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Türkiye Cumhuriyeti
Republic of Turkey
Flag of turkey
Turkey coat of arms
flag emblem
Motto : peace at home, peace in the world ( "Peace at home, peace in the world")
Official language Turkish
Capital Ankara
Form of government republic
Government system Presidential system
Head of state , also head of government President
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
area 783,562 km² ( 36th )
thereof in Europe 23,764 km²
population 83,154,997 (2019)
thereof 9,698,828 in Europe
Population density 103 (European part: 408) inhabitants per km²
Population development   +1.24% (2017)
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nom.)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  •   $ 813.8 billion ( 19. )
  •   $ 2,464.6 billion ( 13th )
  •   9,684 USD ( 73rd )
  •   29,327 USD ( 56th )
Human Development Index 0.806 ( 59th ) (2019)
currency Turkish Lira (TRY)
founding October 29, 1923
National anthem İstiklâl Marşı
Instrumental version of İstiklâl Marşı played by the United States Navy Band
National holiday October 29th ( Republic holiday )
Time zone UTC + 3
License Plate TR
ISO 3166 TR , TUR, 792
Internet TLD .tr
Telephone code +90
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The Turkey ( Turkish Türkiye , officially the Republic of Turkey , Turkish Türkiye Cumhuriyeti shortly TC ) is a unitary state in the Near Eastern Anatolia and South Eastern European Eastern Thrace . Since it was founded in 1923 as the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, the country has had a secular and Kemalist orientation. State founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk initiated the modernization of Turkey through social and legal reforms based on the model of various European nation states.

Geographically, the country is usually divided into seven regions . Turkey has more than 83 million inhabitants (as of 2019) on an area of ​​783,562 km². Almost a fifth of its population lives in the metropolitan area of Istanbul , there are also other megacities such as the capital Ankara , Izmir , Bursa , Adana , Antalya , Konya and others. The degree of urbanization was 74.4% in 2017. There are 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and numerous nature reserves in Turkey .

Turkey is an emerging middle-income country. Adjusted for purchasing power, the country achieved the thirteenth largest economic output in the world in 2016. Turkey is a member of the OECD , NATO , the United Nations , the G20 and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation , among others . Turkey has also been an official candidate for EU membership since 1999 . It is also one of six independent Turkish states and an active member of the Turkish Council and the TÜRKSOY community .

After a coup attempt in July 2016 that have Turkish government and the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the state of emergency imposed and adopt measures that until today over the two-year duration of the state of emergency beyond democracy weaken in Turkey.



Turkey extends geographically over two continents. Anatolia , the Asian part of the Turkish national territory, takes up about 97% of the area. The European part in the north-west ( Eastern Thrace ) covers about 3% of the area in which the main part of the metropolis Istanbul is located.

With a coastline of around 7200 km, Turkey borders the Aegean Sea in the west, the Mediterranean Sea in the south and the Black Sea in the north . The Sea of ​​Marmara lies between the Aegean and the Black Seas and is connected to each of them by a strait: in the west the approximately 65 kilometers long Dardanelles , in the east the Bosporus . The metropolis of Istanbul lies on the Bosporus .

The land border with the eight neighboring countries has a total length of 2816 km. In the north-west, Turkey borders on Greece (192 km border ) and Bulgaria (223 km), in the north-east on Georgia (273 km), Armenia (311 km), Azerbaijan (exclave and autonomous republic of Nakhchivan , 17 km), in the east on the Iran (534 km) and in the south to Iraq (367 km) and Syria (899  km ). The politically divided island of Cyprus with the Republic of Cyprus and the internationally unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is located about 70 kilometers from the south coast. Also not far from the Turkish mainland are the Greek islands of Chios , Kos , Symi and Rhodes .

The relocated grave of Suleiman Shah (previously on Qalʿat Jaʿbar ) near the Syrian city of Sarrin is (as of mid-2014) an official exclave . It was guarded as a sovereign territory by Turkish soldiers. In February 2015, a commando group of the Turkish armed forces relocated the grave again and dragged the tomb .

Tectonic view


Geologically, Turkey is part of the Alpidian mountain belt . It lies largely on the Anatolian Plate , which borders the Eurasian Plate in the north and east , the Arabian Plate in the south and the African Plate in the southwest . Due to the North Anatolian Fault , a transform fault , northern Turkey in particular is one of the most earthquake-prone regions of the world, which has been shaken by earthquakes several times in the last few decades . Since a certain chronological east-west sequence of the earthquakes can be ascertained in northern Turkey, experts suspect that Istanbul will also be affected by a major quake in the foreseeable future . The last major earthquakes in Kocaeli province, such as the 1999 Gölcük earthquake, were less than 100 km from Istanbul.

Landscape image

Turkey is geographically divided into seven areas or regions. Four regions are named after the adjoining seas: Black Sea Region , Marmara Region , Aegean Region and Mediterranean Region . Three regions are named after their location in Anatolia: Central Anatolia , Eastern Anatolia and Southeast Anatolia . These regions differ greatly in terms of vegetation and weather conditions.

The Marmara region encloses the Sea of ​​Marmara and is therefore partly in Europe, partly in Anatolia, which belongs to Asia. The European part in the north of the Sea of ​​Marmara is the Turkish Thrace ( Eastern Thrace ). The Meriç River forms the border with Greece . The landscape of the Marmara region is hilly and covered by bushes and forests. The fertile arable land gives way to a steppe landscape in the east. The metropolitan area of Istanbul forms the economic center of Turkey. The megacity of Bursa is a health resort and famous for its sulfur and thermal springs; it lies at the foot of the Uludağ Mountains. The mountain is a popular destination all year round.

The Ayder Plateau in Rize (Black Sea Region)

The Aegean region is also used intensively for agriculture. The hilly landscape stretches along the west coast between Çanakkale and Bodrum . The coastal region is one of the best developed tourist regions in Turkey. In addition to cypresses and olive trees , grape vines shape the landscape. In this region there are many ancient sites from the time of Greek colonization, e.g. B. Troy , Assos (Behramkale), Pergamon (Bergama), Ephesus (Efes), Priene , Miletus , Didyma and Euromos .

The Black Sea region comprises the northern coastal strip of Turkey. It is characterized by a mild, humid climate, and large forests extend over its mountainous landscape. Tea , tobacco , corn and hazelnuts are grown on the very fertile soil .

Agriculturally used Central Anatolian steppe near Kırşehir

The Central Anatolian region comprises the inner Anatolian plateaus. The Tuz Gölü salt lake and mountain ranges, which in places rise up to 3900 meters, are located here. To the east lies Cappadocia , which because of its in tuff driven caves and rock churches is famous in up to 2000 meters high mountain cones. Inner Anatolia is predominantly characterized by a steppe landscape, much of which is not natural but is caused by human interventions such as deforestation and cattle biting. It is one of the driest areas in Anatolia ; in the region around the Tuz Gölü the climate shows semi-desert features. Therefore, agricultural use in this region is not as intensive as in the regions mentioned above. The seasonally favorable distribution of precipitation for crops, especially cereals, with a precipitation maximum in spring and early summer, enables rain-fed agriculture to be cultivated throughout without the need for artificial irrigation. Therefore, to a large extent all areas are used for agriculture whose soils have not been destroyed by karstification or erosion. Mainly wheat , barley , legumes , especially chickpeas , and fruit are grown here. The climate of this region is characterized by very warm, dry summers with cool nights. In winter, very low temperatures down to below −20 degrees Celsius can be reached; the average values ​​are similar to the winters in Germany, but are shorter. In Central Anatolia you can find warmth-loving but cold-resistant plants from the Mediterranean region, such as fig , pomegranate or mulberry trees . Viticulture and the cultivation of table grapes are also practiced there.

Van Castle on Lake Van in eastern Turkey

Some of the highest mountains in Turkey, such as the Ararat and the Süphan Dağı, are located in the high mountains of Eastern Anatolia . The source rivers of the Euphrates can also be found here, the Murat and Karasu , as well as the upper reaches of the Aras , which runs past the Ararat to the east towards the Caspian Sea . Lake Van, 1640 meters above sea level, is the largest inland lake in the country and is also located in this region. Biggest cities are Elazığ , Erzincan , Erzurum , Malatya and Van .

The Mediterranean region is bounded in the north by the Taurus and in the east by the Amanos Mountains . In this region, mainly citrus fruits , bananas , tomatoes , peanuts and cotton are grown.

The Ararat is the highest mountain in Turkey

Southeast Anatolia is the oldest cultural region in Turkey. It is enclosed by the Taurus Mountains. The two rivers Euphrates and Tigris run here . This region is used agriculturally for wheat, barley, wine, olive and pistachio cultivation. In addition to mountain ranges, the area east of the Euphrates is characterized by a high plateau. As part of the Southeast Anatolia project , numerous dams were built along the Euphrates and Tigris; some are still under construction (→ Euphrates # barrages and Tigris # barrages ).

Hydrologically , Turkey is characterized by its relief and in particular the Taurus Mountains in the south and the Armenian highlands in the east. Most of Anatolia drains to the Black Sea via larger rivers such as Kızılırmak and Sakarya . In contrast, the Mediterranean and Aegean have only a comparatively small catchment area. Noteworthy rivers that flow into the Aegean Sea are the Large and Small Meanders and the Gediz . In contrast, there are larger rivers into the eastern Mediterranean only in the area of ​​the Gulf of Iskenderun with Seyhan , Ceyhan and Orontes (Asi), the latter having its source in Lebanon and then flowing through Syria. Inland, on the other hand, there are several terminal basins in the west and east , the rivers of which flow into larger salty terminal lakes such as the Tuz Gölü , the Vansee or the Burdur Gölü . Finally, the eastern part of the country drains via the Aras and its tributaries to the Caspian Sea and via the Euphrates and Tigris to the Persian Gulf .

Highest mountains in Turkey
Main rivers in Turkey
Lakes of Turkey
Major islands of Turkey


The climate data of Turkey depending on the region
region Average temperature ( ° C ) Maximum temperature (° C) Low temperature (° C) Average humidity (%) Average rainfall (mm)
Marmara region 13.5 44.6 −27.8 71.2 569.0
Aegean region 15.4 48.5 −45.6 60.9 654.3
Mediterranean 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
Eastern Anatolia 9.7 44.4 −45.6 60.9 569.0
Southeast Anatolia 16.5 48.4 −24.3 53.4 584.5

Flora and fauna

In Anatolia there are many endemic species of the Mullein , here: Verbascum wiedemannianum .
In the steppe regions, drought-resistant plants predominate, which protect themselves against browsing with thorns, here the midsummer knapweed .

Turkey's flora is considered to be the most diverse and varied in the Middle East . In the meantime, more than 9000 species from over 850 genera have been identified. About a third of these species are endemic. The reasons for this extremely high endemic rate are the meeting of different phytogeographic regions, the climatic diversity and a mountainous landscape; Factors that enable a strong differentiation. The genera Verbascum and Astragalus have their main area of ​​distribution here. However, many endemic species are endangered. The central steppe areas are dominated by thorn pads and bushes, z. B. Thistles that withstood centuries of grazing by cattle nomads. In the north, especially on the Black Sea coast, there are extensive coniferous forests and commercially used hazelnut , corn and tea plantations , while in the south there are more fruit and cotton plantations .

There are also many species of small game and wild boar at home, although their populations are constantly being decimated by hunting. The main farm animals are cattle , horses , buffalo , sheep and goats . The camel population has steadily declined over the past few decades; today they are bred primarily for sporting competitions and no longer as load carriers.

On the Turkish coast you can also find all kinds of fish and dolphins . Occasionally, you can also come across different species of shark in the sea , but they tend not to come near the coast. The monk seal , thought to be extinct in Europe , can now be found again on the Aegean coast of Turkey and Greece.

The largest predators still living in Turkey today include the brown bear , wolf , golden jackal and Eurasian lynx . The striped hyena lives in the southeast of the country. Occasionally, crawling cats and wild cats can also be found, and in the southeast of the country, desert monitors and ichneumons can be found . Over time, predators have been hunted and exterminated. The last Asiatic lion was hunted in 1870. The last Caspian tiger was shot in 1970. The Anatolian leopard , which was declared extinct in 1974, was rediscovered in the Black Sea region in 2013 after several years of research.

Bee-eater in Diyarbakır Province , Southeast Anatolia

Turkey is a breeding and wintering place for numerous bird species. South of Bandırma - in the Kuşcenneti National Park - is a well-known bird paradise, where pelicans , wild ducks , storks , cormorants , nightingales and pheasants have found their home. Important Greater Flamingo colonies are located in the interior and south of the country.

Nature reserves

1.3% of the area of ​​Turkey is under nature protection. This includes ten coastal protection areas, 18 nature reserves and 41 national parks , two of which have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO . Turkey also has shares in the European Green Belt and the European part of the country lies in the Blue Heart of Europe .

The lack of funding for the Ministry of the Environment currently prevents the areas from being adequately protected. Furthermore, no national park or protected area in Turkey corresponds to the international IUCN categories .

Beaches and landscapes

Landscape in Cappadocia

A total of 235 (as of 2007) beaches in Turkey have been awarded the blue flag , which is awarded every year to beaches and marinas where a consistently high standard of bathing water quality was maintained in the previous season.

The south coast between Antalya in the west and Cape Anamur in the east of Turkey, also known as the Turkish Riviera , is one of the country's tourist centers. Besides Antalya, Alanya is the most important city. In addition, the southern Aegean coast is very popular for beach holidaymakers. Another very popular seaside resort is Bodrum . In addition to the extravagant nightlife, Bodrum is known for its medieval crusader castle (Bodrum Kalesi) . Fethiye is known for its bays, islands and beaches. Nearby is Myra , where, in addition to Lycian rock tombs, there is the Church of Nicholas .

Cappadocia is a region in Central Anatolia. One of the most famous places is Göreme with its cave churches carved out of soft tuff . The area consists of tuff, which only slowly weathered due to the low rainfall and wind. Harder rock remains, so that fairy chimneys arise.


Provinces of Turkey by population density (2014)

Since the founding of the republic in 1923, Turkey's population has grown rapidly. In 1927 there were almost 14 million people in Turkey, in 2003 there were almost 70 million (see graphic), in 2014 it was 77.7 million. Turkey is a country of emigration and immigration at the same time. During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s millions of Turks left their country as migrant workers (“ guest workers ”) or political refugees and went to Germany , Belgium, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria. Minorities in particular left Turkey, such as Arameans , Alevis , Armenians , Assyrians , Greeks , Kurds , Jews , Yazidis and Zaza . On the other hand, after the fall of the iron curtain, repatriates came to the republic from the Balkans, Greece, the Middle East, Iran, Central Asia and the Crimea . In 2009, around 4,600 Germans chose Turkey as their new adopted home , out of a total of around 155,000 German emigrants . In addition to the climate and beautiful landscapes, the low cost of living and relatively low bureaucratic hurdles are particularly factors that encourage immigration . In 2016 there were 2.8 million refugees in Turkey, most of them displaced by the Syrian civil war . This made Turkey the country with the highest number of refugees in the world. In 2017, 6% of the population were migrants or refugees.

The population of Turkey in selected years is listed below:

Fertility rate by provinces (2014). The fertility rate is significantly higher in Southeast Anatolia than in the west of the country.
4–5 3–4 2–3 1.5–2 1–1.5

year population change year population change
1927 13,648,000 1980 44,736,957 10.88%
1930 14,448,000 5.86% 1985 50,664,458 13.25%
1935 16.158.018 11.84% 1990 56.473.033 11.46%
1940 17,820,950 10.29% 2000 67.844.903 20.14%
1945 18,790,174 5.44% 2005 72.900.428 7.45%
1950 20,947,188 11.48% 2008 70.586.256 −3.17%
1955 24,064,763 14.88% 2009 71.517.100 1.32%
1960 27,754,820 15.33% 2011 74.724.269 4.48%
1965 31,391,421 13.10% 2012 75,627,384 1.21%
1970 35.605.176 13.42% 2013 76,667,864 1.38%
1975 40,347,719 13.32% 2014 77,695,904 1.34%

Turkey has a very young population. The average age is around 30.7 years (as of 2014). The age structure in 2014 was made up as follows: 24.28% of citizens are under 14 years old, 67.75% between 15 and 64 years and only 7.97% over 65 years old.

Population distribution by age group:

0-4 6,294,533
Men Women
5-9 6,315,628

10-14 6.252.269

15-19 6,518,921

20-24 6.263.460

25-29 6.273.202

30-34 6,516,294

35-39 5,918,336

40-44 5,510,337

45-49 4,674,262

50-54 4,438,422

55-59 3,656,563

60-64 2,870,715

65-69 2,215,704

70-74 1,557,235

75-79 1,104,178

80-84 840.410

85-89 360.158

90+ 115.277


Peoples of Turkey 2008
grouping proportion of
Distribution in percent

The ethnic composition of the population in Turkey cannot be precisely determined. Ethnicity is no longer recorded in official censuses . In contrast, the mother tongue and second language are determined, although the numbers for many minorities are falling. In addition, the most diverse ethnic groups have been mingling for centuries, so that it is often difficult to assign them to an ethnic group. The information on the ethnic groups varies greatly depending on which sources are used. Accordingly, the following ethnic groups live in Turkey : 70 to 81% Turks , 9 to 14% Kurds , 4% Zazas , 2% Circassians , 2% Bosniaks , 1.5% Arabs , 1% Albanians , 1% Lasen , 0.1% Georgians as well as various other ethnic groups and nationalities such as Armenians / Hemşinli , Bulgarians / Pomaks , Arameans , Chechens , Greeks / Pontians , Jews and Roma .

In 1914 there were about 1.3 million in the Ottoman Empire Armenians with the native Armenian . The genocide from 1915 to 1917 and the expulsions reduced their number to around 40,000. There are also around 70,000 illegal Armenian immigrants.

The population group of the Turks is defined differently. The Turkish government has included population groups since 1965 who are sometimes viewed by other sources as belonging to other Turkic peoples . This affects around 600,000 Azerbaijanis , up to 200,000 Meshes and Turkmens each , around 15,000 Gagauz , around 1,000 Kazakhs , Kyrgyz , Kumyks , Uzbeks and 500 Uighurs each .


The national and official language of today's Turkey is the Turkic language, Turkish , which is spoken by over 80% of the population as their mother tongue and a further 10–15% as a second language. The Turkish Sign Language was recognized by law in July of 2005.

In addition, there are around 20 languages ​​from a total of five different language families that are spoken today by non-Turkish ethnic groups and minorities living in Turkey. In this sense, Turkey is a multi-ethnic state. The most important of these languages ​​are

Greek , especially Pontic , was still spoken by 1.73 million people around 1914, but they were displaced due to ongoing persecution . To date, 4,000 speakers have stayed in Istanbul. Of the once widespread Aramaic languages ​​- the dialects of the Aramaic Christians - today, apart from Turoyo (3,000 speakers), only the small Hertevin language (1,000 speakers) is still represented in Turkey. The earlier Aramaic languages Nestorian-New Aramaic ("Assyrian"), Chaldean-New Aramaic (Kaldoyo) and Jewish-New Aramaic (Lishana Deni) are no longer spoken in Turkey today.

The Cartelian group of Caucasian languages ​​in Turkey includes Georgian (40,000 speakers) and Lasisch (30,000). In addition to the Kabardian and Adygean languages ​​already mentioned, the West Caucasian languages Abkhazian (5,000) and Abasinian (10,000) are spoken in Turkey. The speakers of these Caucasian languages ​​(without Lasen and Georgians) are usually collectively called Çerkez ("Circassians") and are the descendants of immigrants who died in the second half of the 19th century as a result of the Russian conquest of the Caucasian territories and the with it related ethnic cleansing fled to the Ottoman Empire.

Other minority languages ​​are the Indo-European languages Albanian (15,000 speakers in Turkey), Romani (25,000) and Domari (30,000). As a result of current refugee movements, there are now smaller groups of speakers of the Turkmen languages Turkmen , Kazakh , Kyrgyz , Uzbek , Uyghur , Kumyk and Crimean Tatar in addition to the twenty or so national languages ​​mentioned ; In addition, several hundred speakers of the Caucasian languages Chechen , Lacian and Lesgic as well as the Iranian languages Ossetian and Persian (Farsi). Since these are refugee groups, these languages ​​are not counted among the “languages ​​of Turkey”.

In the course of history, many important languages ​​that are now extinct have been spoken on the territory of today's Turkey. The most important include Hittite , Luwian , Lycian , Lydian , Phrygian , Akkadian (in the form of Assyrian), Urartian , Ancient Greek , Byzantine , Altarmenian , Latin and classical Syriac , the religious language of the Aramaic Christians.


Belonging to the religious communities
religion percent
1 %
Hagia Sophia - originally a Byzantine church, later converted into a mosque

According to official statistics, about 99% of the Turkish population are Muslim , of which about 82% are Sunnis , 16% Alevis and 1-2% Alawis . In addition, 0.2% Christians (125,000) and 0.04% Jews (23,000) live in Turkey . A small number of Yazidis and the Dönme also live here. At the beginning of the 20th century, however, around 20% Christians (especially Armenians and Greeks) lived in what is now Turkey and in 1923 over 120,000 Jews were counted.

The figures are only partially meaningful because every resident of Turkey, if he is not explicitly declared to belong to another religion, is automatically recorded as a Muslim. There is no counterpart to leaving the church , so that atheists , agnostics and citizens who do not belong to any religious community are recorded as Muslims in the official statistics. The exact number of Muslims and non-denominational residents is therefore not known.

Since the founding of the republic, there has been a separation between state and religion. The status of Islam as the state religion was abolished by constitutional amendment in 1928 under state founder Ataturk. Since then, Turkey has viewed itself as a secular state that has no religious preferences. Thus, the true Sharia in Turkey not, unlike in many Muslim countries. In the last few years, conservative religious tendencies have gained a lot of influence in the population.

The State Bureau for Religious Affairs (DİB) administers the Sunni institutions. Despite the conditions laid down in Article 2 of the Turkish Constitution separation of state and religion (Article 2: "The Republic of Turkey is a [...] democratic, secular and social state of law.") Is equipped with wide-ranging powers DIB the office of Turkish President affiliated and reports to the incumbent Prime Minister. Islamic legal opinions (Fetva) are drawn up and commissioned by the DİB . In 2008, the DİB stated through a Fetva that turning away from Islam to another religion was allowed. The Koran can see next to an otherworldly no worldly punishment punishment before the apostasy.

Social situation

The state provides basic medical care for all citizens. In 2007 there were 1.23 doctors for every 1000 inhabitants. The life expectancy was in the period from 2010 to 2015, Turkey 74.8 years (71.5 years for men and for women 78.1 years). In the ranking according to the Prosperity Indicator Index of Human Development , Turkey was ranked 72nd out of 188 countries in 2014 and thus falls into the group of countries with "high human development"; compared to 2009, the country has improved by 16 positions.

Development of life expectancy in Turkey since 1950 according to the UN

Period Life expectancy in
Period Life expectancy in
1950-1955 41.01 1985-1990 63.04
1955-1960 43.69 1990-1995 65.49
1960-1965 47.22 1995-2000 68.49
1965-1970 50.78 2000-2005 71.37
1970-1975 53.75 2005-2010 73.37
1975-1980 57.05 2010-2015 74.83
1980-1985 60.22

Source: UN

According to a study by Credit Suisse, Turkey had a Gini coefficient of 0.84 for 2014 , making it a country with a “high degree of wealth inequality”. Wealth inequality increased between 2002 and 2014: the proportion of the richest one percent of the Turkish population rose from 39.4 percent of total wealth to 54.3 percent during this period. According to Forbes, there were 29 billionaires in Turkey in 2017.

Education System

Münif Pascha from the Tanzimat period is considered to be one of the founding fathers of the modern education system in Turkey .


In the last educational reform of 1997, compulsory schooling was increased from 5 years to 8 years. This is followed by the transition to the four-year upper secondary level , in which all students have had to choose a second foreign language since 2004/05. In 2004 the AKP government made intensive efforts to facilitate university access for vocational school leavers. The main aim of the efforts was to facilitate access to non-theological subjects for the graduates of the Imam Hatip schools . Since the educational reform of 1997, the Imam Hatip schools have been classified as upper secondary vocational schools, in which prayer leaders (imams) and preachers are trained. In February 2006, this project of the AKP government was stopped by the judgment of the first administrative court. It ruled that graduation from Imam Hatip religious school does not qualify for university education.

There are significant deficits in the school system in Turkey due to a lack of funding and the high number of school-age children. Approx. 25% of the Turkish population are of school age. The economic gap between the east and the more developed west of Turkey is also affecting the school system. In the east there is a large number of single-course schools with more than 50 students per class. 98.7% of all school-age children go to school. In Turkey, the mean school attendance for over 25s increased from 4.5 years in 1990 to 7.9 years in 2015. The current educational expectation is already 14.6 years. In 2015 95% of the Turkish population could read and write.

In the last PISA studies , Turkey was in the bottom third of the participating countries. In the 2015 PISA ranking , Turkish students ranked 50th out of 72 countries in mathematics (Germany: 16th place), 53rd place in natural sciences (Germany: 15th place) and 50th place (Germany: 10th place) in reading comprehension. The performance of Turkish students was below the OECD average in all three categories , but was comparable with other emerging countries.


In recent years, the Turkish government has increasingly tried to re-Islamize schools and universities. Various initiatives contribute to this.

Headscarves . In Turkish schools and universities, headscarves were banned until 2011 , both for pupils and students and for teachers. This ban was partly enforced by police force and has become the subject of heated debates in recent years. In 2006 the ban was confirmed and extended by the first administrative court in a judgment. In October 2010, however, the Higher University Council (YÖK) ruled: "Students may no longer be excluded from classes if they violate the dress code", which means that women can now even participate in a full-body veil .

Koran lessons . Turkish education policy has changed significantly since Erdoğan's election for his third term in office. The minimum age for teaching the Koran has been reduced to three years and the requirements for teachers in this area have been reduced, so that imams trained in Saudi Arabia are now also allowed to raise the children. As part of the educational reform, the school system is now divided into four years of elementary school, four years of middle school and four years of high school. This increases compulsory schooling to twelve years. In addition to the existing compulsory subject religion, the three new electives Koran, Arabic and the life of the prophet Mohammed were introduced. The school entry age has been lowered to five years. As part of the reform, graduates from religious academies have been given the same status as those from schools in the humanities and natural sciences in terms of admission to universities. According to Michael Rubin , an expert on the Middle East, critics fear that Islamists without a solid foundation in the elementary humanities would become state officials and could change the state apparatus within a generation. As part of the school reform, there are now also secondary schools for the religious high schools (İmam Hatip schools). In Istanbul alone, 76 middle schools were converted for this purpose.

Evolution in the classroom . Education leaders advocate that evolution should no longer be taught in Turkish schools. Education committee chairman Alpaslan Durmuş claimed that the theory was questionable, controversial and too complicated for students. The Turkish Vice President Numan Kurtulmuş described evolution in early 2017 as an “archaic theory”.

