GENERAL INFORMATION

GENERAL INFORMATION

 

The country is just one big massive collection of artefacts portraying various civilizations throughout history. It is a story book, a pot of gold and a treasure chest of history.

 

Official Name: Republic of Turkey (Turkish: Turkiye Cumhuriyeti)
Capital: Ankara 
Biggest Cities (above 1 million population): Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, Adana, Gaziantep, Konya, Antalya    
Area: 783,562 sq. km (302.535 sq. ml)
Currency: Turkish Lira (TRY) 1 EUR = 3,15 TRY; 1 USD = 2,90
Official language: Turkish 
Time zone: winter GMT +2 / summer GMT (DST) + 3
Dialling Code: +90
ISO 3166 code: TR
Internet top-level domain (TLD): .tr
Emergency services: 112 
Religions:99% Muslim, 1% other
Government:Unitary Parliamentary Constitutional Republic 
President: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 
Population: 2015 census – 78.741,056
Population density: 102/km (262/sq. miles) 
Gross Domestic Product (GDP): USD $722 billion (est. 2014); per capita USD 10,482 (est. 2014)
Human Development Index (HDI): 0.761 (high) (2014) 
Lowest point:Mediterranean Sea 0 m 
Highest point:Mount Ararat 5,166 m
Days of sunshine per year: 235

 

 

Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located at a point where the 3 continents of the world (Asia, Africa and Europe) are closest to each other and where Asia and Europe meet and lies like a natural bridge between Asia and Europe. The European part of the country is called Thrace, while the Asian part is known as Anatolia (or Minor Asia). Because of its geographical location, Anatolia has always been important throughout history and is the birthplace of many great civilizations. 
With territories on two continents, Turkey tries to be a bridge between West and East.

Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Syria and Iraq to the south; Iran, Armenia, and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan to the east; Georgia to the northeast; Bulgaria to the northwest; and Greece to the west. The Black Sea is to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and the Aegean Sea to the west. The Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles (which together form the Straits) demarcate the boundary between Thrace and Anatolia; they also separate Europe and Asia. Turkey's location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a country of significant geostrategic importance.

Turkey has been inhabited since the Paleolithic age, including various ancient Anatolian civilizations, Aeolian, Dorian and Ionian Greeks, Thracians, Armenians, and Assyrians. After Alexander the Great's conquest the area was Hellenized; a process which continued under the Roman Empire and its transition into the Byzantine Empire. The Seljuk Turks began migrating into the area in the 11th century, starting the process of Turkification, which was greatly accelerated by the Seljuk victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rum ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, upon which it disintegrated into several small Turkish beyliks.

The oldest homeland of the Turks is Central Asia. Bringing various tribes under one rule, they founded the first Turkish State, Huns; in 228 BC. Turkey has been called The Cradle of Civilization. The world's first known settlement until 1996 was a Neolithic city at Çatalhöyük, and dates back to 6.500 BC, but was surpassed by even older site called Göbekli Tepe (means Potbelly Hill) that dates back to the 10th – 8th millennium BC. It was excavated by a German archaeological team under the direction of Klaus Schmidt from 1996 until his death in 2014.

The Turkish nation started its War of Independence in 1919 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal, who was later honoured with the title Atatürk or Father of the Turks.” the founder of the new Turkish Republic, which resulted in liberation of Anatolia and a certain portion of Thrace where Turks are most densely inhabited.

Under his leadership, the country adopted wide-ranging social, legal, and political reforms. After a period of one-party rule, an experiment with multi-party politics led to the 1950 election victory of the opposition Democratic Party and the peaceful transfer of power. Since then, Turkish political parties have multiplied, but democracy has been fractured by periods of instability and intermittent military coups (1960, 1971, 1980), which in each case eventually resulted in a return of political power to civilians.

Turkey joined the UN in 1945 and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. In 1963, Turkey became an associate member of the European Community; it began accession membership talks with the EU in 2005. Over the past decade, economic reforms have contributed to a quickly growing economy.

POLITICAL STRUCTURE 

The Turkish Grand national Assembly met in Ankara on 23 April 1920, abolished the Ottoman Sultanate on 1 November 1922, and promulgated the republican regime for the administration of the country on 29 October 1923.

Constitution: The Republic of Turkey adopted its first Constitution in 1924. It retained the basic principles of the 1921 Constitution, notably the principle of national sovereignty. As in the 1921 Constitution, the Turkish Grand National Assembly was deemed the sole representative of the nation. The second Constitution of the Republic of Turkey was adopted in 1961 and introduced a bicameral Parliament: the National Assembly with 450 deputies and the Senate of the Republic with 150 members elected by general ballot and 15 members elected by the President. These two assemblies constitute the Turkish Grand National Assembly. The third Constitution of the Republic of Turkey was passed in 1982 by a national referendum and is still in effect today. Under the 1982 Constitution, sovereignty is vested fully and unconditionally in the nation.

