Coat of Arms
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
» Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic
» 783,562 km2 (37th)
» 77,695,904 (18th)
» $1.512 trillion (17th)
» Per capita $19,556 (61st)
» $813.316 billion (18th)
» Per capita $10,518 (67th)
» Turkish lira
» EET (UTC+2)
Turkey is a contiguous transcontinental parliamentary republic largely located in Western Asia with the portion of Eastern Thrace in Southeastern Europe.
Turkey is bordered by eight countries:Bulgaria to the northwest;Greece to the west; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, Iran and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the south.
The Mediterranean Sea is to the south; the Aegean Sea to the west; and the Black Sea to the north. The Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles (which together form the Turkish Straits) demarcate the boundary between Thrace and Anatolia; they also separate Europe and Asia. Turkey’s location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a country of significant geostrategic importance.
Turkey has been inhabited since the paleolithic age, including various ancient Anatolian civilizations, Aeolian and Ionian Greeks, Thracians, and Persians. After Alexander the Great’s conquest, the area was Hellenized, which continued with the Roman rule and the transition into the Byzantine Empire.
Turkey has the world’s 17th largest GDP by PPP and 17th largest nominal GDP. The country is among the founding members of the OECD and the G-20 major economies.
The EU – Turkey Customs Union in 1995 led to an extensive liberalization of tariff rates and forms one of the most important pillars of Turkey’s foreign trade policy.
Turkey’s exports were $143.5 billion in 2011 and they reached $163 billion in 2012 (main export partners in 2012: Germany 8.6%, Iraq 7.1%, Iran 6.5%, UK 5.7%, UAE5.4%). However, larger imports which amounted to $229 billion in 2012 threatened the balance of trade (main import partners in 2012: Russia 11.3%, Germany 9%, China 9%, US 6%, Italy 5.6%).
Turkey has a large automotive industry, which produced over a million motor vehicles in 2012, ranking as the 16th largest producer in the world. Turkish shipbuilding exports were worth US$1.2 billion in 2011.
The major export markets are Malta, Marshall Islands, Panama and the United Kingdom. Turkish shipyards have 15 floating docks of different sizes and one dry dock. Tuzla, Yalova, and İzmit have developed into dynamic shipbuilding centers. In 2011, there were 70 active shipyards in Turkey, with another 56 being built.
Turkish shipyards are highly regarded both for the production of chemical and oil tankers up to 10,000 dwt and also for their mega yachts.
Turkish brands like Beko and Vestel are among the largest producers of consumer electronics and home appliances in Europe, and invest a substantial amount of funds for research and development in new technologies related to these fields.
Other key sectors of the Turkish economy are banking, construction, home appliances, electronics, textiles, oil refining, petrochemical products, food, mining, iron and steel, and machine industry. In 2010, the agricultural sector accounted for 9 percent of GDP while the industrial sector accounted for 26 percent and the services sector for 65 percent. However, agriculture still accounted for a quarter of employment.
Turkey is ranked 41 with an Economic Complexity Index (ECI) of 0.617748
Top 5 Products exported by Turkey
- Gold (8.2%),
- Cars (4.0%),
- Refined Petroleum (3.4%),
- Raw Iron Bars (3.2%),
- Vehicle Parts (2.5%)
Top 5 Export destinations of Turkey
- Germany (9.2%),
- Iraq (6.7%), Iran (6.1%),
- United Kingdom (5.4%),
- United Arab Emirates (5.0%)
Top 5 Products imported by Turkey
Refined Petroleum (8.0%),
Scrap Iron (4.3%), Gold (3.9%),
Petroleum Gas (2.7%)
Top 5 Import origins of Turkey
When you set foot in Turkey, you are following in the wake of some remarkable historical figures. Turkey has hosted A-list history-book figures including Julius Caesar, who famously ‘came, saw and conquered’ near Amasya, and St Paul, who crisscrossed the country.
Byzantine Christians cut cave churches into Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys, and Ottoman sultans luxuriated in İstanbul’s Topkapı Palace, ruling an empire that stretched from Budapest to Baghdad.
At other points in history, Romans coursed down the Curetes Way at Ephesus (Efes), medieval Armenians built Ani’s churches, whirling dervishes gyrated with Sufi mysticism, and the Lycians left ruins on Mediterranean beaches.
The best thing about sampling Turkey’s delicious specialties – ranging from meze on a Mediterranean harbour to a pension breakfast featuring products from the kitchen garden – is they take you to the heart of Turkish culture.
For the sociable and family-orientated Turks, getting together and eating well is a time-honoured ritual. So get stuck into olive oil–lathered Aegean vegetables, spicy Anatolia kebabs and dishes from Turkey’s many other corners – and as you drink a tulip-shaped glass of çay and contemplate some baklava for dessert, remember that eating is deepening your understanding of Turkey.
Of course, Turkey’s current inhabitants are just as memorable. The gregarious Turks are understandably proud of their heritage, and full of information (of variable accuracy) about subjects from kilims (flat-weave rugs) to the Aya Sofya’s floating dome.
Turkey’s long history, coupled with its unique position at the meeting of Europe and Asia, has given it a profound depth of culture. Immersing yourself in that culture is as simple as soaking in an ancient hamam, eating a kebap and tasting influences brought along the Silk Road, or visiting the ruins scattering the fields, bays and hills.
Ancient ruins and architectural heritage
- Hittites, the first indigenous people that rose to found a state in Anatolia
- Ancient Greeks and closely following Romans left their mark mostly in Aegean and Mediterranean Regions, leaving behind the marble ruins of hundreds of cities, temples, and monuments.
- Legendary Troy stands out as an example of different civilizations literally living on the top of each other.
- Seljuks, the first ever Turkic state to be founded in Asia Minor, built most of their monuments—which incorporates large majestic portals and heavily delicate stonework, reminiscent of some landmarks in parts of Asia—in major centres of the time in Eastern and Central Anatolia, especially in Konya, their capital.
- Ottomans, who had considered themselves as a Balkan state until their demise, built most of their landmarks in Balkans and the natural extension of Balkans within today’s Turkey
- 19th century brought back the Greek and Roman taste of architectural styles, so there was a huge explosion of neo-classical architecture, as much fashionable in Turkey as in the much of the rest of the world at that time.
- As the landscapes change the more east you go, so does the architectural heritage. The remote valleys and hilltops of Eastern Karadeniz and Eastern Anatolia are dotted with numerous medieval Georgian and Armenian churches and castles.