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TURKEY

Money: Turkish Lira (formerly New Turkish Lira)

Population: 79,51 million (2016)

Geographical size: 814,578sq km – of which 790,200 is in Asia, 24,378 is in Europe.

Religion: 99.8% Muslim (mostly Sunni), 0.2% Christianity and others

Capital: Ankara (Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, but Ankara is the capital)

National flag: White crescent moon and white star on a red background

Telephone: Country code 90

Istanbul is the only city in the world built on two continents, Europe and Asia

Turkey shares a border with eight countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Iraq and Syria

Turkey is surrounded by sea on three sides – the Black Sea in the north, Mediterranean in the south and the Aegean Sea in the west.

Turkey, country that occupies a unique geographic position, lying partly in Asia and partly in Europe. Throughout its history it has acted as both a barrier and a bridge between the two continents.

Turkey is situated at the crossroads of the BalkansCaucasusMiddle East, and eastern Mediterranean. It is among the larger countries of the region in terms of territory and population, and its land area is greater than that of any European state. Nearly all of the country is in Asia, comprising the oblong peninsula of Asia Minor—also known as Anatolia(Anadolu)—and, in the east, part of a mountainous region sometimes known as the Armenian Highland. The remainder—Turkish Thrace(Trakya)—lies in the extreme southeastern part of Europe, a tiny remnant of an empire that once extended over much of the Balkans.

The country has a north-south extent that ranges from about 300 to 400 miles (480 to 640 km), and it stretches about 1,000 miles from west to east. Turkey is bounded on the north by the Black Sea, on the northeast by Georgia and Armenia, on the east by Azerbaijan and Iran, on the southeast by Iraq and Syria, on the southwest and west by the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea, and on the northwest by Greeceand Bulgaria. The capital is Ankara, and its largest city and seaport is Istanbul.

Of a total boundary length of some 4,000 miles (6,440 km), about three-fourths is maritime, including coastlines along the Black Sea, the Aegean, and the Mediterranean, as well as the narrows that link the Black and Aegean seas. These narrows—which include the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles—are known collectively as the Turkish straits; Turkey’s control of the straits, the only outlet from the Black Sea, has been a major factor in its relations with other states. Most of the islands along the Aegean coast are Greek; only the islands of Gökçeada and Bozcaada remain in Turkish hands. The maritime boundary with Greece has been a source of dispute between the two countries on numerous occasions since World War II.

A long succession of political entities existed in Asia Minor over the centuries. Turkmen tribes invaded Anatolia in the 11th century CE, founding the Seljuq empire; during the 14th century the Ottoman Empire began a long expansion, reaching its peak during the 17th century. The modern Turkish republic, founded in 1923 after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, is a nationalist, secularparliamentary democracy. After a period of one-party rule under its founder, Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk), and his successor, Turkish governments since the 1950s have been produced by multiparty elections based on universal adult suffrage.

Relief

Turkey is a predominantly mountainous country, and true lowland is confined to the coastal fringes. About one-fourth of the surface has an elevation above 4,000 feet (1,200 metres), and less than two-fifths lies below 1,500 feet (460 metres). Mountain crests exceed 7,500 feet (2,300 metres) in many places, particularly in the east, where Turkey’s highest mountain, Mount Ararat (Ağrı), reaches 16,945 feet (5,165 metres) close to the borders with Armenia and Iran. In the southeast the Uludoruk Peak reaches 15,563 feet (4,744 metres); though further west, the Demirkazık Peak (12,320 feet [3,755 metres]) and Mount Aydos (11,414 feet [3,479 metres]) are also significant peaks. Steep slopes are common throughout the country, and flat or gently sloping land makes up barely one-sixth of the total area. These relief features affect other aspects of the physical environment, producing climates often much harsher than might be expected for a country of Turkey’s latitude and reducing the availability and productivity of agricultural land. Structurally, the country lies within the geologically young folded-mountain zone of Eurasia, which in Turkey trends predominantly east to west. The geology of Turkey is complex, with sedimentary rocks ranging from Paleozoic to Quaternary, numerous intrusions, and extensive areas of volcanic material. Four main regions can be identified: the northern folded zone, the southern folded zone, the central massif, and the Arabian platform.