürk's Turkification program, all Muslim citizens were legally required to speak and write in Turkish. Until 1991, publications, radio broadcasts, and public speaking in many non-Turkish languages were legally prohibited. Today the vast majority of young people speak only Turkish. However, most Kurds raised in southeastern Turkey speak Kurdish as well as Turkish.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. Present-day Turkey was founded in 1923 as an offspring of the multiethnic and multilingual Ottoman Empire, which existed between the fourteenth and early twentieth centuries and embraced much of the Middle East along with parts of southeastern Europe and North Africa in the sixteenth century. In the nineteenth century, when the Balkans and the Trans-Caspian regions were separated from the empire, many non-Turkish Ottoman citizens fled or migrated to Anatolia and Turkish Thrace to resettle.

With the Ottoman Empire's demise in World War I, the heartland of the old empireIstanbul and Asia Minorwas reconstituted as the Republic of Turkey under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal (later called Mustafa Kemal Atatürk). To make Turkey a modern, Western-style, secular nation-state, Atatürk disestablished Islam as the state religion, adopted Western legal codes, and established a compulsory secular educational system in which all young Muslim citizens, regardless of ethnicity, were taught that they were ethnically Turkish and citizens of a Turkish nation-state. After centuries of intermarriage with Mediterranean and Balkan peoples and the assimilation of those peoples into the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish state, the vast majority of today's Turks physically resemble southern Europeans rather than central Asiatics.

National Identity. The government founded and supported historical and linguistic societies that researched and, if necessary, invented a glorious Turkish past that would instill pride in the country's citizens. The official policy of Turkish nationalistic indoctrination has been largely effective. Most citizens, regardless of their non-Turkish ancestry, self-identify as Turks both ethnically and nationally, with the exception of some Kurds.

Ethnic Relations. After the post-World War I Treaty of Laussane, only Christian Armenians, Orthodox Greeks, and Jews were allowed to maintain their religious and educational institutions. Since 1999, the only non-Turkish languages taught in public schools have been western European languages and Arabic.

About half the Kurds reside in southeastern Turkey, their traditional homeland. Most of those in other regions have become Turkified though education, work, military service, and intermarriage. Since the 1970s, a growing number of Kurds have rediscovered their non-Turkish roots, based in part on Kurdish, an Indo-European language related to Persian.

Although the use of Kurdish in public speech and print has been legal since 1991, prosecutors often arrest Kurdish speakers and confiscate Kurdish publications under the Anti-Terror Law, which prohibits the dissemination of separatist propaganda. Prosecutors also have used other parts of the criminal code to limit ethnic expression. As of 1999, Kurdish-language broadcasts remained illegal. The Sanliurfa (southeastern Turkey) branch of the Mesopotamian Cultural Center, a corporation established to promote the Kurdish language and culture, was banned in 1997 by the provincial governor. In 1997, the governor's office in Istanbul refused the Kurdish Culture and Research Foundation permission to offer Kurdish-language classes.

Some Kurds are demanding cultural rights and even independence or regional autonomy for the southeast. Since 1984, the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), a secessionist and sometimes terrorist organization, has been fighting the Turkish military in that area. Up to March 1999, about thirty thousand people, mostly PKK members, had been killed in the fighting. The Turkish military's actions have engendered support for the PKK, which occasionally carries out cross-border raids from northern Iraq. Turkish armed forces have compelled the evacuation of over a million civilians from the southeast and destroyed over two thousand villages.

In June 2000, a Turkish court convicted Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the PKK, of murder and sentenced him to death. Kurds in Turkey, Europe, and other countries demonstrated in support of him. Ocalan has appealed the sentence to the European Court of Human Rights. Should Turkey impose the death penalty on Ocalan, its relations with its Kurdish citizens will become severely strained.

In recent years, Georgians, Circassians, and Laz have been attempting to revive their non-Turkish languages and cultural traditions within the limits allowed by Turkish law. In the early 1990s, a group of Georgian Turks began publishing Çveneburi,a cultural journal devoted to Georgian poetry, literature, and folklore. These peoples consider themselves Muslims and Turkish citizens with non-Turkish Ottoman ancestries.

The vast majority of citizens, however, share a common Turkish culture with some regional, urbanrural, social class, and ethnic variations. There has been a good deal of intermarriage, especially among Sunni Muslims with different ethnic backgrounds. The state accepts all citizens as Turks. There are no official legal, educational, or employment disabilities associated with ethnicity and no system of ethnic identity cards.

Turkey has expressed concern for the treatment of Turkic peoples in neighboring countries, such as Bulgaria, Iraq, and Iran. However, Turkey is concerned primarily with the rights of Turks in Europe. Turkey is an associate member of the European Union. Since the 1960s, millions of its citizens have immigrated to western European countries to work, and only a small percentage have received European citizenship. Consequently, Turkey has about three million citizens living in Europe.

For Ankara, this overseas workforce has been a mixed blessing. While many send back hard currency to their relatives, many are exposed to political and religious ideas that are prohibited in Turkey. For example, about 20 to 25 percent of Turkish citizens in Europe are Kurds; many were not aware of their ethnic roots until they were educated by Kurdish nationalists there. Kurdish nationalists have also won the sympathy of many Europeans. The forms of cultural suppression exercised by the Turkish government violate the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, a treaty that Ankara has ratified and is obligated to respect.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space. Architecture and the use of space have been influenced by economic factors, political ideology, environment, tradition, and foreign ideas. Ottoman architecture with its Byzantine and Islamic elements represented a clear cultural expression of the imperial past. Leaders of the new republic wanted a different architecture that would proclaim their new vision of a Western, secular nation-state. One goal of the republic was to catch up with the material culture and technology of the West. Hence, they turned to western Europe to help create a new capital in Ankara.

Ankara represented a tabula rasa on which a new Turkish order could be constructed. In the early 1920s, it was an insignificant town of 20,000 people, with narrow winding streets and simple mud-brick houses. During the early years of the republic, Ankara was transformed with monumental government buildings symbolizing the ambitions and power of the new state.

Although some early building designs maintained a nostalgic association with the Ottoman past, modern architects and government officials regarded that style as inappropriate. Contemporary architectural styles, inspired by Europe, began to replace Ottoman revivalism in institutional building after 1927. In the late 1920s and early 1930s in part as a result of an economic crisis, the government favored drab forms of international architecture influenced by the Bauhaus school.

In the preWorld War II period, the monumental official architecture of the German and Italian regimes became dominant. Ankara's Grand National Assembly building (19381960) manifested the spirit of National Socialist architecture. In the area of housing, a "Republican Bourgeoisie" consisting of highly paid military and civilian officials played an important role in the acceptance of modern architecture. Western buildings with indoor plumbing and electricity fit their search for a contemporary lifestyle without ties to the past.

After World War II, the International Style became more common. Its site plans were typified by functional geometric elements, and its building facades employed grid systems. The Istanbul Hilton Hotel (1952) became an influential and highly copied example of this style.

In the 1960s, the Bauhaus school with its emphasis on mass production influenced the construction of middle-class urban housing in Ankara and some other cities. Turkey's first skyscraper, a commercial office building, was constructed in 1959 in Ankara. Since that time, modern skyscrapers and high-rise government, commercial, and apartment buildings have transformed most major cities. Since the 1950s, modern urban centers have been ringed by expanding squatter settlements (gecekondus )of substandard housing constructed quickly by peasants from rural areas. Today between 50 and 60 percent of Turkey's urban population consists of gecekondu residents.

Housing styles in small towns and villages are determined by tradition, family structure, environment, local building materials, and income. There is considerable variety in external appearance by region.

Most homes are divided in a selamlîk (a public reception room) and a harem (private family quarters). In traditional households, male guests are confined to the selamlîk, where they converse with the male members of the household, while women stay in the harem. Many traditional homes also have an enclosed garden or courtyard where females can perform some of their domestic duties and chat with neighbors.

In small towns and villages, males dominate public space while females dominate the private space of the home. In the mosque, females pray in an area apart from and outside the view of males. It is not uncommon for movie theaters, restaurants, beaches, and public parks to have a "bachelors" section for males and a "family" section for families and single females. In public transportation conveyances, it is not considered proper for a male to take a seat next to an unrelated female. In recent years, many of these restrictions have been eased in major cities, but coffeehouses and some bars remain exclusively male domains.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Turkish cuisine includes many different stews of vegetables and meat (lamb and beef primarily); borek, kebab, and dolma dishes; and a sourdough bread eaten with almost every meal. Borek is a pastry made of many thin layers of dough interspersed with cheese, spinach, and/or ground meat. Kebab is the common word for meat roasted in pieces or slices on a skewer or as meatballs on a grill. Dolma is the generic name for dishes made of vegetables (e.g., tomatoes and peppers) and leaves (e.g., grape, cabbage, and eggplant) that are stuffed with or wrapped around rice or bulgur pilaf, ground meat, and spices. Turks are especially fond of eggplant.

