For the animal with the same name see Turkey (bird)
|President||Recep Tayyip Erdoğan|
|Area||302,535 sq mi|
|GDP 2018||$909 billion|
|GDP per capita||$11,114|
The Republic of Turkey is a country occupying the Anatolian Peninsula of Western Asia, as well as a small section of Southeastern Europe at the Bosporus Strait. More than 90% of its people are Muslims, and also they are much more secular than the other Muslim-majority countries. Today, atheism and deism are spreading across the country like never before.
Modern Turkey encompasses bustling cosmopolitan centers, pastoral farming villages, barren wastelands, peaceful Aegean coastlines, and steep mountain regions. More than half of Turkey's population lives in urban areas that juxtapose Western lifestyles with more traditional ways of life.
Turkey is officially a secular country with no official religion since the constitutional amendment in 1928 and later strengthened by Atatürk's Reforms and the appliance of laicism by the country's founder and first president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on February 5, 1937. Due to oppression of Christianity, Turkey's population is nearly entirely (at least cultural) Muslim. Most Turkish Muslims follow the Sunni traditions of Islam, although a significant number follow Alevi and Shiite traditions. Questions regarding role of religion in society and government, the role of linguistic and ethnic identity, and the public's expectation to live in security dominate public discourse. Turkish citizens who assert a Kurdish identity constitute an ethnic and linguistic group that is estimated at up to 12 million in number.
- Population (2018): 82 million.
- Annual population growth rate (2017 est.): 1.24%.
- Ethnic groups: Turkish, Kurdish, other.
- Religions: Muslim (majority), Christian, Baha'i, and Jewish.
- Languages: Turkish (official and majority), Kurdish, Zaza, Arabic, Armenian, Greek.
- Education: Years compulsory—8. Attendance—97.6%. Literacy—86.5%. (it's not current data)
- Health: Infant mortality rate—39.4/1,000. Life expectancy—68.5 yrs. (it's not current data)
- Work force (23 million): Agriculture—35.6%; industry—17.5%; services—47.2%. (it's not current data)
Government and Political Conditions
The 1982 Constitution, drafted by the military in the wake of a 1980 military coup, proclaims Turkey's system of government as democratic, secular, and parliamentary. A presidential system was adopted with a referendum in 2017; the new system came into effect with the presidential election in 2018 and gives the President complete control of the executive, including the power to issue decrees, appoint his own cabinet, draw up the budget, dissolve parliament by calling early elections, and pack the bureaucracy and the courts with political appointees. The office of Prime Minister has been abolished and its powers (together with those of the Cabinet) have been transferred to the President, who is the head of state and is elected for a five-year term by direct elections. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the first president elected by direct voting. Turkey's constitution governs the legal framework of the country. It sets out the main principles of government and establishes Turkey as a unitary centralized state.
Executive power is exercized by the President, while the legislative power is vested in the unicameral parliament, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The judiciary is nominally independent from the executive and the legislature, but the constitutional changes that came into effect with the referendums in 2007, 2010 and 2017 gave larger powers to the President and the ruling party for appointing or dismissing judges and prosecutors. The Constitutional Court is charged with ruling on the conformity of laws and decrees with the constitution. The Council of State is the tribunal of last resort for administrative cases, and the High Court of Appeals for all others.
Universal suffrage for both sexes has been applied throughout Turkey since 1933 and before most countries, and every Turkish citizen who has turned 18 years of age has the right to vote. There are 600 members of parliament who are elected for a five-year term by a party-list proportional representation system from 85 electoral districts. The Constitutional Court can strip the public financing of political parties that it deems anti-secular or separatist, or ban their existence altogether. The electoral threshold is 10 percent of the votes.
Supporters of Atatürk's reforms are called Kemalists, as distinguished from Islamists, representing the two diverging views regarding the role of religion in legislation, education and public life. The Kemalist view supports a form of democracy with a laicist constitution and Westernized secular lifestyle, while maintaining the necessity of state intervention in the economy, education and other public services. Since its foundation as a republic in 1923, Turkey has developed a strong tradition of secularism. However, since the 1980s, issues such as income inequality and class distinction have given rise to Islamic populism, a movement that supports a larger role for religion in government policies, and in theory supports obligation to authority, communal solidarity and social justice; though what that entails in practice is often contested. Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party has been described as becoming increasingly authoritarian. Prior to the constitutional referendum in 2017 the Council of Europe saw Turkey drifting towards an autocracy, warning of a "dramatic regression of its democratic order". Many elements in the constitutional reform package that was approved with the referendum in 2017 have increased concerns in the European Union regarding democracy and the separation of powers in Turkey.
As of 2017 the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index rates Turkey at 4.88 (on a 0–10 scale), classifying Turkey as a Hybrid Regime. In 2018, Freedom House rated Turkey at 32 (on a 0–100 scale) as Not Free.
