Turkey

Turkey, or officially known as the Republic of Turkey, is mainly located in western Asia with a smaller portion in southeastern Europe. With Ankara as the capital and Istanbul as the largest city.

Turkey is bordered west by Bulgaria and Greece, south by Syria and Iraq. Along with the Black Sea to its north and the Mediterranean to its south.

Language: Turkish

Area: 783,562 km²

Population: 82 million people

Density: 110 people/km²

Currency: Turkish lira

Main Religion: Islam

GDP: 650.00 billion USD (estimate for 2020)

The Topkapi Palace Museum is one of the must-dos in Turkey. It is a large museum in Istanbul in Turkey. During the 15th and 16th centuries it served as the main home and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman sultans, who were the family (the House of Osman) who ruled over a transcontinental empire from its starting in 1299 and ended in 1922. It's name means Cannon Gate, and it is now a very big museum complex that consists of 17 exhibition halls.

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The Hagia Sophia, or officially the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, was a Christian Church from the Byzantine Empire (eastern Roman Empire). It was constructed in five years, from 532 to 537, being once the largest church of the world. Today Hagia Sophia is a museum, honoring both the Christian and Muslim religions.

(The inside view of the Hagia Sophia shows both Christian and Islamic elements on the top of the main dome. Click to watch video)

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GOVERNMENT

The Government of Turkey is a unitary government (which means the country is governed as a single, with the central government as the highest) established by the Constitution of Turkey. According to the Constitution, Turkey's system is based on a separation of powers, with the legislative power to the Parliament of Turkey (TBMM), along with the executive power which is executed by the President of Turkey, and that the judicial power is employed by independent and impartial courts. It also states that parliamentary elections and presidential elections should be held every five years.

However, Turkey still has some laws that are seen as undemocratic, such as prohibiting minorities to get an education in their mother tongue. In March 2017, the UN accused the Turkish government of "massive destruction, killings and numerous other serious human rights violations" against the Kurdish minority. Which is one of the reasons why the Freedom House Score of Turkey is only a 32, claiming it a "not-free" country.

Current President

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the current President of Turkey, and he has been the president since 2014.

He previously served as Prime Minister of Turkey from 2003 to 2014, and as Mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998.

Founding Father

(and all time winner of the fanciest eyebrows.)(Just kidding, but seriously, look at them)

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is the founding father of Turkey, also serving as the first president since 1923 until he died in 1938. He made primary education free and mandatory, opening thousands of schools all over the country. He also established the Latin-based Turkish alphabet, replacing the old Ottoman Turkish alphabet. Turkish women also received equal civil and political rights during his presidency ahead of many Western countries. They were given voting rights in local elections in April, 1930.

Economy

(Currency: Turkish lira)

Turkey's economic freedom score is 64.4, making its economy the 71st freest in the 2020 Index. It is the world's leading producers of agricultural products, textiles, motor vehicles, construction materials, electronics, and home appliances

The top exports of Turkey are cars, jewelry, steel, and crude petroleum. While the top imports of Turkey are refined petroleum, gold, scrap iron, and vehicle parts.

  • The automotive industry in Turkey plays an important role in the Turkish economy. In 2015, Turkey produced over 1.3 million motor vehicles, ranking as the 14th largest producer in the world.
  • Turkey also ranks 8th in the list of countries of steel production.
  • Turkey is also rich in agricultural exports as well, in 2016 it was the world's largest producer of hazelnuts, cherries, figs, apricots, and pomegranates.
  • Turkey is ranked the 10th highest producer of minerals in the world. Around 60 different minerals are currently produced in Turkey. The richest mineral deposits in the country are boron salts.
  • Turkey is an oil and natural gas producer, but the level of production by the state-owned TPAO is not enough to make the country self-sufficient, which makes Turkey a net importer of both oil and gas. But a large gas field in the Black Sea has been discovered by Turkey in August, 2020.

Turkey has the world's 19th-largest nominal GDP. The World Factbook classifies Turkey as a developed country, Turkey is also one of the world's newly industrialized countries.

Culture

Approximately 70% to 80% of the country's citizens identify as Turkish, while Kurds (who are people of Kurdish origin) are the largest minority. The most widely practiced religion is Islam, with 98.5% of the population being automatically registered by the state as Muslim, and the largest minority religion is Christianity, since Turkey is one of its birth places.

Interestingly, wearing head scarfs was banned in Turkey for the most of the 20th century. Later, the issue was important for Erdogan's first campaign for the presidency in 2007. Saying that it was an issue of human rights and freedoms. The ban was eliminated and women were free to wear head scarfs.

Nazar Boncugu

Of Islamic traditions, the Nazar Boncugu, also known as the evil eye is in offices, homes, and transport. Turks believe this wards off evil.

The Turkish Hamam

This tradition originated from the Roman public bathhouses and was improved by the Ottomans. The traditional way is seen in the weekly practice of women. People enter naked or wearing a swimming suit, and sit in the sauna while washing themselves with cold water.

Food, Breakfast, and Most Importantly, Bread

Food is an important part of Turkish society, each meal is a gift from Allah to enjoy. Women often spend hours in the kitchen with intense recipes. For the most important meal of the day, breakfast, it usually includes eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, and olives. But the most essential is the bread. Bread is a main part of Turkey's diet, some Turks even refuse to sit down to a meal without it.

There are six different feasts in Turkey. Two of them are religious feasts, and the rest of them are national feasts. National feasts are for the important days in the stages of establishing the modern Republic of Turkey, and religious feasts represent the blessed days of the Islamic religion.

April 23rd

The Turkish Grand National Assembly was established on 23 April 1920. This day symbolizes giving Turkey full right and power of governing itself. Also, the day is presented to children by the founding father. He adored kids and cared about them in terms of the future of Turkey. That is why April 23 is celebrated as National Sovereignty and Children’s Day. It is pointed out that this day is the only feast that is intended for kids.

October 29th

This day is the day the Republic of Turkey Government was established on 29 October 1923. Republic Day is celebrated enthusiastically in Turkey. Displays of fireworks, such as these take place all across Turkey on Republic Day.

The Sacrifice Feast

The Sacrifice Feast is one of the oldest Islamic holidays in Turkey. It celebrates the story about Prophet Ibrahim who showed obedience to God by agreeing to sacrifice his son. God then sent him a ram to be sacrificed instead. The Sacrifice Feast comes about 70 days after the Ramadan Feast. Believers fulfill their Islamic duties by sacrificing animals such as sheep, cow, and goat.

Health Care

Turkey has universal healthcare under its Universal Health Insurance system. Under this system, all residents registered with the Social Security Institution, or known as SGK, can receive medical treatment for free in hospitals contracted to the SGK. This covers for a lot of medical treatments such as emergency and work accidents, vocational and infectious illnesses and diseases, childbirth, and even cosmetic surgeries. The only thing patients must partially cover is the cost of some of the prescription drugs.

Goals for Turkey

First, Turkey aims to achieve all EU membership conditions and become an influential EU member state by 2023.

Second, it will continue to strive for regional integration, which means when neighboring states agree to cooperate through common rules, in the form of security and economic cooperation.

Third, it will seek to play an role in establishing a Health Care Fund in the JN to solve all health care related problems.