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Turkey

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Türkiye Cumhuriyeti
Republic of Turkey
Missing image
Flag_of_Turkey.svg
Flag of Turkey

Missing image
Turkey_coat_of_arms.png
Coat of Arms of Turkey

(Flag) (Coat of Arms)
Motto: Peace at Home, Peace in the World

(Turkish: Yurtta Sulh, Cihanda Sulh)

Anthem: İstiklâl Marşı
Location of Turkey
Capital Ankara
Template:Coor dm
Largest city Istanbul
Official languages Turkish
Government Republic
Ahmet Necdet Sezer
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
National Day
 - Formation of Parliament
 - Declaration of Republic

April 23, 1920
October 29 1923
Area
 • Total
 • Water (%)
 
[[1 E11 m�|780,580 km²]] (36th)
1.3
Population
 • 2006 est.
 • 2000 census
 • Density
 
74,709,412 (17th)
67,844,903
89/km² (82th)
GDP (PPP)
 • Total
 • Per capita
2004 estimate
$553 billion (17th)
$7,900 (76th)
Currency New Turkish Lira (TRY)
Time zone
 • Summer (DST)
EET (UTC+3)
CEST (UTC+2)
Internet TLD .tr
Calling code +90
1 Since January 1 2005, the New Turkish Lira (Yeni Türk Lirası) replaced the old Turkish Lira.

The Republic of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye)Template:Audio; , is a bicontinental country located mainly in the Anatolian peninsula, with 3% of its territory located in the Balkan region of Southeastern Europe. Its straddles the Bosphorus straits that separate Southwest Asia from Southeast Europe. Anatolia is situated between the Black Sea on the north and the Mediterranean Sea to south, with the Aegean Sea and Marmara Sea (both branches of the Mediterranean) to the west. Some geographers consider Turkey to be, also a part of Europe due to certain cultural, political and historical characteristics. Because of its geographical position between Europe and Asia and three seas, Turkey has been a historical crossroads, the homeland of and battleground between several great civilizations, and a centre of commerce. Turkey borders eight countries: Greece and Bulgaria to the northwest; Georgia, Armenia and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhichevan and to the northeast; Iran to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the south.

The Republic of Turkey is a democratic laic constitutional republic, whose political system was established in 1923. This system has been interrupted by several coups. Turkey is a member state of the United Nations, NATO, OSCE, OECD, OIC and the Council of Europe. In October 2005, the European Union opened accession negotiations with Ankara.

Contents

History

Main article: History of Turkey

, History of ethnic Turks of Turkey

Template:History of Republic of Turkey

The rich history of people and the land laid the foundations of the current republic. Even though official history of the state begins on May 19, 1919, with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's onset of the Independence War, the issues and unique answers of the republic's history cannot be understood without the background of the Turks, the spirit of people who fought to build the state, or the history of the land (Anatolia) that unites everything in it. For anything related to Ottoman history please refer to the Ottoman Empire page or for the WWI years to dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

The Republic of Turkey was established on October 29, 1923 from the remnants of the Ottoman Empire. The war of liberation began in protest to the Armistice of Mondros and the Treaty of Sevres, under the command of Mustafa Kemal Pasha. The war mobilised every available part of Turkish society -- that would become the foundation of the Turkish nation. This Turkish national movement against the victorious Allies of World War I revoked the terms of the Treaty of Sevres on Anatolia. In 1923 the Treaty of Lausanne recognised the sovereignty of a new Turkish Republic.

There are many different ways of classifying the history of Turkey. The least disputed classification is based on three global periods: the war of independence, the single-party period, and the multi-party period. Even if these periods have distinct characteristics, some issues do repeat in every period with subtle differences.

Politics

Main Articles: Politics of Turkey, Constitution of Turkey Turkey's political system is based on separation of powers. Its constitution is called 'Anayasa' (Main Law).

Head of State - The function of Head of State is performed by the President "Cumhurbaşkanı". A president is elected every seven years by the Grand National Assembly. The President does not have to be a member of parliament.

Executive power - Executive power rests in the Prime Minister "Başbakan" and the Council of Ministers "Bakanlar Kurulu". The PM and Ministers have to be parliamentarians. The Prime Minister is elected by the parliament with a vote of trust to his government.

Parliament - Legislative power rests in the 550-seat Grand National Assembly "Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi", representing 81 provinces. The Grand National Assembly is elected every five years. To be represented in Parliament, a party must win at least 10% of the national vote in a national parliamentary election. Independent candidates may run. To be elected, they must win at least 10% of the vote in the province from which they are running.

