About Turkey


About Turkey

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TURKEY

INTRODUCING THE RICHNESS OF ASIA MINOR: TURKEY

Turkey has an incredible heritage of the Roman and Ottoman empires as well as Prehistoric Times include marvellous sites, palaces, churches and mosques. Almost all cities are full of with personality, exotic cuisine, antique cities and Prehistoric Treasure.  Istanbul alone is worth the visit on its own right but there is so much more to see something for everyone. Designing tours is a detailed study but main areas of interest would be ; Prehistory, mythology, Hellenic–Greek and Roman Archeology , Byzantine, Seljukian and Ottoman History, architecture tours, faith or pilgrimage tours, culinary programs, shopping tours, agricultural, nature, ecological tourism and soft adventure.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

 

•Where did Noah's Ark land?                              -On Mt.Ararat

•Where was Abraham Born?                                -In Sanliurfa (Ur in Bible)

•Where was the name 'christianity' first intoroduced?                -In Antakya (ancient Antioch)

•Where was St.Paul born?                                        -In Tarsus-South Turkey

•Where was the Seven Churches of Asia Minor located?         -In Western Turkey 

•Where does the legend have it that the Virgin Mary spent her last days?         -In Selcuk

•Where was the world's first Ecumenical Council held?                             -In Nicea 

•Where does the community that still uses the Mother Tongue of Jesus live?     - In the Turkish city of Mardin

 

All in Turkey …..                

                                                                     

Some Interesting Facts about  Turkey 

 

The only city in the world located on two continents is Istanbul, which has been the capital  of three great empires - Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman - for more than 2000 years. And this city has the world s oldest and the largest shopping market: famous historical Grand Bazaar! 

Anatolia is the birthplace of historic and legendary personalities, such as Homer (the poet), King Midas (with the Gold Touch), Heredotus (the father of history), and St. Paul the Apostle. 

St. John, St. Nicholas, St. Paul and St. Peter have all lived and prayed in Southern Anatolia. 

The first coin of the World was minted in Sardis, Turkey.

Early Christians escaping Roman Persecution nearly 2000 years ago sheltered in Cappadocia in Central Anatolia. 

Southwestern Shore was a wedding gift that Mark Anthony gave to Cleopatra. 

One of the oldest Medical Centers of the World is Turkey, Asclepius of Pergamon in where the snakes were to be the symbol of medicine in 2nd century AD. 

Famous Trojan Wars took place in western Turkey, around the site where a wooden statue of the Trojan Horse rests today. 

Homer was born in Izmir on the west coast of Turkey and he depicted Troy in his Epic the Iliad.

Two Wonders of the Ancient World out of seven are in Turkey:  Temple of Artemis and Mouseleum at Halicarnassos.

 

Julius Caesar proclaimed his celebrated words, "Veni, Vidi, Vici" (I came, I saw, I conquered) in Turkey when he defeated the Pontus, a kingdom in the Black Sea region of Turkey. 

The Amazons originated in Turkey's Northeastern region. 

Alexander the Great conquered a large territory in what is now Turkey - and cut the Gordion Knot in the Phrygian capital (Gordium) not far from Turkey's present-day capital (Ankara). 

Turkey is the homeland of Mevlana Celaleddini-i Rumi the founder of Sufism.

Wine was invented in Turkey by the Hittites in 2000 BC.

The second and the third largest libraries of the Ancient World were in Turkey, Pergamon and Ephesus. And Parchment was invented in the city of Pergamon.

Psychodrama as a means of psychiatric treatment was first applied in the Asclepius Medical Center of Pergamon 2000 years ago.

Turkish tradition has it that a stranger at one's doorstep is considered "A Guest from God" and should be accommodated accordingly. 

 

Welcome to our World, Turkey!

 

General History of Turkey 

The history of Turkey tells of a 10,000 year-old civilisation. Anatolia is a melting pot where cultures from Sumer, Babylon and Assyria interacted for centuries with peoples such as the Hattis, Hittites and Hourrites. The result was a unique Anatolian civilisation which has long inspired the thoughts and legends of the West. 

The Legendary Troy:Troy was founded around 3000 BC, and played a major role in the importation of tin, vital for the production of bronze.

The Hittites Arrive:The Hittites arrived in Anatolia towards the second millennium BC. They absorbed much of the Babylonian civilisation and long enjoyed a monopoly of iron in Asia. 

Mitanni Kingdom:The Mitanni kingdom was a contemporary and the enemy of the Hittites. It was founded by the Hourrites, a people originally from the South Caspian Sea. 

The Urartian State:At the beginning of the first millennium BC, the Urartus created a unified state whose territory extended from the Caucasus to Lake Urmiya, with its capital in the present city of Van. 

The Phrygians and King Midas:The Phrygians (750-300 BC) settled in Central and Western Anatolia, in the Afyon-Ankara-Eskisehir triangle, declaring Gordion on the Sakarya river to be their capital. Their civilisation met its apogee in the second half of the 8th century BC, under the famous King Midas whom, according to the mythology, Apollo ridiculed by having him grow ears of a donkey, and whom Dionysus invested with the power to turn everything he touched into gold. Gordion fell to Persian domination around 550 BC and was liberated in 333 BC by Alexander the Great.

The Lydians Invent Money- Sardes:Around East of Izmir in Sardes, lived another people, the Lydians, thought to have invented money between 800 and 650 BC. In the 6th century BC, Croesus, the King of Lydia, agreed with the advancing Persians to divide Anatolia along the river Kızılırmak. The Persians, however, did not keep this commitment and continued to encroach on Lydian territory. They remained the sovereign power in Anatolia until the arrival of Alexander the Great in 333 BC.

Anatolia Changes Hands Again – Pergamon:After the death of Alexander the Great, Anatolia became the hub of the Seleucid Empire. Pergamon (Bergama) grew at the expense of its neighbours, and snatched part of Phrygia in 241 BC. 

The Roman Period Begins: The Roman period of Anatolia began with the death of King Attalus III of Pergamon (Bergama) who willed his country to the Romans because he had no direct heir. 

Seljuk and Ottoman Turks: In the 11th century, under their leader Tugrul, the Seljuk Turks founded the dynasty of great Seljuks reigning in Iran, Iraq and Syria. In 1071, his nephew Alp Arslan defeated the Byzantines in Malazgirt, near Lake Van. The doors of Anatolia were thus opened to the Turks, and Anatolia went through a profound transformation ethnically, politically, and in the religious, linguistic and cultural spheres. The Seljuk Sultanate in Anatolia continued until the beginning of the 14th century. The zenith of the Seljuk civilisation came in the first half of the 13th century with Konya as its political, economic, religious, artistic and literary centre. 

