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Turkey Definition

Republic of Turkey, country in western Asia and southeastern Europe between the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. Turkey's early history corresponds to that of Anatolia, the Byzantine Empire, and the Ottoman Empire. Byzantine rule emerged when Constantine the Great made Constantinople (modern Istanbul) his capital. The Ottoman Empire, begun in the 12th century, dominated for more than 600 years; it ended in 1918 after the Young Turk revolt precipitated its demise. Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a republic was proclaimed in 1923. Turkey remained neutral throughout most of World War II (1939–45), siding with the Allied Powers in 1945. Since the war it has alternated between civil and military governments and has had several conflicts with Greece over Cyprus. (Wikipedia) - Turkey This article is about the country. For the bird, see Turkey (bird). For other uses, see Turkey (disambiguation). Republic of Turkey Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Largest city Official languages Demonym Government Legislature Succession to the Ottoman Empire Area Population Currency Time zone Date format Drives on the Calling code ISO 3166 code Internet TLD
Motto: Egemenlik, kayıtsız şartsız Milletindir "Sovereignty unconditionally belongs to the Nation"
Anthem: İstiklal Marşı Independence MarchSorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player. You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.
Capital Ankara 39°55′N 32°50′E / 39.917°N 32.833°E / 39.917; 32.833
Istanbul 41°1′N 28°57′E / 41.017°N 28.950°E / 41.017; 28.950
Ethnic groups (2008)
  • 70–75% Turks
  • 18% Kurds
  • 7–12% others
Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
 -  President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
 -  Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu
 -  Speaker of the Parliament Cemil Çiçek
Grand National Assembly
 -  Government of the Grand National Assembly 23 April 1920 
 -  Treaty of Lausanne 24 July 1923 
 -  Declaration of Republic 29 October 1923 
 -  Current constitution 7 November 1982 
 -  Total 783,562 km2 (37th) 302,535 sq mi
 -  Water (%) 1.3
 -  2013 census 76,667,864 (18th)
 -  Density 100 /km2 (108th) 259/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2013 estimate
 -  Total $1.426 trillion (15th)
 -  Per capita $19,080 (54th)
GDP (nominal) 2013 estimate
 -  Total $820.827 billion (17th)
 -  Per capita $11,277 (64th)
Gini (2010)  40.2 medium · 56th
HDI (2013)  0.759 high · 69th
Turkish lira () (TRY)
 -  Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
dd/mm/yyyy (AD)

Turkey (i/ˈtɜr.ki/; Turkish: Türkiye, pronounced ), officially the Republic of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, pronounced  ( listen)), is a contiguous transcontinental parliamentary republic, with its smaller part in Southeastern Europe and its larger part in Western Asia (i.e. the Balkans and Anatolia, respectively). Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, Iran and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. The Mediterranean Sea is to the south; the Aegean Sea to the west; and the Black Sea to the north. The Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles (which together form the Turkish Straits) demarcate the boundary between Thrace and Anatolia; they also separate Europe and Asia. Turkey''s location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a country of significant geostrategic importance.

Turkey has been inhabited since the paleolithic age, including various Ancient Anatolian civilizations, Aeolian and Ionian Greeks, Thracians and Persians. After Alexander the Great''s conquest, the area was Hellenized, which continued with the Roman rule and the transition into the Byzantine Empire. The Seljuk Turks began migrating into the area in the 11th century, starting the process of Turkification, which was greatly accelerated by the Seljuk victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, upon which it disintegrated into several small Turkish beyliks.

Starting from the late 13th century, the Ottomans united Anatolia and created an empire encompassing much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia and North Africa, becoming a major power in Eurasia and Africa during the early modern period. The empire reached the peak of its power between the 15th and 17th centuries, especially during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent (r. 1520–1566). After the second Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1683 and the end of the Great Turkish War in 1699, the Ottoman Empire entered a long period of decline. The Tanzimat reforms of the 19th century, which aimed to modernize the Ottoman state, proved to be inadequate in most fields, and failed to stop the dissolution of the empire. The Ottoman Empire entered World War I (1914–1918) on the side of the Central Powers and was ultimately defeated. During the war, major atrocities were committed by the Ottoman government against the Armenians, Assyrians and Pontic Greeks. Following WWI, the huge conglomeration of territories and peoples that formerly comprised the Ottoman Empire was divided into several new states. The Turkish War of Independence (1919–1922), initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues in Anatolia, resulted in the establishment of the modern Republic of Turkey in 1923, with Atatürk as its first president.

Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage. The country''s official language is Turkish, a Turkic language spoken natively by approximately 85% of the population. About three quarters of the population are ethnic Turks and about a fifth ethnic Kurds. The vast majority of the population is Muslim. Turkey is a member of the UN, NATO, OECD, OSCE, OIC and the G-20. After becoming one of the first members of the Council of Europe in 1949, Turkey became an associate member of the EEC in 1963, joined the EU Customs Union in 1995 and started full membership negotiations with the European Union in 2005. Turkey''s growing economy and diplomatic initiatives have led to its recognition as a regional power.

  • 1 Etymology
  • 2 History
    • 2.1 Prehistory of Anatolia and Eastern Thrace
    • 2.2 Antiquity and Byzantine Period
    • 2.3 The Seljuks and the Ottoman Empire
    • 2.4 Republic of Turkey
  • 3 Administrative divisions
  • 4 Politics
    • 4.1 Law
    • 4.2 Foreign relations
    • 4.3 Military
  • 5 Geography
    • 5.1 Biodiversity
    • 5.2 Climate
  • 6 Economy
    • 6.1 History
    • 6.2 Tourism
    • 6.3 Infrastructure
    • 6.4 Science and technology
  • 7 Demographics
    • 7.1 Religion
    • 7.2 Education
    • 7.3 Healthcare
  • 8 Culture
    • 8.1 Arts
    • 8.2 Architecture
    • 8.3 Sports
    • 8.4 Cuisine
    • 8.5 Media
  • 9 See also
  • 10 References
  • 11 Further reading
  • 12 External links

Etymology Main article: Name of Turkey

The name of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye) is based on the ethnonym Türk. The first recorded use of the term "Türk" or "Türük" as an autonym is contained in the Old Turkic inscriptions of the Göktürks (Celestial Turks) of Central Asia (c. 8th century). The English name Turkey first appeared in the late 14th century and is derived from Medieval Latin Turchia.

The Greek cognate of this name, Tourkia (Greek: Τουρκία) was used by the Byzantine emperor and scholar Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in his book De Administrando Imperio, though in his use, "Turks" always referred to Magyars. Similarly, the medieval Khazar Empire, a Turkic state on the northern shores of the Black and Caspian seas, was referred to as Tourkia (Land of the Turks) in Byzantine sources. The Ottoman Empire was sometimes referred to as Turkey or the Turkish Empire among its contemporaries.

History Main article: History of Turkey Prehistory of Anatolia and Eastern Thrace Main articles: Prehistory of Anatolia and Prehistory of the Balkans See also: Ancient Anatolians, Ancient kingdoms of Anatolia and ThraciansThe Lion Gate at Hattusa, capital of the Hittite Empire. The city''s history dates back to the 6th millennium BC.

The Anatolian peninsula, comprising most of modern Turkey, is one of the oldest permanently settled regions in the world. Various Ancient Anatolian populations have lived in Anatolia, beginning with the Neolithic period until conquest of Alexander the Great. Many of these peoples spoke the Anatolian languages, a branch of the larger Indo-European language family. 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 radiated. The European part of Turkey, called Eastern Thrace, has also been inhabited since forty thousand years ago, and is known to have been in the Neolithic era by about 6000 B.C. with its inhabitants starting the practice of agriculture.