Overall, the level of education fell after the initial successes of the AKP's educational policy according to the Pisa surveys . The İmam Hatip schools do particularly badly in this regard .


Main entrance of Istanbul University ; It is the oldest (founded in 1453) and largest university in Turkey.

Turkey has 172 universities, including 69 state-recognized private foundation universities, four military academies and one police academy. 3.6 million students study at the state's universities and thus 33% of all school leavers in a given year. These are taught and supervised by 111,495 teachers. The universities are controlled by the Turkish University Council (YÖK), to which all universities have been subordinate since November 6, 1981. In 2007, 2,294,707 students were studying at state universities and 124,507 students at private universities. The rate of university graduates is 12.8 percent.

In addition to the finances and the personnel plan, the university council also coordinates the teaching content, develops plans for the opening of new universities and regulates access to the universities. An entrance examination ( Öğrenci Seçme Sınavı , ÖSS) is carried out annually by the Turkish Central Office for Student Placement, which is subordinate to the YÖK . The ÖSS result is decisive for the choice of the university and the subject.

The financing of state universities reached a new high in 2012 with a share of 1.18% of GNP. For studying at private universities, fees between 4100 and 10,000 euros per year are required. At the state universities, the fees are between 300 and 1000 euros.

After two years of study, the Önlisans academic degree is awarded. This entitles the holder to take up a professional activity. After four years of study, the student receives the Lisans degree , which is the standard degree . After further studies and obtaining the Yüksek Lisans , a doctorate is possible.

Most of the 16,328 foreign students come mainly from the Central Asian Turkic countries . Some of the students receive student loans from the Institute for Loans and Homes for Young People in University Education (Yurt-Kur) to finance their studies . In 2004 there were 220,614 students, 174,374 students have an apartment in student dormitories.

In January 2008, the new Prime Minister Erdoğan presented an initiative to lift the headscarf ban at universities. On February 6, 2008, the Turkish parliament approved the constitutional amendment required for this in first reading with a two-thirds majority . This was declared null and void by the Constitutional Court on June 5, 2008. Since October 2010, according to the University Council of Turkey , female students may no longer be excluded from classes if they violate the dress code.

A German-Turkish university in Istanbul was founded and began teaching in the 2013/14 winter semester.


Prehistory and Antiquity

Bronze Age walls in Troy

The area of ​​today's Turkey has been populated since the Paleolithic. The Neolithic began very early in Eastern Turkey . Evidence of this can be seen in Göbekli Tepe , Nevali Cori and Çatalhöyük . In the third and second millennium BC BC were in Anatolia. Hattians (also Protohattier) located in northern Mesopotamia the Hurrians .

In the second half of the third millennium in addition to the migrated Luwians which also Indo- Hittite one, their origin is still unclear. Around this time a network of Assyrian trading colonies (karum) was established in Asia Minor. After a period of local principalities, the Hittites founded around 1600 BC. Their great empire with the capital Hattuša . For reasons unknown, their empire ended around 1200 BC. BC, but their culture existed in small kingdoms in southeastern Anatolia and Syria until around 600 BC. Chr. Further. One possible reason for the end of the Hittite empire were to Homer from Thrace originating Phrygians . There is little evidence of their early days in Asia Minor, but it is now becoming apparent that they established their capital Gordion as early as the 12th century BC. Populated. Around 750 BC A Phrygian empire around Gordion and Midas City can be proven, it ended in 696 BC. Supposedly with the invasion of the Cimmerians who probably came from southern Russia . About the same time was the capital of Sardis in western Asia Minor, the empire of the Lydians , while v in the northeast from the 9th to the 7th century. The empire of Urartu existed, which was in more or less constant struggle with the Assyrians .

The west coast of Anatolia ( Miletus, among others ) was settled by Ionian , Aioli and Doric Greeks from the middle of the second millennium BC , who penetrated from there to the south coast and the Black Sea coast. Relics of the Mycenaean culture have also been found on the west and south coast, now also in Kuşaklı in the Central Anatolian highlands. From 700 BC BC Medes and Persians invaded from the east and conquered Lydia and parts of the Greek settlements. From 334 BC Alexander the Great conquered all of Asia Minor. After his death, his empire disintegrated and Hellenism began with several rival rulers of Macedonian descent. Greek supremacy was ended towards the end of the 3rd century by the expansion of the Roman Empire , which gradually took power in Asia Minor and retained it until the empire was divided into West and East (Byzantium) in the 4th century. Thereafter, the country belonged to Byzantium until the invasion of the Arabs and later the Seljuks and Ottomans .

Local rulers existed parallel to the aforementioned

  • the Lukka in the 15th to 13th centuries BC In Lycia
  • the Mitanni in the 15th and 14th centuries BC In northern Mesopotamia and Syria
  • of Arzawa at about the same time as the Hittites in southwest Asia Minor
  • the Arameans around 1200 to 1000 BC In northern Mesopotamia
  • the Carians and Lelegs around the 4th century BC In western Anatolia around Mylasa and Labraunda
  • the Lycians 400 to 300 BC BC (see Lycian Covenant )
  • the Parthian from 200 BC to 200 AD in the northeast and present-day Armenia
  • von Kommagene from 163 BC to around the birth of Christ in eastern central Anatolia

Octo-Turkish Empire - 6th to 8th century AD

The name of the Turks comes from Central Asia. There was the day Mongolia from 6 to 8 century Chaganat the Turks, mostly for better differentiation Köktürken be mentioned. The Chinese called them tujue . From there the name spread in the early Middle Ages up to the 11th century as a collective term for most of the Eurasian steppe peoples, including those who, like the Magyars , referred to by the Byzantines as "Tourkoi" (Τουρκοι) , did not speak a Turkic language. The immigrants from whom Turkey got its name were the Oghusen and came from the area around the Aral Sea .

Seljuks - 11th century AD

The empire of the Seljuks

The Turkish colonization of Anatolia began with the arrival of the Seljuks in the 11th century AD.

The Seljuks defeated the Byzantine army in the battle of Manzikert in 1071. In 1077 the Sultanate of the Rum Seljuks was founded and then the Turks conquered large areas of eastern and central Anatolia. After the invasion of the Mongols , the Seljuk Empire was weakened, so that many Turkish tribes finally became independent. The later Ottoman Empire grew out of one of these Turkish principalities ( Beyliken ) . The name of the country as Turchia has been documented in western sources since the 12th century .

Ottoman Empire - from 1299 AD

The Ottoman Empire and today's Turkey

To 1299 founded Osman I , Gazi (1259-1326) named after him Ottoman dynasty , from which the name to the Ottoman Empire (also Turkish Empire called) is derived. At first, the Gazi ideology played a major role in warfare for the Ottomans. From the beginning they had aimed at the conquest of Byzantine territories, so that the first conquests happened on the border with the Byzantine Empire (Uc) and continued towards Rumelia in Europe. After the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the Ottomans ruled over large parts of the Middle East , North Africa , the Crimea , the Caucasus and the Balkans .

After the expansion of the Ottoman Empire into Europe was brought to a standstill near Vienna and the Ottoman army was defeated there on Kahlenberg in 1683, the empire was pushed back further and further from its European territories to the tip west of the Marmara Sea, between Istanbul and Edirne . The national movements that emerged from the 19th century onwards led to a gradual fragmentation of the empire, the occupation of Turkish North Africa by European powers and finally the defeat in the First World War resulted in its ultimate decline.

During the First World War, the Ottoman Empire fought on the side of the Central Powers . After France and Great Britain had promised the Armenians an independent state in Eastern Anatolia , the Ottoman government feared a weakening of their territorial integrity under the Young Turks . Under the pretext of a resettlement campaign, a large number of the Armenians living in the imperial territory were murdered or died during the expulsion into the Syrian desert . Between 1915 and 1917 a total of around 300,000 to 1.5 million Armenians were killed in what is internationally regarded as genocide . Also at the Aramaeans and Assyrians was a genocide committed. Together with the massacres of the Pontic Greeks , this led to the end of the millennia-old Christian settlement of the country. The UN Human Rights Commission's Subcommittee on Preventing Discrimination and Protection of Minorities recognized the measures taken by the Ottoman government in 1985 as genocide . However, to this day, Turkish governments deny that these killings were intentional or even committed by the Ottoman government - and thus the genocide thesis.

After the defeat of the Central Powers, the Ottoman Empire lost its remaining territories outside Anatolia and Thrace as a result of the Peace Treaty of Sèvres . In addition, the area of ​​today's Turkey was to be largely dismembered. The city of Smyrna (Turkish Izmir ) and parts of western Anatolia were assigned to Greece , the region around Antalya was to go to the Italians , and French ownership was to include Syria and Cilicia . In the eastern parts of today's Turkey with the cities of Kars , Ardahan and Erzurum , an Armenian state was to emerge. To the south and east of the Euphrates , the Kurds were assigned an autonomous region. However, these plans were not implemented.

Ataturk - Republic and Reforms

State founder Ataturk, before 1926

Mustafa Kemal Pascha organized political and military resistance against these plans from May 19, 1919 . From 1920 the fighting with Greece was particularly fierce. The war ended on September 9, 1922 with the reconquest of Izmir. After the fighting ended, there was ethnic cleansing in Greece and Turkey, with "Turks" being expelled from Greek territory and "Greeks" from Turkish territory , with the exception of the Greeks in Istanbul and the Muslims in Western Thrace.

After Turkey's victory, the Treaty of Lausanne on July 24, 1923 revised the provisions of the Treaty of Sèvres . With the treaty, the boundaries of the new state that are still valid today were recognized under international law. At the same time the mutual expulsion of minorities was legalized. After all foreign military units left Anatolia, Mustafa Kemal Pasha proclaimed the republic on October 29, 1923 .

In the course of his tenure, Mustafa Kemal Pascha carried out far-reaching reforms in the political and social system that were to transform Turkey into a modern, secular and European-oriented state. The guidelines of his policy are summarized today under the term Kemalism .

Among other things, the sultanate was abolished in 1922 and the caliphate was abolished on March 3, 1924 . In the same year Turkey abolished the Sharia , in 1925 the Fes were banned as part of a comprehensive dress reform ( hat law ) and co-education was introduced. The influential Islamic brotherhoods were banned. In 1926 the Islamic calendar was replaced by the Gregorian calendar and the metric system was introduced. The latter has applied to state institutions since 1871.

In the following years, entire legal systems were adopted from European countries and adapted to Turkish conditions. In 1926, Swiss civil law - and thus monogamy with equality between men and women - was first adopted (however, gender equality was only partially achieved in everyday life). German commercial law and Italian criminal law followed . In 1928, secularization was proclaimed and in the same year the Arabic script was replaced by the Latin one (see letter revolution ).

On April 3, 1930, women were given the right to vote and stand for election at the local level. The 1934 national elections were the first national elections to allow women to participate. Since 1934 women could be elected to the Grand National Assembly. Martin gives the date December 5, 1934. In 1935 women sat in parliament for the first time. It was a group of 18 (according to Martin: 17) women handpicked by Ataturk. This corresponded to 4.5 percent of the MPs and was the highest number of women MPs in Europe at the time. Turkey was a one-party state at the time, so there was no competition between different parties in the election.

In 1930 the surname law was passed, with Mustafa Kemal Pascha being given the name Ataturk (father of the Turks) by the national assembly . Only a few of the reforms - such as Ataturk's initiative to call to prayer only in Turkish instead of Arabic - were withdrawn (after his death) because it could not be fully implemented and controlled.

After Ataturk died on November 10, 1938, his close companion Ismet Inönü became the second Turkish President . Inönü endeavored to continue the modernization of Turkey and to maintain its foreign policy neutrality. In 1939, the Hatay state joined Turkey and went into the province of the same name with the capital İskenderun .

World War II and after

After the outbreak of World War II , Turkey initially retained its foreign policy neutrality after reaching an understanding with France on the incorporation of the Hatay province . It was not until February 23, 1945 that it symbolically declared war on the side of the Allies for Germany and Japan . On June 26, 1945, she signed the United Nations Charter . Thus Turkey is one of the 51 founding members of the United Nations .

In 1945, for the first time since 1930, further political parties were allowed in Turkey. The Democratic Party (DP) won the majority of seats in parliament in the elections on May 14, 1950, led by Adnan Menderes . This ended the one-party rule of the Republican People's Party (CHP) that had existed since the state was founded .

The looming East-West conflict and the attempts of the Soviet Union to exert influence on Turkey led to the final abandonment of Turkey's foreign policy neutrality. In 1950 Turkey took part in the Korean War as part of a UN contingent and joined NATO in 1952 .

In 1960, the ruling Prime Minister Adnan Menderes proclaimed an enabling law to eliminate the political opposition. The Turkish armed forces staged a coup against these measures in 1960 . Menderes and other politicians were sentenced to death and hanged on September 17, 1961 in İmralı . After the military introduced a new constitution in 1961 , it gave power to a civilian government.

İsmet İnönü , who held the office before the Second World War from 1923 to 1924 and from 1925 to 1937, became prime minister again and ruled from 1961 to 1965. In 1963, Turkey concluded an association agreement with the then EEC . But the subsequent government could not get the problems under control either. Left and right terrorist activities increased and the economic situation deteriorated rapidly. In 1971 the army intervened again in politics without a coup. Under the military influence, more repressive measures were enforced against the population.

In 1974 the then nationalist-aggressive Greek military dictatorship overthrew the Cypriot President Makarios . The Turkish Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit then sent troops to Cyprus to protect the Turkish minority on the island and to prevent a merger between Greece and the majority Greek Cyprus. This military operation was called " Cyprus Peace Operation " (Kıbrıs barış harekâtı) . After heavy fighting, an armistice was agreed, which led to the division of the island into two independent parts, which continues to this day. On November 15, 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was proclaimed under Rauf Denktaş , which is still not recognized under international law.