Principal Government Officials
- President of the Republic — Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
- Vice President of the Republic — Fuat Oktay
Turkey's primary political, economic, and security ties are with the West, although some voices call for a more "Eurasian" orientation.
Turkey entered NATO in 1952 and serves as the organization's vital eastern anchor, controlling the straits leading from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and sharing a border with Syria, Iraq, and Iran. A NATO headquarters is located in Izmir. Besides its relationships with NATO and the EU, Turkey is a member of the OECD, the Council of Europe, and OSCE. Turkey also is a member of the UN and the Islamic Conference Organization (OIC). In December 1999, Turkey became a candidate for EU membership. On December 17, 2004, the EU decided to begin formal accession negotiations with Turkey in October 2005.
Turkey and the EU formed a customs union beginning January 1, 1996. The agreement covers industrial and processed agricultural goods. Turkey is harmonizing its laws and regulations with EU standards. Turkey adopted the EU's Common External Tariff regime, effectively lowering Turkey's tariffs for third countries, including the United States.
On October 3, 2005, Turkey and the EU reached agreement for Turkey to begin negotiations on accession to the European Union. Turkey and EU officials have begun the process of screening Turkey's laws and policies in order to begin negotiating the individual chapters required for ultimate EU accession. However, this admission request has not been without criticism, including:
- Serious human rights violations
- Refusal to admit genocide of Armenia
- Refusal to recognize Cyprus
- Only 3% of Turkey is in Europe
- Threat of increasing Islamic fundamentalism
Turkey opened and provisionally closed in 2006 one EU negotiating chapter on science and technology. Another chapter on statistics was opened in February 2007, and two more are expected to be opened by July 1, 2007. Eight chapters, mostly related to trade, were suspended by the European Council in December 2006 after Turkey declined to open its ports and airports to Cypriot vessels—a commitment Turkey made as part of the Ankara Protocol and its EU Customs Union membership.
Turkey is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It has signed free trade agreements with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Israel, and many other countries. In 1992 Turkey and 10 other regional nations formed the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Council to expand regional trade and economic cooperation. Turkey chaired BSEC in 2007 and hosted in Istanbul the 15th BSEC Summit in June 2007.
Relations with the United States
U.S.-Turkish friendship dates to the late 18th century and was officially sealed by a treaty in 1830. The present close relationship began with the agreement of July 12, 1947, which implemented the Truman Doctrine. As part of the cooperative effort to further Turkish economic and military self-reliance, the United States has loaned and granted Turkey more than $12.5 billion in economic aid and more than $14 billion in military assistance.
U.S.-Turkish relations focus on areas such as strategic energy cooperation, trade and investment, security ties, regional stability, the global war on terrorism, and human rights progress. Relations were strained when Turkey refused in March 2003 to allow U.S. troops to deploy through its territory to Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom, but regained momentum steadily thereafter and mutual interests remain strong across a wide spectrum of issues. On July 5, 2006, Secretary Rice and then-Foreign Minister Gül signed a Shared Vision Statement to highlight the common values and goals between our two countries and to lay out a framework for increased strategic dialogue.
The U.S. and Turkey have had a Joint Economic Commission and a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, which last met in Washington in April 2007, for several years. In 2002, the two countries indicated their joint intent to upgrade bilateral economic relations by launching an Economic Partnership Commission, which last convened in Ankara in February 2007. In 2006, Turkish exports to the U.S. totaled about $5.4 billion, and U.S. exports to Turkey totaled $5.7 billion.
Condoleezza Rice ones described Turkey as “a vital and strategic partner of the United States”. But since the tenure of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan these times are over. For example, he equated Zionism with Fascism, John Kerry criticized him for this statement.
Turkey is a large, middle-income country with relatively few natural resources. Its economy is currently in transition from a high degree of reliance on agriculture and heavy industrial economy to a more diversified economy with an increasingly large and globalized services sector. Coming out of a tradition of a state-directed economy that was relatively closed to the outside world, Prime Minister and then President Turgut Ozal began to open up the economy in the 1980s, leading to the signing of a Customs Union with the European Union in 1995. In the 1990s, Turkey's economy suffered from a series of coalition governments with weak economic policies, leading to high-inflation boom-and-bust cycles that culminated in a severe banking and economic crisis in 2001 and a deep economic downturn (GNP fell 9.5% in 2001) and increase in unemployment.
Turkey's economy has recovered strongly from the 2001 thanks to good monetary and fiscal policies and structural economic reforms made with the support of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The independence of the Central Bank has been firmly established, a floating exchange rate system has been put in place, and the government's overall budget deficit has been substantially reduced. In addition, there have been substantial reforms in the financial, energy, and telecommunications sectors that have included the privatization of several large state-owned institutions.