The Ottoman Empire Gains Ground: In 1296, Osman declared himself the independent Sultan of the region of Söğüt near Bursa he had hitherto held in fief, and founded the  Ottoman State. In 1453, under Mehmet the Conqueror, the Ottomans took Constantinople, a momentous event for the whole world and a great feat of arms. But the banner of Ottoman success was to be raised much higher and by the late l6th century the Ottomans were deep into Europe. In the following centuries, however, the Ottoman Empire lost its momentum, entered a period of stagnation and then gradually a period of decline.

World War One: The final blow to the Empire came with the First World War, during which The Ottoman Empire was on the losing side with Germany. Great Britain reversed the policy she had followed until then, and undertook with France, Russia and Italy, forming the Allied Forces. At the end of the war in 1918, the Ottoman government, under the occupation of the Allied Forces, choose not to further resist a peace treaty embodying the partition of Turkey. In May 1919, the Greeks, who had been promised a part of Anatolia, landed at Izmir and started an invasion in Western Anatolia while France sought control over South-Eastern Anatolia, and the Great Britain do the same in Istanbul in particular regions of the Middle Eas   

 

THE VISIONS OF ATATÜRK(FOUNDER OF HE REPUBLIC) AND REPUBLIC OF TURKEY

Against this challenge, the Turkish nation engaged in a struggle to restore her territorial integrity and independence, to repulse foreign aggressors, to create a new state, to disassociate Turkey from the crumbling Ottoman dynasty, to eradicate an old and decrepit order and to build a modern country dedicated to political, social and economic progress.  The Ottoman victory over the Allies at Gallipoli renewed Turkey's visions for the empire Atatürk wanted a clean break with the past, to unite the nation in the quest for modernism and to lift Turkey to the level of European countries. On October 29 1923, the republic was proclaimed and Atatürk was elected president. Secularism was established by separating religious and state affairs. The Latin alphabet replaced the Arabic script and women were given the right to vote and to be elected as members of parliament.  These reforms, as well as many others in all aspects of social life, put Turkey on the track towards becoming a thoroughly modern country.

A Proud Nation: When Ataturk died in 1938, he left a legacy of which the Turkish people today are proud. A nation that had regained confidence in itself after the independence war; a society determined to preserve the political, intellectual, cultural and social values he had bequeathed. The Turkish Republic has now been a member of the international community for over 80 years. During this period, great changes have occurred and many difficulties have been encountered.. It has established a democratic multi-party political system, developed a vibrant civil society, and embarked on the path of industrialisation and market economy. It has consolidated its ties with the west and with the European Union through membership in NATO and the Council of Europe and Customs Union.. They have also inherited from their western past, as well as forming a part of the Western present. All these heritages, Eastern and Western, Asian and European, are intermingled in the civilisation of modem Turkey. A symbol of this union is the two bridges that span the Istanbul Strait, linking the two continents with many pasts and one future. And Turkey is a candidate country negotiating with European Union for being a member of EU. A Turkish government agency; General Secretariat of European Union is responsible for the negotiations

Turkish Art & Culture: Past & Present

Dance:  Turkey has a very ancient folk dance tradition, which varies from region to region, each dance being colourful, rhythmic, elegant and stylish. Folklore has also had a considerable influence on ballet. First imported from Europe and Russia, ballet became institutionalised in the Republican era along with other performing arts. The Turkish State Ballet owes its momentum and development to the great British choreographer Dame Ninette de Valois. The State Ballet in both Ankara and İstanbul has, for decades, performed many world classics. Several new foreign and Turkish productions have been introduced into the repertoire over the years and a number of modern dance groups like the infamous “Fire of Anatolia” (Anadolu Atesi) have recently begun to give performances all over the world.

Music: Turkish music evolved from the original folk form into classical through the emergence of a Palace culture. It attained its highest point in the 16th century through the composer It is a form that continues to be professionally performed and one that attracts large audiences. Turkish music, locally called Turkish Classical Music, is a variation of the national musical tradition, played with instruments such as the tambur, kanun, ney and ud. Folk music has developed gradually over the centuries in the rural areas of Turkey.. Turkish religious music, mostly in the form of songs, is centuries old and rich in tradition, embodied most perfectly by Sufi (Mevlevi) music.The great Italian composer, Donizetti, conducted the Palace Orchestra for many years. The first military band was founded in the 19th century. During the Republican era, the Presidential Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1924, and the Orchestra of the Istanbul Municipality Conservatory played a leading role in introducing and popularising classical music in Turkey. Turkish composers drew their inspiration from Turkish folk songs and Turkish classical music. Today, Leyla Gencer was one of the leading sopranos of La Scala Opera, wildly acclaimed whenever she performed in her native Istanbul.

Theatre and Cinema: Turkish theatre is thought to have originated from the popular Karagöz shadow plays, a cross between moralistic Punch and Judy and the slapstick Laurel and Hardy. It then developed along an oral tradition, with plays performed in public places, such as coffee houses and gardens, exclusively by male actors. 

 

Turkey today boasts a thriving arts scene, with highly professional theatre, opera and ballet companies, as well as a flourishing film industry. The making of films in the true language of the cinema, free from the influence of the theatre, began towards the 1950s. Nuri Bilge Ceylan's film “Uzak” won Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival in 2003. “The Edge Of Heaven” (Yaşamın Kıyısında) which directed by Fatih Akın (2006), won the Award for Best Screenplay (Prix De Scénario) at Cannes 2007. The record holder of Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival “Egg” (Yumurta), film of Semih Kaplanoğlu, was awarded with Best 2nd Film in Estoril European Film Festival, which took place in Portugal and honoured with Eurimages Award by the jury of Sevilla Film Festival in Spain. “Bliss” (Abdullah Oğuz, 2007) has been rewarded with European Council's 'Human Rights Award'. Nuri Bilge Ceylan won the best director award in the 2008 Cannes Film Festival for his Üç Maymun (Three Monkeys). The country enjoys numerous performing arts festivals throughout the year, the most prestigious of which is the Istanbul International Festival and the Antalya Film Festival. The 67th annual Cannes Film Festival was held from 14 to 25 May 2014. New Zealand film director Jane Campion was the head of the jury for the main competition section. The Palme d'Or was awarded to the Turkish film Winter Sleep directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

 

Fine Arts: Until the 18th century, painting in Turkey was mainly in the form of miniatures, usually linked to books in the form of manuscript illustrations. In the 18th century, trends shifted towards oil painting, beginning with murals. In 1923, following the proclamation of the Republic, a society of contemporary painting was set-up, followed by many other such schools. Art exhibitions in Turkey’s cities multiplied, more and more people started to acquire paintings, and banks, and companies began investing in art.