The military staged another coup on September 12, 1980 . The trigger was the very unstable phase in the 1970s, which was characterized by changing political coalitions, political and economic instability and acts of terrorism by the extreme right and left political spectrum. The military under General Kenan Evren declared martial law on the country and banned all political parties. The junta cracked down on the Kurdish separatists and left oppositionists. 650,000 people were arrested, 1.5 million people were identified, and proceedings were initiated against 210,000 Turks. The death penalty was requested 517 times, 50 people were executed and 171 people died as a result of torture. 14,000 Turks lost their citizenship, 30,000 people left Turkey as political refugees. Political parties were banned, 23,000 associations were closed, and thousands were fired. 31 journalists were sentenced to prison terms at the time, and newspapers were not allowed to appear for 10 months. On November 7, 1982, the constitution of the Republic of Turkey , which was submitted by the military and is still valid today, was adopted by a referendum and came into force on November 9, 1982.

From the mid-1980s, the Kurdish conflict determined the domestic political debate in Turkey. The Kurdish problem had been hushed up by politicians until then and was not in the consciousness of Turkish society. Turkey's assimilation policy led to the suppression of Kurdish culture and identity. In response to this, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was formed in 1978 with Abdullah Öcalan at its head. In 1984 it took up the armed struggle for an independent socialist state of Kurdistan in the southeast . On February 16, 1998, the Turkish secret service captured Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the PKK, in Kenya and brought him to Turkey. The PKK then declared a unilateral armistice, which was only broken again in 2004.

Under the Bülent Ecevits government (1999–2002), extensive reforms began in civil law, which strengthened human and civil liberties (e.g. the right to assemble and demonstrate). Among other things, the death penalty was abolished, torture prohibited and the cultural freedoms of the Kurdish population strengthened. These reforms continued under the AKP (since 2001). Since then, the use of Kurdish dialects , Kurdish lessons and Kurdish radio and television channels have been permitted. The state broadcaster TRT 3 also broadcasts programs in Arabic, Zazaisch, Kurmanji, Bosnian and so on.

On November 15, 2003 and November 20, 2003, an al-Qaeda cell carried out several bomb attacks in Istanbul. The attacks, in which 60 people died, were targeted at two synagogues , the British consulate and the branch of the British HSBC bank. The fighting between the Turkish armed forces and the PKK underground organization has flared up again since 2004 and intensified again in 2005 and 2007. During a visit to Diyarbakır on August 12, 2005 , then Prime Minister Erdoğan described the problems in the East as a specifically "Kurdish problem" (kürt sorunu) . For the first time in Turkish history, the specifically Kurdish character of the conflict in eastern Turkey was recognized. By 2007, 40,000 people had died in the attacks and fighting between the Turkish military and the PKK.

After 40 years of effort, on October 3, 2005, Turkey began accession negotiations with the European Union . In addition to economic criteria and political obligations, the focus is also on the EU's demands on democracy, the rule of law and human rights, the protection of minorities in Turkey and the improvement of relations with neighboring countries. In a referendum in September 2010, the Turkish people voted for comprehensive constitutional changes. A number of the new regulations are intended to adapt the Turkish constitution to the legal norms of the European Union . However, the EU stated that under Erdoğan's Islamic-conservative AKP government there was no progress in terms of fundamental rights, but instead freedom of expression was restricted and the courts did not judge impartially.

On 15./16. In July 2016 there was an attempted coup and the government took tough countermeasures . After that, imposed Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the state of emergency . There were adopt measures which Turkey changed over the two-year duration of the state of emergency also. 2017 was marked by disputes over the referendum in Turkey in April 2017 . The position of the state president has been further strengthened by the new constitution and its confirmation by the 2018 elections.


Political system

The Presidential House (
Cumhurbaşkanlığı Külliyesi) in Ankara

Under the 1982 constitution , Turkey was a parliamentary democracy with a council of ministers chaired by a prime minister and an independent judiciary . In September 2010, a referendum decided on the most comprehensive constitutional amendment since 1982. A separation of powers only exists to a limited extent in Turkey. With the constitutional referendum of 2017 , the parliamentary system with a largely representative office of the president was expected to be converted into a presidential system at the end of 2019 , which has already happened as a result of the early presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24, 2018. This abolished the Council of Ministers as the highest executive body. The directly elected president is now the only head of the executive. The President's influence on the composition of the courts was expanded and special rights of the armed forces were almost completely eliminated.

The Constitutional Court is one of the highest courts in Turkey. It decides on the constitutionality of the laws passed by parliament. For the first time in 2005, Tülay Tuğcu, a woman, was elected chairwoman of the Constitutional Court, who held the office until June 12, 2007.

A local self-government is pronounced very weak in Turkey.

The domestic intelligence service Millî İstihbarat Teşkilâtı watches over by means of extensive authorizations and. a. about the internal order, constitution and security of the country. The largest union federations in terms of numbers are Türk-İş (moderate, with around 2.13 million members), DİSK (left-wing, with around 0.35 million members) and Hak-İş (Islamic-conservative, with approx. 0.36 million members).

In political science, Turkey's political system has often been summed up as a “defective democracy” and a “hybrid regime” (by political scientist Cemal Karakas, among others). In the 2016 Democracy Index of the British magazine The Economist, the country ranks 110th out of 167 countries and is therefore a "hybrid regime" of democratic and authoritarian elements. In the country report Freedom in the World 2019 by the US non-governmental organization Freedom House , the country's political system is rated as “not free”.

After the Corruption Perception Index ( Corruption Perceptions Index ) of Transparency International Turkey in 2019 was of 180 countries together with Serbia on the 91st place with 39 out of a maximum 100 points.

Constitutional reality under the state of emergency

After the attempted coup on July 15, 2016, a state of emergency prevailed in Turkey, which was regularly extended by parliament for three months and expired in July 2018. As a result, the constitutional reality in Turkey is far removed from a parliamentary system and corresponds to a presidential system , but in contrast to the ideal-typical presidential system of government, the cabinet under the chairmanship of the president can issue decrees with (provisional) legal force. This was already common practice under Turgut Özal .

Situation since July 2018

In July 2018, the constitution adopted on April 16, 2017 came into force. With the extended rights of the executive, in particular the President, essentially nothing has changed since the two-year state of emergency . The government subordinate to President Erdogan was sworn in on July 9th.

After the state of emergency ended, existing anti-terror laws were tightened.

houses of Parliament

Parliament building from the outside.

The legislative body in Turkey is the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi) . It consists of 600 parliamentarians who are directly elected by the people for four years. From the age of 18 every citizen of Turkey is entitled to vote and is also required to vote . Voting at Turkish border crossings is possible. The last parliamentary elections took place on June 24, 2018.

The composition of the Parliament is as follows:

fraction Beginning of the
legislative period
As of June 2020 Current
proportion of women
Departures Accesses balance
Justice and Recovery Party (AKP) 295 291 18.56% 6th 2 −4
Republican People's Party (CHP) 146 138 12.32% 8th 0 −8
Democratic Party of the Peoples (HDP) 67 58 39.66% 9 0 −9
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) 49 49 8.16% 0 0 0
Good party (İYİ) 43 37 5.41% 6th 0 −6
Workers' Party of Turkey (TİP) 0 2 0% 0 2 +2
Great Unity Party (BBP) 0 1 0% 0 1 +1
Party for Democracy and Progress (DEVA) 0 1 0% 0 1 +1
Democratic Party (DP) 0 1 0% 0 1 +1
Democratic Party of Regions (DBP) 0 1 100% 0 1 +1
Party of Bliss (SP) 0 1 0% 1 2 +1
independent MPs 0 6th 0% 0 6th +6
total 600 586 17.24% 30th 16 −14

(Note: MPs who become ministers, successfully run local elections or leave Parliament for other reasons, must give up their seat. This seat cannot be filled unless more than five percent of the MPs (in absolute numbers 30 ) have resigned. These mandates are then reassigned through by-elections, which take place at least 30 months after and at the latest one year before general elections.)

Human rights

The rule that formally all citizens are equal before the law, regardless of language, race, skin color, gender, religion or belief, was introduced by the first President Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in the 1924 constitution . The current Turkish constitution of 1982 guarantees Turkish citizens a wide range of basic rights and individual freedoms. The main problem areas with regard to human rights today, however, are the constitutional implementation of freedom of expression , freedom of information and freedom of religion , plus deficiencies in the protection of ethnic minorities and in the enforcement of trade union rights. The Turkish Human Rights Association reported in its annual report in 2006 in detail on all allegations and incidents in connection with human rights violations:

  • In 2006 there were a total of 708 allegations of torture, ill-treatment and sexual harassment by the Turkish authorities across Turkey, 179 of which related to police detention.
  • There are eleven ongoing legal proceedings in this connection, one of which was opened in 2006.
  • In total, only four torture proceedings were concluded, three ended with long prison sentences, but another ended with acquittal.
On November 3, 2016, Selahattin Demirtaş , co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ, and other HDP MPs were arrested.

The treatment of religious minorities is becoming increasingly controversial and has meanwhile been criticized internationally. The principle of the version of laicism practiced in Turkey (one of the six basic principles of Kemalism ) prescribes a strict separation of religion and state , in reality the Islamic religion is subordinate to the state. Islam has not been the dominant political force in the country since 1928. Article 24 of the 1982 Constitution limits freedom of belief to the individual. Religious communities cannot assert any rights from the constitutional section. This applies above all to Christians in Turkey , whose churches have no legal status.

Turkey has had a far-reaching anti-terror law since 1991. This was later defused in order to bring it into line with European standards (not yet sufficient according to the EU Commission); however, its interpretation has been massively expanded by the government and the judiciary since 2013. In May 2016, based in Ankara presented thinktank TARK found that there were prisoners in Turkey 11,000 for political reasons, not least of academics, journalists and other intellectuals, and it was a world-first state that even in Turkey for terrorist sentenced if no relation to political violence is accused. The term "unarmed terrorism" was invented for this purpose by the AKP government. Human Rights Watch had already pointed out in a 2013 report that thousands of journalists and activists were detained under the anti-terror laws who had campaigned for the rights of Kurds in Turkey without violence .


There are reports of torture in connection with the Kurdish conflict . In the mid-1990s, during the heyday of the banned PKK , torture and death carried out at police stations across the country reached its peak. The torture was mainly directed against the PKK. The sexual abuse of men, young people and women was “the order of the day” ( Human Rights Watch ) on the list of criminal offenses by Turkish police officers around 1995 . Thanks to foreign surveillance (especially by the EU ) of the Turkish police stations and new, albeit slowly implemented, laws, the number of torture and death victims has fallen significantly to this day. Furthermore, children, some of whom are not older than twelve, are also accused of being a member of terrorist organizations, arrested and physically abused simply because of their alleged participation in protests against the Turkish authorities.

Since the attempted coup in 2016 , torture against critics of Erdoğan and the AKP has increased massively in Turkey, as Human Rights Watch showed in a report published in October 2017. Accordingly, people who are accused of having participated in that coup attempt or of having supported it or who are generally referred to by the government as "terrorists" are at great risk of being tortured. The HRW report shows eleven detailed cases and speaks of sexual harassment , rape , beatings and forced nudity of those affected. In addition, HRW is aware of six cases of kidnappings.

Women's rights

As part of the Kemalist modernization project, the state tried since 1923 to enforce equality between women and men through reforms. Women in Turkey have been allowed to vote since 1930, and since 1934 they have also been able to stand for election. However, formal rights were not sufficient to radically change the situation of women in society and to eliminate their disadvantage. After the military coup in 1980, a new feminist movement developed in Turkey, which fanned out into various groups from “radical feminists” to “Muslim feminists” and which remained skeptical of the authoritarian state tradition in the 1990s . From 2000 the relationship between the feminist movement and institutionalized politics changed. It was not until 2004 that parliament passed a law that punishes “ honor killings ” of girls and women such as premeditated murder with life imprisonment. Before that, mitigating circumstances were successfully asserted in such murders under the motive of family honor in the courts. These attenuating circumstances became null and void with this criminal law reform.

Freedom of expression and freedom of the press

Reports on the Turkish military, the Kurds, political Islam and the genocide of the Armenians are sensitive topics for journalists . Up until the late 1990s, numerous journalists were imprisoned and charged for taking up such topics, and newspapers were shut down in rows. It was also customary for TV stations to be given time-limited broadcasting bans. As part of the efforts to join the European Union in 2005 , the constitution and the press law were reformed, which meanwhile eased the situation of freedom of expression in Turkey.

The freedom of the media in Turkey has repeatedly faced circumcision through threats from Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan. The chairman of the World Association of Newspapers Gavin O'Reilly and the WEF (World Forum of Editors in Chief) board member Xavier Vidal-Folch wrote a joint letter calling on Erdoğan to protect press freedom and to refrain from intimidating the press. According to a newspaper article in the FAZ on September 17, 2008, the EU warned that press freedom was endangered by Erdoğan's threats. In a joint letter to the Turkish ambassador in Vienna in 2010, several media representatives including the chairman of the Austrian journalists' union, Wolfgang Katzian , drew attention to the repressive handling of freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Turkey and reminded of the 50 journalists imprisoned in Turkish prisons.