Göbekli Tepe is the site of the oldest known man-made religious structure, a temple dating to 10,000 BC, while Çatalhöyük is a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately 7500 BCE to 5700 BCE. It is the largest and best-preserved Neolithic site found to date and in July 2012 was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The settlement of Troy started in the Neolithic Age and continued into the Iron Age.

The earliest recorded inhabitants of Anatolia were the Hattians and Hurrians, non-Indo-European peoples who inhabited central and eastern Anatolia, respectively, as early as ca. 2300 BC. Indo-European Hittites came to Anatolia and gradually absorbed the Hattians and Hurrians ca. 2000–1700 BC. The first major empire in the area was founded by the Hittites, from the 18th through the 13th century BC. The Assyrians conquered and settled parts of southeastern Turkey as early as 1950 BC until the year 612 BC. Urartu re-emerged in Assyrian inscriptions in the 9th century BC as a powerful northern rival of Assyria.

Following the collapse of the Hittite empire c. 1180 BC, the Phrygians, an Indo-European people, achieved ascendancy in Anatolia until their kingdom was destroyed by the Cimmerians in the 7th century BC. Starting from 714 BC, Urartu shared the same fate and dissolved in 590 BC. The most powerful of Phrygia''s successor states were Lydia, Caria and Lycia.

Antiquity and Byzantine Period Main articles: Classical Anatolia and Byzantine Anatolia See also: Byzantine Empire, Constantinople and Odrysian kingdomOriginally a church, later a mosque, and now a museum, the Hagia Sophia was built by the Byzantines in the 6th century.

Starting around 1200 BC, the coast of Anatolia was heavily settled by Aeolian and Ionian Greeks. Numerous important cities were founded by these colonists, such as Miletus, Ephesus, Smyrna and Byzantium, the latter founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 657 BC. The first state that was called Armenia by neighbouring peoples was the state of the Armenian Orontid dynasty, which included parts of eastern Turkey beginning in the 6th century BC. In Northwest Turkey, the most significant tribal group in Thrace was the Odyrisians, founded by Teres I.

Anatolia was conquered by the Persian Achaemenid Empire during the 6th and 5th centuries BC and later fell to Alexander the Great in 334 BC, which led to increasing cultural homogeneity and Hellenization in the area. Following Alexander''s death in 323 BC, Anatolia was subsequently divided into a number of small Hellenistic kingdoms, all of which became part of the Roman Republic by the mid-1st century BC. The process of Hellenization that began with Alexander''s conquest accelerated under Roman rule, and by the early centuries AD the local Anatolian languages and cultures had become extinct, being largely replaced by ancient Greek language and culture.

In 324, Constantine I chose Byzantium to be the new capital of the Roman Empire, renaming it New Rome. Following the death of Theodosius I in 395 and the permanent division of the Roman Empire between his two sons, the city, which would popularly come to be known as Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. This, which would later be branded by historians as the Byzantine Empire, ruled most of the territory of what is today Turkey until the Late Middle Ages.

The Seljuks and the Ottoman Empire Main articles: Seljuk dynasty and Ottoman dynasty See also: Turkic migration, Turkification, Seljuk Empire, Sultanate of Rum and Ottoman EmpireMevlana Museum in Konya was built by the Seljuk Turks in 1274. Konya was the capital of the Sultanate of Rum.

The House of Seljuk was a branch of the Kınık Oğuz Turks who resided on the periphery of the Muslim world, in the Yabghu Khaganate of the Oğuz confederacy, to the north of the Caspian and Aral Seas, in the 9th century. In the 10th century, the Seljuks started migrating from their ancestral homeland into Persia, which became the administrative core of the Great Seljuk Empire.

In the latter half of the 11th century, the Seljuks began penetrating into the eastern regions of Anatolia. In 1071, the Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert, starting Turkification of the area; the Turkish language and Islam were introduced to Anatolia and gradually spread over the region and the slow transition from a predominantly Christian and Greek-speaking Anatolia to a predominantly Muslim and Turkish-speaking one was underway.

In 1243, the Seljuk armies were defeated by the Mongols, causing the Seljuk Empire''s power to slowly disintegrate. In its wake, one of the Turkish principalities governed by Osman I would, over the next 200 years, evolve into the Ottoman Empire, expanding throughout Anatolia, the Balkans, the Levant and North Africa. In 1453, the Ottomans completed their conquest of the Byzantine Empire by capturing its capital, Constantinople.

Topkapı and Dolmabahçe palaces were the primary residences of the Ottoman Sultans and the administrative center of the empire between 1465 to 1856 and 1856 to 1922, respectively.

In 1514, Sultan Selim I (1512–1520) successfully expanded the Empire''s southern and eastern borders by defeating Shah Ismail I of the Safavid dynasty in the Battle of Chaldiran. In 1517, Selim I expanded Ottoman rule into Algeria and Egypt, and created a naval presence in the Red Sea. Subsequently, a competition started between the Ottoman and Portuguese empires to become the dominant sea power in the Indian Ocean, with a number of naval battles in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. The Portuguese presence in the Indian Ocean was perceived as a threat for the Ottoman monopoly over the ancient trading routes between East Asia and Western Europe (later collectively named the Silk Road). This important monopoly was increasingly compromised following the discovery of a sea route around Africa by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1488, which had a considerable impact on the Ottoman economy.

The Ottoman Empire''s power and prestige peaked in the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. The empire was often at odds with the Holy Roman Empire in its steady advance towards Central Europe through the Balkans and the southern part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. At sea, the Ottoman Navy contended with several Holy Leagues (composed primarily of Habsburg Spain, the Republic of Genoa, the Republic of Venice, the Knights of St. John, the Papal States, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Duchy of Savoy) for control of the Mediterranean Sea. In the east, the Ottomans were occasionally at war with Safavid Persia over conflicts stemming from territorial disputes or religious differences between the 16th and 18th centuries.

From the beginning of the 19th century onwards, the Ottoman Empire began to decline. As it gradually shrank in size, military power and wealth, many Balkan Muslims migrated to the Empire''s heartland in Anatolia, along with the Circassians fleeing the Russian conquest of the Caucasus. The decline of the Ottoman Empire led to a rise in nationalist sentiment among the various subject peoples, leading to increased ethnic tensions which occasionally burst into violence, such as the Hamidian massacres of Armenians.

The Ottoman Empire entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers and was ultimately defeated. During the war, the empire''s Armenians were deported from Eastern Anatolia to Syria as part of the Armenian Genocide. As a result, an estimated 1,500,000 Armenians were killed. The Turkish government denies that there was an Armenian Genocide and claims that Armenians were only relocated from the eastern war zone. Large-scale massacres were also committed against the empire''s other minority groups such as the Greeks and Assyrians. Following the Armistice of Mudros on 30 October 1918, the victorious Allied Powers sought to partition the Ottoman state through the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres.

Republic of Turkey Main article: History of the Republic of Turkey See also: Atatürk''s ReformsMustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey.

The occupation of Constantinople and Smyrna by the Allies in the aftermath of World War I prompted the establishment of the Turkish National Movement. Under the leadership of 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 18 September 1922, the occupying armies were expelled, and the Ankara-based Turkish regime, which declared itself the legitimate government of the country in April 1920, started to formalize the legal transition from the old Ottoman into the new Republican political system. On 1 November, the newly founded parliament formally abolished the Sultanate, thus ending 623 years of monarchical Ottoman rule. The Treaty of Lausanne of 24 July 1923 led to the international recognition of the sovereignty of the newly formed "Republic of Turkey" as the continuing state of the Ottoman Empire, and the republic was officially proclaimed on 29 October 1923 in Ankara, the country''s new capital. The Lausanne treaty stipulated a population exchange between Greece and Turkey, whereby 1.1 million Greeks left Turkey for Greece in exchange for 380,000 Muslims transferred from Greece to Turkey.

