The Turkey, as in the past, has been hit several times by violent earthquakes, especially in the eastern provinces, with considerable damage and numerous victims: August 1966 (2200 dead), May 1971 (1000) September 1975 (3000), November 1976 (4000).
The residents, which in 1960 were 27,755,999, increased, according to the census carried out on 25 October 1970, to 35,666,646, with an average density of 46 residents / km 2 (133 in the European territory); at the 1975 census they were 36,423,964, and the density rose to 48 residents / km 2, while an estimate of June 1978 caused their number to rise to 43,210,000. These rapid increases (2.7% per year in the period 1970-77) are due to the high birth rate, with higher values along the coasts of the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean, around Ankara and Alexandretta (Iskenderun) and generally where agriculture is more advanced and mechanized.
There are 94 cities with over 25,000 residents, 24 with populations between 50,000 and 100,000, and 24 with over 100,000. The 24 cities that exceed 100,000 residents are the following (at the 1975 census): Istanbul, 2,534,839; Ankara, 520,686; Smyrna, 636,078; Adana, 467,122; Bursa, 346,084; Gaziantep, 300,801; Eskişehir, 258,266; Konya, 246,381; Kayseri (Caesarea), 207,039; Diyarbakir, 169,746; Erzurum, 162,925; Samsun, 169,070; Sivas, 149,155; Malatya, 154,056; Izmit, 164,675; Mersin, 152,186; Elâziǧ, 131.116; Maraş, 128,231; Adapazari, 113,411; Urfa, 132,892; Kirikkale, 138,015; Iskenderun, 103,164; Denizli, 106,704; Tarsus (Tarsus), 101.690. It should be added that there are 35,000 villages (often distant from each other and self-sufficient) and that 80% of the rural population lives in villages of less than 1000 residents. The population has recently shown a tendency towards a more rigorous adherence to the principles of the Koran and appears unwilling to invest in tourist activities, which are responsible for negative trends with respect to the customs of the Turkish people. A recent phenomenon is temporary emigration for work purposes; in June 1976 528,000 Turks were counted in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Economic conditions. – Turkey is a rapidly expanding country. In its favor is the presence of a working people, accustomed to a modest standard of living, but it is necessary to overcome the prejudices and traditions that derive from centuries of ignorance and slavery. Five-year plans were drawn up, the second of which (1968-72) sought to extend the cultivated area by irrigation. The use of the land is as follows (1975): cultivated surface, 22%; fallow land, 10.2%; tree crops and vegetable gardens, 3.6%; meadows and pastures, 35.4%; woods, 25.6%; sterile, 3.2%.
The Turkey still has the characteristics of a country with a prevalently agricultural and rural economy, which tries to cope with the obstacles deriving both from the climate (too cold in the internal parts in winter, too hot and dry in summer), and from poorly distributed property, partly still in the hands of wealthy peasants (agha), who dominate rural life and hold back development. Agriculture provides 31.5% of the national income, employs over 10 million peasants, equal to 68% of the people who are employed (as opposed to about 2 million employed in industry) and participates in agricultural products and breeding to 70% of exports.
Remarkable remains the contrast between the high Anatolian lands (where the cultivation of cereals and the breeding of sheep and goats prevail) and the peripheral plains and valleys (where fruit trees, such as olive, fig, vine, hazelnut, and then cotton, tobacco, etc.). The possibilities for development appear greater in the field of the Mediterranean subtropical agricultural cycle than in the Anatolian plateau, where a number of state farms have been created and the use of agricultural machinery has been widespread. In progress there are tobacco, cotton (5.7 million q of fiber and 9.8 million q of seeds in 1977), citrus fruits (8 million q), figs (2.1 million q) and vines (especially in surroundings of Ankara). Wheat went from 81 million q (1956-1963) to 167 million q (1977), while the other cereals show no significant changes.