Legal System

Main article: Legal System in Republic of Turkey

The freedom and independence of the Judicial System is protected within the constitution. There is no organisation, person, or institution which can interfere in the running of the courts, and the executive and legislative structures must obey the courts' decisions. The courts, which are independent in discharging their duties, must explain each ruling on the basis of the provisions of the Constitution, the laws, jurisprudence, and their personal convictions.

The Judicial system is highly structured. Turkish courts have no jury system; judges render decisions after establishing the facts in each case based on evidence presented by lawyers and prosecutors. For minor civil complaints and offenses, justices of the peace take the case. This court has a single judge. It has jurisdiction over misdemeanors and petty crimes, with penalties ranging from small fines to brief prison sentences. Three-judge courts of first instance have jurisdiction over major civil suits and serious crimes. Any conviction in a criminal case can be taken to a court of Appeals for judicial review.

All courts are open to public. When a case is closed to public, the court has to publish the reason. Judge and prosecution structures are secured by the constitution. Except with their own consent, no judge or prosecutor can be dismissed, have his/her powers restricted, or be forced to retire. However, the retirement age restrictions do apply. The child courts have their own structure.

If there is a need to inspect a judge, that can only be performed with the Ministry of Justice's permission, in which case a special task force of justice experts and senior judges is formed. The High Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors is the principal body charged with responsibility for ensuring judicial integrity, and determines professional judges acceptance and court assignments.

Turkey is adapting a new national "Judicial Networking System" (UYAP). The court decisions and documents (case info, expert reports, etc) will be accessible via the Internet.

Turkey accepts the European Court of Human Rights' decisions as a higher court decision. Turkey also accepts as legally binding any decisions on international agreements.

Foreign Relations

Main article: Foreign relations of Republic of Turkey

The modern Turkish Republic, which emerged from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire, is pursuing peaceful policies in a region that has many conflicts. Some of these conflicts are result of the complications that arose at the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, and some are as old as Anatolian history. In this geopolitical region, the determining factor of Turkey's policies is its democratic and secular political system, its choice of a robust, free, market economy (Customs Union with the EU) and a social tradition of reconciling the modern society with cultural identity, and guided through the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's policy of "Peace at Home and Peace Abroad".

As detailed in the article "foreign relations of Turkey", Turkey pursues its stated objective by following a principled and proactive foreign policy that employs a broad spectrum of peaceful means. These entail, inter-alia, membership in the NATO Alliance and full integration with the European Union, taking the lead in regional cooperation processes, promoting good neighbourly relations and economic cooperation, extending humanitarian aid and assistance to the less fortunate, participating in peace-keeping operations and contributing to the resolution of disputes as well as post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction efforts.

Military

Main article: Turkish Armed Forces

Turkish Armed Forces (Turkish: Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri TSK) consists of the Army, Navy (includes Naval Air and Naval Infantry) and Air Force. The Gendarmerie and Coast Guard operate as the parts of Dept. of Internal Affairs in peacetime and are subordinate to the Army and Navy Commands respectively. In wartime, both have law enforcement and military functions.

The Commander-in-Chief is Chief General Staff General Hilmi Özkök.

After becoming a member of the NATO Alliance on February 18, 1952, the Turkish Republic initiated a comprehensive modernization program for its Armed Forces. Towards the end of the 1980s, a restructuring process was initiated in the Turkish Armed Forces.

The Turkish Armed forces, with a combined troop strength of 680,000 people, is the second largest standing force in NATO after the United States. Currently, 45,000 troops are stationed in Turkish-recognised Northern Cyprus.

Recently, the picture of Ataturk was removed from the logo of the Turkish Armed Forces following a modernization prodecure. This action led to significant debate in the TBMM Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi. However, the picture of Ataturk was placed back in because of public pressure.

Geography

Main article: Geography of Turkey, Provinces of Turkey

The territory of Turkey extends from 36° to 42° N and from 26° to 45° E. It is roughly rectangular in shape and is 1,660 kilometers wide. The area of Turkey inclusive of lakes is 814,578 square kilometres, of which 790,200 are in Asia and 24,378 are located in Europe. Many geographers consider Turkey politically and culturally in Europe, although it is a trancontiental country between Asia and Europe. The land borders of Turkey total 2,573 kilometres, and the coastlines (including islands) total another 8,333 kilometres.