Mustafa Kemal became the republic''s first President and subsequently introduced many radical reforms with the aim of transforming the old Ottoman-Turkish state into a new secular republic. With the Surname Law of 1934, the Turkish Parliament bestowed upon Mustafa Kemal the honorific surname "Atatürk" (Father of the Turks).

Turkey remained neutral during most of World War II, but entered the closing stages of the war on the side of the Allies on 23 February 1945. On 26 June 1945, Turkey became a charter member of the United Nations. 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 U.S. military and economic support. Both countries were included in the Marshall Plan and OEEC for rebuilding European economies in 1948, and subsequently became founding members of the OECD in 1961.

After participating with the United Nations forces in the Korean War, Turkey joined NATO in 1952, becoming a bulwark against Soviet expansion into the Mediterranean. Following a decade of Cypriot intercommunal violence and the coup in Cyprus on 15 July 1974 staged by the EOKA B paramilitary organization, which overthrew President Makarios and installed the pro-Enosis (union with Greece) Nikos Sampson as dictator, Turkey invaded Cyprus on 20 July 1974. Nine years later the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey, was established.

The single-party period ended in 1945. It was followed by a tumultuous transition to multiparty democracy over the next few decades, which was interrupted by military coups d''état in 1960, 1971, and 1980, as well as a military memorandum in 1997. In 1984, the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group, began an insurgency campaign against the Turkish government, which to date has claimed over 40,000 lives. Peace talks are ongoing. Since the liberalization of the Turkish economy during the 1980s, the country has enjoyed stronger economic growth and greater political stability. In 2013, widespread protests erupted in many Turkish provinces, sparked by a plan to demolish Gezi Park but growing into general anti-government dissent.

Administrative divisions Further information: Regions of Turkey, Provinces of Turkey, Districts of Turkey and NUTS of Turkey

Turkey has a unitary structure in terms of administration and this aspect is one of the most important factors shaping the Turkish public administration. When three powers (executive, legislature and judiciary) are taken into account as the main functions of the state, local administrations do not have almost any power. In other words, there are not units called “states” in Turkey and the provinces and cities come after the central administration. Local administrations were established to provide services in place and the government is represented by the governors and city governors. Besides the governors and the city governors, other senior public officials are also appointed by the central government rather than to be appointed by mayors or elected by constituents.

Turkey is subdivided into 81 provinces for administrative purposes. Each province is divided into districts, for a total of 923 districts.

Turkey is also subdivided into 7 regions and 21 subregions for geographic, demographic and economic purposes; this does not refer to an administrative division.

AnkaraKırklareliEdirneTekirdağÇanakkaleBalıkesirBursaYalovaIstanbulKocaeliSakaryaDüzceZonguldakBoluBilecikEskişehirKütahyaManisaİzmirAydınMuğlaDenizliBurdurUşakAfyonIspartaAntalyaKonyaMersinKaramanAksarayKırşehirKırıkkaleÇankırıKarabükBartınKastamonuSinopÇorumYozgatNevşehirNiğdeAdanaHatayOsmaniyeK. MaraşKayseriSivasTokatAmasyaSamsunOrduGiresunErzincanMalatyaGaziantepKilisŞanlıurfaAdıyamanGümüşhaneTrabzonRizeBayburtErzurumArtvinArdahanKarsAğrıIğdırTunceliElâzığDiyarbakırMardinBatmanSiirtŞırnakBitlisBingölMuşVanHakkâriPolitics Main article: Politics of Turkey See also: Constitution of Turkey, Elections in Turkey and Human rights in TurkeyTayyip Erdoğan PresidentAhmet Davutoğlu Prime Minister

Turkey is a parliamentary representative democracy. Since its foundation as a republic in 1923, Turkey has developed a strong tradition of secularism. Turkey''s constitution governs the legal framework of the country. It sets out the main principles of government and establishes Turkey as a unitary centralized state. The President of the Republic is the head of state and has a largely ceremonial role. The president is elected for a five-year term by direct elections and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is first president elected by direct voting.

Executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers which 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 the High Court of Appeals for all others.

The prime minister is elected by the parliament through a vote of confidence in the government and is most often the head of the party having the most seats in parliament. The prime minister is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose conservative Justice and Development Party (better known as AKP or AK Party) was elected for a third consecutive time in 2011 general elections.

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. There are 550 members of parliament who are elected for a four-year term by a party-list proportional representation system from 85 electoral districts. The Constitutional Court can strip the public financing of political parties that it deems anti-secular or separatist, or ban their existence altogether. The electoral threshold is 10% of the votes.

Supporters of Atatürk''s reforms are called Kemalists, as distinguished from Islamists, representing two extremes on a continuum of beliefs about the proper role of religion in public life. The Kemalist position generally combines a kind of democracy with a laicist constitution and westernised secular lifestyle, while supporting state intervention in the economy, education, and other public services. Since the 1980s, a rise in income inequality and class distinction has given rise to Islamic populism, a movement that in theory supports obligation to authority, communal solidarity and social justice, though what that entails in practice is often contested.

Human rights in Turkey have been the subject of some controversy and international condemnation. Between 1998 and 2008 the European Court of Human Rights made more than 1,600 judgements against Turkey for human rights violations, particularly regarding the right to life, and freedom from torture. Other issues, such as Kurdish rights, women''s rights, and press freedom, have also attracted controversy. Turkey''s human rights record continues to be a significant obstacle to future membership of the EU. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the AKP government has waged one of the world''s biggest crackdowns on press freedoms. A large number of journalists have been arrested using charges of "terrorism" and "anti-state activities" such as the Ergenekon and Balyoz cases, while thousands have been investigated on charges such as "denigrating Turkishness" or "insulting Islam" in an effort to sow self-censorship. In 2012, the CPJ identified 76 jailed journalists in Turkey, including 61 directly held for their published work, more than in Iran, Eritrea or China. A former U.S. State Department spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, said that the United States had "broad concerns about trends involving intimidation of journalists in Turkey."

Law Main articles: Judicial system of Turkey and Law enforcement in Turkey

Turkey has a legal system which has been wholly integrated with the system of continental Europe. For instance, the Turkish Civil Law has been modified by incorporating elements mainly of the Swiss Civil Code, the Code of Obligations and the German Commercial Code. The Administrative Law bears similarities with its French counterpart, and the Penal Code with its Italian counterpart.

Turkey has adopted the principle of the separation of powers. In line with this principle, judicial power is exercised by independent courts on behalf of the Turkish nation. The independence and organization of the courts, the security of the tenure of judges and public prosecutors, the profession of judges and prosecutors, the supervision of judges and public prosecutors, the military courts and their organization, and the powers and duties of the high courts are regulated by the Turkish Constitution.

According to Article 142 of the Turkish Constitution, the organization, duties and jurisdiction of the courts, their functions and the trial procedures are regulated by law. In line with the aforementioned article of the Turkish Constitution and related laws, the court system in Turkey can be classified under three main categories; which are the Judicial Courts, Administrative Courts and Military Courts. Each category includes first instance courts and high courts. In addition, the Court of Jurisdictional Disputes rules on cases that cannot be classified readily as falling within the purview of one court system.

