Situated in the inner part of the Aegean Region, is Denizli, a tourist attraction city with its numerous beauty.
Dating back to the Calcholithic age, this was the site of a settlement of the earliest communities, and changed hands continuously, becoming the center of various civilizations in different time periods.
The ancient city of Laodikeia is here, with its ruins awaiting for the sightseers in addition to Triopolis which was known as the center of bishops, while Christianity spread. Laodikeia was one of the Seven Churches mentioned in the book of Revelations. The city is still the subject of excavations.
Hierapolis is another ancient city, being a historical treasure, while it also offers a real wonder of nature. Named as "Pamukkale" (meaning Cotton Castle in Turkish) this place is astonishingly beautiful, and unique in the world with its white travertine offering marvelous scenery.
The wide forests and numerous picnicking and camping areas here contribute to this natural and archaeological richness, while its position as a stopover between the major provinces like Izmir, Ankara and Antalya, increases the tourist attraction of Denizli. The thermal resorts also attract visitors to the provinces with their spring waters of therapeutic effects; Gemezli, Cezmeli, Tekke and Kizildere are the main spa resorts, besides the thermal centers of Pamukkale and Karahayit.
"Denizli Rooster", the symbol of Denizli is a domestic species which is well known all over Turkey with its color and body building, harmonious long and beautiful crowing. According to some rumors, Berat roosters having long crowing were brought to Istanbul during Ottoman Empire from Albania and then brought to Denizli and crossbred with domestic local chicken and thus Denizli Rooster species were originated. Probabily this is not true because there are no similarities between the two species when compared in terms of color and body structure. Denizli rooster was probabily originated upon great care shown by the local people to long crowing rooster for centuries.
Denizli rooster's eyes are black and blackened with kohl. Its legs are dark grey or purple, its comb is in big axe comb, and atrium is red or white spots on red background; general color is black and dirty white together. Sometimes wing features have brown colors as well. Red roosters have black-white mixture. Their live weight is about 3-3.5 kgs (7 pounds). They are divided into 3 groups according to their colors, body building and comb types. According to their colors they are classified into 6 groups as: Demirkir (iron), Pamukkir (cotton), Kinali (henna), Al (red), Siyah (black) and Kurklu (with fur). According to their body shape they are divided into 3 types: Yuksek Boyun (high neck), Sulun (fasan) and Kupeli (with earings). According to their combs, they are divided into 2 types: Genis Ibik (big comb) and Dar Ibik (small comb).
The sound of Denizli roosters are classified according to the tone and clearness. According to sound tones they are divided into 3 groups: Ince (low), Davudi (bass), Kalin (high). Davudi voice is between high pitched and deep voice and is the only sound close to deep voice. According to clearness, they are divided into 4 groups: sad voice, shrill voice, wavy voice (funny voice).
Crowing of Denizli roosters is performed upon use of all abilities. Crowing is divided into 4 groups depending on body position during crowing, which are Lion crowing, Wolf crowing, Hero crowing, Pus crowing.
A good Denizli Rooster must have: alive appearance; long and strong legs and neck; wide and deep chest; sharp and sloped toward head tail. The same features are true for the chicken. The crowing period of Denizli Roosters in the first year must be 20 to 25 seconds.
Breeding roosters are selected under the control of Directorate of Province Agricultural Affairs and the rest are sold according to the demands made from various parts of the country between March - April, and sales of chicks are made between March - June.
As you approach the site of Pamukkale / Hierapolis from Denizli, (only 20 km) a long white smudge along the hills to the north suggests a landslide or open cast mine. Getting closer, this resolves into the edge of a plateau, more than 100m higher than the level of the river valley and absolutely smothered in white travertine terraces.
Pamukkale is one of the most extraordinary natural wonders in Turkey. Dozens of coaches daily make the long excursion, three hours drive from Bodrum, Marmaris or Kusadasi. Stay over-night if you can to enjoy its tranquillity early in the morning or in the evening. The big attraction is a vast white cliff side with scallop-shaped basins of water and frozen waterfalls. It looks as if it's made out of snow or cloud or balls of cotton.
The scientific explanation is that hot thermal springs pouring down the hillside deposit calcium carbonate, which solidifies as travertine. If you take off your shoes, you can gingerly roam the terraces or paddle in the pools. The Turks have dubbed this geological fairyland Pamukkale, or "cotton castle".
From a distance this whitish mass stands in evident contrast with the color of the surrounding uplands and brings to mind enormous stretches of cotton. On approaching this incredible succession of terraces, one discovers the existence of basins full of mineral water which flow into other natural basins below, and are the source of stupendous mineral conglomerations in the form of fantastic stalactites, sometimes of considerable size gild resembling organ pipes.
The continuous dynamics of erosion and transformation of the natural landscape has resulted in an ambiance unequaled elsewhere and which constitutes one of the most unique phenomena to be found in nature.
It does have a decent archaeological
and ethnographical museum with Byzantine, Hittite, Roman and Ottoman
artifacts and a couple of interesting mosques that are worth a visit if you
are here for the day.
On March 29th, 2006, Total Solar Eclipse was seen in Nevsehir as well at
14:02pm local time.
Göreme has, to some extent, become the focus of the Cappadocian tourist
industry. It's proximity to the Open Air Museum, Zelve and other bits and
pieces of fairy chimney charm, coupled with it's downright cheapness has
been drawing people from all over the world for the last 20 years or
Basic accommodation and supplies are here in volume as a result of the
rapid response to the areas tourist potential and Göreme is a favorite
amongst budget travelers, many of whom stay a while, sometimes finding work
in the tourist industry themselves.
Central location and cheapness apart you may not feel there's much to
distinguish Göreme from it's neighbors. It is, perhaps, less organized and
a little bit more laid back than Ürgüp or Avanos and it's probably livelier
than either in the season. If you're looking for somewhere to hang out for
a while, meet people and maybe blend in a little then Göreme is probably
the place for you.
