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About Turkey

Turkey is a paradise of sun, sea, mountains, and lakes that offers the holiday maker a complete change from the anxieties and routine of everyday life. Turkey has a magnificent past, and is a land full of historic treasures covering thirteen successive civilizations. Even a person who spends only a little time in Turkey can see something of this great past. There is no doubt that one visit will not be enough, and you will want to come back again and again as you discover one extraordinary place after another. All of them, no matter how different, have one thing in common, the friendly and hospitable people of this unique country.

The country is encircled by seas on three sides with the Aegean Sea to the west, the Black Sea to the north, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles, which together form the Turkish Straits, divide Thrace and Anatolia and separate Europe and Asia. Ankara is the capital while Istanbul is the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial center.

Approximately 70-80% of the country's citizens identify themselves as ethnic Turks.


Turkey is situated in Anatolia (95%) and the Balkans (5%), bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Syria. The geographic coordinates of the country lie at: 39°00′N 35°00′E. The area of Turkey is 783,562 km² (302,535 sq. mi); land: 770,760 km² (297,592 sq. mi), water: 9,820 km² (3,792 sq. mi).

Turkey extends more than 1,600 km (994 mi) from west to east but generally less than 800 km (497 mi) from north to south. The total area (of about 783,562 km2 (302,535 sq. mi)) consists of about 756,816 km2 (292,208 sq. mi) in Western Asia (Anatolia) and about 23,764 km2 (9,175 sq. mi) in Southeastern Europe (Thrace).


To get around Turkey, there are two feasible options: road or air transportation. Ferries and railways are almost obsolete in Turkey. On the other hand you can use ferries to go to the Greek Islands.

Bus is the main public transportation mean in Turkey. It is cheap and frequent. Some bus companies have very modern buses in their fleet, the comfort level varies greatly from one company to another. There are only a handful of companies in Turkey that would be comfortable for a Western traveler.


The country's official language is Turkish, which is spoken by 85.54 percent of the population a first language. 11.97 percent of the population speaks the Kurmanji dialect of Kurdish as mother tongue. Arabic and Zaza are the mother tongues of 2.39 percent of the population, and several other languages are the mother tongues of smaller parts of the population. Endangered languages in Turkey include Abaza, Abkhaz, Adyghe, Cappadocian Greek, Gagauz, Hértevin, Homshetsma, Kabard-Cherkes, Ladino (Judesmo), Laz, Mlahso, Pontic Greek, Romani, Suret, Turoyo, Ubykh, and Western Armenian.