Republic of Turkey
780,580 sq. km.
Cities: Capital--Ankara (pop. 4.0 million). Other
cities--Istanbul (8.8 million), Izmir (2.3 million), Bursa (2.1 million),
Adana (1.8 million).
Terrain: Narrow coastal plain surrounds Anatolia, an inland
plateau becomes increasingly rugged as it progresses eastward. Turkey includes
one of the more earthquake-prone areas of the world.
Climate: Moderate in coastal
areas, harsher temperatures inland.
Population (2005): 71.5 million.
population growth rate (2004 est.): 1.33%.
Ethnic groups: Turkish, Kurdish,
Religions: Muslim 99%, Christian, Bahai and Jewish.
(official), Kurdish, Zaza, Arabic, Armenian, Greek.
Education: Years compulsory--8.
Health: Infant mortality
rate--39.4/1,000. Life expectancy--68.5 yrs.
Work force (23 million):
Agriculture--35.6%; industry--17.5%; services--42.2%.
Independence: October 29, 1923.
Constitution: November 7, 1982.
Executive--president (chief of state), prime minister (head of government),
Council of Ministers (cabinet--appointed by the president on the nomination of
the prime minister). Legislative--Grand National Assembly (550 members)
chosen by national elections at least every 5 years. Judicial--Constitutional
Court, Court of Cassation, Council of State, and other courts.
in Parliament: Justice and Development Party (AK), Republican People’s Party (CHP),
and True Path Party (DYP).
Suffrage: Universal, 18 and older.
holiday: Republic Day, October 29.
(2003) $241.1 billion; (2004) $300.6 billion; (2005) $361.5 billion.
real GDP growth rate: (2003) (+) 5.8%; (2004) (+) 8.9%; (2005) 7.4%
capita: (2003) $3,412; (2004) $4,187; (2005) $5,016.
Annual inflation rate
/CPI: (2003) 18.4%; (2004) 9.3%; (2005) 7.7%.
Natural resources: Coal, chromium,
mercury, copper, boron, oil, gold.
Agriculture (11.8% of GNP): Major cash
crops--cotton, sugar beets, hazelnuts, wheat, barley, and tobacco. Provides
more than 40% of jobs, 6% of exports.
Industry (24.9% of GNP): Major growth
sector, types--automotive, electronics, food processing, textiles, basic metals,
chemicals, and petrochemicals.
Trade: Exports (merchandise)--(2003)
$46.8 billion; (2004) $63.1 billion: textiles and apparel, iron and steel, electronics,
tobacco, and motor vehicles. Imports (merchandise)--(2003) $68.7 billion;
(2004) $96.5 billion; (2005) $116 billion: petroleum, machinery, motor vehicles,
electronics, iron and steel, plastics. Major partners--Germany, U.S., Italy,
France, Russian Federation, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, U.K.
Turkey spans bustling cosmopolitan centers, pastoral farming villages, barren
wastelands, peaceful Aegean coastlines, and steep mountain regions. More than
half of Turkey's population lives in urban areas that juxtapose Western lifestyles
with traditional-style mosques and markets.
has been officially secular since 1924, although 99% of the population is Muslim.
Most Turkish Muslims belong to the Sunni branch of Islam, but a significant number
are Alevi Muslims. Questions of the goals of political Islam and the aftermath
of the 1984-99 PKK Kurdish insurgency continue to fuel public debate on several
aspects of Turkish society, including the role of religion, the necessity for
human rights protections, and the expectation of security. Turkish citizens of
Kurdish origin constitute an ethnic and linguistic group. Estimates of their population
range up to 12 million.
Kemal, celebrated by the Turkish State as a Turkish World War I hero and later
known as "Ataturk" or "father of the Turks," led the founding of the Republic
of Turkey in 1923 after the collapse of the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire and a
three-year war of independence. The empire, which at its peak controlled vast
stretches of northern Africa, southeastern Europe, and western Asia, had failed
to keep pace with European social and technological developments. The rise of
national consciousness impelled several captive nations to seek to regain lost
independence, leading to the empire's fragmentation. This process culminated in
the disastrous Ottoman participation in World War I as a German ally. Defeated,
shorn of much of its former territory, and partly occupied by forces of the victorious
European states, the Ottoman structure was repudiated by Turkish nationalists
whom Mustafa Kemal brought together under his tight leadership. The nationalists
expelled invading Greek forces from Anatolia after a bitter war. After the proclamation
of the Republic of Turkey the temporal and religious ruling institutions of the
old empire (the sultanate and caliphate) were abolished.
leaders of the new republic concentrated on consolidating their power and modernizing
and Westernizing what had been the empire's core--Anatolia and a small part of
Thrace. Social, political, linguistic, and economic reforms and attitudes decreed
by Ataturk from 1924-1934 continue to be referred to as the ideological base of
modern Turkey. In the post-Ataturk era, and especially after the military coup
of 1960, this ideology came to be known as "Kemalism" and his reforms began to
be referred to as "revolutions." Kemalism comprises a Turkish form of secularism,
strong nationalism, statism, and to a degree a western orientation. The continued
validity and applicability of Kemalism are the subject of lively debate in Turkey's
political life. The current ruling AK Party comes from a tradition that challenges
many of the Kemalist precepts and is driven in its reform efforts by a desire
to achieve EU accession.
not enter World War II on the Allied side until shortly before the war ended and
became a charter member of the United Nations. Difficulties faced by Greece after
World War II in quelling a communist rebellion and demands by the Soviet Union
for military bases in the Turkish Straits prompted the United States to declare
the Truman Doctrine in 1947. The doctrine enunciated American intentions to guarantee
the security of Turkey and Greece and resulted in large scale U.S. military and
economic aid. After participating with United Nations forces in the Korean conflict,
Turkey in 1952 joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Turkey is
currently a European Union candidate.
AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
The 1982 Constitution, drafted by the military
in the wake of the 1980 coup, proclaims Turkey’s system of government as democratic,
secular, and parliamentary. The presidency’s powers are not precisely defined
in practice, and the president’s influence depends on his personality and political
weight. The president and the Council of Ministers led by the prime minister share
executive powers. The president, who has broad powers of appointment and supervision,
is chosen by Parliament for a term of 7 years and cannot be reelected. The prime
minister administers the government. The prime minister and the Council of Ministers
are responsible to Parliament.
Parliament carries out legislative functions. Election is by proportional representation.
To participate in the distribution of seats, a party must obtain at least 10%
of the votes cast at the national level as well as a percentage of votes in the
contested district according to a complex formula. The president enacts laws passed
by Parliament within 15 days. With the exception of budgetary laws, the president
may return a law to the Parliament for reconsideration. If Parliament reenacts
the law, it is binding, although the president may then apply to the Constitutional
Court for a reversal of the law. Constitutional amendments pass with a 60% vote,
but require a popular referendum unless passed with a two-thirds majority; the
president may also submit amendments passed with a two-thirds majority to a popular
The judiciary is declared
to be independent, but the need for judicial reform and confirmation of its independence
are subjects of open debate. Internationally recognized human rights, including
freedom of thought, expression, assembly, and travel, are officially enshrined
in the Constitution but have at times been narrowly interpreted, can be limited
in times of emergency and cannot be used to violate what the Constitution and
the courts consider the integrity of the state or to impose a system of government
based on religion, ethnicity, or the domination of one social class. The Constitution
prohibits torture or ill treatment; the current government has focused on ensuring
that practice matches principle. Labor rights, including the right to strike,
are recognized in the Constitution but can be restricted.
1982 Constitution provides for a system of State Security Courts to deal with
offenses against the integrity of the state. The high court system includes a
Constitutional Court responsible for judicial review of legislation, a Court of
Cassation (or Supreme Court of Appeals), a Council of State serving as the high
administrative and appeals court, a Court of Accounts, and a Military Court of
Appeals. The High Council of Judges and Prosecutors, appointed by the president,
supervises the judiciary.
