Article: Turkey

This article is about the country of Turkey. For other uses, see Turkey (disambiguation).
Türkiye Cumhuriyeti
Republic of Turkey
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Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Turkish: Yurtta Sulh, Cihanda Sulh
(English: "Peace at Home, Peace in the World")
Anthem: İstiklâl Marşı
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Capital Ankara
41°1′N 28°57′E
Largest city Istanbul
Official language(s) Turkish
Government Republic
 - President Ahmet Necdet Sezer
 - Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan
National Days  
 - Formation of Parliament 23 April 1920 
 - Start of War of Independence 19 May 1919 
 - Victory Day 30 August 1922 
 - Declaration of Republic 29 October 1923 
Area  
 - Total 780,580 km² (36th)
  301,384 sq mi 
 - Water (%) 1.3
Population  
 - 2005 est. 73,193,000 (17th 1)
 - 2000 census 67,844,903
 - Density 90/km² (102nd 1)
230/sq mi 
GDP (PPP) 2006 estimate
 - Total 610.0 billion (19th)
 - Per capita 8,385 (75th)
HDI (2003) 0.750 (94th) â€“ medium
Currency New Turkish Lira2 (TRY)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+3)
Internet TLD .tr
Calling code +90
1. Population & Density ranks based on 2005 figures.
2. Since 1 January 2005, the New Turkish Lira (Yeni Türk Lirası) replaced the old Turkish Lira.
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A graphical timeline is available here:
History of the Republic of Turkey

Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye), officially the Republic of Turkey (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti ), is a Eurasian country that stretches across the Anatolian peninsula in Southwestern Asia and the Balkan region of Southeastern Europe. Turkey borders eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west; Georgia, Armenia and the Nakhichevan exclave of Azerbaijan to the northeast; Iran to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. In addition, it borders the Black Sea to the north; the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara to the west; and the Mediterranean Sea to the south.

The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular, constitutional republic whose political system was established in 1923. Turkey is a member state of the United Nations, NATO, OSCE, OECD, OIC, and the Council of Europe. Due to its strategic location, straddling Europe and Asia and between three seas, Turkey has been a historical crossroad between eastern and western cultures. It has been home to several great civilizations and the location of many battles between them.

History

Main article: History of Turkey

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War of Independence | Single Party Period | Multi-Party Period | Timeline | Atatürk

Because of its strategic location at the intersection of Asia and Europe, Anatolia has been a cradle for several civilizations since prehistoric ages, with Neolithic settlements such as Çatalhöyük (Pottery Neolithic), Çayönü (Pre-Pottery Neolithic A to pottery Neolithic), Nevali Cori (Pre-Pottery Neolithic B), Hacilar (Pottery Neolithic), Göbekli Tepe (Pre-Pottery Neolithic A) and Mersin. The settlement of Troy starts in the Neolithic and continues forward into the Iron Age. Through recorded history, Anatolians have spoken Indo-European, Semitic and Kartvelian languages, as well as many languages of uncertain affiliation. In fact, given the antiquity of the Indo-European Hittite and Luwian languages, some scholars have proposed Anatolia as the hypothetical center from which the Indo-European languages have radiated. Other authors have proposed an Anatolian origin for the Etruscans of ancient Italy. Iron Age peoples that have settled in or conquered Anatolia include the Phrygians, Hittites, Lydians, Lycians, Mushki, Urartians, Kurds, Cimmerians, Armenians, Persians, Tabals and Greeks.

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The Ottoman Empire c. 1683

The gradual conquest of Anatolia from the Byzantines by Turkic peoples, under the Seljuks with the Battle of Manzikert and the rise of the Seljuk Empire in the 11th century was finalized by the rise of the Ottoman Empire. By the end of the 16th century, at the height of its power, the Ottoman Empire grew to cover Anatolia, North Africa, the Middle East, Southeastern and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. It comprised an area of about 5.6 million km²[1], though it controlled a much larger area, if adjoining areas dominated mainly by nomadic tribes, where the empire's suzerainty was recognized, are included. The empire interacted with both Eastern and Western cultures throughout its 624-year history.

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Süleyman the Magnificient - 10th Sultan of the Ottoman Dynasty

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Ottoman Empire was among the world's most powerful political entities, with the powers of eastern Europe constantly threatened by its steady advance through the Balkans and the southern part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Its navy was also a powerful force in the Mediterranean. On several occasions, the Ottoman army invaded central Europe, laying siege to Vienna in 1529 and again in 1683 in an attempt to conquer the Habsburg domain, and was finally repulsed only by grand coalitions of European powers at sea and on land.