Law enforcement in Turkey is carried out by several departments (such as the General Directorate of Security and Gendarmerie General Command) and agencies, all acting under the command of the Prime Minister of Turkey or mostly the Minister of Internal Affairs. According to figures released by the Justice Ministry, there are 100,000 people in Turkish prisons as of November 2008, a doubling since 2000.

Foreign relations Main article: Foreign relations of TurkeyAfter becoming one of the first members of the Council of Europe in 1949, Turkey became an associate member of the EEC in 1963, joined the EU Customs Union in 1995 and started full membership negotiations with the European Union in 2005.

Turkey is a founding member of the United Nations (1945), the OECD (1961), the OIC (1969), the OSCE (1973), the ECO (1985), the BSEC (1992), the D-8 (1997) and the G-20 major economies (1999). Turkey was a member of the United Nations Security Council in 1951–1952, 1954–1955, 1961 and 2009-2010. In September 2013, Turkey became a member of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD).

In line with its traditional Western orientation, relations with Europe have always been a central part of Turkish foreign policy. Turkey became one of the first members of the Council of Europe in 1949, applied for associate membership of the EEC (predecessor of the European Union) in 1959 and became an associate member in 1963. After decades of political negotiations, Turkey applied for full membership of the EEC in 1987, became an associate member of the Western European Union in 1992, joined the EU Customs Union in 1995 and has been in formal accession negotiations with the EU since 2005. Today, EU membership is considered as a state policy and a strategic target by Turkey. Turkey''s support for Northern Cyprus in the Cyprus dispute complicates Turkey''s relations with the EU and remains a major stumbling block to the country''s EU accession bid.

The other defining aspect of Turkey''s foreign policy is the country''s strategic alliance with the United States. The common threat posed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War led to Turkey''s membership of NATO in 1952, ensuring close bilateral relations with Washington. Subsequently, Turkey has benefited from the United States'' political, economic and diplomatic support, including in key issues such as the country''s bid to join the European Union. In the post–Cold War environment, Turkey''s geostrategic importance shifted towards its proximity to the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans.

The independence of the Turkic states of the Soviet Union in 1991, with which Turkey shares a common cultural and linguistic heritage, allowed Turkey to extend its economic and political relations deep into Central Asia, thus enabling the completion of a multi-billion-dollar oil and natural gas pipeline from Baku in Azerbaijan to the port of Ceyhan in Turkey. The Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline forms part of Turkey''s foreign policy strategy to become an energy conduit to the West. However Turkey''s border with Armenia, a state in the Caucasus, was closed by Turkey in support of Azerbaijan during the Nagorno-Karabakh War and remains closed. Under the AK Party government, Turkey''s influence has grown in the Middle East based on the strategic depth doctrine, also called Neo-Ottomanism. This policy has led to tensions with Arab countries, such as Turkey''s neighbour Syria since the start of the Syrian civil war, and with Egypt following the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi.

Turkey has maintained forces in international missions under the United Nations and NATO since 1950, including peacekeeping missions in Somalia and former Yugoslavia, and support to coalition forces in the First Gulf War. Turkey maintains 36,000 troops in Northern Cyprus, though their presence is controversial. Turkey has had troops deployed in Afghanistan as part of the United States stabilization force and the UN-authorized, NATO-commanded International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) since 2001. Since 2003, Turkey contributes military personnel to Eurocorps and takes part in the EU Battlegroups.

Military Main article: Turkish Armed Forces See also: Defense industry of TurkeyThe Turkish Armed Forces collectively rank as the second largest standing military force in NATO, after the U.S. Armed Forces. Turkey joined the alliance in 1952.

Turkey has the second largest standing armed force in NATO, after the US Armed Forces, with an estimated strength of 495,000 deployable forces, according to a 2011 NATO estimate. Turkey is one of five NATO member states which are part of the nuclear sharing policy of the alliance, together with Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. A total of 90 B61 nuclear bombs are hosted at the Incirlik Air Base, 40 of which are allocated for use by the Turkish Air Force in case of a nuclear conflict, but their use requires the approval of NATO.

The Turkish Armed Forces consists of the Land Forces, the Naval Forces and the Air Force. The Gendarmerie and the Coast Guard operate as parts of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in peacetime, although they are subordinated to the Army and Navy Commands respectively in wartime, during which they have both internal law enforcement and military functions.

The Chief of the General Staff is appointed by the President and 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.

Every fit male Turkish citizen otherwise not barred is required to serve in the military for a period ranging from three weeks to a year, dependent on education and job location. Turkey does not recognise conscientious objection and does not offer a civilian alternative to military service.

Geography Main article: Geography of TurkeyTopographic map of Turkey

Turkey is a transcontinental Eurasian country. Asian Turkey (made up largely of Anatolia), which includes 97% of the country, is separated from European Turkey by the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles. European Turkey comprises 3% of the country.

The territory of Turkey is more than 1,600 kilometres (1,000 mi) long and 800 km (500 mi) wide, with a roughly rectangular shape. It lies between latitudes 35° and 43° N, and longitudes 25° and 45° E. Turkey''s area, including lakes, occupies 783,562 square kilometres (300,948 sq mi), of which 755,688 square kilometres (291,773 sq mi) are in Southwest Asia and 23,764 square kilometres (9,174 sq mi) in Europe. Turkey is the world''s 37th-largest country in terms of area. The country is encircled by seas on three sides: the Aegean Sea to the west, the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean to the south. Turkey also contains the Sea of Marmara in the northwest.

The European section of Turkey, East Thrace, forms the borders of Turkey with Greece and Bulgaria. The Asian part of the country, Anatolia, consists of a high central plateau with narrow coastal plains, between the Köroğlu and Pontic mountain ranges 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 Mount Ararat, Turkey''s highest point at 5,137 metres (16,854 ft), and Lake Van, the largest lake in the country.

Turkey is divided into seven census 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 eastward.

Turkey''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 Bosphorus 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, along which a major earthquake occurred in 1999.

Biodiversity Main articles: Flora and vegetation of Turkey and Wildlife of Turkey See also: Environmental issues in TurkeySümela Monastery on the Pontic Mountains. These mountains form an ecoregion with diverse temperate rainforest types, flora and fauna.

Turkey''s extraordinary ecosystem and habitat diversity has produced considerable species diversity. Anatolia is the homeland of many plants that have been cultivated for food since the advent of agriculture, and the wild ancestors of many plants that now provide staples for mankind still grow in Turkey. The diversity of Turkey''s fauna is even greater than that of its flora. The number of animal species throughout Europe as a whole is about 60,000; in Turkey there are over 80,000 (over 100,000 counting subspecies).

The Northern Anatolian conifer and deciduous forests is an ecoregion which covers most of the Pontic Mountains in northern Turkey, while the Caucasus mixed forests extend across the eastern end of the range. The region is home to Eurasian wildlife such as the Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Golden Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Caucasian Black Grouse, Red-fronted Serin, and Wallcreeper. The narrow coastal strip between the Pontic Mountains and the Black Sea is home to the Euxine-Colchic deciduous forests, which contain some of the world''s few temperate rainforests.

There are 40 national parks, 189 nature parks, 31 nature preserve areas, 80 wildlife protection areas and 109 nature monuments in Turkey such as Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park, Mount Nemrut National Park, Ancient Troya National Park, Ölüdeniz Nature Park and Polonezköy Nature Park

Ankara, the capital of Turkey, is renowned for the Angora cat, Angora rabbit and Angora goat. Another national cat breed of Turkey is the Van cat. The national dog breeds are the Anatolian Shepherd, Kangal, Malaklı and Akbaş.