In the November
2002 election of Turkey’s 58th government, the Justice and Development Party (AK)
captured 34.3% of the total votes, making Abdullah Gul Prime Minister, followed
by the Republican People's Party (CHP) with 19.39% of the vote, led by Deniz Baykal.
A special General Election was held again in the province of Siirt in March 2003,
resulting in the election of AK’s chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan to a seat in parliament,
allowing him to become prime minister. AK and CHP were the only parties to surpass
the 10% threshold required to hold seats in parliament. The elections resulted
in 363 of the 550 seats going to AK, 178 seats to CHP, and 9 as independent. Due
to a reshuffle in party affiliation, AK holds 367 seats, CHP holds 175 seats,
five are independent, and three joined the True Path Party (DYP). In March 2004
nationwide local elections, AKP won 57 of 81 provincial capital municipalities
and, with 41.8% of the votes for provincial council seats, consolidated its hold
Principal Government Officials
of the Republic--Ahmet Necdet Sezer
Prime Minister--Recep Tayyip Erdogan
of Foreign Affairs--Abdullah Gul
Ambassador to the United States--Nabi Sensoy
to the United Nations--Umit Pamir
maintains an embassy in the
United States at 2525 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, tel. (202)
612-6700. Consulates general in Chicago (360 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1405, Chicago,
IL 60601, tel: 312-263-0644, ext. 28); Los Angeles (4801 Wilshire Blvd., Suite
310, Los Angeles, CA 90010, tel: 323-937-0118); New York (821 United Nations Plaza,
New York, NY 10017, tel: 212-949-0160); and Houston (1990 Post Oak Blvd., Suite
1300, Houston, TX 77056, tel: 713-622-5849). The Permanent Representative of Turkey
to the United Nations is located on 821 United Nations Plaza, 10th floor, New
York, NY 10017, tel: 212-949-0150.
Turkey is a large, middle-income country with relatively few mineral resources.
Its economy is currently in transition from a high degree of reliance on agriculture
and heavy industrial economy to a more diverse, more modern economy with an increasingly
important and globalized services sector. Turkey’s economy suffered from high--sometimes
very high--inflation for 30 years, from the early 1970s until the recent reform
period. Coming out of a tradition of a state-directed economy that was relatively
closed to the outside world, Prime Minister and then President Turgut Ozal began
to open up the economy in the 1980s. In the 1990s, Turkey’s economy suffered from
a series of coalition governments with weak economic policies, leading to a boom-and-bust
cycle culminating in a severe banking and economic crisis in 2001 and a deep economic
downturn (GNP fell 9.5% in 2001) and increase in unemployment.
the crisis, however, Turkey's economy has recovered strongly thanks to good monetary
and fiscal policies and structural economic reforms made with the support of the
International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The independence of the Central
Bank from political interference has been firmly established, a floating exchange
rate system has been put in place, and the government's overall budget deficit
has been substantially reduced. In addition, there have been substantial reforms
in the financial, energy, and telecommunications sectors that have included the
privatization of several large state-owned institutions.
to these efforts, Turkey's economy grew an average of 7.5% per year from 2002
through 2005--one of the highest sustained rates of growth in the world. Inflation
and interest rates have fallen significantly, the currency has stabilized, government
debt has declined to more supportable levels, and business and consumer confidence
have returned. At the same time, the booming economy and large inflows of portfolio
investment have contributed to a growing current account deficit. Though Turkey’s
vulnerabilities have been greatly reduced, the economy could still face problems
in the event there is a sudden change in investor sentiment that leads to a sharp
fall in the exchange rate. Continued implementation of reforms, including tight
fiscal policy, is essential to sustain growth and stability.
years of low levels of foreign direct investment (FDI), in 2005 Turkey succeeded
in attracting $9.6 billion in FDI and is expected to attract a similar level in
2006. A series of large privatizations, the stability fostered by the start of
Turkey’s EU accession negotiations, strong and stable growth, and structural changes
in the banking, retail, and telecommunications sectors have all contributed to
the rise in foreign investment. Turkey has taken steps to improve its investment
climate through administrative streamlining, an end to foreign investment screening,
and strengthened intellectual property legislation. However, a number of disputes
involving foreign investors in Turkey and certain policies, such as high taxation
of cola products and continuing gaps in the intellectual property regime, inhibit
investment. Turkey has a number of bilateral investment and tax treaties, including
with the United States, that guarantee free repatriation of capital in convertible
currencies and eliminate double taxation.
