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Modern Turkey was founded in 1923 from the Anatolian remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire by national hero Mustafa KEMAL, who was later honored with the title Ataturk, or "Father of the Turks." Under his authoritarian leadership, the country adopted wide-ranging social, legal, and political reforms. After a period of one-party rule, an experiment with multi-party politics led to the 1950 election victory of the opposition Democratic Party and the peaceful transfer of power. Since then, Turkish political parties have multiplied, but democracy has been fractured by periods of instability and intermittent military coups (1960, 1971, 1980), which in each case eventually resulted in a return of 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. 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 begun in 1984 by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - now known as the People's Congress of Kurdistan or Kongra-Gel (KGK) - has dominated the Turkish military's attention and claimed more than 30,000 lives. After the capture of the group's leader in 1999, the insurgents largely withdrew from Turkey, mainly to northern Iraq. In 2004, KGK announced an end to its ceasefire and attacks attributed to the KGK increased. Turkey joined the UN in 1945 and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. In 1964, Turkey became an associate member of the European Community; over the past decade, it has undertaken many reforms to strengthen its democracy and economy, enabling it to begin accession membership talks with the European Union.


Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia (that portion of Turkey west of the Bosporus is geographically part of Europe), bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Syria

Geographic coordinates:

39 00 N, 35 00 E


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

Land boundaries:

total: 2,648 km
border countries: Armenia 268 km, Azerbaijan 9 km, Bulgaria 240 km, Georgia 252 km, Greece 206 km, Iran 499 km, Iraq 352 km, Syria 822 km


7,200 km

Maritime claims:

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


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


high central plateau (Anatolia); narrow coastal plain; several mountain ranges

Elevation extremes:

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

Natural resources:

coal, iron ore, copper, chromium, antimony, mercury, gold, barite, borate, celestite (strontium), emery, feldspar, limestone, magnesite, marble, perlite, pumice, pyrites (sulfur), clay, arable land, hydropower

Land use:

arable land: 29.81%
permanent crops: 3.39%
other: 66.8% (2005)

Irrigated land:

52,150 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:

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

Geography - note:

strategic location controlling the Turkish Straits (Bosporus, Sea of Marmara, Dardanelles) that link Black and Aegean Seas; Mount Ararat, the legendary landing place of Noah's Ark, is in the far eastern portion of the country


70,413,958 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 25.5% (male 9,133,226/female 8,800,070)
15-64 years: 67.7% (male 24,218,277/female 23,456,761)
65 years and over: 6.8% (male 2,198,073/female 2,607,551) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 28.1 years
male: 27.9 years
female: 28.3 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.06% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

16.62 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

5.97 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 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: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 39.69 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 43.27 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 35.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 72.62 years
male: 70.18 years
female: 75.18 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.92 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

less than 0.1% - note - no country specific models provided (2001 est.)


noun: Turk(s)
adjective: Turkish

Ethnic groups:

Turkish 80%, Kurdish 20% (estimated)


Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews)


Turkish (official), Kurdish, Dimli (or Zaza), Azeri, Kabardian
note: there is also a substantial Gagauz population in the Europe part of Turkey


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.5%
male: 94.3%
female: 78.7% (2003 est.)

Country name:

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

Government type:

republican parliamentary democracy



Administrative divisions:

81 provinces (iller, singular - il); Adana, Adiyaman, Afyonkarahisar, Agri, Aksaray, Amasya, Ankara, Antalya, Ardahan, Artvin, Aydin, Balikesir, Bartin, Batman, Bayburt, Bilecik, Bingol, Bitlis, Bolu, Burdur, Bursa, Canakkale, Cankiri, Corum, Denizli, Diyarbakir, Duzce, Edirne, Elazig, Erzincan, Erzurum, Eskisehir, Gaziantep, Giresun, Gumushane, Hakkari, Hatay, Icel (Mersin), Igdir, Isparta, Istanbul, Izmir, Kahramanmaras, Karabuk, Karaman, Kars, Kastamonu, Kayseri, Kilis, Kirikkale, Kirklareli, Kirsehir, Kocaeli, Konya, Kutahya, Malatya, Manisa, Mardin, Mugla, Mus, Nevsehir, Nigde, Ordu, Osmaniye, Rize, Sakarya, Samsun, Sanliurfa, Siirt, Sinop, Sirnak, Sivas, Tekirdag, Tokat, Trabzon, Tunceli, Usak, Van, Yalova, Yozgat, Zonguldak