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Turkey-Regions.png
Geographical Regions
Turkey is generally divided into seven regions: the Marmara, the Aegean, the Mediterranean, Central Anatolia, East Anatolia, Southeast Anatolia and the Black Sea region. The uneven north Anatolian terrain running along the Black Sea resembles a long, narrow belt. This region comprises approximately 1/6 of Turkey's total land area.

Turkey forms a bridge between Europe and Asia, with the division between the two running from the Black Sea (Karadeniz) to the north down along the Bosporus (Istanbul Boğazı) strait through the Sea of Marmara (Marmara Denizi) and the Dardanelles (Çanakkale Boğazı) strait to the Aegean Sea (Ege Denizi) and the larger Mediterranean Sea (Akdeniz) to the south. It is considered that Turkey is in Asia not in Europe because of political and cultural reasons. The Anatolian peninsula, Anatolia (Anadolu) consists of a high central plateau with narrow coastal plains, in between the Köroğlu and East-Black Sea mountain range to the north and the Taurus Mountains (Toros Dağları) to the south. To the east is found a more mountainous landscape, home to the sources of rivers such as the Euphrates (Fırat), Tigris (Dicle) and the Araks (Aras), as well as Lake Van (Van Gölü) and Mount Ararat (Ağrı Dağı), Turkey's highest point at 5,137 m.

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Fault lines & Earthquakes
Turkey is also prone to very severe earthquakes. The Bosphorus and the Dardanelles owe their existence to the fault lines running through Turkey, leading to the creation of the Black Sea. There is an earthquake fault line across the north of the country from west to east. Within the last century there were many earthquakes along this fault line, the sizes and locations of these earthquakes can be seen on the Fault lines & Earthquakes image. This image also includes a small scaled map that shows other fault lines in Turkey.

Turkey is subdivided into 81 provinces (iller in Turkish; singular il). Each province is divided into subprovinces (ilçeler; singular ilçe). The province usually bears the same name as the provincial capital, also called the central subprovince; exceptions are Hatay (capital: Antakya), Kocaeli (capital: İzmit) and Sakarya (capital: Adapazarı). Major provinces include: Istanbul 11 million, Ankara 4 million, Izmir 3.5 million, Bursa 2.1 million, Konya 2.2 million, Adana 1.8 million.

The capital of Turkey is the city of Ankara, but the largest city is İstanbul. Other important cities include İzmir, Bursa, Adana, Trabzon, Malatya, Gaziantep, Erzurum, Kayseri, İzmit (Kocaeli), Konya, Mersin, Diyarbakır, Antalya and Samsun. See the list of cities in Turkey.

The climate is a Mediterranean temperate climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet and cold winters, though conditions can be much harsher in the more arid interior.

Missing image
27px-Turkey-Regions.png
Image:27px-Turkey-Regions.png

Average Temp High Temp Low Temp Average Hum. Average Rain
Marmara Region 13.5 44.6 -27.8 71.2 564.3
Aegean Region 15.4 48.5 -45.6 60.9 706.0
Mediteranian Region 16.4 45.6 -33.5 63.9 706.0
Black Sea Region 12.3 44.2 -32.8 70.9 828.5
Central Anatolia 10.6 41.8 -36.2 62.6 392.0
East Anatolia 9.7 44.4 -45.6 60.9 569.0
Southeast Anatolia 16.5 48.4 -24.3 53.4 584.5

Economy

{{Infobox Country Economy |country=Republic of Turkey |image= |caption= |Fiscal_year=calendar year |Trade_organisations=OECD, OID |Pop_poverty=20% |GDP_by_sector= |Inflation=7.7% (05) |Labour_force=25,900,000 |Labour_force_by_occupation= |Unemployment=9.3% (plus underemployment of 4.0%) (04 est.) |Main_industries= |Exports=$82bn |export_partners=Germany 13.9%, UK 8.8%,
US 7.7%, Italy 7.4%, France 5.8%,
Spain 4.2% |Imports=$137bn |import_partners=Germany 12.9%, Russia 9.3%, Italy 7.1%,
France 6.4%, US 4.8%,
China 4.6%, UK 4.4% |Public_debt=57.8% of GDP (2005) |External_debt= $145B |Revenues= $190B |Expenses= $210B }}

Main article: Economy of Turkey

Turkey's economy is a complex mix of modern industry and commerce along with a traditional agriculture sector that in 2001 still accounted for 40% of employment. Turkey has a strong and rapidly growing private sector, yet the state still plays a major role in basic industry, banking, transport, and communication.