Debt and Fiscal Policy. Though Turkey has made great progress reducing
inflation, it has not yet converged with the low levels prevalent in most other
industrialized countries. Annual consumer price inflation, which averaged around
80% in the 1990s and nearly 50% in 2000 through 2003, fell to 9.3% in 2004 and
7.7% in 2005. In 2006, the target is to bring inflation down to 5%. Turkey’s other
persistent economic weaknesses--its large, short-term domestic public debt and
runaway state spending--have also been brought under control. Net public debt
to GDP has fallen from 92% in 2001 to under 60% at the end of 2005. The composition
of the debt, with much of it short-term debt needing to be rolled over in the
domestic financial market, remains a risk, but the Turkish Treasury has gradually
reduced this by increasing maturities and reducing the share of foreign exchange-denominated
debt. Turkey’s five straight years of tight fiscal policy have brought public
sector balances under control, with the overall public sector deficit now less
than the 3% of GDP requirement in the EU’s Maastricht criteria.
Growth Sectors - Energy. Installed electricity generation capacity in
Turkey reached 32,000 megawatts (MW) as of 2004. Fossil fuels account for 71%
of the total installed capacity and hydro, geothermal, and wind account for the
remaining 28%. The growth in electricity generation has remained below electricity
demand until recently, which has made Turkey a net importer of electricity since
1997. The growth of energy demand slowed somewhat as a result of the 2001 economic
crisis, but has picked up again. Turkish authorities expect a significant electricity
shortfall by 2008 unless new facilities become operational. The Government of
Turkey took some important steps in 2001 to liberalize its energy sector, including
passage of the Electricity Market Law and establishment of the Energy Market Regulatory
Authority (EMRA). However, the government has moved slowly to follow through on
plans to liberalize and privatize the electricity and natural gas sectors. In
2004, the High Planning Council approved the Electricity Sector Reform Strategy
to renew the reform process.
about 43% of Turkey’s total energy requirements; around 90% is imported. Domestic
production is mostly from small fields in the southeast. New exploration is taking
place in the eastern Black Sea. In 2004, the Parliament approved a petroleum market
reform bill that liberalized consumer prices and would lead to the privatization
of the state refining company TUPRAS. TUPRAS was privatized in 2005, but this
has been held up by court cases still in process. Turkey has a refining capacity
of 802,275 barrels per day (b/d).
acts as an important link in the East-West Energy Corridor bringing the Caspian
energy to Europe and world markets. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which will
begin operation in 2006, will deliver 1 million b/d of petroleum, and in late
2006, the South Caucasus Pipeline (from Shah Deniz) will bring natural gas from
Azerbaijan to Turkey. Turkey is building an interconnector pipeline to Greece,
an important step in bringing Caspian natural gas to Europe via Turkey.
Parliament enacted legislation separating telecommunications policy and regulatory
functions in January 2000, by establishing an independent regulatory body, the
Telecommunication Authority. The Authority is responsible for issuing licenses,
supervising operators, and taking necessary technical measures against violations
of the rules. Most regulatory functions of the Transport Ministry were transferred
to the Authority, and the regulator is slowly gaining competence and independence.
The long-expected privatization of the state-owned telecommunications company
was accomplished by the sale of 55% of Turk Telekom to the Saudi-owned Oger Group
in November 2005. With liberalization and growth in the economy, there is growing
competition for Internet provision, but Turk Telekom remains the sole provider
of ADSL wide band Internet.
With the establishment of the Environment Ministry in 1991, Turkey began to make
significant progress addressing its most pressing environmental problems. The
most dramatic improvements were significant reductions of air pollution in Istanbul
and Ankara. However, progress has been slow on the remaining--and serious--environmental
challenges facing Turkey.
