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Turkey Country Guide

Explore Turkey in Asia

Turkey with the capital city Ankara is located in Asia (Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia (that portion of Turkey west of the Bosporus is geographically part of Europe), bordering the Black Sea). It covers some 780,581 square kilometres (slightly larger than Texas) with 71,892,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Turkey

The topography includes high central plateau (Anatolia) with narrow coastal plain and several mountain ranges. The average density of population is approximately 92 per km². The notable climate conditions in Turkey can be described as temperate with hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters, harsher in interior. Possible natural disasters include severe earthquakes, especially in northern Turkey, along an arc extending from the Sea of Marmara to Lake Van.

To reach someone in Turkey dial +90 prior to a number. There are 16,534,000 installed telephones. And there are 62,780,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900, 1800 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".tr". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 230V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Turkey

Red with a vertical white crescent moon (the closed portion is toward the hoist side) and white five-pointed star centered just outside the crescent opening; the flag colors and designs closely resemble those on the banner of Ottoman Empire, which preceded modern-day Turkey; the crescent moon and star serve as insignia for the Turks, as well as being traditional symbols of Islam; according to legend, the flag represents the reflection of the moon and a star in a pool of blood of Turkish warriors.

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, but democracy has been fractured by periods of instability and intermittent military coups (1960, 1971, 1980), which in each case eventually resulted in a return of political power to civilians. In 1997, the military again helped engineer the ouster - popularly dubbed a "post-modern coup" - of the then Islamic-oriented government. Turkey intervened militarily on Cyprus in 1974 to prevent a Greek takeover of the island and has since acted as patron state to the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," which only Turkey recognizes. A separatist insurgency begun in 1984 by the Kurdistan Workers'' Party (PKK) - now known as the Kurdistan People's Congress or Kongra-Gel (KGK) - has dominated the Turkish military''s attention and claimed more than 30,000 lives. After the capture of the group''s leader in 1999, the insurgents largely withdrew from Turkey mainly to northern Iraq. In 2004, KGK announced an end to its ceasefire and attacks attributed to the KGK increased. Turkey joined the UN in 1945 and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. In 1964, Turkey became an associate member of the European Community. Over the past decade, it has undertaken many reforms to strengthen its democracy and economy; it began accession membership talks with the European Union in 2005.

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Asia
Neighbours: Syria, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, Greece, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria
Capital: Ankara
Size 780,580 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 301,384 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly larger than Texas
Population 71,892,000
Currency Name: Lira, Currency Code: TRY
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .tr
Telephone Country Prefix +90
Mobile Phone Connections 62,780,000
Landline Phone Connections 16,534,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 783,562 (sq km) 37

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 80,694,485 17
Population growth rate 1.16 (%) 100
Birth rate 17.22 (births/1,000 population) 109
Death rate 6.11 (deaths/1,000 population) 160
Net migration rate 0.48 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 67
Maternal mortality rate 20.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 140
Infant mortality rate 22.23 (deaths/1,000 live births) 84
Life expectancy at birth 73.03 (years) 126
Total fertility rate 2.10 (children born/woman) 110
Health expenditures 6.70 (% of GDP) 93
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.10 (%) 111
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 4,600 120
HIV/AIDS - deaths 200 110
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 27.80 (%) 36
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 3.50 (%) 101
Education expenditures 2.90 (% of GDP) 145
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 18.4 (%) 68


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 1,142,000,000,000 17
GDP - real growth rate 2.60 (%) 119
GDP - per capita (PPP) 15,200 90
Labor force 27,110,000 23
Unemployment rate 9.00 (%) 104
Distribution of family income - Gini index 40 58
Investment (gross fixed) 21.90 (% of GDP) 73
Taxes and other revenues 22.6 (% of GDP) 138
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -2.60 (% of GDP) 99
Public debt 40.40 (% of GDP) 90
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 9.10 (%) 194
Central bank discount rate 15.00 (%) 10
Commercial bank prime lending rate 17.00 (%) 29
Stock of narrow money 83,290,000,000 39
Stock of broad money 386,500,000,000 27
Stock of domestic credit 520,900,000,000 26
Market value of publicly traded shares 306,700,000,000 28
Industrial production growth rate 9.20 (%) 15
Current account balance -59,740,000,000 189
Exports 154,200,000,000 32
Imports 225,600,000,000 23
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 93,380,000,000 25
Debt - external 336,900,000,000 32
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 117,600,000,000 35
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 21,350,000,000 45


