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Location

Turkey straddles the borders of Europe and Asia with the majority of the country in Southwest Asia. It has a total area of 780,580 sq.km. that lies within Europe. The country is bordered at the east by Georgia, Armenia and Iran with Iraq, Syria and the Mediterranean Sea on the south. The Aegean Sea, Greece and Bulgaria are to the west, and the Black Sea forms the northern border. Turkey's geographical coordinates are 36o 00' to 42o 00' north latitude and 26o 00' to 45o 00' east longitude.

Geographical Regions

Turkey, which has 80 administrative provinces, is divided into seven geographical regions; the Black Sea region, the Marmara region, the Aegean region, the Mediterranean region, Central Anatolia, the East and Southeast Anatolia regions

Coastlines

Turkey is surrounded by sea on three sides, by Black Sea in the north, the Mediterranean Sea in the south and the Aegean Sea in the west. In the northwest, there is an internal sea, the Sea of Marmara, between the straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, which are important waterways that connect the Black Sea with the rest of the world. The coastline of Turkey (excluding islands) is 8333 km.

Rivers

Most of the rivers of Turkey flow into the seas surrounding the country. The Firat (Euphrates) and Dicle (Tigris) join together in Iraq and flow into the Persian Gulf. Turkey's largest rivers, the Kizilirmak, Yesilirmak and Sakarya, flow into the Black Sea. The Susurluk, Biga and Gönen pour into the Sea of Marmara, the Gediz, Küçük Menderes, Büyük Menderes, and Meriç into the Aegean and the Seyhan, Ceyhan and Göksu into the Mediterranean.

Mountains

In the Marmara region the most important peak is the Uludağ (2543 m) at the same time it is a major winter sports and tourist centre. In the Aegean region, the mountains fall perpendicularly to the sea. In the Mediterranean region, located in the south of Turkey, the western and central Taurus Mountains suddenly rise up behind the coastline. The Central Anatolia Region is exactly in the middle of Turkey and gives the appearance of being less mountainous compared with other regions. The main peaks of the region are Karadağ, Karacadağ, Hasandağ, and Erciyes (3917 m). The Eastern Anatolia region is Turkey's largest and highest region. About three-fourths is at an altitude of 1500 - 2000 metres. There are numerous inactive volcanoes in the region, including Nemrut, Suphan, Tendurek and Turkey's highest peak where Noah's Ark was landed, Mount Ağrı (Ararat) is 5165 metres high.

Lakes

In terms of numbers of lakes, the Eastern Anatolia region is the richest. It contains Turkey's largest, Lake Van (3713 sq.km.). There are also many lakes in west Tourus Mountains area; the Beyşehir and Eğridir lakes. Important lakes are; the second largest lake in Turkey, Tuzgölü, Burdur, Sapanca, Iznik, Ulubat, Manyas (bird sanctuary), Akşehir, and Eber. As a result of the construction of dams during the past thirty years, several large dam lakes have come into existence in the Eastern Anatolia such as, Keban, Karakaya, and Atatürk.

Women's Rights

After the proclamation of the Republic under the leadership of Atatürk, women were granted contemporary social rights and became equal in status to men. In 1930, women were given the right to elect and be elected to the assemblies in the municipalities and the parliament. Equality before the law, which is one of the essential principles of the Turkish Constitution, also applies to both sexes.

The Climate

Although Turkey is situated in a geographical location where climatic conditions are quite temperate, the diverse nature of the landscape, and the existence in particular of the mountains that run parallel to the coasts, result in significant differences in climatic conditions from one region to the other. While the coastal regions enjoy milder climates, the inland Anatolia plateau experiences hot summers and cold winters with limited rainfall.

