BOSPORUS BRIDGE IN INSTANBUL -- CONNECTING EUROPE WITH ASIA
Turkey combines Europe and Asia and has incredible sceneries. Sometimes it is called the bridge between Europe and Asia. The size of Turkey would be United Kingdom and France together. 97% of Turkey is Asia and it is called Anatolia. The European part is called Thrace. It borders onto Greece and Bulgaria. Anatolia borders onto Georgia and Armenia in the north-east. Syria and Iraq are on the south-east and Iran on the east. The Anatolia has the Black Sea in the north and the Mediterranean in the south.
The islands of Gokceada and Bozcaada off the Dardanelles belonging also to Turkey. All the other islands near the Turkey's coast belong to Greece.
Anatolia is a large plateau. The Pontic Mountains are in the north and the Taurus Mountains are in the south. In the west are smaller hills and valleys and then the plateau inclines down to the Aegean Sea. On the eastern side, the Pontic and Taurus Mountains include Turkey's highest mountains -- Mount Ararat 5,137m.
Mount Ararat is an extinct volcano. It is, supposed, the resting place of Noah's Ark. The mountain has a layer of lava then a layer of tufa and then a layer of lava and so on. It is snow covered all year round.
The rivers Kizil Irmak flows for 1181km and eventually into the Black Sea. The rivers Tigris and Euphrates begin in Turkey.
Thrace lies between the two mountain ranges north and south. The Ergene River runs through the middle of the valley. This part is very fertile and gentle rolling country side. There are also some swamps.
Although Turkey's mountains are extinct volcanoes it still has earthquakes and quite frequently.
Turkey's climate is extreme. The plateau in Anatolia has hot summers and often droughts. The winters are very cold and windy. They have snow for up to four months. At the Mediterranean coast they have mild winters and hot summers. From the west to the east the rainfall increases and temperatures dropping.
Most of Turkey is cover with grassland and hills and a few trees. On the plateau there are flowers like tulips and crocuses in the spring. Along the Mediterranean coast are juniper and cedar trees. The coast along the eastern Black Sea has dense forest due to the heavy rainfall.
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The wildlife consists of wolves, wildcats, jackals and bears. Wild boars are wide spread because Muslims don't eat them. Birds wild geese, partridges and quails. Birds of prey migrate through the Bosporus. The mountain streams have plenty of trouts and in the Turkish Strait are bonito, mackerel and bluefish
Their economy is based on agriculture. The fertile land is along the coastal plains and along the rivers valleys. They grow cotton, tea, wheat, tobacco and fruit. Their livestock is mainly sheep and goats. The angora sheep produces mohair which is very valuable. The forests are not of great value because they were not well managed. Half of the population work in agriculture, forests and fishing. The fishing industry catches anchovies, mackerel, sardines, mullet and carp.
A big addition to the economy is tourism. It is estimated that 7 million people visit the country every year.
The industry of food and tobacco processing plants are increasing.
Turkey's natural resources are chromium and it is the world largest suppliers as well as for boron. An unusual mineral which is produced there is meerschaum. This material is used for tobacco pipes. Along the Black Sea coast are mines of high-quality coals. Turkey has also natural resouces of iron ore, copper and lead. They manufacture and export clothes, tobacco products, chemicals and metal products. They also have an important car industry.
They produce most of their electricity by hydro-electric plants. The largest is the Keban Dam on the River Euphrates. The oilfields are along the river Tigris and they produce small quantities of petroleum. In 1995 Turkey and Azerbaijan signed a significant agreement. It increases the Turkish stake in the Azerbaijan's oil fields.
AN OTTOMAN ERA
The first inhabitants were Hittites. Nowadays the Turkish people have quite a number of ethnic ancestors. The population is 80% Turkish and 20% Kurdish. The minority consists of Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Georgians and Jews. 69% of the population live in urban areas. The largest city is Istanbul with 6 million but Ankara is the capital.
The education is free and compulsory between 7 and 12 years. 80% of the people can read and write. In 1928 the alphabet was changed from Arabic to Latin and since then the literacy has increased. The official language is Turkish but Kurdish and Arab are also spoken. Health care is state funded but in rural areas the medical facilities are limited.
Turkey is changing slowly from the Islamic traditions, influence from the Ottoman period, to a more Western style and outlook. Although the Islam religion is no longer a state religion but the Turkish people are 99% Sunni Muslims. Literature and music are still very influenced by the Middle Eastern origin.
|DOLMABAHCE PALACE - |
OTTOMAN EMPIRE -
AS SEEN FROM RIVER BOSPORUS
|DOLMABAHCE PALACE |
Throughout Turkey's history it was the heart of the Ottoman's Empire which included the Middle-East, North Africa and south-east Europe. During the First World War they sided with Germany. After the war ended, the Allies and Greece tried to partition the country and this started the Turkish War of Independence. The new government, led by Mustafa Kemal, brought back Armenia and drove the Greek army out of Turkey. The sultan fled who was the last of a very ancient line of the Ottoman Empire. His son lived in New York till he died.
In 1923 Turkey became a republic and Mustafa Kemal was the new president. He renamed himself as Ataturk meaning Father of the Turks. He gave Turkey a democratic constitution but ruled as a nationalistic dictator. Nowadays, he is seen as the man who dragged the country into the 20th century.
After the war, Ataturk had died by then; the politics became more liberal and had many political parties. In 1945 the Democratic Party was found, won in 1950 and Adnam Menderes became Prime Minister. After that coalitions and military rules changed all the time. The Kurds who are unofficially at war with the Turkish government demanded independence for its 15 million people. The Kurdish Workers Party is a Marxist terrorist group. By 1995, 7000 people have died in the civil war.
In 1991 Suleman Demirel became Prime Minister and was from the conservative True Path Party. In 1993 Tansu Ciller was elected as the country's first woman Prime Minister.
Turkey is an associated member of the EU but eager to become a full member. Although it sided with the West in the Gulf War and supplied peace keeping troops in Bosnia but the international community is still unhappy about Turkey's invasion of Cyprus and treatment of the Kurds.
THE LIBRARY OF CELSIUS AT EPHESUS -- NOW CALLED EFES -- IS AN UNIQUE CORINTHAN EDIFICE -- BUILT IN 110 AD AND ORIGINAL CONTAINED 12,000 SCROLLS AND BOOKS
People who love sightseeing will be spoiled for choice. There is the Celsius Library in Ephesus dated from 135 CE.
The Selimiye Mosque is one of the most famous architecture. A legacy of the Ottoman Empire.
Cappadocia, which lies in the centre, is covered with soft volcanic rock called tuff. It has eroded over thousands of years and looks now like pointed spires and towers. In Uchisar, the towers have been hollowed out and used as dwellings.
The Roman amphitheatre at Side is interesting to see because the seating was not built into the hillside, as usual, but juts out and supported with huge stone arches. Each arch is 14m heigh. It was built in the 2nd century AD.
The city of Bodrum is the site of ancient Halicarnassus which was the first Greek colonies in Asia. It is also the site of the famous Mausoleum built to honour Mausoleums. He built the city in 377 and 355 BC. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
There architectures built by Greek, Persian, Roman and Byzantines Empires.
Holidays for sun-lovers are the sunny, sandy beaches, rugged cliffs and vivacious holiday resorts.
Antalya has the Mediterranean largest floating nightclub. Gumbet with its variety of bars, restaurant and cubs and Marmara rival it.
Holidaying in Turkey suit couples, family with small or bigger children and all at very reasonable prices.