Climate Main article: Climate of TurkeyClimate diagram of Turkey

The coastal areas of Turkey bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea have a temperate Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters. The coastal areas bordering the Black Sea have a temperate Oceanic climate with warm, wet summers and cool to cold, wet winters. The Turkish Black Sea coast receives the greatest amount of precipitation and is the only region of Turkey that receives high precipitation throughout the year. The eastern part of that coast averages 2,200 millimetres (87 in) annually which is the highest precipitation in the country.

The coastal areas bordering the Sea of Marmara, which connects the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea, have a transitional climate between a temperate Mediterranean climate and a temperate Oceanic climate with warm to hot, moderately dry summers and cool to cold, wet winters. Snow falls on the coastal areas of the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea almost every winter, but usually melts in no more than a few days. However snow is rare in the coastal areas of the Aegean Sea and very rare in the coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea.

Mountains close to the coast prevent Mediterranean influences from extending inland, giving the central Anatolian plateau of the interior of Turkey a continental climate with sharply contrasting seasons.

Winters on the eastern part of the plateau are especially severe. Temperatures of −30 to −40 °C (−22 to −40 °F) can occur in eastern Anatolia. Snow may remain at least 120 days of the year. In the west, winter temperatures average below 1 °C (34 °F). Summers are hot and dry, with temperatures often above 30 °C (86 °F) in the day. Annual precipitation averages about 400 millimetres (15 in), with actual amounts determined by elevation. The driest regions are the Konya plain and the Malatya plain, where annual rainfall is often less than 300 millimetres (12 in). May is generally the wettest month, whereas July and August are the driest.

Economy Main article: Economy of TurkeySkyscrapers of Levent business district in Istanbul, Turkey''s largest city and leading economical center.

Turkey has the world''s 15th largest GDP by PPP and 17th largest nominal GDP. The country is among the founding members of the OECD and the G-20 major economies.

The EU – Turkey Customs Union in 1995 led to an extensive liberalization of tariff rates, and forms one of the most important pillars of Turkey''s foreign trade policy. Turkey''s exports were $143.5 billion in 2011 and they reached $163 billion in 2012 (main export partners in 2012: Germany 8.6%, Iraq 7.1%, Iran 6.5%, UK 5.7%, UAE 5.4%). However, larger imports which amounted to $229 billion in 2012 threatened the balance of trade (main import partners in 2012: Russia 11.3%, Germany 9%, China 9%, USA 6%, Italy 5.6%).

Turkey has a large automotive industry, which produced over a million motor vehicles in 2012, ranking as the 16th largest producer in the world. Turkish shipbuilding exports were worth US$1.2 billion in 2011. The major export markets are Malta, Marshall Islands, Panama and the United Kingdom. Turkish shipyards have 15 floating docks of different sizes and one dry dock. Tuzla, Yalova, and İzmit have developed into dynamic shipbuilding centres. In 2011, there were 70 active shipyards in Turkey, with another 56 being built. Turkish shipyards are highly regarded both for the production of chemical and oil tankers up to 10,000 dwt and also for their mega yachts.

Turkish brands like Beko and Vestel are among the largest producers of consumer electronics and home appliances in Europe, and invest a substantial amount of funds for research and development in new technologies related to these fields.

Other key sectors of the Turkish economy are banking, construction, home appliances, electronics, textiles, oil refining, petrochemical products, food, mining, iron and steel, and machine industry. In 2010, the agricultural sector accounted for 9% of GDP, while the industrial sector accounted for 26% and the services sector for 65%. However, agriculture still accounted for a quarter of employment. In 2004, it was estimated that 46% of total disposable income was received by the top 20% of income earners, while the lowest 20% received only 6%. The rate of female employment in Turkey was 30% in 2012, the lowest among all OECD countries.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) was $8.3 billion in 2012, a figure expected to rise to $15 billion in 2013. In 2012, Fitch Group upgraded Turkey''s credit rating to investment grade after an 18-year gap; this was followed by a ratings upgrade by Moody''s in May 2013, as the service lifted Turkey''s government bond ratings to the lowest investment grade Baa3.

In the early years of the 21st century, the chronically high inflation was brought under control; this led to the launch of a new currency, the Turkish new lira in 2005, to cement the acquisition of the economic reforms and erase the vestiges of an unstable economy. In 2009, the new Turkish lira was renamed back to the Turkish lira, with the introduction of new banknotes and coins. As a result of continuing economic reforms, inflation dropped to 8% in 2005, and the unemployment rate to 10%.

History Main article: Economic history of Turkey

During the first six decades of the republic, between 1923 and 1983, Turkey generally adhered to a quasi-statist approach with strict government planning of the budget and government-imposed limitations over private sector participation, foreign trade, flow of foreign currency, and foreign direct investment. However in 1983 Prime Minister Turgut Özal initiated a series of reforms designed to shift the economy from a statist, insulated system to a more private-sector, market-based model.

The reforms, combined with unprecedented amounts of funding from foreign loans, spurred rapid economic growth; but this growth was punctuated by sharp recessions and financial crises in 1994, 1999 (following the earthquake of that year), and 2001; resulting in an average of 4% GDP growth per annum between 1981 and 2003. Lack of additional fiscal reforms, combined with large and growing public sector deficits and widespread corruption, resulted in high inflation, a weak banking sector and increased macroeconomic volatility. Since the economic crisis of 2001 and the reforms initiated by the finance minister of the time, Kemal Derviş, inflation has fallen to single-digit numbers, investor confidence and foreign investment have soared, and unemployment has fallen.

Turkey has gradually opened up its markets through economic reforms by reducing government controls on foreign trade and investment and the privatization of publicly owned industries, and the liberalization of many sectors to private and foreign participation has continued amid political debate. The public debt to GDP ratio peaked at 75.9% during the recession of 2001, falling to an estimated 26.9% by 2013.

The real GDP growth rate from 2002 to 2007 averaged 6.8% annually, which made Turkey one of the fastest growing economies in the world during that period. However, growth slowed to 1% in 2008, and in 2009 the Turkish economy was affected by the global financial crisis, with a recession of 5%. The economy was estimated to have returned to 8% growth in 2010. According to Eurostat data, Turkish GDP per capita adjusted by purchasing power standard stood at 52% of the EU average in 2011.

Tourism Main article: Tourism in TurkeyMost of the beach resorts in Turkey are located in the Turkish Riviera.

Tourism in Turkey has experienced rapid growth in the last twenty years, and constitutes an important part of the economy. In 2013, 37.8 million foreign visitors arrived in Turkey, which ranked as the 6th most popular tourism destination in the world; they contributed $27.9 billion to Turkey''s revenues. In 2012, 15% of the tourists were from Germany, 11% from Russia, 8% from the United Kingdom, 5% from Bulgaria, 4% each from Georgia, the Netherlands and Iran, 3% from France, 2% each from the USA and Syria, and 40% from other countries. Turkey has 13 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the "Historic Areas of Istanbul", the "Rock Sites of Cappadocia", the "Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük", "Hattusa: the Hittite Capital", the "Archaeological Site of Troy", "Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape", "Hierapolis – Pamukkale", and "Mount Nemrut"; and 51 World Heritage Sites in tentative list, such as the archaeological sites or historic urban centers of Göbekli Tepe, Gordion, Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Perga, Lycia, Sagalassos, Aizanoi, Zeugma, Ani, Harran, Mardin, Konya and Alanya. Turkey hosts two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, which are the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the Temple of Artemis.

