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, but 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
39 00 N, 35 00 E
total: 780,580 sq km
land: 770,760 sq km
water: 9,820 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Texas
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
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
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Ararat 5,166 m
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, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification
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
29 October 1923 (successor state to the Ottoman Empire)
Republic Day, 29 October (1923)
7 November 1982
civil law system derived from various European continental legal systems; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations; 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
chief of state: President Ahmet Necdet SEZER (since 16 May 2000)
head of government: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN (14 March 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the nomination of the prime minister
elections: president elected by the National Assembly for a seven-year term; election last held 5 May 2000 (next to be held May 2007); prime minister appointed by the president from among members of parliament
election results: Ahmed Necdet SEZER elected president on the third ballot; percent of National Assembly vote - 60%
note: president must have a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly on the first two ballots and a simple majority on the third ballot
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 NA 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%, ANAP 5.1%, DSP 1.1%, and others; 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 2004 - AKP 368, CHP 171, DYP 4, LDP 1, independents 5, vacant 1
Constitutional Court; High Court of Appeals (Yargitay); Council of State (Danistay); Court of Accounts (Sayistay); Military High Court of Appeals; Military High Administrative Court
Political parties and leaders:
Democratic Left Party or DSP [Mehmet Zeki SEZER]; Democratic People's Party or DEHAP [Tuncer BAKIRHAN]; Justice and Development Party or AKP [Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN]; Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Emin SIRIN]; Motherland Party or ANAP [Ali Talip OZDEMIR]; Nationalist Action Party or MHP [Devlet BAHCELI]; Republican People's Party or CHP (includes the New Turkey Party) [Deniz BAYKAL]; Felicity Party (sometimes translated as Contentment Party) or SP [Necmettin ERBEKAN]; Social Democratic People's Party or SHP [Murat KARAYALCIN]; True Path Party (sometimes translated as Correct Way Party) or DYP [Mehmet AGAR]
note: the parties listed above are some of the more significant of the 49 parties that Turkey had on 1 December 2004
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Confederation of Public Sector Unions or KESK [Sami EVREN]; Confederation of Revolutionary Workers Unions or DISK [Suleyman CELEBI]; Independent Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association or MUSIAD [Omer BOLAT]; Moral Rights Workers Union or Hak-Is [Salim USLU]; Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association or TUSIAD [Omer SABANCI]; Turkish Confederation of Employers' Unions or TISK [Refik BAYDUR]; Turkish Confederation of Labor or Turk-Is [Salih KILIC]; Turkish Confederation of Tradesmen and Craftsmen or TESK [Dervis GUNDAY]; Turkish Union of Chambers of Commerce and Commodity Exchanges or TOBB [M. Rifat HISARCIKLIOGLU]
chief of mission: Ambassador Dr. Osman Faruk LOGOGLU
chancery: 2525 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:  (202) 612-6700
FAX:  (202) 612-6744
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Eric S. EDELMAN
embassy: 110 Ataturk Boulevard, Kavaklidere, 06100 Ankara
mailing address: PSC 93, Box 5000, APO AE 09823
telephone:  (312) 455-5555
FAX:  (312) 467-0019
consulate(s) general: Istanbul
consulate(s): Adana; note - there is a Consular Agent in Izmir
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
The Turkish National Anthem
Istiklâl Marsi (Independence March)
is the Turkish National Anthem, officially adopted on March
12, 1921. A total of 724 poems were submitted to a nation-wide
competition organized to find and select the most suitable
original composition for this National March, and a 10-verse
poem written by the renowned poet Mehmet Akif Ersoy was adopted
unanimously by the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Twenty-four
composers participated in another competition arranged for
the selection of a musical composition that would suit the
elected National Anthem best. The Council, which was only
able to convene in 1924 due to the Turkish War of Independence,
adopted the music composed by Ali Rifat Çagatay. The
words of the National Anthem were sung to this music until
1930. Thereafter, the music of the National Anthem was changed
to an arrangement written by Osman Zeki Üngör, conductor
of the Presidential Symphonic Orchestra, and the words have
been sung to this musical accompaniment ever since. It should
be noted however, that only the first two verses are sung.
