Turkey Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Turkey > Map Economy History

Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappodocia A World Heritage Site.

Facts About Turkey

Background: Turkey was created in 1923 from the Turkish remnants of the Ottoman Empire. Soon thereafter the country instituted secular laws to replace traditional religious fiats. In 1945 Turkey joined the UN and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. Turkey occupied the northern portion of Cyprus in 1974 to prevent a Greek takeover of the island; relations between the two countries remain strained. Periodic military offensives against Kurdish separatists have dislocated part of the population in southeast Turkey and have drawn international condemnation.
Government type: republican parliamentary democracy
Capital: Ankara
Currency: Turkish lira (TRL) = 100 kurus (theoretical)

Geography of Turkey

Location: southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia (that portion of Turkey west of the Bosporus is geographically part of Europe), bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Syria.
Geographic coordinates: 39 00 N, 35 00 E
Area:
total: 780,580 sq km
land: 770,760 sq km
water: 9,820 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 2,627 km
border countries: Armenia 268 km, Azerbaijan 9 km, Bulgaria 240 km, Georgia 252 km, Greece 206 km, Iran 499 km, Iraq 331 km, Syria 822 km
Coastline: 7,200 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: in Black Sea only: to the maritime boundary agreed upon with the former USSR
territorial sea: 6 nm in the Aegean Sea; 12 nm in Black Sea and in Mediterranean Sea
Climate: temperate; hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters; harsher in interior
Terrain: mostly mountains; narrow coastal plain; high central plateau (Anatolia)
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Ararat 5,166 m
Natural resources: antimony, coal, chromium, mercury, copper, borate, sulfur, iron ore, arable land, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 32%
permanent crops: 4%
permanent pastures: 16%
forests and woodland: 26%
other: 22% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 36,740 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: very severe earthquakes, especially in northern Turkey, along an arc extending from the Sea of Marmara to Lake Van
Environment - current issues: water pollution from dumping of chemicals and detergents; air pollution, particularly in urban areas; deforestation; concern for oil spills from increasing Bosporus ship traffic.
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Environmental Modification
Geography - note: strategic location controlling the Turkish Straits (Bosporus, Sea of Marmara, Dardanelles) that link Black and Aegean Seas; Mount Ararat, the legendary landing place of Noah's Ark, is in the far eastern portion of the country.

People of Turkey

Bridging Europe and Asia Minor, Turkey is a land of geographic, economic, and social contrasts. Slightly larger than Texas, modern Turkey spans bustling cosmopolitan centers, pastoral farming villages, barren wastelands, peaceful Aegean coastlines, and steep mountain regions. More than half of Turkey's population lives in urban areas that juxtapose Western lifestyles with traditional-style mosques and markets. Most Turks, however, work in agriculture. Although Turkey is still a developing country, recent improvements in services have resulted in the proliferation of electricity nationwide and telephone connections for all its 34,500 villages.

Turkey has been officially secular since 1924, although 98% of the population is Muslim. Most Turkish Muslims belong to the Sunni branch of Islam, but a significant number are Alevi Muslims. The appeal of political Islam and the Kurdish insurgency continue to fuel public debate on several aspects of Turkish society, including the role of religion, the necessity for human rights protections, and the expectation of security.

Turks of Kurdish origin constitute an ethnic and linguistic group. Estimates of their population range up to 12 million. Although an increasing number have migrated to the cities, the traditional home of the Kurds is in poor, remote areas of the east and southeast, where incomes are less than half the national average and all other economic and social indicators lag.

Turkish culture, rich in Ottoman and folkloric elements, is traditional and modern. Turkish carpet weaving is one of the oldest crafts in the world. Ceramics and other Ottoman-era crafts retain their varied regional character.

Modern Turkish cultural life dates from the 1923 founding of the republic and early efforts to Westernize Turkish society. As a result, the arts, literature, drama, and classical and contemporary music have flourished. State support of cultural activities is extensive and encompasses a national network of theaters, orchestras, opera and ballet companies, university fine arts academies, and various conservatories. Public funds also are used to provide partial support for private theater groups and for major art exhibits and festivals.

Population: 69,660,559 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 29% 
15-64 years: 65% 
65 years and over: 6% 
Population growth rate: 1.27% 
Birth rate: 18.65 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 5.96 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 48.9 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.97 years
male: 68.63 years
female: 73.41 years 
Total fertility rate: 2.16 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Turk(s)
adjective: Turkish
Ethnic groups: Turkish 80%, Kurdish 20%
Religions: Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (Christian and Jews)
Languages: Turkish (official), Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, Greek
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 82.3%
male: 91.7%
female: 72.4% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Turkey > Map Economy History