Useful Information about Turkey

6 September 2016

Things to know before travelling to Turkey Before coming to Turkey for vacation, there are many things that you should know about Turkey.



Location: southwestern Asia (that part west of the Bosporus is sometimes included with Europe), bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Syria

Geographic coordinates: 39 00 N, 35 00 E

Map references: Middle East

total: 780,580 sq km
land: 770,760 sq km
water: 9,820 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly larger than Texas

Land boundaries:
total: 2,627 km
border countries: Armenia 268 km, Azerbaijan 9 km, Bulgaria 240 km, Georgia 252 km, Greece 206 km, Iran 499 km, Iraq 331 km, Syria 822 km

Coastline: 7,200 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: in Black Sea only: to the maritime boundary agreed upon with the former USSR
territorial sea: 6 nm in the Aegean Sea; 12 nm in Black Sea and in Mediterranean Sea

Climate: temperate; hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters; harsher in interior

Terrain: mostly mountains; narrow coastal plain; high central plateau (Anatolia)

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Ararat 5,166 m

Natural resources: antimony, coal, chromium, mercury, copper, borate, sulfur, iron ore

Land use:
arable land: 32%
permanent crops: 4%
permanent pastures: 16%
forests and woodland: 26%
other: 22% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 36,740 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: very severe earthquakes, especially in northern Turkey, along an arc extending from the Sea of Marmara to Lake Van

Environment—current issues: water pollution from dumping of chemicals and detergents; air pollution, particularly in urban areas; deforestation; concern for oil spills from increasing Bosporus ship traffic

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Environmental Modification

Geography—note: strategic location controlling the Turkish Straits (Bosporus, Sea of Marmara, Dardanelles) that link Black and Aegean Seas


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Population: 65,599,206 (July 1999 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 30% (male 10,148,457; female 9,781,452)
15-64 years: 64% (male 21,255,506; female 20,560,070)
65 years and over: 6% (male 1,775,164; female 2,078,557) (1999 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.57% (1999 est.)

Birth rate: 20.92 births/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Death rate: 5.27 deaths/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1999 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (1999 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 35.81 deaths/1,000 live births (1999 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.29 years
male: 70.81 years
female: 75.88 years (1999 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.41 children born/woman (1999 est.)

noun: Turk(s)
adjective: Turkish

Ethnic groups: Turkish 80%, Kurdish 20%

Religions: Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (Christian and Jews)

Languages: Turkish (official), Kurdish, Arabic

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 82.3%
male: 91.7%
female: 72.4% (1995 est.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Turkey
conventional short form: Turkey
local long form: Turkiye Cumhuriyeti
local short form: Turkiye

Data code: TU

Government type: republican parliamentary democracy

Capital: Ankara

Administrative divisions: 80 provinces (iller, singular—il); Adana, Adiyaman, Afyon, Agri, Aksaray, Amasya, Ankara, Antalya, Ardahan, Artvin, Aydin, Balikesir, Bartin, Batman, Bayburt, Bilecik, Bingol, Bitlis, Bolu, Burdur, Bursa, Canakkale, Cankiri, Corum, Denizli, Diyarbakir, Edirne, Elazig, Erzincan, Erzurum, Eskisehir, Gazi Antep, Giresun, Gumushane, Hakkari, Hatay, Icel, Igdir, Isparta, Istanbul, Izmir, Kahraman Maras, Karabuk, Karaman, Kars, Kastamonu, Kayseri, Kilis, Kirikkale, Kirklareli, Kirsehir, Kocaeli, Konya, Kutahya, Malatya, Manisa, Mardin, Mugla, Mus, Nevsehir, Nigde, Ordu, Osmaniye, Rize, Sakarya, Samsun, Sanli Urfa, Siirt, Sinop, Sirnak, Sivas, Tekirdag, Tokat, Trabzon, Tunceli, Usak, Van, Yalova, Yozgat, Zonguldak
note: Karabuk, Kilis, Osmaniye and Yalova are the four newest provinces; the US Board on Geographic Names is awaiting an official Turkish administrative map for verification of the boundaries

Independence: 29 October 1923 (successor state to the Ottoman Empire)

National holiday: Anniversary of the Declaration of the Republic, 29 October (1923)

Constitution: 7 November 1982

Legal system: derived from various European continental legal systems; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Ahmed Necdet SEZER (since 16 May 2000)
head of government: Prime Minister Bulent ECEVIT (since 11 January 1999)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the nomination of the prime minister
note: there is also a National Security Council that serves as an advisory body to the president and the cabinet
elections: president elected by the National Assembly for a seven-year term; election last held 5 May 2000 (next scheduled to be held NA May 2007); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Ahmed Necdet SEZER elected president; percent of National Assembly vote – 60%

