Coordinates : 39°N 35°E / 39°N 35°E / 39; 35
Republic of Turkey
_Türkiye Cumhuriyeti_ (Turkish )
Flag National emblem
İstiklâl Marşı "
* "The Independence March"
39°55′N 32°50′E / 39.917°N 32.833°E / 39.917; 32.833
41°1′N 28°57′E / 41.017°N 28.950°E / 41.017; 28.950
Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
• PRIME MINISTER
• SPEAKER OF THE GRAND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
Grand National Assembly
SUCCESSION TO THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
• WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
19 May 1919
• GOVERNMENT OF THE GNA
23 April 1920
• TREATY OF KARS
13 October 1921
• TREATY OF LAUSANNE
24 July 1923
• DECLARATION OF REPUBLIC
29 October 1923
783,356 km2 (302,455 sq mi) (36th )
• WATER (%)
• 2017 CENSUS
79,814,871 (18th )
102 /km2 (264.2/sq mi) (107th )
GDP (PPP )
$2.082 trillion (13th )
• PER CAPITA
$25,776 (45th )
$861 billion (17th )
• PER CAPITA
$11,014 (60th )
medium · 56th
high · 72nd
Turkish lira ₺ (TRY )
FET (UTC +3)
dd/mm/yyyy (AD )
DRIVES ON THE
ISO 3166 CODE
TURKEY (/ˈtɜːrki/ (_ listen ); Turkish : Türkiye_ ), officially
the REPUBLIC OF TURKEY (Turkish: _ Türkiye Cumhuriyeti_ (help ·info
); pronounced ), is a transcontinental country in
Eurasia , mainly in
Western Asia , with a smaller portion on the Balkan
Southeast Europe .
Turkey is a democratic , secular ,
unitary , parliamentary republic with a diverse cultural heritage .
Turkey is bordered by eight countries:
Bulgaria to the
northwest; Georgia to the northeast;
Armenia , the Azerbaijani exclave
of Nakhchivan and
Iran to the east;
Syria to the south. The
country is encircled by seas on three sides: the
Aegean Sea is to the
Black Sea to the north, and the
Mediterranean Sea to the
Bosphorus , the
Sea of Marmara , and the
which together form the
Turkish Straits , divide
they also separate
Europe and Asia.
Ankara is the capital while
Istanbul is the country's largest city and main cultural and
commercial centre. Approximately 70-80% of the country's citizens
identify themselves as ethnic Turks . Other ethnic groups include
legally recognised (
Greeks , Jews ) and unrecognised
(Kurds , Arabs ,
Circassians , Albanians , Bosniaks , Georgians ,
etc.) minorities. Kurds are the largest ethnic minority group, making
up approximately 20% of the population.
The area of
Turkey has been inhabited since the
various ancient Anatolian civilisations , as well as Assyrians ,
Armenians . After
Alexander the Great 's conquest, the area was Hellenized , a process
which continued under the
Roman Empire and its transition into the
Byzantine Empire . The
Seljuk Turks began migrating into the area in
the 11th century, starting the process of
Turkification , which was
accelerated by the Seljuk victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of
Manzikert in 1071. The Seljuk
Sultanate of Rûm ruled
the Mongol invasion in 1243, when it disintegrated into small Turkish
In the mid-14th century the
Ottomans started uniting
created an empire encompassing much of Southeast Europe, West
North Africa , becoming a major power in
Eurasia and Africa during the
early modern period . The empire reached the peak of its power in the
16th century, especially during the reign (1520–1566) of Suleiman
the Magnificent . It remained powerful and influential for two more
centuries, until important setbacks in the 17th and 18th century
forced it to cede strategic territories in Europe, signalling the loss
of its former military strength and wealth. After the 1913 Ottoman
coup d\'état which effectively put the country under the control of
Three Pashas , the
Ottoman Empire decided to join the Central
World War I
World War I which were ultimately defeated by the Allied
Powers . During the war, the Ottoman government committed genocides
against its Armenian , Assyrian and
Pontic Greek citizens.
Following the war, the conglomeration of territories and peoples that
formerly comprised the
Ottoman Empire was partitioned into several new
states . The
Turkish War of Independence (1919–1922), initiated by
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues against the occupying Allies
, resulted in the abolition of monarchy in 1922 and the establishment
of the Republic of
Turkey in 1923, with Atatürk as its first
president. Atatürk enacted numerous reforms , many of which
incorporated various aspects of Western thought, philosophy, and
customs into the new form of Turkish government.
Turkey is a charter member of the UN , an early member of
NATO , and
a founding member of the
OECD , OSCE , OIC and G-20 . After becoming
one of the first members of the
Council of Europe in 1949, Turkey
became an associate member of the EEC in 1963, joined the EU Customs
Union in 1995 and started accession negotiations with the European
Union in 2005. Turkey's growing economy and diplomatic initiatives
have led to its recognition as a regional power while its location
has given it geopolitical and strategic importance throughout history.
Turkey's current administration headed by president Tayyip Erdoğan
has reversed many of the country's earlier reforms which had been in
place since the founding of the modern republic of Turkey, such as
Freedom of the Press , a Legislative System of Checks and Balances ,
and a set of standards for secularism in government, as first enacted
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Prehistory of
Anatolia and Eastern
* 2.2 Antiquity and Byzantine period
Seljuks and the
* 2.4 Republic of
* 3 Administrative divisions
* 4 Politics
* 4.1 Human rights
* 4.2 Websites blocked
* 4.3 Law
* 4.4 Foreign relations
* 4.5 Military
* 5 Geography
* 5.1 Biodiversity
* 5.2 Climate
* 6.1 History
* 6.2 Tourism
* 6.3 Infrastructure
* 6.4 Science and technology
* 7 Demographics
* 7.1 Languages
* 7.2 Religion
Agnosticism and atheism
* 7.4 Healthcare
* 8 Culture
* 8.1 Visual arts
* 8.2 Literature and theatre
* 8.3 Music and dance
* 8.4 Architecture
* 8.5 Cuisine
* 8.6 Sports
* 8.7 Media and cinema
* 9 See also
* 10 Notes
* 11 References
* 12 Further reading
* 13 External links
Name of Turkey
The name of
Turkey (Turkish : _Türkiye_) is based on the ethnonym
_Türk _. The first recorded use of the term "Türk" or "Türük" as
an autonym is contained in the Old Turkic inscriptions of the
Göktürks (_Celestial Turks_) of
Central Asia (c. 8th century). The
English name _
Turkey _ first appeared in the late 14th century and is
Medieval Latin _Turchia_.
The Greek cognate of this name, _Tourkia _ (Greek : Τουρκία)
was used by the Byzantine emperor and scholar Constantine VII
Porphyrogenitus in his book _
De Administrando Imperio _, though in
his use, "Turks" always referred to
Magyars . Similarly, the medieval
Khazar Empire , a Turkic state on the northern shores of the Black and
Caspian seas, was referred to as _Tourkia_ (_Land of the Turks_) in
Byzantine sources. The medieval Arabs referred to the Mamluk
Sultanate as _al-Dawla al-Turkiyya_ (_State of Turkey_). The Ottoman
Empire was sometimes referred to as _Turkey_ or the _Turkish Empire_
among its European contemporaries.
History of Turkey See also: History of
PREHISTORY OF ANATOLIA AND EASTERN THRACE
Main articles: Prehistory of
Anatolia and Prehistory of Southeastern
Europe See also:
Ancient Anatolians , Ancient kingdoms of
Thracians Some henges at
Göbekli Tepe were erected as far
back as 9600 BC , predating those of
England , by over
seven millennia. The Lion Gate in
Hattusa , capital of the
Hittite Empire . The city's history dates back to the 6th millennium
The Anatolian peninsula, comprising most of modern Turkey, is one of
the oldest permanently settled regions in the world. Various ancient
Anatolian populations have lived in
Anatolia , from at least the
Neolithic period until the
Hellenistic period . Many of these peoples
Anatolian languages , a branch of the larger Indo-European
language family . In fact, given the antiquity of the Indo-European
Hittite and Luwian languages, some scholars have proposed
the hypothetical centre from which the Indo-European languages
radiated. The European part of Turkey, called Eastern
Thrace , has
also been inhabited since at least forty thousand years ago, and is
known to have been in the
Neolithic era by about 6000 BC.
Göbekli Tepe is the site of the oldest known man-made religious
structure, a temple dating to circa 10,000 BC, while
a very large
Chalcolithic settlement in southern
Anatolia, which existed from approximately 7500 BC to 5700 BC. It is
the largest and best-preserved
Neolithic site found to date and in
July 2012 was inscribed as a
UNESCO World Heritage Site . The
Troy started in the
Neolithic Age and continued into the
Iron Age .
The earliest recorded inhabitants of
Anatolia were the
Hurrians , non-Indo-European peoples who inhabited central and eastern
Anatolia, respectively, as early as ca. 2300 BC. Indo-European
Hittites came to
Anatolia and gradually absorbed the
Hurrians ca. 2000–1700 BC. The first major empire in the area was
founded by the Hittites, from the 18th through the 13th century BC.
The Assyrians conquered and settled parts of southeastern
early as 1950 BC until the year 612 BC.
Urartu re-emerged in
Assyrian inscriptions in the 9th century BC as a powerful northern
rival of Assyria.
Following the collapse of the Hittite empire c. 1180 BC, the
Phrygians , an Indo-European people, achieved ascendancy in Anatolia
until their kingdom was destroyed by the
Cimmerians in the 7th century
BC. Starting from 714 BC,
Urartu shared the same fate and dissolved
in 590 BC, when it was conquered by the
Medes . The most powerful of
Phrygia's successor states were
Lycia . _ The
Sardis , capital of ancient
Lydia (c. 1200 BC–546 BC),
the successor state of ancient
Arzawa (15th–13th centuries BC).
Walls of the acropolis of
Troy VIIa , the site of the
Trojan War (c.
1200 BC) that inspired
ANTIQUITY AND BYZANTINE PERIOD
Main articles: Classical
Anatolia , Byzantine
Anatolia , and
Hellenistic period See also:
Byzantine Empire , Successors of the
Byzantine Empire , and States in late medieval
Library of Celsus in
Ephesus was built by the Romans in 114–117 AD.
Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, built by king
the 6th century BC, was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
. Originally a church, later a mosque, and now a museum, the
Hagia Sophia in
Istanbul was built by the Byzantine emperor Justinian
I in 532–537 AD.
Starting around 1200 BC, the coast of
Anatolia was heavily settled by
Aeolian and Ionian
Greeks . Numerous important cities were founded by
these colonists, such as
İzmir ) and
Istanbul ), the latter founded by Greek colonists from
Megara in 657 BC. The first state that was called
neighbouring peoples was the state of the Armenian
Orontid dynasty ,
which included parts of eastern
Turkey beginning in the 6th century
BC. In Northwest Turkey, the most significant tribal group in Thrace
was the Odyrisians , founded by
Teres I .
All of modern-day
Turkey was conquered by the Persian Achaemenid
Empire during the 6th century BC. The
Greco-Persian Wars started when
the Greek city states on the coast of
Anatolia rebelled against
Persian rule in 499 BC. The territory of
Turkey later fell to
Alexander the Great in 334 BC, which led to increasing cultural
Hellenization in the area.
Following Alexander's death in 323 BC,
Anatolia was subsequently
divided into a number of small Hellenistic kingdoms , all of which
became part of the
Roman Republic by the mid-1st century BC. The
Hellenization that began with Alexander's conquest
accelerated under Roman rule, and by the early centuries of the
Christian Era , the local
Anatolian languages and cultures had become
extinct, being largely replaced by ancient
Greek language and culture.
