The current population of Turkey is over 81 million people, of whom 60% live in the cities. Then ten most populous cities in order are Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir Adana, Bursa, Gaziantep, Eskisehir, Kayseri and Diyarbakir. More than half the population is under the age of 20.
The Turkish Language belongs to the Ural Altaic group and has an affinity to the Finno Hungarian languages. Since 1928 Turkish has been written in a phonetic, Latin alphabet of 29 letters and is spoken by some 150 million people around the world.
While Turkey is a secular state, about 98% of the people are Muslims; their faith is that of Islam. ‘Islam’ means ‘submission’; a Muslim is one of who submits himself to God. Islam is the most recent of the three great monotheistic religions, having developed from the revelations by God to the Prophet Mohammed. He was born in Mecca and lived from about AD 570 to June 8,632. His activity as a Prophet encompassed the ten years before his death. The holy book of Islam is the Koran; it is believed to be the revelation of God to Mohammed. It contains 114 suras (chapters) and 6,666 ayets (verses). Allahuekber (God is incomparable) are the words calling the people to prayer. The non-Muslim minority people are concentrated in Istanbul. There are Sephardic Jews and Christians of several backgrounds: Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Syrian Orthodox, a few Protestants and some others.
The Turkish Republic is based on secular democratic, pluralist and parliamentary system, where human rights are protected by law and social justice. The National Assembly is elected by popular vote and the nation is governed by the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. Turkey is a founding member of OECD, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, a member of NATO, the European Council and the European Parliament, and an associate member of the European Community.
Turkey has been called ‘’the cradle of civilization’’ and by traveling through this historic land the tourists will discover exactly what is meant by its phrase. The world’s first town, a Neolithic city at Catalhoyuk ( by Konya ), dates back to 6,500 BC. From the days of Catalhoyuk up to the present time Turkey boasts of a rich culture that trough the centuries has made a lasting impression on modern civilization. The heir many centuries of cultures makes Turkey a paradise of information and cultural wealth. Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Urartians, Lycians, Lydians, Ionians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottomans have all held important places in Turkey’s history, and ancient sites and ruins scattered throughout the country give proof to each civilization’s unique distinction.
Turkey also has a very fascinating recent history. Upon the decline of the Ottoman Empire, a young man named Mustafa Kemal, who was a soldier by occupation but a great visionary in character, took the defeat of World War I and turned it into a shining victory by liberating Turkey of all foreign invaders. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded the Republic of Turkey on the 29th of October, 1923. He led his country into peace and stability, with tremendous economic growth and complete modernization. Through decades of change and growth Turkey still boasts of this success by effectively living by their adopted motto of ‘’Peace at Home, Peace in the World’’.
Turkey is 774.815 km2. The Anatolia part is in Asia and Thrace belongs to Europe that is why The Bosphorus is said to be the gate between the two continents. Turkey is rich with its rivers, lakes, mountains and bays apart from the seas surrounding the country which are the Black Sea, the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea. The biggest lake in Turkey is in the eastern part which is called the lake Van which took attention a few years ago with its so-called monster. The highest mountain is again in the eastern part and it's called The Agri Mountain, which is 5,165 meters high. Kusadasi is in the western part in the Aegean region close to the third biggest city of Turkey, Izmir.
Turkey is divided into seven regions; the Black Sea region, the Marmara region, the Aegean region, the Mediterranean region, Central Anatolia, the East Anatolian and Southeast Anatolia regions.
The Eastern Anatolian region is the richest in numbers. Turkey's largest lake Van, 3,713 square kilometers, and the lakes of Ercek, Cildir and Hazar are in this region. There are also many lakes in the west Taurus mountains area: the Beysehir and Egirdir lakes, and the lakes that contain bitter waters like the Burdur and Acigoller lakes. Around the Sea of Marmara there are Sapanca, Iznik, Ulubat, Manyas, Terkos, Küçük cekmece and Büyük cekmece. In Central Anatolia there is the second largest lake in Turkey, Tuzgolu. The waters of this lake are shallow and very salty. As a result of the several lakes, many dam lakes were constructed such as the Ataturk Dam lake, Keban, Karakaya, Altinkaya, Adiguzel, Kilickaya, Karacaoren, Menzelet, Kapulukaya, Hirfanli, Sariyar and Demirkopru.
Turkey is surrounded by the Black Sea in the north, the Mediterranean in the south and the Aegean Sea in the west on three sides. In the northwest there is an internal sea, the Sea of Marmara, between the straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus. The length of the Black Sea coastline in Turkey is 1,595 kilometers. The Mediterranean coastline is 1,577 kilometers. The Aegean Sea coast is over 2,800 kilometers. The coastline of the Marmara Sea is over 1,000 kilometers long.
The most important rivers of Turkey, the Firat (Euphrates) and Dicle (Tigris) join together in Iraq and flow into the Persian Gulf. Turkey's longest rivers, the Kizilirmak, Yesilirmak and Sakarya, flow into the Black Sea. The Susurluk, Biga and Gonen pour into the Sea of Marmara, the Gediz, Kucuk Menderes, Buyuk Menderes and Meric into the Aegean, and the Seyhan, Ceyhan and Goksu into the Mediterranean.
Turkey is located in the northern half of the hemisphere at a point that is about halfway between the equator and the north pole, at a latitude of 36 degrees N to 42 degrees N and a longitude of 26 degrees E to 45 degrees E. Turkey is roughly rectangular in shape and it is 1,660 kilometers long and 550 kilometers wide.
The surface of Turkey, including its lakes and rivers, is 814,578 km2, of which 790,200 are in Asia and 24,378 are located in Europe.
The land borders of Turkey are 2,753 kilometers in total, and coastlines (including islands) are another 8,333 kilometers. Turkey has two European neighboring countries which are Greece and Bulgaria and six Asian neighboring countries which are Iraq, Iran, Syria, Armenia, Georgia, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.