Lyrics by Mehmet Akif Ersoy
Music composed by Osman Zeki Üngör
Korkma, sönmez bu safaklarda yüzen
Sönmeden yurdumun üstünde tüten en son
O benim milletimin yildizidir parlayacak;
O benimdir, o benim milletimindir ancak.
Çatma, kurban olayim çehreni ey nazli hilal!
Kahraman irkima bir gül! ne bu siddet bu celal?
Sana olmaz dökülen kanlarimiz sonra helal,
Hakkidir, Hak'ka tapan, milletimin istiklal!
Ben ezelden beridir hür yasadim, hür yasarim.
Hangi çilgin bana zincir vuracakmis? Sasarim;
Kükremis sel gibiyim, bendimi çigner asarim;
Yirtarim daglari, enginlere sigmam, tasarim.
Garbin afakini sarmissa çelik zirhli duvar,
Benim iman dolu gögsüm gibi serhaddim var.
Ulusun, korkma! Nasil böyle bir imani bogar.
"Medeniyet!" dedigin tek disi kalmis canavar?
Arkadas! Yurduma alçaklari ugratma sakin!
Siper et gövdeni, dursun bu hayasizca akin.
Dogacaktir sana vaadettigi günler Hak'kin;
Kimbilir, belki yarin, belki yarindan da yakin.
Bastigin yerleri "toprak" diyerek geçme,
Düsün, altinda binlerce kefensiz yatani.
Sen sehit oglusun, incitme, yaziktir atani;
Verme, dünyalari alsan da bu cennet vatani.
Kim bu cennet vatanin ugruna olmaz ki feda?
Süheda fiskiracak topragi siksan, süheda!
Cani, canani, bütün varimi alsin da Hüda,
Etmesin tek vatanimdan beni dünyada cüda.
Ruhumun senden, ilahi, sudur ancak emeli;
Degmesin mabedimin gögsüne na-mahrem eli!
Bu ezanlar ki sahadetleri dinin temeli,
Ebedi yurdumun üstünde benim inlemeli
O zaman vecd ile bin secde eder varsa tasim;
Her cerihamdan, ilahi, bosanip kanli yasim,
Fiskirir ruh-i mücerret gibi yerden nasim;
O zaman yükselerek arsa deger belki basim!
Dalgalan sen de safaklar gibi ey sanli hilal;
Olsun artik dökülen kanlarimin hepsi helal!
Ebediyyen sana yok, irkima yok izmihlal.
Hakkidir, hür yasamis bayragimin hürriyet;
Hakkidir, Hak'ka tapan milletimin istiklal!
* * *
Fear not! For the crimson flag that proudly
waves in these dawns, shall never fade,
Before the last fiery hearth that is ablaze within my nation
And that, is the star of my nation, and it will forever shine;
It is mine; and solely belongs to my valiant nation.
Frown not, I beseech you, oh thou coy crescent,
But smile upon my heroic nation! Why the anger, why the rage?
Our blood we shed for you will not be worthy otherwise;
For freedom is the absolute right of my God-worshipping nation.
I have been free since the beginning and forever will be so.
What madman shall put me in chains! I defy the very idea!
I'm like the roaring flood; powerful and independent,
I'll tear apart mountains, exceed the heavens and still gush
The lands of the of the West may be armored with walls of
But I have borders guarded by the mighty chest of a believer.
Recognize your innate strength! And think: how can this fiery
faith ever be killed,
By that battered, single-fanged monster you call "civilization"?
My friend! Leave not my homeland to the hands of villainous
Render your chest as armor and your body as trench! Stop this
For soon shall come the day of promised eternal freedom...