Literature: Literature has long been an important component of Turkish cultural life, reflecting the history of the people, their legends, their mysticism, and the political and social changes that affected this land throughout its long history. Towards the 20th century, the language of Turkish literature became simpler and more political and social in substance. The great and politically controversial poet, Nazım Hikmet, inspired by the Russian poet Mayakowski, introduced free verse in the late 1930s. Nowadays, the irrefutable master of the Turkish popular novel is Yaşar Kemal, with his authentic, colourful and forceful description of Anatolian life. Young Turkish writers tend to go beyond the usual social issues, preferring to tackle problems such as feminism and aspects of die East-West dichotomy that continues to fascinate Turkish intellectuals.The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2006 was awarded to the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures. 

Opera and Ballet: In the period prior to the proclamation of the Republic in Turkey, opera, ballet and the theatre were mostly centred around Istanbul and Izmir. Notwithstanding the short history of opera in Turkey which only spans 56 years, the General Directorate of State Opera and Ballet counts amongst its members many artists of international fame, and aside from Ankara and Istanbul, many other branches have been set up in cities around the country and the results everywhere have been very successful.

 

Landscape

Turkey is a vast country, with a dramatic landscape as varied as her history

Turkey is roughly rectangular and has an area of 814,578 square kilometres or 314,510 square miles, approximately 3.5 times the size of the UK. It is situated on two continents – 3% in Europe and the remainder in Asia – which are separated by the Bosphorus, which runs from the Black Sea through Istanbul, and the inland Sea of Marmara which flows through the Dardanelles and out to the Aegean. It has a coastline of 8333 kms or 5178 miles in length, and is bordered by the Black Sea (Karadeniz ) to the north, the Sea of Marmara (Marmara Denizi ) and the Aegean ( Ege ) to the west and the Mediterranean (Akdeniz ) to the south. Turkey is a huge country and the distance from Istanbul in the north west to Hakkari in the south east is approx. 1814 kms or 1217 miles.

Turkey is an extremely mountainous country with an average altitude of 1,132 metres. The NorthAnatolian mountains run along the north of the country, parallel to the Black Sea, with the Taurus Mountains sweeping along the Mediterranean in the south. Turkey’s highest mountain peak at 5165metres or 16,946 feet is MountArarat (Ag¦rá Dag¦á) , situated in the north east. MountArarat is a snow-capped inactive volcano, which rises above the surrounding plains. It is said to have been the resting place for Noah’s Ark.

There are a large number of lakes in Turkey, some such as Lake Van, which is the largest natural lake at 3,713 square kms, covering as much area as an inland sea. A number of dams have been constructed during the past thirty years, which have resulted in the formation of several large dam lakes including theAtatürk Dam lake which started to collect water in January 1990.Amongst themany rivers which flow through Turkey, the Kázálármak, which flows into the Black Sea is the longest at 1355 kms. The Euphrates (Fárat) and Tigris (Dicle) both originate in Turkey and flow through other countries before reaching the Persian Gulf.

Turkey is separated into seven geographical regions, which are, in order of size: East Anatolia (21%), CentralAnatolia (20%), Black Sea (18%), Mediterranean (15%), Aegean (10%), Marmara (8.5%) and SoutheastAnatolia (7.5%).

Climate 

Turkey is such a large country with such diverse terrain that the climate varies greatly from one region to another. The s outhAegean and Mediterranean coasts of Turkey have a typical Mediterranean climate with hot summers andmild winters. As you head north towards Istanbul, summers become shorter and the winters colder. The Black Sea coast is Turkey’s wettest region, and t he only region which receives rainfall throughout the year. The eastern part can receive up to 2,200 mms annual rainfall, with warm summers and mild winters. In central Anatolian the summers are hot and dry and the winters cold, and as you head east towards Eastern Anatolia the summers become milder and the winters harsher - temperatures can drop as low as -30°Cto -38°Cin the mountains and snowmay lie on the ground 120 days of the year.

Natural Reserves

 

Turkey ranks 10th in the world in terms of the diversity of minerals produced in the country. One of the richest mineral deposits is boron salts andTurkey’s reserves amount to 63%of the world’s total. This ranks second in Turkey’s exports of mining products after marble and natural stones, which has been rapidly developing since 1985, and has registered an average annual growth rate which is twice the world average. There are over 120 marble deposits of different colours, design and quality in 80 districts. In 2003 the total export value of this sector was $431 million and $ 1 billion by 2012

 

Agriculture

Turkey is one of the world’s fewself-sufficient countries in terms of agricultural production in general and food stuffs in particular. Almost 15% of Turkey’s land consists of meadows and pastures; 29.5% is forest; and 35.5% arable lands. Wheat is Turkey’s leading crop and in  Turkey was the world’s biggest producer of hazelnuts, figs and apricots and 4th biggest producer of fresh vegetables, grapes and tobacco. Approximately 

30% of the population is employed in the agricultural sector.  Turkey is the world’s sixth largest cotton producer and almost 85% of its textile and ready-to-wear exports are made of cotton. It is no surprise then that almost every T-shirt you buy in the UK bears the legend ‘made in Turkey’. Turkey is the world’s fourth largest ready-to-wear clothing exporter and exports of the textile sector made up 34% of total industrial exports amounting to mre than $30 billion in  recent years 

The Southeast Anatolia Project (GAP)

In 1989 the GAP (Güney Dog¦u Anadolu Projesi) Regional Development Organisation was established to promote development in this region with an envisaged budget of $32 billion of public expenditure. It is an integrated project including 22 dams and 19 hydroelectric plants and irrigation facilities to be built along the Tigris and Euphrates. It not only encompasses infrastructure, in terms of energy and irrigation projects, but also places emphasis on human development aiming to improve the lives of those in the area, particularly women and children. 

Geographic location: Turkey's satellite picture Geography location: South-western Asia (that part west of the Bosphorus is sometimes included with Europe), bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Syria.

Geographic coordinates: 39 00 N, 35 00 E

Area : Total area: 780,580 sq km , land area: 770,760 sq km , water area: 9,820 sq km , comparative area: slightly larger than Texas, or larger than France and UK put together, or 2.5 times bigger than Italy.