Legislative branch: unicameral Grand National Assembly of Turkey or Turkiye Buyuk Millet Meclisi (550 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 18 April 1999 (next to be held NA 2004)
election results: percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – DSP 136, MHP 130, FP 110, DYP 86, ANAP 88; note – as of 7 March 2000 seating was DSP 136, MHP 127, FP 103, DYP 85, ANAP 88 independents 6, vacancies 5

Judicial branch: Constitutional Court, judges appointed by the president; Court of Appeals, judges are elected by the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors

Political parties and leaders: Changing Turkey Party or DEPAR [Gokhan CAPOGLU]; Democracy and Peace Party or DBP [Yilmaz CAMLIBEL]; Democratic Left Party or DSP [Bulent ECEVIT]; Democratic Party or DP [Korkut OZAL]; Democratic Turkey Party or DTP [Husamettin CINDORUK]; Enlightened Turkey Party or ATP [Tugrul TURKES]; Freedom and Solidarity Party or ODP [Ufuk URAS]; Grand Unity Party or BBP [Muhsin YAZICIOGLU]; Labor Party or EP [Ihsan CARALAN]; Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Besim TIBUK]; Motherland Party or ANAP [Mesut YILMAZ]; My Turkey Party or TP [Durmus Ali EKER]; Nation Party or MP [Aykut EDIBALI]; Nationalist Action Party or MHP [Devlet BAHCELI]; New Democracy Movement or YDH [Huseyin ERGUN]; Peace Party or BP [Ali Haydar VEZIROGLU]; People’s Democracy Party or HADEP [Turhan DEMIR]; Republican People’s Party or CHP [Altan OYMEN]; Revolutionary People’s Party [Meral KIDIR]; Socialist Power Party or SIP [leader NA]; True Path Party or DYP [Tansu CILLER]; Virtue Party or FP [Recai KUTAN]; Workers’ Party or IP [Dogu PERINCEK]
note: Welfare Party or RP [Necmettin ERBAKAN] was officially outlawed on 22 February 1998

Political pressure groups and leaders: Confederation of Revolutionary Workers Unions or DISK [Ridvan BUDAK]; Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association or MUSIAD [Erol YARAR]; Moral Rights Workers Union or Hak-Is [Salim USLU]; Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association or TUSIAD [Muharrem KAYHAN]; Turkish Confederation of Employers’ Unions or TISK [Refik BAYDUR]; Turkish Confederation of Labor or Turk-Is [Bayram MERAL]; Turkish Union of Chambers of Commerce and Commodity Exchanges or TOBB [Fuat MIRAS]

International organization participation: AsDB, BIS, BSEC, CCC, CE, CERN (observer), EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECO, ESCAP, EU (applicant), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NATO, NEA, OAS (observer), OECD, OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UPU, WEU (associate), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Baki ILKIN
chancery: 2525 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 612-6700
FAX: [1] (202) 612-6744
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Robert PEARSON
embassy: 110 Ataturk Boulevard, Ankara
mailing address: PSC 93, Box 5000, APO AE 09823
telephone: [90] (312) 468-6110
FAX: [90] (312) 467-0019
consulate(s) general: Istanbul
consulate(s): Adana

Flag description: red with a vertical white crescent (the closed portion is toward the hoist side) and white five-pointed star centered just outside the crescent opening.


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Economy—overview: Turkey has a dynamic economy that is a complex mix of modern industry and commerce along with traditional village agriculture and crafts. It has a strong and rapidly growing private sector, yet the state still plays a major role in basic industry, banking, transport, and communication. Its most important industry—and largest exporter—is textiles and clothing, which is almost entirely in private hands. The economic situation in recent years has been marked by rapid growth coupled with partial success in implementing structural reform measures. Inflation declined to 70% in 1998, down from 99% in 1997, but the public sector fiscal deficit probably remained near 10% of GDP—due in large part to interest payments which accounted for 42% of central government spending in 1998. The government enacted a new tax law and speeded up privatization in 1998 but made no progress on badly needed social security reform. Ankara is trying to increase trade with other countries in the region yet most of Turkey’s trade is still with OECD countries. Despite the implementation in January 1996 of a customs union with the EU, foreign direct investment in the country remains low—about $1 billion annually—perhaps because potential investors are concerned about still-high inflation and the unsettled political situation. Economic growth will remain about the same in 1999; inflation should decline further.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$425.4 billion (1998 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 2.8% (1998 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$6,600 (1998 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 14.4%
industry: 28.7%
services: 56.9% (1998)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 70% (1998)

Labor force: 22.7 million (April 1998)
note: about 1.5 million Turks work abroad (1994)

Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 42.5%, services 34.5%, industry 23% (1996)

Unemployment rate: 10% (1998 est.)

revenues: $44.4 billion
expenditures: $58.5 billion, including capital expenditures of $3.7 billion (1998)

Industries: textiles, food processing, autos, mining (coal, chromite, copper, boron), steel, petroleum, construction, lumber, paper

Industrial production growth rate: 4.1% (1998 est.)