Language

The Turkish language is spread over a large geographical are in Europe and Asia; it is spoken in the Azeri, the Turkmen, the Tartar, the Uzbek, the Baskurti; the Hogay, the Kirgiz, the Kazakh, the Yakuti, the Guvas, and other dialects. The Turkish spoken in Turkey represents that of the Turkish language group coming from the southwest branch of the Uralic-Altayic language family. The oldest written records of Turkish are found upon stone monuments in Central Asia, in the Orhun, Yenisey and Talas regions within the boundaries of present day Mongolia, and belong to the years 725, 732 and 735 A.D. After the formation of the Turkish Republic in 1923 and following the achievement of national unity, Latin alphabet using Turkish phonetics was adopted in 1928.

Flora and Fauna

As the climate and topography vary greatly in Turkey, so does the flora and fauna. The Black Sea region is renowned for its forests of leaf bearing and coniferous trees and for the apples, pears, cherries which is originated from Turkey, hazelnuts, mandarin oranges, tobacco and tea that are grown there. Along the eastern Mediterranean shores the local vegetation is tropical, with flourishing banana, palm and citrus trees and sugar cane and cotton. From the western Mediterranean, Aegean and Marmara coasts: olive, citrus and pine trees along the mountains are found. On the steppes of Central Anatolia: natural pastures with scattered-forested areas. In Europe, there are 11,500 kind of flora with flowers. In Turkey, this number is 9,000 but 3,000 of this flora only grow in Turkey.

Animals

Turkey is the habitat of the same animals that can be found in the European countries, plus many from Asia and Africa. There are 60,000 animal species in the whole continent of Europe. Turkey has 80,000. Turkey is home to birds of many kinds, especially in the "Birds Paradises" the national park on Lake Manyas, Sultan Sazlığı near Kayseri, in Izmir Çamaltı Tuzlası etc.

Population

On the general basis, the population in Turkey is characterised by youth and dynamism. According to a 1997 population census, Turkey has 62.6 million inhabitants. Although there has been a marked migration into town, approximately 47 percent of the population still lives in the rural areas. Although the official language is Turkish, English is widely spoken in Turkey. There are many high schools and universities where the curriculum is based on English, German and French are other commonly spoken foreign languages. Istanbul, which was the capital of three empires, is Turkey's largest city, with approximately 9.1 million inhabitants. Ankara, the capital city, has 3.69 million in habitants. The next largest cities are Izmir, Konya and Adana.

History

According to the historical records of China, the earliest known Turks lived in Dzungaria, to the north of East Turkestan in 2000 B.C. During the 1500's B.C., the Turks scattered, becoming nomads and warrior tribes and settling in the regions of Altai and the Tien Shan Mountains. Political military and climatic changes, in this region from the 2nd century onwards, caused the nomadic tribes to establish settled civilisations along the edges of the steppes. The Huns settled in the Central Asia and Europe; the Akhuns in Afghanistan and north India; the Oghuz in Iran and Anatolia; the Bulgars in the Balkans and on the banks of the Volga; the Sabars in the Caucasia; the Pecheneks, Kipchaks and Uzs in Eastern Europe and the Balkans; and the Uigurs in inner Asia. Thus, between the 2nd century B.C. and the 20th century A.D. the original Turkish tribes scattered themselves over an area of 18 million square kilometres, and founded several states and empires. Meanwhile Anatolia, where eastern and western civilisations meet, nourished the most ancient civilisations of the world, the Hattis were the oldest known people of Anatolia; they attained a high level of civilisation in 2500 B.C. The Hittite, who entered Anatolia via the Caucasus mountains, integrated with the Hattis and established the first social and political organisation in Anatolia. The Hurrians, Luwians, Urartians, Phyrigians, Lydians, Carians, Lycians, Ionians, and Byzantines all established great civilisations here. Eventually, Anatolia's final owners, the Turks, created three great states on this soil.

It was the Seljuks of Oghuz Turks who opened the doors of Anatolia for the Turks. They established a powerful empire in western Asia in 990 A.D. In 1071 the Seljuk Emperor Alparslan reached the frontiers of Anatolia and defeated the Byzantine emperor, Romanus IV Diogenes at Malazgirt in Eastern Anatolia.