In 2011, the Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan obtained a media law passed by parliament giving himself the personal authority to temporarily close television channels or to ban programs if the content would threaten national security or disrupt public order. In the same year, the government under Prime Minister Erdoğan announced restrictions on Internet access for the Turkish population (topic and keyword-related filtering of Internet sites) to violent protests inside and outside Turkey. The country fell to 138th on the Freedom of the Press index of the organization Reporters Without Borders. British MEP Richard Howitt, a supporter of Turkey 's candidacy for the EU , stated that the Erdoğan's fight against the Internet discredited Turkey and the country on a par with countries like China and Iran.

Protests by Turkish journalists for their colleagues, 2016

The controversial Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code criminalizes "insulting the Turkish nation, the Turkish Republic and the institutions and organs of the state". Critical or even insulting voices against the founder of the state Ataturk are also not tolerated according to the " Law on criminal acts against Ataturk ". The “Law to Combat Terrorism” ( Terörle Mücadele Kanunu , Law No. 3713) allows the Turkish state to temporarily ban newspapers. The freedom of the press has continuously decreased in the years before 2013, due to the voluntary censorship of the large media conglomerates dependent on state contracts and the associated alignment with the government as well as libel complaints by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who quickly feels vilified. In July and August 2013 alone, 60 journalists left their jobs because they were fired or because they preferred to leave themselves.

Between April 2017 and January 2020, all Wikipedia was blocked in Turkey .

In the 2018 press freedom list published by Reporters Without Borders , Turkey ranks 157th out of 180 countries, after being 102nd out of 173 in 2008.

Foreign policy

Countries in which Turkey has missions abroad

Since the connection to the West, the foreign policy constants for Turkey have included the desire to join the European Union and the prevention of an independent Kurdish state. Turkey regards itself as the protective power of the Turks in the Balkans and the Turkmens of Iraq . In addition, Turkey is trying to take a leading role in the Turkic states ( Northern Cyprus , Azerbaijan , Uzbekistan , Turkmenistan , Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan ) in the Middle East and Central Asia and to improve its relations with the autonomous Turkic-speaking republics and regions.

Turkey's good relations with Israel are unusual for a Muslim-majority state ; among other things, joint military maneuvers are carried out regularly. However, a relationship crisis has loomed since the Gaza war at the end of 2008. In 2009 and after the Ship-to-Gaza incident in 2010, relations with Israel continued to deteriorate. In return, relations with Islamic countries have improved.

Relations with neighboring states

  • Greece : Regional areas of conflict are the areas of rulership in the Aegean Sea , but mainly in the Mediterranean Sea east of Rhodes in the area of ​​the small archipelago around Kastellorizo , which is 125 km east of Rhodes but only about 3 km from the Turkish port city of Kaş , and the Cyprus conflict . The Aegean Sea is about the course of the border between the two countries. The definition of the border line is very controversial because economic and military interests are at stake. In economic terms, it is about potential oil reserves that both countries want to exploit. Tensions increased again in 2020 after Turkey signed an economic agreement with the UN-recognized government in Libya and Greece, Israel and Cyprus sealed the EastMed pipeline project .
  • Cyprus : There is disagreement about the Turkish soldiers stationed in Northern Cyprus. The attempt by the Republic of Cyprus to deploy anti-aircraft missiles on the island almost resulted in war in the mid-1990s. The missiles were ultimately not deployed. During Cyprus’s EU Presidency , Turkey announced that it would freeze all relations with the Republic of Cyprus.
  • Iraq : Turkey saw a possible reason for war in the event of a victory for the Kurds in Kirkuk in the elections on January 30, 2005 and its integration into the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Iraq. The background is that the rich oil fields in Kirkuk make an economically viable, independent Kurdish state conceivable. A Kurdish state in northern Iraq could flare up the Kurdish conflict in Turkey again. Despite many disagreements, there has been a surge in investment by Turkish companies in the Iraqi Kurdish region. Ankara has also opened a consulate in Erbil .
  • Syria : A dispute between the two states that has existed for decades is the Turkish province of Hatay , which until 1938 belonged to the then French mandate of Syria and was annexed to Turkey in 1939. There are also disputes over the water of the Euphrates . The construction of dams as part of the Southeast Anatolia Project has led Syria to fear that Turkey might one day use water as an instrument of power. Syria's support for the PKK prompted Turkey to threaten Damascus with war in the late 1990s . Syria also felt threatened by the close military cooperation between Israel and Turkey. After a period of rapprochement between the two countries, the civil war in Syria in 2011 led to a massive deterioration in relations and in 2012 the Syrian-Turkish conflict . The Turkish government has called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign several times. Since May 2012 at the latest, fighters of the Syrian opposition have been trained and armed by the Turkish secret service . Today relations with Syria are very tense because of the violence of the Assad regime against the people in their own country. Ankara imposed sanctions, all accounts of people close to the regime were frozen, and arms deliveries to the Syrian government were prohibited. Turkey took in numerous Syrian refugees. The hope of a quick overthrow of Assad, after which they could have returned, was not fulfilled, so that their number today (August 2014) is around 1.4 million. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said at the AKP annual congress that the Turkish flag should be flown side by side with that of Palestine, a free Syria and other states.
  • Armenia : The current Turkish government denies the genocide of the Armenians of 1915/16 and tries to prevent other states from officially recognizing the genocide. The occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is part of Azerbaijan under international law, by Armenia strains relations with Turkey , as Turkey sees itself as the protecting power of Azerbaijan. According to the Treaty of Kars (1921), Armenia does not recognize the border with Turkey to this day. In October 2009 Turkey and Armenia signed an agreement on the normalization of international relations and the establishment of diplomatic relations, but ratification failed.
  • Bulgaria : The repression of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria, who immigrated to Bulgaria at the time of the Ottoman Empire, created tension between the two countries during the Cold War . Occasionally, in the course of the resistance against the former communist regime of Bulgaria, there were terrorist attacks by the oppressed Turkish minority against targets in Bulgaria (including a bomb attack on a passenger train in 1985). In addition, Turkey refuses to pay billions in compensation to the descendants of the Bulgarians ( Anatolian Bulgarians ) who were expelled from what is now Turkey . Today the governments of both countries maintain good relations, not least because of the importance of the economy.

International organizations

Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952 and an associate member in the predecessor organizations of the EU since 1963 and has been striving for full membership first in the EEC , later the EC and finally in the European Union for over four decades . On 16./17. December 2004 decided European Council the opening of accession negotiations with Turkey on 3 October 2005. Previously, this had both the European Commission and the European Parliament endorsed. Although the negotiations began on time, opponents of the accession continue to seek a privileged partnership . However, this is rejected by the Turkish side and most of the EU member states.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with US President Donald Trump , 2017.

In addition, Turkey is a member of the following supranational organizations:


The defense budget for 2011 includes 25 billion US dollars. There are also expenses that are not listed in the budget. Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952 and is the second largest army within the alliance with around 612,000 soldiers after the United States . The Turkish military is also deployed in the interior of the country for civil protection. Due to its many strategically important bases, Turkey serves as a hub for military interventions in the Middle East.

In Turkey, every man over the age of 20 has general conscription. Deferrals are possible for university students, workers abroad or in the event of serious illness. The length of military service was reduced from 18 months to 15 months and finally 12 months. At a meeting of the Türk Silahlı Kuvetleri (TSK for short; German , Turkish Armed Forces ) on December 6, 2018 , the debate was opened to reduce this further to 9 months. There is no possibility of alternative civilian service. For Turkish citizens living in Turkey, since August 3, 2018, there has been the possibility for 15,000 TL, the equivalent of 2,700 €, to free themselves from regular service and instead to do the basic training of 21 days. However, this is subject to the condition that the applicant must be born before January 1, 1994. Citizens living abroad have the option of completely exempting themselves from military service by paying money. Initially, the necessary payment was the equivalent of € 10,000, was adjusted to € 1,000 in 2016 and has increased slightly to € 2,000 since 2018. A university degree completed in Turkey shortens compulsory military service to 6 months.

Turkey ranked 20th out of 155 countries in the Global Militarization Index (GMI) in 2018 .

Political role

The Turkish armed forces see themselves as the guardians of democracy and Kemalism . They traditionally claim a “veto, guarantee and guardian function”. They have already twice coups to power to end political crises , in 1960 and 1980 ( the Demirel government was also forced to resign in 1971 ). The process of both coups is similar: the military remained in power for a few years and, after a constitutional reform, handed it back to a civilian government . The direction of the military, however, was different in the two coups. The coup of May 1960 was carried by middle-ranking officers who were more left-wing and led to a more democratic constitution. The coup of September 1980 came from the generals and the right-wing camp and led to a new constitution . In 1997, military intervention led to the resignation of the government of Necmettin Erbakan and his Refah Partisi . However, this last coup took place without the use of arms.

On the night of July 16, 2016, an attempted coup took place; he failed. The government ( President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Yıldırım cabinet ) used the failure of this military coup to lay off tens of thousands of employees in the military, police , justice and education sectors . Sections of the opposition and the media called this a “civil coup”. More than 11,000 ministry employees, 2900 judges and prosecutors and 15,000 civil servants were laid off. The Ministry of Education also canceled teaching licenses for 21,000 employees of private institutions and the University Council demanded the resignation of all rectors of private and state universities. Instead of legal proceedings against those responsible for the coup, President Erdoğan openly spoke of "purges". Even after the constitutional referendum in Turkey on April 16, 2017 , thousands of government employees were dismissed.

In 2003, as part of efforts to join the EU , Parliament limited the political power of the military. In the National Security Council , the military had the decisive power before the reforms. The council met monthly under the chairmanship of the President and dealt with all current domestic and foreign policy issues. Officially, the council only had an advisory role. Unofficially, however, this was tantamount to the military having authority over politics. After the reform, the function of the council will be reduced to policy advice and the number of military personnel in the council will be reduced to a single chief of staff. The council is now also headed by a civilian as general secretary who is subordinate to the deputy prime minister. In addition, as of 2003, the entire military budget will be placed under parliamentary control, which was not the case before the reform. The military could determine the expenditure for the military itself and had hidden items for military expenditure in the general budget. Since Erdoğan's inauguration, there have been numerous indictments and resignations of the highest military, which is interpreted as suppressing the influence of the military leadership.

Assignments abroad

Standard of the Turkish Brigade during the Korean War

Foreign missions of the Turkish military after the Second World War:

Administrative division

Bulgarien Griechenland Zypern Georgien Armenien Aserbaidschan Iran Irak Syrien Edirne Tekirdağ İstanbul Çanakkale Yalova Balıkesir Bursa Kocaeli Sakarya Bilecik Kütahya İzmir Manisa Aydın Muğla Uşak Denizli Düzce Bolu Eskişehir Afyonkarahisar Burdur Antalya Isparta Zonguldak Bartın Karabük Çankırı Ankara Konya Karaman Mersin Niğde Aksaray Kırşehir Kırıkkale Çorum Kastamonu Sinop Samsun Amasya Yozgat Kayseri Adana Ordu Tokat Sivas Giresun Osmaniye Hatay Kilis Malatya K. Maraş Gaziantep Adıyaman Şanlıurfa Mardin Batman Diyarbakır Elazığ Erzincan Trabzon Gümüşhane Tunceli Bayburt Rize Bingöl Artvin Ardahan Kars Iğdır Erzurum Muş Ağrı Bitlis Siirt Şırnak Van Hakkari

The territory of Turkey is divided into 81 provinces ( İl , obsolete: Vilâyet ), which are administered by a governor (Vali) . The individual provinces are further subdivided into individual İlçe (sub-districts), which are led by a Kaymakam . The Vali is appointed by the President, the Kaymakam by the Interior Minister.

The municipal administration is represented by İl Özel İdaresi , the municipalities ( Belediye ) and the villages ( Köy ). Unlike in Germany, for example, the villages have a special organizational statute. The İl Özel İdaresi is led by the Vali, who is an elected assembly assisted by il meclisi , the communities are led by elected mayors (Belediye Başkanı) , the villages by elected village chiefs ( Muhtar ) .

30 provinces (Adana, Ankara, Antalya, Aydın, Balıkesir, Bursa, Denizli, Diyarbakır, Erzurum, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, Hatay, İstanbul, İzmir, Kahramanmaraş, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Malatya, Manisa, Muñinğla, Mersinla , Sakarya, Samsun, Şanlıurfa, Tekirdağ, Trabzon and Van) are organized at the municipal level as Büyükşehir Belediyesi (Big City Communes). These are under the direction of an elected Büyükşehir Belediye Başkanı . The area of ​​these metropolitan communes is identical to that of the province. Under these big city communes there are communities which in turn each encompass the entire area of ​​an İlçe and bear the name of this İlçe. There are no other municipalities or village municipalities on the territory of a large city municipality.


The urbanization is well advanced in Turkey, 74% of the population live in a city . The southeast and northeast of the country are very sparsely populated, most of them live and work in the large metropolitan areas on the west coast and the region around the Ankara , Sivas , Kayseri and Konya area in central Turkey.

Is the capital and seat of government that in Central Anatolia located Ankara with 4,466,756 inhabitants. This is also where the Grand National Assembly and the command and control commands of all branches of the armed forces have their headquarters. Ankara is one of the major industrial and service centers in Turkey and a university city, u. a. This is where the Ankara Üniversitesi , founded by Mustafa Kemal in 1936 , is the oldest university in Ankara.

Mega-metropolis, the largest city in the country and at the same time the most important economic and cultural center of the country is Istanbul (formerly Constantinople ) on the Bosporus , which is divided by the strait and thus extends over an area of ​​approx. 1,269 km² on two continents . The city proper has 11,174,257 inhabitants; in the entire metropolitan region , which extends completely to the land area of ​​the province of Istanbul, about 12,573,836 people live on an area of ​​approx. 5,220 km². This makes Istanbul one of the largest cities in the world .

Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul , Turkey's largest city, with the skyscrapers of the Levent financial district in the background.

With 3,739,353 inhabitants, Izmir is the third largest Turkish city and has the second largest trading port after Istanbul . Bursa (2,787,539 inhabitants), a former capital of the Ottoman Empire, is now an important business location for the automotive and textile industries. The largest and economically strongest city in southeast Turkey is Gaziantep (1,844,438). Other important cities are Adana (2,006,650 inhabitants), Konya (1,108,808) and the tourist stronghold of Antalya (1,101,318, as of 2014).


The monetary easing in the US since around 2009 and the low interest rate policy of the ECB allowed billions of US dollars and euros to flow into emerging markets and generated strong economic growth at the time. The Turkish economy grew by around 9 percent in 2010 and 2011; In 2012 it grew by 2.2 percent.

In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Turkey is now 53rd out of 137 countries (2017-18). In 2017, Turkey ranked 70th out of 180 countries in the Economic Freedom Index . The rating agencies Moody's and Finch have lowered their 2018 rating for Turkey's creditworthiness again after 2016: The long-term liabilities are now only rated "Ba2" (in junk paper area).

Development of GDP and inflation
year GDP (real) inflation
+/− in% vs. Previous year
1994 −5.1 ≈ 120
1995 8.1 ≈ 120
1996 7.9 ≈ 80
1997 - 7.5 ≈ 80
1998 2.8 101.6
1999 - 4.7 64.9
2000 7.4 54.9
2001 - 7.5 54.4
2002 7.8 45.0
2003 5.8 25.3
2004 8.9 12.0
2005 8.4 8.18
2006 6.9 9.6
2007 4.7 8.76
2008 0.7 10.44
2009 - 4.7 6.25
2010 9.0 6.4
2011 8.5 9.1
2012 2.13 8.89
2013 4.19 7.49
2014 3.02 8.86
2015 3.99 7.67
2016 3.18 7.78
2017 7.42 10.81
2018 2.83 16.33
2019 0.25 15.68
Source: 94–97 98–99 IMF. 00–04 EU 05–09 Eurostat
10-11 Turk. Central Bank Turk. Ministry of Finance 16-17 World Bank 18-19 IMF
The Levent financial district in Istanbul
The Söğütözü business district in Ankara

The economic situation in Turkey is very contradictory. There is a great gap between the industrialized West and its modern industry (especially in the big cities) on the one hand and the agriculturally structured and underdeveloped East on the other. The unemployment rate was 11.2% in 2017. In 2017, 18.4% of all workers worked in agriculture, 26.6% in industry and 54.9% in the service sector. The total number of employees is estimated at 31.3 million for 2017. The high proportion of illegal work and the low employment rate of women (approx. 30%) remain challenges for the labor market. The official minimum wage in 2016 is 1,647 Turkish Lira gross (around 520 euros) per month.

The greater Istanbul area , for example, reaches 41% of the average income of the 15 old EU states, whereas the east only 7%. Various projects, u. a. the major dam projects ( Southeast Anatolia Project (GAP)) are intended to help the East develop. There are also significant structural problems in the Turkish economy . So wearing agriculture to GDP at just 11.9%, but employs 30.6% of the workforce. The industry contributes 29.6% to GDP and the service sector 58.5%. 19.3% of all employed persons work in industry and 44.5% in services. A customs union has existed between Turkey and the EU since 1996 (51.6% of exports go to the EU, 46% of imports come from the EU).

On January 1, 2005, the old Turkish Lira (formerly also known as the Turkish Pound ) was replaced by the New Turkish Lira (Yeni Türk Lirası) . The Turkish Lira lost 6 zeros. The sub-unit of the lira, the kurus , was also reintroduced.

Turkey's economy is characterized by high growth, combined with even higher inflation . Around 1994 and 1995 it reached almost hyperinflationary values ​​of 150%, in 2011 it fell to 6.5%, in 2015 it was 7.5%. In 2018, the exchange rate of the Turkish lira fell by around 40% compared to the previous year.

The most important economic sectors are the textile industry , tourism , the automotive industry , as well as the chemical industry , mechanical engineering and the electronics industry. The direct investments of foreign companies in Turkey in 2002 were around 4.6 billion euros, of which 3.3 billion came from Germany. They fell from 22 billion US dollars in 2007 as a result of the financial crisis in 2009 to 8.5 billion and have since fluctuated at 12 to 13 billion US dollars per year.

Rating agencies downgraded the country several times under the impression of the erosion of the institutions since the coup in 2016: Moody's downgraded the national currency to the junk range and criticized the lack of independence of the central bank and the courts from political influences. In accordance with the high risk of its investors, Turkey had to pay 12 to 13 percent for ten-year bonds. The very negative current account deficit continued to grow. The euro exchange rate of the Turkish lira fell by around 40% from 2016 to 2018.

The Turkish economy slipped into recession at the end of 2018 . Turkey has had a foreign trade deficit for many years . Oil, intermediate products and grain have to be imported. Before the Lira crashed, the Turkish economy achieved high growth rates from 2003 to 2013, with a loss of two thirds since 2011 with accompanying inflation of 20 percent (as of March 2019). The gross domestic product (GDP) rose from 303 to 857 billion US dollars.

Energy industry

Electricity supply

In 2012 Turkey was 20th in the world in terms of annual generation with 228.1 billion kWh and 19th in the world for installed capacity with 53,860 MW . The peak load in 2012 was 39,045 MW. Turkey has greatly expanded its generation capacity in the last few decades; the installed capacity grew from 407 MW in 1950 to 1,272 (1960), 2,234 (1970), 5,118 (1980), 16,317 (1990), 27,264 (2000) to 49,524 MW in 2010. The generation capacity is to be doubled to 120,000 MW by 2023.

The installed capacity of the power plants in Turkey amounted to 68,235.9 MW on August 31, 2014, of which gas power plants accounted for 21,172.5 MW (31%), coal power plants 14,034.3 MW (20.5%) and hydropower plants 23,322.6 MW (34.2%), 3,380.2 MW (5%) on wind turbines and 6,326.2 MW (9.3%) on other power plants. In 2017, wind turbines with a capacity of 6.9 GW were installed. By 2023, 30% of electricity consumption is to be covered by renewable energies . For this purpose, the installed capacity of the hydropower plants is to be increased to 36 GW, the capacity of the wind power plants to 20 GW and the capacity of the photovoltaic systems to 3 GW.

The transmission network in Turkey is operated by the state-owned Türkiye Elektrik İletim A.Ş. (TEİAŞ) operated. The Turkish power grid has been connected to the European network since April 15, 2015 . The first synchronization took place on September 18, 2010; then the full connection was gradually implemented. Turkey is connected to Bulgaria via two 400 kV lines and to Greece via a further 400 kV line.

Foreign trade

The main supplier countries of Turkey in 2016 were the People's Republic of China (12.8%), Germany (10.8%), Russia (7.6%), USA (5.5%), Italy (5.1%), France (3rd , 7%) and South Korea (3.2%). In the same year, the main buyers of Turkish exports were Germany (9.8%), the United Kingdom (8.2%), Iraq (5.4%), Italy (5.3%), the USA (4.6%), France (4.2%) and the United Arab Emirates (3.8). Almost half of Turkish foreign trade was with the states of the European Union. Germany was Turkey's most important trading partner in 2016.

Turkey imported goods for $ 198.6 billion and exported goods for $ 142.6 billion in 2016. Turkey had a trade deficit of 56.0 billion dollars or 6.5% of economic output. Turkey's trade deficit is rated too high, but it can be partly offset by income from tourism and remittances from Turks abroad.


Dolmabahçe Palace , the sultan's residence after 1856.

Tourism in Turkey has increased almost every year in the 21st century and is an important part of the economy. The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism is currently promoting local Turkish tourism under the name " Turkey " or " Go Turkey ". Turkey is one of the ten most important destination countries in the world. In recent years, the highest proportion of foreign visitors came from Russia and Germany. In 2019 there were around 51 million visitors. In 2016, the tourism industry experienced a slump as a result of the conflict with Russia over Syria and the threat of terrorism. Some German organizers reported up to 50 percent fewer visitors. Since then, the number of foreign holidaymakers has increased again.

Travel warnings

The Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany has tightened its travel advisory for Turkey in 2018, as "statements that are covered under German law understanding of freedom of expression, give rise to criminal proceedings in Turkey" can. The Austrian Foreign Ministry has also issued a partial travel warning for the country (level 2 to 5 depending on the region). At the beginning of 2019, the German Association of Journalists published a travel warning for journalists and bloggers for Turkey, which also applies to private trips.

Turkey lifted the entry ban for German citizens on June 11, 2020 and hopes to promote tourism from Germany with additional control and precautionary measures. Due to the spread of COVID-19 and the associated restrictions in international air and travel traffic as well as adverse effects on public life, warnings continue to be issued against unnecessary tourist trips to Turkey. The Austrian BMEIA also continues to insist on clear warnings. Swiss citizens are accordingly clearly warned against traveling to Turkey by the FDFA .

State budget

The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditure of the equivalent of 198.8 billion US dollars , compared to income of 184.3 billion US dollars. This resulted in a general government deficit of 1.7% of GDP according to ESA . The general government debt reached 29.2% of GDP in 2016.

year 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
National debt 77.9% 74.0% 67.7% 59.6% 52.7% 46.5% 39.9% 40.0% 46.1% 42.2%
Budget balance - 24.5% - 13.9% - 10.0% - 3.9% - 0.2% 0.0% - 1.6% - 2.66% - 5.88% - 3.42%
year 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
National debt 40.6% 38.8% 36.8% 28.77% 27.64% 28.31% 28.26% 29.05%
Budget balance - 0.69% - 1.83% -1.47% - 1.43% - 1.27% - 2.33% - 2.34% - 3.64%
Sources: State Secretariat for Treasury; 2011–2018: Budget, IMF

Share of government expenditure (in% of GDP) in the following areas:

Health expenses
year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Million  TRY 4,985 8,248 12,396 18,774 24,279 30,021 35,359 44,069 50,904 57,740 57,911 61,678
% v. GDP 4.7% 4.8% 5.1% 5.2% 5.2% 5.2% 5.2% 5.6% 5.8% 5.8% 5.8% 5.3%
year 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Million TRY 68,607 74,189 84,390 94,750 104,568 119,756
% v. GDP 4.9% 4.7% 4.7% 4.6% 4.5% 4.6%

2004: 4.0%


2005: 5.3%


Due to its location as a hub between Asia and Europe , the transport sector is an important source of income for Turkey. In addition to road, transport services also include sea, air and rail transport as well as transport via pipelines. In 1999, Turkey generated 1.2 billion euros in international road passenger and goods traffic.

The domestic transport of goods and people takes place almost exclusively by road. Freight traffic with foreign countries takes place predominantly by water and passenger traffic by air.

In 2000, the transport and communications sector accounted for around 14% of gross domestic product. 27.3% of all public investments are made in this area. This shows the importance of this sector for Turkey in an impressive way.

Road traffic

The road network in Turkey has a total length of 413,724 km. on. Of these, 62,000 km are country roads, 350,000 km are so-called village roads and 2,036 km are motorways. The motorway network is to be expanded further in the next few years. The most important motorway route is that from Istanbul to Ankara ( O-4 ), and the O-52 from Adana to Gaziantep is also important for traffic and transport. Other motorways exist around Izmir ( O-31 and O-32 ) and in the southern part of the country (Mersin, İskenderun, Pozantı). A motorway from Izmir to Manisa is under construction, the Adana-Ankara and Gaziantep-Şanlıurfa motorways are also under construction.

89.2% (as of 2000) of all domestic goods are transported on the roads. The share of passenger transport is even higher at 95%. Coaches are very popular for overland trips. Here many companies compete for the favor of the passengers, so the service of the bus companies is very good, so the travelers are served coffee, tea, water and biscuits during the crossings. In addition, you can surf the Internet via WLAN during bus trips, but only a few bus companies offer sockets to charge electrical devices.

The traffic safety is not currently reached the level of most European countries. Around 3,400 road traffic deaths occur every year. A new system of main inspections is currently being introduced by TÜV Türk in stages (see). Offers in the field of traffic psychology are in preparation.

The revenue from tolls amounted to 231 million YTL in 2005 and, according to state estimates, should be 357 million YTL at the end of the year. The three bridges over the Bosporus and six motorway routes are subject to tolls. The July 15 Martyrs' Bridge and the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge used over 136 million vehicles, and the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge has been added since 2016 . The other toll roads use over 120 million vehicles.

Local transport in the cities is organized by public buses. However, since local public transport is insufficiently developed, shared taxis ( Dolmuş ) dominate. These are operated by private individuals who have often come together to form cooperatives. The Turkish name Dolmuş (“become full”) today almost exclusively refers to minibuses, historically to vehicles of all kinds. It stems from the fact that these vehicles do not leave at a fixed departure time, but only when the vehicle is sufficiently full. Today the Dolmuş, especially in urban centers, are no longer used in point-to-point traffic without a scheduled stop, but in a kind of regular service, similar to public buses, sometimes in competition with them. Therefore, these buses also have almost fixed departure times at the end stations and well-known, partly designated intermediate stations for getting on and off. However, this is handled flexibly according to the wishes of the passengers and the willingness of the driver. The drivers wait for potential passengers, let passengers get on or off at any suitable place on the way and, if necessary, bring their customers to the front door beyond the scheduled end station, for example late in the evening. The travel costs are fixed, partly fixed, partly staggered depending on the distance traveled and are paid in cash to the driver or his assistant. Tickets are not issued. There are also regular taxis that work with a taximeter.