Land use : arable land: 32% , permanent crops: 3% , other: 66% (2006) //  Agricultural land: 390.590 sq km (2010) (391.219 sq km - 50.12% of the land area in 2008) // Forest area: 213.900 sq km (2010) (211.887 sq km - 27% of the land area in 2004)

 Land boundaries: Total: 2,648 km , 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. Coastline: 7,200 km 

Names: Türkiye Cumhuriyeti (Turkish long form); Türkiye (Turkish short form); Republic of Turkey (formal English); Turkey (English short form); Turchia (Italian); Türkei (German); Turkiet (Swedish); Turkije (Dutch); Turkki (Finnish); Turquia (Portuguese); Turquia (Spanish); Turquie (French); Tyrkia (Norwegian); Tyrkiet (Danish); Tyrkland (Icelandic)

Maritime claims: Exclusive economic zone: in Black Sea only - to the maritime boundary agreed upon with the former USSR. Territorial sea: 6 nm in the Aegean Sea, 12 nm in the Black Sea and in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Terrain: Terrain: mostly mountains; narrow coastal plain; high central plateau (Anatolia)  lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 meters   highest point: Mount Ararat 5,166 meters  largest lake: Lake Van 3,713 square km

Natural resources: coal, iron ore, copper, chromium, antimony, mercury, gold, barite, borate, celestite (strontium), emery, feldspar, limestone, magnesite, marble, perlite, pumice, pyrites (sulfur), clay, arable land, hydropower.

Environment: International agreements: party to - Air Pollution, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Environmental Modification. 

 

Current Environmental issues: Water pollution from dumping of chemicals and detergents; air pollution, particularly in urban areas; deforestation; concern for oil spills from increasing Bosphorus ship traffic.

Geographic note: Strategic location controlling the Turkish Straits (Bosphorus, 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, in the city of Agri. The country is divided into 7 fictional geographic regions.

Population: Officially 76,667,864 as of 1st January 2014 (67,803,927 in 2000 & 13,648,270 in 1927), average of 100 inhabitants live per square kilometer, 91.3% of the total population live in the cities and 8.7% in villages or small towns in the countryside. 

Istanbul: 14,160,467 as of January 2014 (10,033,478 in 2000), 18.5 % of the total population, 2,725 people per square kilometer 

Ankara: 5,045,083 as of January 2014 (4,007,860 in 2000), 6.6 % of the total population 

Izmir:  4,061,074 as of January 2014 (3,387,908 in 2000), 5.3 % of the total population, 338 people per square kilometer 

Bayburt has the lowest population in Turkey: 75.620 (as of January 2014)

Age structure: Total population: male 38,473,360 (50.2%); female 38,194,504 (49,8%) (as of January 2014) //   0-14 years: 24,6% , total of 18,849,814 (male 9,691,297; female 9,187,285) (January 2014) // 15-64 years: 67.7% , total of 51,926,356 (male 23,655,657; female 23,288,033) (January 2014) //65 years and over: 7.7% , total of 5,891,694 (male 2,150,103; female 2,850,072) (January 2014) // Median age: total 30.4 years (male: 29,8 years; female: 31 years). More than half of the population is under the median age (as of January 2014) // Population growth rate: 1.37% in 2013 (1.45% in 2010 & 2,11% in 1927) //Birth rate: 17.93 births/1,000 population (2011) //Death rate: 6.3 deaths/1,000 population (2006) 

Life expectancy at birth: (2011)  total population: 75 years (73.2 in 2006)  male: 72 years (71.1 in 2006)  female: 76 years (75.3 in 2006)  Total fertility rate: 2.07 children born/woman in 2012 (2.14 in 2008, 2.18 in 2006) 

Nationality : Noun: Turk(s)  adjective: Turkish , Ethnic divisions: Turkish 80%, Kurdish 20% , Religions: Muslim 99% (mostly Sunni), other 1% (Christian and Jews) 

Literacy: age 6 and over can read and write (2012)  total population: 95,8%  male: 98,6%  female: 93%

Languages: Turkish (official) 

The official language is Turkish. English and German are widely spoken in major cities and tourist resorts, and you will find that most Turks welcome the opportunity to practise their language skills and will go out of their way to be helpful. Foreign visitors who attempt to speak even a few words of Turkish, however, will definitely be rewarded with even warmer smiles. It is not an easy language to learn, however, it does have one huge advantage in that it is completely phonetic and also grammatically logical. Unlike English, each letter of the alphabet has only one sound and is always pronounced in exactly the same way, apart from in combination with 'y' or 'g'. Even foreign words used in Turkish are adapted into Turkish phonetic spellings, which can offer some clues towards pronunciation - try saying the following out loud: ketçap, taksi, futbol, ofsayt. There is no 'q', 'w' or 'x' in Turkish and there are some additional characters. The accent usually falls on the first syllable in the word. The following should give you a rough guide to pronunciation: 

a    a cross between a long and short

'a' somewhere between the 'a' in

'man' and the 'a' sound in 'are' 

c   pronounced 'j' as in 'jam' 

ç    pronounced 'ch' as in 'church' 

e   a short sound as in 'egg' 

g    a hard 'g' as in'go' 

ğ    this character is silent but elongates the vowel to either side of it 

ı    pronounced 'er' in 'number' 

i    a short sound as in 'ink' 

o   pronounced as in 'off' 

ö   pronounced as in the 'or' sound (with a silent 'r') in 'word' 

s    is a hissing sound as in 'seven' 

ş    pronounced 'sh' as in 'shut' 

u   pronounced 'oo' as in 'cool' 

ü   pronounced 'u' as in 'fuse' 

y   is generally used to separate vowels and creates some slightly different sounds in combination as follows:

'ay' pronounced 'eye';

'ey' pronounced as in 'they';

'iy' pronounced 'ee'

Government:  Conventional long form: Republic of Turkey , Conventional short form: Turkey  , Local long form: Türkiye Cumhuriyeti , Local short form: Türkiye , Data code: TU or TR, Type of government: republican parliamentary democracy  ,Capital: Ankara

Independence: Independence: 29 October 1923 (successor state to the Ottoman Empire) National holiday: Anniversary of the Declaration of the Republic, 29 October (1923)  Constitution: 7 November 1982 , amended on 17 October 2001 by TBMM 

Legal system : Derived from various European legal systems; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations. Member of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)

Suffrage : 18 years of age; universal.

National Security Council: Advisory body to the President and the cabinet

Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the President on nomination of the prime minister 

Legislative branch: Unicameral , Grand National Assembly of Turkey: (Turkiye Buyuk Millet Meclisi), abbrev. TBMM (550 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)

Judicial branch: Constitutional Court, judges appointed by the President; High Court of Appeals (Yargitay) and Council of State (Danistay), judges are elected by the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors. Court of Accounts (Sayistay); Military High Court of Appeals; Military High Administrative Court.

Political pressure groups : Confederation of Public Sector Unions or KESK; Confederation of Revolutionary Workers Unions or DISK; Independent Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association or MUSIAD ; Moral Rights Workers Union or Hak-Is; Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association or TUSIAD; Turkish Confederation of Employers' Unions or TISK; Turkish Confederation of Labor or Turk-Is; Turkish Confederation of Tradesmen and Craftsmen or TESK; Turkish Union of Chambers of Commerce and Commodity Exchanges or TOBB.