Following years of decline, the Ottoman Empire entered World War I in an alliance with Germany in 1914, in which it was ultimately defeated. After the war, western powers sought to partition the empire through the Treaty of Sevres. With the support of the Allies, Greece had occupied İzmir as provided for in the Treaty. On 19 May 1919 this prompted the beginning of a nationalist movement under the command of Mustafa Kemal Pasha, a military commander who had distinguished himself in the Battle of Gallipoli (see Rise of Nationalism under the Ottoman Empire). Kemal Pasha sought to revoke the terms of treaty signed by the Sultan in Istanbul. This involved mobilizing every available part of Turkish society in what would become the Turkish War of Independence (Turkish: Kurtuluş Savaşı).

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Mustafa Kemal Atatürk - Founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey

By 18 September 1922 the occupying armies were repelled and the country saw the birth of a Turkish state. On 1 November 1922 the Turkish Grand National Assembly formally abolished the office of the Sultan, ending 631 years of Ottoman rule. In 1923 the Treaty of Lausanne recognized the sovereignty of the new Republic of Turkey. Kemal Pasha became the Republic's first President and instituted far reaching reforms with the aim of modernizing the new Republic from the remnants of its Ottoman past. According to the Law on Family Names, the Turkish Grand Assembly presented Mustafa Kemal with the honorific name "Atatürk" (meaning Father of the Turks) in 1934.

Turkey entered World War II on the Allied side in the latter stages of the war and became a charter member of the United Nations. Difficulties faced by Greece after World War II in quelling a communist rebellion and demands by the Soviet Union for military bases in the Turkish Straits prompted the United States to declare the Truman Doctrine in 1947. The doctrine enunciated American intentions to guarantee the security of Turkey and Greece and resulted in large scale U.S. military and economic support.

After participating with United Nations forces in the Korean conflict, Turkey in 1952 joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Turkey intervened and militarily invaded Cyprus in July 1974 in response to a Greek coup by EOKA-B. The breakaway de-facto independent Northern Cyprus is not officially recognised by any country except Turkey itself.

Turkey had Coup of 60, Coup by Memorandum, Coup of 80 and Postmodern Coup D'etat. The period of the 70s (Left-Right clashes) and 80s was marked by political instability and rapid, but at times erratic economic growth. A series of economic shocks led to new elections in 2002, bringing into power the conservative Justice and Development Party led by the former mayor of Istanbul, Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan. In October 2005, the European Union opened accession negotiations with Ankara and thus Turkey is a candidate country to join the European Union as a full member, having been an associate member since 1964.

See also: History of Anatolia, History of the Turkish people, Ottoman Empire, and Atatürk's reforms

Politics

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The Grand National Assembly of Turkey (Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi)
More information on politics and government of Turkey can be found at the Politics and government of Turkey series.

Politics of Turkey takes place in a framework of a secular parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Prime Minister of Turkey is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Foreign Relations

Main article: Foreign relations of the Republic of Turkey

Turkey's main political, economic and military relations still remain firmly rooted within Western Europe and the United States. Turkey is currently in the process of accession to the European Union, with which it has had an association agreement since 1964, and Customs Union since 1996. A major source of tension in its EU aspirations is the issue of Cyprus, a member of the EU which Turkey does not recognise, but instead supports the de facto independent Turkish Cypriot north. Ankara has been urged to open its ports and recognise the Republic of Cyprus or face a possible halt in talks. Turkey supported a UN-backed peace agreement which was rejected by the Greek Cypriots, but supported by the Turkish Cypriots in 2004, thus paving the way for Greek Cypriot membership. The Greek Cypriot administration has since threatened the use of its veto if Ankara does not meet its EU obligations, though this has been judged an unlikely move.

The Turkish public has become increasingly euroskeptic in recent times. A mid-2006 Eurobarometer survey revealed that 43% of Turkish citizens view the EU positively; just 35% trust the EU, 45% support enlargement and just 29% support an EU constitution [2].

