Turkey (GPS: 39 00 N, 35 00 E) located in Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia (that portion of Turkey west of the Bosporus is geographically part of Europe), bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Syria. The country’s area measurements are total: 783,562 sq km; land: 769,632 sq km, water: 13,930 sq km. This sovereign state is slightly larger than Texas. The total irrigated land is 52,150 sq km (2012).
One of the essential features of Turkey: Strategic location controlling the Turkish Straits (Bosporus, Sea of Marmara, Dardanelles) that link the Black and Aegean Seas. The 3% Turkish territory north of the Straits lies in Europe and goes by the names of European Turkey, Eastern Thrace, or Turkish Thrace. 97% of the country in Asia referred to as Anatolia. Istanbul, which straddles the Bosporus, is the only metropolis in the world located on two continents. Mount Ararat, the legendary landing place of Noah’s ark, is in the far eastern portion of the country.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Ankara’s GPS coordinates are 39 56 N 32 52 E. Ankara’s local time is 7 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+2, note; Daylight saving time: +1hr begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October.
Modern Turkey was founded in 1923 from the remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire by national hero Mustafa KEMAL, who was later honored with Ataturk’s title or “Father of the Turks.” Under his leadership, the country adopted radical social, legal, and political reforms. After a one-party rule, an experiment with multi-party politics led to the 1950 election victory of the opposition Democrat Party and the peaceful transfer of power. Since then, Turkish political parties have multiplied, but democracy has been fractured by periods of instability and military coups (1960, 1971, 1980), which in each case eventually resulted in a return of formal political power to civilians. In 1997, the military again helped engineer the ouster – popularly dubbed a “post-modern coup” – of the then Islamic-oriented government.
An unsuccessful coup attempt was made in July 2016 by a faction of the Turkish Armed Forces. Turkey intervened militarily on Cyprus in 1974 to prevent a Greek takeover of the island and has since acted as patron state to the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” which only Turkey recognizes. A separatist insurgency began in 1984 by the Kurdistan Worker’ Party (PKK), a US-designated terrorist organization, which has long dominated Turkish security forces’ attention and claimed more than 40,000 lives. In 2013, the Turkish Government and the PKK conducted negotiations aimed at ending the violence. However, intense fighting resumed in 2015.
Turkey joined the UN in 1945, and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. In 1963, Turkey became an associate member of the European Community; It began accession talks with the EU in 2005. Over the past decade, economic reforms, coupled with some political reforms, have contributed to a growing economy, although economic growth slowed in recent years. From 2015 and 2016, Turkey witnessed an uptick in terrorist violence, including major attacks in Ankara, Istanbul, and throughout the predominantly Kurdish southeastern region of Turkey. On 15 July 2016, elements of the Turkish Armed forces attempted a coup that ultimately failed following widespread popular resistance.
More than 240 people were killed and over 2,000 injured when Turkish citizens took to the streets en masse to confront the coup forces. The government accused followers of the Fethullah Gulen transnational religious and social movement (“Hizmet”) of allegedly instigating the failed coup and designates the movement’s followers as terrorists. Since the attempted coup, Turkish Government authorities arrested, suspended, or dismissed more than 130,000 security personnel, journalists, judges, academics, and civil servants due to their alleged connection to Gulen’s movement. Following the failed coup, the Turkish Government instituted the State of Emergency from July 2016 to July 2018. The Turkish Government conducted a referendum on 16 April 2017 in which voters approved constitutional amendments changing Turkey from a parliamentary to a presidential system. The amendments went into effect, fully following the presidential and parliamentary elections in June 2018.
Turkey’s name conventional long form: Republic of Turkey, conventional short form: Turkey, local long state: Turkiye Cumhuriyeti, local short form: Turkiye, etymology: the name means “Land of the Turks.” The name means “Land of the Turks.”
Turkey’s terrain is a typically high central plateau (Anatolia); narrow coastal plain; several mountain ranges. The country’s mean elevation: 1,132 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: the Mediterranean Sea 0 m, highest point: Mount Ararat 5,166 m.
The country’s general climate is temperate: hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters: harsher in the interior.
The total number of border countries is 8, Armenia 311 km, Azerbaijan 17 km, Bulgaria 223 km, Georgia 273 km, Greece 192 km, Iran 534 km, Iraq 367 km, Syria 899 km are the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Turkey’s coastline is 7,200 km. Its marital claims are territorial sea: 6 nautical miles in the Aegean Sea; 12 nautical miles in the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea exclusive economic zone: in the Black Sea only: to the maritime boundary the former USSR. Waterways: 1,200 km (2010). Land use: agricultural land: 49.7%; arable land 26.7%; permanent crops 4%; permanent pasture 19%; forest: 14.9%; other: 35.4% (2011 estimate).
