About Turkey

TURKEY IN BRIEF Geography : Turkey’s land mass is 814,578 sq.km. The European and Asian sides are divided by the Istanbul Bogazi (Bosphorus), the Sea of Marmara, and the Canakkale Bogazi (Dardanelles). Anatolia is a high plateau region rising progressively towards the east, broken by the valleys of about 15 rivers, including the Dicle (Tigres) and the Firat (Euphrates). There are numerious lakes and some, such as Lake Van, are as large as inland seas. In the north, the Eastern Black Sea Mountain chain runs parallel to the Black Sea; in the south, the Taurus mountains sweep down almost to the narrow, fertile coastal plain along the coast. Turkey enjoys a variety of climates, changing from the temperate climate of the Back Sea region, to the continental climate of the interior, then, to the Mediterranean climate of the Aegean and Mediterranean costal regions. The coastline of Turkey’s four seas is more then 8,333 km long.

Geographic regions  

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Turkey divided into seven geographical regions.  Four regions were named after the seas bordering them – the Aegean Region, the Black Sea Region, the Marmara Region and the Mediterranean Region. The other three regions were named in accordance with their location in the whole of Anatolia – Central, Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia Regions. The different regions of Turkey offer endless possibilities all year round. Each area has its own personality, history, landscape and even cuisine, and with so much on offer to visitors it is not surprising that one trip to Turkey is never enough. Surrounded by four different seas, Turkey is a beach paradise with over 8000 km of sunny strips of sand. It also has an abundance of plant and wildlife species that can be enjoyed while camping or trekking in the many national parks which are dotted around the country. Home to more than 20 different fascinating civilisations, Turkey has a 10,000 year-old heritage, much of which is still being uncovered. Its rich history is very much part of the present, with temples, ancient theatres, churches, mosques, tombs, statues of gods, palaces and fortresses, and of course the many detailed and fascination museums which bring the past to life. And of course in cities like İstanbul , there is a modern, lively ambience of contemporary society living alongside tradition, where art and music can be enjoyed whether it belongs to today or yesteryear.

Aegean Region

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The Aegean Region with its lovely scenery and setting is indeed a natural paradise. The breathtaking coastline with its stretching pristine beaches being continually bathed by the azure water of the Aegean Sea and surrounded by olive groves and craggy cliffs mesmerizes all. A popular tourist attraction, the Aegean region promises some or the other activity for everyone. While the archeologists can explore the remains of a 5000-year old ancient civilization, the Nature lovers and photographers can have their full satisfaction in the form of picturesque surroundings and lovely landscapes. With the water-body around, there is no dearth of activity for the sailors and sports-enthusiasts. The exceptionally mild climate of the Aegean region – pleasant, verdant Springs, hot Summers, sunny Autumns and cozy Winters with light rainfall – ushers in an invitation for the travelers throughout the year. A Summer-visit to this region will be ideal for the fun-loving spirits; Spring and Autumn are best for exploring the inner terrains, though Winter too is not to be left behind. Accessibility to the region has been highly widened. Izmir, the gateway to the region, is very well connected. From Istanbul, it is just a 45 minutes journey to Izmir. If you decide on taking a bus-ride, you can opt for overnight buses (that take only 8 hours). Train connections are available if you happen to travel across the Marmara Sea. Overnight night car ferries run between Istanbul and Izmir. The Aegean Region is full of olive trees and vineyards can be the setting for Greece, Spain or Italy. Main  cities are Afyon, Aydin, Denizli, Izmir, Kusadasi, Kutahya, Manisa, Mugla

Black Sea Region


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The Black Sea region (also known as the northern coastal region) is lined by a rather steep, craggy coast that does not provide much of an access. Only a few narrow valleys joining the tapered coast to the interior. The coastal strip and the interiors of the Black Sea region, however, are rendered highly fertile by the rivers gushing from or originating in the coastal ranges. This makes the Black Sea region a profit earning commercial farming region. The nature and environment in the Black Sea Region is very similar to the nature and environment in England, Ireland, Scotland and the North European Countries. Main cities are Amasya, Artvin, Bartin, Bayburt, Bolu, Corum, Giresun, Gumushane, Rize, Tokat, Trabzon