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 201,200,000,000 (kWh) 22
Electricity - consumption 155,200,000,000 (kWh) 25
Electricity - exports 1,918,000,000 (kWh) 41
Electricity - imports 1,144,000,000 (kWh) 62
Electricity - installed generating capacity 44760000 (kW) 20
Electricity - from fossil fuels 65.3 (% of total installed capacity) 126
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 32.5 (% of total installed capacity) 68
Electricity - from other renewable sources 2.2 (% of total installed capacity) 56
Crude oil - production 45,740 (bbl/day) 61
Crude oil - imports 284,400 (bbl/day) 26
Crude oil - proved reserves 270400000 (bbl) 58
Refined petroleum products - production 343,400 (bbl/day) 40
Refined petroleum products - consumption 706,100 (bbl/day) 27
Refined petroleum products - exports 68,450 (bbl/day) 51
Refined petroleum products - imports 297,400 (bbl/day) 23
Natural gas - production 761,000,000 (cu m) 68
Natural gas - consumption 44,710,000,000 (cu m) 22
Natural gas - exports 713,000,000 (cu m) 42
Natural gas - imports 43,900,000,000 (cu m) 10
Natural gas - proved reserves 6,173,000,000 (cu m) 85
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 263,500,000 (Mt) 24


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 15,211,000 18
Telephones - mobile cellular 65,322,000 19
Internet hosts 7,093,000 16
Internet users 27,233,000 15


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 98 61
Railways 8,699 (km) 23
Roadways 352,046 (km) 19
Waterways 1,200 (km) 60
Merchant marine 629 18


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 5.30 (% of GDP) 14

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
Archaeological Site of Troy
Troy, with its 4,000 years of history, is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. The first excavations at the site were undertaken by the famous archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1870. In scientific terms, its extensive remains ...
Bursa and Cumalıkızık: the Birth of the Ottoman Empire
This property is a serial nomination of eight component sites in the City of Bursa and the nearby village of Cumalıkızık, in the southern Marmara region. The site illustrates the creation of an urban and rural system establishing the Ottoman Empir ...
City of Safranbolu
From the 13th century to the advent of the railway in the early 20th century, Safranbolu was an important caravan station on the main East–West trade route. The Old Mosque, Old Bath and Süleyman Pasha Medrese were built in 1322. During its apogee ...
Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia
In a spectacular landscape, entirely sculpted by erosion, the Göreme valley and its surroundings contain rock-hewn sanctuaries that provide unique evidence of Byzantine art in the post-Iconoclastic period. Dwellings, troglodyte villages and undergro ...
Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği
This region of Anatolia was conquered by the Turks at the beginning of the 11th century. In 1228–29 Emir Ahmet Shah founded a mosque, with its adjoining hospital, at Divrigi. The mosque has a single prayer room and is crowned by two cupolas. The hi ...
Hattusha: the Hittite Capital
The archaeological site of Hattusha, former capital of the Hittite Empire, is notable for its urban organization, the types of construction that have been preserved (temples, royal residences, fortifications), the rich ornamentation of the Lions' Gat ...
Deriving from springs in a cliff almost 200 m high overlooking the plain, calcite-laden waters have created at Pamukkale (Cotton Palace) an unreal landscape, made up of mineral forests, petrified waterfalls and a series of terraced basins. At the end ...
Historic Areas of Istanbul
With its strategic location on the Bosphorus peninsula between the Balkans and Anatolia, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Istanbul has been associated with major political, religious and artistic events for more than 2,000 years. Its masterpieces ...
Nemrut Dağ
The mausoleum of Antiochus I (69–34 B.C.), who reigned over Commagene, a kingdom founded north of Syria and the Euphrates after the breakup of Alexander's empire, is one of the most ambitious constructions of the Hellenistic period. The syncretism ...
Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük
Two hills form the 37 ha site on the Southern Anatolian Plateau. The taller eastern mound contains eighteen levels of Neolithic occupation between 7400 bc and 6200 bc, including wall paintings, reliefs, sculptures and other symbolic and artistic f ...
Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape
This site rises high above the Bakirçay Plain in Turkey’s Aegean region. The acropolis of Pergamon was the capital of the Hellenistic Attalid dynasty, a major centre of learning in the ancient world. Monumental temples, theatres, stoa or porticoes ...
Selimiye Mosque and its Social Complex
The square Mosque with its single great dome and four slender minarets, dominates the skyline of the former Ottoman capital of Edirne. Sinan, the most famous of Ottoman architects in the 16th century, considered the complex, which includes madrasas ( ...
This site, which was the capital of Lycia, illustrates the blending of Lycian traditions and Hellenic influence, especially in its funerary art. The epigraphic inscriptions are crucial for our understanding of the history of the Lycian people and the ...