The Constitution emphasises that the Turkish state, with its territory and nation, is an indivisible entity, and a secular, democratic, social state under the rule of law. All individuals are equal without any discrimination before the law, irrespective of language, race, skin colour, gender, political orientation, philosophical creed, religion and sect, or any such considerations. The 1982 Constitution recognises all basic human rights and freedoms such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of residence and movement, freedom of religion and conscience, freedom of thought and opinion, freedom of expression and dissemination of thought, freedom of association, freedom of communication, the right to privacy, right to property, right to hold meetings and demonstration marches, right to legal remedies, guarantee of lawful judgement and right to acquire information.

Parliament has passed many constitutional amendments to make the 1982 Constitution more democratic and to expand democratic rights and freedoms in the country. These efforts gained significant momentum after the EU recognised Turkey as a candidate country in 1999 and later agreed to start full membership talks with Turkey in 2005.

Legislature: Legislative power is vested in the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) on behalf of the Turkish nation and this power cannot be delegated. TGNA is composed of 550 deputies, while Parliamentary elections are held every four years. Deputies represent the entire nation and before assuming office, take an oath.

The functions and powers of TGNA comprise the adoption of draft laws, and the amendment and repeal of existing laws; the supervision of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) and the Ministers; authorization of the Council of Ministers to issue governmental decrees having the force of law on certain matters; debating and approval of the budget draft and the draft law of final accounts, making decisions on the printing of currency, the declaration of war, martial law or emergency rule; ratifying international agreements; making decisions with 3/5 of the TGNA on proclamation of amnesties and pardons in line with the Constitution.

Judiciary: Judicial power in Turkey is exercised by independent courts and high judicial organs on behalf of the Turkish nation. The judicial section of the Constitution is based on the principle of the rule of law. The judiciary is founded on the principles of the independence of the courts and the security of tenure of judges. Judges work independently; they rule on the basis of personal conviction in accordance with constitutional provisions, law and jurisprudence.

The legislative and executive organs must comply with the rulings of the courts and cannot change or delay the application of these rulings. Functionally, a tripartite judicial system was adopted by the Constitution and accordingly, it was divided into an administrative judiciary, a legal judiciary and a special judiciary.

The Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Appeals, the Council of State, the Supreme Military Court of Appeals, the Supreme Military Administrative Court and the Court of Jurisdictional Conflicts are the supreme courts stipulated in the judicial section of the Constitution. The Supreme Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors and the Supreme Council of Public Accounts are two additional organisations having special functions which are set out in the judicial section of the Constitution.

Executive: The executive branch in Turkey has a dual structure. It is composed of the President of the Republic and the Council of Ministers (Cabinet).

President: The President of the Republic is the head of State and represents the Republic of Turkey and the unity of the Turkish nation. The President is elected by popular vote among the Turkish Grand National Assembly members who are over 40 years of age and have completed higher education or among ordinary Turkish citizens who fulfil these requirements and are eligible to be deputies. The President's term of office is five years and one can be elected for two terms at most.

The President of the Republic has duties and power related to the legislative, executive and judicial branches, and is responsible for ensuring the implementation of the Constitution, and the regular and harmonious functioning of the organs of state.

Prime Minister and Council of Ministers: The Council of Ministers (Cabinet) consists of the Prime Minister, designated by the President of the Republic from members of the TGNA, and various ministers nominated by the Prime Minister and appointed by the President of the Republic. Ministers can be assigned either from among the deputies or from among those who are not members of the TGNA qualified to be elected as a deputy. Ministers can be dismissed from their duties by the President upon the proposal of the Prime Minister when deemed necessary. 
The fundamental duty of the Council of Ministers is to formulate and implement the internal and foreign policies of the state. The Council of Ministers is accountable to the Parliament in the execution of this duty.

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISION

The foundation and principles of the Turkish government are based on Central Administration and Local Administration concepts. Accordingly, the administrative structure of the Turkish Republic is divided into two, namely `Central Administration” and “Local Administrative Institutions”.

Central administration: The organisation of the Central Administration in the capital consists of the President of the Republic, the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister, the Ministries and other auxiliary bodies such as the State Council, the Court of Accounts, and the National Security Council.

The provincial organisation of the Central Government has been created to administer public services to its citizens throughout the entire country. In Turkey there are three kinds of provincial administrations: province, county, and district. 