Agriculture

Turkey has been self-sufficient in food production since the 1980s. The agricultural output has been growing at a respectable rate. However, since the 1980's agriculture has been in a state of decline compared to the total economy. Agricultural loans are issued with negative interest rates. Today, many of the institutions established between 1930 and 1980 continue to play important roles in the practices of farmers. Many old agricultural attitudes remain widespread. These traditions are expected to change with the EU accession process. Turkey is continuously improving the process of dismantling the incentive system; fertiliser and pesticide subsidies have been curtailed, and remaining price supports have been gradually converted to floor prices. The government has also initiated many planned projects, such as the G.A.P project. G.A.P shows a very promising future for the southeastern agriculture. Template:Details Given all the efforts of the government, agricultural extension and research services are poorly organised in Turkey. This has been attributed to shortages of qualified advisers, transportation, and equipment. Agricultural research is distributed among nearly 100 government institutions and universities. The inability to spread the use of new technologies has been attributed to a reluctance of trained personnel to work in the field. The pay disparity in this sector is traditionally very high and incentives to train people do not cover this gap. Research is organised by commodity, with independent units for such major crops as cotton, tobacco, and citrus fruit. Observers note that coordination of the efforts of different research units and links between extension services are inadequate.

The livestock industry, compared to initial years of the republic showed little improvement in productivity, and the later years of the decade saw stagnation. However livestock products, including meat, milk, wool, and eggs, contributed to more than 1/3 of the value of agricultural output.

Industrial sector

The largest industry - and largest exporter - is textiles and clothing, which is almost entirely in private hands, next to petroleum refineries (Izmir, Istanbul, Adana, and Kayseri), Iron and Steel Mill at Karabuk and Eregli Iron and Steel works. Also, brick, tile, glass, leather, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, metalworking, cordage, flour milling, vegetable oil, paper products, plastic products and rubber processing.

Sugar-beet industry is the number one, which produces more than domestic use.

The automotive industry, which is the seventh largest in Europe, is also an important part of the economy, since 1970s. Most of the production of machines, consumer goods, and tools take place in hundreds of small machine shops. Large factories of international firms such as Mercedes, FIAT, and Toyota are providing jobs for thousands of people.

Service sector

The road network was an estimated 382,397 km in 1999, including 95,599 km of paved roads and 1,749 km of motorways. The rail network was 8,682 km in 1999, including 2,133 km of electrified track. There are 1,200 km of navigable waterways. There were 118 airports in 1999, including six international airports in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Trabzon, Dalaman and Antalya. Template:Details Telecommunications were liberalised in 2004 after the creation of the Telecommunication Authority. Private sector companies operate in mobile telephony and Internet access. There were 19 million fixed phone lines, 36 million mobile phones, and 12 million Internet users by the August, 2005. Template:Details

Tourism sector

Tourism is one of the most dynamic and fast developing sectors in Turkey. According to the travel agencies TUI and Thomas Cook, 31 hotels out of 100 best hotels of the world are located in Turkey. In the year 2005 Turkey, 21,122,798 tourists vacationed in Turkey. The total revenue was $18.2 billion and with an average expenditure of $679 per tourist. Over the years, Turkey has emerged as a popular tourist destination for many Europeans, often competing with Greece, Italy and Spain. Turkish destinations such as Antalya have become very popular among Russian and Eastern European tourists.

Financial sector

"The Central Bank of Republic of Turkey" was founded in 1930, as a privileged joint-stock company. It possesses the sole right to issue notes. It also has the obligation to provide for the monetary requirements of the state agricultural and commercial enterprises. All foreign exchange transfers are exclusively handled by the central bank. The bank has 25 domestic branches, as well as branches in New York, London, Frankfurt, and Zurich.

In 1998 there were 72 banks. In late 2000 and early 2001 a growing trade deficit and weaknesses in the banking sector plunged the economy into crisis. There was a recession followed by the floating of the lira. This financial breakdown brought the number of banks to 31. Currently more then 34% of the assets are concentrated in the Agricultural Bank (Ziraat Bankasi), Housing Bank (Yapi Kredi Bankasi), IsBank and Akbank. There are also Middle Eastern Trading Banks, which practice an Islamic type of trading. The five big state-owned banks restructured during 2001. Political involvement was minimized and loaning policies were changed. However, over-staffing remains a problem.

The Istanbul Stock Exchange opened in 1985 and Istanbul Gold Exchange in 1995.

Government regulations passed in 1929 required all insurance companies to reinsure 30% of each policy with National Reinsurance Corp. In 1954, life insurance was exempted from this requirement. The insurance market is officially regulated through the Ministery of Commerce.