Rail transport

Orient Express Istanbul 1900
High-speed train HT80000 ( Siemens Velaro ) of the Turkish State Railways TCDD

The rail transport in Turkey has been adjusted for decades the expansion of the road network. The routes of the railway network partly date from the first half of the 20th century, but have recently been massively renewed. Its length is around 10,984 km today, of which around 20% are electrically operated. In 1999, the railways accounted for around 10% of total traffic.

Except for the route between Istanbul and Ankara, there are usually only one or two passenger trains a day. The average travel speed is often below that of the dense network of public bus transport.

However, the comfort on the trains is much higher. There is only one class of car left , called the Pullman . In addition, sleeping cars (two- bed compartments) or couchette cars (four-bed compartments) are offered in the night connections .

For some years now, the Turkish government has recognized the importance of rail transport again and is investing a lot in this industry. Among other things, new railcars were purchased and the stations and tracks renewed. The government also plans to manufacture high-speed trains itself. Steps in this direction were taken with the opening of a railway factory in Adapazarı and Eskişehir and sleeper factories in Sivas, Konya and Afyon.

A high-speed line is being built between Istanbul and Ankara , the first section of which between Esenkent and Eskişehir went into operation on March 13, 2009. At the end of 2010, a high-speed line was opened between Ankara and Konya , and at the end of 2014 another between Istanbul and Konya . Trains travel here at up to 250 km / h. A high-speed line is also under construction from Ankara to Sivas . As part of the European transport concept Wider Europe for Transport , another high-speed connection is to be built up to the Bulgarian border.

The cities of Edirne , Kars , Izmir , Antalya , Trabzon , Diyarbakir and Kayseri are to be connected via Ankara . To this end, the high-speed line will be expanded by 7,000 km. The high-speed lines are designed for 250 km / h. All routes should go into operation by 2023. The cost of the mega-project is $ 28-30 billion. The Chinese government is providing the necessary loans for the project. Work is underway in Istanbul to cross under the Bosphorus (Marmaray). The project has a total length of 76.3 km. Upon completion, 440 specially built trains will connect the European and Asian parts of Istanbul underground every 2-10 minutes. The one-way passenger transport capacity (oneway) is 75,000 passengers per hour. The first trains should start rolling in 2018.

In Istanbul (Istanbul metro ), Ankara (Ankara metro ), Izmir (Izmir metro ), Adana and Bursa ( Bursa light rail ) there are also subways (Turkish metro ). They are very popular and reach speeds of up to 80 km / h. The Turkish State Railways ( TCDD ) operates a S-Bahn along its lines in Ankara, Izmir and Istanbul. In relation to the number of inhabitants, however, local rail transport in these cities is underdeveloped: In Ankara - with 4.5 million inhabitants - there are two technically incompatible subway lines and one suburban train line. In Istanbul - with an estimated population of between 13 million and 17 million - there are six different, incompatible rail-based local transport systems on the European side, each serving only one route, and two on the Asian side. This is only a very limited alternative to the most popular bus network.

There are tram lines in Samsun, Gaziantep, Kayseri, Antalya (5.1 km), Eskişehir (14.5 km), Istanbul (Tramvay 14.3 km and others) and Konya (18 km).

A Turkish Airlines Boeing 787-9

air traffic

The state-owned airline Turkish Airlines (Türk Hava Yolları THY) was founded in 1933 and had a monopoly on scheduled flights until the 1990s . Numerous private airlines ( e.g. AtlasGlobal , MNG Airlines , Onur Air , Pegasus Airlines , Sunexpress ) now offer their services and have a market share of 33%.

In total, Turkey has 117 airports , 15 of which are international airports . The most important airport is Istanbul airport ( İstanbul Havalimanı ,) in the European part of Istanbul until 1985 under the name of the used since 2019 since 1912 İstanbul Yeşilköy Havalimanı and since then under the name İstanbul Atatürk Havalimanı operated traditional airport replaced the city. On the Asian side of the city is the smaller Sabiha Gökçen Airport , which opened in 2001 . Antalya Airport is important for tourism with almost 32 million passengers (as of 2018). Other airports are those of Izmir (Adnan Menderes) and Ankara (Esenboğa) .

Water transport

The Bosphorus - ferries connect the two parts of Istanbul.

With a coastline of 8,333 km and 156 ports, the potential of shipping is great. The tonnage of the entire Turkish merchant fleet is almost 10,444,163 DWT. The merchant fleet includes 888 freighters with over 300 gross tons . In Izmir and Istanbul, ferry traffic is an important local transport instrument. The journey time in Istanbul between the European and Asian parts is between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the route. In Izmir, the travel time between two parts of the city ( Konak and Karşıyaka ) is between 10 and 30 minutes.


The first oil pipeline for the transport of crude oil and oil products was put into operation in 1966 between Batman and Dörtyol (on the Gulf of İskenderun ). In 1977 the important oil pipeline between Iraq and Turkey with a total length of 981 km (641 km of which is on Turkish soil) was inaugurated. The line was shut down between 1990 and 1997 due to the Gulf War and the subsequent embargo.

Since 2002, a natural gas pipeline called Blue Stream has been running through the Black Sea from Novorossiysk to Samsun and on to Ankara . The pipeline has an annual capacity of 14 billion cubic meters.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline delivers oil from Central Asia and the Caucasus to Western Europe via Turkey. The pipeline runs through Azerbaijan ( Baku ), Georgia ( Tbilisi ) and Turkey ( Ceyhan ), is 1760 km long and has a capacity of around 1 million barrels per year. The BTC pipeline is one of the most expensive and technically complex pipeline projects worldwide. Since May 2005 crude oil has been flowing to the Mediterranean via this pipeline.

The South Caucasus pipeline runs parallel to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline from Baku via Tbilisi to Erzurum . It is 690 km long and is to start pumping natural gas from the Caspian Sea into the Turkish gas transport system from the end of 2005 . The capacity is designed for seven billion cubic meters of gas.

The Med Stream , a pipeline for the transport of electricity, natural gas, crude oil and water, is planned between Ceyhan (Turkey) and Haifa (Israel) .


The only landline provider in Turkey is Türk Telekom . In 2005, 55% of Türk-Telekom was sold to a consortium of companies (Oger Telecom Ortak Girişim Grubu) for 6.55 billion US dollars . While the number of landline connections is stagnating, the mobile communications sector is recording high growth rates. While 19.5 million landline connections were registered in 2001, the number of connections fell slightly in 2005 to 19 million. The number of mobile phone users rose from 17.1 million in 2001 to 43.6 million in 2005.

The international connection of communication is u. a. guaranteed by three fiber optic cables laid in the Mediterranean and Black Seas . This connects Turkey with Italy , Greece , Israel , Bulgaria , Romania , Russia and the United States . In addition, 12 Intelsat stations and 328 mobile satellite terminals are used for this purpose.

The international internet code is the ending .tr . Most Turkish websites , however, use the .com or .com.tr TLD because the. tr -TLD is not assigned. The Technical University of the Middle East (ODTÜ) is responsible for assigning IPs and names .

Türk-Telekom is currently building a nationwide DSL network. According to a 2010 survey by the Turkish Statistics Institute, 62% of the population own a PC or laptop. While 8.66% of households had an Internet connection in 2005, the figure was already 24.47% in 2008, which almost tripled to 73% in 2016. Internet usage in Turkish companies is higher and was 97.2% in the 2018 survey. In general, ADSL is the most frequently used connection type with 82.1%.


The culture of today's Turkey is a fusion of the old Turkish nomad culture of Central Asia and Siberia , the culture in the Ottoman Empire with its Byzantine , Persian , Arab , Caucasian , Armenian and Kurdish influences as well as the strong European tendency since the founding of the republic by Ataturk . The cultural center of the country is the metropolis of Istanbul .

Literature, publishing and book retailing

The Turkish Nobel Prize Laureate Orhan Pamuk
One of the most famous authors of the early republic is Reşat Nuri Güntekin

The roots of Turkish literature go back a long way. Before the adoption of Islam, written and oral Turkish literature was shaped by nomadic culture and shamanism . In the early days, literature consisted of orally transmitted stories, sagas , lamentations , love and nature poems and proverbs . The Orhon inscriptions from the 6th and 7th centuries constitute the first written literary works by the Turks .

The Turks converted to Islam in the first half of the 10th century . With Islam, the influence of the Arabic and Persian languages ​​on Turkish literature increased. From the 11th century, the Turks who settled in Anatolia developed the Turkish-Turkish language . Islamic influence lasted from the 11th century to the middle of the 19th century. During this time, the development of Turkish literature can be divided into two main groups: on the one hand, Divan literature and, on the other hand, folk literature .

Western influence grew stronger in the Tanzimat period in the 19th century. First, Western literature was translated into Turkish, and the first Turkish novels appeared in the 1870s . The newspaper “Servet-i fünûn” (“Treasure of Knowledge”) with the poet Tevfik Fikret and the novelist Halid Ziya Uşaklıgil played a special role in this development phase . At the same time, nationalistic and patriotic poetry emerged.

During the time of the founding of the republic, there were great changes in Turkish literature. Two events in particular are influential: first, the introduction of the Latin script in 1928 and second, the major language reforms from 1932. The new writers are turning away from the traditional, firmly established style and language. This is particularly propagated by the Garip poets around Orhan Veli .

With the form, the contents of Turkish literature change increasingly. Early representatives are Fakir Baykurt , Sabahattin Ali , Sait Faik Abasıyanık and Yaşar Kemal , who put ordinary people at the center of their work. With the turn to the description of the living conditions, social and political criticism of the state is inevitable. The state reacts with censorship and political violence. Authors such as Nâzım Hikmet , Yaşar Kemal and Aziz Nesin spend many years in Turkish prisons because of the persecution of their publications. Kemal therefore called the prison a "school of Turkish literature".

With the migrant workers in the 1960s, Turkish literature and writers of Turkish origin also came to Western Europe. Books are increasingly being translated. Aras Ören , Yüksel Pazarkaya or Emine Sevgi Özdamar deal with life in Germany in different ways. Some of this literature is also brought back to Turkey. While censorship and the three military coups (1960, 1971 and 1980) hampered the development of Turkish literature, writers, by means of this migrant literature, contribute to the fact that today there is a very diverse and independent Turkish literature.

Well-known representatives of modern Turkish literature are Orhan Pamuk , who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006, and Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar , whose novel Huzur (German translation: “Peace of Mind”, published 2008) in a review by Stefan Weidner in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit was called the "Turkish Magic Mountain ".

The largest Turkish publishers are Nesil , Timas , Mustu , Yeni Asya and Sahdamar . 40 percent of the new publications are translated books; according to English-language titles, especially fiction, non-fiction and guides from Germany (where, for example, translations make up just under 8 percent of new publications).


The Hagia Sophia illuminated at night

The Topkapı Sarayı in Istanbul was the residence and seat of government of the sultans as well as the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire for centuries. Today, as a museum, it houses collections of porcelain, manuscripts, portraits, robes, jewels and weapons from the Ottoman Empire. Furthermore, various Islamic relics, such as the weapons of Muhammad and the first caliphs, one of the oldest copies of the Koran, or the supposed whiskers of the Prophet Muhammad. Conservative Muslims are therefore calling for the palace to be closed to tourism. In 1964, the museum formed the backdrop for the film of the same name " Topkapi " with Peter Ustinov .

Immediately opposite is the Hagia Sophia , formerly the main church of the Byzantine Empire and the religious center of Orthodoxy. After the Ottoman conquest, Hagia Sophia became the main mosque of the Ottomans. In 1934, eleven years after the founding of the Republic of Turkey, Hagia Sophia was converted into a museum by decree. In July 2020, the Turkish State Council canceled this decree. The sacred building, which is now used as a mosque again, is to remain open to the public outside of prayer times.

In third place of the most visited cultural sites in Turkey, with around 2 million visitors a year, is the ancient metropolis of Ephesus , which has been explored by Austrian archaeologists since 1895 and impresses tourists with the re-erected facade of the Celsus library and the ruins of the hillside houses .

The most famous ancient city, Troy , is also in Turkey. It is located in the Troas landscape on the Hellespont in the north-west of the country.

The most important archaeological museums in Europe include the Archaeological Museum in Istanbul and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.

The Ishak Pascha Palace is a castle-like palace built between 1685 and 1784 and now in ruins, belonging to the Kurdish Emir of Doğubeyazıt , Çolak Abdi Pascha , and his son İshak Pasha II. It is located in the far east of Turkey, about 6 km from the Doğubeyazıt town away on a mountainside. The building complex combines Armenian, Georgian, Persian, Seljuk and Ottoman architectural styles.

With the Temple of Artemis (Artemision) in Ephesus and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in Bodrum , two of the seven ancient wonders of the world are located in Anatolia.


Radio and television are organized as a dual system in Turkey . Most of the broadcasters are in the hands of a few media groups. In addition, the state broadcasting group TRT maintains several television stations.

The regulation of private radio and television broadcasters is incumbent on the regulatory authority RTÜK , which both issues and withdraws licenses and can issue temporary broadcasting bans. The press is not (any longer) regulated by the state, but most print media are subject to voluntary self-regulation by the Turkish Press Council, which also processes complaints about electronic media.

The public radio and television company TRT operates seven national television and five radio stations. The television and radio stations are run by a directorate. Although this is formally independent, its members are appointed by the government. Private television and radio companies have only been licensed since 1990. Since then, the TRT has lost its former importance relatively quickly. Their market share now remains well below that of the most important private competitors.