In the winter, many Turks eat a breakfast of bread with hot soup. In the warmer seasons, they commonly eat bread and jam, hard- or soft-boiled eggs, a white cheese made from sheep's milk, salty olives, and warm milk or hot tea with milk. A typical noon meal consists of vegetable and meat stew with a side dish of rice or bulgar pilaf and salad, with fruit for desert. Borek or dolma may substitute for the stew. Sweet deserts, such as baklava, are served on special occasions. The evening meal is usually lighter, consisting of leftovers from noon or a kebab with salad. Ordinarily, only water is drunk with the noon and evening meals.

Food preferences and preparations vary by region and ethnicity. For example, the Black Sea is noted for fish, especially anchovy, dishes, while the eastern region is noted for spicy foods. Circassians are famous for preparing chicken in a walnut sauce, while Georgian cuisine is typified by thick corn bread and corn soup. Lahmacun, or Armenian pizza, originated in the southeastern provinces once occupied by Armenians.

All cities have numerous restaurants and snack stands. Many specialize in a limited number of foods, such as kebabs, soups, meat wraps made with pide (a flat bread), pastries, and fish. Others offer a variety of meals, including stews, pilafs, vegetables, and deserts. Inexpensive restaurants cater to workingmen, who commonly eat only breakfast and the evening meal at home. Higher-class restaurants generally set aside a section for females and families. American fast-food chains have become popular in the large cities.

The major food taboo in Turkey is pork, which is forbidden to Muslims. Although the Koran also forbids alcoholic beverages, many Turks drink beer, wine, and liquors. Certain segments of the Muslim population regard other foods as taboo even though their religion does not prohibit them. For example, Yürüks, a formerly nomadic Turkish people, avoid all seafood with the exception of fish. Members of the Alevi sect of Islam do not eat rabbit because it menstruates. Turks in the northwestern province of Balikesir avoid snails, claiming incorrectly that the Koran forbids their consumption.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Special dishes are associated with holy days and celebrations. In Gaziantep, yuvarlama (a blend of ground meat, rice, chickpeas, onions, and spices served with yogurt) is a special dish for the Feast of Ramadan at the end of the Islamic month of fasting. In some of the southern provinces the special meal for that feast consists of lamb kebab served with tomatoes and borek.

For the holy month of Ashure, which comes after the Feast of Ramadan, many households prepare a pudding called Ashure to share with guests, friends, and neighbors. According to tradition, Ashure must contain at least fifteen different ingredients, such as peas, beans, almonds, cereals, rice, raisins, rosewater, pomegranate seeds, orange peels, figs, and cinnamon. Throughout much of Turkey, wedding soup, a preparation of lamb meat with bone, egg, lemon juice, flour, butter, and red pepper, is served at wedding celebrations.

Turkish beverages include tea drunk throughout the day, thick coffee usually taken after a meal, ayran (buttermilk), boza (a fermented bulgur drink taken in the winter), and rakî (an aniseed-flavored brandy usually mixed with water). Carbonated drinks have become popular with young people, and beer gardens in major cities have become hangouts for men.

Basic Economy. Turkey is self-sufficient in food production. Fishers, farmers, and animal husbandry workers produce a wide variety of fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and meat for consumers. However, malnutrition affects some of the urban poor and small segments of the rural population in the southeastern region.

In 1996, agriculture contributed 15 percent to the gross national product and 43.1 percent of the labor force was engaged in agriculture. Turkey exports cereals, pulses, industrial crops, sugar, nuts, fresh and dried fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and livestock products. In the early 1990s agricultural products accounted for 15 percent of total exports. However, if one includes cotton and wool, agriculture's contribution to total exports is even greater.

Since 1984, Turkey has liberalized its policy on food imports. Daily products and luxury food items, especially from European Union countries, are available in most large cities.

Most farmers produce for both domestic consumption and sale. Very few are self-sufficient. The vast majority rely on a well-established network of local and regional markets as well as large wholesalers to sell their surplus product. They then buy food and manufactured items from the proceeds.

Land Tenure and Property. Between the 1920s and 1970, the government distributed more than three million hectares of mostly state land to landless peasants. Although no comprehensive property surveys have been conducted, it is believed that most farm families own some land. According to the data in a 1980 agricultural census, 78 percent of farms had five hectares or less and together accounted for 60 percent of all farmland. Twenty-three percent of farms were between five and twenty hectares and accounted for 18 percent of all farmland. Fewer than 4 percent exceeded a hundred hectares, but they amounted to 15 percent of the farmland.

Less than one-fifth of farmers lease or sharecrop the land they till. Sharecroppers generally receive half the crop, with the remainder going to landlords, who supply seed and fertilizer. Most villages have common pastures for the residents' herd animals. In the past, southeastern Anatolia had feudal landlords who owned entire villages.

Many large farms have been converted into modern agricultural enterprises that employ machinery, irrigation, and chemical fertilizers. Such farms concentrate on high-value fruits and industrial crops and employ land-poor farmers. Since the 1950s, the mechanization of agriculture has reduced the need for farm labor, causing many villagers to migrate to the cities.

Major Industries. Turkey's economy is a mix of private and state economic enterprises (SEEs). From the 1920s to the 1980s, the state owned many of the major manufacturing, banking, and communications companies. Since that time, a policy of privatization of SEEs has been followed. Currently, factories produce a wide variety of products, including processed foods, textiles and footwear, iron and steel, chemicals, cement, fertilizers, kitchen appliances, radios, and television sets. Montage industries that utilize a combination of imported and domestic parts assemble cars, trucks, and buses as well as aircraft.

Trade. Since the 1980s, trade has played an increasingly important role in the economy. Turkey's entrance into a customs union agreement with the European Union (EU) in 1995 facilitated trade with EU countries. In 1997, recorded exports amounted to $26 billion (U.S.), with unrecorded exports estimated at $5.8 billion. The major export commodities were textiles and apparel (37 percent), iron and steel products (10 percent), and foodstuffs (17 percent). The major export partners were Germany (20 percent), the United States (8 percent), Russia (8 percent), the United Kingdom (6 percent), and Italy (5 percent).

Imports were valued at $46.7 billion (U.S.) in 1997. Import commodities included machinery (26 percent), fuels (13 percent), raw materials (10 percent), and foodstuffs (4 percent). The primary import partners were Germany (16 percent), Italy (9 percent), the United States (9 percent), France (6 percent), and the United Kingdom (6 percent).

Division of Labor. Most jobs are assigned on the basis of age, skill, education, gender, and in some cases kinship. There are many small family-owned and -operated businesses in towns and cities. In those businesses, young people, especially sons, are trained from an early age to operate the enterprise. Until the 1960s, many young people, especially males, learned their skills in the traditional apprentice system. Today the Ministry of Education operates thousands of basic and advanced vocational and technical schools for males and females.

Turkey has numerous universities where students of both sexes study to become businesspersons, doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, accountants, bankers, and architects. Civil service jobs require applicants to meet educational requirements and pass a written examination.

Turkish law generally prohibits the employment of children under 15 years of age, except that those who are 13 and 14 may do light, part-time work if they are enrolled in school or vocational training. In practice, the children of poor families work to earn needed income. Aside from farm labor, underage boys work in tea gardens as waiters, auto repair shops, and small wood and metal craft industries. Underage girls generally work at home at handicrafts.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. The most important determinants of social status are wealth and education. The basic categories include the wealthy urban educated class, the urban middle class, the urban lower class, the large rural landowner class, and the general rural population. A university education is the minimum qualification for entry into the urban educated class, in which there are numerous substrata.

Distinctions can be drawn between the urban upper and urban middle classes. The urban upper class includes several groups with high status determined by education, political influence, and wealth. Wealthy businessmen are accorded very high status, as are successful physicians, cabinet ministers, and many members of the assembly, directors of important government departments, and other high-level officials. Since World War II, businessmen have challenged the old militarybureaucratic elite for power and social prestige. Members of the urban upper class are generally westernized; most speak at least one Western language, are well acquainted with European or American life and culture, and have close contact with the diplomatic and foreign business communities.

The urban middle class includes most civil servants, proprietors of medium-size businesses and industries, many persons in service occupations, some skilled workers, and university students. These groups usually are less westernized than the upper class and more oriented to Turkish culture. The urban middle class also includes virtually the entire upper strata of the provincial cities. There is considerable mobility within the urban educated class.

The urban lower class includes semiskilled and unskilled laborers, low-paid service workers, and the urban unemployed. The high rate of migration of young villagers to urban areas makes this the most rapidly growing class. Many migrants have difficulty finding jobs, and others work only seasonally. Many live in poverty in the shantytowns that ring the major cities. Urbanization continues as the rural population grows and urban industry offers better incomes.

