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.
Southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia (that portion of Turkey west of the Bosporus is geographically part of Europe ), bordering the Black Sea , between Bulgaria and Georgia , and bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea , between Greece and Syria.
Geographic Coordinates Turkey
39 00 N, 35 00 E
Area of Turkey
Total: 780,580 sq km
Land: 770,760 sq km
Water: 9,820 sq km
Turkey 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
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
Temperate; hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters; harsher in interior
Elevation extremes of Turkey
Lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
Highest point: Mount Ararat 5,166 m
Natural Hazards Turkey
Very severe earthquakes, especially in northern Turkey , along an arc extending from the Sea of Marmara to Lake Van.
Turkey 's dynamic economy is a complex mix of modern industry and commerce along with a traditional agriculture sector that in 2004 still accounted for more than 34% of employment. It has a strong and rapidly growing private sector, yet the state still plays a major role in basic industry, banking, transport, and communication. The largest industrial sector is textiles and clothing, which accounts for one-third of industrial employment; it faces stiff competition in international markets with the end of the global quota system. However, other sectors, notably the automotive and electronics industries, are rising in importance within Turkey 's export mix. Real GNP growth has exceeded 6% in many years, but this strong expansion has been interrupted by sharp declines in output in 1994, 1999, and 2001. The economy is turning around with the implementation of economic reforms, and 2004 GDP growth reached 9%. Inflation fell to 7.7% in 2005 - a 30-year low. Despite these strong economic gains in 2002-05, which were largely due to renewed investor interest in emerging markets, IMF backing, and tighter fiscal policy, the economy is still burdened by a high current account deficit and high debt. The public sector fiscal deficit exceeds 6% of GDP - due in large part to high interest payments, which accounted for about 37% of central government spending in 2004. Prior to 2005, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Turkey averaged less than $1 billion annually, but further economic and judicial reforms and prospective EU membership are expected to boost FDI. Privatization sales are currently approaching $21 billion.
Turkish lira (TRL), New Turkish lira (YTL) after 1 January 2005
Airports in Turkey
119 (2004 est.)
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
Turkish is the mother tongue of 90 percent of the population of the country. Some 70 other languages and dialects are also spoken, including various dialects of Caucasian and Kurdish as well as Arabic, Greek, Ladino and Armenian. The Turkish language of Turkey represents the southwestern arm of the community of Turkic languages within the Ural-Altay linguistic family that slowly evolved over time. Groups speaking these languages spread to the east and northeast out of Central Asia , and particularly to the west. Ever since the very earliest times, Turkish has influenced various dialects of Middle Persian, and turned the Caucasus and Anatolia away from the Indo-European group of languages. With the acceptance of Islam, Arabic on the one hand and Persian on the other had a clear influence on the Turkish language. Since the end of the 19th century such modern Turkic written languages as the Turkish of Turkey itself, Azerbaijan and Kazakh Turkish, based on Turkish dialects, have emerged. Of the 4,000 or so languages currently spoken in the world, Turkish ranks seventh in terms of numbers of speakers and area, being used by around 200 million people.
Ever since the 8th century, the Turks have employed a number of alphabets, although mainly the Göktürk, Uyghur, Arabic and Latin ones. After the foundation of the Republic and the establishment of national unity, and particularly between 1923 and 1928, people began to focus on the alphabet problem in Turkey . The founder of the Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, believed that it was essential to make use of Western culture in order for the country to reach the level of contemporary civilisation, to which end, in 1928, he brought about the acceptance of Latin letters, modified to reflect the sounds of the Turkish language, to replace the Arabic alphabet.
The Language Revolution continued in 1932 with Ataturk's establishment of the Turkish Language Research Society in order to simplify the language. After its foundation, that body took the name of the Turkish Language Board. Its work produced positive results, and important steps were taken in order to simplify Turkish and rid it of its Arabic and Persian words. The Turkish Language Board is still active today, with amended statutes, within the main body of the Language and History Higher Board. Among the board's responsibilities are the simplification, enrichment and beautification of the Turkish language. The most important result of the work carried out to date is that while before 1932 Turkish words represented only 35-40 percent of the lexicon, that figure has today reached 75-80 percent. This fact is the greatest proof of the value to the Turkish people of Ataturk's Language Revolution.
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