Who knows? Perhaps tomorrow? Perhaps even sooner!
View not the soil you tread on as mere earth, recognize it!
And think about the shroudless thousands who lie so nobly
You're the noble son of a martyr, take shame, hurt not your
Unhand not, even when you're promised worlds, this paradise
of a homeland.
What man would not die for this heavenly piece of land?
Martyrs would gush out were one to just squeeze the soil!
May God take all my loved ones and possessions from me if
But may He not deprive me of my one true homeland for the
Oh glorious God, the sole wish of my pain-stricken heart is
No infidel's hand should ever touch the bosom of my sacred
These adhans, and these shahadahs that my hearing is accustomed
to, are the base of my religion,
And may their noble sound last loud and wide over my eternal
For only then, shall my tombstone -if there is one- lay its
forehead on the earth (like in salah) a thousand times in
And tears of fiery blood shall gush out of my every wound,
And precisely so shall my corpse gush out from the earth like
an eternal spirit,
And perhaps only then, shall my head rise and at long last
reach the heavens.
So flap and wave like the bright dawning sky, oh thou glorious
So that our every last drop of blood may finally be worthy!
Neither you nor my nation shall ever be extinguished!
For freedom is the absolute right of my ever-free flag;
For freedom is the absolute right of my God-worshipping nation!
economy is a complex mix of modern industry and commerce along
with a traditional agriculture sector that in 2004 still accounted
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. In recent years the economic situation has been marked
by erratic economic growth and serious imbalances. 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. Inflation, in recent years in the high double-digit
range, fell to 9.3% by 2004 - a 30-year low. Despite these strong
economic gains in 2002-04, which were largely due to renewed
investor interest in emerging markets, IMF backing, and tighter
fiscal policy, the economy is still plagued with high debt and
deficits. The public sector fiscal deficit exceeds 6% of GDP
- due in large part to the huge burden of interest payments,
which accounted for more than 40% of central government spending
in 2004, and to populist spending. Foreign direct investment
(FDI) in Turkey remains low - averaging less than $1 billion
annually, but further economic and judicial reforms and prospective
EU membership are expected to boost FDI. A major political and
economic issue over the next decade is whether or not Turkey
will become a member of the EU.
Turkish lira (TRL),
New Turkish lira (YTL) after 1 January 2005
per US dollar - 1,425,500 (2004), 1,500,900 (2003), 1,507,200
(2002), 1,225,600 (2001), 625,200 (2000) Note: on 1 January 2005 the old Turkish Lira (TRL)was
converted to New Turkish Lira (YTL) at a rate of 1,000,000 old
to 1 New Turkish Lira
Telephones - main lines in use:
Telephones - mobile cellular:
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)
11.3 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
635 (plus 2,934 repeaters) (1995)
20.9 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
5.5 million (2003)
8,697 km standard gauge: 8,697 km 1.435-m gauge (2,122 km electrified)
354,421 km paved: 147,404 km (including 1,851 km of expressways)
unpaved: 207,017 km (2002)
1,200 km (2003)
gas 3,177 km;
oil 3,562 km (2004)
Ports and harbors:
Eregli, Haydarpasa, Istanbul, Kocaeli (Izmit), Skhira, Toros
526 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 4,666,895 GRT/7,311,504 DWT by type: bulk carrier 108, cargo 228, chemical tanker
45, combination ore/oil 1, container 25, liquefied gas 6, passenger
5, passenger/cargo 50, petroleum tanker 33, refrigerated cargo
2, roll on/roll off 22, specialized tanker 1 foreign-owned: 8 (Cyprus 3, Denmark 2, Greece 1, Italy
1, Switzerland 1) registered in other countries: 231 (2005)
119 (2004 est.)
14 (2004 est.)
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) (2004)
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 as well as near Istanbul; government maintains strict controls over areas of legal opium poppy cultivation and output of poppy straw concentrate