Turkey's economy grew an average of 7.5% per year from 2002 through 2006—one of the highest sustained rates of growth in the world. It is expected to grow about 6.1% in 2007. Inflation and interest rates have fallen significantly, the currency has stabilized, government debt has declined to more supportable levels, and business and consumer confidence have returned. At the same time, booming economic growth has contributed to a growing current account deficit. Though Turkey's vulnerabilities have been greatly reduced, the economy could still face problems in the event there is a sudden change in investor sentiment that leads to a sharp fall in the exchange rate. Continued implementation of reforms, including tight fiscal policy, is essential to sustain growth and stability.
After years of low levels of foreign direct investment (FDI), in 2006, Turkey succeeded in attracting $18.9 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) and is expected to attract a similar level in 2007. A series of large privatizations, the stability fostered by the start of Turkey's EU accession negotiations, strong and stable growth, and structural changes in the banking, retail, and telecommunications sectors have all contributed to the rise in foreign investment. Turkey has taken steps to improve its investment climate through administrative streamlining, an end to foreign investment screening, and strengthened intellectual property legislation. However, a number of disputes involving foreign investors in Turkey and certain policies, such as high taxation and continuing gaps in the intellectual property regime, inhibit investment. Turkey has a number of bilateral investment and tax treaties, including with the United States, which guarantee free repatriation of capital in convertible currencies and eliminate double taxation.
- GDP: (2004) $300.6 billion; (2005) $361.5 billion; (2006) $390.4 billion.
- Annual real GDP growth rate: (2004) (+) 8.9%; (2005) 7.4%; (2006) 6.0%.
- GDP per capita: (2004) $4,187; (2005) $5,016; (2006) $5,349.
- Annual inflation rate /CPI: (2003) 18.4%; (2004) 9.3%; (2005) 7.7%; (2006) 9.7%.
- Natural resources: Coal, chromium, mercury, copper, boron, oil, gold.
- Agriculture (10.8% of GNP): Major cash crops—cotton, sugar beets, hazelnuts, wheat, barley, and tobacco. Provides 26% of jobs and 4% of exports.
- Industry (25.4% of GNP): Major growth sector, types—automotive, electronics, food processing, textiles, basic metals, chemicals, and petrochemicals. Provides 20% of jobs.
- Trade: Exports (merchandise)--(2005) $73.1 billion; (2006) $83.5 billion: textiles and apparel, industrial machinery, iron and steel, electronics, petroleum products, and motor vehicles. Imports (merchandise)--(2005) $116 billion; (2006) 135.5 billion: petroleum, machinery, motor vehicles, electronics, iron and steel, plastics precious metals. Major partners—Germany, U.S., Italy, France, Russia, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, U.K.
European Union accession
Turkey's principal ongoing economic challenge is providing for the needs of a fast-growing, young population. Raising living standards to those prevalent in Europe will require high rates of GDP growth sustained over many years. This will entail continued structural reforms that encourage both domestic and foreign investment. Principal areas for reform identified by international financial intuitions include increasing flexibility in the labor market, making the educational sector more responsive to the needs of the economy and ensuring faster and more predictable operation of the judicial system. As an aspirant to membership in the European Union, Turkey aims to adopt the EU's basic system of national law and regulation (the acquis communautaire) by 2014. While implementing some elements of the acquis will be costly and difficult (for example in the areas of environmental protection and agriculture), its adoption will make a significant contribution to modernizing the economy.
Installed electricity generation capacity in Turkey reached 35,600 megawatts (MW) as of 2004. Fossil fuels account for 71% of the total installed capacity and hydro, geothermal, and wind account for the remaining 28%. The growth in electricity generation has remained below electricity demand until recently, which has made Turkey a net importer of electricity since 1997. The growth of energy demand slowed somewhat as a result of the 2001 economic crisis, but has picked up again. Turkish authorities expect a significant electricity shortfall unless new facilities become operational. The Government of Turkey took some important steps in 2001 to liberalize its energy sector, including passage of the Electricity Market Law and establishment of the Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA). However, the government has moved slowly to follow through on plans to liberalize and privatize the electricity and natural gas sectors. In 2004, the High Planning Council approved the Electricity Sector Reform Strategy to renew the reform process.
Oil provides about 43% of Turkey's total energy requirements; around 90% is imported. Domestic production is mostly from small fields in the southeast. New exploration is taking place in the eastern Black Sea. In 2004, the Parliament approved a petroleum market reform bill that liberalized consumer prices and would lead to the privatization of the state refining company TUPRAS. TUPRAS was privatized in 2005, but this has been held up by court cases still in process. Turkey has a refining capacity of 802,275 barrels per day (b/d).