Göreme Open Air Museum
The frescoes that many tourists come to see can be divided up into
Pre and Post-Iconoclastic. The earlier works rely entirely on symbolism
to communicate their messages and may look childish and simple in
comparison to later works. Their form is a result of the early church's
disapproval of the portrayal of the human form in religious art. The
works which postdate the resolution of the Iconoclastic controversy
(mid 9th Century - see Ecumenical Councils) are much more figurative.
It is interesting to compare them and realize that both styles are
telling the same stories of Christ and the Saints.
Today Avanos is also famous for its carpets and textile.
If you're not looking for a party Uçhisar makes an excellent base
from which to explore the unique Cappadocian landscape. It's a sleepy
little town, less dominated by the tourist trade than Göreme or Avanos
and with an atmosphere that can fool you into thinking you're in Turkey
in the late 70's rather than the late 90's.
There are some pleasant mid-range and cheap hotels and pensions here
and food is acceptable at several establishments. Uçhisar's Kale or
fortress is visible for miles around and has become the town's major
tourist attraction, offering, as it does, fine views over the
Uçhisar is also a good place to begin a walking tour from because
it's down hill in every direction and because you can take in Pigeon
Valley, named for it's myriad nesting holes carved to encourage said
Ortahisar, meaning middle fortress in Turkish, is 6 km from Ürgüp and
about 10 km from Nevsehir city center. The village is at 1200 meters
above sea level with about 4,000 inhabitants, and its name is coming
from a massive 90 meter high rock, similar to Uçhisar. This rock was
used for many centuries since the Hittite period as a castle to protect
local inhabitants from invaders and to scout the region. There are many
rooms and tunnels inside, and the top is accessible by a staircase.
Once you get on top, there is a breathtaking view of Cappadocia and the
Erciyes mountain at the background. Carved tuff rooms around the
village are used as a natural cool depot to store citrus, apple,
potatoes etc. The village is surrounded by vineyards as well.
Besides this castle-rock, there are several churches in and around
Ortahisar from early Christians; Sarica church, Kepez church, Pancarlik
church, Tavsanli church, Cambazli church, Balkan stream church, Hallac
dere hospital and monastic complex, and Uzumlu church in Kuzulcukur
area. These are all Turkish names given by the local people, not their
There is a private Ethnography museum in Ortahisar, recently opened
in 2004 and showing examples from the daily village life, agriculture,
kitchen, carpet weaving, Hammam, Henna night and marriage. It also has
a cafeteria and a restaurant to relax and enjoy the local food.
The unfortunately named Ürgüp is probably the busiest of the small
towns in the vicinity of the Cappadocian sites. It's possibly the
tastiest as well, recent development has mushroomed leaving a grim
legacy of poorly designed and serviced buildings. The road down into
the town however does take you past some pleasant rock carved
dwellings, accommodation and restaurants. It's worth wondering around
the old town for a taste of what the place must have been like before
we all arrived.
This said it does offer services, such as banking, which are a
little scarce elsewhere. It has a scattering of hotels and pensions of
varying degrees of sophistication and a couple of good places to eat.
The town has also a certain night life with small bars and discos.
A strong contender for favorite place status, the Zelve monastery
complex is situated about 10 km out from Göreme on the Avanos road.
Lacking the elaborate frescoes of Göreme and other sites there's still
plenty here to see. The series of valleys can provide you with a couple
of hours walking, climbing and crawling about and in addition to the
marked highlights (the Fish and Grape churches) there are innumerable
rooms and passages to look at.
Zelve was inhabited until quite recently but you can almost see the
place crumbling before your very eyes. There's probably an element of
risk involved in exploring too enthusiastically but a guide should be
able to balance the thrill of stumbling through pitch black tunnels by
torchlight with an element of safety.
It's probably a good idea to make the most of the place while
there's still something to see. There seems little chance of a
restoration scheme along the lines of that in place at Göreme and even
if tourists were to stop visiting today natural erosion processes do
their damage every winter.
The Ihlara valley is very nice. Removed a little from the rest of
the Cappadocian sites it can be a little tricky to get to but it's
worth a full day if you can spare one. The gorge is 16 km long and both
sides are lined with rock carved churches, about 100 in all. You can
look at the more important of these in a couple of hours but it's very
pleasant to spend an afternoon following the river down the valley and
exploring on your own.
The climb down to and especially up from the gorge can be demanding
and probably shouldn't be attempted if you're feeling frail. To make
the most of your time here a full day and a picnic is a good idea and
will repay the effort in terms of a relaxed days pottering about
admiring the churches and the valley's beautiful scenery.
The underground cities of Cappadocia are worthy of a visit. Let's
take Derinkuyu for example. The one time home of up to 20,000 people,
it's 8 levels descend into the Anatolian plateau 50 km south of Göreme.
Stop and think about that for a while. A large, market town sized
community digging a settlement out to guarantee themselves a degree of
There are 8 floors of tunnels but 4 of them are open to the visitors
and this is enough to give you an idea of the sensation of living in a
labyrinth like this. The ventilation shafts, circular and descending
from the surface to the lower levels, bring home the scale of the
enterprise while the massive circular doors - which were rolled across
the passages and sealed from the inside - remind you of the motivation
for moving underground in the first place.
Derinkuyu is by no means the only such city you can visit here.
There are actually 40 or so subterranean settlements in the area
although only a few are open to the public. Kaymakli, 10 kilometers to
the north of Derinkuyu, is smaller and less excavated but 4 levels are
accessible and the experience is pretty much the same. Not For The
Kırklar Kilisesi (Church of the 40 Martyrs)
About Antalya 'Lara, Karpuzkaldiran, Mermerli' Beaches
near the Park, and 'Adalar , Konyaalti' Beaches in the east are
some that can provide good-bathing for the vacationers. After
'Konyaalti Beach' towards the west. 'Arapsuyu Beach , is another
one which was turned to be mocamps by the Antalya Tourism and
City Hall of Antalya
İnfo about Antalya
Also Milas town and Labranda, some 65 kms from Bodrum, are places of
interest for archaeology lovers.