International organization participation : AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, BSEC, CE, CERN (observer), EAPC, EBRD, ECO, EU (applicant), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIK, UNMIL, UNMISET, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC.

 

Economic overview : Turkey's dynamic economy is a complex mix of modern industry and commerce along with a traditional agriculture sector that in 2010 accounted for 25,2% 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. Its most important industry and largest exporter is textiles and clothing, which is almost entirely in private hands. The economic situation in recent years has been marked by rapid growth coupled with partial success in implementing structural reform measures. Inflation declined to 10,45% in 2011 (8.9% in 2010), down from 90% in 1997, but the public sector fiscal deficit probably remained near 10% of GDP due in large part to interest payments which accounted for 40% of central government spending in 2003. The government enacted a new tax law and speeded up privatization in 1998 but made no progress on badly needed social security reform. Ankara is trying to increase trade with other countries in the region yet most of Turkey's trade is still with OECD countries. After the implementation in January 1996 of a Customs Union with the EU, foreign direct investment in the country was recorded $15,9 billion in 2011. Results during recent years improved because of strong financial support from the IMF and tighter fiscal policy. A major political and economic issue over the next decade is whether or not Turkey will become a member of the EU. But further economic and judicial reforms and prospective EU membership are expected to boost Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Privatization sales in 2010 were about US$ 8,9 billion.

GDP: GDP (Total): US$ 772,3 billion in 2011 ($735,8 in 2010, $616,7 in 2009)  // GDP: purchasing power parity US$ 960.5 billion (2010 est.) (was $551.6 billion in 2005 est.) // GDP growth rate: 8,5% in 2011 (8,9% in 2010, 10.7% in 2006) // GDP per capita: US$ 10.444 in 2011 (US$ 15.079 in 2010, US$ 13.710 in 2009, US$ 5.482 in 2006) // GDP composition by sector:  agriculture: 9.7% , industry: 26.8% , manufacturing: 22.2% , services: 63.5% (2006) 

(consumer price increases through years):  94% (1995), 90% (1997), 75% (1998), 68% (1999), 45% (2000), 90% (2001), 31% (2002), 11% (2004), 7.72% (2005), 5.9% (2007), 6.4% (2010), 10,45% (2011), 6,16% (2012) 

Population below poverty line: 16,9% in 2010 (17,1% in 2009, 20,5% in 2007, 20% in 2005, 18% in 2001) 

Labor force: 25.6 million in 2010 (24.7 million in 2009) , by occupation: agriculture 35.9%, services 22.8%, industry 41.2% (2004) 

note: about 3 million Turks work abroad (2005), mostly in Germany.

Unemployment rate: 9,1% (plus underemployment of 2,9%) in 2012 (11.9% in 2010)  Employment Rate: 46% (2012)

 

Budget: Revenues: 329,80 billion TL, approximately US$ 183 billion (2012 est.)  expenditures: 350,95 billion TL, approximately US$ 195 billion (2012 est.)  foreign debt stock: US$ 290,3 billion in 2010 (US$ 268,7 billion in 2009)  public debt: 42,3% of GDP (2010 est.) (67.5% of GDP in 2005 est.)  Industries: textiles, food processing, autos, mining (coal, chromate, copper, boron), steel, petroleum, construction, lumber, paper.  Industrial production growth rate: 8.5% (2004 est.) Agriculture: Main products: tobacco, cotton, grain, olives, sugar beets, pulses, citrus, livestock 

Oil: Production: 2,54 million tons (2010) (4,4 million tons in 1991)  // consumption: 41,5 million tons (2010 est.) (21,2 million tons in 1991) 

imports: 16,84 million tons (2010), mostly from Iran and Russia (14,19m in 2009) // proved reserves: 262.2 million bbl (2012)

Natural gas : Production: 760 million cubic meters (2011) (975 million m3 in 2008), which is only 1,7% of country's need // consumption: 39 billion cu m (2011) (26,9 billion cu m in 2005)  //exports: 714 million m3 (2011)  // imports: 43,8 billion cu m (2011), mostly from Russia and Iran, also from Algeria, Azerbaijan and Nigeria.  // proved reserves in the World: 187,1 trillion cu m (2010)

Transportation : Railways: total: 12,026 km (2011). Plans are 25.536 km until 2023 and 27.972 km until 2035  // gauge: 8,717 km standard + 2,274 km electrified (2007)  // New high-speed train tracks are under construction between Istanbul-Ankara  // total passenger capacity: 108,330 (2007)  // capacity of Freight Wagons: 691,634 tons (2007) Highways : total: 352,046 km (2012)  // paved: 141,850 km (including 2,080 km of expressways) (2010)  // unpaved: 207,017 km (2002)  // Waterways: about 1,200 km (2003)  // Motor vehicles: 17.191.105 (February 2013) Pipelines: gas 3,177 km; oil 3,562 km (2003)  Ports: Gemlik, Hopa, Iskenderun, Istanbul, Izmir, Izmit, Mersin, Samsun, Trabzon

Merchant Marine : Total: 526 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 4,666,895 GRT/7,311,504 DWT  // ships by type: bulk carrier 108, cargo 228, chemical tanker 45, combination ore/oil 1, container 25, liquefied gas 6, passenger 5, passenger/cargo 50, petroleum tanker 33, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 22, specialized tanker 1 // foreign-owned: 8 (Cyprus 3, Denmark 2, Greece 1, Italy 1, Switzerland 1)  // registered in other countries: 231 (2005 est.)

Airports : Total: 68 (2012). 42 run by the State (DHMI) which plans to have 55 until 2023. // Heliports: 54 registered (2012) (42 in 2006), out of which 21 are in Istanbul 

Communications:  Country code: 90  // Telephones (land lines): 15,210,846 (2011) (19,125,163 in 2004)  // Mobile GSM Phones: 113 million as of February 2011 (63,9 million in June 2008). Three networks: Turkcell, Vodafone (ex-Telsim), Avea (Aria and Aycell have merged) // Radio broadcast stations: 36 National, 102 Regional, 955 Local, a total of 1,093 (2005)  Radios: 19.4 million (1997 est.) //  Television broadcast stations: 24 National, 17 Regional, 218 Local, a total of 259 (2005)  // Internet country code: .tr  // Internet hosts: 16.874.100 in 2009 (355,215 in 2004) // Internet users: approximately 35 million in 2013 (20 million in 2008, 8.5 million in 2005, 5.5 million in 2003)

Defense: Branches: Turkish Armed Forces (TSK): Land Forces, Naval Forces Command (includes Naval Air and Naval Infantry), Air Force, Coast Guard Command, Gendarmerie (Jandarma) // Manpower availability: active military personnel on duty: 612,900 (2012)  // reserve personnel: 429,000 (2012)  // males age 15-49: 20,754,882 (2012)  // males fit for military service: 15 million (2012 est.) 

males reach military age (20) annually: 1,370,407 (2012)  // total males/females fit for military in case of a war: 41,247,000 (2012)  //Defense expenditures: US$ 25 billion (2011), 2.5% of GDP (2011)  // military vehicles: 4,460 tanks, 265 war ships, 16 submarines, 99 military airfields, 874 helicopters, 1,940 military planes, 7,133 armoured vehiles (2013 est.)