From the 1st century BC up to the 3rd century CE, large parts of
Turkey were contested between the Romans and neighbouring
Parthians through the frequent
Roman-Parthian Wars .
Constantine I chose
Byzantium to be the new capital of the
Roman Empire , renaming it
New Rome . Following the death of
Theodosius I in 395 and the permanent division of the Roman Empire
between his two sons, the city, which would popularly come to be known
Constantinople , became the capital of the Eastern
Roman Empire .
This empire, which would later be branded by historians as the
Byzantine Empire , ruled most of the territory of present-day Turkey
Late Middle Ages ; although the eastern regions remained in
Sasanian hands up to the first half of the seventh century. The
Byzantine-Sassanid Wars , as part of the centuries
Roman-Persian Wars , fought between the neighbouring
rivalling Byzantines and Sasanians, took place in various parts of
Turkey and decided much of the latter's history from the
fourth century up to the first half of the seventh century.
Designed by Greek architect Zeno, a native of the city, the Aspendos
amphitheatre was built during the Roman period in 161–169 CE.
Mount Nemrut , built by the Armenian
Antiochus I Theos of Commagene ,
is notable for its summit where a number of large statues are erected
around what is assumed to be a royal tomb from the 1st century BC.
SELJUKS AND THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
Seljuk dynasty and
Ottoman dynasty See also: Turkic
migration , Mongol invasions of
Seljuk Empire , Sultanate
of Rum , and
Mevlana Museum in
Konya was built by
Seljuk Turks in 1274.
Konya was the capital of the Seljuk
Sultanate of Rum
Sultanate of Rum (Anatolia).
The House of Seljuk was a branch of the _Kınık_ Oğuz Turks who
resided on the periphery of the
Muslim world , in the Yabgu Khaganate
of the Oğuz confederacy, to the north of the Caspian and Aral Seas ,
in the 9th century. In the 10th century, the
migrating from their ancestral homeland into
Persia , which became the
administrative core of the Great
Seljuk Empire .
In the latter half of the 11th century, the
Seljuk Turks began
penetrating into medieval
Armenia and the eastern regions of Anatolia
. In 1071, the
Seljuks defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of
Manzikert , starting the
Turkification process in the area; the
Turkish language and
Islam were introduced to
Armenia and Anatolia,
gradually spreading throughout the region. The slow transition from a
Christian and Greek -speaking
Anatolia to a
Muslim and Turkish -speaking one was underway.
Turkification of the territory, the culturally
Seljuks set the basis for a Turko-Persian principal
culture in Anatolia, which their eventual successors, the Ottomans,
would take over .
In 1243, the Seljuk armies were defeated by the Mongols , causing the
Seljuk Empire's power to slowly disintegrate. In its wake, one of the
Turkish principalities governed by
Osman I would evolve over the next
200 years into the
Ottoman Empire . In 1453, the
their conquest of the
Byzantine Empire by capturing its capital ,
Constantinople . Topkapı and Dolmabahçe palaces were the
primary residences of the Ottoman Sultans and the administrative
centre of the empire between 1465 to 1856 and 1856 to 1922,
In 1514, Sultan
Selim I (1512–1520) successfully expanded the
empire's southern and eastern borders by defeating Shah
Ismail I of
Safavid dynasty in the
Battle of Chaldiran
Battle of Chaldiran . In 1517, Selim I
expanded Ottoman rule into
Egypt , and created a naval
presence in the
Red Sea . Subsequently, a contest started between the
Ottoman and Portuguese empires to become the dominant sea power in the
Indian Ocean , with a number of naval battles in the Red Sea, the
Arabian Sea and the
Persian Gulf . The Portuguese presence in the
Indian Ocean was perceived as a threat to the Ottoman monopoly over
the ancient trade routes between
East Asia and
Western Europe .
Despite the increasingly prominent European presence, the Ottoman
Empire's trade with the east continued to flourish until the second
half of the 18th century.
The Ottoman Empire's power and prestige peaked in the 16th and 17th
centuries, particularly during the reign of
Suleiman the Magnificent ,
who personally instituted major legislative changes relating to
society, education, taxation and criminal law. The empire was often at
odds with the Holy
Roman Empire in its steady advance towards Central
Europe through the
Balkans and the southern part of the
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth . At sea, the
Ottoman Navy contended
with several Holy Leagues, such as those in 1538 , 1571 , 1684 and
1717 (composed primarily of
Habsburg Spain , the
Republic of Genoa ,
Republic of Venice , the Knights of St. John , the
Papal States ,
Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the
Duchy of Savoy ), for the control
Mediterranean Sea . In the east, the
Ottomans were often at war
Persia over conflicts stemming from territorial disputes
or religious differences between the 16th and 18th centuries. The
Ottoman wars with
Persia continued as the Zand , Afsharid , and Qajar
dynasties succeeded the Safavids in Iran, until the first half of the
19th century . From the 16th to the early 20th centuries, the Ottoman
Empire also fought many wars with the Russian Tsardom and Empire .
These were initially about Ottoman territorial expansion and
consolidation in southeastern and eastern Europe; but starting from
the latter half of the 18th century , they became more about the
survival of the Ottoman Empire, which had begun to lose its strategic
territories on the northern
Black Sea coast to the advancing Russians.
Between the 18th and the early 20th centuries, the Ottoman, Persian
and Russian empires were neighbouring rivals of each other. Visit
Kaiser Wilhelm II to
Istanbul in Oct. 1917 with
Mehmed V and Enver
Pasha . The
World War I
World War I on the side of the Central
Powers and suffered heavy losses. Overall, the total number of
combatant casualties in the Ottoman forces amounts to just under half
of all those mobilised to fight. Of these, more than 800,000 were
killed. However, four out of every five Ottoman citizens who died were
From the second half of the 18th century onwards, the Ottoman Empire
began to decline . The
Tanzimat reforms of the 19th century, which had
been instituted by
Mahmud II , were aimed to modernise the Ottoman
state in line with the progress that had been made in Western Europe.
The efforts of
Midhat Pasha during the late
Tanzimat era led the
Ottoman constitutional movement of 1876 , which introduced the First
Constitutional Era , but these efforts proved to be inadequate in most
fields, and failed to stop the dissolution of the empire . As the
empire gradually shrank in size, military power and wealth, especially
after the Ottoman economic crisis and default in 1875 which led to
uprisings in the Balkan provinces that culminated into the
Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 , many Balkan Muslims migrated to the
Empire's heartland in Anatolia, along with the
Russian conquest of the Caucasus . The decline of the Ottoman
Empire led to a rise in nationalist sentiment among its various
subject peoples , leading to increased ethnic tensions which
occasionally burst into violence, such as the
Hamidian massacres of
Young Turk Revolution
Young Turk Revolution in 1908 restored the Ottoman constitution
and parliament 30 years after their suspension by Sultan Abdülhamid
II in 1878, which is known as the
Second Constitutional Era , but the
1913 Ottoman coup d\'état effectively put the country under the
control of the
Three Pashas , making sultans
Mehmed V and Mehmed VI
largely symbolic figureheads with no real political power.
Ottoman Empire entered
World War I
World War I on the side of the Central
Powers and was ultimately defeated. During the war, the empire's
Armenians were deported to
Syria as part of the
Armenian Genocide . As
a result, an estimated 800,000 to 1,500,000
Armenians were killed.
The Turkish government has refused to acknowledge the events as
genocide and claims that
Armenians were only relocated from the
eastern war zone. Large-scale massacres were also committed against
the empire's other minority groups such as the Assyrians and
Armistice of Mudros on 30 October 1918, the victorious
Allied Powers sought to partition the Ottoman state through the 1920
Treaty of Sèvres .
REPUBLIC OF TURKEY
History of the Republic of Turkey See also:
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk , founder and first
President of the Turkish Republic, visiting
Istanbul University after
its reorganization in 1933 as a mixed-gender institution of higher
education with multiple faculties .
The occupation of
Istanbul and Izmir by the Allies in the aftermath
World War I
World War I prompted the establishment of the Turkish National
Movement . Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal
Pasha , a military
commander who had distinguished himself during the Battle of Gallipoli
Turkish War of Independence was waged with the aim of revoking
the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres.
By 18 September 1922 the occupying armies were expelled, and the
Ankara-based Turkish regime , which had declared itself the legitimate
government of the country on 23 April 1920 , started to formalise the
legal transition from the old Ottoman into the new Republican
political system. On 1 November 1922, the
Turkish Parliament in Ankara
formally abolished the Sultanate , thus ending 623 years of
monarchical Ottoman rule. The
Treaty of Lausanne of 24 July 1923 led
to the international recognition of the sovereignty of the newly
formed "Republic of Turkey" as the successor state of the Ottoman
Empire, and the republic was officially proclaimed on 29 October 1923
in Ankara, the country's new capital. The Lausanne Convention
stipulated a population exchange between
Turkey , whereby
Greece in exchange for 380,000
Muslims transferred from
Greece to Turkey.
Mustafa Kemal became the republic's first President and subsequently
introduced many radical reforms with the aim of transforming the old
religion-based and multi-communal Ottoman state system (constitutional
monarchy ) into an essentially Turkish nation state (parliamentary
republic ) with a secular constitution . With the
Surname Law of
Turkish Parliament bestowed upon Mustafa Kemal the honorific
surname "Atatürk" (_Father of the Turks_). Eighteen female MPs
Turkish Parliament with the 1935 general elections .
Turkish women gained the right to vote a decade or more before women
in such Western European countries as France, Italy, and
Belgium — a
mark of Atatürk's far-reaching social changes.
İsmet İnönü became Turkey's second President following Atatürk's
death on 10 November 1938. In 1939
Turkey annexed the Republic of
Turkey remained neutral during most of
World War II
World War II , but
entered the closing stages of the war on the side of the Allies on 23
February 1945. On 26 June 1945,
Turkey became a charter member of the
United Nations. In the same year, the single-party period in Turkey
came to an end, with the first multiparty elections in 1946 . The
Truman Doctrine in 1947 enunciated American intentions to guarantee
the security of
Greece during the
Cold War , and resulted
in large-scale U.S. military and economic support . In 1948 both
countries were included in the
Marshall Plan and the OEEC for
rebuilding European economies. In 1949
Turkey became a member of the
Council of Europe . The Democratic Party established by Celâl Bayar
won the 1950 , 1954 and 1957 general elections and stayed in power for
a decade, with
Adnan Menderes as the Prime Minister and Bayar as the
President. After participating with the
United Nations forces in the
Korean War ,
NATO in 1952, becoming a bulwark against
Soviet expansion into the Mediterranean .
Turkey subsequently became a
founding member of the
OECD in 1961, and an associate member of the
EEC in 1963. During the politically unstable periods of the
Turkish Republic, the military exercised power directly or through
Cemal Gürsel (far right).
The country's tumultuous transition to multiparty democracy was
interrupted by military coups d\'état in 1960 , 1971 , and 1980 , as
well as a military memorandum in 1997 . Between 1960 and the end of
the 20th century, the prominent leaders in Turkish politics who
achieved multiple election victories were
Süleyman Demirel , Bülent
Turgut Özal .
Following a decade of
Cypriot intercommunal violence and the coup in
Cyprus on 15 July 1974 staged by the
EOKA B paramilitary organisation,
which overthrew President Makarios and installed the pro-
Nikos Sampson as dictator,
Cyprus on 20
July 1974 by unilaterally exercising Article IV in the Treaty of
Guarantee (1960) , but without restoring the status quo ante at the
end of the military operation. In 1983 the Turkish Republic of
Northern Cyprus , which is recognised only by Turkey, was established.