29 October 1923 (successor state to the Ottoman Empire)

National holiday:

Republic Day, 29 October (1923)


7 November 1982

Legal system:

civil law system derived from various European continental legal systems; note - member of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), although Turkey claims limited derogations on the ratified European Convention on Human Rights


18 years of age; universal

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 3 November 2002 (next to be held in 2007); note - a special rerun of the General Election in the province of Siirt on 9 March 2003 resulted in the election of Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN to a seat in parliament, a prerequisite for becoming prime minister, on 14 March 2003
election results: percent of vote by party - AKP 34.3%, CHP 19.4%, DYP 9.6%, MHP 8.3%, Anavatan 5.1%, DSP 1.1%, and other; seats by party - AKP 363, CHP 178, independents 9; note - parties surpassing the 10% threshold are entitled to parliamentary seats; seats by party as of 1 December 2005 - AKP 357, CHP 154, ANAVATAN 22, DYP 4, SHP 4, HYP 1, independents 4, vacant 4

Judicial branch:

Constitutional Court; High Court of Appeals (Yargitay); Council of State (Danistay); Court of Accounts (Sayistay); Military High Court of Appeals; Military High Administrative Court

Economy - overview:

Turkey's dynamic economy is a complex mix of modern industry and commerce along with a traditional agriculture sector that still accounts for more than 35% of employment. It has a strong and rapidly growing private sector, yet the state still plays a major role in basic industry, banking, transport, and communication. The largest industrial sector is textiles and clothing, which accounts for one-third of industrial employment; it faces stiff competition in international markets with the end of the global quota system. However, other sectors, notably the automotive and electronics industries, are rising in importance within Turkey's export mix. Real GNP growth has exceeded 6% in many years, but this strong expansion has been interrupted by sharp declines in output in 1994, 1999, and 2001. The economy is turning around with the implementation of economic reforms, and 2004 GDP growth reached 9%. Inflation fell to 7.7% in 2005 - a 30-year low. Despite the strong economic gains in 2002-05, which were largely due to renewed investor interest in emerging markets, IMF backing, and tighter fiscal policy, the economy is still burdened by a high current account deficit and high debt. The public sector fiscal deficit exceeds 6% of GDP - due in large part to high interest payments, which accounted for about 37% of central government spending in 2004. Prior to 2005, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Turkey averaged less than $1 billion annually, but further economic and judicial reforms and prospective EU membership are expected to boost FDI. Privatization sales are currently approaching $21 billion.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$552.7 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$336.4 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

5.1% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$7,900 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 11.7%
industry: 29.8%
services: 58.5% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

24.7 million
note: about 1.2 million Turks work abroad (2005 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 35.9%
industry: 22.8%
services: 41.2% (3rd qtr. 2004)

Unemployment rate:

10% plus underemployment of 4% (2005 est.)

Population below poverty line:

20% (2002)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 30.7% (2000)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

42 (2003)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

7.7% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

19.3% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $93.58 billion
expenditures: $115.3 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2005 est.)

Public debt:

67.5% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

tobacco, cotton, grain, olives, sugar beets, pulse, citrus; livestock


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

Industrial production growth rate:

5.5% (2005 est.)

Electricity - production:

133.6 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

140.3 billion kWh (2005)

Electricity - exports:

600 million kWh (2002)

Electricity - imports:

1.2 billion kWh (2002)

Oil - production:

50,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - consumption:

715,100 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - exports:

46,110 bbl/day (2001)

Oil - imports:

616,500 bbl/day (2001)

Oil - proved reserves:

288.4 million bbl (1 January 2002)

Natural gas - production:

560 million cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

22.6 billion cu m (2005 est.)

Natural gas - imports:

15.75 billion cu m (2001 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

8.495 billion cu m (1 January 2002)

Current account balance:

-$22 billion (2005 est.)