Some 30 percent of the population are rural farmers, often referred to as peasants. Improved communications and transportation have brought them into closer contact with towns and cities. Educational efforts since 1923 succeeded in bringing the national literacy level up to 82.3 percent by 1995, although the rural literacy level is lower. Some eastern rural areas are still dominated by large landowners, traditional clan heads, and religious leaders. Young villagers who migrate to towns and cities cannot find their way into the middle class unless they receive further education.

Symbols of Social Stratification. Most men of all social classes have adopted Western styles of dress, including trousers, shirts, and jackets. Men and women in the upper and middle urban classes pay attention to Western fashions. They also live in high-priced apartments and try to possess Western luxury items, such as cars, electronic devices, cell phones, and computers. They have developed a taste for Western literature and music and attend musical events and plays. The upper class favors European-language high schools and universities; the middle class is more satisfied with standard Turkish educational institutions. Both classes prefer to speak an educated Istanbul style of standard Turkish.

Most members of the lower urban classes live in shantytowns. Only a small proportion have graduated from high school (lise ). The women tend to wear traditional conservative clothing, including head scarves and long coats, even in the summer. They favor Turkish and Middle Eastern music. The peasant and rural classes are the least exposed to Western and urban influences in dress, styles, language, and music. They, like the lower urban class, tend to speak Turkish with regional accents and grammatical peculiarities. The women wear conservative peasant dress consisting of baggy pantaloons and head scarves.

Political Life

Government. The government operates under the 1982 constitution. All the constitutions (1924, 1961, and 1982) were written and adopted while military leaders were in control. The 1982 constitution states that "Turkey is a democratic, secular and social State . . . loyal to the nationalism of Atatürk" (Article 2). "The Turkish State, with its territory and nation, is an indivisible entity. Its language is Turkish" (Article 3).

The constitution enumerates a long list of civil and political rights but subordinates them to considerations of "national security," "national unity," and "public morality." It also allows the government to impose emergency rule or martial law. The constitution establishes a popularly elected single-chamber national assembly with full legislative powers, a prime minister and cabinet responsible to the national assembly, and a constitutional court with the power of judicial review. It provides for a president with extensive executive powers and legislative veto authority who is elected by the assembly for a seven-year term.

There is a wide array of political parties. It is illegal for parties to appeal to religion, advocate the establishment of a religious state, or claim to represent a class or ethnic group. In recent elections, no party has been able to win more than 22 percent of the vote, leading to coalition governments.

Turkey is divided administratively into eighty provinces (iller ), which are subdivided into subprovinces (ilçeler ), which in turn are divided into districts (bucaklar ). A governor (vali ) appointed by the minister of the interior heads each province and represents the state. Locally elected representative bodies at the village, city, and provincial levels also play governing roles.

Leadership and Political Officials. Most of Turkey's political leaders have been high-ranking military officers, university professors, or successful businessmen. Many provincial governors are former generals or career civil servants who graduated from Ankara University's public administration program. The military elite sees itself as the protector of the constitution and Atatürk's principles. It has formal influence over governmental matters through the National Security Council, which is composed of the prime minister; the chief of the general staff; the ministers of national defense, the interior, and foreign affairs; and the commanders of the armed forces and the gendarmerie. This body sets national security policy.

Military leaders have been especially concerned about threats to secularism and the unity of the state and nation. In 1997, the militarily dominated National Security Council presented the prime minister, Necmettin Erbakan, with twenty demands, including closing religious lodges, enforcing laws prohibiting religious dress in public, closing some state-supported religious schools, cooling relations with Iran, and curtailing the activities of religious organizations.

Citizens often petition elected officials for favors or aid. Unless they are personally acquainted with an official, they convey a petition through a friend or sponsor who knows an official, a member of his or her family, or one of his or her friends.

Turkish law prohibits communist and religious parties. The parties range from socialist (Democratic Left Party), to moderately conservative and free enterprise (Motherland Party), to right-wing ultranationalistic (Nationalist Action Party), to near-religious (Virtue Party).

Social Problems and Control. Internal security and law enforcement are handled primarily by the national police in urban areas and the gendarmerie in rural areas. However, in areas under a state of emergency or martial law, the gendarmerie functions under the military. The national police are armed and authoritarian in demeanor. They have been accused of treating arrested persons roughly to obtain information or confessions during incommunicado detention. The government has instituted human rights training for the police.

The gendarmerie maintains security outside municipal boundaries and guards land borders against illegal entry and smuggling. Recruits are supplied through military conscription. Gendarmes have been subject to the same criticisms as the national police.

Turkey abandoned Islamic law and adopted the Italian penal code in 1926. Serious crimes include premeditated homicide, theft, arson, armed robbery, embezzlement of state property, perjury, and rape. Political speech insulting the president, the military, and parliament has been criminalized. The antiterror law criminalizes written and oral propaganda, meetings, and demonstrations aimed at damaging the unity of the state.

The death penalty can be imposed for certain crimes against the state and premeditated murder, but there have been no executions since 1984. Conviction for a serious felony can disqualify one from holding public office, voting, and practicing certain professions.

Compared to other Middle Eastern countries, the incidence of ordinary crime is low. The most common felonies resulting in incarceration in 1991 were crimes against property (8,360), crimes against individuals (5,879), and crimes against "public decency and family order" (2,681). Every year an unknown number of people are incarcerated for illegal political activity and thought crimes, such as advocating an Islamic state or cultural rights for an ethnic minority.

In addition to Kurdish nationalism, Turkey's security forces are concerned with narcotics trafficking, since Turkey is a route for the transfer of hashish from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran to Europe.

Military Activity. The Turkish military plays political, cultural, and security roles. Military leaders created the republic in 1923, replaced civilian governments in 1960 and 1980, and forced a civilian government out of office in 1971. Because of universal male conscription, the military is a major national socialization agent for young men of different regions, classes, and ethnicities.

Since joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1952, Turkey has maintained a large military consisting of land forces, navy, air force, coast guard, and gendarmerie. In 1994, it had 503,800 officers and enlisted men on active duty. Defense is usually the largest category in the national budget; from 1981 to 1991, it averaged 20 percent of total government expenditures.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

In 1998, the government estimated that 81.3 percent of the population were covered by state social security and retirement services. Employers pay insurance premiums for work-related injuries, occupational diseases, and maternity leave; employers and employees pay premiums to cover illness, disability, retirement, and death benefits. The government also offers social security insurance to the self-employed and operates orphanages. Local associations or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) associated with mosques and crafts also provide welfare to the needy.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

One of the most important NGOs is the Army Mutual Assistance Foundation (OYAK), created in 1962. It controls a huge investment fund of obligatory and voluntary contributions from military personnel and investment profits. It has invested substantially in the auto, truck, tractor, and tire industries; the petrochemical, cement, and food processing industries; and retail and service enterprises. Through OYAK, the Turkish military became partners with foreign and domestic investors and shares their economic interests. Because of OYAK's investments, the economic security of thousands of active and retired armed forces personnel became dependent on the profitability of large capitalistic enterprises. Consequently, military corporate interests expanded into the areas of labor law, trade unionism, trade and monetary policy, corporate taxation, tariffs, investment banking, and related matters.

Other major NGOs include the Turkish Trade Association, representing the interests of merchants, industrialists, and commodity brokers; the Turkish Confederation of Employers' Unions, representing employers; and the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions, representing labor. In addition, NGOs exist for practically every interest group in crafts, sports, social issues, education, religion, and the arts.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. Turkish law guarantees equal pay for equal work and has opened practically all educational programs and occupations to women. Exceptions are the religious schools that train imams (Islamic prayer leaders) and the job of imam itself. In general, men dominate the high-status occupations in business, the military, government, the professions, and academia. According to traditional values, women should do domestic work and not work in the public arena or with unrelated men. However, women have begun to work more in public.

Lower-class women generally have worked as maids, house cleaners, women's tailors, seamstresses, child care givers, agricultural laborers, and nurses, but in the early 1990s, about 20 percent of factory employees and many store clerks were women. Middle-class women commonly are employed as teachers and bank tellers, while upper-class women work as doctors, lawyers, engineers, and university teachers. Only a small percentage of women are politicians.