As of 2017, negotiations for solving the
Cyprus dispute are still
ongoing between Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot political leaders.
In 1984 the PKK , a Kurdish separatist group (listed as a terrorist
NATO , the
United States and the
European Union ),
began an armed insurgency campaign against Turkey. The conflict has
claimed over 40,000 lives to date.
Since the liberalisation of the Turkish economy in the 1980s, the
country has enjoyed stronger economic growth and greater political
Turkey applied for full membership of the EEC in 1987,
joined the EU Customs Union in 1995 and started accession negotiations
European Union in 2005.
In 2013, widespread protests erupted in many Turkish provinces,
sparked by a plan to demolish
Gezi Park but soon growing into general
anti-government dissent. On 15–16 July 2016, an unsuccessful coup
attempt tried to oust the government. As a reaction to the failed
coup d'état, the government is currently carrying out mass purges .
Administrative divisions of Turkey Further
Regions of Turkey and
NUTS of Turkey
Turkey has a unitary structure in terms of administration and this
aspect is one of the most important factors shaping the Turkish public
administration. When three powers (executive, legislative and
judiciary) are taken into account as the main functions of the state,
local administrations have little power.
Turkey doesn't have a federal
system, and the provinces are subordinate to the central government in
Ankara. Local administrations were established to provide services in
place and the government is represented by the province governors
(_vali_) and town governors (_kaymakam_). Other senior public
officials are also appointed by the central government instead of the
mayors (_belediye başkanı_) or elected by constituents. Turkish
municipalities have local legislative bodies (_belediye meclisi_) for
decision-making on municipal issues.
Within this unitary framework,
Turkey is subdivided into 81 provinces
(_il_ or _vilayet_) for administrative purposes. Each province is
divided into districts (_ilçe_), for a total of 923 districts.
Turkey is also subdivided into 7 regions (_bölge_) and 21 subregions
for geographic, demographic and economic purposes; this does not refer
to an administrative division. The centralised structure of
Ankara is considered by some academicians as an
impediment to good local governance, and occasionally causes
resentment in the municipalities of urban centres that are inhabited
largely by ethnic minority groups, such as the Kurds. Steps towards
decentralisation since 2004 have proven to be a highly controversial
topic in Turkey. The efforts to decentralise the administrative
structure are also driven by the European Charter of Local
Self-Government and with Chapter 22 ("Regional Policy float: none;
clear: none; font-size: 85%; line-height: 1; text-align: center;
background-color: #ffffff; position: relative; max-width: 100%;
Edirne Tekirdağ Çanakkale
Istanbul Kocaeli Sakarya Düzce
Zonguldak Bolu Bilecik
Eskişehir Kütahya Manisa
Denizli Burdur Uşak Afyon Isparta
Mersin Karaman Aksaray Kırşehir Kırıkkale Çankırı
Karabük Bartın Kastamonu Sinop Çorum Yozgat Nevşehir Niğde
Adana Hatay Osmaniye K. Maraş
Kayseri Sivas Tokat Amasya
Samsun Ordu Giresun Erzincan
Şanlıurfa Adıyaman Gümüşhane Trabzon Rize Bayburt
Artvin Ardahan Kars Ağrı Iğdır Tunceli Elâzığ
Mardin Batman Siirt Şırnak Bitlis Bingöl Muş
Politics of Turkey See also:
Constitution of Turkey ,
Elections in Turkey , and
Ministries of Turkey
Turkey is a parliamentary representative democracy . Since its
foundation as a republic in 1923,
Turkey has developed a strong
tradition of secularism . Turkey\'s constitution governs the legal
framework of the country. It sets out the main principles of
government and establishes
Turkey as a unitary centralised state. The
President of the Republic is the head of state and has a largely
ceremonial role. The president is elected for a five-year term by
direct elections and Tayyip Erdoğan is the first president elected by
Executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister and the Council of
Ministers which make up the government, while the legislative power is
vested in the unicameral parliament, the Grand National Assembly of
Turkey . The judiciary is independent of the executive and the
legislature, and the Constitutional Court is charged with ruling on
the conformity of laws and decrees with the constitution. The Council
of State is the tribunal of last resort for administrative cases, and
the High Court of Appeals for all others.
The prime minister is elected by the parliament through a vote of
confidence in the government and is most often the head of the party
having the most seats in parliament. The prime minister is Binali
Yıldırım , who replaced
Ahmet Davutoğlu on 24 May 2016.
Universal suffrage for both sexes has been applied throughout Turkey
since 1933, and every Turkish citizen who has turned 18 years of age
has the right to vote. There are 550 members of parliament who are
elected for a four-year term by a party-list proportional
representation system from 85 electoral districts. The Constitutional
Court can strip the public financing of political parties that it
deems anti-secular or separatist , or ban their existence altogether.
The electoral threshold is 10 percent of the votes.
Supporters of Atatürk\'s reforms are called Kemalists , as
distinguished from Islamists , representing the two diverging views
regarding the role of religion in legislation , education and public
life . The Kemalist view supports a form of democracy with a laicist
constitution and Westernised secular lifestyle , while maintaining the
necessity of state intervention in the economy , education and other
public services . Since the 1980s, issues such as income inequality
and class distinction have given rise to Islamic populism , a movement
that supports a larger role for religion in government policies, and
in theory supports obligation to authority, communal solidarity and
social justice; though what that entails in practice is often
Turkey under Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP has been
described as becoming increasingly authoritarian . Prior to the
constitutional referendum in 2017 the
Council of Europe saw Turkey
drifting towards an autocracy , warning of a "dramatic regression of
its democratic order".
The constitutional referendum was held in April 2017 to change the
parliamentary system to a presidential system . Many elements in this
constitutional reform package have increased concerns in Europe
regarding democracy and separation of powers. The referendum ended
in favor of change.
Human rights in Turkey See also:
Racism in Turkey ,
Torture in Turkey , and
Censorship in Turkey A view from the
Gezi Park protests a view from
Istanbul on 4th June 2013.
Human rights in Turkey have been the subject of some controversy and
international condemnation. Between 1998 and 2008 the European Court
of Human Rights made more than 1,600 judgements against
human rights violations, particularly regarding the right to life, and
freedom from torture. Other issues, such as Kurdish rights, women's
rights, LGBT rights, and press freedom, have also attracted
controversy. Turkey's human rights record continues to be a
significant obstacle to future membership of the EU.
According to the
Committee to Protect Journalists , the AKP
government has waged one of the world's biggest crackdowns on media
freedom . A large number of journalists have been arrested using
charges of "terrorism" and "anti-state activities" such as the
Ergenekon and Balyoz cases, while thousands have been investigated on
charges such as "denigrating Turkishness" or "insulting Islam" in an
effort to sow self-censorship. As of 2017, the CPJ identified 81
jailed journalists in
Turkey (including the editorial staff of
Cumhuriyet _, Turkey's oldest newspaper still in circulation), all
directly held for their published work (ranking 1st in the world, more
than in Iran, Eritrea or China); while Freemuse identified 9
musicians imprisoned for their work (ranking 3rd after
China). A former US State Department spokesman,
Philip J. Crowley ,
said that the
United States had "broad concerns about trends involving
intimidation of journalists in Turkey." Turkey's media is rated as
_not free_ by
Freedom House . In its resolution "The functioning of
democratic institutions in Turkey" on 22 June 2016, the Parliamentary
Assembly of the
Council of Europe warned that "recent developments in
Turkey pertaining to freedom of the media and of expression, erosion
of the rule of law and the human rights violations in relation to
anti-terrorism security operations in south-east
Turkey have (...)
raised serious questions about the functioning of its democratic
On 20 May 2016, the Turkish parliament stripped almost a quarter of
its members of immunity from prosecution, including 101 deputies from
the pro-Kurdish HDP and the main opposition CHP party. In reaction to
the failed coup d\'état on 15 July 2016, over 125,000 judges,
teachers, police and civil servants have been suspended or dismissed,
36,000 have been formally arrested, and 130 media organisations,
including 16 television broadcasters and 45 newspapers, have been
closed by the government of Turkey.
On 29 April 2017, Turkish authorities blocked online access to
in all languages across Turkey. The restrictions were
imposed in the context of the 2016–17 purges following the 2016
Turkish _coup d\'état_ attempt , a few weeks after a significant
constitutional referendum , and following more selective partial
blocking of content in previous years. Following the ban,
Jimmy Wales ,'s founder, was disinvited from the World
Cities Expo in
Istanbul from 15 to 18 May. Turkish law professor
Yaman Akdeniz estimates that is one of about 127,000
websites blocked by Turkish authorities. An estimated 45 percent of
Turks have circumvented the Internet blocks, at one time or another,
by using a virtual private network (VPN).
Judicial system of Turkey and Law enforcement in
Turkey Bas-reliefs of the Byzantine emperor Justinian the
Great and Ottoman emperor
Suleiman the Magnificent in the chamber of
the U.S. House of Representatives. Some of their contributions to the
world's judicial systems are still in effect today.
Turkey\'s judicial system has been wholly integrated with the system
Europe . For instance, the Turkish Civil Code has been
modified by incorporating elements mainly of the
Swiss Civil Code and
Code of Obligations , and the German Commercial Code . The
Administrative Code bears similarities with its French counterpart ,
and the Penal Code with its Italian counterpart .
Turkey has adopted the principle of the separation of powers . In
line with this principle, judicial power is exercised by independent
courts on behalf of the Turkish nation. The independence and
organisation of the courts, the security of the tenure of judges and
public prosecutors, the profession of judges and prosecutors, the
supervision of judges and public prosecutors, the military courts and
their organisation, and the powers and duties of the high courts are
regulated by the Turkish
According to Article 142 of the Turkish Constitution, the
organisation, duties and jurisdiction of the courts, their functions
and the trial procedures are regulated by law. In line with the
aforementioned article of the Turkish
Constitution and related laws,
the court system in
Turkey can be classified under three main
categories; which are the Judicial Courts, Administrative Courts and
Military Courts. Each category includes first instance courts and high
courts. In addition, the Court of Jurisdictional Disputes rules on
cases that cannot be classified readily as falling within the purview
of one court system.
Law enforcement in Turkey is carried out by several departments (such
General Directorate of Security and Gendarmerie General Command
) and agencies, all acting under the command of the Prime Minister of
Turkey or mostly the Minister of Internal Affairs . According to
figures released by the Justice Ministry , there are 100,000 people in
Turkish prisons as of November 2008, a doubling since 2000.
In the years of government by the AKP and Tayyip Erdoğan ,
particularly since 2013, the independence and integrity of the Turkish
judiciary has increasingly been considered in doubt by institutions,
parliamentarians and journalists both within and outside of Turkey;
due to political interference in the promotion of judges and
prosecutors, and in their pursuit of public duty. The _
report_ of the
European Commission stated that "the independence of
the judiciary and respect of the principle of separation of powers
have been undermined and judges and prosecutors have been under strong
Foreign relations of Turkey Leaders of the G-20
at the 2015
Antalya summit in Turkey.
Turkey is a founding member of the
United Nations (1945), the OECD
(1961), the OIC (1969), the OSCE (1973), the ECO (1985), the BSEC
(1992), the D-8 (1997) and the G-20 (1999).
Turkey was a member of
United Nations Security Council in 1951–1952, 1954–1955, 1961
and 2009–2010. In 2012
Turkey became a dialogue member of the SCO
and in 2013, became a member of the ACD . After becoming one of
the first members of the
Council of Europe in 1949,
Turkey became an
associate member of the EEC in 1963, joined the EU Customs Union in
1995 and started full membership negotiations with the European Union
In line with its traditional Western orientation, relations with
Europe have always been a central part of Turkish foreign policy.