$72.49 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

apparel, foodstuffs, textiles, metal manufactures, transport equipment

Exports - partners:

Germany 13.9%, UK 8.8%, US 7.7%, Italy 7.3%, France 5.8%, Spain 4.2% (2004)


$101.2 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery, chemicals, semi-finished goods, fuels, transport equipment

Imports - partners:

Germany 12.9%, Russia 9.3%, Italy 7.1%, France 6.4%, US 4.8%, China 4.6%, UK 4.4% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$46.5 billion (2005 est.)

Debt - external:

$161.8 billion (30 June 2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

ODA, $635.8 million (2002)

Currency (code):

Turkish lira (YTL); old Turkish lira (TRL) before 1 January 2005

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

19,125,200 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

34,707,500 (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: undergoing rapid modernization and expansion, especially with cellular telephones
domestic: additional digital exchanges are permitting a rapid increase in subscribers; the construction of a network of technologically advanced intercity trunk lines, using both fiber-optic cable and digital microwave radio relay is facilitating communication between urban centers; remote areas are reached by a domestic satellite system; the number of subscribers to mobile cellular telephone service is growing rapidly
international: country code - 90; international service is provided by three submarine fiber-optic cables in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, linking Turkey with Italy, Greece, Israel, Bulgaria, Romania, and Russia; also by 12 Intelsat earth stations, and by 328 mobile satellite terminals in the Inmarsat and Eutelsat systems (2002)

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 16, FM 107, shortwave 6 (2001)

Television broadcast stations:

635 (plus 2,934 repeaters) (1995)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

753,394 (2005)

Internet users:

5.5 million (2003)


120 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 88
over 3,047 m: 15
2,438 to 3,047 m: 32
1,524 to 2,437 m: 19
914 to 1,523 m: 18
under 914 m: 4 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 32
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 20 (2005)


16 (2005)


gas 3,177 km; oil 3,562 km (2004)


total: 8,697 km
standard gauge: 8,697 km 1.435-m gauge (2,122 km electrified) (2004)


total: 354,421 km
paved: 147,404 km (including 1,886 km of expressways)
unpaved: 207,017 km (2003)


1,200 km (2005)

Merchant marine:

total: 538 ships (1000 GRT or over) 4,745,132 GRT/7,261,125 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 109, cargo 235, chemical tanker 45, combination ore/oil 1, container 26, liquefied gas 5, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 51, petroleum tanker 36, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 23, specialized tanker 2
foreign-owned: 10 (Cyprus 3, Italy 3, South Korea 1, Monaco 1, Netherlands 1, Switzerland 1)
registered in other countries: 344 (Albania 1, Antigua and Barbuda 5, The Bahamas 10, Belize 8, Cambodia 17, Comoros 10, Dominica 1, France 1, Georgia 24, Honduras 1, Isle of Man 3, North Korea 4, Liberia 2, Libya 2, Malta 101, Marshall Islands 24, Netherlands Antilles 8, Panama 31, Russia 54, Saint Kitts and Nevis 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 23, Slovakia 8, UK 1, unknown 3) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Aliaga, Ambarli, Eregli, Haydarpasa, Istanbul, Izmir, Kocaeli (Izmit), Toros

Military branches:

Turkish Armed Forces (TSK): Land Forces, Naval Forces (includes Naval Air and Naval Infantry), Air Force

Disputes - international:

complex maritime, air, and territorial disputes with Greece in the Aegean Sea; status of north Cyprus question remains; Syria and Iraq protest Turkish hydrological projects to control upper Euphrates waters; Turkey has expressed concern over the status of Kurds in Iraq; border with Armenia remains closed over Nagorno-Karabakh

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

IDPs: 350,000-1,000,000 (fighting from 1984-99 between Kurdish PKK and Turkish military; most IDPs in southeastern provinces) (2005)

Illicit drugs:

key transit route for Southwest Asian heroin 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 and near Istanbul; government maintains strict controls over areas of legal opium poppy cultivation and output of poppy straw concentrate; lax enforcement of money-laundering controls