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October 2011

Turkey, 2006

Turkey, 2006

Turkey, formally the Republic of Turkey, is located in southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia and encompasses an area of 780,580 sq km, with an estimated population of 78,785,548 (July 2011). Turkey borders the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Syria. The capital city is Ankara; other major cities include: Istanbul, Izmir, Bursa, and Adana. Modern Turkey encompasses bustling cosmopolitan centers, pastoral farming villages, barren wastelands, peaceful Aegean coastlines, and steep mountain regions. More than 70% of Turkey's population lives in urban areas that juxtapose Western lifestyles with more traditional ways of life. Turkish is the country’s official language; other languages include Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, and Greek.

The Turkish state has been officially secular since 1924. Approximately 99% of the population is Muslim. Most Turkish Muslims follow the Sunni traditions of Islam, although a significant number follow Alevi and Shiite traditions. Turkey's government is a parliamentary democracy. It has 81 provinces with universal suffrage at 18 years of age. The President is the chief of state, while the Prime Minister is head of government. Its unicameral Grand National Assembly of Turkey has 550 seats; members are elected by popular vote, serving five-year terms. Turkey joined the UN in 1945 and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. In 1964, Turkey became an associate member of the European Community; over the past decade, it has undertaken many reforms to strengthen its democracy and economy enabling it to begin accession membership talks with the European Union.

The terrain of Turkey consists of a narrow coastal plain surrounding Anatolia, an island plateau becoming increasingly rugged as it progresses eastward. The coastal areas have a mild climate, while the inland areas have a harsher climate. The natural resources of Turkey include: coal, iron ore, copper, chromium, antimony, mercury, gold, barite, borate, celestite (strontium), emery, feldspar, limestone, magnesite, marble, perlite, pumice, pyrites, and clay. Turkey has seven natural regions, including the Black Sea, the Aegean, Mediterranean, Pontus and Taurus mountain ranges, the Anatolian Plateau, the eastern highlands, and the Arabian Platform. The highest point in Turkey is Mount Ararat (5,166 m), the legendary landing place of Noah's ark, which is in the far eastern portion of the country. Turkey experiences little volcanic activity and its three historically active volcanoes, Ararat, Nemrut Dagi, and Tendurek Dagi have not erupted since the 19th century or earlier. Turkey suffers severe earthquakes, especially in northern Turkey, along an arc extending from the Sea of Marmara to Lake Van. A powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey on October 23, 2011. For more information concerning this earthquake and other earthquakes, please see the United States Geological Survey site.

CIA World Factbook; U.S. State Department Background Notes, 10/2011; 05/2011

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