World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of The Middel East

Turkey Travelling Guide
Turkey Travelling Guide

General background: Turkey was created in 1923 from the Turkish remnants of the Ottoman Empire. Soon thereafter the country instituted secular laws to replace traditional religious fiats. In 1945 Turkey joined the UN and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. Turkey occupied the northern portion of Cyprus in 1974 to prevent a Greek takeover of the island; relations between the two countries remain strained but have begun to improve over the past three years. In 1984, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a Marxist-Leninist, separatist group, initiated an insurgency in Southeast Turkey, often using terrorist tactics to try to attain its goal of an independent Kurdistan. The group - whose leader, Abdullah OCALAN, was captured in Kenya in February 1999 and sentenced to death by a Turkish court - has observed a unilateral cease-fire since September 1999, although there have been occasional clashes between Turkish military units and some of the 4,000-5,000 armed PKK militants, most of whom currently are encamped in northern Iraq. The PKK changed its name to the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress (KADEK) in April 2002.

Area comparative: Slightly larger than Texas.

Climate: Temperate; hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters; harsher in interior.

Terrain: Mostly mountains; narrow coastal plain; high central plateau (Anatolia)

Population: 67,308,928 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Turkish 80%, Kurdish 20%

Religions: Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews)

Language: Turkish (official), Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, Greek

Government type: Republican parliamentary democracy

Capital: Ankara

Legal system: Derived from various European continental legal systems; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations.

Economic overview: Turkey's dynamic economy is a complex mix of modern industry and commerce along with a traditional agriculture sector that in 2001 still accounted for 40% 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. The most important industry - and largest exporter - is textiles and clothing, which is almost entirely in private hands. In recent years the economic situation has been marked by erratic economic growth and serious imbalances. Real GNP growth has exceeded 6% in most years, but this strong expansion was interrupted by sharp declines in output in 1994, 1999, and 2001. Meanwhile the public sector fiscal deficit has regularly exceeded 10% of GDP - due in large part to the huge burden of interest payments, which in 2001 accounted for more than 50% of central government spending - while inflation has remained in the high double digit range. Perhaps because of these problems, foreign direct investment in Turkey remains low - less than $1 billion annually. In late 2000 and early 2001 a growing trade deficit and serious weaknesses in the banking sector plunged the economy into crisis - forcing Ankara to float the lira and pushing the country into recession. Prospects for 2002 are much better, because of strong financial support from the IMF, tighter fiscal policy, a major bank restructuring program, and the enactment of numerous other economic reforms.

Communication/Telephone system: Undergoing rapid modernization and expansion, especially with cellular telephones.

Places of interest: There is an enormous variety of things to see and do ranging from water sports to mountain trekking, archaeology to night-clubbing and river rafting.

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