Foreign direct investment in Turkey remains low - less than USD 1 billion annually. Results in 2002 were much better, because of strong financial support from the IMF and tighter fiscal policy. Continued slow global growth and serious political tensions in the Middle East cast a shadow over growth prospects in the future.

In recent years the economic situation has been marked by erratic economic growth and serious imbalances. Real GNP growth has exceeded 6% in many years, but this strong expansion has been interrupted by sharp declines in output in 1994, 1999, and 2001. Meanwhile the public sector fiscal deficit has regularly exceeded 10% of GDP - due in large part to the huge burden of interest payments, which in 2001 accounted for more than 50% of central government spending - while inflation has remained in the high double digit range.

For a time, the lira was synonymous with an low-valued currency. Recently, the "New Turkish lira" was introduced, worth 1 million old lira. (In essence, they "slashed off some zeroes".) This was meant to be a symbol of a stronger currency, after a long period of high inflation that had devalued the currency so greatly.

Natural resources

Main article: Natural Resources in Republic of Turkey

Turkey is a net oil and gas importer.

The pipeline network in Turkey included 1,738 km for crude oil, 2,321 km for petroleum products, and 708 km for natural gas in 1999. Several major new pipelines are planned, especially the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline for Caspian oilfields, the longest one in the world, which recently opened in 2005.

According to the CIA World Factbook, other natural resources include coal, iron ore, copper, chromium, uranium, antimony, mercury, gold, barite, borate, celestite (strontium), emery, feldspar, limestone, magnesite, marble, perlite, pumice, pyrites (sulfur), clay, arable land, hydropower.

Employment

Turkey's labour force is flexible, with a wide spectrum of skills from the unskilled to highly educated. Turkey is obliged to apply EU(European Union) employment and social laws to qualify for membership.

Society

Demographics

{{Infobox Country Demographics |country=Republic of Turkey |image=Missing image
Turkey-demography.png


|caption=1961-2005 |size_of_population=69,660,559
(July 2005 est.) |growth=1.09% (2005 est.) |birth=16.83 births/1,000
population (2005 est.) |death=5.96 deaths/1,000
population (2005 est.) |life=72.36 years (2005 est.) |life_male=69.94 years |life_female=74.91 years |fertility=1.94 children born/woman (2005 est.) |age_0-14_years=26% (male 9,232,439; female 8,897,135) |age_15-64_years= 67.3% (male 23,806,367; female 23,053,536) |age_65_years=6.7% (male 2,140,242; female 2,530,840) (2005 est.) |sr_total_mf_ratio=0.85 male(s)/female |sr_at_birth=1.02 male(s)/female (2005 est.) |sr_under_15=1.05 male(s)/female |sr_15-64_years=1.04 male(s)/female |sr_65_years=1.03 male(s)/female |nation=noun: Turk(s) adjective: Turkish |major_ethnic=Turkish |minor_ethnic=Abkhaz, Albanians, Arabs, Bosniaks, Chaldeans, Chechens, Circassians, Kurds, Laz, Syriacs, and Zazas. |minorities= Armenians, Greeks, Georgians, Hamshenis, Jews, Levantines, Ossetians, Pomaks, Roma and Syriacs. |official=Turkish |spoken=Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, Greek. }}

Main article: Demographics of Turkey

The legal use of term "Turkish" (a citizen of Turkey) is different than the ethnic definition (an ethnic Turk). However, the majority of the Turkish population (more than 80%) are of Turkish ethnicity. The ethnic minorities include, besides the legally defined minorities, Abkhazians, Albanians, Arabs, Assyrians, Bosniaks, Chechens, Circassians, Ingushetians, Laz, and Zazas.

The largest group of non-Turkic ethnicity are the Kurds, a distinct ethnic group concentrated in the east. The 1965 census determined that 7.1% of the population used Kurdish as their primary language and the knowledge of the language was stated by the 12.7% of the population in total, but there are many Turkish-speaking Kurds. According to the CIA fact book, 15% of the population are ethnic Kurds.

The term "minority" itself remains a sensitive issue in Turkey, since the Turkish State only considers the communities mentioned in the text of Treaty of Lausanne. Minorities include Armenians, Syriacs, Greeks, Georgians, Hamshenis, Jews, Levantines, Ossetians, Pomaks, and Roma (Roma is a name for Gypsies).