Bodrum Castle and Museum
One of the world's finest museums of underwater archeology housed in a
superb 15th century castle built by the Knights of St. John of Rhodes. The
world's oldest known shipwreck exhibition is now open. This star attraction
rates a 'must see' on everyone's list.
Seating about 13.000 spectators the theater dates to the region of
Mausolus but with modifications added by the Romans. With rock tombs above,
the site provides an unequalled view of the city.
This western city gate built by Mausolus in 364 B.C. has been recently
restored. Composed of four towers it stood against Alexander the Great and
his Macedonian troops. Surviving portions of the city wall are under
Built about 1794 to protect an Ottoman naval shipyard from pirate raids
the tower has undergone recent restoration during which remains of Roman
baths were found.
Zeki Müren Museum
The last home of Turkey’s deceased favorite singer is now a museum.
Worshipped much like Elvis Presley, Zeki Müren was a giant of the Turkish
Maps about Bodrum
Governorship of Bodrum
The continuous excavations on the Bayrakli ridges
by Prof. Dr. Ekrem Akurgal since 1959, the discovery of the Zeus
Altar by the German archaeologist Carl Humman in Pergamon (Bergama)
between 1866 and 1878, the discovery of the Artemis Temple in 1869
by the British Wood and the continuous excavations by Austrian
archaeologists at certain intervals of the city of ancient Ephesus
since 1904. Also many researchers in different universities are
still investigating on the city’s historical development.
The Aiolos and the Ions who Fled from the Doric
invasion around 1000 B.C., came from Greece and settled in Izmir
and its surroundings. The important Aeol and Ionian settlements are
as follows: Bergama (Pergamon), Manisa (Magnesia), Izmir (Smyrna),
Urla (Klazomenai, near Cesme), Kemalpasa (Nimphaion), Cesme-Ildiri
(Erythrai), Sigacik (Teos), Phokaia, Selcuk (Ephesus).
Even though Izmir came into the possession of the Hun
Emperor Attila, this authority did not last long and the
city re-taken the Byzantines.
In the period of the principalities, Izmir and its
nearby surrounding were under the reign of the
Saruhanogullari principality. Pergamon (Bergama) and its
surroundings were tied to Karesiogullari principality. The
reign of Izmir and its surroundings passed into the Ottoman
hands completely in 1426.
Historical Sites and Monuments in Izmir A
castle was built on the narrowest point of the bay to check
the ships entering and leaving the Izmir Gulf. New
constructions were built in the second half of the century
to help developing of the city’s trade. Among these
constructions, the most important examples are the customs
building in the 19th century, the sectors of packing,
insurance, stock and banking.
Anitkabir (Ataturk Mausoleum)
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations
The Ethnographical Museum
The Ankara Citadel
The foundations of the citadel were laid by the Galatians on a prominent
lava outcrop, and completed by the Romans; the Byzantines and Seljuks made
restorations and additions. The area around and inside the citadel is the
oldest part of Ankara and many fine examples of traditional architecture
can be seen within the citadel walls. There are also lovely green areas in
which to relax.
The Temple of Augustus
The Corinthian style temple can be found in the old Ulus district of the
city. It was built in the 1st century BC and only later dedicated to the
Emperor Augustus at the beginning of the 1st century AD. It is important
today for the 'Monument Ancyranum' or 'Res gestae Divi Augusti', the
testament and political achievements of Augustus that is inscribed on its
walls in both Latin and Greek. This inscription is the copy of the original
which was engraved on two bronze pillars and placed at the entrance of his
Mausoleum in Rome. The originals are lost but the copy engraved on the
Augusteum in Ankara still exists. In the fifth century the temple was
converted to a church.
The bath, situated on Cankiri Avenue in Ulus, has the typical features
of Roman baths: a frigidarium (cold section), tepidarium (cool section) and
caldarium (hot section). The hot and warm rooms were wider divisions
because of Ankara's very cold winter climate. They were built in the time
of the Emperor Caracalla (3rd century AD) in honor of the god of medicine,
Asclepios. The dimensions of the bath was 80x130 meters and it was made of
stones and bricks. Today only the basement and first floors remain.
The Column of Julian
This column, in Ulus, was erected in 362 AD probably to commemorate a
visit by the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate on his way to the campaign
against Persians. It stands fifteen meters high and has a typical leaf
decoration on the capital.
Haci Bayram Mosque
This mosque, in Ulus, next to the Temple of Augustus, was built in the
early 15th century and subsequently restored by Sinan in the l6th century
with Kutahya tiles being added in the 18th century. The mosque was built in
honor of Haci Bayram Veli whose tomb is next to the mosque.
This is Turkey's second industrial museum opened in April 2005 by Koc
family in a 500 year old building. Cengelhan was originally built in the
mid-16th century by Rustem Pasha, husband of Mihrimah Sultan and son-in-law
of Suleyman The Magnificent. This was a typical Anatolian caravanserai
offering lodging for travelers and also supplies for the tradesman. This
building opposite the Citadel is now converted into a museum preserving its
architectural characteristics in a new setting. Here, the story of early
industry is told through scale models since most of the full-size objects
are on exhibit at the Istanbul Rahmi Koc museum.
You can also enjoy its Brasserie in the museum courtyard, sitting
together with classic cars from 1900s.
Department of Culture and Tourism
Department of the Prime Minister
Hall of Ankara
Fatih Sultan Mehmed Bridge:It takes its name from the
sultan called "Mehmed (the Conqueror)" who conquered Istanbul
(Constantinople) in 1453 from the Byzantine Empire... This bridge was
constructed in 1988.