The Anatolian Seljuk State was based at Konya and owned a flowering civilisation, but it was short-lived because of the attacks of the Mongols who defeated it fatally at the Battle of Erzincan in 1243. After this defeat, Anatolia broke up into several principalities. One of these, the Ottoman Turks, eventually reunited the other principalities previously under Seljuk domination and re-established the unity of Anatolia.

Thus, they founded one of the largest and longest-lived empires of history and created a great civilisation and culture which reached its apogee in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries under a succession of brilliant rulers, including Mehmet II, the Conqueror of Istanbul; Süleyman I, known in Europe as 'the Magnificent'; and Murad IV, Conqueror of Baghdad and Yerevan. These sultans were not only brilliant generals and statesmen, but also highly educated men who wrote poetry and composed music within the Ottoman Court tradition and were generous patrons to the visual arts. From the end of seventeenth century, however, the Ottoman Empire went into a gradual decline, which culminated with the end of 1st World War.

The Ottoman Empire, which joined the World War in 1914 as a result of a "fail accompli", had come to the brink of collapse at the end of this War. Having been defeated by the Allied Powers, it was forced to sign the Serves Treaty in 1920, which brought forth the partition of the empire.

At this most defining moment of out history, under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Turkish nation waged the War of Independence, against the foreign powers to be able to live as a free, sovereign and independent country.

The War of Independence started on May 19th, 1919 and ended by the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey on October 23rd, 1923. The Turkish Grand National Assembly abolished the Sultanate on November 1st, 1922, thus ending over six centuries of the reign of Ottoman Empire.

The Lausanne Peace Treaty, which was signed on July 24th, 1923, the following long negotiations certified and legalised the victory won in the Turkish War of Independence.

The revolutionary reforms that Great Atatürk put into force during his presidency of fifteen years following the founding of our Republic were aimed at transforming the country into a constitutional, modern state. These reforms laid the fundamentals of the new Republic.

The Republic has introduced universal principles of law to Turkey. In this context, the idea that all citizens are equal and free without any discrimination based on race, language, and religion, establishes the basis of the Republican Covenant, which ensures social unity. Secularism, which brings under guarantee the freedom of religion and belief; democracy, which enables citizens to express their thoughts freely and to participate in political process; and the rule of law, which makes it possible for them to live free from fear and oppression, are products of the social contract of the Republic. The constitutional democracy in Turkey is established on this sound basis. In retrospect, the experience of 75 years proves that the Turkish people have taken hold of this new beginning to reach the level of modern civilisation.

Marriage

Since the adoption of the Republican Civil code in 1926, based of the Swiss Civil Code, Turkish males can marry only one woman at a time. It is forbidden by law in Turkey to marry before the age of 15 in the case of females and 17 in the case of males. Early marriages are more frequent in the rural areas than in the cities, where the education, military service, acquiring a profession and other factors tend to delay marriages. In rural areas, marriages are generally in line with the wishes or approval of the families involved whereas in cities it is generally the couple themselves that make the decision to marry.

Religion and Secularity

99% of the Turkish population is Moslem. However, everyone in Turkey has freedom of religion and beliefs. The first phases in the introduction of secularism were the abolition of the Caliphate and the Ministry of Sheria and Pious Foundations on March 4th, 1924, followed by the introduction of separate educational and judicial systems, the hat reform, the closure of dervish retreats and religious sects, the acceptance of a Sunday weekend holiday rather than the Moslem Friday and finally the adoption of the principle of secularism in the constitution on 1937. In secular Turkey, all religious affairs are carried out by a central government organisation affiliated to the Prime Ministry, namely the Department of Religious Affairs.