Turkey has remained a close ally of the United States, supporting it in the war on terror in the post September 11th climate. However, the Iraq war faced strong domestic opposition in Turkey and as such, the Turkish parliament voted against allowing US troops to attack Iraq from Turkey. This led a period of cooling in relations, but soon regained momentum through diplomatic, humanitarian and indirect military support. Turkey is particularly cautious about an independent Kurdish state arising from a destabilised Iraq. Turkey has fought an insurgent war against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), that seeks Kurdish independence, in which some estimated 30,000 people have lost their lives. This has led Ankara to pressure the US into clamping down on guerrilla training camps in northern Iraq, though it remains reluctant due to its relative stability compared to the rest of Iraq. Turkey must therefore balance domestic pressures with commitments to its strongest ally.

Greco-Turkish Relations

Relations with neighbouring Greece have historically been strained, and occasionally close to war. The antagonism can be traced all the way back to centuries of Ottoman Turkish rule over the Greek people and consequent struggle by the latter for the creation of a Greek nation-state.The long divided island of Cyprus as well as conflicts on Aegean Sea remain the main sticking points between the two countries. Cyprus continues to be divided between a Greek Cypriot south, and a Turkish Cypriot north recognized only by Turkey. Efforts to reunite the island under the auspices of the United Nations have failed so far. As far as the Aegean Sea is concerned, it has long been considered as strategically important by Turkey for the easy passage of Turkish vessels. Turkey has made it clear that it will under no circumstances accept Greece to extend its territorial waters by a 12-mile distance around its islands since all of the Turkish west costs would then be blocked by Greek territorial waters. Turkey has repeatedly warned Greece that Turkey will consider such an act as a casus belli or, in other words, as a declaration of war on Turkey.

Nonetheless, following consecutive earthquakes in both Turkey and Greece and the quick response of aid and rescue teams from both sides, the two nations have entered a much more positive period of relations, with Greece actively supporting Turkey's struggle to enter the European Union. A clear sign of improved relations occurred on May 23, 2006. A Greek and Turkish fighter jet were involved in a mid air collision in the southern Aegean. While the Turkish pilot ejected safely, the Greek pilot lost his life when his aircraft exploded. However, both countries agreed that the event should not affect their bilateral relations.[3]

See also: Accession of Turkey to the European Union, Cyprus dispute, and Greco-Turkish relations

Military

Main article: Turkish Armed Forces

The Turkish Armed Forces (Turkish: Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri or TSK) consist of the Army, Navy (includes Naval Air and Naval Infantry) and Air Force. The Gendarmerie and Coast Guard operate as the part the Department of Internal Affairs in peacetime and are subordinate to the Army and Navy Commands respectively. In wartime, both have law enforcement and military functions. The Turkish Armed forces, with a combined troop strength of 1,043,550[4] people, is the second largest standing force in NATO after the United States. Currently, 36,000[5] troops are stationed in Turkish-recognised Northern Cyprus. Every fit male Turkish citizen has to serve military service for varying time periods ranging between 1 month to 15 months depending on his education, job location, and occasional paid options. The Turkish Armed Forces became a member of the NATO Alliance on February 18, 1952.

In 1998, Turkey announced a modernisation programme worth some $31 billion over a period of ten years including tanks, helicopters and assault rifles. Turkey is also a level three contributor to the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program, gaining an opportunity to develop and influence the creation of the next generation fighter spearheaded by the United States.

The Armed forces have traditionally been a politically powerful institution, considering itself the guardian of Atatürk's legacy. They have staged three coups between 1960 and 1980, whilst also influencing the removal of the Islam-oriented government of Necmettin Erbakan in 1997. Through the National Security Council, the army has influenced policy on issues it deems a threat to the country, including those relating to Kurdish insurgency and Islamism. In recent years, reforms have seen an increased civilian presence on the NSC and a decline in the military's influence as it attempts to comply with the EU's Copenhagen criteria. Despite its influence in civilian affairs, the military continues to enjoy strong support from the nation, frequently seen as Turkey's most trusted institution.[6]

The Commander-in-Chief is Chief General Staff General Hilmi Özkök.

Geography

Main article: Geography of Turkey
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Physical map of Turkey
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Mount Ararat (Ağrı Dağı) - the tallest peak in Turkey

The territory of Turkey extends from 36° to 42° N and from 26° to 45° E in Eurasia. It is roughly rectangular in shape and is 1,660 kilometers (1,031 mi) wide. Turkey's area inclusive of lakes is 814,578 square kilometres (314,510 sq mi), of which 790,200 square kilometres (305,098 sq mi) occupies the Anatolian peninsula (also called Asia Minor) in Asia, and 3% or 24,378 square kilometres (9,412 sq mi) are located in Europe. Many geographers consider Turkey politically in Europe, although it is rather a transcontinental country between Asia and Europe. The land borders of Turkey total 2,573 kilometres (1,599 mi), and the coastlines (including islands) total another 8,333333 kilometres (5,178 mi).

Turkey is generally divided into seven regions: the Marmara, the Aegean, the Mediterranean, Central Anatolia, East Anatolia, Southeast Anatolia and the Black Sea region. The uneven north Anatolian terrain running along the Black Sea resembles a long, narrow belt. This region comprises approximately 1/6 of Turkey's total land area. As a general trend, the inland Anatolian plateau becomes increasingly rugged as it progresses eastward

Turkey forms a bridge between Europe and Asia, with the division between the two running from the Black Sea (Karadeniz) to the north down along the Bosporus (Istanbul BoÄŸazı) strait through the Sea of Marmara (Marmara Denizi) and the Dardanelles (Çanakkale BoÄŸazı) strait to the Aegean Sea (Ege Denizi) and the larger Mediterranean Sea (Akdeniz) to the south. The Anatolian peninsula or Anatolia (Anadolu) consists of a high central plateau with narrow coastal plains, in between the KöroÄŸlu and East-Black Sea mountain range to the north and the Taurus Mountains (Toros DaÄŸları) to the south. To the east is found a more mountainous landscape, home to the sources of rivers such as the Euphrates (Fırat), Tigris (Dicle) and the Araks (Aras), as well as Lake Van (Van Gölü) and Mount Ararat (AÄŸrı Dağı), Turkey's highest point at 5,137 metres (16,853 ft).

Turkey is also prone to very severe earthquakes. The Bosphorus and the Dardanelles owe their existence to the fault lines running through Turkey, leading to the creation of the Black Sea. There is an earthquake fault line across the north of the country from west to east. Within the last century there were many earthquakes along this fault line, the sizes and locations of these earthquakes can be seen on the Fault lines & Earthquakes image. This image also includes a small scaled map that shows other fault lines in Turkey.

The climate is a Mediterranean temperate climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet and cold winters, though conditions can be much harsher in the more arid interior.

Administrative Divisions

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Main article: Provinces of Turkey

Turkey is subdivided into 81 provinces (iller in Turkish; singular il). Each province is divided into subprovinces (ilçeler; singular ilçe). The province usually bears the same name as the provincial capital, also called the central subprovince; exceptions are Hatay (capital: Antakya), Kocaeli (capital: İzmit) and Sakarya (capital: Adapazarı). Major provinces include: İstanbul 11 million, Ankara 4 million, İzmir 3.5 million, Bursa 2.1 million, Konya Province 2.2 million, Adana Province 1.8 million.

Cities

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Istanbul's Tophane during the 1890s
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Ankara - Turkey's capital

The capital city of Turkey is Ankara, but the historic capital İstanbul remains the financial, economic and cultural centre of the country. Other important cities include İzmir, Bursa, Adana, Trabzon, Malatya, Gaziantep, Erzurum, Kayseri, İzmit (Kocaeli), Konya, Mersin, Eskişehir, Diyarbakır, Antalya and Samsun. An estimated 68% of Turkey's population live in urban centers.[7] In all, 12 cities have populations exceeding 500,000 and 48 cities have more than 100,000 people.

Major Cities :

Note:Population figures given are those according to the 2000 census
  • Ä°stanbul - 10,041,000
  • Ankara - 4,319,000
  • Ä°zmir - 2,409,000
  • Bursa - 1,195,000
  • Adana - 1,131,000
  • Gaziantep - 854,000
  • Konya - 743,000
  • Antalya - 603,000
See also: List of cities in Turkey


Economy

Main article: Economy of Turkey

Turkey's economy is a complex mix of modern industry and commerce along with a traditional agriculture sector that in 2005 still accounted for 30% of employment. Turkey has a strong and rapidly growing private sector, yet the state still plays a major role in basic industry, banking, transport, and communications.

Turkey began a series of reforms in the 1980s designed to shift the economy from a statist, insulated system to a more private-sector, market-based model. The reforms spurred rapid growth, but this growth was punctuated by sharp recessions and financial crises in 1994, 1999, and 2001. Turkey's failure to pursue additional reforms, combined with large and growing public sector deficits, resulted in high inflation, increasing macroeconomic volatility, and a weak banking sector.

Current GDP per capita soared by 210% in the Seventies. But this proved unsustainable and growth scaled back sharply to 70% in the Eighties and a disappointing 11% in the Nineties.

The Ecevit government, in power from 1999 through 2002, restarted structural reforms in line with ongoing economic programs under the standby agreements signed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), including passage of social security reform, public finance reform, state banks reform, banking sector reform, increasing transparency in public sector, and also introduction of related legislation to liberalize telecom, and energy markets. Under the IMF program, the government also sought to use exchange rate policies to curb inflation.

In the 1990s, Turkey’s economy suffered from a series of coalition governments with weak economic policies, leading to a boom-and-bust cycle culminating in a severe banking and economic crisis in 2001 and a deep economic downturn (GNP fell 9.5% in 2001) and increase in unemployment. The government was forced to float the lira and adopt a more ambitious economic reform program, including a very tight fiscal policy, enhanced structural reforms, and unprecedented levels of IMF lending.

Large IMF loans tied to implementation of ambitious economic reforms, enabled Turkey to stabilize interest rates and the currency and to meet its debt obligations. In 2002 and 2003, the reforms began to show results. With the exception of a period of market jitters in the run-up to the Iraq war, inflation and interest rates have fallen significantly, the currency has stabilized, and confidence has begun to return. Turkey's economy grew an average of 7.5% per year from 2002 through 2005 - one of the highest sustained rates of growth in the world, rivaling countries like China and India. Inflation and interest rates have fallen significantly, the currency has stabilized, government debt has declined to more supportable levels, and business and consumer confidence have returned. At the same time, the booming economy and large inflows of portfolio investment have contributed to a growing current account deficit. Though Turkey’s economic vulnerabilities have been greatly reduced, the economy could still face problems in the event there is a sudden change in investor sentiment that leads to a sharp fall in the exchange rate. Continued implementation of reforms, including tight fiscal policy, is essential to sustain growth and stability.

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The currency of Turkey is the New Turkish Lira (Yeni Türk Lirası or YTL for short)

On 1 January 2005, the Turkish Lira was replaced by the New Turkish Lira by dropping six zeroes. That is, 1 new lira is equal to 1,000,000 old lira.

Turkey has a number of bilateral investment and tax treaties, including with the United States, that guarantee free repatriation of capital in convertible currencies and eliminate double taxation. After years of low levels of foreign direct investment (FDI), in 2005 Turkey succeeded in attracting $9.6 billion in FDI and is expected to attract a similar level in 2006. A series of large privatizations, the stability fostered by the start of Turkey’s EU accession negotiations, strong and stable growth, and structural changes in the banking, retail, and telecommunications sectors have all contributed to the rise in foreign investment.

Turkey seeks to improve its investment climate through administrative streamlining, an end to foreign investment screening, and strengthened intellectual property legislation. However, a number of disputes involving foreign investors in Turkey and certain policies, such as high taxation of cola products and continuing gaps in the intellectual property regime, inhibit investment. The Turkish privatization board is in the process of privatizing a series of state-owned companies, including the state alcohol and tobacco company and the oil refining parastatal. In 2004, the Privatization Board privatized the telephone company and some of the state-owned banks. The government also committed in the World Trade Organization to liberalize the telecommunications sector at the beginning of 2004.

See also: Economic history of Turkey

Society

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Turkey

The legal use of term "Turkish" (a citizen of Turkey) is different from the ethnic definition (an ethnic Turk). However, the majority of the Turkish population are of Turkish ethnicity. Besides the minorities that have legal status as defined and internationally recognized by the Treaty of Lausanne; namely Greeks, Armenians and Jews; ethnic groups include Abkhazians, Albanians, Arabs, Bosniaks, Chechens, Circassians, Georgians, Hamshenis, Kabardins, Kurds, Laz, Ossetians, Pomaks, Roma and Zazas, the largest non-Turkic ethnicity being the Kurds, a distinct ethnic group concentrated in the southeast. While the term "minority" itself remains a sensitive issue in Turkey, it is to be noted that the degree of assimilation within various ethnic groups outside the recognized minorities is high, the following generations generally adding into the melting-pot of the Turkish main body. Within that main body, certain distinctions based on diverse Turkic origins could be made as well by taking account of the same tendency as mentioned.

Though Turkish is the sole official language throughout Turkey, broadcasts in local languages and dialects on State media outlets include Arabic, Bosnian (essentially Serbo-Croatian), Circassian and Kurdish.Radio broadcasts are 60 minutes a day and five hours a week and 45 minutes a day and four hours a week on television [9].