In the 2C AD, Byzantium was swept up once again by civil war
between the Emperor Septimus Severus and his rival Percennus
Niger.After he defeated Niger, he took over and had the city
walls constucted. The walls begin at Golden Horn lying to
Galata Bridge and end at the lighthouse standing on the coastal
road to the airport today. He enlarged the city twice as it
The history of the Byzantium may last pages and
pages. The history until today is going to be summarized by the
author so that it becomes clearer to understand and associate with
Even though, no one could consider that such a big empire can
collapse, that eventually happened. There are various reasons for
that. Firstly, there were internal reasons. These were the
fightings between the high ranking officials or for the throne,
that is the conspiracy theories to mix the agenda and have
superiority over one another. Secondly, there were external
reasons. As the empired began loosing its territories in the West,
it continously started to defend its borders, so a passage from
offensive to defensive position... It was an empire based on lies,
From then on, the name "Constantinople" was converted to
"Istanbul" which is how it was called by the Ottomans. is
the name of the city and became a Muslim city. The Ottoman
Empire adopted the city as the major city and the center
for the government. Mehmed the Conqueror also ordered the
"Topkapi Palace"to be constructed and this palace
constituted the heart of the whole Empire which lasted more
than 600 years.
Currently, Turkey is a Republic with a National Grand
Assembly, a Constitution, flag and national anthem. It is a
parliamentary system with 550 MPs, a president and a
Transportation in Istanbul
Transportation in Istanbul is not as convinient as it is
in many big cities of the world. Because Istanbul is not
surrounded by a good subway network. Instead of metro,
other ways of transportation are used.
Example:TAKSIM 30B BESIKTAS. 30B is the route number.
TAKSIM and BESIKTAS are popular areas.
There's the last type of buses which are double-deckers.
They operate for longer distances and are more convinient.
You give double tickets for them. If they are green buses,
you can also pay cash instead of tickets. Don't worry, they
will warn you.....
There are municipal buses which cross the bridge and go
to the Asian side. If you plan to go to the Asian Side, you
also use double tickets or double fee. I recommend you to
try the ferries instead.
Minibus or Dolmush: Minibuses are small buses which do
not have a specific time table. They begin operating at
6:00 in the morning and they finish very late at night
about 1:00. . You pay cash to the driver and the fee
changes depending on the line. The driver drives, changes
your money, honks for new passengers and gives your change.
He does four things together and you watch as if you are on
the verge of having a heart-attack... It's still experience
and quite a fun thing. You can stand in a minibus if no
seats are left. When you want to get out, you simply yell
as "Musait bir yerde lutfen" meaning "Drop me at a proper
Tram: Trams are new and very convinient in the touristic
areas. The destination writes in front of the tram and you
also buy the ticket beforehand. There are ticket offices at
the tram stops. It costs 1.3 YTL. You can simply buy your
ticket and travel short distances in convinience. Some
trams also go underground and some of them have
Subway(metro): The "Istanbul Metro" was opened in 2001
and it is very convinient if you want to see the downtown
and commercial centers. You can purchase the ticket upon
entrance of the metro. It costs 1.3 YTL. It operates
between Taksim and 4 Levent, 6 stations as Taksim -
Osmanbey Sisli - Gayrettepe - Levent - 4 Levent.
Rent-a car or limousine service: Rent-a car is
reasonable buy may ruin your trip. Istanbul has a big
traffic problem so you can rent a car when you want to see
neighboring towns etc. Limousine service is given by
various travel agencies and Limo Services.
Shopping in İstanbul ;
Turkish money currency unit is called YTL (New Turkish
As of January 2005, Turkish Lira omitted 6 zeros from
the currency and the Lira will be called "Turkish New
Lira". Therefore 20 million TL is 20 YTL(new lira)
1 YTL. in pink and blue color,roughly equal to 80
5 YTL.in yellow-beige note. Approximately equal to 3.85
10 YTL. in reddish color. Approximately equal to 8
20 YTL in green color (20 YTL)
50 YTL looks like a 50 EURO, orange in color.
100 YTL is blue-dark blue color.
If you want to exchange your currency, there are little
shops where you can change money.There is an electronic
board where you can see the currencies and their
TL.equivalent. Most of the shops, restaurants do accept
foreign money, especially USD or EUR in Istanbul.
Turkish Cuisine ;
Turkish Cuisine is of a great variety, a mixture of
western and eastern cuisines with the flavor of unique
Ottoman Cuisine. It can simply be categorized as;
Hot appetizers(Ara sicak)
Main Course(Ana yemek)
Vegetables cooked in olive oil(Zeytinyagli)
Main Courses: The main courses usually include meat,
mainly lamb and veal. Sometimes chicken is used for some
recipies. The meat is accompanied with eggplants, zucchini
or potatoes,either smashed or french-fried. The most famous
main course is called Doner Kebab(similar to Gyro) and
second famous is Shis-Kebab(small pieces of lamb or veal
grilled). Other famous main courses are Hunkar Begendi(lamb
served on eggplant pureé), Islim Kebab(lamb served in
sliced eggplant), or Tandir(very soft lamb grilled) and
Manti(Turkish Style Ravioli with garlic yoghurt and
red-pepper butter sauce). With them, Ayran(Yoghurt mixed
with water and salt) may be served..
Desserts:The desserts can be roughly divided into
three,desserts made of milk, desserts made of
pastry+syrups, desserts made of fruits and nuts...
Milky Desserts:The famous ones are Tavukgogsu(freshly
cooked chicken breast into tiny pieces,mixed with pudding
with rice flour,eggs and vanilla), Kazandibi(same
dessert,put into oven,the bottom gets red and delicious),
Keskul(milk,flour,rice flour, almonds,
Desserts with pastry and syrup:The famous ones are
Baklava(very thin layers of buttered pastry filled with
pistachio or walnuts,at least 20 layers),baked first in the
oven, then cold syrup is added), Kadayif(pastry resembling
human hair,put into the tray,added butter and walnut,cooked
like baklava), Kunefe is a southeastern(Antakya) specialty,
instead of walnuts, special Antakya cheese is put inside),
Sekerpare(Piece of sugar) (is baked in the oven as a round
cookie,nut is put on the top, and syrup is added.)
