Modern Turkey was founded in 1923 from the Anatolian remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire by national hero Mustafa KEMAL, who was later honored with the title Ataturk or “Father of the Turks.” Under his leadership, the country adopted wide-ranging social, legal, and political reforms. After a period of one-party rule, an experiment with multi-party politics led to the 1950 election victory of the opposition Democratic Party and the peaceful transfer of power. Since then, Turkish political parties have multiplied, but democracy has been fractured by periods of instability and intermittent military coups (1960, 1971, 1980), which in each case eventually resulted in a return of political power to civilians.

In 1997, the military again helped engineer the ouster – popularly dubbed a “post-modern coup” – of the then Islamic-oriented government. Turkey intervened militarily on Cyprus in 1974 to prevent a Greek takeover of the island and has since acted as patron state to the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” which only Turkey recognizes. A separatist insurgency begun in 1984 by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – now known as the Kurdistan People’s Congress or Kongra-Gel (KGK) – has dominated the Turkish military’s attention and claimed more than 30,000 lives. After the capture of the group’s leader in 1999, the insurgents largely withdrew from Turkey mainly to northern Iraq. In 2013, KGK and the Turkish Government agreed to a ceasefire that continues despite slow progress in ongoing peace talks. Turkey joined the UN in 1945 and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. In 1964, Turkey became an associate member of the European Community. Over the past decade, it has undertaken many reforms to strengthen its democracy and economy; it began accession membership talks with the European Union in 2005.


Turkish Flag

Turkish Flag


Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia (that portion of Turkey west of the Bosporus is geographically part of 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

Map references:
Middle East

total: 783,562 sq km
country comparison to the world: 37
land: 769,632 sq km
water: 13,930 sq km

Area – comparative:
slightly larger than Texas

Land boundaries:
total: 2,656 km
border countries: Armenia 268 km, Azerbaijan 17 km, Bulgaria 240 km, Georgia 252 km, Greece 206 km, Iran 499 km, Iraq 352 km, Syria 822 km

7,200 km

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 6 nm in the Aegean Sea; 12 nm in Black Sea and in Mediterranean Sea
exclusive economic zone: in Black Sea only: to the maritime boundary agreed upon with the former USSR

temperate; hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters; harsher in interior

high central plateau (Anatolia); narrow coastal plain; several mountain ranges

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Ararat 5,166 m

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

Land use:
arable land: 26.21%
permanent crops: 3.94%
other: 69.84% (2011)

Irrigated land:
53,400 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources:
211.6 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 40.1 cu km/yr (14%/10%/76%)
per capita: 572.9 cu m/yr (2008)

Natural hazards:
severe earthquakes, especially in northern Turkey, along an arc extending from the Sea of Marmara to Lake Van
volcanism: limited volcanic activity; its three historically active volcanoes; Ararat, Nemrut Dagi, and Tendurek Dagi have not erupted since the 19th century or earlier

Environment – current issues:
water pollution from dumping of chemicals and detergents; air pollution, particularly in urban areas; deforestation; concern for oil spills from increasing Bosporus ship traffic

Environment – international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification

Geography – note:
strategic location controlling the Turkish Straits (Bosporus, 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

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People & Society

noun: Turk(s)
adjective: Turkish

Ethnic groups:
Turkish 70-75%, Kurdish 18%, other minorities 7-12% (2008 est.)

Turkish (official), Kurdish, other minority languages

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

81,619,392 (July 2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17

Age structure:
0-14 years: 25.5% (male 10,660,110/female 10,179,850)
15-24 years: 16.8% (male 6,989,099/female 6,709,480)
25-54 years: 42.9% (male 17,650,790/female 17,358,730)
55-64 years: 6.7% (male 3,289,605/female 3,291,199)
65 years and over: 6.6% (male 2,517,219/female 2,973,310) (2014 est.)

Dependency ratios:
total dependency ratio: 48.9 %
youth dependency ratio: 37.7 %
elderly dependency ratio: 11.2 %
potential support ratio: 8.9 (2014 est.)

Median age:
total: 29.6 years
male: 29.2 years
female: 30 years (2014 est.)

Population growth rate:
1.12% (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108

Birth rate:
16.86 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114

Death rate:
6.12 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162

Net migration rate:
0.46 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71

urban population: 71.5% of total population (2011)
rate of urbanization: 2.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas – population:
Istanbul 11.253 million; ANKARA (capital) 4.194 million; Izmir 2.927 million; Bursa 1.713 million; Adana 1.468 million; Gaziantep 1.198 million (2011)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Mother’s mean age at first birth:
22.3 (2010 est.)

