Turkey Country Overview

Turkey Country Overview

Turkey is a presidential republic with the capital Ankara. Geographically, a small part of the west belongs to Europe, the majority to Asia. The country borders the Aegean to the west, the Levantine Mediterranean to the south and the Black Sea to the north. It is a predominantly mountainous country with a Mediterranean climate on the coasts and a continental climate in the highlands. Three quarters of the population live in cities, one in five in Istanbul. Turkey is characterized by great social and economic differences between urban and rural areas, as well as between west and east. The rural-conservative Central Anatolia in the east is sparsely populated and economically weaker, the importance of tradition and religion is greater here. Three quarters of the population are Turks, around a fifth are ethnic Kurds in the east of the country. Since the 1960s, many Turkish citizens emigrated to Western European countries. Turkey went out of the Ottoman Empire , which was a major European power until the 17th century. After its demise, state founder M. Kemal Ataturk pursued the modernization of the country after the European model from 1923 and pushed through the separation of state and religion. The most important economic sector is the service sector, including tourism, followed by the textile, food and automotive industries. After the economic boom from 2000, the economy contracted from 2018, unemployment and inflation rose. In the 21st century, RT Erdoğan returned with Presidentand his party AKP Islam back to the public. The strong role played by the president after the constitutional amendments in 2018 and his conservative Islamic course divide society. 3.6 million Syrians fled the Syrian civil war to Turkey. Kurdish aspirations for autonomy led to military conflicts due to the repressive policies of the Turkish government and, in 2019, to the invasion of northern Syria by Turkish troops. Turkey is a founding member of the UN and has been a member of NATO since 1952. From the 2010s onwards, the country abandoned the orientation towards Europe and the USA, which it had pursued since the founding of the republic, in favor of a stronger focus on some neighboring states and Russia.


Turkey has a wide variety of cultural monuments. In the 1950s and 60s, remains from the Stone Age were discovered in eastern Turkey near Konya and Şanliurfa. If you travel to Turkey today, you will come across archaeological excavations all over the country, which uncover entire cities from ancient times , built by Greeks or Romans.

From the 4th century onwards, people in the Cappadocia region built houses, churches, monasteries and even entire cities underground in soft tuff. One of the most famous buildings in the country is the Hagia Sophia (6th century), first a cathedral, later a mosque, finally a museum and, since 2020, a mosque again. With its 60 m high dome (32 m diameter) it is considered a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. The Topkapı Palace in Istanbul (15th – 19th centuries), where the sultans lived for centuries, and many mosques such as the Blue Mosque (1616) or the Suleymanıye Mosque (1557) in Istanbul are examples of Ottoman architecture.

In addition to the classical music of the Ottoman upper class, there is folk music that originated from the songs of ordinary people. Round dances have also been danced for centuries, in different forms depending on the region. According to itypeauto, both literature and music were influenced by Europe from the 19th century onwards. The French novel was the model for literature. Contemporary Turkish literature, which is often politically and socially critical, developed from him. The poet Nazim Hikmet was hushed up during his lifetime, today he is revered as a national poet. An important representative is the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature, O. Pamuk .

Turkish folk music produced the arabesque from 1940, today often referred to as belly dance music. Pop music came to Turkey from the 1960s, but only had great success from the 1990s. A popular singer outside of the country is Tarkan (* 1972).

The Turkish film appears at international film festivals with considerable productions. The director and photographer Nuri Bilge Ceylan (* 1959) received awards in Cannes for “Winter Sleep” (2014) and for the atmospheric shots in “Once Upon A Time in Anatolia” (2011).

The most popular sport in Turkey is soccer. The country’s top division, the Süper Lig, is mostly dominated by the three Istanbul clubs Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş. Basketball and volleyball are also popular. The most important traditional sport is wrestling, especially oil wrestling, in which the wrestler’s bodies are oiled.

Turkey Country Overview

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