Desserts with fruit and nuts: The most famous one of
this type is Asure which is a sacred desert. It's believed
that after the disasterous storm in Mt.Agri of Turkey, the
people in Noah's Ark, had to cook a strange food to survive
by adding everything aboard, dried figs,apricots, raisins,
walnut, chickpeas, white beans, rice, wheat and sugar. It's
cooked still the same way by putting cinnamon on the top.
The others are Ayva Tatlisi(Quince Dessert), quince boiled
with sugar, after color turns to be red, syrup and cream is
put on the top), Incir Tatlisi(Fig Dessert), dried figs are
boiled in syrup,with cream and walnut toppings.
Soft Drinks: Major soft beverages are Ayran(Yoghurt
mixed with water and salt added), Boza(winter drink,made of
fermented bulgur wheat, thick as pudding,drunk with
cinnamon), Salep(winter drink made of Salep powder and hot
milk, cinnamon added), Salgam Suyu (Sugar beet juice), Elma
Cayi(Apple tea), Ihlamur(Linden tea) and Turk
City Hall of İstanbul
Governorship of Istanbul
Municipality of Metropol Istanbul
Ataturk airport of Istanbul
Turkey borders eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest, Greece to the
west, Georgia to the northeast, Armenia, Iran and the Nakhichevan exclave
of Azerbaijan to the east, and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. In
addition, it borders the Black Sea to the north, the Aegean Sea to the
west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Turkey also contains the Sea
of Marmara that is used by geographers to mark the border between Europe
and Asia, thus making the country transcontinental.
of Culture and Tourism
The region comprising modern Turkey has seen the birth of major
civilisations including the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Owing to its
strategic location at the intersect of two continents, Turkey's culture is
a unique blend of Eastern and Western tradition, often described as a
bridge between the two civilisations. With a powerful regional presence
from the Adriatic to China in the Eurasian landbelt between Russia and
India, Turkey has come to acquire increasing strategic significance.
Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic whose
political system was established in 1923 under the leadership of Mustafa
Kemal Atatürk following the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of
World War I. Since then, Turkey has increasingly integrated with the West
while continuing to foster relations with the Eastern world. It is a
founding member of the United Nations, the Organization of the Islamic
Conference, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and
the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a member state of
the Council of Europe since 1949, and of NATO since 1952. Since 2005,
Turkey is in accession negotiations with the European Union, having been an
associate member since 1963. Turkey is also a member of the G20 which
brings together the 20 largest economies of the world.
The name for Turkey in the Turkish language, Türkiye, subdivides into
two words: Türk, which means "strong" in Old Turkic and usually signifying
the inhabitants of Turkey or a member of the Turkish or Turkic peoples, a
later form of "tu-kin", name given by the Chinese to the people living
south of the Altay Mountains of Central Asia as early as 177 BC; and the
abstract suffix -iye, which means "owner" or "related to". The first
recorded use of the term "Türk" or "Türük" as an autonym is attested in the
Orkhon inscriptions of the Göktürks (Sky Turks) of Central Asia (c. 8th
century CE). The English word "Turkey" is derived from the Medieval Latin
"Turchia" (c. 1369).
The Celsus Library in Ephesus, dating from 135 CEThe first major empire
in the area was that of the Hittites, from the 18th through the 13th
century BCE. Subsequently, the Phrygians, an Indo-European people, achieved
ascendancy until their kingdom was destroyed by the Cimmerians in the 7th
century BCE. The most powerful of Phrygia's successor states were Lydia,
Caria and Lycia. The Lydians and Lycians spoke languages that were
fundamentally Indo-European, but both languages had acquired
non-Indo-European elements prior to the Hittite and Hellenic periods.
Turks and the Ottoman Empire
The Sultan Ahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque) is one of the most famous
architectural legacies of the Ottoman EmpireFollowing their victory over
the Byzantine Empire in the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, the Turks began to
abandon their nomadic roots in favour of a permanent role in Anatolia,
bringing rise to the Seljuk Empire. The empire was not to last however, by
1243 the Seljuk armies were defeated by the Mongols and the power of the
empire slowly disintegrated. In its wake, one of the Turkish principalities
governed by Osman I was to evolve into the Ottoman Empire, thus filling the
void left by the collapsed Seljuks and Byzantines.
The Ottoman Empire interacted with both Eastern and Western cultures
throughout its 623-year history. In the 16th and 17th centuries, it was
among the world's most powerful political entities, often locking horns
with the powers of eastern Europe in its steady advance through the Balkans
and the southern part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Following
years of decline, the Ottoman Empire entered the World War I through the
Ottoman-German Alliance in 1914 - a war in which it was ultimately
defeated. After the war, the victorious Allied Powers sought the
dismemberment of the Ottoman state through the Treaty of Sèvres.
The first Grand National Assembly of the modern Republic of
Turkey, during its inauguration in 1920 in AnkaraThe occupation of İstanbul
and İzmir by the Allies in the aftermath of World War I prompted the
establishment of the Turkish national movement. Under the leadership
Mustafa Kemal Pasha, a military commander who had distinguished himself
during the Battle of Gallipoli, the Turkish War of Independence was waged
with the aim of revoking the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres. By September
18, 1922, the occupying armies were repelled and the country saw the birth
of the new Turkish state. On November 1, 1922, the newly founded parliament
formally abolished the Sultanate, thus ending 623 years of Ottoman rule.
The Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 led to the international recognization of
the sovereignty of the newly formed "Republic of Turkey" as the successor
state of the Ottoman Empire, and the republic was officially proclaimed on
October 29, 1923, in the new capital of Ankara.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk - Founder and first President of the Republic of
TurkeyKemal Pasha became the republic's first president and subsequently
introduced many radical reforms with the aim of founding a new secular
republic from the remnants of its Ottoman past. According to the Law on
Family Names, the Turkish parliament presented Mustafa Kemal with the
honorific name "Atatürk" (Father of the Turks) in 1934.
Turkey entered World War II on the side of the Allies in the later
stages of the war as a ceremonial gesture and became a charter member of
the United Nations in 1945. Difficulties faced by Greece after the war
in quelling a communist rebellion, along with 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 US military and economic support.
After participating with United Nations forces in the Korean conflict,
Turkey joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1952,
becoming a bulwark against Soviet expansion into the Mediterrenean.
Following a decade of intercommunal violence on the island of Cyprus and
the subsequent Athens-inspired coup, Turkey intervened militarily,
resulting in the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus recognised
only by Turkey.
Following the end of the single party period in 1945, the multi-party
period witnessed tensions over the following decades, and the period
between the Sixties and the Eighties was particularly marked by periods of
political instability that resulted in a number of military coups d'états
in 1960, 1971, 1980 and a post-modern coup d'état in 1997. The
liberalization of the Turkish economy that started in the 1980s changed the
landscape of the country, with successive periods of high growth and crises
punctuating the following decades.
Government and politics
The head of State is the President of the Republic and has a largely
ceremonial role. The president is elected for a seven-year term by the
parliament but is not required to be one of its members. The current
President, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, was elected on May 16 2000, after having
served as the President of the Constitutional Court. Executive power is
exercised by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers that make up
the government, while the legislative power is vested in the unicameral
parliament, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The judiciary is
independent of the executive and the legislature, and the Constitutional
Court is charged with ruling on the conformity of laws and decrees with the
constitution. The Council of State is the tribunal of last resort for
administrative cases, and High Court of Appeals for all others.
The Prime Minister is generally the head of the party that has won the
elections and is elected by the parliament through a vote of confidence in
his government. The current Prime Minister is the former mayor of İstanbul,
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose Islamic conservative AKP won an absolute
majority of parliamentary seats in the 2002 general elections, organized in
the aftermath of the economic crisis of 2001, with 34% of the suffrage.
Neither the Prime Minister nor the Ministers have to be members of the
parliament, but in most cases they are (one notable exception was Kemal
Derviş, who was the Minister of Finance following the financial crisis of
2001; he is currently the president of the UN Development Programme).
There are 550 members of parliament who are elected for a five-year term
by a party-list proportional representation system from 85 electoral
districts which represent the 81 administrative provinces of Turkey
(İstanbul is divided into three electoral districts whereas Ankara and
İzmir are divided into two each because of their large populations). To
avoid a hung parliament and its excessive political fragmentation, only
parties that win at least 10% of the votes cast in a national parliamentary
election gain the right to representation in the parliament. As a result of
this threshold, only two parties were able to obtain that right during the
last elections.Independent candidates may run, however they must also win
at least 10% of the vote in their circonscription to be elected.Universal
suffrage for both sexes has been applied throughout Turkey since 1933 and
every Turkish citizen who has turned 18 years of age has the right to vote.
As of 2004, there were 50 registered political parties in the country,
whose ideologies range from the far-left to the far-right.The
Constitutional Court can strip the public financing of political parties
that it deems anti-secular or separatist, or ban their existence
The military has traditionally been a politically powerful institution,
considered as the guardians of Atatürk's Republic. The protection of the
Turkish Constitution and the unity of the country is given by law to the
Turkish Armed Forces and it therefore plays a formal political role via the
National Security Council (NSC) as the guardian of the secular, unitary
nature of the republic and the reforms of Atatürk. Through the NSC, the
army contributes to recommendations for defense policy against any threat
to the country, including those pertaining to ethnic separatism or
religious extremism. In recent years, reforms led to efforts to extinguish
the military's constitutional responsibilities, under the program of
compliance with the EU demands and an increased civilian presence on the
NSC. Despite its perceived alleged influence in civilian affairs, the
military owns strong unequivocal support from the nation and is considered
to be the country's most trusted institution.
The European Union remains Turkey's biggest trading partner and the
presence of a well-established Turkish diaspora in Europe has contributed
to the development of extensive relations between the two parties over the
years. Turkey became a member of the Council of Europe in 1949, applied for
associate membership of the EEC (predecessor of the EU) in 1959 and became
an associate member in 1963. After decades of political negotiations,
Turkey applied for full membership of the EEC in 1987, reached a Customs
Union agreement with the EU in 1995 and has officially begun accession
negotiations on October 3, 2005. It is believed that the accession process
will take at least 15 years because of Turkey's size and the depth of
disagreements over certain issues.
Historically, relations with neighbouring Greece have known periods of
tension. The disputes over the air and sea boundaries of the Aegean Sea
remain one of the main issues of disagreement between the two
neighbours. Nonetheless, following the consecutive earthquakes of 1999
in Turkey and Greece, and the prompt response of aid and rescue teams from
both sides, the two nations have entered a much more positive period in
their relations, with Greece actively supporting Turkey's candidacy to
enter the European Union. South of Turkey, tensions caused by the
long-lasting division of the island of Cyprus has recently become one of
the main points of contention in Turkey's accession negotiations with the
EU since Turkey has been refusing to open its ports to Republic of Cyprus
Since the end of the Cold War, Turkey has actively been building strong
relations with former Communist countries in Eastern Europe and Central
Asia, and this has concretized in many reciprocal investments and migratory
currents between these states and Turkey, however Turkey's relations with
neighbouring Armenia are still tense due to the emotions surrounding the
events of 1915–17 as well as the ongoing stalemate in Nagorno-Karabakh
between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a Turkic-speaking neighbour and ally of
Turkey. The Turkish government rejects the notion that the actions by the
Ottoman Young Turks that had led to the forced mass evacuation and related
deaths of an estimated hundreds of thousands up to 1.5 million Armenians,
in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, constituted a
genocide and instead states the deaths were a result of inter-ethnic
strife, disease and famine. Most Western scholars however agree with the
genocide thesis. Owing to its secular traditions, Turkey has always viewed
suspiciously certain countries in the region and this has caused tensions
in the past, particularly with its largest neighbour, Iran.