The population in Turkey 81,257,239 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 73.4% of total population (2015), major urban area’s population: Istanbul 14.164 million; ANKARA (capital) 4.75 million; Izmir 3.04 million; Bursa 1.923 million; Adana 1.83 million; Gaziantep 1.528 million (2015), while Turkey has the most densely populated area is found around the Bosporus in the northwest where 20% of the population lives in Istanbul; except Ankara, urban centers remain small and scattered throughout the interior of Anatolia; an overall pattern of peripheral development exists, particularly along the western Mediterranean coast, and the Tigris and Euphrates River systems in the southeast. Their spoken languages are Turkish (official language), Kurdish, other minority languages. Turkey’s main religions are Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews). The nation uses civil law system based on various European legal systems, notably the Swiss civil code. It is a(n) parliamentary republic, National holiday(s) Republic Day, 29 October (1923).
Economic overview for the country: Turkey’s largely free-market economy is driven by its industry and, increasingly, service sectors, although its traditional agriculture sector still accounts for about 25% of employment. The automotive, petrochemical and electronics industries have risen in importance and surpassed the traditional textiles and clothing sectors within Turkey’s export mix.
However, the recent period of political stability and economic dynamism has given way to domestic uncertainty and security concerns, generating financial market volatility and weighing on Turkey’s economic outlook. Current government policies emphasize populist spending measures and credit breaks, while structural economic reforms have slowed. The government plays a more active role in some strategic sectors and has used financial institutions and regulators to target political opponents, undermining private sector confidence in the judicial system. Between July 2016 and March 2017, three credit rating agencies downgraded Turkey’s sovereign credit ratings, citing concerns about the rule of law and the pace of economic reforms. Turkey remains highly dependent on imported oil and gas but is pursuing energy relationships with a broader set of international partners and taking steps to increase the use of domestic energy sources, including renewables, nuclear, and coal. The joint Turkish-Azerbaijani Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline is moving forward to increase Caspian gas transport to Turkey and Europe. When completed, it will help diversify Turkey’s sources of imported gas. After Turkey experienced a severe financial crisis in 2001, Ankara adopted financial and fiscal reforms as part of an IMF program.
The reforms strengthened the country’s economic fundamentals and ushered in a strong growth era, averaging more than 6% annually until 2008. An aggressive privatization program also reduced state involvement in basic industry, banking, transport, power generation, and communication. Global economic conditions and tighter fiscal policy caused GDP to contract in 2009. Still, Turkey’s well-regulated financial markets and banking system helped the country weather the global financial crisis. GDP growth rebounded to around 9% in 2010 and 2011, as exports and investment recovered following the crisis. The development of Turkish GDP since 2016 has revealed the persistent underlying imbalances in the Turkish economy. In particular, Turkey’s large current account deficit means it must rely on external investment inflows to finance growth, leaving the economy vulnerable to destabilizing shifts in investor confidence. Other troublesome trends include rising unemployment and inflation, which increased in 2017, given the Turkish lira’s continuing depreciation against the dollar. Although government debt remains low at about 30% of GDP, bank and corporate borrowing have almost tripled as a percent of GDP during the past decade, outpacing its emerging-market peers and prompting investor concerns about its long-term sustainability.
Main export partners for Turkey, Middle East are Germany 9.3%, UK 7.3%, Iraq 5.9%, Italy 4.8%, US 4.5%, France 4.1% (2015) for apparel, foodstuffs, textiles, metal manufactures, transport equipment, while the main import partners for the country are: China 12%, Germany 10.3%, Russia 9.9%, US 5.4%, Italy 5.1% (2015) for machinery, chemicals, semi-finished goods, fuels, transport equipment.
When you visit this country in the Middle East, consider the natural hazards in Turkey: Severe earthquakes, especially in northern Turkey, along an arc extending from the Sea of Marmara to Lake Vanvolcanism: limited volcanic activity, it’s three historically active volcanoes, Ararat, Nemrut Dagi, and Tendurek Dagi have not erupted since the 19th century or earlier, while infectious diseases are N/A. Also, note that Turkey faces the following environmental issues: Water pollution from dumping of chemicals and detergents, Air pollution, particularly in urban areas, Deforestation, Land degradation, Concern for oil spills from increasing Bosporus ship traffic, Conservation of biodiversity.