Turkey became one of the first members of the
Council of Europe in
1949, applied for associate membership of the EEC (predecessor of the
European Union ) in 1959 and became an associate member in 1963. After
decades of political negotiations,
Turkey applied for full membership
of the EEC in 1987, became an associate member of the Western European
Union in 1992, joined the EU Customs Union in 1995 and has been in
formal accession negotiations with the EU since 2005. Today, EU
membership is considered as a state policy and a strategic target by
Turkey. Turkey's support for
Northern Cyprus in the
complicates Turkey's relations with the EU and remains a major
stumbling block to the country's EU accession bid.
The other defining aspect of Turkey's foreign policy is the country's
long-standing strategic alliance with the United States. The common
threat posed by the
Soviet Union during the
Cold War led to Turkey's
NATO in 1952, ensuring close bilateral relations with
Washington . Subsequently
Turkey benefited from the United States'
political, economic and diplomatic support, including in key issues
such as the country's bid to join the European Union. In the
Cold War environment, Turkey's geostrategic importance shifted
towards its proximity to the
Middle East , the
Caucasus and the
Balkans . The
Turkish Armed Forces collectively rank as the
second largest standing military force in
NATO , after the US Armed
Turkey joined the alliance in 1952 .
The independence of the
Turkic states of the
Soviet Union in 1991,
Turkey shares a common cultural and linguistic heritage,
Turkey to extend its economic and political relations deep
Central Asia , thus enabling the completion of a
multi-billion-dollar oil and natural gas pipeline from
Azerbaijan to the port of
Ceyhan in Turkey. The
Ceyhan pipeline forms part of Turkey's foreign policy
strategy to become an energy conduit from the
Caspian Sea basin to
Europe. However, in 1993,
Turkey sealed its land border with Armenia
in a gesture of support to
Azerbaijan (a Turkic state in the Caucasus
region) during the
Nagorno-Karabakh War , and it remains closed.
Under the AKP government, Turkey's influence has grown in the
formerly Ottoman territories of the
Middle East and the
based on the "strategic depth" doctrine (a terminology that was coined
Ahmet Davutoğlu for defining Turkey's increased engagement in
regional foreign policy issues), also called
Arab Spring in December 2010, the choices made by the
AKP government for supporting certain political opposition groups in
the affected countries have led to tensions with some Arab states,
such as Turkey's neighbour
Syria since the start of the Syrian civil
war , and
Egypt after the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi . As of
Turkey doesn't have an ambassador in
Diplomatic relations with
Israel were also severed after the Gaza
flotilla raid in 2010, but were normalised following a deal in June
2016. These political rifts have left
Turkey with few allies in the
East Mediterranean , where rich natural gas fields have recently been
discovered; in sharp contrast with the original goals that were set
by the former Foreign Minister (later Prime Minister) Ahmet Davutoğlu
in his "zero problems with neighbours" foreign policy doctrine. In
Saudi Arabia and
Qatar formed a "strategic alliance"
against Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad . However, following the
Russia in 2016,
Turkey revised its stance regarding
the solution of the conflict in Syria.
Turkish Armed Forces See also: Defense industry of
Turkey is one of nine partner states in the F-35
JSF program (left) and one of the eight participants in the Airbus
A400M Atlas project (right).
Turkish Armed Forces consists of the Land Forces , the Naval
Forces and the Air Force . The Gendarmerie and the Coast Guard operate
as parts of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in peacetime, although
they are subordinated to the Army and Navy Commands respectively in
wartime, during which they have both internal law enforcement and
military functions. The Chief of the General Staff is appointed by
the President and is responsible to the Prime Minister. The Council of
Ministers is responsible to the Parliament for matters of national
security and the adequate preparation of the armed forces to defend
the country. However, the authority to declare war and to deploy the
Turkish Armed Forces to foreign countries or to allow foreign armed
forces to be stationed in
Turkey rests solely with the Parliament.
MILGEM project aims to design and build locally a fleet of
hi-tech stealth multipurpose corvettes and frigates.
TCG Heybeliada is
one of the warships built under the scope of this project.
Every fit male Turkish citizen otherwise not barred is required to
serve in the military for a period ranging from three weeks to a year,
dependent on education and job location.
Turkey does not recognise
conscientious objection and does not offer a civilian alternative to
Turkey has the second largest standing military force in
NATO , after
the US Armed Forces , with an estimated strength of 495,000 deployable
forces, according to a 2011
Turkey is one of five NATO
member states which are part of the nuclear sharing policy of the
alliance, together with Belgium,
Germany , Italy, and the Netherlands
. A total of 90 B61 nuclear bombs are hosted at the Incirlik Air Base
, 40 of which are allocated for use by the
Turkish Air Force in case
of a nuclear conflict, but their use requires the approval of NATO.
Turkey has maintained forces in international missions under the
United Nations and
NATO since the
Korean War , including peacekeeping
Somalia , Yugoslavia , Horn of Africa and supported the
coalition forces in the
First Gulf War .
Turkey maintains a
controversial 36,000 troop-strong force in
Northern Cyprus ,
contributes military personnel to the International Security
Assistance Force ,
Kosovo Force ,
Eurocorps and takes part in the EU
Battlegroups while assisting Iraqi Kurdistan and
security. TAF has overseas military bases in
Qatar and in
According to 2016
Global Peace Index
Global Peace Index ,
Turkey ranked 145th out of 163
countries in the world, mainly because of its conflict with Kurdish
insurgents and its military intervention in
Geography of Turkey Topographic map of
Turkey is a transcontinental Eurasian country. Asian Turkey, which
includes 97 percent of the country, is separated from European Turkey
Bosphorus , the
Sea of Marmara , and the
Dardanelles . European
Turkey comprises 3 percent of the country. The territory of
more than 1,600 kilometres (990 miles) long and 800 kilometres (500
miles) wide, with a roughly rectangular shape. It lies between
latitudes 35° and 43° N , and longitudes 25° and 45° E . Turkey's
land area, including lakes, occupies 783,562 square kilometres
(302,535 square miles), of which 755,688 square kilometres (291,773
square miles) are in Southwest
Asia and 23,764 square kilometres
(9,175 square miles) in Europe.
Turkey is the world's 37th-largest
country in terms of area. The country is encircled by seas on three
Aegean Sea to the west, the
Black Sea to the north and the
Mediterranean to the south.
Turkey also contains the
Sea of Marmara in
the northwest. A photograph of
Lake Van and the Armenian Church
Akhtamar . Van is the largest lake in the country and is located in
The European section of Turkey,
East Thrace (the easternmost region
of the Balkan peninsula), forms the borders of
Bulgaria. The Asian part of the country is comprised mostly by the
Anatolia , which consists of a high central plateau with
narrow coastal plains, between the Köroğlu and Pontic mountain
ranges to the north and the
Taurus Mountains to the south. Eastern
Turkey , located within the western plateau of the Armenian Highlands
, has a more mountainous landscape and is home to the sources of
rivers such as the
Tigris and Aras , and contains Mount
Ararat , Turkey's highest point at 5,137 metres (16,854 feet), and
Lake Van , the largest lake in the country. Southeastern
located within the northern plains of
Upper Mesopotamia .
Turkey is divided into seven geographical regions : Marmara , Aegean
Black Sea , Central
Anatolia , Eastern
Anatolia , Southeastern
Anatolia and the Mediterranean . The uneven north Anatolian terrain
running along the
Black Sea resembles a long, narrow belt. This region
comprises approximately one-sixth of Turkey's total land area. As a
general trend, the inland Anatolian plateau becomes increasingly
rugged as it progresses eastward.
Turkey's varied landscapes are the product of complex earth movements
that have shaped the region over thousands of years and still manifest
themselves in fairly frequent earthquakes and occasional volcanic
Bosphorus and the
Dardanelles owe their existence to
the fault lines running through
Turkey that led to the creation of the
Black Sea. The
North Anatolian Fault Line runs across the north of the
country from west to east, along which major earthquakes took place in
history. The latest of those big earthquakes was the 1999 İzmit
Flora and vegetation of Turkey and
Wildlife of Turkey
Environmental issues in Turkey
Sümela Monastery on
Pontic Mountains . These mountains form an ecoregion with diverse
temperate rainforest types , flora and fauna .
Turkey's extraordinary ecosystem and habitat diversity has produced
considerable species diversity.
Anatolia is the homeland of many
plants that have been cultivated for food since the advent of
agriculture , and the wild ancestors of many plants that now provide
staples for humankind still grow in Turkey. The diversity of Turkey's
fauna is even greater than that of its flora . The number of animal
species in the whole of
Europe is around 60,000, while in
are over 80,000 (over 100,000 counting the subspecies).
Northern Anatolian conifer and deciduous forests is an ecoregion
which covers most of the
Pontic Mountains in northern Turkey, while
Caucasus mixed forests extend across the eastern end of the range.
The region is home to Eurasian wildlife such as the Eurasian
sparrowhawk , golden eagle , eastern imperial eagle , lesser spotted
Caucasian black grouse , red-fronted serin , and wallcreeper .
The narrow coastal strip between the
Pontic Mountains and the Black
Sea is home to the
Euxine-Colchic deciduous forests , which contain
some of the world's few temperate rainforests . The
Turkish pine is
mostly found in
Turkey and other east Mediterranean countries. Several
wild species of tulip are native to Anatolia, and the flower was first
Western Europe with species taken from the Ottoman
Empire in the 16th century.
There are 40 national parks , 189 nature parks, 31 nature preserve
areas, 80 wildlife protection areas and 109 nature monuments in Turkey
Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park , Mount Nemrut
National Park ,
Ancient Troya National Park , Ölüdeniz Nature Park
Polonezköy Nature Park .
Ankara , the capital of Turkey, is renowned for the Angora cat ,
Angora rabbit and
Angora goat . Another national cat breed of Turkey
is the Van cat . The national dog breeds are the
Anatolian Shepherd ,
Kangal , Malaklı and Akbaş .
The last confirmed death of an
Anatolian leopard , closely related to
the Persian (Caucasian) leopard and native to the western regions of
Anatolia, took place in the Bağözü village of the Beypazarı
Ankara Province on 17 January 1974. The Persian
(Caucasian) leopard is still found in very small numbers in the
northeastern and southeastern regions of Turkey. The Caspian tiger
is an extinct tiger subspecies (closely related to the Siberian tiger
) which lived in the easternmost regions of
Turkey until the latter
half of the 20th century, with the last confirmed death in
February 1970. The
Eurasian lynx and the
European wildcat are other
felid species which are currently found in the forests of Turkey.
Climate of Turkey Köppen climate types of Turkey
Climate diagram of
The coastal areas of
Turkey bordering the Aegean and Mediterranean
Seas have a temperate
Mediterranean climate , with hot, dry summers
and mild to cool, wet winters. The coastal areas bordering the Black
Sea have a temperate oceanic climate with warm, wet summers and cool
to cold, wet winters . The Turkish
Black Sea coast receives the
greatest amount of precipitation and is the only region of
receives high precipitation throughout the year. The eastern part of
that coast averages 2,200 millimetres (87 in) annually which is the
highest precipitation in the country.
The coastal areas bordering the
Sea of Marmara , which connects the
Aegean Sea and the Black Sea, have a transitional climate between a
Mediterranean climate and a temperate oceanic climate with
warm to hot, moderately dry summers and cool to cold, wet winters.
Snow falls on the coastal areas of the
Sea of Marmara and the Black
Sea almost every winter, but usually melts in no more than a few days.
However snow is rare in the coastal areas of the
Aegean Sea and very
rare in the coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea.