The Ottoman Empire

1299-1923

At the peak of its military success, the great Ottoman Empire spanned three continents, stretching from Budapest to Azerbaijan and taking in Persia, Syria and the whole of the north African coast. It began, however, from relatively humble beginnings with Osman Bey, the leader of a small principality in northwest Anatolia, who gave the Empire its Turkish name, Osmanl‡ (with Osman). His first military conquests began in 1299 with the conquest of Bilecik, Yenikent, Inegöl and Iznik. He resolved to take Bursa, and after a siege, which lasted some eight years, his son, Orhan, finally took the city in 1326 and, in 1335, made the city his capital. 

His son, Süleyman, conquered Thrace in 1353 and it was his successor, Murad Hüdavendigar, who continued the expansion by taking the Balkans into the Empire. In 1362 Murad captured the city of Edirne, formerly known as Adrianople, and the following year established it as his capital. In 1453 Fatih Sultan Mehmet (Mehmet the Conqueror) conquered Istanbul thus bringing an end to the Byzantine era. In 1516-17 both Syria and Egypt fell to the Ottoman army, and with them the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, making the Ottoman sultan the most important figure in the 

 

Sunni Muslim world. 1520-66 was the golden age of the Ottoman Empire, under the rule of Süleyman the Magnificent, but from then onwards it began a slow decline, losing its economic and military superiority over Europe.  Despite efforts at reform during the 19th century, a number of nationalist movements broke out in Ottoman territories and the Empire began to fragment. Its fate was sealed when it entered the First World War on the side of Germany. Following the end of the war, the victorious allies shared the Ottoman lands and Britain, Italy, France and Greece began to invade its territories. The Ottoman parliament was dissolved on March 16th 1920. The Turkish Grand National Assembly, with Mustafa Kemal as its President began the struggle for Independence, and in the process of establishing itself, decided on November 1st 1922 to abolish the sultanate. The last Ottoman Sultan Mehmet VI (Vahideddin) left Istanbul in secret on November 17th 1922 on a British Royal Navy vessel bound for Malta, and died in exile in 1926. 

Ottoman Culture

Although the Ottomans became known in the west for their opulent lifestyle and military might, the Empire’s real strength was the fact that it created a well-ordered society, based on principles of religious and cultural tolerance, caring for the welfare of the sick and the poor. The arts were cultivated and Istanbul and its other major cities became centres for trade in fine silks and other valuable commodities. 

In the late 15th century, at a time when it was common in Europe for the mentally ill to be burned at the stake as witches, asylums in Edirne were using music therapy and the scent of flowers to treat their patients. The Ottoman Empire united peoples of many different faiths, nationalities and cultures. In the 19th century, Istanbul’s population was made up of Muslim Turks, Orthodox Greeks, Gregorian and Catholic Armenians, Jews, Levantines as well as numerous foreign merchants. Even today, Istanbul is one of the few places in the world where you can see churches, synagogues and mosques built within a short distance of each other. It was Mehmet the Conqueror (1451-1481) who established his patronage of the fine arts, setting up an atelier in the new palace of Topkap‡, which developed techniques such as calligraphy and miniature painting. He also encouraged study visits from foreign artists, which is how Gentile Bellini came to spend a year in Istanbul in 1479, when he painted his famous portrait of Sultan Mehmet II, which now hangs in the National Gallery in London. Even before the advent of Islamic belief, Turks had the tradition of illustrating manuscripts, however, the art of calligraphy flourished alongside the strict Islamic belief that it was wrong to depict people or animals, and was mainly used to illuminate words from the Koran. It was also used for the elaborate, stylised signature unique to each of the sultans known as the tugõra. The detailed miniatures, on the other hand, act as a historic document portraying the lives of the sultans and their court, showing both historic and everyday events. At a much later date, Sultan Abdülhamid II who ruled from 1876-1909, appointed state photographers and sent albums of their photographs to fellow heads of state around the world, to show them the progress and achievements of his empire.  The Ottomans were also great explorers and the famousAdmiral Piri Reis was a renowned navigator and important cartographer, who charted and drew remarkably accurate maps of the world, including the oldest surviving map showing theAmericas, which dates back to 1513 and is kept in the Topkapı Palace Museum. 

The Ottoman Court 

Building work on Topkap‡ Palace began in 1472 and was completed six years later, although successive sultans added considerably to its structure. It was home to the sultan and his court, and the seat of government until 1853 when the court moved to the new palace of Dolmabahçe.

The Harem 

Although harem was simply the word used to describe the female living quarters in a residence, to many westerners it conjures up a romantic image, based largely on the Imperial harem at Topkap‡ Palace. The most important person in the harem was the Valide Sultan (Mother of the Sultan), followed by the Sultanas, sultan’s daughters, his favourites and other concubines and odalisques (a word which comes from the Turkish ‘odal‡k’ or chamber-maid). Traditionally, there were up to four kad‡ns or favourites, who were the equivalent of legal wives and thus accorded 

 

privileges. Nurbanu, for example, the favourite of Selim II was given an entourage of 150 ladies in waiting. In fact, many of those living in the harem had no contact at all with the sultan but simply acted as servants to the other members of the household. At its peak there were 1000 women living in the harem at Topkap‡ Palace. All of these were slave women, and non-Muslim, brought from all corners of the Ottoman Empire, avoiding the risk of betrayal by a wife, who might have interests of her own. The women of the harem were said to be the most beautiful in the Empire and the most attractive were trained to entertain the sultan by dancing, reciting poetry, playing musical instruments and mastering the erotic arts. 

According to Muslim tradition, no man could lay his eyes on another man’s harem, which lead to the tradition of the harem being guarded by the black eunuchs, who were male prisoners of war or slaves fully castrated before puberty, captured from  territories such as Egypt, Abyssinia and the Sudan. At the height of the Empire as many as 600-800 eunuchs served in the palace . The Chief Black Eunuch (Kızlar Agası), was the Ottoman Empire’s third highest-ranking officer, after the Sultan and the Grand Vizier. His duties were wide-ranging: overseeing the protection of their women, the purchase of new concubines, arranging all royal ceremonies and sentencing those women accused of crimes. 