Due to a demand for an increased labour force in Western Europe between 1960 and 1980 many Turkish citizens emigrated to West Germany, the Netherlands, France and other Western European countries, forming a significant overseas population. Recently, many have also settled in Russia and other neighbouring countries.

Education

Main article: Turkish education system

Education is compulsory and free from ages 6 to 14. There are around 820 higher education institutes including universities, with a total student enrollment of over 1 million. The 15 main universities are in Istanbul and Ankara. Tertiary education is the responsibility of the Higher Education Council, and funding is provided by the state. From 1998 the universities were given greater autonomy, and were encouraged to raise funds from partnerships with industry.

There are approximately 85 universities in Turkey. There are two types of universities, state and (private) foundational. State universities charge very low fees and foundationals are highly expensive with fees up to $15 000 or sometimes even more. The capacity in total of Turkish universities is approximately 300.000. Some universities can compete with the best world universities whereas some are unable to provide the necessary educational standards due to financial problems and underfunding. However, university students are a lucky minority in Turkey. Universities provide either two or four years of education for undergraduate studies. For graduate studies, two further years is necessary, as is typical throughout the world.

The Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey coordinates basic and applied research and development. There are 64 research institutes and organisations. R&D strengths include agriculture, forestry, health, biotechnology, nuclear technologies, minerals, materials, IT, and defence.

Culture

Main article: Culture of Turkey

Turkey has a very diverse culture derived from various elements of the Ottoman Empire, European, and the Islamic traditions. As Turkey successfully transformed from the religion-driven former Ottoman Empire into a modern nation-state with a very strong separation of state and religion, the increase in the methods of artistic expression followed. During the first years of the republic, the government invested a large amount of resources into the fine arts, such as paintings, sculptures and architecture amongst other things. This was done as both a process of modernisation and of creating a cultural identity. Today the Turkish economy is diverse enough to subsidise individual artists with great freedom.

Missing image
27px-Turkey-Regions.png
Image:27px-Turkey-Regions.png

Culture of Republic of Turkey
Music Cinema Poetry Prose Turkish Cuisine History of Turkish Literature

Religion

Main article: Islam in Turkey

Nominally, 95%-96% of the population is Muslim. Most belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. About 15-20% of the population are Alevi Muslims. There is also a Twelver Shia minority, mainly of Azeri descent. The remaining 4%-5% of the population are of other religions, mostly Christian (Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic (Gregorian), Syriac Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Protestants), Jewish, Bahá'ís, and the Yezidis.

Unlike other Muslim-majority countries, there is a strong tradition of separation of church and state (in this case mosque and state) in Turkey. Even though the state does not have any/or promote any religion, it actively monitors the area between the religions. The constitutional rule that prohibits discrimination on religious grounds, is taken very seriously. The Turkish constitution recognises freedom of religion for individuals, and the religious communities are placed under the protection of state, but the constitution explicitly states that they cannot become involved in the political process, by forming a religious party for example. No party can claim that it represents a form of religious belief. The religious sensibilities are represented through conservative parties, such as the currently ruling AKP party.

The mainstream Hanafi school of Sunni Islam is largely organised by the state, through Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı (Department of Religious Affairs). The Diyanet is the main Islamic framework established after abolition of the Ulama and Seyh-ul-Islam of the old régime. As a consequence, they control all mosques and Muslim clerics. Imams are trained in Imam vocational schools and at theology departments at universities. The department supports Sunni Islam and has commissions authorised to give Fatwa judgements on Islamic issues. The department is criticised by the Alevi Muslims for not supporting their beliefs.

The Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch (patrik) governs the Greek-Orthodox Church in Turkey and acts as the spiritual leader of all Orthodox churches throughout the world, the Armenian patrik the Armenian Church, while the Jewish community is lead by the Hahambasi, Turkey's Chief Rabbi, all based in Istanbul. The Jewish population in Turkey is one of the largest and most prominent outside of Israel. (See Jews of Turkey for more)

Because of different historical factors playing an important role in defining a Turkish identity, the culture of Turkey is an interesting combination of clear efforts to be "modern" and Western, combined with the necessity felt to maintain traditional religious and historical values.

Pictures of Turkey

Pictures of Turkey (http://classroomclipart.com)

Miscellaneous Topics

References

  1. Template:Note Atreya, Navita, McDowall, David, Ozbolat, "Asylum Seekers from Turkey: the Dangers They Flee", (Report of a mission to Turkey), Perihan, 28 February 2001)

External links

Template:Sisterlinks

Official Web Pages

Public Offices

Other Web Pages


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