Men work in all these fields but avoid the traditional nonagricultural occupations of lower-class women. Men monopolize the officer ranks in the military and the transportation occupations of pilot and taxi, truck, and bus driver. In urban areas, lower-class men work in crafts, manufacturing, and low-paid service industries. Middle-class men work as teachers, accountants, businessmen, and middle-level managers. Upper-class men work as university teachers, professionals, upper-level managers, businessmen, and entrepreneurs.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship

Marriage. Turks expect adults to marry and have children, and the vast majority do. Because men should not lower their wives' standard of living, they are not supposed to marry women of a higher economic class. People generally marry within their own religious sect and ethnic group, although interethnic marriages among Sunni Muslims are not uncommon. In traditional Turkish society, the selection of spouses and the marriage ceremony were controlled by kin groups. During the premarital process, the individuals to be married played minor roles. The rituals, especially the imam marriage ceremony, were essential for a morally and socially acceptable marriage.

In 1926, the revolutionary Turkish government abolished Islamic family law and adopted a slightly modified version of the family law in the Swiss civil code. The new Family Law requires and recognizes civil marriage ceremonies only. It requires the consent of mature individuals for a binding marriage contract and prescribes monogamy only. Even though the law prohibits parents from entering into engagement or marital agreements on behalf of their children, arranged marriages without the consent of the brides have been somewhat common. In a 1968 survey, 11.4 percent of women said their marriages had been arranged by their families without their consent, while 67 percent said they had had family-arranged marriages with their consent. The figures for the unconsented arranged marriages ranged from 7.7 percent for women living in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir to 11.3 percent to 12.5 percent for women living in smaller cities, towns, and villages. An impressive 49.9 percent of the husbands surveyed said their fathers or other relatives had made the final decision about their marriages. This response category ranged from 59.1 percent for village men to 15.3 percent for men in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. Today the vast majority of marriages occur with the couple's consent, but families still play a role recommending and screening potential spouses, especially for their daughters.

Even though divorce is not considered an Islamic sin, it occurs infrequently. Divorcees, especially men with children, quickly remarry, usually to divorced women. The new code eliminated a husband's Islamic prerogative of verbal and unilateral divorce and prescribed a court proceeding. The law recognizes only six grounds for divorce: adultery; plot against life, grave assaults, and insults; crime or a dishonorable life; desertion; mental infirmity; and incompatibility. The evidentiary requirements are so substantial that establishing one of these grounds has proved difficult. A couple cannot divorce by mutual consent.

Domestic Unit, Inheritance, and Kin Groups. Traditionally, most Turks traced their descent and passed on property, especially homes and land, through the male line. Even though most households have always contained only one nuclear family, the ideal household, especially among the rural and urban wealthy, was patrilocal extended, in which a son and his bride lived in his parents' home after marriage. The basic kinship units are the family (aile ) and the household (hane ). Household members normally eat together and share income and expenses. The next larger unit is the patrilineage (sulale ), consisting of relatives connected intergenerationally by a common male ancestor. While patrilineage is important to old, noble Ottoman families and tribal peoples, it is of little significance to most Turks.

The traditional Turkish household is characterized by male dominance, respect for elders, and female subservience. The father or oldest male is the head, an authority figure who demands respect and obedience. The mother is also respected, but her relationship with her children is warm and informal.

Although supreme authority ordinarily rests with the father, the household is usually mother-centered. The mother, being largely confined to the home, manages and directs its internal affairs. The division of labor has traditionally been clear-cut, with women having responsibility for the internal home, and men providing the income and representing the household to the outside world. Before the 1960s, even grocery shopping was a male duty.

In recent decades, much of this has changed. The new Family Law grants women equal rights to private property and inheritance. A larger percentage of women work outside the home, and educated women demand more equal rights.


Women are very protective of their children. Breast-feeding for a year or more is common. The child commonly sleeps in a hammock or crib near the parents. Boys are socialized to be courageous, assertive, proud, and respectful of elders. When they undergo a painful circumcision ceremony between ages 9 and 12, they are told to be as brave as lions. Girls are socialized to be modest, compliant, supportive of males, virtuous, and skilled in domestic tasks. Fathers are authoritarian disciplinarians; mothers are generally loving and nurturing.

Every woman rejoices when giving birth to a son, because that event increases her status in the eyes of her husband, in-laws, and community. She usually pampers her son, who remains close to her until age 10 or 11, after which he spends most of his time with other males and identifies more closely with men. Mothers and daughters are especially close, as daughters usually spend much of their premarital lives close to their mothers, learning domestic skills: Generally, the fatherdaughter relationship is rather formal, with little public displaying of affection. Although a daughter or son may argue or joke with the mother, they are respectful and subdued in the father's presence.

During prepubescence, relations between brothers and sisters are free and easy. Later, their statuses change as the older sibling takes on some of the rights and duties of a parent. The older sister (abla ) becomes like a second mother, loved for her warmth and affection. The older brother (agabey ) assumes the helpful but authoritarian status of a minor father. In extended families, grandparents, especially grandmothers, provide a good deal of child care.

School attendance is compulsory to age 14. The first day of class constitutes an important rite of passage. The children are dressed in black smocks with white collars and taken to school with pomp and ceremony. Most families that can afford it, keep their children in school beyond age 14. Most would like to see their children, especially their sons, complete university, but this is rarely possible for poor families.


Formal etiquette is central to Turkish culture, governing most social interactions and the use of space. Turkish culture has an exact verbal formula for practically every occasion. Etiquette requires the pronouncement of the proper formulas for these occasions.

Strict etiquette governs intergenerational and heterosexual interactions. Unless they are close friends or relatives, older people are addressed formally. For example, older men should be addressed with the title "Bey" (Mister) and women with the title "Hanim" (Lady). Younger people are expected to be reserved in their presence. Adults of the opposite sex are expected not to act casually or show affection toward each other in public. Friends of the same sex may hold hands and greet each other with kisses on the cheek. Upon meeting, men shake hands, but a man does not shake a woman's hand unless she extends it to him.

People are not criticized for being late. Business meetings usually are preceded by tea and unrelated conversation. Consideration for companions is important. One does not drink, smoke, or eat something without first offering to share it with one's companions.

Homes are divided into guest and private areas, and it is improper to ask for a tour of the house. The soles of shoes are considered dirty, and shoes are removed when one enters a home or mosque.


Religious Beliefs. Islamic tradition, ideology, and ritual are very important. About 98 percent of Turkey's citizens are nominally Muslims, of whom about 80 to 85 percent are Sunnis of the Hanafi school and 15 to 20 percent are members of Shiite sects (mostly Alevi). Turkish Muslims recognize the standard Islamic creed and duties, but only the most religious fast or make a pilgrimage to Mecca. Four percent of Turks identify themselves as atheists, and 4 percent as agnostics.

For most Turks, Islam plays an important role in rites of passage: naming shortly after birth, circumcision for boys, marriage, and funerals. The state controls religious education and most religious personnel by supervising the schools that train Sunni imams and certifying imams as state employees who work in community mosques.

In recent decades, a revival of fundamental Islam has been supported by about 20 percent of the population. A small proportion of the population participates in Sufi orders and brotherhoods.

The most important events in the Turkey's Islamic calendar are Ramazan, the lunar month of fast; Kadir Gecesi (Night of Power), the twenty-seventh day of Ramazan, when Mohammad was appointed the messenger of Allah; Sheker Bayram a three-day national holiday at the end of Ramazan in which people exchange visits and candy; and Kurban Bayram (Feast of Sacrifice), a four-day national holiday held during the lunar month of Hajj (Pilgrimage) to commemorate Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac. As many as 2.5 million sheep have been sacrificed in Turkey on this holiday; most of the meat is shared with neighbors and donated to the poor.

Medicine and Health Care. Modern Western medical services have expanded significantly over the past two decades. The Ministry of Health is authorized to provide medical care and preventive health services, train health personnel, establish and operate hospitals and clinics, inspect private health facilities, and regulate pharmacies. In 1995, Turkey had 12,500 health facilities and a doctor for every 1,200 persons. The incidence of measles, pertussis, typhoid fever, and diphtheria has declined markedly since the 1970s. Infant mortality declined from 120 per 1,000 in 1980 to 55 per 1,000 in 1992. In rural areas, midwives deliver most babies.

Most urban dwellers have access to public health facilities, but many rural citizens do not. In the countryside and among recent migrants to the cities, folk medicine is still practiced. Peasant women learn folk medicine involving herbs, spices, prayers, and rituals from their mothers and apply it to family members instead of or in addition to modern medicine. Traditionally, some men specialized in folk medicine as well.

Secular Celebrations

The major secular celebrations and official holidays begin with New Year's Day on 1 January, an adoption from the West. Many people exchange greetings cards, and some celebrate in a Western fashion. National Sovereignty Day on 23 April commemorates the first meeting of the Grand National Assembly. Because 23 April is also National Children's Day, much of the day is devoted to children's activities such as dances and music recitals. Youth and Sport Day, commemorating Atatürk's birth, is celebrated on 19 May. Victory Day, celebrating victorious battles during Turkey's War of Independence, is observed on 30 August. Republic Day, 29 October, commemorates Atatürk's proclamation of the republic in 1923. Both Victory Day and Republic Day are celebrated with patriotic parades, music, and speeches.