The Janissaries 

Christian subjects were required by the practice of devsirme to give up one of their sons to the service of thesultan.After the boys had converted to Islam they became either civil servants or soldiers, joining the elite army corps known as the Yeniçeri or Janissaries. Strict disciplinewas imposed upon them, but those who were gifted and ambitious could rise through the ranks, even as far as becoming Grand Vizier – the highest rank after the sultan.The Janissaries became so powerful, however, that they protested whenever they felt their privileges were being threatened, signalled by their overturning of their soup kettles and often leading to full scale riots. The system persisted, however, until 1826, when the Janissaries lost popular support andwere disbanded byMahmut II. The traditional marching band of the Janissaries, the Mehter Takımı, has been revived in recent times and you can see them perform in the traditional uniform, playing kettle drums, clarinets and cymbals.

Ottoman Architecture 

Architectural monuments to the greatness of the Ottoman Empire stand, not only, throughout Turkey, but also throughout the many lands which were under its rule. The Ottomans were prolific builders and some of their finest works are public buildings such as mosques (cami) and their surrounding külliye (complex) consisting of buildings providing for the welfare of the community such as: sifahane (hospital), medrese (college),imaret (almskitchen),tabhane(guest house) and hamam (Turkish baths). Palaces, bridges, fountains, tombs and kervansarays (travellers’inns) are also amongst the fine buildings which remain to the present day. The Ottomans were fond of hunting and of spending time outdoors, often with lavish picnics, and you will findwooden kösks (pavilions or summer houses) in many parks and woodlands.Private houses, amongst which are the konak (mansion) and yal‡ (summer house, especially those on the shores of the Bosphorus) were traditionally built of wood, with the ground floor and foundations only being built of stone. Some have survived to the present day, despite the fire hazard that their wooden structure posed. Recently, great interest has been shown in their preservation and many of them have been renovated and some converted to hotels and pensions. Typically the upper floors jut out over the street and the windows are obscured by wooden lattice-work, intended so that the women of the house could look out without being observed. 

The houses were planned around a central gallery room known as a hayat off which the other rooms opened.The quarterswere divided into the harem (the private part of the house only visited by the family and female guests) and the selaml‡k (where the man of the household received his guests). In grander houses these two areas would have separate courtyards, sometimes with fountains and ornamental pools.

 

Ten unmissable Ottoman sights

Yesil Cami and Yesil Türbe (Green Mosque and tombs) – Bursa 

Commissioned by Mehmet I in 1412, the Green Mosque is Bursa’s most signifi- cant monument and was the first Ottoman mosque where tiles were used extensively as interior decoration, setting an important precedent. The Green Tomb is the tomb of Mehmet I.

Koza Han – Bursa

Built in 1491 by Beyazit II as part of the market and covered bazaar area, it has been central to Bursa’s famous silk trade since that time, trading in silk cocoons as well as the finished product.

Selimiye Mosque - Edirne

Built between 1569 and 1575 by the great architect Mimar Sinan for Sultan Selim II, Sinan described it and in particular the dome, which is 31.5 metres in diameter, as his masterpiece.

Sultan Beyazit II Mosque - Edirne

Work began on this mosque in 1484. Designed by the architect Hayrettin, it has a single dome 21 metres in diameter over the prayer hall, and nearly a hundred smaller domes over the buildings of the complex.

Rüstem Pasa Kervansaray – Edirne 

This grand traveller’s inn was built by Mimar Sinan for Süleyman the Magnifi- cent’s celebrated GrandVezir Rüstem Pasa and still serves as a hotel today.

Dolmabahçe Palace – Istanbul

One of the last great buildings of the Ottoman era, the extravagant Dolmabahçe Palace, which replaced Topkap‡ as the home of the sultans, was completed in 1856 on the orders of SultanAbdül Mecit. It was designed by the most famous architects of the time, Karabet Balyan and his son Nikogõos.

Süleymaniye Mosque – Istanbul

Constructed in 1557, this grand mosque, which Sinan referred to as his `journeyman’s piece’, came to symbolize the greatness of Süleyman the magnificent. It is also notable for its clever ventilation system designed to draw off the smoke from burning candles.

Topkapı Palace – Istanbul

Built between 1472 and 1478, it was the home of the sultans and the centre of Ottoman power for 400 years, during which time it was a work in progress as successive sultans added new buildings and made alterations.

Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque) - Istanbul 

Constructed between 1609 and 1616 for Sultan Ahmet I by the architect Sedefkar Mehmet Agõa. It takes its name from the exquisite blue Iznik tiles which decorate its interior and is also the only mosque to have 6 minarets.

Ishak Pasa Palace - Dogõubeyazit

Part of the unique character of this palace is its remote setting. It was constructed by an Ottoman governor on an important trading route and is amixture of Ottoman, Persian and Seljuk styles.

 

Lifestyle, What makes of Turkey?

Turkish lifestyle is a vivid mosaic; juxtaposing the occident and the Orient, the ancient and the modern

Life in Turkey is a rich variety of cultures and traditions, some dating back centuries and others of more recent heritage. The visitor to Turkey will find a great deal that is exotic, and also much that is reassuringly familiar. The following pages should offer you an insight into the intriguing blend of East and West that makes up the Turkish lifestyle.

History of the Language 

Turkish is spoken by over 200 million people and is the world’s 7th most widely used language. Today’s Turkish has evolved from dialects known since the 11th century and is one of the group of languages known as Ural-Altaic which includes Finnish and Hungarian. It can be quite difficult to get to grips with Turkish. Words sound unfamiliar and even the way they are written appears strange. The key, however, is the Turkish version of the Latin alphabet – the same one which is used for English with the addition of 6 different characters. Turkish is unusual in that it is completely phonetic – each letter of the alphabet has only  one sound, so each word sounds exactly how it is written. During Ottoman times Turkish was written in Arabic script, which few people could write, so in 1928, Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic decided to switch to the new alphabet to improve levels of literacy. 

Religion 

 

Although 99% of the population is Muslim, in Turkey religion is seen as strictly a private matter. In fact, Turkey is the only Islamic country which is a secular state. This is enshrined in the constitution and means that religion has no place whatsoever in the running of the country’s affairs. In line with other European countries, the weekly holiday is Sunday - not the Islamic holiday of Friday - and the Gregorian calendar is used. The constitution guarantees freedom of religion and the right to worship. During the time of the Ottoman Empire, people of many different faiths lived in what is now Turkey, and since that time, this diversity has been preserved. Today there are 236 churches and 34 synagogues open for worship in Turkey.  Tourists visiting coastal resorts are unlikely to see much evidence that they are in a Muslim country, except for the call to prayer which can be heard 5 times per day. Dress is relaxed beachwear for locals and tourists alike. Similarly there is little difference between the way in which people dress in large cities in Turkey and the rest of Europe. It is only in smaller villages,more remote areas and the east of the country that dress codes are more formal. The best advice is to take your cue from the locals and adapt your dress to fit in with theirs. It is quite common for village women to wear headscarves but this is generally as much out of practical and cultural than strictly religious considerations. 