Given the extension of meadows and pastures, livestock farming remains an important sector of the Turkish economy, which however in some cases had to avoid excessive exploitation by protecting the vegetation cover and creating terraces. In 1977 there were 41.5 million sheep, 12 million goats, 14 million cattle, 1 million buffaloes, 1.5 million donkeys and just over a million horses and mules.
Industrial activity has been developed and strengthened above all by the state, which manages 59 public enterprises, participates in 113 industrial companies and also supports tens of thousands of small artisan enterprises with protective regulations. Among the recently built plants we can mention those of Kars (powdered milk), Elâziǧ (cement), Erzurum (sugar), Bitlis (tobacco), Diyarbakir (wool). In progress is the production of paper, fertilizers, synthetic textiles, as well as the production of steel and electricity; in 1972 a large dam (built by Impresit) was inaugurated in Keban on the Euphrates (E of Malatya) which gave rise to a lake of 750 km 2. The most impressive steel industrial center is that of Karabük-Ereǧli, which is based on Zonguldak coal: the area of Kirikkale, on Kiz il Irmak, E of Ankara is also in progress. An oil refinery in Smyrna began to operate in 1967, followed by those of Batman, Mersin, and Izmit; a steel mill has been operating in Iskenderun since 1969.
In order to serve remote areas, Turkey has extended some existing railway sections and improved the busiest lines. It now has a network of 8138 km. Of considerable importance was the connection of the Turkish network with the Persian network (27 September 1971); from Ankara it is now possible to reach Tehran (2416 km) in 60 hours, without going through the Soviet Union; the Turkish section uses a ferry from Tatvan to Van (91 km), which is in service in every season, since the lake, despite being at 1720 meters above sea level, never freezes; from Van the line continues to the border (Scherifehane). Also important is the opening of a bridge over the Bosphorus (October 1974) linking Europe (Eastern Thrace) to Anatolia, between Ortaköy and Beylerbeyi; it is just over a kilometer and a half long (with a central arch of 1074 m) and 32 m wide;
Foreign trade continues to be highly passive (1977: 103,031 million Turkish lira for imports and 31,338 million for exports). Turkey exports cotton, fruit, tobacco, minerals, sugar, livestock, etc., and buys machines, vehicles and manufactured products. It mainly buys from the Federal Republic of Germany, the United States, Italy, the United Kingdom and France, and sells to the Federal Republic of Germany, the United States, Switzerland, France, Italy.
Economy. – The economic development of Turkey has been very irregular: the annual growth rate was 7.5% between 1948 and 1953, 2.7% between 1953 and 1961, and around 7% since 1961 on. Following the inflows of foreign aid, especially in the early 1960s, there has been a notable increase in the formation of gross capital to the detriment of private consumption. The share of total government investment went from 38% in 1951 to 56% in 1969. Agriculture, which remains the most important sector of the Turkish economy, has however been losing importance and its share of national income is passing from 41% in 1960 to 23% in 1977, while the industrial sector in the same period increased from 16 to 27%. Central government spending has been increasing more and more. For Turkey economics and business, please check businesscarriers.com.
The money supply, which in the period 1960-70 had increased by 380%, in the period 1971-76 increased by 345%. The rate of inflation, which had been somewhat moderate during the 1960s, with an annual average of less than 3% in 1960-65 and 6% in 1965-70, averages above 20% during the 1970s.
As far as the balance of payments is concerned, after a period of relative calm, at the beginning of the 1960s, Turkey had to face increasingly negative situations. In 1963, imports rose to 588 million dollars against 284 in 1958. The external economic situation which was further deteriorating in the following years led to strong speculation against the lira which in 1970 was devalued de jure 60%. In the seventies, despite the huge remittances of emigrants, the current balance reached very large deficits: 1880 million dollars in 1975 and 2286 million dollars in 1976; this contributed to a decrease in reserves which in 1977 amounted to only $ 774 million. These circumstances led to the imposition of very severe restrictions on imports and heavy devaluations of the lira.