The Arts and Humanities

Support for the Arts. The Ministry of Culture has implemented a policy of promoting nonreligious Turkish and Western art. It provides a limited number of scholarships for the study of art and music in Europe, especially France. The ministry also supports the Academy of Fine Arts and art museums in the major cities. Most artists come from the middle and upper classes in major cities. Graphic artists rely primarily on major corporations and the upper class to buy their work. They sell through private exhibition and a limited number of art shops. Traditional craft artists who produce ceramics, rugs and kilims, brass and copper ornaments, and embroidery have a broader market for their work. Most sculptors rely largely on state commissions.

Literature. Until the middle of the nineteenth century, Turkish literature centered on the Ottoman court, which produced poetry and some prose. This literature represented a fusion of Persian, Arabic, and Turkish classical styles. Western influences were introduced in the 1860s by a group of intellectuals who attempted to combine Western cultural forms with a more simple form of the Turkish language. This westernizing trend continued throughout the nineteenth century and became more pronounced just before World War I. After 1923, the republic produced an impressive number of novelists, poets, singers, musicians, and artists. Novelists who gained international fame include Halide Edib, Resat Nuri Güntekin, and, more recently, Orhan Pamuk. Several important works dealt with village life, ranging from Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoglu's Yaban (The Stranger ) in the 1930s to Mahmut Makal's A Village in Anatolia, and Yasar Kemal's Mehmet My Hawk, which won world recognition in 1961.

Orhan Veli generally is considered the father of modern Turkish poetry, which has been characterized by a rebellion against rigidly prescribed forms and a preoccupation with immediate perception. Some poets have experimented with obscurantist forms and ideas; many others have expressed concern for social democratic issues.

Graphic Arts. Western influence in the graphic arts began in the late Ottoman period with the founding of the Fine Arts Academy in Istanbul, which continues to be staffed by European and European-educated Turkish artists. In the republican periods, Turkish art has involved a mixture of Western and indigenous styles. Practically all artists of note have studied at the academy or in Europe. Some have imitated European forms, while others have searched for a Turkish style and portray Turkish themes such as village and urban scenes in a representational manner. Many sculptors receive state commissions to create monumental works depicting Atatürk and other patriotic themes.

Performance Arts. Foreign plays outnumber Turkish works in the theater, but theater attendance has grown in recent decades and many Turkish playwrights who combine Western techniques with Turkish social issues have had an opportunity to present their works.

Both Ankara and Istanbul have well-respected opera companies. The Presidential Symphony Orchestra gives concerts both in Ankara and on tour. Ankara and Istanbul have music conservatories that include schools of ballet. Several Turkish composers, of whom the best known is Adnan Saygun, have won acclaim in Europe and America for fusing Turkish folk themes with Western forms.

The Istanbul Music Conservatory has taken steps to preserve authentic folk music by recording it in all parts of the country. Annual folk arts festivals in Istanbul present a wide variety of Turkish music and dance.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

Most scientific research is carried out at a few universities in Ankara, Istanbul, and Izmir. The government funds two-thirds of it. The Technology Development Foundation of Turkey provides grants for industrial research and development (R&D) activities, mostly in electronics, telecommunications, and environmental technologies. The Ministry of Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Housing and Settlement provide funds for social scientific research.

Practically all Turkish leaders in the natural, social, and engineering sciences have received some education abroad, particularly in the United States. Turkey obtains much of its technology for the food-processing, metals, and textiles sectors from abroad. The Supreme Council for Science and Technology, the science and technology policy-making body, sets R&D targets for high-priority activities: information, advanced materials, biotechnology, space, and nuclear technology.

The number of scientific researchers was estimated at 8 per 10,000 members of the labor force in 1992. Almost three-quarters, or 30,172, of those researchers were in universities; basic science (10 percent), engineering (20 percent), health science (34 percent), agriculture (7 percent), social science and humanities (29 percent). Turkey's only school of social work and research is at Ankara's Hacettepe University.


Abadan-Unat, Nermin, ed. Women in Turkish Society, 1981.

Ahmad, Feroz. The Turkish Experiment in Democracy, 19501975, 1997.

Anderson, June. Return to Tradition: The Revitalization of Turkish Village Carpets, 1998.

Andrews, Peter A. Ethnic Groups in the Republic of Turkey, 1989.

Ansay, Tugrul, and Don Wallace. Introduction to Turkish Law, 1996.

Arat, Yesim. The Patriarchal Paradox: Women Politicians in Turkey, 1989.

Balim, Cigdem, ed. Turkey: Political, Social and Economic Challenges in the 1990s, 1995.

Baysal, Ayse, et al. Samples from Turkish Cuisine, 1993.

Birand, Mehmet Ali. The Generals' Coup in Turkey, 1991.

Erder, Türkoz. Family in Turkish Society: Sociological and Legal Studies, 1985.

Gole, Nilufer. The Forbidden Modern: Civilization and Veiling, 1996.

Gunter, Michael M. The Kurds and the Future of Turkey, 1997.

Heper, Metin, and Jacob M. Landau, eds. Political Parties and Democracy in Turkey, 1991.

Holod, Renata, and Ahmet Evin. Modern Turkish Architecture, 1984.

Inalcik, Halil, ed. From Empire to Republic: Essays on Ottoman and Turkish Social History, 1995.

Kagîtçîbasî, Çigdem, ed. Sex Roles. Family and Community in Turkey, 1982.

Karpat, Kemal H. Turkey's Politics, 1959.

Lewis, Bernard. The Emergence of Modern Turkey, 1968.

Magnarella, Paul J. Tradition and Change in a Turkish Town, 1974 (rev. ed. 1981).

. The Peasant Venture: Tradition, Migration and Change among Georgian Peasants in Turkey, 1979.

. Anatolia's Loom: Studies in Turkish Culture, Society, Politics and Law, 1998.

Mango, Andrew. Turkey: The Challenge of a New Role, 1994.

McDowall, David. A Modern History of the Kurds, 1997.

Metz, Helen Chapin. Turkey: A Country Study, 1996.

Olson, Robert. The Emergence of Kurdish Nationalism and the Sheikh Said Rebellion, 1989.

Ozbay, Ferhunde, ed. Women, Family and Social Change in Turkey, 1990.

Pînar, Selman. A History of Turkish Painting, 1990.

Pope, Nicole, and Hugh Pope. Turkey Unveiled, 1997.

Rittenberg, Libby, ed. The Political Economy of Turkey in the Post-Soviet Era, 1998.

Rugman, Jonathan. Atatürk's Children: Turkey and the Kurds, 1996.

Shaw, Stanford J., and Ezel Kural Shaw. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, 1976.

Stone, Frank A. The Rub of Cultures in Modern Turkey, 1973.

Tapper, Richard, ed. Islam in Modern Turkey; Religion, Politics, and Literature in a Secular State, 1991.

Tekeli, Sirin, ed. Women in Modern Turkish Society, 1995.

Turkish Daily News. Turkey 1989 Almanac, 1990.

U.S. Department of State. Turkey: Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1998, 1999.

Van Bruinessen, Martin. Agha, Shaikh, and State: The Social and Political Structure of Kurdistan, 1992.

White, Jenny B. Money Makes Us Relatives: Women's Labor in Urban Turkey, 1994.

World Bank. Turkey: Women in Development, 1993.

Zürcher, Erik J. Turkey: A Modern History, 1994.

Paul J. Magnarella

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Turkey." Countries and Their Cultures. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Turkey." Countries and Their Cultures. . (September 19, 2019).

"Turkey." Countries and Their Cultures. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.


turkey A poultry bird, Meleagris gallopavo, introduced into Europe from America by the Spaniards in 1523. The name derives from confusion with the guinea fowl, which had recently been introduced from the eastern Mediterranean by Turkish merchants. A 150‐g portion is a rich source of protein, niacin, and vitamin B12; a good source of vitamin B6, zinc, and copper; a source of iron, vitamins B1, B2, and folate; contains 4 g of fat of which 40% is saturated; supplies 200 kcal (840 kJ).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"turkey." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"turkey." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . (September 19, 2019).

"turkey." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.




The people of Turkey are called Turks. About 85 percent of the population traces their ancestry to Turkey. The Kurds are estimated to be 12 percent of the population. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians were either killed or forced to flee Turkey during and immediately following World War I; bitterness between Armenians and Turks continues to this day.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Turkey." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Turkey." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . (September 19, 2019).

"Turkey." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.


turkey North American gamebird now widely domesticated throughout the world. The common wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), once abundant in North America, was overhunted and is now protected. The male, or gobbler, is often bearded. Length: 125cm (50in). Family Meleagrididae.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"turkey." World Encyclopedia. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"turkey." World Encyclopedia. . (September 19, 2019).