Maternal mortality rate:
20 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
country comparison to the world: 139

Infant mortality rate:
total: 21.43 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 84
male: 22.48 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 20.32 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.29 years
country comparison to the world: 124
male: 71.33 years
female: 75.35 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate:
2.08 children born/woman (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113

Contraceptive prevalence rate:
73% (2008)

Health expenditures:
6.7% of GDP (2011)
country comparison to the world: 90

Physicians density:
1.71 physicians/1,000 population (2011)

Hospital bed density:
2.5 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source:
urban: 100% of population
rural: 99.1% of population
total: 99.7% of population
urban: 0% of population
rural: 0.9% of population
total: 0.3% of population (2011 est.)

Sanitation facility access:
urban: 97.2% of population
rural: 75.5% of population
total: 91% of population
urban: 2.8% of population
rural: 24.5% of population
total: 9% of population (2011 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1%; note – no country specific models provided (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 148

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS:
4,600 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124

HIV/AIDS – deaths:
fewer than 200 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117

Obesity – adult prevalence rate:
27.8% (2008)
country comparison to the world: 36

Children under the age of 5 years underweight:
3.5% (2004)
country comparison to the world: 102

Education expenditures:
2.9% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 142

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94.1%
male: 97.9%
female: 90.3% (2011 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 14 years
male: 15 years
female: 14 years (2011)

Child labor – children ages 5-14:
total number: 321,866
percentage: 3 %
note: data represents children ages 6-14 (2006 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24:
total: 17.5%
country comparison to the world: 71
male: 16.3%
female: 19.9% (2012)


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Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Turkey
conventional short form: Turkey
local long form: Turkiye Cumhuriyeti
local short form: Turkiye

Government type:
republican parliamentary democracy

name: Ankara
geographic coordinates: 39 56 N, 32 52 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions:
81 provinces (iller, singular – ili); Adana, Adiyaman, Afyonkarahisar, Agri, Aksaray, Amasya, Ankara, Antalya, Ardahan, Artvin, Aydin, Balikesir, Bartin, Batman, Bayburt, Bilecik, Bingol, Bitlis, Bolu, Burdur, Bursa, Canakkale, Cankiri, Corum, Denizli, Diyarbakir, Duzce, Edirne, Elazig, Erzincan, Erzurum, Eskisehir, Gaziantep, Giresun, Gumushane, Hakkari, Hatay, Igdir, Isparta, Istanbul, Izmir (Smyrna), Kahramanmaras, Karabuk, Karaman, Kars, Kastamonu, Kayseri, Kilis, Kirikkale, Kirklareli, Kirsehir, Kocaeli, Konya, Kutahya, Malatya, Manisa, Mardin, Mersin, Mugla, Mus, Nevsehir, Nigde, Ordu, Osmaniye, Rize, Sakarya, Samsun, Sanliurfa, Siirt, Sinop, Sirnak, Sivas, Tekirdag, Tokat, Trabzon (Trebizond), Tunceli, Usak, Van, Yalova, Yozgat, Zonguldak

29 October 1923 (successor state to the Ottoman Empire)

National holiday:
Republic Day, 29 October (1923)

several previous; latest ratified 9 November 1982; amended 2001, 2007, 2010 (2010)

Legal system:
civil law system based on various European legal systems notably the Swiss civil code; note – member of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), although Turkey claims limited derogations on the ratified European Convention on Human Rights

International law organization participation:
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Abdullah GUL (since 28 August 2007)
head of government: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN (since 14 March 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the nomination of the prime minister
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president elected directly for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); prime minister appointed by the president from among members of parliament
election results: on 28 August 2007 the National Assembly elected Abdullah GUL president on the third ballot; National Assembly vote – 339
note: in October 2007 Turkish voters approved a referendum package of constitutional amendments including a provision for direct presidential elections

Legislative branch:
unicameral Grand National Assembly of Turkey or Turkiye Buyuk Millet Meclisi (550 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 12 June 2011 (next likely to be held by June 2015)
election results: percent of vote by party – AKP 49.8%, CHP 25.9%, MHP 13%, independents 6.6%, other 4.7%; seats by party – AKP 326, CHP 135, MHP 53, independents 36; note – only parties surpassing the 10% threshold are entitled to parliamentary seats

Judicial branch:
highest court(s): Constitutional Court (consists of 17 members); Supreme Court of Appeals organized into 15 divisions with 38 civil and criminal chambers and consisting of 250 high judges and 440 rapporteur judges)
judge selection and term of office: Constitutional Court judges appointed by the president from among candidates submitted by plenary assemblies of other courts, the Higher Education Council, senior government administrators, and lawyers; judges appointed for 12-year, non-renewable terms and with mandatory retirement at age 65; Supreme Court of Appeals judges appointed by the Supreme Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors; judge tenure NA
subordinate courts: Council of State (Danistay); Court of Accounts (Sayistay); Military High Court of Appeals; Military High Administrative Court

Political parties and leaders:
Democratic Left Party or DSP [Masum TURKER]
Democratic Party or DP [Gultekin UYSAL]
Felicity Party or SP [Mustafa KAMALAK] (sometimes translated as Contentment Party)
Freedom and Solidarity Party or ODP [Alper TAS]
Grand Unity Party or BBP [Mustafa DESTICI]
Independent Turkey Party or BTP [Haydar BAS]
Justice and Development Party or AKP [Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN]
Nationalist Movement Party or MHP [Devlet BAHCELI]
Peace and Democracy Party or BDP [Selahattin DEMIRTAS]
People’s Democracy Party or HDP [Sebahat TUNCEL]
Republican People’s Party or CHP [Kemal KILICDAROGLU]
note: the parties listed above are some of the more significant of the 61 parties that Turkey had according to the Ministry of Interior statistics current as of May 2009

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey or TUSKON [Rizanur MERAL]
Confederation of Public Sector Unions or KESK [Lami OZGEN]
Confederation of Revolutionary Workers Unions or DISK [Tayfun GORGUN]
Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association or MUSIAD [Omer Cihad VARDAN]
Moral Rights Workers Union or Hak-Is [Mahmut ARSLAN]
Turkish Confederation of Employers’ Unions or TISK [Tugrul KUDATGOBILIK]
Turkish Confederation of Labor or Turk-Is [Mustafa KUMLU]
Turkish Confederation of Tradesmen and Craftsmen or TESK [Bendevi PALANDOKEN]
Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association or TUSIAD [Muharrem YILMAZ]
Turkish Union of Chambers of Commerce and Commodity Exchanges or TOBB [M. Rifat HISARCIKLIOGLU]

International organization participation:
ADB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC, CD, CE, CERN (observer), CICA, D-8, EAPC, EBRD, ECO, EU (candidate country), FAO, FATF, G-20, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIC, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club (associate), PCA, SELEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Sedar KILIC (since 21 May 1014)
chancery: 2525 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 612-6700
FAX: [1] (202) 612-6744
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, New York, Newton (MA)

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Francis J. RICCIARDONE, Jr. (since 3 January 2011)
embassy: 110 Ataturk Boulevard, Kavaklidere, 06100 Ankara
mailing address: PSC 93, Box 5000, APO AE 09823
telephone: [90] (312) 455-5555
FAX: [90] (312) 467-0019
consulate(s) general: Istanbul
consulate(s): Adana; note – there is a Consular Agent in Izmir

Flag description:
red with a vertical white crescent moon (the closed portion is toward the hoist side) and white five-pointed star centered just outside the crescent opening; the flag colors and designs closely resemble those on the banner of the Ottoman Empire, which preceded modern-day Turkey; the crescent moon and star serve as insignia for the Turks, as well as being traditional symbols of Islam; according to legend, the flag represents the reflection of the moon and a star in a pool of blood of Turkish warriors

National symbol(s):
star and crescent

National anthem:
name: “Istiklal Marsi” (Independence March)
lyrics/music: Mehmet Akif ERSOY/Zeki UNGOR
note: lyrics adopted 1921, music adopted 1932; the anthem’s original music was adopted in 1924; a new composition was agreed upon in 1932