Central Anatolia Region

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The Central Anatolian Region (also known as the Anatolian Plateau) is an area of diverse landforms. The dry, arid highlands of Anatolia lie between the two zones of folded mountains (the Taurus and the Northern Anatolian mountain ranges) and extend to the east to the point where the mountain ranges converge. The rise or elevation of the highland averages to around 500 meters. The two large basins – Konya Ovasi and Tuz Gölü (Salt Lake) – have their own inland drainage. The northwestern and northeastern parts of the region comprise the woods or forestland. Agriculture is practiced in the river valleys; however, mostly the rivers run through deep trenches without forming wide adjoining valleys, making proper irrigation a near impossibility. Limited rainfall, extreme heat and heavy snowfall make the region unfit for cultivation. Designated as the grazing land of Turkey, the importance of the Central Anatolian Region comes from the fact that it includes the capital city Ankara. Main cities are Aksaray, ANKARA, Cankiri, Eskisehir, Kirikkale.

Kirsehir, Konya, Nigde

Eastern Anatolian Region

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The sparsely populated Eastern Anatolian Region of Turkey is covered with high mountains (the average elevation of the peaks being more than 3,000 meters). Many of the peaks are extinct volcanoes (with the traces of lava left behind confirming the fact that they have been active in the recent past). Mount Ararat, the supposed landing place of Noah`s Arc, is located in this region. The productive, bountiful belts such as the Mus Valley (lying west of Lake Van) and the various river valleys are far for human inhabitation. The remaining of the Eastern Anatolian Region comprising the northern rugged highlands (referred to as Turkey`s Siberia), the craggy mountains and the vast lands of the eastern region are barren wasteland without any capacity to support human survival Main cities are Agri, Ardahan, Bingol, Bitlis, Elazig, Erzincan, Erzurum, Hakkari, Igdir, Malatya, Mus, Van

Marmara Region

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The Marmara region, occupying the northwestern corner of the country, bridges Asia and Europe. The most populated part of Turkey, its relevance in history as well as in the contemporary world, marks it as a `cannot miss` place-to-be in the traveler`s itinerary. The famous city of Istanbul still standing in all its grandeur – equally mystifying in its natural beauty and historic glory – is a part of the Marmara region. Other such prominent cities that make it to the traveler`s schedule are the ancient cities of Bursa, Edrine and Iznik. While Edrine is located in the European part of Turkey, `Green` Bursa is located at the foot of Mount Uludag and derives its name from the dense forest cover. Thrace, with its lush vineyards and extended sunflower plantations is another place or great scenic beauty. Uludag, being one of the main peaks of Turkey, is a chief attraction of this region. Mt. Uludag region houses some very popular ski-resorts (that provide the tourists with convenient services and skiing equipments). This area is most frequented in Winter, when it snows. The National Park of “Kus Cenneti” (Bird Paradise) – a bird sanctuary, a safe haven for over two thousand species of birds is a part of the Marmara region Main cities includeBalikesir, Bilecik, Bursa, Canakkale (Dardanelles), Edirne,Istanbul, Sakarya

Mediterranean Region

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Droughts and floods are common to the Mediterranean region, yet the typical Mediterranean climate of this Turkish region gives it the status of the chief agricultural producer. The rich, fertile land of the Mediterranean region in combination with the warm climate is ideal for the cultivation of citrus fruits. Cereals and cotton are grown in the irrigated plains. The western part of the Mediterranean region is blocked by rising limestone structures (karsts), reaching heights of up to 2800 meters. This region houses some major cities of Turkey with the most prominent being Antalya. Having its own port, Antalya is an important business and tourism hub of Turkey The Taurus mountains in the south of Turkey can be the setting for Switzerland, France and French Alps Main cities are Adana, Antakya, Antalya, Burdur, Hatay, Icel, Isparta, Osmaniye

Southeastern Anatolian Region


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The sparsely populated Eastern Anatolian Region of Turkey is covered with high mountains (the average elevation of the peaks being more than 3,000 meters). Many of the peaks are extinct volcanoes (with the traces of lava left behind confirming the fact that they have been active in the recent past). Mount Ararat, the supposed landing place of Noah`s Arc, is located in this region. Main cities include Adiyaman, Batman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Kilis, Mardin, Urfa