"turkey." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



Country statistics


779,450sq km (300,946sq mi) 67,844,903

capital (population):

Ankara (3,203,362)


Multi-party republic

ethnic groups:

Turkish 86%, Kurdish 11%, Arab 2%


Turkish (official)


Alawite Muslim 99%


Turkish lira = 100 kurus

Republic in se Europe and Asia. Turkey straddles Europe and Asia. European Turkey (Thrace) is a small, fertile region, separated from Asia by the Dardanelles, the Bosporus, and the Sea of Marmara. The major city is Edirne. Istanbul lies on both continents. Anatolia (Asia Minor) is a mainly mountainous region, rising to Mount Ararat at 5165m (16,945ft). The plateau region of central Anatolia includes the capital, Ankara. The Mediterranean coast is a popular tourist destination.

Climate and Vegetation

Central Turkey has hot, dry summers and cold winters. Western Turkey has a Mediterranean climate. The Black Sea coast has cooler summers. Maquis is common in Mediterranean areas. Deciduous forests grow inland, with conifers on the mountains. The plateau is mainly dry steppe.

History and Politics

Ephesus is one of the many ruins of the ancient Anatolian kingdoms of Ionia and Pontus. In ad 330, Byzantium (Constantinople) became capital of the Roman Empire; thence capital of the Byzantine Empire (398). In the 11th century, the Seljuks introduced Islam, and the capital moved to Konya. In 1435, Constantinople was captured by Muhammad II, and it served as capital of the vast Ottoman Empire. Defeat in World War I led to the signing of the punitive Treaty of Sèvres (1920). Nationalists, led by Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk), launched a war of independence. In 1923, Turkey became a republic, with Kemal as its president. Atatürk's 14-year dictatorship created a secular, Westernized state.

In 1938 Atatürk died, and Ismet Inönü succeeded him. Turkey remained neutral throughout most of World War 2. A major post-war recipient of US aid, Turkey joined NATO in 1952. In 1960, a military coup led to the creation of a second republic. In 1965, Süleyman Demirel became prime minister. In 1974, Turkey invaded Northern Cyprus. In 1980, a military coup led to seven years of martial law. Demirel became president in 1993 elections, and Tansu Çiller became Turkey's first woman prime minister. In 1995, Necmettin Erbakan of the Islamist Welfare Party (RP) became prime minister. In 1997, tension between the pro-Islamic government and the army led to Erbakan's resignation. In 1999, Bülent Ecevit, leader of the Democratic Left Party (DSP), formed a coalition government. Since 1984, Turkey has fought the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) in se Turkey. It has often been accused of violating the human rights of Kurds. In 1999, the PKK leader, Abdullah Öcalan, was captured. In the same year, a major earthquake devastated nw Turkey. In 2000, Ahmet Necdet Sezer succeeded Demirel as president. In November 2003, Istanbul was the victim of four suicide bombings, killing over 50 people.


Turkey is a lower-middle income developing country (2000 GDP per capita, US$6800). Agriculture employs 47% of the workforce. Turkey is a leading producer of citrus fruits, barley, cotton, wheat, tobacco and tea. It is a major producer of chromium and phosphate fertilizers. Tourism is a vital source of foreign exchange.

Political map

Physical map


Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Turkey." World Encyclopedia. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Turkey." World Encyclopedia. . (September 19, 2019).

"Turkey." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.


404. Turkey

1. the political doctrines and achievements of Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938), Turkish general and statesman.
2. support of or adherence to Ataturk. Kemalist, n., adj.
an obsession with Turkey and things Turkish.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Turkey." -Ologies and -Isms. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"Turkey." -Ologies and -Isms. . (September 19, 2019).

"Turkey." -Ologies and -Isms. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.


turkey † guinea-fowl; large gallinaceous bird of Amer. orig. (genus Meleagris) XVI. The name of the country, first applied to the Afr. bird prob. because it was orig. brought from New Guinea by the Portuguese through Turkish dominions.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"turkey." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"turkey." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . (September 19, 2019).

"turkey." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"turkeys." A Dictionary of Zoology. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"turkeys." A Dictionary of Zoology. . (September 19, 2019).

"turkeys." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.


turkeychokey, croaky, folkie, folky, hokey, hokey-cokey, hoki, jokey, karaoke, Loki, okey-dokey, Okie, pokey, poky, smoky, trochee •adzuki, bouzouki, fluky, kabuki, kooky, pukey, saluki, spooky, Sukie, Suzuki, verrucae •bookie, cookie, hookey, hooky, nooky, rookie •netsuke •clucky, ducky, happy-go-lucky, Kentucky, lucky, mucky, plucky, yucky •bulky, sulky •chunky, clunky, flunkey, funky, hunky, junkie, junky, monkey, punky, spunky •dusky, husky, musky •synecdoche • Malachy • hillocky •bullocky •Andromache, logomachy, theomachy •hummocky • anarchy • monarchy •Cherokee • tussocky •herky-jerky, jerky, mirky, murky, perky, quirky, smirky, turkey •turnkey • Albuquerque

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"turkey." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . 19 Sep. 2019 <>.

"turkey." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . (September 19, 2019).

"turkey." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved September 19, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.



TURKEY , modern republic in Asia Minor and S.E. Europe (see *Ottoman Empire for previous period). In the peace treaty of Lausanne (July 24, 1923), Turkey established complete sovereignty in Anatolia, the southeastern part of Thrace, and some islands in its territorial waters. The international status of the Turkish republic established in 1923 was secured, and in the following year the caliphate was abolished. The Treaty of Lausanne secured the rights of the religious and ethnic minorities (par. 39), who were permitted to have their own social institutions, funds, and schools (par. 40). In paragraph 41 the Turkish government assured the minorities their personal status as provided by their religious canons. The Jews showed their Turkish patriotism in the new republic: they relinquished the claims connected with their rights as a minority, and many renounced their foreign nationality and became Turkish citizens. Turkish Jewry was represented in parliament by Solomon Adato (from 1946 until his death in 1953) and by Henry Suriano (from 1954). The Turkish republic was declared a secular state, and Mustafa *Kemal Atatürk, its founder, attempted to erase all signs of the religious-institutional influence of Islam and also to maintain equality of Christianity and Judaism in public life. Even the wearing of "clerical" garb was prohibited and permitted only to the heads of the autonomous churches. For the Jews the prohibition on teaching Hebrew in schools was a hard blow. After Atatürk's death in 1938 many of the prohibitions he introduced were eased (e.g., the use of Arabic during the call for prayer in the mosques), but the general attitude toward religious minorities remained unchanged.

Economic Activities

In 1926 G. Bie Raondal, the U.S. consul general in Istanbul, wrote: "In the former Ottoman Empire they [the Jews] occupied important government positions, but the tendency of the new nationalism, ushered in by the republic, has been to put them in the same relative position as other non-Muslims, although they have never been persecuted in Turkey. [Now they] have carved out for themselves a place in every branch of the national life and are found as traders, bankers, professional men, office workers, and even laborers" (Turkey, 1926). Since 1926 many changes have occurred in modern Turkey, and the Jewish community has dwindled to an almost insignificant minority from the economic aspect. Although the severe blow of the capital tax (see below) was only temporary, it had a psychological effect on the Jewish community and was one of the causes of Jewish emigration from the country.

Jewish national life did not develop in *Istanbul and the towns which remained within the boundaries of Turkey; the Zionist idea had only few followers in the capital. The negative attitude of the Turkish government to Zionism was a heritage from Young Turk and Ottoman times, and influenced Turkish Jews. However, the idea of full integration in the Turkish state appeared to be unrealistic. The Jews, like the Greeks and the Armenians, unofficially remained second-class citizens. This was both demonstrated and felt in particular during World War ii, so long as Hitler's antisemitic propaganda gained ground and it seemed that the Axis powers were moving toward victory. To meet wartime needs in the neutral Turkish republic a capital tax (varlik vergisi) was approved (1942) which was to be levied on owners of large farms (Muslims) and other taxpayers. However, it soon became apparent that the really important determinants of a taxpayer's assessment were his religion and nationality. The taxpayers' lists were prepared according to denominational indications. M (for Muslims) had to pay 5% of their capital or income (the same grade was accorded to foreign citizens); the tax rate for D (*Doenmeh) was about twice as much as for Muslims; for g (Gayri Muslims, non-Muslims) assessments would be made by special commissions, in accordance with their opinions. In fact the poorest among the non-Muslims, especially Jewish artisans, wage earners, and others, were taxed at figures wildly beyond their ability to pay. Members of the minorities who had retained or obtained foreign protection at the time of the armistice and Allied occupation (1919–23) were able to have their assessments reduced to the Muslim level. The Jews who had trusted

in the new republic and thrown their lot in with it were subject to victimization and punishment. Through the spring and summer of 1943 the continuing arrests, seizures, and deportations to labor camps were almost all of non-Muslims, the majority of whom were Jews. Many businessmen were ruined by assessments higher than their total possessions; others, though wealthy enough to pay, went bankrupt because no time was allowed them to find sufficient liquid money. The pro-Axis press expressed cordial approval of these developments, and denounced people of "alien blood," "Turks by name only," who should be punished for their disloyalty and ingratitude. With the decline of German power, as the downfall of the Axis became evident, a law was passed (1944) releasing all defaulters still detained and canceling all amounts still unpaid. The Democratic Party even promised compensation for damages caused to health and wealth.

