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Turkey Area Guide

The country of Turkey offers cultural diversity, breathtaking landscapes, and various historical wonders from the Roman Empire to the Ottomans. From Istanbul's bustling streets to pristine Mediterranean beaches, Turkey beckons everyone with warm hospitality and experiences. This explains why the country is one of the top destinations in the world for tourism, expat living, and property sales.

The purpose of this article is twofold. Firstly, to showcase and prove why Turkey ranks as one of the top destinations in the world, and also to help get to know the country. Of course, nothing is better than seeing it for yourself, but it is a great introduction guide for those thinking of buying property. Don’t forget, as experienced real estate agents; you can call upon our services at any time on your journey of getting to know Turkey.

                        Guide to the Country of Turkey

1: From the Ottoman Empire to Modern-Day Turkey

The story about the country of Turkey significantly starts with the roman empire and the Byzantine Empire. Traces of both still exist all over the country. However, the Byzantine Empire was defeated in 1453, marking nearly 500 years of Ottoman rule. Then, the transition from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic of Turkey after world war I mark a transformation in Turkish history.

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By the 19th century, the Ottomans faced challenges from both internal unrest and external pressures from European powers. After the empire's defeat in World War 1, the Allies occupied Istanbul (then known as Constantinople) to dismantle the Ottoman Empire.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk led the Turkish War of Independence from 1919 to 1922. Atatürk's leadership during the Turkish war resulted in a sovereign Turkish state, and Atatürk became its first President. Atatürk embarked on an ambitious program of reforms known as Kemalism, which modernized and secularized the country.

2: Turkey Facts - Geography

Location: Turkey covers approximately 783,356 square kilometres (or 302,455 square miles), making it the world's 37th largest country.

Borders: Turkey shares borders with eight countries, including Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Coastlines: Turkey's 7000 kilometres of coastline sits next to the Mediterranean Sea, Aegean Sea, Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, which separates the European and Asian sides of Turkey.

Mount Ararat: Located in eastern Turkey, Mount Ararat is Turkey's highest mountain reaching an elevation of 5,137 meters (16,854 feet). According to biblical tradition, Turkey's highest peak is the resting place of Noah's Ark.

Rivers: Turkey is crisscrossed by numerous rivers, the most significant of which include the Euphrates, Tigris, Sakarya, Kizilirmak, and Meric Rivers. These waterways are essential in irrigation, hydroelectric power generation, and transportation.

3: Turkey and the European Union

The Republic of Turkey first applied for associate membership in the European Economic Community (EEC), the precursor to the EU, in 1987. In 1999 The Republic of Turkey was officially recognized as a candidate country for European Union membership, and formal accession negotiations began in 2005.

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However, the path to EU membership for The Republic of Turkey has been met with progress and obstacles. The EU accession process requires significant reforms and adjustments within the candidate country. The Republic of Turkey has implemented numerous reforms in various areas. However, there are still areas where further progress is needed, according to EU assessments.

However, Turkey maintains a customs union with the EU, facilitating trade and economic cooperation. Turkey and the EU also cooperate in various fields, including migration, security, and regional issues, recognizing the shared interests and challenges they face.

4: Turkey and the United Nations

Turkey joined the United Nations on October 24, 1945, shortly after the organization was established after World War II. Since then, Turkey has served several times as a non-permanent UN Security Council member. It has been elected to the Security Council for seven terms, most recently for the 2009-2010 and 2015-2016 terms. The Turkish military has also been actively involved in UN peacekeeping operations worldwide, and the Turkish nation has contributed to peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Somalia.

Turkey actively engages in regional and international diplomacy by participating in UN meetings, conferences, and summits. They are also committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. As a member state, Turkey actively collaborates with other countries, international organizations and the UN system to address global issues and contribute to peace and security.

5: Turkey and the Middle East

Turkey has historical, cultural, and geographical connections with the Middle East to prove further its geographical importance, which has shaped relations with the region. Turkey’s geographical position makes the country attractive to the Middle East, which see Turkey as a bridge with Europe.

The Ottoman Empire, based in present-day Turkey, also ruled much of the Middle East. As a result, Turkey's history and heritage are intertwined with many Middle Eastern nations. As do many Middle Eastern countries, most Turkish people practice Islam. Turkish language, traditions, and cuisine also bear influences from the Middle East.

Turkey has formed alliances and partnerships with various Middle Eastern countries, such as Qatar and Azerbaijan, to address common concerns and pursue shared interests. Energy resources, tourism, construction, and infrastructure development are some areas where Turkey and Middle Eastern countries collaborate. Turkey also engages in diplomacy and political relations with Middle Eastern countries.

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6: About Turkish Politics

The Turkish government is a parliamentary republic with a democratic framework. It is governed by a constitution establishing separation among executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

President: The President of Turkey, the head of state, is elected for a five-year term. The President has executive powers, including appointing ministers, approving laws, representing the country internationally, and acting as the commander-in-chief.