Electricity—production: 103 billion kWh (1997)

Electricity—production by source:
fossil fuel: 62.4%
hydro: 37.1%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0.5% (1997)

Electricity—consumption: 91.16 billion kWh (1996)

Electricity—exports: 300 million kWh (1996)

Electricity—imports: 265 million kWh (1996)

Agriculture—products: tobacco, cotton, grain, olives, sugar beets, pulse, citrus; livestock

Exports: $31 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

Exports—commodities: textiles and apparel 30%, foodstuffs 15%, iron and steel products 13% (1997)

Exports—partners: Germany 20%, US 9%, Russia 5%, UK 6%, Italy 6% (1998)

Imports: $47 billion (f.o.b., 1998)

Imports—commodities: machinery and equipment 50%, fuels, minerals, foodstuffs (1997)

Imports—partners: Germany 16%, Italy 9%, US 9%, Russia 6%, UK 6%, France 2% (1997)

Debt—external: $93.4 billion (1998)

Economic aid—recipient: ODA, $195 million (1993)

Currency: Turkish lira (TL)

Exchange rates: Turkish liras (TL) per US$1—331,400 (January 1999), 260,724 (1998), 151,865 (1997), 81,405 (1996), 45,845.1 (1995), 29,608.7 (1994)

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones: 17 million (in addition, there are 1.5 million cellular telephone subscribers) (1997 est.)

Telephone system: fair domestic and international systems; undergoing modernization and refurbishment programs
domestic: cable; AMPS standard cellular system in Ashkhabad with plans for expansion
international: 12 satellite earth stations—Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), Eutelsat, and Inmarsat (Indian and Atlantic Ocean regions); 3 submarine fiber-optic cables (1996); connected internationally by the Trans-Asia-Europe Fiber-Optic Line that became operational in 1998

Radio broadcast stations: AM NA, FM NA, shortwave NA
note: there are 36 national broadcast stations, 108 regional broadcast stations, and 1,058 local broadcast stations (1996)

Radios: 9.4 million (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 69 (in addition, there are 476 low-power repeaters) (1997)

Televisions: 10.53 million (1993 est.)


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total: 10,386 km
standard gauge: 10,386 km 1.435-m gauge (1,088 km electrified)

total: 382,397 km
paved: 95,599 km (including 1,560 km of expressways)
unpaved: 286,798 km (1997 est.)

Waterways: about 1,200 km

Pipelines: crude oil 1,738 km; petroleum products 2,321 km; natural gas 708 km

Ports and harbors: Gemlik, Hopa, Iskenderun, Istanbul, Izmir, Kocaeli (Izmit), Icel (Mersin), Samsun, Trabzon

Merchant marine:
total: 531 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 5,913,171 GRT/9,832,994 DWT
ships by type: bulk 159, cargo 239, chemical tanker 32, combination bulk 5, combination ore/oil 6, container 12, liquefied gas tanker 5, oil tanker 36, passenger-cargo 1, refrigerated cargo 3, roll-on/roll-off cargo 21, short-sea passenger 9, specialized tanker 3 (1998 est.)

Airports: 117 (1998 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 81
over 3,047 m: 16
2,438 to 3,047 m: 25
1,524 to 2,437 m: 19
914 to 1,523 m: 16
under 914 m: 5 (1998 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 36
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 26 (1998 est.)

Heliports: 2 (1998 est.)


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Military branches: Land Forces, Navy (includes Naval Air and Naval Infantry), Air Force, Coast Guard, Gendarmerie

Military manpower—military age: 20 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 18,168,658 (1999 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 11,024,173 (1999 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 659,338 (1999 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $6.737 billion (1997)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 4.3% (1997)

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: complex maritime, air, and territorial disputes with Greece in Aegean Sea; Cyprus question with Greece; dispute with downstream riparian states (Syria and Iraq) over water development plans for the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers; traditional demands on former Armenian lands in Turkey have subsided

Illicit drugs: major transit route for Southwest Asian heroin and hashish to Western Europe and—to a far lesser extent the US—via air, land, and sea routes; major Turkish, Iranian, and other international trafficking organizations operate out of Istanbul; laboratories to convert imported morphine base into heroin are in remote regions of Turkey as well as near Istanbul; government maintains strict controls over areas of legal opium poppy cultivation and output of poppy straw concentrate

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