After the end of the war the general economic situation and its structure changed for the better. Primarily, the reforms introduced after the establishment of the republic began to be felt. In addition, the aid given by the United States, aimed to strengthen the social structure of the population and hence the strategic value of the country, showed its efficacy. The Jewish population also took part in this recovery. In 1968 the economic situation of Turkish Jewry was good and the community contained some wealthy men. Most Jews were merchants, employees (very few of them in government service), or artisans. There were few underprivileged since most of the needy had settled in Israel soon after the establishment of the state.

Minor discrimination against Jews in Istanbul occurred, however, influenced by the tension between Turkey and Greece over Cyprus. During the anti-Greek riots in 1955 and 1964 the Jews were among the victims. The *Six-Day War (1967) also aroused anti-Jewish feelings and led to some small-scale incidents. The Turkish government, which had established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1949, always attempted to quell mob turbulence, but not with full effect. As the government's attitude toward Muslim religious activities became more tolerant, the rightist parties used it as a cover for anti-Jewish propaganda. Antisemitism being prohibited by law, anti-leftist and anti-Communist slogans were employed demagogically. By use of these tactics a small daily, Bugün, raised its circulation from 10,000 copies to 60,000. Some Turkish newspapers published articles in 1948 and later condemning emigration to Israel, and a few attacked the government for allowing it. They argued that the exodus of Jews would undermine the economy, and that communists were helping to organize emigration. Later, the amount of anti-Jewish material published in Turkey was reduced. Among those continuing to publish such material was Cevat Rifat Atilhan, who wrote Le Sionisme, Danger pour l'Islamisme (1951; almost all copies were seized by the authorities) and "Turks, Here is Your Enemy" (Turkish, 1959). Atilhan also wrote anti-Jewish articles in the newspaper Yeni Istiklal. Between 1951 and 1961 the newspaper Büyük Dogˇu ("Great East"), whose editor was Necip Fazil Kisakürek, printed many anti-Jewish articles.


The first census of the Turkish republic, held in 1927, showed some 79,454 Jews in a total population of over 13.5 million (see Table: Distribution of Jewish Population in Turkey), of whom half were in Istanbul. By 1945, the total Jewish population had decreased to 76,965, and in 1955 to 40,345. Immediately after the establishment of the State of Israel there was large-scale emigration of Turkish Jews. However, in November 1948, as the result of pressure exerted by the Arab states, emigration was forbidden until early 1949. Later in that year Turkey recognized the State of Israel de jure, and Jews were again permitted to emigrate. The government even put ships of its merchant shipping line at the disposal of the emigrants, but forbade Israel representatives to organize emigration (until 1950). A total of 4,362 Turkish Jews went to Israel in 1948, and 26,295 in 1949–50. After 1950 the number of emigrants fell, although the Turkish government made no difficulties for those wishing to leave, except for the prohibition of taking out money. Between 1952 and 1955 only 2,182 Jews went to Israel. It is presumed that about 37,000 Jews left Turkey for Israel between 1948 and 1970; however about ten percent of these, principally from Istanbul and Izmir (peddlers, bootblacks, small wage earners, etc.), returned to Turkey, as conditions had improved in the country. Since 1960 the official Turkish census commission has not compiled statistics by religion, hence it is impossible to know precise figures for Turkey's Jews. Estimates are 38,000 for 1965, and about 20,000 in 2005: some 17,000 in Istanbul, 2,000 in Izmir, and smaller groups in Ankara, Adana, Çanakkale, Bursa, and Kirklareli.

Year 1927 official census Year 1965 chief rabbinate estimates1 Year 1965–70 Jewish institutions estimates2
1 According to letter Aug. 3, 1965
2 World Jewish Congress; Jewish Agency
1. Adana1596070
2. Ankara6638003,200
3. Antakya (Antioch)1006
4. Bursa (Brusa)1,915350400
5. Çanakkale420300
6. Çoclu5924020
7. Dardanelles1,109
8. Edirne (Adrianople)6,098400120–400
9. Gallipoli736200200
10. Gaziantep742160
11. Iskenderun6060
12. Istanbul47,03535,00030,000
13. Izmir (Smyrna)17,0945,0004,800–4,000
14. Kirklareli9789067–35
15. Mersin1229050
16. Milas25979
17. Tekirdag (Rodosto)889170120
18. Tire1063100

Cultural, Religious, and Social Life

There was a dramatic decline of interest in Judaism and Jewish culture among Turkish Jewry in the period between the two world wars and for a few years after it. The last Hebrew press closed in 1944, when its proprietor emigrated to Ereẓ Israel. After the death in 1931 of the ḥakham bashi R. Be khor Ḥayyim *Bejarano, the official representative of Turkish Jewry, the community did not even feel an immediate necessity to appoint a successor. This absence of a spiritual leader not only led to religious indifference but also to apathy. As the ḥakham bashi was responsible for leading all activities of all Jewish communities in the Turkish republic, his absence was felt in every field of Jewish life. After a long interval Turkish Jewry decided to elect another ḥakham bashi, and R. Raphael David Saban was appointed to head the chief rabbinate (1953–60). He was succeeded by R. David *Asseo in 1960 and R. Isak *Haleva. The ḥakham bashi is assisted by a religious council consisting of a rosh bet din (also bearing the title mara de-atra) and four ḥakhamim. The lay council of the ḥakham bashi deals with secular-social matters concerning the Jewish community; it consists of 19 members (Sephardim and Ashkenazim). Together they support communal institutions such as synagogues, hospitals, cemeteries, old age homes, and schools.

Jewish Communal Schools

Turkish Jewry maintained its own educational institutions. However, the syllabus in all of them was the same as in government schools. When state opposition to religion was reduced (1948), Jews were permitted to teach Hebrew and religion in their schools (for following the prayers). The Turkish government forbade all Zionist activity as well as the existence of organizations with centers abroad which propagated non-Turkish nationalism. Since most Jewish children attended school, illiteracy fell, and almost all of them spoke and read Turkish, although most of them also spoke Ladino.

In the 1920s and 1930s Istanbul had eight Jewish communal schools for boys and girls together and one high school (founded in 1922 as Lycée Juif by the *B'nai B'rith Lodge); their number has decreased since. The Turkish language was the compulsory medium of instruction in all state schools, and in private schools at the primary level. The Jewish schools obtained permission to give one course in elementary Hebrew, needed for reciting the prayers, but not to give instruction in Jewish history and literature. Hebrew studies were de-emphasized as a result of a 1932 law which forbade religious instruction in all Turkish schools.

Abraham *Galanté was one of the enthusiastic supporters of the spread of Turkish and one of the sponsors of replacing the Arabic script by the Latin alphabet (1928). Ladino periodicals, which had previously appeared in Hebrew script, began to be printed in Latin characters; one, in Istanbul, was La Vera Luz (edited by Eliezer Menda), later closed down. Shalom, first edited by Avram Leyon, continues, but only some of its articles were in Ladino, the rest in Turkish. A third, Etoile du Lévant, published in French, ceased in 1948. The monthly periodical (later a quarterly) Hamenorah, published by the B'nai B'rith (1923–38) and edited by David Marcus in three languages (Hebrew, Ladino, and French), carried many important articles concerning the history of Ottoman Jewry. Present-day Jewish writers publish their works in Turkish or French. The Jewish poet Joseph Habib *Gerez wrote in Turkish and described the glories of Istanbul. The library of the chief rabbinate was little used, and Italian Jews made efforts to promote interest in religion and culture. The Turkish authorities did not hinder Jews from religious observance. Nevertheless, most of the younger generation by the 1960s was not observant, and some young people were entirely ignorant of Judaism. The number of marriages to non-Jews increased too.