Infrastructure Main articles: Transport in Turkey, Communications in Turkey and Energy in TurkeyIstanbul Atatürk Airport is the 14th busiest airport in the world with 17 million passengers.

As of 2009, there were 102 airports in Turkey, including eight international airports. The new (third) international airport of Istanbul is planned to be the largest airport in the world, with a capacity to serve 150 million passengers per annum. Turkish Airlines, flag carrier of Turkey since 1933, was selected by Skytrax as Europe''s best airline for three consecutive years in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

As of 2014, the country has a roadway network of 65,623 kilometres (40,776 mi). The total length of the rail network was 10,991 km in 2008, including 2,133 km of electrified and 457 km of high-speed track. The Turkish State Railways started building high-speed rail lines in 2003. The Ankara-Konya line became operational in 2011 while the Ankara-Istanbul line entered service in 2014.

In 2008, 7,555 kilometres (4,694 mi) of natural gas pipelines and 3,636 kilometres (2,259 mi) of petroleum pipelines spanned the country''s territory. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, the second longest oil pipeline in the world, was inaugurated on May 10, 2005.

In 2013, the energy consumption was 240 billion kilowatt hours. As Turkey imported 72% of its energy in 2013, the government decided to invest in nuclear power to reduce imports. Three nuclear power stations are to be built by 2023. Turkey has the fifth highest direct utilization and capacity of geothermal power in the world. Turkey is a partner country of the EU INOGATE energy programme.

Turkey''s first nuclear power plants are expected to be built in Mersin''s Akkuyu district on the Mediterranean coast; in Sinop''s İnceburun district on the Black Sea coast; and in Kırklareli''s İğneada district on the Black Sea coast. Turkey has the fifth highest direct utilization and capacity of geothermal power in the world. Turkey is a partner country of the EU INOGATE energy programme, which has four key topics: enhancing energy security, convergence of member state energy markets on the basis of EU internal energy market principles, supporting sustainable energy development, and attracting investment for energy projects of common and regional interest.

Science and technology Main article: Science and technology in TurkeyTAI ranks among the top 100 global players in the aerospace and defence sectors.

TÜBİTAK is the leading agency for developing science, technology and innovation policies in Turkey. TÜBA is an autonomous scholarly society acting to promote scientific activities in Turkey. TAEK is the official nuclear energy institution of Turkey. Its objectives include academic research in nuclear energy, and the development and implementation of peaceful nuclear tools.

Turkish government companies for research and development in military technologies include Turkish Aerospace Industries, Aselsan, Havelsan, Roketsan, MKE, among others. Turkish Satellite Assembly, Integration and Test Center (UMET) is a spacecraft production and testing facility owned by the Ministry of National Defence and operated by the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). The Turkish Space Launch System (UFS) is a project to develop the satellite launch capability of Turkey. It consists of the construction of a spaceport, the development of satellite launch vehicles as well as the establishment of remote earth stations.

Demographics Main article: Demographics of Turkey See also: Turkish people and Minorities in Turkey Historical populations Year Pop. ±% p.a. 1927 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2012
13,554,000 —    
14,440,000 +2.13%
17,728,000 +2.07%
20,807,000 +1.61%
27,506,000 +2.83%
35,321,000 +2.53%
44,439,000 +2.32%
55,120,000 +2.18%
64,252,000 +1.54%
73,003,000 +1.29%
75,627,000 +1.78%
Source: Turkstat

According to the Address-Based Population Recording System of Turkey, the country''s population was 74.7 million people in 2011, nearly three-quarters of whom lived in towns and cities. According to the 2011 estimate, the population is increasing by 1.35% each year. Turkey has an average population density of 97 people per km². People within the 15–64 age group constitute 67.4% of the total population; the 0–14 age group corresponds to 25.3%; while senior citizens aged 65 years or older make up 7.3%. In 1927, when the first official census was recorded in the Republic of Turkey, the population was 13.6 million. The largest city in Turkey, Istanbul, is also the largest city in Europe in population, and the third-largest city in Europe in terms of size.

Article 66 of the Turkish Constitution defines a "Turk" as "anyone who 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. They are estimated at 70–75% by the CIA World Factbook. Reliable data on the ethnic mix of the population is not available, because Turkish census figures do not include statistics on ethnicity. The three minority groups officially recognised in the Treaty of Lausanne are Armenians, Greeks and Jews. Other ethnic groups include Abkhazians, Albanians, Arabs, Assyrians, Bosniaks, Circassians, Georgians, Hamshenis, Laz, Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Pomaks, and Roma. The Kurds, a distinct ethnic group concentrated mainly in the southeastern provinces of the country, are the largest non-Turkic ethnicity, variously estimated around 18%. Minorities besides the Kurds are thought to make up an estimated 7–12% of the population. Minorities other than the three officially recognized ones do not have specific minority rights. The term "minority" itself remains a sensitive issue in Turkey, while the Turkish government is frequently criticized for its treatment of minorities. Minorities of European origin include the Levantines, who have been present in the country (particularly in Istanbul and Izmir) since the medieval period.

Turkey has 1,864,889 immigrants and government has accepted over 800,000 Syrian refugees since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War. Turkey has accommodated most of its Syrian refugees in tent cities administered by the country''s emergency management agency.

The country''s official language is Turkish, which is spoken by approximately 85% of the population as mother tongue. Around 12% of the population speaks Kurdish as mother tongue. Arabic and Zaza are the mother tongues of more than 1% of the population each, and several other languages are the mother tongues of smaller parts of the population. Endangered languages in Turkey include Abaza, Abkhaz, Adyge, Cappadocian Greek, Gagauz, Hértevin, Homshetsma, Judezmo, Kabard-Cherkes, Laz, Mlahso, Pontic Greek, Romani, Suret, Turoyo, Ubykh, Western Armenian, and Zazaki.

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Largest cities or towns of Turkey TÜİK''s address-based calculation from December, 2013.Rank Name Province Pop. Rank Name Province Pop.
IstanbulAnkara 1 Istanbul Istanbul 13,820,334 11 Kayseri Kayseri 880,255 IzmirBursa
2 Ankara Ankara 4,474,305 12 Eskişehir Eskişehir 670,544
3 Izmir Izmir 2,828,927 13 Gebze Kocaeli 582,352
4 Bursa Bursa 1,769,752 14 Şanlıurfa Şanlıurfa 551,511
5 Adana Adana 1,645,965 15 Denizli Denizli 540,000
6 Gaziantep Gaziantep 1,465,019 16 Samsun Samsun 523,192
7 Konya Konya 1,138,609 17 Kahramanmaraş Kahramanmaraş 458,628
8 Antalya Antalya 1,027,551 18 Adapazarı Sakarya 449,290
9 Diyarbakır Diyarbakır 906,013 19 Malatya Malatya 425,000
10 Mersin Mersin 898,813 20 Erzurum Erzurum 381,104
Religion Main article: Religion in Turkey See also: List of mosques in Turkey, List of churches in Turkey and List of synagogues in TurkeySultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul is popularly known as the Blue Mosque due to the blue İznik tiles which adorn its interior.

Turkey is a secular state with no official state religion; the Turkish Constitution provides for freedom of religion and conscience. The role of religion has been a controversial debate over the years since the formation of Islamist parties. For many decades, the wearing of the hijab was banned in schools and government buildings because it was viewed as a symbol of political Islam. However, the ban was lifted from universities in 2011, from government buildings in 2013, and from schools in 2014.

