Geography : Turkey's land mass is 814,578 sq.km. The European and Asian sides are divided by the Istanbul Bogazi (Bosphorus), the Sea of Marmara, and the Canakkale Bogazi (Dardanelles). Anatolia is a high plateau region rising progressively towards the east, broken by the valleys of about 15 rivers, including the Dicle (Tigres) and the Firat (Euphrates). There are numerious lakes and some, such as Lake Van, are as large as inland seas. In the north, the Eastern Black Sea Mountain chain runs parallel to the Black Sea; in the south, the Taurus mountains sweep down almost to the narrow, fertile coastal plain along the coast. Turkey enjoys a variety of climates, changing from the temperate climate of the Back Sea region, to the continental climate of the interior, then, to the Mediterranean climate of the Aegean and Mediterranean costal regions. The coastline of Turkey's four seas is more then 8,333 km long.
History : Turkey has heen called "the cradle of civilizaton" and by traveling through this historic land, tourists will discover exactly what is meant by this pharase. The world's first town, a neolithic city at Catalhoyuk, dates back to 6,500 B.C. From the days of Catalhoyuk up to the present, Turkey boasts a rich culture that through the centuries has made a lasting impression on modern civillcation. The heir to many centuries of cultures makes Turkey a paradise of information and cultural wealth. Hattis, Hittitess, Phrygians, Urartians, Lycians, Lydians, Ionians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottomans have all made important contributions to Turkish history, and ancient sites and ruins scattered throughout the country give proof of each civilizaton's unique distinction.
Turkey also has a very fascinating recent history. Upon the decline of the Ottoman Empire, a young man named Mustafa Kemal, who was a soilder by ocupation but in character, a great visionary, took the defeat of World War I and turned it into a shining victory by liberating Turkey of al foreign invaders. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923. He led his country into peace and stability, with tremendous economic growth and complete mtodernization. Through decades of change and growth, Turkey till boasts this succes, living by its adopted motto of "Peace at Home, Peace in the World".
Population : According to a 1990 census, Turkey has 57 million inhabitants, 41% of whom live in the countryside. The major cities are: istanbul (7.4 mil); Ankara,the capital(3.2mil); izmir (2.7 mil); Adana (1.9 mil) ; Antalya (1.1 mil)and Bursa(1.6mil).
Language : The Turkish language belongs to the Ural-Altaic group and has an affinity with the finno-Hungarian languages.Turkish is written in the Latin alphabet and is spoken by some 150 million (it suppoused 600 million with dialects) people around the world.
Religion : Although Turkey is 99% Moslem, it is a secular stale that guarantees complete freedom of worship to non-Moslems.
Tourism : In recent years, Turkey has become a major tourist destination in Europe. With the rapid development of both summer and winter resorts, more and more peoole from around the world are able to enjoy the history, culture, and beautiful sites of Turkey. From swimming in the Mediterranean to skiing in Uludag,Turkey has something to offer every tourist.
Agriculture : This plays a very important role in the Turkish economy. The main crops are wheat,rice, cotton, tea, tobacco, hazelnuts, and fruit. Sheep are Turkeys most important livestock, and Turkey is one of the major cotton and wool producers.
Southeast Anatolia Project (GAP) : GAP is a multi-purpose, integrated development project comprising of dams, hydroelectric power plants and irrigation facilities currently being built on the Firat (Euphrates) and Dicle (Tigris) rivers. It will effect agriculture, transportation, education, tourism, health and other sectors. ATATURK DAM, included in the project, is among the first 10 dams in the world.
Natural resources : The principal minerals extracted are coal, chrome (an important export), iron,copper, bauxite, marble and sulphur.
Industry : Industry is developing rapidly and is directed mainly towards the processing of agricultural products, metallurgy, textiles, and the manufacture of automobiles and agricultural machinery.
Political structure : The Turkish Republic is based on a secular democratic,pluralist and parilamentary system. The National Assembly is elected by popular vote and the nation is governed by the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. Turkey is a founding nember of OECD, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization,a member of NATO, the European Council and the European Parliament, and a member of the European Union.