The Maḥazikei Torah institutions provided religious instruction (and elementary Hebrew language courses) in the evenings and Sunday mornings (Sunday being the official rest day in the Turkish republic) for Jewish boys and girls who attended the Turkish state schools where no Hebrew was taught. There were about 2,000 pupils in these institutions. The Maḥazikei Torah also trained religious functionaries: ḥazzanim, shoḥatim, mohalim. Turkish Jewry also had a rabbinical seminary. It was established in Istanbul in 1955, and about 50 students were registered in the mid-1960s, some of whom were awarded rabbinic ordination. After years of general decline in Jewish life this indicated noticeable progress and a reaction to the general apathy in Jewish education. Izmir is the second largest Jewish community in modern Turkey, with approximately 2,000 Jewish inhabitants (2005). It had two Jewish elementary schools and a secondary one. Other communities were too small to have their own schools.

The usual Jewish philanthropic and social institutions also existed in Istanbul and Izmir: orphanages, hospitals, assistance for poor, etc., all supervised by the Türkiye Hahambashiligˇi, the chief rabbinate of Turkey (letter from the ḥakham bashi dated Aug. 3, 1965).

Ashkenazim and Sephardim

Of Turkey's Jews in 1969, about 95 percent were Sephardim, the rest Ashkenazim, called lehli, the Turkish name for Poles, because during the 17th and 18th centuries the Ashkenazi immigrants had come from Poland. Later, however, there was Ashkenazi immigration from Austria; the German-speaking Austrian Jews formed the elite of the community, and the Great Synagogue built by them became known as the "Oesterreichischer Tempel." Their last officiating rabbi, David Marcus, was born in Russia, studied in Germany, and then settled in Istanbul (1900–44). After his death the congregation remained without a rabbi and went into a decline, being in danger of complete disintegration, although their percentage in the Jewish population increased somewhat. The older generation of Sephardi Jews continued to speak *Ladino, in which language they produced sacred literature, and since the 19th century published many periodicals. In the 1955 census 64 percent among the Jews declared that their mother tongue was Yahudice (Ladino) compared with 84 percent in 1927, but knowledge of Ladino decreased. Neither the Jews nor the Greeks mastered the Turkish language until, under the new regime, it was introduced into the schools and the younger generation learned to speak, read, and write it fluently.


Since all the *Karaite Jews of Egypt left for Israel during the 1950s, as did the remnants of the Karaite community in Hith (Iraq), the Karaite community in Istanbul remained the last in non-Communist Europe. There were about 200 Karaite families (1,000 persons) in Hasköy, a suburb of Istanbul, whose forefathers settled in the city in Byzantine times. They established their own synagogue and cemetery and were completely separated from the Jewish Rabbanite community. They did not intermarry with Rabbanites, with whom the only link was a Rabbanite mohel whom they too employed for circumcisions. Their rabbi, Isaac Kerimi, came from the Crimea. Many Karaites spoke Greek. Their attitude toward Israel was neutral, or even unfriendly.

[Haïm Z'ew Hirschberg and

Hayyim J. Cohen]

Later Developments

In general, the 1980s were a period of well-being for the Jewish community in Turkey. In spite of increasing Islamic fundamentalist trends and economic difficulties due to high inflation, the Jews of Turkey witnessed a demographic growth, an improvement of the relations between the authorities and the community, and a visible awakening of Jewish identity among the members of the community.

The traumatic event of the decade to hit the community, which is usually out of the spotlight, occurred on September 6, 1986, when Arab gunmen attacked worshipers in Istanbul's Neveh Shalom synagogue during Sabbath morning services. Nineteen of the congregation, two of them Israelis, were killed in the massacre, as were the two gunmen who apparently blew themselves up. A wave of horror ran through the world and condemnations were heard on all sides, while the subsequent funeral became a protest demonstration. The Turkish prime minister, Turgut Özal, immediately called an emergency cabinet meeting and sent a message of condemnation and sympathy to the chief rabbi of Turkey, David Asseo. A subsequent government statement linked the murderers to *Iran and pro-Iranian terror organizations. The synagogue was restored and reinaugurated the following year. A monument in memory of the victims was dedicated at the Ulus/Istanbul cemetery in 1989. In another bomb outrage in 1992, an Israeli diplomat was killed.

In spite of pressures created by the gradual revival of the Islamic spirit in the country, the Turkish government has shown a close interest in the problems of the Jewish community and encouraged direct personal contacts to develop between it and the leaders of the community. Unprecedented permission was granted to Jews by allowing members of the community to take part in the meetings of the World Jewish Congress (wjc). However, this permission marks the only instance, with the exception of *Morocco, of a Muslim government allowing its Jews to participate in a worldwide Jewish activity; it is valid solely for the wjc but applies to no other international Jewish organization, and has been granted on condition of the Turkish community's not becoming a full member but being present only as an "observer."

Synagogues, as well as property owned by the community, are considered as vakif ("foundations") by Turkish law, and all foundations in Turkey, non-Muslim and Muslim alike, are subject to the control and regulations of the vakif. Jewish communities have felt the effect of these regulations in their efforts to obtain firm and autonomous possession of their patrimony. By the existing regulations, communities are regarded merely as administrators and not as absolute owners of their immovable property. In the event of Jewish population movement, either within the cities or to the suburbs, if Jewish community real estate remains in the area where Jews no longer live, it is forfeited by the community to the vakif administration.

Two main events marked Jewish communal life during the latter part of this period: the reorganization in March 1989 of the Lay Council of the Chief Rabbinate and the positive approach of the Turkish authorities to Jewish communal problems.

Through the reorganization of the Lay Council, communal affairs have been taken over by a younger and more dynamic group which adopted a bolder attitude in solving problems. Both the 80-member General Assembly of the Council and its 15-member Executive Committee include representatives from even the smallest Jewish congregations all over the country. The Chief Rabbinate has thus gained authority and jurisdiction over all the Jews of Turkey; previously its authority was practically limited to Istanbul and was often subject to the whims and goodwill of the communities in other cities.

The new Lay Council also succeeded in establishing closer relations with the authorities which, parallel to the changing international political developments, have been inclined to view the problems of the Jewish community from a more positive angle. As a result of this approach a number of developments beneficial to the community have been achieved: the permission to transfer the Jewish lycée and primary school in Istanbul to an area where Jews had moved during the last 20 years, for which permission had been requested ten years ago and been left pending, was granted; a law passed six years earlier rendering the teaching of Islamic religion an obligatory part of the curriculum in all primary and secondary schools was abolished; talmud torah education in synagogues was officially allowed; a special foundation to commemorate and celebrate the 500th anniversary of the arrival on Turkish-Ottoman soil of Jews fleeing the Inquisition was created jointly by Muslim and Jewish citizens with the support of the government; and a disused synagogue, the Zülfaris, is being turned into a Jewish museum, the only one of its kind in a Muslim country, where Jews constitute less than 5 per 10,000 of the general population; and for the first time ever, Jewish sportsmen were officially authorized to take part in the 1991 Maccabi games in Marseilles under the Turkish flag.

Immigration to Israel has almost ceased while the number of Jews who had moved to Israel but decided to return to Istanbul in particular has increased considerably. Further, the improved political and social conditions in Turkey have resulted in a sense of security for Jews, and the number of births has risen. The Jewish population grew from 22,000 to 27,000, of whom 2,000 live in Izmir; a few hundred are scattered over western Turkey; and the rest reside in Istanbul. (Censuses do not state the religion of citizens so it is difficult to determine exact figures.) Roughly 1,000 Turkish Jews are Ashkenazim; the rest Sephardim. The two groups live in complete harmony and all communal welfare institutions are administered jointly by members of both rites. There is only one Ashkenazi synagogue in all Turkey. The religious activities of the two rites are run by the Sephardi chief rabbinate and bet din which satisfactorily fulfill Ashkenazi needs.

Economically most of the Turkish Jews continued to be rather well off, except for some 300 families who were partly or totally supported by the community. However, Jews in general suffered due to the rampant inflation in the 1990s (a limited number of prominent businessmen constituting an exception).

Members of the community have displayed a marked return to religion and traditions and a keener Jewish consciousness. The number of people who have voluntarily offered to take an active part in communal work and assume their obligations toward the community has grown. The weekly paper Shalom, the publication of which had been stopped as a result of its former owner's illness and death, has been taken over by a group of young people who have succeeded in increasing its circulation to 5,000 (thus turning it into a paper read in almost every Jewish household) and giving special emphasis to the revival of Ladino. About one third of the contents of the paper is in *Ladino and the younger generation has begun to show a greater interest in the language.

A new club was founded to serve the Jewish residents of fashionable quarters on the Asian coast of Istanbul, where almost a fourth of the Jewish population lives, and its new building with sports, recreation, and cultural facilities was inaugurated in 1987. A trend of more intense searching for a Jewish identity has emerged among the younger generation and a greater number of people of all ages are volunteering for communal work. However, in spite of the sociocultural revival, the number of intermarriages has increased and has been put