History : Turkey has heen called “the cradle of civilizaton” and by traveling through this historic land, tourists will discover exactly what is meant by this pharase. The world’s first town, a neolithic city at Catalhoyuk, dates back to 6,500 B.C. From the days of Catalhoyuk up to the present, Turkey boasts a rich culture that through the centuries has made a lasting impression on modern civillcation. The heir to many centuries of cultures makes Turkey a paradise of information and cultural wealth. Hattis, Hittitess, Phrygians, Urartians, Lycians, Lydians, Ionians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottomans have all made important contributions to Turkish history, and ancient sites and ruins scattered throughout the country give proof of each civilizaton’s unique distinction. Turkey also has a very fascinating recent history. Upon the decline of the Ottoman Empire, a young man named Mustafa Kemal, who was a soilder by ocupation but in character, a great visionary, took the defeat of World War I and turned it into a shining victory by liberating Turkey of al foreign invaders. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923. He led his country into peace and stability, with tremendous economic growth and complete mtodernization. Through decades of change and growth, Turkey till boasts this succes, living by its adopted motto of “Peace at Home, Peace in the World”.

Population : According to a 1990 census, Turkey has 57 million inhabitants, 41% of whom live in the countryside. The major cities are: istanbul (7.4 mil); Ankara,the capital(3.2mil); izmir (2.7 mil); Adana (1.9 mil) ; Antalya (1.1 mil)and Bursa(1.6mil).

Language : The Turkish language belongs to the Ural-Altaic group and has an affinity with the finno-Hungarian languages.Turkish is written in the Latin alphabet and is spoken by some 150 million (it suppoused 600 million with dialects) people around the world

Religion : Although Turkey is 99% Moslem, it is a secular stale that guarantees complete freedom of worship to non-Moslems.

Turkey’s largely free-market economy is increasingly driven by its industry and service sectors, although its traditional agriculture sector still accounts for about 25% of employment. An aggressive privatization program has reduced state involvement in basic industry, banking, transport, and communication, and an emerging cadre of middle-class entrepreneurs is adding dynamism to the economy and expanding production beyond the traditional textiles and clothing sectors. The automotive, construction, and electronics industries, are rising in importance and have surpassed textiles within Turkey’s export mix. Oil began to flow through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline in May 2006, marking a major milestone that will bring up to 1 million barrels per day from the Caspian to market. Several gas pipelines projects also are moving forward to help transport Central Asian gas to Europe through Turkey, which over the long term will help address Turkey’s dependence on imported oil and gas to meet 97% of its energy needs. 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 an era of strong growth – averaging more than 6% annually until 2008. Global economic conditions and tighter fiscal policy caused GDP to contract in 2009, but Turkey’s well-regulated financial markets and banking system helped the country weather the global financial crisis and GDP rebounded strongly to 9.2% in 2010


Tourism : In recent years, Turkey has become a major tourist destination in Europe. With the rapid development of both summer and winter resorts, more and more peoole from around the world are able to enjoy the history, culture, and beautiful sites of Turkey. From swimming in the Mediterranean to skiing in Uludag,Turkey has something to offer every tourist.

Agriculture : This plays a very important role in the Turkish economy. The main crops are wheat,rice, cotton, tea, tobacco, hazelnuts, and fruit. Sheep are Turkeys most important livestock, and Turkey is one of the major cotton and wool producers.

Southeast Anatolia Project (GAP) : GAP is a multi-purpose, integrated development project comprising of dams, hydroelectric power plants and irrigation facilities currently being built on the Firat (Euphrates) and Dicle (Tigris) rivers. It will effect agriculture, transportation, education, tourism, health and other sectors. ATATURK DAM, included in the project, is among the first 10 dams in the world.

Natural resources : The principal minerals extracted are coal, chrome (an important export), iron,copper, bauxite, marble and sulphur.

Industry : Industry is developing rapidly and is directed mainly towards the processing of agricultural products, metallurgy, textiles, and the manufacture of automobiles and agricultural machinery.

Political structure : The Turkish Republic is based on a secular democratic,pluralist and parilamentary system. The National Assembly is elected by popular vote and the nation is governed by the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. Turkey is a founding nember of OECD, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization,a memberof NATO, the European Council and the European Parliament, and waiting to be a full member of the European Union.