Frontier Formalities, Passport and Visas

Nationals of the following countries can enter Turkey with a valid passport; a visa is required: Up to 3 Months Germany, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, United Arab Emirates, Denmark, Morocco, Fiji, Finland, France, Granada, Iran, Switzerland, Iceland, Jamaica, Japan, Canada, Qatar, Kenya, Kuwait, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Norway, Oman, St. Lucia, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Chile, Trinidad, Tobago, Tunisia, Vatican City, New Zealand, Greece, Ecuador, Sweden, Israel, South Korea, Uruguay. Up to 2 Months The Republic of Croatia, The Republic of Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rumania, Macedonia, Indonesia. Up to 1 Month Bolivia, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, The Republic of South Africa. For the countries mentioned above and Bulgaria, a transit visa is not required. Nationals of the following countries require a visa: U.S.A., Austria, United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Holland, and Portugal can obtain a sticker visa at border gates (Up to 3 Months). Azerbaijan, White Russia, Armenia, Moldavia, Uzbekistan, Russia, Tadzhikistan Ukraine, Hungary, Poland, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Taiwan can obtain a sticker visa at border gates (Up to 1 Month). Nationals of Guatemala can obtain a visa for up to 15 days at border gates. Nationals of Jordan, up to 30 days. Nationals of all other countries require a visa, which can be obtained from the nearest Turkish embassy or consulate.

Note: Citizens of Germany, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Italy, Malta, Switzerland, and Greece may enter Turkey with the proper identity cards in lieu of a passport.

Currency Regulation

Limits: There is no limit on the amount of foreign currency that may be brought into Turkey, but not more than 5 5,000 worth of Turkish currency may be brought into or taken out of the country.

Exchange slips: The exchange slips for the conversion of foreign currency into Turkish lira should be kept, since you may be required to show these when reconverting your Turkish lira back into foreign currency, and when taking souvenirs out of the country (to prove that they have been purchased with legally exchanged foreign currency).

Customs Regulations

On Entry

The following items may be brought into the country duty free personal effects of the tourist. one TV, one colour pocket TV (maximum 16 cm screen), one TV-tape-radio combination, one video recording camera and 5 video cassettes (blank); 5 records, 5 tape cassettes or compact discs. one video player, cine-projector (8 mm) and 10 rolls of film (blank), one slide projector. one pocket computer (maximum main memory capacity Ram 128k. Byte), electronic playing devices (without cassette - keyboard). one transistor radio and portable radio - tape player (its specification to be determined by the Ministry of Finance and Customs), one Walkman or pocket tape recorder, one portable compact disc player. Binoculars (one pair, except night binoculars) harmonica, mandolin, flageole, flute, guitar, and accordion (only one of each type, maximum 3 musical instruments). personal sports equipment. necessary medical items. bicycle, baby buggy, toys. 200 cigarettes and 50 cigars. 200 grams of tobacco and 200 cigarette papers, or 50 grams of chewing tobacco or 200 grams of pipe tobacco, or 200 grams of snuff (In addition to the above allowances, it is possible to purchase 400 cigarettes, 100 cigars, and 500 grams of pipe tobacco from the Turkish Duty Free Shops upon entering the country). 1.5kg. coffee, 1.5kg. instant coffee, 500 grams of tea. 1 kilo chocolate and 1 kilo sweets. 5 (100 cc) or 7 (70 cc) bottles of wines and/or spirits. five bottles of perfume (120 ml max. each). one portable typewriter. one camera with 5 rolls of film. First aid, and spare parts for the car. Other items necessary during the journey. Valuable items and all items with a value of over $ 15,000 must be registered in the owner's passport upon entering Turkey, for control upon exit. Antiques brought into the country must be registered in the owner's passport to avoid difficulties on exit. Sharp instruments (including camping knives) and weapons may not be brought into the country without special permission. The bringing into the country, trade, and consumption of marijuana and all other narcotics is strictly forbidden and subject to heavy punishment. Gifts, not exceeding 500 DM in value and not for trading purposes, may be brought into the country duty free. In addition, gifts not exceeding 500 OM in value may be posted to Turkey duty free, if the date stamped by the sending post office falls one month before, or one month after the following holidays: Şeker Bayramı, Kurban Bayramı, Christmas, and New Year's.