Council of Ministers: The Council of Ministers consists of Turkish ministry ministers appointed by the President, and they implement policies, propose legislation, and oversee government functions.

Grand National Assembly: The Grand National Assembly of Turkey is the country's unicameral legislature. It consists of 600 members, elected through a proportional representation system, and serves a term of four years. The Assembly enacts laws, approves the government's budget, and conducts parliamentary oversight.

Constitutional Court: The Constitutional Court of Turkey interprets the Constitution, reviews laws, and resolves disputes between state institutions.

Court System: Turkey's hierarchical court system includes civil and criminal courts at various levels. This system ensures the administration of justice in both civil and criminal cases.

Political Parties: Turkey's multi-party system features numerous parties participating in elections and competing for Grand National Assembly seats. The AKP and CHP are among the major political parties.

Local Governance: Turkey is divided into 81 provinces with their own administrative structure. Provinces are divided into districts and municipalities, with local governments responsible for local affairs, services, and development.

Checks and Balances: The Turkish political system is designed to include checks and balances among the branches of government. This helps ensure accountability and transparency.

About the Turkish Lira

The main denominations of Turkish lira banknotes are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 lira. Coins, called kurus, are in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 kuruş and 1 lira. The symbol for the Turkish lira is ₺, derived from the letter "L", representing the word "lira" in the Turkish alphabet. The Central Bank (CBRT) oversees monetary policy. The ISO 4217 code for Turkish money is TRY, used to identify the currency in international financial transactions.

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Official Language of Turkey

Turkish has evolved over centuries, influenced by various languages such as Arabic, Persian, French, and English. Modern Turkish, also known as Istanbul Turkish, is based on the dialect spoken in Istanbul and is the standard form of the language. Turkish uses the Latin alphabet, adopted in 1928 as part of language reform efforts led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey. The alphabet consists of 29 letters, including special characters such as ç, ş, ğ, ö, and ü.

Turkish pronunciation is generally phonetic, with a one-to-one correspondence between letters and sounds. Once you become familiar with the alphabet, the pronunciation is relatively straightforward. The official language has a highly regular grammar structure. It is an agglutinative language, so words are formed by adding suffixes to root words. Turkish has no grammatical gender, and verbs have extensive conjugation forms to express tense, mood, and person.

About the Mediterranean Sea region of Turkey

The Mediterranean region of Turkey, also called the Mediterranean Coast or the Turkish Riviera, is a popular tourist destination on the southern coast. It stretches from western Mugla to eastern Hatay. The Taurus Mountains run parallel to the Mediterranean coast, creating picturesque landscapes, and the region enjoys a Mediterranean Sea climate, with hot summers and mild winters. The most well-known Mediterranean city, Antalya, is the opening to the Turkish Riviera.

Alanya is another popular destination in the Mediterranean Sea region, located further east along the coast.  Alanya in the eastern Mediterranean features picturesque beaches, an ancient fortress and vibrant nightlife. Further west, the city of Marmaris, which reflects modern Turkey, nestles between pine-covered mountains and the Mediterranean Sea.

The city's castle, bazaars, and nearby Dalyan Mud Baths and İztuzu Beach are popular attractions of southern Turkey. Fethiye is also another popular destination for tourism, expat living, and house sales. Altogether, Mediterranean Turkey is the most popular destination for beach tourism.

South-eastern Turkey

Sanliurfa is a treasure trove of history. Explore the ruins of Gobekli Tepe, an ancient site dating back over 11,000 years. Visit the Pool of Sacred Fish, said to be the birthplace of the prophet Abraham. In Mardin, perched on a hilltop overlooking the vast plains of Mesopotamia, time seems to stand still. Explore the ancient monasteries and churches like the 1,500-year-old Deyrulzafaran Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mount Nemrut, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts colossal statues and ancient burial mounds. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers, known as the cradle of civilization, also flow through this region, nourishing fertile lands. Explore the traditional villages of Midyat, with their unique architecture and ancient cave dwellings. While Med Turkey is popular for beach tourism, South Eastern Turkey excels in cultural tourism.

Eastern Turkey

Eastern Turkey, also called Eastern Anatolia, is characterized by rugged and mountainous terrain, rich cultural heritage, and historical significance. Geographically, Eastern Turkey is dominated by the eastern extension of the Taurus Mountains, which include Mount Ararat, Turkey's highest peak.  Eastern Turkey's predominantly mountainous climate features cold winters and mild summers.

The region experiences heavy winter snowfall, making it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts. One significant site, Mount Ararat, is believed to be the resting place of Noah's Ark. Turkey's largest lake is also here. Eastern Anatolia is home to various ethnic groups, including Kurds, Armenians, and Assyrians. While Eastern Turkey may be less developed, the region offers natural beauty, cultural heritage, and historical significance.

