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ABOUT TURKEY

The Republic of Turkey, which is located in an area where the Asian, European and African continents come very close to each other, is surrounded by Georgia, Armenia, Nakhichevan and Iran to the east, Bulgaria and Greece to the west and Syria and Iraq to the south. The majority of these borders were determined by agreements after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey is a passageway for the old Asian Turkish cultures to reach Europe due to her location and is at the same time the window of the west opening to the east. Turkey's coastlines, which encompass her on three sides with the Mediterranean Sea to the south, the Black Sea to the north and the Aegean Sea to the west, make the country not only a neighbor to the nearby regions, but to the entire world as well. Turkey has become the center of the great trade and migration routes due to these long shores and her place as a bridge between continents. Turkey is a NATO member country and at the same time plays an active role on the subject of developing multilateral economic cooperation among the Islamic countries.

The area of the Republic of Turkey is 814,578 km2. A total of 3 percent of the area is located in Thrace on the European continent. The remaining 97 percent, which is located on the Asian continent, is usually called Anatolia. Turkey, which resembles a rectangle, has a width of approximately 550 km and a length of about 1,500 km. The most distant point to the east is the point that intersects with the borders of Iran and Nakhichevan. The point farthest to the west is the Avlaka Cape at Gokceada, farthest to the north is the Inceburun Cape at Sinop Province and to the south is the Beysun Village at Hatay Province. The length of the coastline is 8,333 km and the length of the land borders is 2,875 km. Turkey, with this area, has more extensive lands than all of her neighbors with the exception of Iran.

Climate

Climate in spite of Turkey being located in a moderate climate belt, due to the fact that the mountains are parallel to the coasts and the diversification of the surface morphology, differences in climate are observed among the regions. The coastal regions have a moderate maritime climate while the internal regions surrounded by mountains have a continental climate.

The Mediterranean Region which is under the influence of the Mediterranean climate, has hot and arid summers and mild and rainy winters. The Mediterranean climate also manifests itself in the Aegean Region and in the south of the Marmara Region. The Black Sea Region is dominated by a more moderate and rainy maritime climate.

In the interior regions, the summers are hot and slightly rainy and a steppe climate is observed in the winters which are cold and snowy. In the Eastern Anatolia Region, the summers are cool and the winters are very cold and snowy. In the Southeastern Anatolia Region, while the summers are hot and arid, the winters are not very cold.

Language

The Turkish language is spread over a large geographical are in Europe and Asia; it is spoken in the Azeri, the Turkmen, the Tartar, the Uzbek, the Baskurti; the Hogay, the Kyrgyz, the Kazakh, the Yakuti, the Guvas, and other dialects. The Turkish spoken in Turkey represents that of the Turkish language group coming from the southwest branch of the Uralic-Altayic language family. The oldest written records of Turkish are found upon stone monuments in Central Asia, in the Orhun, Yenisey and Talas regions within the boundaries of present day Mongolia, and belong to the years 725, 732 and 735 A.D. After the formation of the Turkish Republic in 1923 and following the achievement of national unity, Latin alphabet using Turkish phonetics was adopted in 1928.

Religion and Secularty

99% of the Turkish population is Moslem. However, everyone in Turkey has freedom of religion and beliefs. The first phases in the introduction of secularism were the abolition of the Caliphate and the Ministry of Sheria and Pious Foundations on March 4th, 1924, followed by the introduction of separate educational and judicial systems, the hat reform, the closure of dervish retreats and religious sects, the acceptance of a Sunday weekend holiday rather than the Moslem Friday and finally the adoption of the principle of secularism in the constitution on 1937. In secular Turkey, all religious affairs are carried out by a central government organisation affiliated to the Prime Ministry, namely the Department of Religious Affairs