Due to a demand for an increased labour force in Post-World War II Europe, many Turkish citizens emigrated to Western Europe (particularly West Germany), forming a significant overseas population.

Education

Main article: Turkish education system

Education is compulsory and free from ages 7 to 15. There are around 820 higher education institutes including universities, with a total student enrollment of over 1 million. The 15 main universities are in Istanbul and Ankara. Tertiary education is the responsibility of the Higher Education Council, and funding is provided by the state. From 1998 the universities were given greater autonomy, and were encouraged to raise funds from partnerships with industry.

There are approximately 85 universities in Turkey. There are two types of universities, state and (private) foundational. State universities charge very low fees and foundationals are highly expensive with fees up to $15 000 or sometimes even more. The capacity in total of Turkish universities is approximately 300.000. Some universities can compete with the best world universities whereas some are unable to provide the necessary educational standards due to underfunding. However, university students are a lucky minority in Turkey. Universities provide either two or four years of education for undergraduate studies. For graduate studies, two further years is necessary, as is typical throughout the world.

The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey coordinates basic and applied research and development. There are 64 research institutes and organisations. R&D strengths include agriculture, forestry, health, biotechnology, nuclear technologies, minerals, materials, IT, and defence.

Culture

Main article: Culture of Turkey

Turkey has a very diverse culture derived from various elements of the Ottoman Empire, European, and the Islamic traditions. As Turkey successfully transformed from the religion-driven former Ottoman Empire into a modern nation-state with a very strong separation of state and religion, the increase in the methods of artistic expression followed. During the first years of the republic, the government invested a large amount of resources into the fine arts, such as paintings, sculptures and architecture amongst other things. This was done as both a process of modernisation and of creating a cultural identity. Today the Turkish economy is diverse enough to subsidise individual artists with great freedom.

Because of different historical factors playing an important role in defining a Turkish identity, the culture of Turkey is an interesting combination of clear efforts to be "modern" and Western, combined with the necessity felt to maintain traditional religious and historical values.

Culture of Turkey
Music Cinema Poetry Prose Turkish Cuisine History of Turkish Literature

Religion

Main article: Islam in Turkey

Nominally, 99% of the population is Muslim. Most belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. About 15-20% of the population are Alevi Muslims. There is also a small but significant Twelver Shi'a minority, mainly of Azeri descent. The remaining 1% of the population are of other religions, mostly Christian (Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic (Gregorian), Syriac Orthodox, Molokans, Roman Catholics and Protestants), Jewish, Bahá'ís and Yezidis.

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The Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii)

Unlike other Muslim-majority countries, there is a strong tradition of secularism in Turkey. Even though the state does not have any/or promote any religion, it actively monitors the area between the religions. The constitutional rule that prohibits discrimination on religious grounds is taken very seriously. The Turkish constitution recognises freedom of religion for individuals, and the religious communities are placed under the protection of state, but the constitution explicitly states that they cannot become involved in the political process, by forming a religious party for example. No party can claim that it represents a form of religious belief. However, the religious sensibilities are generally represented through conservative parties.

The mainstream Hanafite school of Sunni Islam is largely organised by the state, through the Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı (Department of Religious Affairs). The Diyanet is the main Islamic framework established after abolition of the Ulama and Seyh-ul-Islam of the old régime. As a consequence, they control all mosques and Muslim clerics. Imams are trained in Imam Hatip schools and at theology departments at universities. The department supports Sunni Islam and has commissions authorised to give Fatwa judgements on Islamic issues. The department is criticized by some Alevi Muslims for not supporting their beliefs.

The Orthodox Patriarch (Patrik) is the head of the Greek-Orthodox Church in Turkey and serves as the spiritual leader of all Orthodox churches throughout the world. The Armenian Patriarch is the head of the Armenian Church in Turkey, while the Jewish community is lead by the Hahambasi, Turkey's Chief Rabbi, based in Istanbul.

See also: Jews of Turkey, Roman Catholicism in Turkey, and Orthodox Church of Constantinople

Images of Turkey

See also

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Turkey Portal
  • Festivals in Republic of Turkey
  • Holidays in Turkey
  • Human rights in Turkey
  • Laicism
  • List of Turkey-related topics
  • Media in Republic of Turkey
  • Museums in Republic of Turkey
  • Peoples of the Caucasus in Turkey
  • Sports in Turkey
  • Türkiye Ä°zcilik Federasyonu
  • Music of Turkey
  • Turkish pop music
  • Anatolian rock
  • Turkish Grand Prix