Mountains close to the coast prevent Mediterranean influences from
extending inland, giving the central Anatolian plateau of the interior
Turkey a continental climate with sharply contrasting seasons .
Winters on the eastern part of the plateau are especially severe.
Temperatures of −30 to −40 °C (−22 to −40 °F) can occur in
eastern Anatolia. Snow may remain at least 120 days of the year. In
the west, winter temperatures average below 1 °C (34 °F). Summers
are hot and dry, with temperatures often above 30 °C (86 °F) in the
day. Annual precipitation averages about 400 millimetres (16 inches
), with actual amounts determined by elevation. The driest regions are
Konya plain and the
Malatya plain, where annual rainfall is often
less than 300 millimetres (12 inches). May is generally the wettest
month, whereas July and August are the driest.
Turkey Skyscrapers of
Istanbul , Turkey's largest city and leading economic
Turkey has the world's 13th largest GDP by PPP and 18th largest
nominal GDP . The country is among the founding members of the OECD
and the G-20 .
The EU –
Turkey Customs Union in 1995 led to an extensive
liberalisation of tariff rates, and forms one of the most important
pillars of Turkey's foreign trade policy. Turkey's exports were
$143.5 billion in 2011 and reached $163 billion in 2012 (main export
partners in 2012:
Iran 6.5%, UK 5.7%, UAE
5.4%). However, larger imports which amounted to $229 billion in 2012
threatened the balance of trade (main import partners in 2012: Russia
China 9%, US 6%,
Turkey has a sizeable automotive industry , which produced over 1.3
million motor vehicles in 2015, ranking as the 14th largest producer
in the world . Turkish shipbuilding exports were worth US$1.2 billion
in 2011. The major export markets are Malta, Marshall Islands, Panama
and the United Kingdom. Turkish shipyards have 15 floating docks of
different sizes and one dry dock . Tuzla, Yalova, and İzmit have
developed into dynamic shipbuilding centres. In 2011, there were 70
active shipyards in Turkey, with another 56 being built. Turkish
shipyards are highly regarded both for the production of chemical and
oil tankers up to 10,000 dwt and also for their mega yachts .
Vestel are among the largest producers of consumer
electronics and home appliances in Europe.
Turkish brands like
Vestel are among the largest producers
of consumer electronics and home appliances in Europe, and invest a
substantial amount of funds for research and development in new
technologies related to these fields.
Other key sectors of the Turkish economy are banking, construction,
home appliances, electronics, textiles, oil refining, petrochemical
products, food, mining, iron and steel, and machine industry . In
2010, the agricultural sector accounted for 9 percent of GDP, while
the industrial sector accounted for 26 percent and the services sector
for 65 percent. However, agriculture still accounted for a quarter of
employment. In 2004, it was estimated that 46 percent of total
disposable income was received by the top 20 percent of income
earners, while the lowest 20 percent received only 6 percent. The
rate of female employment in
Turkey was 30 percent in 2012, the
lowest among all
Foreign direct investment (FDI) was $8.3 billion in 2012, a figure
expected to rise to $15 billion in 2013. In 2012, Fitch Group
upgraded Turkey's credit rating to investment grade after an 18-year
gap; this was followed by a ratings upgrade by Moody\'s in May 2013,
as the service lifted Turkey's government bond ratings to the lowest
investment grade Baa3. In September 2016,
Moody's cut Turkey's
sovereign debt to junk status. In the economic crisis of 2016 it
emerged that the huge debts incurred for investment during the Justice
and Development Party (AKP) government since 2002 had mostly been
consumed in construction, rather than invested in sustainable economic
growth. Private bank debts in
Turkey were 6.6 billion TL in 2002 and
had increased to 385 billion TL by the end of 2015.
Economic history of Turkey _ Atatürk (centre)
accompanied by Bayar (to his left) and İnönü (to his right) at the
Sümerbank Textile Factory in
Nazilli , 9 October 1937. A view
Bankalar Caddesi (Banks Street_) in the early years of the Turkish
Republic. Completed in 1892, the Ottoman Central Bank headquarters is
seen at left. In 1995 the
Istanbul Stock Exchange moved to
while numerous Turkish banks moved their headquarters to the central
business districts of
In the early decades of the Turkish Republic, the government (or
banks established and owned by the government, such as Türkiye İş
Bankası (1924), Sanayi ve Maadin Bankası (1925), Emlak ve Eytam
Bankası (1926), Central Bank of
İller Bankası (1933),
Denizbank (1937), Halk
Bankası (1938), etc.) had to subsidise most of the industrial
projects, due to the lack of a strong private sector . However, in the
period between the 1920s and 1950s, a new generation of Turkish
entrepreneurs such as
Nuri Demirağ ,
Vehbi Koç , Hacı Ömer
Nejat Eczacıbaşı began to establish privately owned
factories, some of which evolved into the largest industrial
conglomerates that dominate the Turkish economy today, such as Koç
Sabancı Holding and
Eczacıbaşı Holding .
During the first six decades of the republic, between 1923 and 1983,
Turkey generally adhered to a quasi-statist approach with strict
government planning of the budget and government-imposed limitations
over foreign trade , flow of foreign currency , foreign direct
investment and private sector participation in certain fields (such as
broadcasting , telecommunications , energy , mining , etc.). However,
in 1983, Prime Minister
Turgut Özal initiated a series of reforms
designed to shift the economy from a statist, insulated system to a
more private-sector, market -based model.
The reforms, combined with unprecedented amounts of funding from
foreign loans, spurred rapid economic growth; but this growth was
punctuated by sharp recessions and financial crises in 1994, 1999
(following the earthquake of that year), and 2001; resulting in an
average of 4 percent GDP growth per annum between 1981 and 2003. Lack
of additional fiscal reforms, combined with large and growing public
sector deficits and widespread corruption, resulted in high inflation,
a weak banking sector and increased macroeconomic volatility. Since
the economic crisis of 2001 and the reforms initiated by the finance
minister of the time,
Kemal Derviş , inflation has dropped to
single-digit figures for the first time in decades (8% in 2005),
investor confidence and foreign investment have soared, and
unemployment has fallen (10% in 2005).
Turkey has gradually opened up its markets through economic reforms
by reducing government controls on foreign trade and investment and
the privatisation of publicly owned industries, and the liberalisation
of many sectors to private and foreign participation has continued
amid political debate. The public debt-to-GDP ratio peaked at 75.9
percent during the recession of 2001, falling to an estimated 26.9
percent by 2013.
The real GDP growth rate from 2002 to 2007 averaged 6.8 percent
annually, which made
Turkey one of the fastest growing economies in
the world during that period. However, growth slowed to 1 percent in
2008, and in 2009 the Turkish economy was affected by the global
financial crisis , with a recession of 5 percent. The economy was
estimated to have returned to 8 percent growth in 2010. According to
Eurostat data, Turkish GDP per capita adjusted by purchasing power
standard stood at 52 percent of the EU average in 2011.
In the early years of the 21st century, the chronically high
inflation was brought under control; this led to the launch of a new
currency, the Turkish new lira (_Yeni Türk Lirası_) in 2005, to
cement the acquisition of the economic reforms and erase the vestiges
of an unstable economy. In 2009, after only four years in
circulation, the _Turkish new lira_ was renamed back to the Turkish
lira with the introduction of new banknotes and coins (and the
withdrawal of the _Turkish new lira_ banknotes and coins that were
introduced in 2005), but the
ISO 4217 code of the _Turkish new lira_
(TRY) remains in use for the current _Turkish lira_ in the foreign
exchange market .
Tourism in Turkey Most of the beach resorts in
Turkey are located in the
Turkish Riviera .
Tourism in Turkey has experienced rapid growth in the last twenty
years, and constitutes an important part of the economy. The Turkish
Ministry of Culture and Tourism currently promotes Turkish tourism
Turkey Home name. At its height in 2014,
around 42 million foreign tourists, ranking as the 6th most popular
tourist destination in the world. This number however declined to
around 36 million in 2015, deteriorated to around 25 million in 2016
and still further in 2017, due to regional uncertanities, political
tension with Russia, terrorist attacks and the unfavorable Erdogan
regime image abroad. In 2012, 15 percent of the tourists were from
Germany, 11 percent from Russia, 8 percent from the United Kingdom, 5
Bulgaria , 4 percent each from Georgia , the Netherlands
Iran , 3 percent from France, 2 percent each from the United
Syria , and 40 percent from other countries.
Turkey has 13
UNESCO World Heritage Sites , such as the "Historic
Istanbul ", the "Rock Sites of
Cappadocia ", the "Neolithic
Çatalhöyük ", "
Hattusa : the Hittite Capital", the
"Archaeological Site of
Troy ", "
Pergamon and its Multi-Layered
Cultural Landscape", "
Pamukkale ", and "
Mount Nemrut ";
and 51 World Heritage Sites in tentative list , such as the
archaeological sites or historic urban centres of
Göbekli Tepe ,
Sagalassos , Aizanoi
Turkey hosts two of the
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World : the
Halicarnassus and the
Temple of Artemis in
Cappadocia is a region created by the erosion of soft volcanic
stone by the wind and rain for centuries. The area is a popular
tourist destination, having many sites with unique geological,
historic, and cultural features.
Transport in Turkey ,
Communications in Turkey ,
Energy in Turkey , and
Water supply and sanitation in Turkey
Turkish Airlines , flag carrier of Turkey, has been selected by
Europe 's best airline for five years in a row
(2011–2015). With destinations in 126 countries worldwide, Turkish
Airlines is the largest carrier in the world by number of countries
served as of 2016 .
In 2013 there were 98 airports in
Turkey , including 22
international airports . As of 2015 ,
Istanbul Atatürk Airport is
the 11th busiest airport in the world , serving 31,833,324 passengers
between January and July 2014, according to Airports Council
International . The new (third) international airport of
planned to be the largest airport in the world, with a capacity to
serve 150 million passengers per annum.
Turkish Airlines , flag
Turkey since 1933, was selected by
best airline for five consecutive years in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and
2015. With 435 destinations (51 domestic and 384 international) in
126 countries worldwide,
Turkish Airlines is the largest carrier in
the world by number of countries served as of 2016 . The Osman
Gazi Bridge , located at the
Gulf of İzmit , is the fourth-longest
suspension bridge in the world by the length of its central span.
As of 2014 , the country has a roadway network of 65,623 kilometres
(40,776 miles). The total length of the rail network was 10,991
kilometres (6,829 miles) in 2008, including 2,133 kilometres (1,325
miles) of electrified and 457 kilometres (284 miles) of high-speed
Turkish State Railways started building high-speed rail
lines in 2003. The Ankara-
Konya line became operational in 2011, while
Istanbul line entered service in 2014. Opened in 2013, the
Marmaray tunnel under the
Bosphorus connects the railway and metro
lines of Istanbul's European and Asian sides; while the nearby Eurasia
Tunnel (2016) provides an undersea road connection for motor vehicles.
Bosphorus Bridge (1973),
Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge (1988) and
Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge (2016) are the three suspension bridges
connecting the European and Asian shores of the
Bosphorus strait. The
Osman Gazi Bridge (2016) connects the northern and southern shores of
Gulf of İzmit . The planned Çanakkale Bridge will connect the
European and Asian shores of the
In 2008, 7,555 kilometres (4,694 mi) of natural gas pipelines and
3,636 kilometres (2,259 mi) of petroleum pipelines spanned the
country's territory. The Baku-Tbilisi-
Ceyhan pipeline , the second
longest oil pipeline in the world, was inaugurated on 10 May 2005.