The Province is the largest provincial administrative unit of the Central Administration. The administration of the provinces is based on the Provincial Administration Code No. 5442. There are 81 provinces in Turkey.  Provincial administration consists of the Governor, the Department Heads of the provincial administration, and the Provincial Administrative Council. The Governor is the head of the Provincial Administration.

Provinces are divided into counties. Just as for the Provincial Administration, the County Administration also consists of the County Chief, the Department Heads of the County Administration, and the County Administration Council. The District Administration also has three bodies: the District Administrator, the District Assembly, and the District Commission.

Local administrative institutions: Local administration bodies are divided into two categories; those bodies based on locality (local government organisations) and those based on services provided (public institutions).

Local government organisations: These are public legal personalities that have been established outside Central Government to meet the common needs of provincial, municipal, and village residents. They have separate legal personalities from that of the State; a certain degree of autonomy; and their members are locally elected. According to the Constitution, there are three kinds of local Government Organisations: Provincial Administration, Municipality, and Village Administration. The Ministry of the Interior has jurisdiction over local government bodies. The Ministry exercises this authority through the General Directorate of Local Government. 
The principles governing the organisation and duties of Provincial Administrations have been specified in the Special Provincial Administration Code.

Unlike the Provincial Administrations, Municipalities are the administrative organisations not of a specific geographical region but of limited residential areas where people live in neighbouring houses in regions called districts. According to the legislation, a municipality may be established in places having a population of more than 2,000 people. It is compulsory to establish a Municipal Administration in provincial and district centres regardless of their population. As of 2005, there are 3,215 municipalities in Turkey.

Based on the authority granted by the Constitution, Metropolitan Municipalities were established in 1984. A Metropolitan Municipality is a public legal personality established in cities made up of at least three counties or first stage municipalities. It is responsible for coordination among these municipalities, and for fulfilling its responsibilities and duties using the authority granted to it by law. It has administrative and fiscal autonomy and its decision-making body is elected by the people. 
The smallest and most common type of local government is the Village Administration.

POPULATION 

Officially population 78.741,056 as of July 2015 (67,803,927 in 2000 & 13,648,270 in 1927), average of 102 inhabitants live per square kilometre, 91.3% of the total population live in the cities and 8.7% in villages or small towns in the countryside.

ECONOMY

Turkey's largely free-market economy is increasingly driven by its industry and service sectors, although its traditional agriculture sector still accounts for about 25% of employment. An aggressive privatisation program has reduced state involvement in basic industry, banking, transport, and communication, and an emerging cadre of middle-class entrepreneurs is adding dynamism to the economy and expanding production beyond the traditional textiles and clothing sectors. The automotive, petrochemical, and electronics industries are rising in importance and have surpassed textiles within Turkey's export mix.

Oil began to flow through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline in May 2006, marking a major milestone that has brought up to 1 million barrels per day from the Caspian region to market. The joint Turkish-Azeri Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) is moving forward to help transport Caspian gas to Europe through Turkey, which will help address Turkey's dependence on imported gas, which currently meets 98% of its energy needs.

After Turkey experienced a severe financial crisis in 2001, Ankara adopted financial and fiscal reforms as part of an IMF program. The reforms strengthened the country's economic fundamentals and ushered in an era of strong growth averaging more than 6% annually until 2008. Global economic conditions and tighter fiscal policy caused GDP to contract in 2009, but Turkey's well-regulated financial markets and banking system helped the country weather the global financial crisis, and GDP rebounded strongly to around 9% in 2010-11, as exports returned to normal levels following the recession. Two rating agencies upgraded Turkey's debt to investment grade in 2012 and 2013, and Turkey's public sector debt to GDP ratio fell to 33% in 2014. The stock value of Foreign Direct Investment reached nearly $195 billion at year-end 2014.

Despite these positive trends, GDP growth dropped to 4.4% in 2013 and 2.9% in 2014. Growth slowed considerably in the last quarter of 2014, largely due to lacklustre consumer demand both domestically and in Europe, Turkey’s most important export market. High interest rates have also contributed to the slowdown in growth, as Turkey sharply increased interest rates in January 2014 in order to strengthen the country’s currency and reduce inflation. Turkey then cut rates in February 2015 in a bid to spur economic growth.

The Turkish economy retains significant weaknesses. Specifically, Turkey's relatively high current account deficit, uncertain commitment to structural reform, and turmoil within Turkey's neighbourhood leave the economy vulnerable to destabilising shifts in investor confidence. Turkey also remains overly dependent on often volatile, short-term investment to finance its large current account deficit.

 


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