16 national, 15 regional and 229 local television stations (as of May 2005) compete on the national television market. The most popular TV channels ATV, Show TV , Star TV , FOX Türkiye , STV, Kanal 7 and Kanal D are full programs , with entertainment shows, films, series, news and information programs. NTV , Habertürk TV , S HABER TV , Haber 7, TRT Haber , TVNET and CNN Türk bring news non-stop. The radio landscape is similarly diverse, there are over 1000 stations.

After the severe economic crisis in 2001, a rapid movement of concentration swept across the Turkish media landscape. Many media companies were bought up by the state in order to secure their survival and privatized again shortly afterwards. Since then, a few media groups have shaped the Turkish media landscape.

One of the most important media groups is the Aydın Doğan Group (daily newspapers Hürriyet and Posta Kanal D, CNN-Türk). There is also the Çalık group ( Sabah , ATV and others), the İhlas group ( Türkiye , TGRT Haber and others), the Esmedya group (daily newspapers Akşam and Star ), broadcaster 24 the Ciner group (Show TV, Habertürk), the Doğuş Group (NTV) and the Demirören Group Milliyet . These groups also run the newspapers with the highest circulation: Sabah , Hürriyet, Milliyet, Türkiye and Posta . Numerous weekly and monthly magazines appear, which usually specialize in a certain topic (women's, motor, sports magazines, etc.).

See also: Freedom of expression and freedom of the press in Turkey

Visual arts

Historically, Turkish artists have mostly focused on the field of "decorative arts and crafts", i.e. H. the artistic painting of objects and tiles, the knotting of complex carpet patterns and artistic font design ( calligraphy ). This was based on the ban on images in Islam , which forbids the depiction of living beings. In practice, however, it was not always strictly followed, e.g. B. Ottoman miniature painting. In the 18th century it was increasingly replaced by a European style by invited European artists who portrayed the sultans. One of the most famous Turkish painters today is Bedri Baykam .

Sculpture was also subject to religious limits due to the Islamic ban on images in the Ottoman Empire. Sculpture begins with the republican cultural policy, which called for a monument landscape. Most of the city centers are decorated with iconographic images of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and national monuments. A modern artistic representative is z. B. Ilham Koman .


Fuat Uzkınay and the Ayastefanos Monument

Fuat Uzkınay's 1914 recording of the demolition of the Ayastefanos Victory Monument , which the Russian troops erected in Bakırköy near Istanbul, is considered the first Turkish film recording .

The domestic mass cinema is dominated by trivial and light comedies and action films. An important period in Turkish film history is the "Yeşilçam era" in the 1960–70s. This period is named after Yeşilçam Street, a film district in Istanbul's Beyoğlu . Some of the films in this productive phase with up to 300 films a year are considered cult films in Turkey, especially the comedies by Kemal Sunal in his prime role as a likeable loser from the lower class who, despite all adversities, has his heart in the right place. Cüneyt Arkin is another representative of this era who shaped the history and action genre.

Turkish feature film production
year number
1975 124
1985 185
1995 k. A.
2005 30th
2015 137

As an important director , screenwriter and actor Yılmaz Güney , with the film Yol - The Way he received the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival in 1982, is more serious about issues . As a staunch communist, his films are about poverty, the position of the Kurds and state power. The director and producer Nuri Bilge Ceylan is one of the most famous Turkish figures in film production today on the international stage . For the films Uzak - Weit and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia he received the Grand Jury Prize in Cannes, the Cannes Prize for Best Director for Three Monkeys and the Palme d'Or for Winter Sleep .

Large production sums were raised for the highly politically colored and controversial political action films such as Valley of the Wolves - Iraq with 10 million US dollars (8.4 million euros). This and the films in the following series are based on the adventures of a small Turkish anti-terrorist unit, including in Iraq and Israel, and are based on the popular series Kurtlar Vadisi . With a production cost of 16 million euros, the most expensive production was the film Fetih 1453 The Conquest of Constantinople (1453), from a Turkish perspective, in the style of a historical action film.

Turkish series are attracting great attention in the Balkans and throughout the Islamic world. As a cultural export, they are firmly integrated in foreign channels with very high ratings. Emancipated women's roles and the understanding of history that it radiated led to protests and regulations in various importing countries. In Turkey, too, the latter point of discussion found expression in the threat of conservative circles and the Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan against a portrayal of Suleyman I in the series Muhteşem Yüzyıl that was not appropriate for an Islamic caliph . This series is followed by around 200 million viewers worldwide.


Contrary to popular belief, Ottoman music, in contrast to literature, was hardly influenced by Arabic elements. After the founding of the republic, the government promoted Turkish music more. From 1924 folk music from Anatolia was collected and archived under the headings of classical music and Halk Müziği . In 1953 the archive contained 10,000 folk songs . There is a state ensemble for classical Turkish music . Since the 1990s, modern styles of music such as pop and rock have dominated alongside classical styles such as Türk Halk Müziği and Türk Sanat Müziği. By 2013, Turkey took the Euro Vision Song Contest in part.

Most of Turkish folk music is based on the saz , a type of long necked lute . Zurna and Davul are popular in rural areas and are very often played at weddings and other celebrations. Furthermore, the shepherd's flute Kaval and the Ney are common. Also Elektrosaz and darbuka , often of electric keyboards are accompanied, are popular.

Many European classical composers in the 18th century were fascinated by Turkish music, especially the strong roles of the brass and percussion instruments in the janissary bands. Joseph Haydn wrote his military symphony and some of his operas in order to be able to incorporate Turkish instruments. Turkish instruments were also included in Ludwig van Beethoven's 9th Symphony . Mozart wrote his Rondo alla turca as the third movement of his Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major KV 331 and also used Turkish motifs in some of his operas. Although this Turkish influence was just a fad , it introduced cymbals , bass drums and bells into the symphony orchestra .

Turkey also produced prominent and well-known performers of European classical music: the opera singer Leyla Gencer , the composer Cemal Reşit Rey , the pianist and composer Fazıl Say and the pianists Güher and Süher Pekinel . There is also a state ensemble for classical Turkish music .

Theater and opera

Main entrance of the Opera Sahnesi in Ankara

The traditional Karagöz (Turkish "black eye") is a shadow play in which a figure called tasvir , shaped as a person, animal or object, made of a camel or cow skin behind a white curtain is moved back and forth in strong backlighting.

The Opera Sahnesi ( German  opera stage ) is the largest of the three opera houses in Ankara . It belongs to the Turkish State Theaters (Devlet Tiyatroları) . The building also serves as a theater stage under the name Great Theater (Büyük Tiyatro) .


Contemporary Turkish cuisine is the result of mixing the original nomadic cooking tradition of the Turkish tribes with Middle Eastern cuisine. Since her migration, she has also included influences from the Mediterranean region . This diversity of influences developed over the centuries, especially under the influence of the Ottoman culture and way of life, into today's characteristic Turkish cuisine. The Ottoman palace kitchen (e.g. with baklava ) is an important place of culinary development .

Turkish cuisine has also shaped Greek and Balkan cuisine - including etymology. For example, Zaziki comes from the Turkish Cacık , and Ćevapčići comes from Kebapcik (Balkan Turkish diminutive of Kebap , Balkan Turkish usually doesn't know any difference between i and ı). Even yogurt comes from the Turkish Yoğurt . Doner kebab is made from beef, veal or poultry meat. In Turkey, but also in other (European) countries, the doner kebab is also served on the plate.

public holidays

date Fixed holiday Moving Holiday * German translation Occasion and meaning
January 1st Yılbaşı New Year Celebration on the occasion of the first day of the year
April 23 Ulusal Egemenlik ve Çocuk Bayramı Holiday of National Sovereignty and the Child Recalls the opening of the National Assembly , sovereignty of the foundations of the republic.
1st of May Emek ve Dayanışma Günü Labor and Solidarity Day ( May 1st )
May 19th Ataturk'ü Anma, Gençlik ve Spor Bayramı Holiday of youth, sport and the memory of Ataturk Remembering Ataturk's arrival in Samsun . Beginning of the liberation war.
15th of July Demokrasi ve Milli Birlik Günü Day of Democracy and National Unity Recalls the victims and martyrs of the coup attempt in 2016
August 30th Zafer Bayramı Victory Day Recalls the decisive victory of Başkomutanlık Meydan Savaşı over the Greeks in the Turkish War of Liberation
October 29th Cumhuriyet Bayramı Holiday of the Republic National holiday, commemorates the proclamation of the republic by Ataturk in 1923
Religious holidays

The religious holidays are based on the Islamic lunar calendar , which is why they take place around 11 days earlier every year and have no fixed date according to the Gregorian calendar . As a result, one of the festivals sometimes takes place twice in a calendar year, once at the beginning of January and again at the end of December.

The weekly rest day is Sunday and not - as in many other Islamic countries - Friday.



Turkish national soccer team June 29, 2016

The most popular sport in Turkey is soccer . The top division in Turkish football is the Süper Lig . The most important football clubs come from the metropolis of Istanbul: ( Galatasaray Istanbul , Beşiktaş Istanbul and Fenerbahçe Istanbul ). Trabzonspor and Bursaspor are the only non-Istanbul clubs that have been able to become Turkish football champions.

The Turkish national soccer team has only been able to qualify for a soccer World Cup twice: the 1954 World Cup and the 2002 World Cup . In 2002 the Turkish team achieved third place after beating South Korea in the small final , the most successful result in the history of Turkish football. In addition, the Turkish national soccer team qualified four times for the European Championships in 1996 , 2000 , 2008 and 2016 , the best result was reaching the semi-finals at the European Championship 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, in which they failed 3-2 to Germany .


Basketball World Cup in Turkey 2010

In addition to football in Turkey, basketball is also played at a high level. The top division in Turkish basketball is the Türkiye Basketbol Ligi , in which the clubs Anadolu Efes SK , Fenerbahçe Ülker , Galatasaray Istanbul and Beşiktaş Cola Turka play. A well-known player who played for Turkish clubs like Fenerbahçe Ülker and Galatasaray Istanbul as well as German clubs like Alba Berlin is the German-Turkish player Teoman Öztürk . Turkish players Mehmet Okur and Hedo Türkoğlu play for North American clubs in the professional basketball league NBA . Turkey hosted the 2010 World Basketball Championship . She was defeated in the final against the USA with 64:81 and took second place.


Turkish amateur boxers have so far (as of July 2018) won 98 medals (18 gold, 23 silver, 57 bronze) at European championships and European games , 37 medals (7 gold, 8 silver, 22 bronze) at world championships and 5 medals (2 × silver, 3 × bronze) at the Olympic Games . The first European champion was Nurhan Süleymanoğlu in 1993 , and the first world champion in 1999 Sinan Şamil Sam . Hülya Şahin became the first female European and world champion in 2001 .

The 30th European Championships were held in Bursa in 1993 , the 39th European Championships in 2011 in Ankara . Turkey hosted several Balkan championships, the 4th European Junior Championships 1976 ( Izmir ), the 8th Junior World Championships 1994 ( Istanbul ), the 2nd Women's World Championships 2002 ( Antalya ), the 1st University World Championships 2004 ( Antalya), the 5th Cadet World Championships 2006 (Istanbul), the 1st Youth and Junior World Championships women in 2011 (Antalya), the European Olympic qualification tournaments in 2012 ( Trabzon ) and 2016 ( Samsun ) and the European Youth Championships 2017 (Antalya).

Among the most successful professional boxers of the past are the EBU European champions Selçuk Aydın , Eyüp Can , Cemal Kamacı and Sinan Şamil Sam .

Equestrian sport

Equestrian sport has a high priority in Turkish history. The traditional sport of Cirit was used to train the mounted nomads in their clout. It becomes marginal, especially in the east of the country, and a. exercised in Erzurum and Kars. Modern equestrian sport also leads a niche existence. The Gazi Koşusu is a competition that has been taking place continuously in Istanbul's Veliefendi Hipodromu since 1927 .

When camel wrestling there are no riders - here the animals are fighting with each other.


The national sport in Turkey is oil wrestling (Yağlı Güreş) . Oil wrestling has been practiced in Turkey for around 650 years. Competitions are held twice a year, including the Kırkpınar and Kurtdere. In these competitions the best oil wrestlers (Pehlivan) from all regions of Turkey compete . The most famous, undefeated Baspehlivan was Kurtdereli Mehmet.


The 2020 Turkey Grand Prix in Formula 1 will take place at the Intercity Istanbul Park race track .

In Istanbul Park Circuit , there was the in recent years the Turkish Grand Prix in Formula 1 . Turkish motorcycle racer Kenan Sofuoğlu has been taking part in the Superbike World Championship and the Supersport World Championship for several years .


Turkey hosted the Mediterranean Games in 1971 and 2013.

Turkey has applied for all Summer Olympics since 2000 . This also applies to the hosting of the 2012 Summer Olympics under the concept of “The Games in Europe and Asia”. But the Turkish metropolis missed the final. For the Olympic bid, the Ataturk Olympic Stadium was built especially for over 100 million euros. So far, the Turkish application committee has applied for the 2000 , 2004 , 2008 , 2012 and 2020 Summer Olympics without success . The center of the games and a large part of the sports facilities are located in the European part of the city of Istanbul.

World cultural heritage and world natural heritage

The late Ottoman architecture in the old town of Safranbolu

The following Turkish sites are on the UNESCO World Heritage List :


(sorted chronologically)

Web links

Portal: Turkey  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Turkey
Wiktionary: Turkey  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Turkey  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikiquote: Turkey  - Quotes
 Wikinews: Portal: Turkey  - in the news
Wikimedia Atlas: Turkey  - geographical and historical maps
Wikisource: Turkey  - Sources and full texts
Wikivoyage: Turkey  Travel Guide

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Coordinates: 39 °  N , 36 °  E