The only time when you need to worry about dress codes is when visiting a mosque. Everyone should wear clothes which cover their legs, so no shorts for either sex, and women should also make sure that their shoulders and head are covered. Shoes should be removed before entering a mosque. There is usually a rack or storage area where they can be left or you can carry them with you in a bag. Mosques are usually closed to visitors during prayer times. As in any place of worship, visitors should speak quietly and behave respectfully. There are two major Islamic Festivals which are celebrated in Turkey. The dates of both change each year, according to a lunar calendar. The festivals are Seker Bayramı which falls at the end of Ramadan, a period of fasting, and Kurban Bayram‡, the Feast of Sacrifice, when traditionally a goat is sacrificed and the meat distributed to friends, family and neighbours. Government offices and some other institutions are closed during these periods but life in resorts continues much as usual, since many Turks also head to the coast when these holidays fall in the summer months. During Ramadan, or Ramazan, as it is known in Turkey, it is common for locals to fast from sunrise to sunset. This should not affect visitors to tourist areas. Please see page 93 for dates of religious festivals. 

 

Hospitality 

Visitors toTurkey are often pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of the Turkish people, who will go out of their way to assist and happily spend time chatting. Hospitality is a cornerstone of Turkish culture, and Turks believe that visitors should be treated as guests of God. This attitude has survived to the 21st century and does not appear to have been diminished by mass tourism. In fact, quite the reverse, most Turks welcome the opportunity to meet foreign visitors, learn about different cultures and practice their language skills. It is usual for Turks – even the men – to greet each other by kissing on both cheeks. Turks are proud of their country and you should avoid insulting or showing disrespect for their flag. 

Food 

Turkish cuisine is renowned as one of the world’s best. It draws its influences from all corners of the former Ottoman Empire, and each region has its own specialities. Turkey is self-sufficient in food production and produces enough surplus for export as well. This means that Turkish food is usually made from fresh, local ingredients and is all the tastier for it. 

A main meal will usually start with the meze, a variety of small cold and hot dishes which are made for sharing. In many restaurants a waiter will bring these round on a tray for you to inspect and make your choice. In any case, it is common for a Turk to have a look at the food being prepared in the kitchen before deciding on what to eat, so if you are not sure, don’t feel shy about asking. Meze includes anything from dips such as taramasalata and cacik (yoghurt, garlic and cucumber) to dolma (anything stuffed with rice such as vine leaves or peppers), karides (prawns) or arnavut cigõer (cubes of liver fried with spices and onions). Turks have hundreds of ways to prepare aubergine and imam bay‡ld‡ is one of the best; aubergine cooked in olive oil and filled with tomato and onions, its name literally means ‘the priest swooned’ – presumably due to the delicious taste. 

The main course is usually meat or fish. Turks always eat bread with their meal and main courses are usually served with rice. Typically a çoban salatas‡, a ‘shepherd’s salad’of tomato, cucumber and onion, dressed with olive oil and served with lemon, will be placed in the middle of the table to share. Lamb is the most common meat and this and chicken are prepared in a variety of ways and usually grilled. S¸is kebab (cubes of meat on a skewer) is popular and well known. Köfte, which are like small lamb burgers are well worth trying and those who prefer something a little spicier should order the Adana kebab, which is also made of minced lamb but with the addition of peppers and formed around a skewer. There are numerous variations and regional specialities of the kebab. Somewhat rich but very tasty, is the Iskender or Bursa kebab, named respectively after Alexander the Great and the town in which it originated, which is slices of döner meat layered with yoghurt, tomato sauce and pitta bread. Turks are also fond of stews or what they term sulu yemek (food with sauce) and there are restaurants which specialise in these and will usually have large containers of the different varieties on display. 

 

Istanbul and the coastal resorts are big on fish and seafood. Mostly fish is simply grilled to bring out its natural flavour and there is a wide variety of seafood meze including midye tava (or mussel kebab served on a skewer). It is worth asking for recommendations but some of the most tasty are levrek (seabass) and kalkan (turbot). Fish is often sold by weight and many restaurants will show you the freshly caught fish to make your choice before cooking it. Do check the price however, as it can work out to be relatively expensive.

Mostly a meal will be rounded off by a plate of fresh fruit, beautifully prepared and placed in the centre of the table for sharing. Karpuz (water melon) and kavun (melon) are popular. Those with a sweet tooth will be delighted by the sticky, honeyed desserts. There are many varieties, of which baklava (layers of filo pastry and pistachio nuts soaked in honey) is perhaps themost common.Also worth trying is the sütlaç, a cold, slightly sweet milky rice pudding. The adventurous might want to order tavuk gögusu, a milk pudding made from pounded chicken breast – it sounds strange but is actually delicious, and when well made it is impossible to tell it is made from chicken. 

 

Turkish breakfast kahvaltı usually consists of fresh white bread, honey, beyaz peynir – cheese similar to feta, literally translated as ‘white cheese’– tomatoes, cucumber and black olives, washed down with black tea. The Turkish equivalent of a fry up is menemen a type of omelette with peppers and other vegetables or eggs fried with sucuk, a garlic sausage.  Soup has a special place in the Turkish diet and is drunk at any time of day. There are cafes which only serve soup and are popularly frequented after a big night out. Mercimek (lentil) and domates (tomato) are common as are more exotic soups such as iskembe (tripe), yayla (yoghurt with mint) and dügõün (literally ‘wedding’soup) which contains egg and lemon.  Börek can be served as part of a meze or as a snack on its own. It is frequently translated on menus as ‘pie’ which is completely misleading. It is actually different variations on filo pastry filled with cheese, minced meat, egg, potato or spinach – or combinations thereof. Sigara börek and muska börek are respectively small cigar and triangle-shaped filo parcels usually filled with cheese, which come as a part of the meze. Su böregõi is layered pastry which is soft and runny and can be served with sugar or white cheese as a snack, and can taste more like thin layers of pasta than pastry. 

Fast food

Turkey is full of street vendors selling all sorts of different snacks, from the better known döner kebab, which can be made of chicken or lamb to kokoreç, which is lamb entrails cooked on a skewer – popular with the locals, but not for the timid. Turks have their own variety of pizza, pide, a type of pitta bread with toppings such as cheese, minced meat, egg and sucuk (garlic sausage) as well as lahmacun which is a very thin flat bread spread with minced meat, which is rolled up before eating.

Vegetarians 

The concept of choosing not to eat meat is somewhat alien to the average Turk, so it can be difficult for them to grasp that, for ex

 
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