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  Turkey

CAPITAL : Ankara
POPULATION : 72,561,312 (2009 estimate)
DISTRICTS : 81 provinces; Ankara (capital district)
RELIGION : No official state religion; provisional for religious freedom
TIME : EET (Eastern European Time)
CURRENCY : Turkish Lira

Overview

From humble beginnings, to Byzantine rule, to Ottoman occupation, to a modern-day marvel of breath-taking wonders and urban beauty, Turkey has gone from oppressed and obscure state to a collection of ancient and religious traditions going hand-in-hand with contemporary flair and style. 

Geography

Turkey is encircled by three seas: the Aegean to the west, the Mediterranean to the south and the Black Sea to the north. The country’s terrain came about from volcanic eruptions and frequent earthquakes. Coupled with generally temperate and warm climates and rich, fertile soil, Turkey is an agriculturally-viable country. Lakes dot the country throughout, providing the more pleasant weather conditions. Although winters in the interior are quite harsh, the coastlines are graced with a much more forgiving and enjoyable climate. 

Economy and Infrastructure

With an industry-dependent economy, as well as a rise in tourism and foreign investment sectors, Turkey has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, even with the after-effects of the 2008/2009 recession still hanging. Apart from tourism, Turkey also specializes in banking, construction, textiles, petrochemicals, automotive and machine industries, all of which benefits the country through exports and trade with the rest of the EU and Turkey’s partners. Telecommunications and retail sectors of the Turkish economy also play a large part in constantly regenerating and stabilizing the economy. 

Culture and Tourism

Like its geographic position straddling two continents, Turkish culture is largely influenced by both eastern and western trends. With a history that included occupation by the Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans and other Islamic cultures, Turkey reflects the best of both worlds. The country’s heritage can be seen in many of its historic landmarks:
  • Mosques such as Selimiye and the Hagia Sophia
  • The Dolmabahçe Palace
  • A tribute to modernity, the Bosporus Bridge, which joins European Turkey with Asian Turkey.  

Turkish Cuisine 

As with most of its prevalent influence, Turkish cuisine is a mixture of Ottoman, Balkan and Central Asian varieties. Foods like mezes, baklava and kebabs are of Turkish origin, and yoghurt is also an original Turkish product, used quite often in most Turkish foods to this day. With such varieties also including Turkish version of pastas, breads and vegetable dishes, Turkey has some of the most diversified and appealing culinary ranges in the world, while Turkish wines and the notable Turkish coffees have delighted finer palettes for ages. Top it off with desserts like halva and fruit-based tatlisi, and you have a never-ending list of Turkish delights to satisfy the need for fine dining! 

Interesting Facts

According to legend, the city of Troy was located in the western part of Turkey. Two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World were located in Turkey at Halicarnassus and Ephesus. The Gordian Knot is also a double-knotting technique used when making Turkish rugs. Turkey alone has more than 9,000 species of flowers, just 1,500 or so less species than the rest of Europe. The famous Dutch tulips were originally provided by the Turks.

  

 

 

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