Even though Turkey participated in the NATO-led peacekeeping mission in
Afghanistan after September 11, the Iraq war faced strong domestic
opposition in Turkey. A government motion which would have allowed U.S.
troops to attack Iraq from Turkey's south-eastern border couldn't reach the
absolute majority of 276 votes needed for its adoption in the Turkish
Parliament; the final tally being 264 votes for and 250 against. This led
to a cooling in relations between the U.S. and Turkey and fears that they
might have been damaged as a result of the situation in Iraq. Turkey is
particularly cautious about an independent Kurdish state arising from a
destabilised Iraq; it has previously fought an insurgent war on its own
soil, in which an estimated 37,000 people lost their lives, against the PKK
(listed as a terrorist organization by a number of states and
organisations, including the USA and the EU).This led the Turkish
government to put pressure on the U.S. to clamp down on insurgent training
camps in northern Iraq, without much success.
The Chief of the General Staff is appointed by the President, and he is
responsible to the Prime Minister. The Council of Ministers is responsible
to the parliament for matters of national security and the adequate
preparation of the armed forces to defend the country. However, the
authority to declare war and to deploy the Turkish Armed Forces to foreign
countries or to allow foreign armed forces to be stationed in Turkey rests
solely with the parliament. The actual Commander of the armed forces is
the Chief of the General Staff General Yaşar Büyükanıt who succeeded
General Hilmi Özkök on August 26, 2006.
F-247 TCG KemalReis is a SalihReis class frigate of the Turkish NavyThe
Turkish Armed Forces is the second largest standing armed force in NATO,
after the United States Armed Forces, with a combined strength of 1,043,550
uniformed personnel serving in its five branches. Every fit heterosexual
male Turkish citizen is required to serve in the military for time periods
ranging from one to fifteen months, depending on his education and job
location (homosexuals have the right to be exempt, if they request).
In 1998, Turkey announced a modernization programme worth some $31
billion over a period of ten years in varying projects 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.
In addition to its participation in the Korean War, Turkey has
maintained forces in international missions under the United Nations and
NATO since 1950, including peacekeeping missions, various missions in the
former Yugoslavia, and support to coalition forces in the First Gulf War.
Turkey maintains 36,000 troops in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
and has had troops deployed in Afghanistan as part of the U.S.
stabilization force and the UN-authorized, NATO-commanded International
Security Assistance Force (ISAF) since 2001. In 2006, the Turkish
parliament deployed a peacekeeping force of Navy patrol vessels and around
700 ground troops as part of an expanded United Nations Interim Force in
Lebanon (UNIFIL) in wake of the Israeli-Lebanon conflict.
The territory of Turkey is subdivided into 81 provinces for
administrative purposes. In turn, each province is divided into districts,
for a total of 923 districts. Provinces usually bear the same name as their
provincial capitals, also called the central district; exceptions to this
are the provinces of Hatay (capital: Antakya), Kocaeli (capital: İzmit) and
Sakarya (capital: Adapazarı). Provinces with the largest populations are
the provinces of İstanbul (+10 million), Ankara (+4 million), İzmir (+3.4
million), Konya (+2.2 million), Bursa (+2.1 million) and Adana (+1.85
The provinces are organized into 7 regions for census purposes, however
they do not represent an administrative structure.
The capital city of Turkey is Ankara; however, the biggest city and the
pre-Republican capital of İstanbul is the financial, economic and cultural
heart of the country. Other important cities include İzmir, Bursa, Adana,
Trabzon, Malatya, Gaziantep, Erzurum, Kayseri, İzmit, Konya, Mersin,
Eskişehir, Diyarbakır, Antalya and Samsun. An estimated 67% of Turkey's
population live in urban centers. In all, 12 cities have populations that
exceed 500,000 and 48 cities have more than 100,000 inhabitants.
İstanbul - 9,085,599
Ankara - 3,540,522
İzmir - 2,732,669
Bursa - 1,630,940
Adana - 1,397,853
Konya - 1,294,817
Gaziantep - 1,009,126
Antalya - 936,330
(Population figures are given according to the 2000 census)
Geography and climate
The European section of Turkey, in the northwest, is Eastern Thrace, and
forms the borders of Turkey with Greece and Bulgaria. The Asian part of the
country, Anatolia (also called the Asia Minor), consists of a high central
plateau with narrow coastal plains, in between the Köroğlu and East-Black
Sea mountain range to the north and the Taurus Mountains to the south.
Eastern Turkey has a more mountainous landscape, and is home to the sources
of rivers such as the Euphrates, Tigris and Aras, and contains Lake Van and
Mount Ararat, Turkey's highest point at 5,165 m (16,946 ft).
Turkey is geographically divided into seven regions: Marmara, Aegean,
Black Sea, Central Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia, Southeastern Anatolia and
the Mediterranean. The uneven north Anatolian terrain running along the
Black Sea resembles a long, narrow belt. This region comprises
approximately one-sixth of Turkey's total land area. As a general trend,
the inland Anatolian plateau becomes increasingly rugged as it progresses
Mount Ararat is the highest peak in Turkey at 5,165 m and is located in
the Iğdır Province in the Eastern Anatolia regionTurkey's varied landscapes
are the product of complex earth movements that have shaped the region over
thousands of years and still manifest themselves in fairly frequent
earthquakes and occasional volcanic eruptions. The Bosporus and the
Dardanelles owe their existence to the fault lines running through Turkey
that led to the creation of the Black Sea. There is an earthquake fault
line across the north of the country from west to east.
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. Mountains close to the coast prevent Mediterranean
influences from extending inland, giving the interior of Turkey a
continental climate with distinct seasons. The central Anatolian Plateau is
much more subject to extremes than are the coastal areas. Winters on the
plateau are especially severe. Temperatures of −30 °C to −40 °C (−22 °F to
-40 °F) can occur in the mountainous areas in the east, and snow may lie on
the ground 120 days of the year. In the west, winter temperatures average
below 1 °C (34 °F). Summers are hot and dry, with temperatures above 30 °C
(86 °F). Annual precipitation averages about 400 millimeters (mm) (15
inches (in), with actual amounts determined by elevation. The driest
regions are the Konya plain and the Malatya plain, where annual rainfall
frequently is less than 300 mm (12 in). May is generally the wettest month
whereas July and August are the most dry.