Islam is the dominant religion of Turkey with 99.8% of the population being registered as Muslim. while some sources give a little lower estimate of 96.4%, with the most popular sect being the Hanafite school of Sunni Islam. The highest Islamic religious authority is the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Turkish: Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı), it interprets the Hanafi school of law, and is responsible for regulating the operation of the country''s 80,000 registered mosques and employing local and provincial imams. Academics suggest the Alevi population may be from 15 to 20 million. and according to Aksiyon magazine, the number of Shiite Twelvers (excluding Alevis) is 3 million (4.2%). There are also some Sufi Muslims. Roughly 2% are non-denominational Muslims.

The percentage of non-Muslims in Turkey fell from 19% in 1914 to 2.5% in 1927. There are about 120,000 people of different Christian denominations, representing less than 0.2% of Turkey''s population, including an estimated 80,000 Oriental Orthodox, 35,000 Roman Catholics, 5,000 Greek Orthodox and smaller numbers of Protestants. Today there are 236 churches open for worship in Turkey. The Eastern Orthodox Church has been headquartered in Istanbul since the 4th century.

There are about 26,000 people who are Jewish, the vast majority of whom are Sephardi. There have been Jewish communities in Asia Minor since at least the 5th century BCE and many Spanish and Portuguese Jews expelled from Spain were welcomed into the Ottoman Empire (including regions part of modern Turkey) in the late 15th century (see History of the Jews in the Ottoman Empire), twenty centuries later. Despite emigration during the 20th century, modern-day Turkey continues to have a small Jewish population.

Education Main article: Education in Turkey See also: List of high schools in Turkey and List of universities in TurkeyIstanbul University was founded in 1453 as a Darülfünûn. On 1 August 1933 it was reorganized and became Turkey''s first university.

The Ministry of National Education is responsible for pre-tertiary education. This is compulsory and lasts twelve years: four years each of primary school, middle school and high school. Less than half of 25-34 year old Turks have completed at least upper secondary education, compared with an OECD average of over 80%. Basic education in Turkey is considered to lag behind other OECD countries, with significant differences between high and low performers. Turkey is ranked 32nd out of 34 in the OECD''s PISA study. Access to high-quality school heavily depends on the performance in the secondary school entrance exams, to the point that some students begin taking private tutoring classes when they are 10 years old. The overall adult literacy rate in 2011 was 94.1%, 97.9% for males and 90.3% for females.

By 2011, there were 166 universities in Turkey. Entry to higher education depends on the Student Selection Examination (ÖSS). In 2008, the quota of admitted students was 600,000, compared to 1,700,000 who took the ÖSS exam in 2007. Except for the Open Education Faculty (Turkish: Açıköğretim Fakültesi) at Anadolu University, entrance is regulated by the national ÖSS examination, after which high school graduates are assigned to universities according to their performance. According to the 2012–2013 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the top university in Turkey is Middle East Technical University (in the 201-225 rank range), followed by Bilkent University and Koç University (both in the 226-250 range), Istanbul Technical University and Boğaziçi University (in the 276-300 bracket).

Healthcare Main article: Health care in Turkey See also: List of hospitals in Turkey

Health care in Turkey used to be dominated by a centralized state system run by the Ministry of Health. In 2003, the government introduced a sweeping health reform programme aimed at increasing the ratio of private to state health provision and making healthcare available to a larger share of the population. Turkish Statistical Institute announced that 76.3 billion TL was spent for healthcare in 2012; 79.6% of which was covered by the Social Security Institution and 15.4% of which was paid directly by the patients. In 2012, there were 29,960 medical institutions in Turkey, and on average one doctor per 583 people and 2.65 beds per 1000 people.

Life expectancy stands at 71.1 years for men and 75.3 years for women, with an overall average of 73.2 years for the populace as a whole.

The first three groups of diseases that cause death, respectively; Diseases of the circulatory system (39.8%), benign and malignant tumors (21.3%), respiratory diseases (9.8%)

Culture Main article: Culture of TurkeyWhirling Dervishes of the Mevlevi Order during a Sema. The ceremony is one of the 11 elements of Turkey on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.

Turkey has a very diverse culture that is a blend of various elements of the Oğuz Turkic, Anatolian, Ottoman (which was itself a continuation of both Greco-Roman and Islamic cultures) and Western culture and traditions, which started with the Westernisation of the Ottoman Empire and still continues today. This mix originally began as a result of the encounter of Turks and their culture with those of the peoples who were in their path during their migration from Central Asia to the West. Turkish culture is a product of efforts to be a "modern" Western state, while maintaining traditional religious and historical values.

Arts Main article: Arts in Turkey Further information: Turkish painting, Turkish literature, Turkish dance, Turkish folklore, Music of Turkey, Theatre of Turkey and Festivals in Turkey

Turkish painting, in the Western sense, developed actively starting from the mid 19th century. The very first painting lessons were scheduled at what is now the Istanbul Technical University (then the Imperial Military Engineering School) in 1793, mostly for technical purposes. In the late 19th century, human figure in the western sense was being established in Turkish painting, especially with Osman Hamdi Bey. Impressionism, among the contemporary trends, appeared later on with Halil Paşa. The young Turkish artists sent to Europe in 1926 came back inspired by contemporary trends such as Fauvism, Cubism and even Expressionism, still very influential in Europe. The later "Group D" of artists introduced some trends that had lasted in the West for thirty, forty years. Other important movements in Turkish painting were the "Yeniler Grubu" (The Newcomers Group) of the late 1930s; the "On''lar Grubu" (Group of Ten) of the 1940s; the "Yeni Dal Grubu" (New Branch Group) of the 1950s; and the "Siyah Kalem Grubu" (Black Pen Group) of the 1960s.

Turkish music and literature are examples of a mix of cultural influences. Interaction between the Ottoman Empire and the Islamic world along with Europe contributed to a blend of Turkic, Islamic and European traditions in modern-day Turkish music and literary arts. Turkish literature was heavily influenced by Persian and Arabic literature during most of the Ottoman era. The Tanzimat reforms introduced previously unknown Western genres, primarily the novel and the short story. Many of the writers in the Tanzimat period wrote in several genres simultaneously: for instance, the poet Nâmık Kemal also wrote the important 1876 novel İntibâh (Awakening), while the journalist Şinasi is noted for writing, in 1860, the first modern Turkish play, the one-act comedy "Şair Evlenmesi" (The Poet''s Marriage). Most of the roots of modern Turkish literature were formed between the years 1896 and 1923. Broadly, there were three primary literary movements during this period: the Edebiyyât-ı Cedîde (New Literature) movement; the Fecr-i Âtî (Dawn of the Future) movement; and the Millî Edebiyyât (National Literature) movement. The first radical step of innovation in 20th century Turkish poetry was taken by Nâzım Hikmet, who introduced the free verse style. Another revolution in Turkish poetry came about in 1941 with the Garip Movement. The mix of cultural influences in Turkey is dramatized, for example, in the form of the "new symbols of the clash and interlacing of cultures" enacted in the novels of Orhan Pamuk, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Turkey has a diverse folkloric dance culture. Hora is performed in East Thrace; Zeybek in the Aegean Region, Southern Marmara and East-Central Anatolia Region; Teke in the Western Mediterranean Region; Kaşık Oyunları and Karşılama in West-Central Anatolia, Western Black Sea Region, Southern Marmara Region and Eastern Mediterranean Region; Horon in the Central and Eastern Black Sea Region; Halay in Eastern Anatolia and the Central Anatolia Region; and Bar and Lezginka in the Northeastern Anatolia Region.