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Economy – overview:
Turkey’s largely free-market economy is increasingly driven by its industry and service sectors, although its traditional agriculture sector still accounts for about 25% of employment. An aggressive privatization program has reduced state involvement in basic industry, banking, transport, and communication, and an emerging cadre of middle-class entrepreneurs is adding dynamism to the economy and expanding production beyond the traditional textiles and clothing sectors. The automotive, construction, and electronics industries are rising in importance and have surpassed textiles within Turkey’s export mix. Oil began to flow through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline in May 2006, marking a major milestone that will bring up to 1 million barrels per day from the Caspian to market. Several gas pipelines projects also are moving forward to help transport Central Asian gas to Europe through Turkey, which over the long term will help address Turkey’s dependence on imported oil and gas to meet 97% of its energy needs. After Turkey experienced a severe financial crisis in 2001, Ankara adopted financial and fiscal reforms as part of an IMF program. The reforms strengthened the country’s economic fundamentals and ushered in an era of strong growth averaging more than 6% annually until 2008. Global economic conditions and tighter fiscal policy caused GDP to contract in 2009, but Turkey’s well-regulated financial markets and banking system helped the country weather the global financial crisis and GDP rebounded strongly to around 9% in 2010-11, as exports returned to normal levels following the recession. Growth dropped to roughly 3-4% in 2012-13. Turkey’s public sector debt to GDP ratio has fallen below 40%, and two rating agencies upgraded Turkey’s debt to investment grade in 2012 and 2013. Turkey remains dependent on often volatile, short-term investment to finance its large current account deficit. The stock value of FDI reached nearly $195 billion at year-end 2013, reflecting Turkey’s robust growth even in the face of economic turmoil in Europe, the source of much of Turkey’s FDI. Turkey’s relatively high current account deficit, domestic political uncertainty, and turmoil within Turkey’s neighborhood leave the economy vulnerable to destabilizing shifts in investor confidence.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.167 trillion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17
$1.124 trillion (2012 est.)
$1.101 trillion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$821.8 billion (2013 est.)

GDP – real growth rate:
3.8% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
2.2% (2012 est.)
8.8% (2011 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP):
$15,300 (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
$15,000 (2012 est.)
$14,900 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

Gross national saving:
NA% (2013 est.)
NA% (2012 est.)
23.6% of GDP (2011 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use:
household consumption: 71%
government consumption: 15.4%
investment in fixed capital: 19.4%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 26.6%
imports of goods and services: -32.5%
(2013 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 8.9%
industry: 27.3%
services: 63.8% (2013 est.)

Agriculture – products:
tobacco, cotton, grain, olives, sugar beets, hazelnuts, pulses, citrus; livestock

textiles, food processing, autos, electronics, mining (coal, chromate, copper, boron), steel, petroleum, construction, lumber, paper

Industrial production growth rate:
3.5% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 84

Labor force:
27.91 million
country comparison to the world: 22
note: about 1.2 million Turks work abroad (2013 est.)

Labor force – by occupation:
agriculture: 25.5%
industry: 26.2%
services: 48.4% (2010)

Unemployment rate:
9.3% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
9.2% (2012 est.)
note: underemployment amounted to 4% in 2008

Population below poverty line:
16.9% (2010)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 30.3% (2008)

Distribution of family income – Gini index:
40.2 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 57
43.6 (2003)

revenues: $190.4 billion
expenditures: $207.9 billion (2013 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
23.2% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-2.1% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 91

Public debt:
36.6% of GDP (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
37.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
note: data cover central government debt, and excludes debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data exclude debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are sold at public auctions

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
7.6% (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 192
8.9% (2012 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
5.25% (31 December 2011)
country comparison to the world: 9
15% (22 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
18.5% (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19
19% (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of narrow money:
$80.72 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 40
$85.23 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of broad money:
$383.5 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
$405.6 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$549.5 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
$552.3 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$308.8 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
$201.8 billion (31 December 2011)
$306.7 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Current account balance:
-$58.35 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187
-$47.75 billion (2012 est.)

$167.6 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
$163.3 billion (2012 est.)

Exports – commodities:
apparel, foodstuffs, textiles, metal manufactures, transport equipment

Exports – partners:
Germany 8.6%, Iraq 7.1%, Iran 6.5%, UK 5.7%, UAE 5.4%, Russia 4.4%, Italy 4.2%, France 4.1% (2012)

$242.9 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
$228.6 billion (2012 est.)

Imports – commodities:
machinery, chemicals, semi-finished goods, fuels, transport equipment

Imports – partners:
Russia 11.3%, Germany 9%, China 9%, US 6%, Italy 5.6%, Iran 5.1% (2012)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$117.6 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
$119.2 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Debt – external:
$359.5 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
$336.7 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment – at home:
$194.2 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 28
$181.7 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad:
$33.44 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
$30.94 billion (31 December 2012 est.)

Exchange rates:
Turkish liras (TRY) per US dollar –
1.899 (2013 est.)
1.796 (2012 est.)
1.5028 (2010 est.)
1.55 (2009)
1.3179 (2008)

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