The GDP growth rate for 2005 was 7.4%,thus making Turkey one of the
fastest growing economies in the world. Turkey's GDP ranks 17th in the
world and Turkey is a member of G20 which brings together the 20 most
industrialized countries of the globe. Turkey's economy is no longer
dominated by traditional agricultural activities in the rural areas, but
more so by a highly dynamic industrial complex in the major cities, mostly
concentrated in the western provinces of the country, along with a
developed services sector. The agricultural sector accounts for 11.9% of
GDP, whereas industrial and service sectors make up 23.7% and 64.5%,
respectively. The tourism sector has experienced rapid growth in the last
twenty years, and constitutes an important part of the economy. In 2005,
there were 24,124,501 visitors to the country, who contributed 18.2 billion
USD to Turkey's revenues. Other key sectors of the Turkish economy are
construction, automotive industry, electronics and textiles.
Turkey's main trading partners are
the European Union (52% of exports and 42% of imports as of 2005), United
States, Russia and Japan. Turkey has taken advantage of a customs union
with the European Union, signed in 1995, to increase its industrial
production destined for exports, while at the same time benefiting from
EU-origin foreign investment into the country. In 2005, exports amounted to
73.5 billion USD while the imports stood at 116.8 billion USD, with
increases of 16.3% and 19.7% compared to 2004, respectively. For 2006, the
exports amounted to 85.8 billion USD, representing an increase of 16,8%
After years of low levels of foreign direct investment (FDI), Turkey
succeeded in attracting 8.5 billion USD in FDI in 2005 and is expected to
attract a higher figure 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 a rise in foreign
Education is compulsory and free from ages 6 to 15. The literacy rate is
95.3% for men and 79.6% for women, for an overall average of 87.4%. This
low figure is mainly due to prevailing feudal attitudes against women in
the Arab and Kurdish inhabited southeastern provinces of the country.
Article 66 of the Turkish Constitution defines a "Turk" as anyone that
is "bound to the Turkish state through the bond of citizenship"; therefore,
the legal use of the term "Turkish" as a citizen of Turkey is different
from the ethnic definition. However, the majority of the Turkish population
are of Turkish ethnicity. Other major ethnic groups include the Kurds,
Circassians, Roma, Arabs and the three officially-recognized minorities
(per the treaty of Lausanne) of Greeks, Armenians and Jews. The largest
non-Turkic ethnicity is the Kurds, a distinct ethnic group traditionally
concentrated in the southeast of the country. Minorities other than the
three official ones do not have any special group privileges, and 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, with the following generations adding to
the melting-pot of the Turkish main body. Within that main body, certain
distinctions based on diverse Turkic origins could be made as well.
Reliable data on the exact ethnic repartition of the population is not
available since the Turkish census figures do not include ethnic or racial
Whirling Dervishes perform at the Mevlevi Museum in Konya, Central
Anatolia regionDue to a demand for an increased labour force in post-World
War II Europe, many Turkish citizens emigrated to Western Europe
(particularly West Germany), contributing to the creation of a significant
diaspora. Recently, Turkey has also become a destination for numerous
immigrants, especially since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the consequent
increase of freedom of movement in the region. These immigrants generally
migrate from the former Soviet-bloc countries, as well as neighbouring
Muslim states, either to settle and work in Turkey or to continue their
journey towards the European Union.
Turkish is the sole official language throughout Turkey. Reliable
figures for the linguistic repartition of the populace are not available
for reasons similar to those cited above. Nevertheless, the public
broadcaster TRT broadcasts programmes in local languages and dialects of
Arabic, Bosnian, Circassian and Kurdish a few hours a week.
Nominally, 99.0% of the Turkish population is Muslim, of whom a majority
belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. A sizeable minority of the population
is affiliated with the Alevi sect. The remainder of the population belongs
to other beliefs, particularly Christian denominations (Greek Orthodox,
Armenian Apostolic, Syriac Orthodox), Judaism, Yezidism and Atheism.
There is a strong tradition of secularism in Turkey. Even though the
state has no official religion nor promotes any, it actively monitors the
area between the religions. The constitution recognises freedom of religion
for individuals whereas religious communities are placed under the
protection of the state, but the constitution explicitly states that they
cannot become involved in the political process (by forming a religious
party for instance) or establish faith-based schools. No party can claim
that it represents a form of religious belief; neverheless, religious
sensibilities are generally represented through conservative parties.
Turkey prohibits by law the wearing of religious headcover and
theo-political symbolic garments for both genders in government buildings,
schools, and universities; a law upheld by the Grand Chamber of the
European Court of Human Rights as "legitimate" in Leyla Şahin v. Turkey on
November 10, 2005.
Turkish music and literature form great examples of such a mix of
cultural influences. Many schools of music are popular throughout Turkey,
from "arabesque" to hip-hop genres, as a result of the interaction between
the Ottoman Empire and the Islamic world along with Europe, and thus
contributing to a blend of Central Asian Turkic, Islamic and European
traditions in modern-day Turkish music. Turkish literature was heavily
influenced by Arabic and, especially, Persian literature during most of the
Ottoman era, though towards the end of the Ottoman Empire the effect of
both Turkish folk and Western literary traditions became increasingly felt.
The mix of cultural influences is dramatized, for example, in the form of
the "new symbols [of] the clash and interlacing of cultures" enacted in the
work of Orhan Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Architectural elements found in Turkey are also testaments to the unique
mix of traditions that have influenced the region over the centuries. In
addition to the traditional Byzantine elements present in numerous parts of
Turkey, many artifacts of the later Ottoman architecture, with its
exquisite blend of local and Islamic traditions, are to be found throughout
the country, as well as in many former territories of the Ottoman Empire.
Since the 18th century, Turkish architecture has been increasingly
influenced by Western styles and this can be particularly seen in Istanbul
where buildings like the Blue Mosque and the Dolmabahçe Palace are
juxtaposed next to numerous modern skyscrapers, all of them representing