Note: Cellular Telephones entering the country must be accompanied by a certification form showing ownership. Ownership must be documented in the passport of the owner and will be checked on entry and exit. For more information contact the Ministry of Transportation, General Directorate at Tel: (312) 212 35 72 - 212 60 10 (10 lines), Fax: (312) 221 32 26 or write to Ulaştırma Bakanlığı Telsiz Gn. Md. Emek - Ankara.

On exit

Gifts and souvenirs: for a new carpet, a proof of purchase; for old items, a certificate from a directorate of a museum is necessary. Exporting antiques from Turkey is forbidden. Valuable personal items can only be taken out of the country providing they have been registered in the owner's passport upon entry, or providing they can show they have been purchased with legally exchanged currency. Minerals may only be exported from the country with a special document obtained from the; MTA (General Directorate of Mining Exploration and Research). Etüdler Dairesi 06520, Ankara Tel: (312) 287 3430 /1622, Fax: (312) 285 42 71

Tax Refund

You Can Receive a Tax Refind for the Goods You Purchased In Turkey!

Refunds will be made to travellers who do not reside in Turkey. All goods (including food and drinks) are included in the refunds with the exclusion of services rendered. The minimum amount of purchase that qualifies for refund is 5.000.000 TL. Retailers that qualify for tax refunds must be "authorised for refund." These retailers must display a permit received from their respective tax office. The retailer will make four copies of the receipt for your refund, three of which will be received by the purchaser. If photocopies of the receipt are received the retailer must sign and stamp the copies to validate them. If you prefer the refund to be made by check, a Tax-free Shopping Check for the amount to be refunded to the customer must be given along with the receipt. For the purchaser to benefit from this exemption he must leave the country within three months with the goods purchased showing them to Turkish customs officials along with the appropriate receipts and! or check. There are four ways to receive your refund: If the retailer gives you a check it can he cashed at a bank in the customs area at the airport. If it is not possible to cash the check upon departure or if you do not wish to cash it then, .e customer must, within one month, send a copy of the receipt showing that the goods have left the country to the retailer who will, within ten days upon receiving the receipt, send a bank transfer to the purchaser's hank or address. If the certified receipt and check are brought back to the retailer on a subsequent visit thin one-month of the date of customs certification, the refund can be made directly to the purchaser. Retailers may directly refund the amount to trustworthy customers upon purchase The refund may be made by the organisation of those companies that are authorised to make tax refunds.

Additional information: Ministry of Finance and Tax Dept. General Directorate, (Maliye Bakanlığı, Gelirler Genel Müdürlüğü) KDV Şubesi 06100, Ulus - Ankara Tel: (312) 3103880/725 - 728 - 735, Fax: (312) 311 45 10

Health Regulation For Animals

For those who wish to bring domestic animals into the country the following are required

A 'Certificate of Origin' giving the health record of the animal. A 'Certificate of Health', issued not more than 15 days before the animal's entry into the country, stating that the animal is in good health and that it has been vaccinated against rabies.

Note: If you have an official certificate, you may bring one cat, one bird, one dog and 10 aquarium fish into the country.

Motorist Rules

General: Those who wish to enter the country with their vans, minibuses, automobiles, station wagons, bicycles, motorcycles, motorbikes, sidecars, buses, motor coaches, trailers, caravans or other transport vehicles, will have to provide the following documentation

Passport. International driving license. Car license (document where all details related to the car and the owner's name are registered). If it is somebody else's vehicle a power of attorney should be provided. International green card (Insurance card). The TR sign should be visible. Transit book "Carnet de passage" (for those who want to proceed to the Middle East).