In 2003, the
Ministry of Environment was merged with the Forestry Ministry. With its goal to
join the EU, Turkey has made commendable progress in updating and modernizing
its environmental legislation. However, environmental concerns are not fully integrated
into public decision-making and enforcement can be weak. Turkey faces a backlog
of environmental problems, requiring enormous outlays for infrastructure. The
most pressing needs are for water treatment plants, wastewater treatment facilities,
solid waste management, and conservation of biodiversity. The discovery of a number
of chemical waste sites in 2006 has highlighted weakness in environmental law
The Turkish Government gives a special priority to major infrastructure projects,
especially in the transport sector. The government is in the process of building
new airports and highways, thanks to an increased public investment budget. The
government will realize many of these projects by utilizing the build-operate-transfer
The textile sector is Turkey's largest manufacturing industry and its largest
export sector. The global phase-out of textile quotas in 2005 has hurt the Turkish
textile sector, with foreign competition eating into Turkish textile companies’
market share both domestically and abroad.
growth sectors are tourism infrastructure, building products, automobiles and
automotive parts, and electronics.
Turkey's primary political, economic, and security ties are with
the West, although some voices call for a more "Eurasian" orientation.
entered NATO in 1952 and serves as the organization's vital eastern anchor, controlling
the straits leading from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and sharing a border
with Syria, Iraq, and Iran. A NATO headquarters is located in Izmir. Besides its
relationships with NATO and the EU, Turkey is a member of the OECD, the Council
of Europe, and OSCE. Turkey also is a member of the UN and the Islamic Conference
Organization (OIC). In December 1999, Turkey became a candidate for EU membership.
On December 17, 2004, the EU decided to begin formal accession negotiations with
Turkey in October 2005.
Turkey and the
EU formed a customs union beginning January 1, 1996. The agreement covers industrial
and processed agricultural goods. Turkey is harmonizing its laws and regulations
with EU standards. Turkey adopted the EU's Common External Tariff regime, effectively
lowering Turkey's tariffs for third countries, including the United States.
October 3, 2005, Turkey and the EU reached agreement for Turkey to begin negotiations
on accession to the European Union. Turkey and EU officials have begun the process
of screening Turkey’s laws and policies in order to begin negotiating the individual
chapters required for ultimate EU accession.
is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It has signed free trade agreements
with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Israel, and many other countries.
In 1992 Turkey and 10 other regional nations formed the Black Sea Economic Cooperation
Council to expand regional trade and economic cooperation.
U.S.-Turkish friendship dates to the late 18th century and was
officially sealed by a treaty in 1830. The present close relationship began with
the agreement of July 12, 1947, which implemented the Truman Doctrine. As part
of the cooperative effort to further Turkish economic and military self-reliance,
the United States has loaned and granted Turkey more than $12.5 billion in economic
aid and more than $14 billion in military assistance.
relations focus on areas such as strategic energy cooperation, trade and investment,
security ties, regional stability, the global war on terrorism, and human rights
progress. Relations were strained when Turkey refused to allow U.S. troops to
deploy through its territory to Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom, but regained
momentum steadily thereafter and mutual interests remain strong across a wide
spectrum of issues.
The U.S. and Turkey
have had a Joint Economic Commission and a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement
for several years. In 2002, the two countries indicated their joint intent to
upgrade bilateral economic relations by launching an Economic Partnership Commission.
In 2005, Turkish exports to the U.S. totaled $4.9 billion, and U.S. exports to
Turkey totaled $5.3 billion.
Chief of Mission--Nancy McEldowney
Affairs--Janice G. Weiner
Political-Military Affairs--Timothy Betts
Affairs--Thomas H. Goldberger
Regional Affairs--Thaddeus W. Troy
Management Affairs--Gerri H. O’Brien
Agricultural Affairs--James Higgiston
Defense/Air Attache--Col. Roman Hrycaj
Navy Attache--CDR David
Army Attache--LTC David Bartlett
U.S. Embassy is located at 110 Ataturk
Boulevard, Kavaklidere, Ankara 06100, tel: (90) (312) 455-5555.
TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION
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