Turkey acts as an important link in the East-West Southern Energy Corridor bringing Caspian, Central Asian, and Middle Eastern energy to Europe and world markets. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which came online in July 2006, delivers 1 million b/d of petroleum, and in 2007, the South Caucasus Pipeline (from Shah Deniz) is expected to bring natural gas from Azerbaijan to Turkey. Turkey is building an interconnector pipeline to Greece, an important step in bringing Caspian natural gas to Europe via Turkey.
Parliament enacted legislation separating telecommunications policy and regulatory functions in January 2000, by establishing an independent regulatory body, the Telecommunication Authority. The Authority is responsible for issuing licenses, supervising operators, and taking necessary technical measures against violations of the rules. Most regulatory functions of the Transport Ministry were transferred to the Authority, and the regulator is slowly gaining competence and independence. The long-expected privatization of the state-owned telecommunications company was accomplished by the sale of 55% of Turk Telekom to the Saudi-owned Oger Group in November 2005. With liberalization and growth in the economy, there is growing competition for Internet provision, but Turk Telekom remains the sole provider of ADSL wide band Internet.
With the establishment of the Environment Ministry in 1991, Turkey began to make significant progress addressing its most pressing environmental problems. The most dramatic improvements were significant reductions of air pollution in Istanbul and Ankara. However, progress has been slow on the remaining—and serious—environmental challenges facing Turkey.
In 2003, the Ministry of Environment was merged with the Forestry Ministry. With its goal to join the EU, Turkey has made commendable progress in updating and modernizing its environmental legislation. However, environmental concerns are not fully integrated into public decision-making and enforcement can be weak. Turkey faces a backlog of environmental problems, requiring enormous outlays for infrastructure. The most pressing needs are for water treatment plants, wastewater treatment facilities, solid waste management, and conservation of biodiversity. The discovery of a number of chemical waste sites in 2006 has highlighted weakness in environmental law and oversight.
The Turkish Government gives a special priority to major infrastructure projects, especially in the transport sector. The government is in the process of building new airports and highways, thanks to an increased public investment budget. The government will realize many of these projects by utilizing the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model.
Mustafa Kemal, celebrated by the Turkish State as a Turkish World War I hero and later known as "Atatürk" or "father of the Turks," led the founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 after the collapse of the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire and a three-year war of independence. The empire, which at its peak controlled vast stretches of Northern Africa, Southeastern Europe, and Western Asia, had failed to keep pace with European social and technological developments. The rise of national consciousness impelled several national groups within the Empire to seek independence as nation-states, leading to the empire's fragmentation. This process culminated in the disastrous Ottoman participation in World War I as a German ally. Defeated, shorn of much of its former territory, and partly occupied by forces of the victorious European states, the Ottoman structure was repudiated by Turkish nationalists brought together under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal. The nationalists expelled invading Greek, Russian, French and Italian forces from Anatolia in a bitter war. After the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey the temporal and religious ruling institutions of the old empire (the sultanate and caliphate) were abolished.
The leaders of the new republic concentrated on consolidating their power and modernizing and Westernizing what had been the empire's core—Asian Anatolia and a part of European Thrace. Social, political, linguistic, and economic reforms and attitudes decreed by Atatürk from 1924-1934 continue to be referred to as the ideological base of modern Turkey. In the post-Atatürk era, and especially after the military coup of 1960, this ideology came to be known as "Kemalism" and his reforms began to be referred to as "revolutions." Kemalism comprises a Turkish form of secularism, strong nationalism, statism, and to a degree a western orientation. The continued validity and applicability of Kemalism are the subject of lively debate in Turkey's political life. The current ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) comes from a tradition that challenges many of the Kemalist precepts and is driven in its reform efforts by a desire to achieve EU accession.
Turkey entered World War II on the Allied side until shortly before the war ended, becoming a charter member of the United Nations. Difficulties faced by Greece after World War II in quelling a communist rebellion and demands by the Soviet Union for military bases in the Turkish Straits prompted the United States to declare the Truman Doctrine in 1947. The doctrine enunciated American intentions to guarantee the security of Turkey and Greece and resulted in large scale U.S. military and economic aid under the Marshall Plan. After participating with United Nations forces in the Korean conflict, Turkey in 1952 joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Turkey is currently a European Union candidate, although this has been clouded by their refusal to acknowledge the Armenian genocide.
- Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
- Battle of Adrianople
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization
- Oriental art
- Göbekli Tepe
- Akyol, Mustafa. "Why so many Turks are losing faith in Islam", Al-Monitor, 2018-04-16. (en-us)
- Atheism grows in Turkey as Recep Tayyip Erdogan urges Islam
- The number of atheists increasing in Turkey
- The young Turks rejecting Islam
|License:||This work is in the Public Domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the U.S. Code|
|Source:||File available from the United States Federal Government .|