Period: The vehicle can be brought into Turkey for up to 6 Months. The owner should declare on the opposite form, the date of departure at the border gate and should absolutely ve the country at the date declared. If for any important reason the staying period has to be ended, it is necessary to apply to;

The Turkish Touring and Automobile Club (Türkiye Turing ve Otomobil Kurumu) 1. Sanayi Sitesi Yanı, 4.Levent, İstanbul, Tel (212) 282 81 40(7 lines). Fax (212) 282 80, or to The General Directorate of Customs (Gümrükler Genel Müdürlüğü), Ulus Ankara Tel (312) 310 38 80,310 38 18, Fax (312) 31113 46, before the end of the period declared.

In Case of Accident: The accident should be reported to the police or gendarme. That report has to be certified by the nearest local authority. The owner should apply to the customs authority with his passport and report.

If the vehicle can be repaired, it is necessary to inform the customs authority first and take the vehicle to a garage. If the vehicle is not repairable and if the owner wishes to leave the country without his vehicle, he has to deliver it to the nearest customs office, and the registration of his vehicle on his passport will be cancelled. (Only after the cancellation can the owner of the vehicle leave the country.)

Following an accident, you can telephone:

Trafik Polisi (Traffic Police), Tel :154, Jandarma (Gendarme), Tel :156.

For more information, contact the Turkish Touring and Automobile Club (See Useful dresses)

Formalities For Private Yacht Owners

Yachts require a Transit Log and may remain in Turkish waters for up to two years maintenance or for wintering. There are certain ports licensed by the Ministry of Tourist the storage of yachts for a period of two to five years. For further information and regulations contact the marina concerned.

Upon arriving in Turkish waters, yachts should immediately go for control of the ship to the nearest port of entry which are as follows: İskenderun, Botaş (Adana), Mersin, Taşucu, Anamur, Alanya, Antalya, Kemer, Finike, Kaş, Fethiye, Marmaris, Datça, Bodrum, Güllük Didim, Kuşadası, Çeşme, İzmir, Dikili, Ayvalık, Akçay, Çanakkale, Bandırma, Tekirdağ, İstanbul, Zonguldak, Sinop, Samsun, Ordu, Giresun, Trabzon, Rize, Hopa.

Port Formalities: All the required information concerning the yacht, yachtsmen, members, intended route, passports, customs declarations, health clearance, and any obligatory matters must be entered in the Transit Log.

The Transit Log is to he completed by the captain of a yacht under a foreign flag or amateur sailor acting as captain of the vessel.

The Transit Log is completed upon first entering a Turkish port and, generally, it is necessary to contact the Harbour Authority before leaving. For information on tax-free fuel, contact the Marina Harbour Office.

Note: If you have a certificate from the Tourism Ministry Yacht Harbour, you may take petrol at no charge, provided you possess an official marina license.

Formalities For Private Plane Owners

General: When coming to Turkey, international air routes should he followed. Private planes may stay for up to three months in Turkey with tourist status, but for longer periods permission should be obtained from;

The General Directorate of Customs (Gümrükler Genel Müdürlüğü), Ulus Ankara, Tel: (312) 3103880,3103818,Fax: (312) 311 1346 The airports of Ankara, Adana, İstanbul, İzmir, Antalya, Trabzon and Dalaman have ties for private planes. It is also possible to hire planes and helicopters in Turkey.

For further information, apply to;

The Civil Aviation Department of the Ministry of Transport (Ulaştırma Bakanlığı, Havacılık Gen. Müd.). Bosna-Hersek Cad., No: 5 - 06338 - Emek, Ankara. Tel: (312) 212 67 30, Fax: (312) 212 46 84, TIx : 44659 Ga-tr.

About Turkey 
Location
Geographical Regions
Coastlines
Rivers
Mountains
Lakes
Women's Rights
The Climate
Language
Flora and Fauna
Animals
Population
History
Marriage
Religion and Secularity
Frontier Formalities, Passport and Visas
Currency Regulation
Customs Regulation
Tax Refund
Health Regulation For Animals
Motorist Rules
Formalities For Private Yacht Owners
Formalities For Private Plane Owners

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