Blue Stream , a major trans-
Black Sea gas pipeline, delivers
natural gas from
Russia to Turkey. A planned undersea pipeline,
Turkish Stream , with an annual capacity around 63 billion cubic
metres (2,200 billion cubic feet ), will allow
Turkey to resell
Russian gas to
Europe while planned
Nabucco pipeline will reduce
European dependence on Russian energy .
Turkey\'s internet , which has 42.3 million active users, holds a
'Not Free' ranking in
Freedom House 's index. Turkish government has
constantly blocked websites like
Youtube and as
of May 2017, is currently inaccessible . According to
Twitter's transparency report,
Turkey leads in social media
Atatürk Dam is the third-largest dam in the
world by volume of fill/structure.
In 2013, the energy consumption was 240 billion kilowatt hours . As
Turkey imported 72 percent of its energy in 2013, the government
decided to invest in nuclear power to reduce imports. Three nuclear
power stations are to be built by 2023. Turkey's first nuclear power
plants are planned to be built in
Mersin 's Akkuyu district on the
Mediterranean coast; in Sinop 's İnceburun district on the Black Sea
coast; and in Kırklareli 's İğneada district on the Black Sea
Turkey has the fifth highest direct utilisation and capacity
of geothermal power in the world.
Turkey is a partner country of the
INOGATE energy programme, which has four key topics: enhancing
energy security , convergence of member state energy markets on the
basis of EU internal energy market principles, supporting sustainable
energy development, and attracting investment for energy projects of
common and regional interest.
Water supply and sanitation in Turkey is characterised by
achievements and challenges. Over the past decades access to drinking
water has become almost universal and access to adequate sanitation
has also increased substantially. Autonomous utilities have been
created in the 16 metropolitan cities of
Turkey and cost recovery has
been increased, thus providing the basis for the sustainability of
service provision. Intermittent supply, which was common in many
cities, has become less frequent. In 2004, 61% of the wastewater
collected through sewers was being treated. Remaining challenges
include the need to further increase wastewater treatment, to reduce
the high level of non-revenue water hovering around 50% and to expand
access to adequate sanitation in rural areas. The investment required
to comply with EU standards in the sector, especially in wastewater
treatment, is estimated to be in the order of €2 billion per year,
more than double the current level of investment.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Science and technology in Turkey TAI ranks among
the top 100 global players in the aerospace and defence sectors.
TÜBİTAK is the leading agency for developing science, technology
and innovation policies in
Turkey . TÜBA is an autonomous scholarly
society acting to promote scientific activities in Turkey.
the official nuclear energy institution of Turkey. Its objectives
include academic research in nuclear energy, and the development and
implementation of peaceful nuclear tools.
Turkish government companies for research and development in military
Turkish Aerospace Industries ,
Aselsan , Havelsan
Roketsan , MKE , among others. Turkish Satellite Assembly,
Integration and Test Center (UMET) is a spacecraft production and
testing facility owned by the Ministry of National Defence and
operated by the
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). The Turkish Space
Launch System (UFS) is a project to develop the satellite launch
capability of Turkey. It consists of the construction of a spaceport ,
the development of satellite launch vehicles as well as the
establishment of remote earth stations. Türksat is the sole
communications satellite operator in
Turkey and has launched the
Türksat series of satellites into orbit.
Göktürk-1 and Göktürk-2
are Turkey's earth observation satellites for reconnaissance ,
operated by the Ministry of National Defence.
the scientific earth observation satellites operated by the TÜBİTAK
Space Technologies Research Institute .
Aziz Sancar , a Turkish professor at the University of North
Carolina , won the
Nobel Chemistry Prize along with
Tomas Lindahl and
Paul Modrich , for their work on how cells repair damaged DNA. Other
notable Turkish scientists include physician
Hulusi Behçet who
discovered Behçet\'s disease , and mathematician
Cahit Arf who
Arf invariant .
Demographics of Turkey See also:
Turkish people ,
Minorities in Turkey , and
According to the _Address-Based Population Recording System_ of
Turkey, the country's population was 74.7 million people in 2011,
nearly three-quarters of whom lived in towns and cities . According to
the 2011 estimate, the population is increasing by 1.35 percent each
Turkey has an average population density of 97 people per km².
People within the 15–64 age group constitute 67.4 percent of the
total population; the 0–14 age group corresponds to 25.3 percent;
while senior citizens aged 65 years or older make up 7.3 percent. In
1927, when the first official census was recorded in the Republic of
Turkey, the population was 13.6 million. The largest city in Turkey,
Istanbul, is also the largest city in
Europe in population, and the
third-largest city in
Europe in terms of size. Areas in Turkey
with a Kurdish-majority population.
Article 66 of the Turkish
Constitution defines a "Turk" as "anyone
who is bound to the Turkish state through the bond of citizenship";
therefore, the legal use of the term "Turkish" as a citizen of Turkey
is different from the ethnic definition. However, the majority of the
Turkish population are of Turkish ethnicity . They are estimated at
70–75 percent. Reliable data on the ethnic mix of the population is
not available, because Turkish census figures do not include
statistics on ethnicity. The three "Non-
Muslim " minority groups
officially recognised in the
Treaty of Lausanne are
Armenians , Greeks
and Jews . Officially unrecognised ethnic groups include Albanians ,
Assyrians , Bosniaks ,
Circassians , Georgians , Lazs , Pomaks
(Bulgarians) , Roma . The Kurds are the largest non-Turkic
ethnicity, around 18–25 percent of the population. Kurds are
concentrated in the east and southeast of the country, in what is also
Turkish Kurdistan , making up a majority in the provinces of
Tunceli , Bingöl , Muş , Ağrı , Iğdır , Elâzığ , Diyarbakır
, Batman , Şırnak , Bitlis , Van ,
Mardin , Siirt and Hakkari , a
near majority in
Şanlıurfa province (47%), and a large minority in
Kars province (20%). In addition, due to internal migration, Kurdish
communities exist in all major cities in central and western Turkey,
particularly in Istanbul, where there are an estimated 3 million
Istanbul the city with the largest Kurdish population in
the world. The minorities besides the Kurds are thought to make up an
estimated 7–12 percent of the population. Minorities other than the
three officially recognised ones do not have any minority rights. The
term "minority" itself remains a sensitive issue in Turkey, while the
Turkish government is frequently criticised for its treatment of
minorities. Although minorities are not recognised, state-run Turkish
Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) broadcasts television and radio
programs in minority languages. Also, some minority language classes
can be chosen in elementary schools.
An estimated 2.5 percent of the population are international migrants
Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees in the world, including
more than 2.8 million Syrian refugees , as of January 2017.
Largest cities or towns in Turkey
TÜİK 's address-based calculation from December, 2013.
Languages of Turkey Turkish speakers according to
the official census of 1965 .
The country's official language is Turkish , which is spoken by 85.54
percent of the population a first language . 11.97 percent of the
population speaks the
Kurmanji dialect of Kurdish as mother tongue.
Arabic and Zaza are the mother tongues of 2.39 percent of the
population, and several other languages are the mother tongues of
smaller parts of the population. Endangered languages in Turkey
include Abaza , Abkhaz , Adyghe ,
Cappadocian Greek , Gagauz ,
Kabard-Cherkes , Ladino (Judesmo) , Laz ,
Pontic Greek , Romani ,
Turoyo , Ubykh , and Western
Religion in Turkey
Religion in Turkey See also:
Secularism in Turkey
RELIGION IN TURKEY
Turkey is a secular state with no official state religion ; the
Constitution provides for freedom of religion and conscience.
The role of religion has been a controversial debate over the years
since the formation of Islamist parties. For many decades, the
wearing of the hijab was banned in schools and government buildings
because it was viewed as a symbol of political
Islam . However, the
ban was lifted from universities in 2011, from government buildings in
2013, from schools in 2014, and from the Armed Forces in 2017. The
government of Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party
(AKP) pursue the explicit policy agenda of Islamization of education
to "raise a devout generation" against secular resistance, in the
process causing lost jobs and school for many non-religious citizens
Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul
is popularly known as the Blue Mosque due to the blue İznik tiles
which adorn its interior.
There are no official statistics of people's religious beliefs nor is
it asked in the census. According to the government, 99.8% of the
Turkish population is
Muslim (although some sources give a slightly
lower estimate of 96.4 percent) with the most popular sect being the
Hanafi school of Sunni
Islam . There are also some Sufi Muslims.
Roughly 2 percent are non-denominational Muslims . The highest
Islamic religious authority is the Presidency of Religious Affairs
(Turkish : _Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı_); it interprets the
Hanafi school of law, and is responsible for regulating the operation
of the country's 80,000 registered mosques and employing local and
provincial imams . Some have also complained (see cite) that under
the Islamist government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and
Tayyip Erdoğan, the old role of the _Diyanet _ – maintaining
control over the religious sphere of
Turkey – has "largely
been turned on its head". Now greatly increased in size, the
_Diyanet_ promotes a certain type of conservative (
Hanafi Sunni) Islam
inside Turkey, issuing _fetva _ which disapprove activities such as
"feeding dogs at home, celebrating the western New Year, lotteries,
and tattoos"; and projecting this "Turkish Islam" abroad.
Academics suggest the
Alevi population may be from 15 to 20 million,
while the Alevi-Bektaşi Federation claims that there are around 25
million and according to
Aksiyon magazine, the number of Shiite
Twelvers (excluding Alevis) is 3 million (4.2 percent). Under the
Sunni Islamist government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP)
and Tayyip Erdoğan, an increasing discrimination against and
persecution of the
Alevi minority has begun.
According to WIN-Gallup International's Global Index of Religiosity
Turkey is the country with most irreligious
Muslims in the Islamic world with 73% of its
Muslim population. In
light of an extensive PEW Global research, only 15% of Muslims in
Turkey say prayers for at least one of the five prayers either at home
or in a mosque. Another PEW Report suggests that, only 7% to 13% of
all Turks think that religion should have an effect on laws directly
Turkey Bulgarian St. Stephen
Istanbul , is famous for being made of prefabricated
cast iron elements in the neo-Gothic style.
Christianity has a long history in present-day Turkey, which is the
birthplace of numerous
Christian Apostles and Saints , such as Paul of
Tarsus , Timothy , Nicholas of
Smyrna and many
Saint Peter founded one of the first churches in Antioch
Antakya ), the location of which is regarded by tradition as the spot
where he first preached the
Gospel , and where the followers of Jesus
were called _Christians_ for the first time in history. The house
where Virgin Mary lived the final days of her life until her
Assumption (according to Catholic doctrine) or
Dormition (according to
Orthodox belief), and the tomb of
John the Apostle who accompanied
her during the voyage to
Anatolia after the crucifixion of
Jesus , are
Ephesus . The cave churches in
Cappadocia were among the hiding
places of early Christians during the Roman persecutions against them.
Eastern Orthodox Church has been headquartered in Constantinople
(Istanbul) since the First Council of
Constantinople in 381 AD. Two
of the five major episcopal sees of the
Antioch ) instituted by Justinian the Great in 531 AD were located in
Turkey during the Byzantine period.
The percentage of Christians in
Turkey fell from 19% (or perhaps as
high as 25% of the population of 16 million) in 1914 to 7% percent in
1927, due to events which had a significant impact on the country's
demographic structure, such as the
Armenian Genocide , the population
Turkey , and the emigration of Christians
that actually began in the late 19th century and gained pace in the
first quarter of the 20th century. The Wealth Tax on non-Muslims in
1942, the emigration of a portion of Turkish Jews to
1948, and the ongoing
Cyprus dispute which damaged the relations
between Turks and
Greeks (culminating in the
Istanbul pogrom of 6–7
September 1955) were other important events that contributed to the
decline of Turkey's non-
Today there are more than 120,000 people of different Christian
denominations , representing less than 0.2 percent of Turkey's
population, including an estimated 80,000
Oriental Orthodox , 35,000
Roman Catholics , 18,000 Antiochian
Greeks , 5,000 Greek Orthodox ,
and smaller numbers of Protestants . Currently there are 236 churches
open for worship in Turkey.