Black Sea Region of Turkey

Geographically, the Black Sea region, also called the Karadeniz region, is defined by its mountainous terrain and dense forests, which thrive due to high rainfall. The Black Sea Pontic Mountains run parallel to the coastline. The region's national parks, such as the Kackar Mountains National Park and the Kure Mountains National Park, are popular destinations for hiking, trekking, and nature lovers.

Trabzon, the region's largest city, boasts Byzantine-era landmarks. Attractions include the Hagia Sophia of Trabzon, Sumela Monastery, and Uzungol Lake. Rize is another significant Black Sea coast city famous for tea production. The steep hillsides are covered with tea plantations, creating vibrant landscapes. Visitors explore tea gardens and factories and experience the tea culture. Amasya features Ottoman houses, ancient city walls, and a Byzantine-era citadel.  Culturally, the Black Sea region has a unique heritage shaped by historical and geographical contexts. The Laz people, an ethnic group with distinct language and traditions, have a significant presence.

Istanbul - Turkey's Largest City

Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, bridges the European and Asian continents and sits beside the Marmara Sea. At the heart of Turkey's largest city lies the historic peninsula, where the magnificent Hagia Sophia stands. Once the residence of Ottoman sultans, this sprawling Topkapi Palace features opulent courtyards, beautifully adorned chambers, and the famous Harem section. Nearby, the Blue Mosque and Hippodrome are two other tourist attractions.

Cross the Galata Bridge to visit Beyoglu. Istiklal Avenue has historic buildings, trendy boutiques, art galleries, and inviting cafes. One can also visit the Galata Tower, an iconic medieval structure with panoramic views here. The districts of Karakoy and Eminonu feature Istanbul's culinary scene. Also, experience the Grand Bazaar and a famous cruise of the Bosphorus. (Istanbul Area Guide.)

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Aegean Sea Coast of Turkey

Stretching from the north-western tip of Turkey down to Datca, the Aegean Sea coast boasts an enchanting mix of rugged mountains, rolling hills, and fertile valleys. The Aegean Sea coast, with its narrow coastal plain, is home to idyllic beach towns and charming fishing villages. Bodrum port city showcases the history and modern luxury in western Turkey. The narrow streets of Bodrum's Old Town, lined with whitewashed houses adorned with vibrant bougainvillaea, beckon you to explore.

Further north, Cesme captivates visitors with its pristine beaches and thermal springs. The gentle Aegean Sea breeze carries the tantalizing aroma of citrus orchards, inviting you to unwind in this coastal paradise. The crystal-clear waters of Alacati village near Cesme attract windsurfing enthusiasts. These two places belong to Izmir, also home to one of Turkey's major cities.

Travelling south, ancient Ephesus portrays the Hellenistic and Roman civilizations. Ancient Troy, immortalized in Homer's epic tales, lies not far away, enticing visitors to delve into the mysteries of the Trojan War. The awe-inspiring limestone formations of Pamukkale also create surreal sights, with cascading terraces of mineral-rich water that seem to defy gravity.

Central Anatolia Region of Turkey

The Central Anatolian region unfolds like an open-air museum. The surreal beauty of Cappadocia, with its lunar-like rock formations, cave houses and fairy chimneys, stands as an otherworldly marvel. Traverse the valleys of Goreme, where ancient cave dwellings and rock-cut churches dot the landscape. Once the capital of the Seljuk Empire, Konya exudes a spiritual mysticism. Home to Mevlana Museum, it portrays renowned Sufi poet and philosopher Rumi.

Further north, the mesmerizing Salt Lake of Tuz Golu stretches out as far as the eye can see. Hike through the scenic Ihlara Valley, carved by the Melendez River, and marvel at the towering cliffs and lush vegetation that flank the trail. Ski enthusiasts can hit the slopes of Erciyes Mountain, near Kayseri, where powdery snow blankets the peaks during the winter months.

Ankara - The Capital City of Turkey

Welcome to Ankara, the vibrant and bustling capital city of Turkey. For history enthusiasts, a visit to Anitkabir is a must. This mausoleum houses the tomb of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.

Kızılay Square, the city's central square, features numerous shops, cafes, and restaurants. The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations showcases an impressive collection of artefacts from various civilizations that once thrived in Anatolia. The Cer Modern, a contemporary art centre housed in a former train depot, hosts exhibitions, performances, and cultural events. Explore Ulus Market, and indulge in an array of mouth-watering dishes. The capital city also houses numerous universities and research institutions. From trendy bars and clubs to cosy cafes and live music venues, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Also About Turkey

If this article has piqued your interest and you would like to know more about the country of Turkey, our blog will be of use. We have offices in Istanbul, Antalya, Bodrum, Fethiye and Izmir, and our staff have combined their knowledge and experience of Turkey to form an informative guide to regional areas. Alternatively, if you would like to discuss buying property, call us today or browse our portfolio listing apartments and villas from across the country of Turkey.

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