Architecture Main article: Architecture of Turkey Further information: Byzantine architecture, Seljuk architecture and Ottoman architectureThe Grand Post Office (1905–1909) in Istanbul and the first Ziraat Bank headquarters (1925–1929) in Ankara are among the examples of Turkish Neoclassical architecture in the early 20th century

The architecture of the Seljuk Turks combined the elements and characteristics of the Turkic architectue of Central Asia with those of Persian, Arab, Armenian and Byzantine architecture. The transition from Seljuk architecture to Ottoman architecture is most visible in Bursa, which was the capital of the Ottoman State between 1335 and 1413. Following the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453, Ottoman architecture was significantly influenced by Byzantine architecture. Topkapı Palace in Istanbul is one of the most famous examples of classical Ottoman architecture and was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years. Mimar Sinan (c.1489–1588) was the most important architect of the classical period in Ottoman architecture. He was the chief architect of at least 374 buildings which were constructed in various provinces of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.

Since the 18th century, Turkish architecture has been increasingly influenced by European styles, and this can be particularly seen in the Tanzimat era buildings of Istanbul like the Dolmabahçe, Çırağan, Feriye, Beylerbeyi, Küçüksu, Ihlamur and Yıldız palaces. The Ottoman era waterfront houses (yalı) on the Bosphorus also reflect the fusion between classical Ottoman and European architectural styles during the aforementioned period. The First National Architectural Movement (Birinci Ulusal Mimarlık Akımı) in the early 20th century sought to create a new architecture, which was based on motifs from Seljuk and Ottoman architecture. The movement was also labelled Turkish Neoclassical or the National Architectural Renaissance. The leading architects of this movement were Vedat Tek (1873–1942), Mimar Kemaleddin Bey (1870–1927), Arif Hikmet Koyunoğlu (1888–1982) and Giulio Mongeri (1873–1953). Notable buildings from this era are the Grand Post Office in Istanbul (1905–1909), Tayyare Apartments (1919–1922), Istanbul 4th Vakıf Han (1911–1926), State Art and Sculpture Museum (1927–1930), Ethnography Museum of Ankara (1925–1928), the first Ziraat Bank headquarters in Ankara (1925–1929), the first Türkiye İş Bankası headquarters in Ankara (1926–1929), Bebek Mosque, and Kamer Hatun Mosque.

Sports Main article: Sports in Turkey

The most popular sport in Turkey is association football (soccer). Galatasaray won the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 2000. The Turkish national football team finished 3rd and won the bronze medal in the 2002 FIFA World Cup and in the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup; while also reaching the semi-finals (finishing 3rd by goals difference) in the UEFA Euro 2008.

Other mainstream sports such as basketball and volleyball are also popular. The Turkish men''s national basketball team won the silver medal in the finals of the 2010 FIBA World Championship and EuroBasket 2001, which were both hosted by Turkey. They also won two gold medals (1987 and 2013), one silver medal (1971) and three bronze medals (1967, 1983 and 2009) in the Mediterranean Games. Turkish basketball club Anadolu Efes S.K. won the FIBA Korać Cup in 1996, finished 2nd in the FIBA Saporta Cup of 1993, and made it to the Final Four of Euroleague and Suproleague in 2000 and 2001, finishing 3rd in both occasions. Another Turkish basketball club, Beşiktaş, won the FIBA EuroChallenge in 2012. The Final of the 2013–14 EuroLeague Women basketball championship was played between two Turkish teams, Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe, and won by Galatasaray.

The Turkish women''s national volleyball team won the silver medal in the 2003 European Championship, the bronze medal in the 2011 European Championship, and the bronze medal in the 2012 FIVB World Grand Prix. They also won a gold medal (2005), six silver medals (1987, 1991, 1997, 2001, 2009, 2013) and a bronze medal (1993) in the Mediterranean Games. Women''s volleyball clubs in Turkey, namely Fenerbahçe, Eczacıbaşı and Vakıfbank, have won numerous European championship titles and medals. Fenerbahçe won the 2010 FIVB Women''s Club World Championship and the 2012 CEV Women''s Champions League. Representing Europe as the winner of the 2012–13 CEV Women''s Champions League, Vakıfbank also became the world champion by winning the 2013 FIVB Women''s Club World Championship.

The traditional Turkish national sport has been yağlı güreş (oiled wrestling) since Ottoman times. Edirne has hosted the annual Kırkpınar oiled wrestling tournament since 1361. International wrestling styles governed by FILA such as Freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling are also popular, with many European, World and Olympic championship titles won by Turkish wrestlers both individually and as a national team.

Cuisine Main article: Cuisine of TurkeyTurkish coffee with Turkish delight. Turkish coffee is a UNESCO-listed intangible cultural heritage of Turks.

Turkish cuisine is often regarded as one of the greatest in the world. Its culinary traditions have successfully survived over 1,300 years for several reasons, including its favorable location and Mediterranean climate. The country''s position between the Far East and the Mediterranean Sea helped the Turks gain complete control of major trade routes, and an ideal environment allowed plants and animals to flourish. Such advantages helped to develop and sustain a lasting and influential cuisine.

The Turkish people are descendents of nomadic tribes from Mongolia and western Asia who moved westward and became herdsmen around A.D. 600. Early influence from the Chinese and Persians included noodles and manti , cheese- or meat-stuffed dumplings (similar to the Italian ravioli), often covered in a yogurt sauce. Manti has often been credited with first introducing dolma (stuffed foods) into the Turkish cuisine. The milk and various dairy products that became staple foods for the herdsmen were nearly unused by the Chinese. This difference helped the Turks to establish their own unique diet.

By A.D. 1000, the Turks were moving westward towards richer soil where they grew crops such as wheat and barley. Thin sheets of dough called yufka along with crushed grains were used to create sweet pastries. The Persians introduced rice, various nuts, and meat and fruit stews. In return, the Turks taught them how to cook bulgur wheat. As the Turks moved further westward into Anatolia (present-day Turkey) by 1200, they encountered chickpeas and figs, as well as Greek olive oil and an abundance of seafood.

A heavily influential Turkish cuisine was well established by the mid-1400s, the beginning of the (Turkish) Ottoman Empire''s six hundred-year reign. Yogurt salads, fish in olive oil, and stuffed and wrapped vegetables became Turkish staples. The empire, eventually spanning from Austria to northern Africa, used its land and water routes to import exotic ingredients from all over the world. By the end of the 1500s, the Ottoman court housed over 1,400 live-in cooks and passed laws regulating the freshness of food. Since the fall of the empire in World War I (1914–1918) and the establishment of the Turkish Republic, foreign dishes such as French hollandaise sauce and Western fast food chains have made their way into the modern Turkish diet.

Media Main article: Media in Turkey See also: Turkish television drama

Hundreds of television channels, thousands of local and national radio stations, several dozen newspapers, a productive and profitable national cinema and a rapid growth of broadband internet use all make up a very vibrant media industry in Turkey. In 2003 a total of 257 television stations and 1,100 radio stations were licensed to operate, and others operated without licenses. Of those licensed, 16 television and 36 radio stations reached national audiences. The majority of the audiences are shared among public broadcaster TRT and the network-style channels such as Kanal D, Show TV, ATV and Star TV. The broadcast media have a very high penetration as satellite dishes and cable systems are widely available. The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) is the government body overseeing the broadcast media. By circulation, the most popular daily newspapers are Zaman, Posta, Hürriyet, Sözcü, Sabah and Habertürk. Turkish television dramas are increasingly becoming popular beyond Turkey''s borders and are among the country''s most vital exports, both in terms of profit and public relations.

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