Judaism in Turkey The Grand Synagogue in
The history of
Judaism in Turkey goes back to the
Romaniote Jews of
Anatolia who have been present since at least the 5th century BC. They
built ancient places of worship such as the
Sardis Synagogue in Lydia
Priene Synagogue in
Ionia . The
Sephardi Jews who were
expelled from the Iberian peninsula and southern
Italy under the
control of the
Spanish Empire were welcomed into the Ottoman Empire
between the late-15th and mid-16th centuries. Despite emigration
during the 20th century , modern-day
Turkey continues to have a small
Jewish population. At present, there are around 26,000 Jews in Turkey
, the vast majority of whom are Sephardi.
Agnosticism And Atheism
According to a 2010
Eurobarometer poll 94% of Turks believed in God
while only 1% did not. This indicates that 5% of the population are
agnostic with another 1% being explicitly atheist . However,
according to another poll by KONDA the percentage of atheism is 2.9%.
Atheism Association of Turkey_, the first official atheist
organisation in Balkans,
Caucasus and Middle East, was founded in
Recent polls suggest that 4.5 million people were irreligious in
2013. The same data also suggests that 85% of all irreligious people
are younger than 35.
Turkey See also: List of high schools in
List of universities in Turkey _
was founded in 1453 as a Darülfünûn _. On 1 August 1933 it was
reorganised and became Turkey's first university.
The Ministry of National
Education is responsible for pre-tertiary
education. This is compulsory and lasts twelve years: four years each
of primary school, middle school and high school. Less than half of
25- to 34-year-old Turks have completed at least high school ,
compared with an
OECD average of over 80 percent. Basic education in
Turkey is considered to lag behind other
OECD countries, with
significant differences between high and low performers.
ranked 32nd out of 34 in the OECD's
PISA study. Access to
high-quality school heavily depends on the performance in the
secondary school entrance exams, to the point that some students begin
taking private tutoring classes when they are 10 years old. The
overall adult literacy rate in 2011 was 94.1 percent; 97.9 percent for
males and 90.3 percent for females.
As of 2017, there are 190 universities in
Turkey . Entry to higher
education depends on the Student Selection and Placement System
(ÖSYS). In 2008, the quota of admitted students was 600,000, compared
to 1,700,000 who took the higher education exam in 2007. Except for
Education Faculties (AÖF) at Anadolu ,
Istanbul and Atatürk
University ; entrance is regulated by the national ÖSYS examination,
after which high school graduates are assigned to universities
according to their performance. According to the 2012–2013 Times
Education World University Rankings , the top university in
Middle East Technical University (in the 201–225 rank
range), followed by
Bilkent University and
Koç University (both in
the 226–250 range),
Istanbul Technical University and Boğaziçi
University (in the 276–300 bracket). All state and private
universities are under the control of the Higher
(YÖK), whose head is appointed by the President of Turkey; executive
order 676 of October 2016 has created a system where in addition the
President directly appoints all rectors of all state and private
Turkey is a member of the European Higher Education
Area and actively participates in the
Bologna Process .
In 2016 the Skills Matter survey conducted by
OECD found the levels
of numeracy and literacy in the adult population of
Turkey at rank 30
of the 33
OECD countries surveyed.
In 2017 the theory of evolution was removed from the national
curriculum in favour of teaching on the concept of jihad.
Health care in Turkey See also: List of hospitals in
Turkey Imperial College of Medicine, currently the Haydarpaşa
Marmara University .
Health care in Turkey used to be dominated by a centralised state
system run by the Ministry of Health . In 2003, the government
introduced a sweeping health reform programme aimed at increasing the
ratio of private to state health provision and making healthcare
available to a larger share of the population. Turkish Statistical
Institute announced that 76.3 billion TL was spent for healthcare in
2012; 79.6 percent of which was covered by the Social Security
Institution and 15.4 percent of which was paid directly by the
patients. In 2012, there were 29,960 medical institutions in Turkey,
and on average one doctor per 583 people and 2.65 beds per 1000
In 2015, life expectancy was 72.6 years for men and 78.9 for women,
with an overall average of 75.8.
Culture of Turkey See also:
Arts in Turkey , Turkish
folklore , and
Festivals in Turkey Whirling Dervishes of the
Mevlevi Order , founded by the followers of the 13th-century Sufi
mystic and poet
Konya , during a
Sema . The ceremony is one of
the 11 elements of
Turkey on the
UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage
Turkey has a very diverse culture that is a blend of various elements
of the Turkic , Anatolian , Ottoman (which was itself a continuation
Greco-Roman and Islamic cultures) and
Western culture and
traditions, which started with the Westernisation of the Ottoman
Empire and still continues today. This mix originally began as a
result of the encounter of Turks and their culture with those of the
peoples who were in their path during their migration from Central
Asia to the West. Turkish culture is a product of efforts to be a
"modern" Western state, while maintaining traditional religious and
Turkish painting ,
İznik pottery , Turkish
Turkish miniature , and
Turkish illumination _ Two
Musician Girls_ (left) and _
The Tortoise Trainer _ (right) by Osman
Hamdi Bey , at the
Pera Museum .
Turkish painting , in the Western sense, developed actively starting
from the mid 19th century. The very first painting lessons were
scheduled at what is now the
Istanbul Technical University (then the
_Imperial Military Engineering School_) in 1793, mostly for technical
purposes. In the late 19th century, human figure in the Western sense
was being established in Turkish painting, especially with Osman Hamdi
Bey . Impressionism, among the contemporary trends, appeared later on
Pasha . The young Turkish artists sent to
Europe in 1926
came back inspired by contemporary trends such as Fauvism, Cubism and
even Expressionism, still very influential in Europe. The later "Group
D" of artists led by
Abidin Dino ,
Cemal Tollu ,
Fikret Mualla ,
Fahrünnisa Zeid , Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu , Adnan Çoker and Burhan
Doğançay introduced some trends that had lasted in the West for more
than three decades. Other important movements in
Turkish painting were
the "Yeniler Grubu" (The Newcomers Group) of the late 1930s; the
"On'lar Grubu" (Group of Ten) of the 1940s; the "Yeni Dal Grubu" (New
Branch Group) of the 1950s; and the "Siyah Kalem Grubu" (Black Pen
Group) of the 1960s. A 13th century
Turkish carpet from the
Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate period, originally at the Alâeddin Mosque
Carpet weaving represents a traditional art, dating back to
pre-Islamic times. During its long history, the art and craft of the
woven carpet has integrated different cultural traditions. Traces of
Byzantine design can be detected,
Turkic peoples migrating from
Central Asia, as well as Armenian people, Caucasian and Kurdic tribes
either living in, or migrating to Anatolia, brought with them their
traditional designs. The arrival of
Islam and the development of the
Islamic art also influenced
Turkish carpet design. The history of its
designs, motifs and ornaments thus reflects the political and ethnic
history and diversity of the area of
Asia minor. However, scientific
attempts were unsuccessful, as yet, to attribute a particular design
to a specific ethnic, regional, or even nomadic versus village
Turkish miniature is an art form, which can be linked to the Persian
miniature tradition, as well as strong Chinese artistic influences.
The words taswir or nakish were used to define the art of miniature
painting in Ottoman Turkish. The studios the artists worked in were
called Nakkashanes. The miniatures were usually not signed, perhaps
because of the rejection of individualism, but also because the works
were not created entirely by one person; the head painter designed the
composition of the scene, and his apprentices drew the contours (which
were called tahrir) with black or colored ink and then painted the
miniature without creating an illusion of third dimension. The head
painter, and much more often the scribe of the text, were indeed named
and depicted in some of the manuscripts. The understanding of
perspective was different from that of the nearby European Renaissance
painting tradition, and the scene depicted often included different
time periods and spaces in one picture. They followed closely the
context of the book they were included in, resembling more
illustrations rather than standalone works of art.
The earliest examples of
Turkish paper marbling are thought to be a
copy of the Hâlnâme by the poet Arifî. The text of this manuscript
was rendered in a delicate cut paper découpage calligraphy by Mehmed
bin Gazanfer and completed in 1540, and features many marbled and
decorative paper borders. One early master by the name of Şebek is
mentioned posthumously in the earliest Ottoman text on the art known
as the Tertib-i Risâle-i Ebrî, which is dated based on internal
evidence to after 1615. Several recipes in the text are accredited to
this master. Another famous 18th-century master by the name of Hatip
Mehmed Efendi (died 1773) is accredited with developing motifs and
perhaps early floral designs, although evidence from
India appears to
contradict some of these claims. Despite this, marbled motifs are
commonly referred to as "Hatip" designs in
LITERATURE AND THEATRE
Turkish literature and
Theatre of Turkey Tevfik
Fikret is considered the founder of the modern school of Turkish
Turkish literature is a mix of cultural influences. Interaction
Ottoman Empire and the Islamic world along with Europe
contributed to a blend of Turkic, Islamic and European traditions in
modern-day Turkish music and literary arts.
Turkish literature was
heavily influenced by Persian and
Arabic literature during most of the
Ottoman era. The
Tanzimat reforms introduced previously unknown
Western genres, primarily the novel and the short story. Many of the
writers in the
Tanzimat period wrote in several genres simultaneously:
for instance, the poet Nâmık Kemal also wrote the important 1876
novel _İntibâh_ (Awakening), while the journalist Şinasi is noted
for writing, in 1860, the first modern Turkish play, the one-act
comedy "_Şair Evlenmesi_" (The Poet's Marriage). Most of the roots of
Turkish literature were formed between the years 1896 and 1923.
Broadly, there were three primary literary movements during this
period: the _Edebiyat-ı Cedîde_ (New Literature) movement; the
_Fecr-i Âtî_ (Dawn of the Future) movement; and the _Millî
Edebiyat_ (National Literature) movement. The first radical step of
innovation in 20th century Turkish poetry was taken by Nâzım Hikmet
, who introduced the free verse style. Another revolution in Turkish
poetry came about in 1941 with the
Garip movement led by Orhan Veli ,
Oktay Rıfat and Melih Cevdet . The mix of cultural influences in
Turkey is dramatised, for example, in the form of the "new symbols of
the clash and interlacing of cultures" enacted in the novels of Orhan
Pamuk , recipient of the 2006
Nobel Prize in Literature .
Karagöz and Hacivat
Karagöz and Hacivat .
The origin of
Turkish theatre dates back thousands of years to
ancient pagan rituals. The dances, music and songs performed during
the rituals of the inhabitants of
Anatolia millennia ago are the
elements from which the first shows originated. These rituals later
became theatrical shows. In the 10th century, a blend of traditions
occurred between the
Seljuk Turks and those of the inhabitants of
Anatolia. The interaction between the various tribal societies paved
the way for new plays. After the
Tanzimat (Reformation) period,
Turkish theatre were modernized and plays were performed
on European-style stages with the actors wearing European costumes.
Following the declaration of the second Constitutional Monarchy in
1908, theatrical activities increased and social problems began to be
reflected in the theatre as well as in historical plays. A theatrical
conservatoire, Darülbedayi-i Osmani, was established in
1914. During the years of chaos and war, the Darülbedayi-i Osmani
continued its activities and attracted the younger generation. Turkish
playwrights emerged. Some wrote on romantic subjects, others were
interested in social problems and still others dealt with
nationalistic themes. There were even those who wrote musicals. In
time, Turkish ladies began to appear on stage and this was indeed a
revolution of the time, since female roles had only been played by
actresses who were members of Turkey’s ethnic minorities. Today,
theatre acts are performed by numerous private theatre companies and
subsidized companies such as the
Turkish State Theatres .
