Turkey, officially known as the Republic of Turkey, is the country that is the bridge between Europe and Asia. It shares borders with 8 different countries and 3 seas. It consists of 7 geographical regions and 81 cities. The region in which the country is situated is called Anatolia and is accepted as a peninsula. Anatolia has been a strategically important area throughout history. Turkish people came to Anatolia in 1071 first and since then they are living there. Never mind, let’s focus on the country again.
The country has a population of over 80 million and Kurds are the largest minority with a population of over 16 million. Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War, Turkey has been a shelter to Syrians and there are over 2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. Even though there are ethnicities other than Turkish in the country, every Turkey citizen is accepted Turkish by law. That does not mean Turkey forces people to forget about their roots. The law has been put into order to ensure that every citizen is treated equally.
The country’s official language is Turkish. Kurdish is the second most spoken language in the country, but it is not accepted as an official language, there are people who support this idea, though.
Even though, due to being the most populous city in Turkey, Istanbul is thought to be the capital of the country, the country’s capital is Ankara since the law about the country’s capital was accepted in 1923 by the new parliament of the new country.
If we are to talk about a country, we should talk about its economy. Turkey has a GDP of $794 billion in total which is the 20th biggest one in the world but when you consider the population (GDP per capita) Turkey is 67th in the world. Also, the purchasing power of the Turkish population is the 45th best one in the world.
One of the biggest industries in Turkey is tourism. It has been so beneficial to the economy of the country that tourism has been called a “smokeless industry”. Turkey ranked sixth in the world in terms of the number of international tourist arrivals, with over 50 million foreign tourists visiting the country.
Another important point about Turkey is that there are 204 universities in the country. Some think this number is unnecessarily high, but the government continues to establish new universities each year. Every city should have at least a university as their main idea regarding this issue, and they have achieved this goal, but they have not stopped yet. There are 840 thousand university students in the country in total and this number is so high that graduating from a university is not important anymore.
Health is thought to be one of the areas where Turkey is good, but the numbers are saying this is not true. In 2018, the total expenditure on health as a share of GDP was the lowest among OECD countries at %6.3 of GDP. Also, Turkey has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world (%29.5).
Since the majority of Turkey’s population is Muslim, there is a common bias about Turkey that is it is an Islamic country, but it is not. Since its foundation, the Republic of Turkey is a secular state with no official state religion. The first article of the Turkish constitution says that the country’s regime is a republic, and the next article says that Turkey is a secular, social, democratic, nationalist, state of law and it respects human rights. Even though there have always been governments against some of these articles, including the current one, and they have taken some actions to executes their aims, they were not successful, until this one.
Turkey was founded by the old soldiers of the Ottoman Empire. Mustafa Kemal who was later given the surname of “Atatürk” (father of the Turks) was the leader of the independence movement of which aim was to defend Anatolia against enemies in the time following the First World War. They refused the conditions of the Treaty of Sevres and fought for years. Finally, they were able to establish Turkey with its today’s borders except for Hatay which joined Turkey on its will after it gained its independence from France.
Turkey is considered to be a European country thanks to the Treaty of Lausanne with which Turkey’s independence and sovereignty were accepted. But it is not a member of the European Union. Turkey has applied to become a member of the EU and some of the legislation and the laws have been adapted to those of the EU but there were a few points on which the two sides were not able to agree. So, the process has not been completed and the Turkish government is not trying to join the EU anymore.
If you are talking about a country, you should mention its culture. So, let’s dive into Turkish culture. As we have mentioned above, there is more than one nation in Turkey, and this was also the case in the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of Turkey. Therefore, the culture of the country is also a mix of different cultures. Like its geographical location, Turkey’s culture is also a bridge between Europe and the Middle East. The cultures in the area were affected so much by each other that there are some disputed meals about their origins. For example, “yoğurt”, a globally known food, is claimed by Greek people. They have been so successful in defending their claims that it is known as Greek yogurt almost everywhere. There are so many meals like yogurt, but we will not further discuss that matter in this article.
Turkey is a good country despite all its cons. I hope one day you can visit this country and enjoy the Turkish breakfast. (Be cautious, you can be addicted to it.)
If you want to read further about the country, you may use these resources as we did: