country profile - TURKEY
Background: Modern Turkey was founded in 1923 from the Anatolian remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire by national hero Mustafa KEMAL, who was later honored with the title Ataturk or "Father of the Turks." Under his leadership, the country adopted wide-ranging social, legal, and political reforms. After a period of one-party rule, an experiment with multi-party politics led to the 1950 election victory of the opposition Democratic Party and the peaceful transfer of power. Since then, Turkish political parties have multiplied, but democracy has been fractured by periods of instability and intermittent military coups (1960, 1971, 1980), which in each case eventually resulted in a return of political power to civilians. In 1997, the military again helped engineer the ouster - popularly dubbed a "post-modern coup" - of the then Islamic-oriented government. Turkey intervened militarily on Cyprus in 1974 to prevent a Greek takeover of the island and has since acted as patron state to the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," which only Turkey recognizes. A separatist insurgency begun in 1984 by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - now known as the Kurdistan People's Congress or Kongra-Gel (KGK) - dominated the Turkish military's attention and claimed more than 30,000 lives. After the capture of the group's leader in 1999, the insurgents largely withdrew from Turkey mainly to northern Iraq. In 2013, the PKK and the Turkish Government agreed to a cease-fire that continues despite slow progress in ongoing peace talks. Turkey joined the UN in 1945 and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. In 1963, Turkey became an associate member of the European Community; it began accession membership talks with the EU in 2005. Over the past decade, economic reforms have contributed to a quickly growing economy.
geography  
Location: Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia (that portion of Turkey west of the Bosporus is geographically part of Europe), bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Syria
Area: total: 783,562 sq km
land: 769,632 sq km
water: 13,930 sq km
Land boundaries: total: 2,816 km
border countries (8): Armenia 311 km, Azerbaijan 17 km, Bulgaria 223 km, Georgia 273 km, Greece 192 km, Iran 534 km, Iraq 367 km, Syria 899 km
Coastline: 7,200 km
Climate: temperate; hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters; harsher in interior
Natural resources: coal, iron ore, copper, chromium, antimony, mercury, gold, barite, borate, celestite (strontium), emery, feldspar, limestone, magnesite, marble, perlite, pumice, pyrites (sulfur), clay, arable land, hydropower
people  
Population: 79,414,269 (July 2015 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 25.45% (male 10,339,731/female 9,868,005)
15-24 years: 16.25% (male 6,587,897/female 6,314,306)
25-54 years: 43.07% (male 17,323,965/female 16,878,498)
55-64 years: 8.15% (male 3,216,877/female 3,253,892)
65 years and over: 7.09% (male 2,498,187/female 3,132,911) (2015 est.)
Median age: total: 30.1 years
male: 29.7 years
female: 30.6 years (2015 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.26% (2015 est.)
Birth rate: 16.33 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate: 5.88 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Net migration rate 2.16 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.8 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Nationality: noun: Turk(s)
adjective: Turkish
Ethnic groups: Turkish 70-75%, Kurdish 18%, other minorities 7-12% (2008 est.)
Religions: Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews)
Languages: Turkish (official), Kurdish, other minority languages
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95%
male: 98.4%
female: 91.8% (2015 est.)
government  
Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Turkey
conventional short form: Turkey
local long form: Turkiye Cumhuriyeti
local short form: Turkiye
Government type: republican parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Ankara
geographic coordinates: 39 56 N, 32 52 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions: 81 provinces (iller, singular - ili); Adana, Adiyaman, Afyonkarahisar, Agri, Aksaray, Amasya, Ankara, Antalya, Ardahan, Artvin, Aydin, Balikesir, Bartin, Batman, Bayburt, Bilecik, Bingol, Bitlis, Bolu, Burdur, Bursa, Canakkale, Cankiri, Corum, Denizli, Diyarbakir, Duzce, Edirne, Elazig, Erzincan, Erzurum, Eskisehir, Gaziantep, Giresun, Gumushane, Hakkari, Hatay, Igdir, Isparta, Istanbul, Izmir (Smyrna), Kahramanmaras, Karabuk, Karaman, Kars, Kastamonu, Kayseri, Kilis, Kirikkale, Kirklareli, Kirsehir, Kocaeli, Konya, Kutahya, Malatya, Manisa, Mardin, Mersin, Mugla, Mus, Nevsehir, Nigde, Ordu, Osmaniye, Rize, Sakarya, Samsun, Sanliurfa, Siirt, Sinop, Sirnak, Sivas, Tekirdag, Tokat, Trabzon (Trebizond), Tunceli, Usak, Van, Yalova, Yozgat, Zonguldak
Independence: 29 October 1923 (successor state to the Ottoman Empire)
National holiday: Republic Day, 29 October (1923)
Legal system: civil law system based on various European legal systems notably the Swiss civil code
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN (since 10 August 2014)
head of government: Prime Minister Ahmet DAVUTOGLU (since 28 August 2014); Deputy Prime Ministers Yalcin AKDOGAN, Bulent ARINC, Ali BABACAN (all since 29 August 2014)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister, appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); prime minister appointed by the president from among members of parliament; note - a 2007 constitutional amendment changed the presidential electoral process to direct popular vote; prime minister appointed by the president from among members of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey
election results: Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN elected president; Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN (AKP) 51.8%, Ekmeleddin IHSANOGLU (independent) 38.4%, Selahattin DEMIRTAS (HDP) 9.8%
Legislative branch: unicameral Grand National Assembly of Turkey or Turkiye Buyuk Millet Meclisi (550 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 7 June 2015 (next to be held on 1 November 2015); note - ERDOGAN was unable to form a coalition government and announced on 24 August 2015 that snap elections would be held; DAVUTOGLU will form the interim government
election results: percent of vote by party - AKP 40.9%, CHP 25.0%, MHP 16.3%, HDP 13.1%, other 4.7%; seats by party - AKP 258, CHP 132, MHP 80, HDP 80; note - only parties surpassing the 10% threshold can win parliamentary seats
Judicial branch: highest court: Constitutional Court or Anayasa Mahkemesi (consists of 17 members); Supreme Court of Appeals (consists of about 390 judges and organized into 15 divisions with 23 civil and 15 criminal chambers); Council of State (organized into 15 divisions - 14 judicial and 1 consultative – each with a division head and at least 5 members)
judge selection and term of office: Constitutional Court members - 3 appointed by the Grand National Assembly and 14 by the president of the republic from among candidates nominated by the plenary assemblies of the high courts (with the exception of the Court of High Accounts), the Higher Education Council, and from among senior government administrators, lawyers, judges and prosecutors, and Constitutional Court rapporteurs; court president and 2 deputy presidents appointed from among its members for 4-year terms; judges appointed for 12-year, non-renewable terms with mandatory retirement at age 65; Supreme Court of Appeals judges appointed by the Supreme Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors (SCJP), an independent body of judicial officials; judges appointed until retirement at age 65; Council of State members appointed by the SCJP and by the president of the republic; members appointed for renewable, 4-year terms
subordinate courts: basic (first instance) courts, military courts, specialized courts, including administrative and audit
Political parties and leaders: Anatolia Party or AnaParti [Emine Ulker TARHAN]
Center Party [Abdurrahim KARSLI]
Democratic Left Party or DSP [Masum TURKER]
Democratic Party or DP [Gultekin UYSAL]
Democratic Regions Party or DBP [Emine AYNA and Kamuran YUKSEK, co-chairs]
Electronic Democracy Party or e-Parti [Emrehan HALICI]
Felicity Party or SP [Mustafa KAMALAK]
Freedom and Solidarity Party or ODP [Alper TAS and Bilge Seckin CETINKAYA, co-chairs]
Grand Unity Party or BBP [Mustafa DESTICI]
Independent Turkey Party or BTP [Haydar BAS]
Justice and Development Party or AKP [Ahmet DAVUTOGLU]
Nation and Justice Party or MILAD [Idris Naim SAHIN]
Nationalist Movement Party or MHP [Devlet BAHCELI]
People's Democratic Party or HDP [Selahattin DEMIRTAS and Figen YUKSEKDAG, co-chairs]
Republican People's Party or CHP [Kemal KILICDAROGLU]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey or TUSKON [Rizanur MERAL]
Confederation of Public Sector Unions or KESK [Lami OZGEN, Sazyie KOSE, co-chairs]
Confederation of Revolutionary Workers Unions or DISK [Tayfun GORGUN]
Independent Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association or MUSIAD [Nail OLPAK]
Moral Rights Workers Union or Hak-Is [Mahmut ARSLAN]
Turkish Confederation of Employers' Unions or TISK [Tugrul KUDATGOBILIK]
Turkish Confederation of Labor or Turk-Is [Ergun ATALAY]
Turkish Confederation of Tradesmen and Craftsmen or TESK [Bendevi PALANDOKEN]
Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association or TUSIAD [Muharrem YILMAZ]
Turkish Union of Chambers of Commerce and Commodity Exchanges or TOBB [M. Rifat HISARCIKLIOGLU]
International organization participation: ADB (nonregional member), Australia Group, BIS, BSEC, CBSS (observer), CD, CE, CERN (observer), CICA, CPLP (associate observer), D-8, EAPC, EBRD, ECO, EU (candidate country), FAO, FATF, G-20, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIC, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club (associate), PCA, PIF (partner), SCO (dialogue member), SELEC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Flag description: red with a vertical white crescent (the closed portion is toward the hoist side) and white five-pointed star centered just outside the crescent opening
communications  
Telephones - fixed lines: total subscriptions: 12.53 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 16 (2014 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellular: total: 71.9 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 92 (2014 est.)
Telephone system: general assessment: comprehensive telecommunications network undergoing rapid modernization and expansion, especially in mobile-cellular services
domestic: additional digital exchanges are permitting a rapid increase in subscribers; the construction of a network of technologically advanced intercity trunk lines, using both fiber-optic cable and digital microwave radio relay, is facilitating communication between urban centers; remote areas are reached by a domestic satellite system; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity is roughly 100 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 90; international service is provided by the SEA-ME-WE-3 submarine cable and by submarine fiber-optic cables in the Mediterranean and Black Seas that link Turkey with Italy, Greece, Israel, Bulgaria, Romania, and Russia; satellite earth stations - 12 Intelsat; mobile satellite terminals - 328 in the Inmarsat and Eutelsat systems (2010)
Broadcast media: Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) operates multiple TV and radio networks and stations; multiple privately owned national television stations and up to 300 private regional and local television stations; multi-channel cable TV subscriptions available; more than 1,000 private radio broadcast stations (2009)
Radio broadcast stations: 1,090 (station types NA) (2009)
Television broadcast stations: 251 (2009)
Internet country code: .tr
Internet hosts: 2.961 million (2009)
Internet users: total: 36.6 million
percent of population: 46.6% (2014 est.)
transportation  
Airports: 98 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 91
over 3,047 m: 16
2,438 to 3,047 m: 38
1,524 to 2,437 m: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 16
under 914 m: 4 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 2 (2013)
Heliports: 20 (2013)
Pipelines: gas 12,603 km; oil 3,038 km (2013)
Railways: total: 12,008 km
standard gauge: 12,008 km 1.435-m gauge (3,216 km electrified) (2014)
Roadways: total: 385,754 km
paved: 352,268 km (includes 2,127 km of expressways)
unpaved: 33,486 km (2012)
Waterways: 1,200 km (2010)
Merchant marine: total: 629
by type: bulk carrier 102, cargo 281, chemical tanker 80, container 42, liquefied gas 6, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 60, petroleum tanker 25, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 29, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 1 (Italy 1)
registered in other countries: 645 (Albania 1, Antigua and Barbuda 7, Azerbaijan 1, Bahamas 3, Barbados 1, Belize 16, Brazil 1, Cambodia 15, Comoros 8, Cook Islands 4, Curacao 5, Cyprus 1, Dominica 1, Georgia 14, Italy 4, Kazakhstan 1, Liberia 16, Malta 233, Marshall Islands 70, Moldova 18, Panama 62, Russia 101, Saint Kitts and Nevis 18, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 13, Sierra Leone 9, Slovakia 1, Tanzania 13, Togo 4, Tuvalu 1, unknown 3) (2010)
Ports and terminals: major seaport(s): Aliaga, Ambarli, Diliskelesi, Eregli, Izmir, Kocaeli (Izmit), Mersin (Icel), Limani, Yarimca
container port(s) (TEUs): Ambarli (2,121,549), Mersin (Icel) (1,126,866)
LNG terminal (import): Izmir Aliaga, Marmara Ereglisi
transnational issues  
Disputes - international: complex maritime, air, and territorial disputes with Greece in the Aegean Sea; status of north Cyprus question remains; Syria and Iraq protest Turkish hydrological projects to control upper Euphrates waters; Turkey has expressed concern over the status of Kurds in Iraq; in 2009, Swiss mediators facilitated an accord reestablishing diplomatic ties between Armenia and Turkey, but neither side has ratified the agreement and the rapprochement effort has faltered; Turkish authorities have complained that blasting from quarries in Armenia might be damaging the medieval ruins of Ani, on the other side of the Arpacay valley
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): at least 103,000 (Iraq) (2014); 2,072,290 (Syria) (2015)
IDPs: 954,000-1.2 million (displaced from 1984-2005 because of fighting between Kurdish PKK and Turkish military; most IDPs are Kurds from eastern and southeastern provinces; no information available on persons displaced by development projects) (2014)
stateless persons: 780 (2014)
Illicit drugs: key transit route for Southwest Asian heroin to Western Europe and, to a lesser extent, the US - via air, land, and sea routes; major Turkish and other international trafficking organizations operate out of Istanbul; laboratories to convert imported morphine base into heroin exist in remote regions of Turkey and near Istanbul; government maintains strict controls over areas of legal opium poppy cultivation and over output of poppy straw concentrate; lax enforcement of money-laundering controls
Update: This page was last updated on 10 November 2015
Sources: CIA, The World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html