MUSIC AND DANCE
Turkish dance and
Music of Turkey See also: Turkish
classical music ,
Turkish folk music , and
Turkish music (style) _
Bağlama _, a traditional stringed musical instrument.
Music of Turkey includes mainly Turkic elements as well as partial
influences ranging from Central Asian folk music ,
Arabic music ,
Greek music ,
Ottoman music , Persian music and Balkan music , as well
as references to more modern European and American popular music . The
roots of traditional music in
Turkey span across centuries to a time
Seljuk Turks migrated to
Persia in the 11th
century and contains elements of both Turkic and pre-Turkic
influences. Much of its modern popular music can trace its roots to
the emergence in the early 1930s drive for
With the assimilation of immigrants from various regions the
diversity of musical genres and musical instrumentation also expanded.
Turkey has also seen documented folk music and recorded popular music
produced in the ethnic styles of Greek , Armenian , Albanian , Polish
Jewish communities, among others.
Barış Manço was among
the founders of the genre
Anatolian rock in the 1960s, which combines
rock music with Anatolian folk tunes.
Many Turkish cities and towns have vibrant local music scenes which,
in turn, support a number of regional musical styles. Despite this
however, western-style music styles like pop music and kanto lost
popularity to arabesque in the late 70s and 80s. It became popular
again by the beginning of the 1990s, as a result of an opening economy
and society. With the support of
Sezen Aksu , the resurging popularity
of pop music gave rise to several international Turkish pop stars such
as Tarkan and
Sertab Erener . The late 1990s also saw an emergence of
underground music producing alternative Turkish rock , electronica ,
hip-hop , rap and dance music in opposition to the mainstream
corporate pop and arabesque genres, which many believe have become too
Turkey has a diverse folkloric dance culture. _Hora _ is performed in
East Thrace ; _Zeybek _ in the
Aegean Region , Southern Marmara and
Anatolia Region ; _Teke_ in the Western Mediterranean
Region ; _Kaşık Oyunları_ and _
Karşılama _ in West-Central
Anatolia , Western
Black Sea Region , Southern
Marmara Region and
Mediterranean Region ; _
Horon _ in the Central and Eastern
Black Sea Region ; _
Halay _ in Eastern
Anatolia and the Central
Anatolia Region ; and _Bar _ and _
Lezginka _ in the Northeastern
Anatolia Region .
Architecture of Turkey Further information: Byzantine
Seljuk architecture , and
The Grand Post Office (1905–1909) in
Istanbul and the first Ziraat
Bank headquarters (1925–1929) in
Ankara are among the examples of
Turkish Neoclassical architecture in the early 20th century.
The architecture of the
Seljuk Turks combined the elements and
characteristics of the Turkic architecture of
Central Asia with those
of Persian , Arab , Armenian and Byzantine architecture. The
Seljuk architecture to
Ottoman architecture is most
Bursa , which was the capital of the Ottoman State between
1335 and 1413. Following the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople
(Istanbul) in 1453,
Ottoman architecture was significantly influenced
Byzantine architecture .
Topkapı Palace in
Istanbul is one of the
most famous examples of classical
Ottoman architecture and was the
primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years.
Mimar Sinan (c.1489–1588) was the most important architect of the
classical period in Ottoman architecture. He was the chief architect
of at least 374 buildings which were constructed in various provinces
Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.
Since the 18th century, Turkish architecture has been increasingly
influenced by European styles, and this can be particularly seen in
Tanzimat era buildings of
Istanbul like the Dolmabahçe ,
Çırağan , Feriye , Beylerbeyi , Küçüksu , Ihlamur and Yıldız
palaces , which were all designed by members of the
Balyan family of
Ottoman court architects. The Ottoman era waterfront houses (_yalı_)
Bosphorus also reflect the fusion between classical Ottoman and
European architectural styles during the aforementioned period. The
First National Architectural Movement (_Birinci Ulusal Mimarlık
Akımı_) in the early 20th century sought to create a new
architecture, which was based on motifs from Seljuk and Ottoman
architecture. The movement was also labelled _Turkish Neoclassical_ or
the _National Architectural Renaissance_. The leading architects of
this movement were
Vedat Tek (1873–1942), Mimar Kemaleddin Bey
Arif Hikmet Koyunoğlu (1888–1982) and Giulio Mongeri
(1873–1953). Notable buildings from this era are the Grand Post
Tayyare Apartments (1919–1922),
Istanbul 4th Vakıf Han (1911–1926), State Art and Sculpture Museum
(1927–1930), Ethnography Museum of
Ankara (1925–1928), the first
Ziraat Bank headquarters in
Ankara (1925–1929), the first Türkiye
İş Bankası headquarters in
Ankara (1926–1929), Bebek Mosque,
and Kamer Hatun Mosque. _
Yalı _ of Ahmet Afif
Yeniköy , Istanbul: one of 620 historic waterfront houses along the
European and Asian shores of the
Bosphorus strait. The traditional
Safranbolu , a
UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994, are
among the renowned examples of
Ottoman architecture .
Turkish cuisine Further information:
Turkish coffee with
Turkish delight .
Turkish coffee is a
UNESCO-listed intangible cultural heritage of Turks .
Turkish cuisine is regarded as one of the most prominent in the
world, its popularity is largely owed to the cultural influences of
Ottoman Empire and partly because of its major tourism industry.
It is largely the heritage of
Ottoman cuisine , which can be described
as a fusion and refinement of Central Asian , Caucasian , Middle
Eastern , Mediterranean and Balkan cuisines.
The country's position between the 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. Turkish
cuisine was well established by the mid-1400s, the beginning of the
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 16th century, 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
World War I (1914–1918) and the
establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923, foreign food such as
French hollandaise sauce and western fast food have made their way
into the modern Turkish diet.
Döner kebab being sliced. An
80-layer dough baklava .
Sports in Turkey See also:
Football in Turkey
Turkey won the silver medal at the
2010 FIBA World Championship .
The most popular sport in
Turkey is association football (soccer).
Galatasaray won the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 2000. The Turkish
national football team finished 3rd and won the bronze medal at the
2002 FIFA World Cup and at the
2003 FIFA Confederations Cup ; while
also reaching the semi-finals (finishing 3rd by goals difference) at
UEFA Euro 2008 .
Other mainstream sports such as basketball and volleyball are also
popular. The Turkish men\'s national basketball team finished 2nd and
won the silver medal at the
2010 FIBA World Championship and at
EuroBasket 2001 , which were both hosted by Turkey. They also won two
gold medals (1987 and 2013), one silver medal (1971) and three bronze
medals (1967, 1983 and 2009) at the Mediterranean Games . Turkish
Anadolu Efes S.K. won the
1995–96 FIBA Korać Cup ,
finished 2nd at the 1992–93
FIBA Saporta Cup , and made it to the
Final Four of Euroleague and Suproleague in 2000 and 2001, finishing
3rd on both occasions. Another Turkish basketball club, Beşiktaş ,
2011–12 FIBA EuroChallenge . Galatasaray won the 2015–16
Eurocup , while in the same season, Fenerbahçe finished second in the
2015–16 Euroleague . The Final of the 2013–14 EuroLeague Women
basketball championship was played between two Turkish teams,
Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe , and won by Galatasaray.
national basketball team won the silver medal at EuroBasket Women 2011
and the bronze medal at
EuroBasket Women 2013 . They also won a gold
medal (2005) and two silver medals (1987 and 1997) at the
Mediterranean Games .
Turkey won the gold medal at the 2015
European Games .
Kenan Sofuoğlu won the highest number of
Supersport World Championship
Supersport World Championship titles.
The Turkish women\'s national volleyball team won the gold medal at
2015 European Games
2015 European Games , the silver medal at the 2003 European
Championship , the bronze medal at the 2011 European Championship ,
and the bronze medal at the
2012 FIVB World Grand Prix . They also won
a gold medal (2005), six silver medals (1987, 1991, 1997, 2001, 2009,
2013) and a bronze medal (1993) at the Mediterranean Games . Women's
volleyball clubs in Turkey, namely Fenerbahçe ,
Vakıfbank , have won numerous European championship titles and
medals. Fenerbahçe won the 2010 FIVB Women\'s Club World Championship
and the 2012 CEV Women\'s Champions League . Representing
the winner of the 2012–13 CEV Women\'s Champions League , Vakıfbank
also became the world champion by winning the 2013 FIVB Women\'s Club
World Championship .
The traditional Turkish national sport has been yağlı güreş (_oil
wrestling_) since Ottoman times.
Edirne has hosted the annual
Kırkpınar oiled wrestling tournament since 1361. International
wrestling styles governed by FILA such as freestyle wrestling and
Greco-Roman wrestling are also popular, with many European, World and
Olympic championship titles won by Turkish wrestlers both individually
and as a national team.
MEDIA AND CINEMA
Media in Turkey and
Cinema of Turkey TRT World
is the international news platform of the Turkish Radio and Television
Hundreds of television channels, thousands of local and national
radio stations, several dozen newspapers, a productive and profitable
national cinema and a rapid growth of broadband Internet use all make
up a very vibrant media industry in Turkey. In 2003 a total of 257
television stations and 1,100 radio stations were licensed to operate,
and others operated without licenses. Of those licensed, 16 television
and 36 radio stations reached national audiences. The majority of the
audiences are shared among public broadcaster TRT and the
network-style channels such as
Kanal D ,
Show TV , ATV and Star TV .
The broadcast media have a very high penetration as satellite dishes
and cable systems are widely available. The Radio and Television
Supreme Council (RTÜK) is the government body overseeing the
broadcast media. By circulation, the most popular newspapers are
_Posta _, _
Hürriyet _, _
Sözcü _, _Sabah _ and _
Nuri Bilge Ceylan , Turkish film director, photographer and
screenwriter who won the 2014 Palme d\'Or
Turkish television dramas are increasingly becoming popular beyond
Turkey's borders and are among the country's most vital exports, both
in terms of profit and public relations. After sweeping the Middle
East 's television market over the past decade, Turkish shows have
aired in more than a dozen South and Central American countries in
Yeşilçam _ is the sobriquet that refers to the Turkish film art
and industry. The first movie exhibited in the
Ottoman Empire was the
Lumiere Brothers ' 1895 film, _L\'Arrivée d\'un train en gare de La
Ciotat _, which was shown in
Istanbul in 1896. The first Turkish-made
film was a documentary entitled _Ayastefanos\'taki Rus Abidesinin
Yıkılışı _ (_Demolition of the Russian Monument at San Stefano
_), directed by
Fuat Uzkınay and completed in 1914. The first
Sedat Simavi 's _The Spy_, was released in 1917.
Turkey's first sound film was shown in 1931. Turkish directors like
Ferzan Özpetek ,
Nuri Bilge Ceylan and
Yılmaz Güney won numerous
international awards such as Palme d\'Or and
Golden Bear .
Despite legal provisions, media freedom in
Turkey has steadily
deteriorated from 2010 onwards, with a precipitous decline following
the attempted coup in July 2016. As of 2017, at least 81 journalists
are imprisoned in Turkey. Ranking 1st in the world, all of them facing
anti-state charges, in the wake of an unprecedented crackdown that has
included the shuttering of more than 100 news outlets. Freedom House
lists Turkey's media as _not free_ . The media crackdowns also extend
Internet censorship with getting blocked since April 2017
Index of Turkey-related articles
Outline of Turkey
Turkey has no official national emblem. This emblem is used on
passports, ID cards and diplomatic missions of Turkey.
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