Turkey

Driving Directions Turkey

TURKEY spans Europe and Asia’s continents and guards the sea passage between the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. The mod­ern Republic of Turkey came into being in 1923 following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish War of Independence (1918-23).

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The Mediterranean and Aegean regions of Turkey have hot summers and mild winters, during which most of the yearly rainfall experienced. Along the Black Sea, temperatures are similar, but it is generally more humid, with more significant rain, while a continental climate prevails inland with hot, dry summers and cold winters.

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European Turkey, known as Thrace, is a reasonably small, fertile area comprising some 3 percent of the country’s total area. It is separated from the much larger region of Asiatic Turkey, known as Anatolia, by the narrow straits of the Bosporus (Istanbul Bogazici), the Dardanelles, and the intervening, broader Sea of Marmara (Marmara Denizi).

Asiatic Turkey is bordered to the north by the Pontine Mountains (Kuzey Anadolu Daglari) and south by the Taurus Mountains (Toros Daglari). It is mostly a region of plateaux, highlands, and rugged mountains dominated by a central plateau.

The highest peaks are in the east, and the greatest of them is Mount Ararat (Agn Dagi), at 5,165 meters or 16,854 feet. According to the Biblical account, Noah’s ark made landfall after the Great Flood on the summit of Mount Ararat. The two great rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, upon which the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia to the south depended, both arise in eastern Turkey.

Vegetation varies from Mediterranean-type bushes to olive and citrus trees, from woodlands along the Black Sea shores to grasslands and coniferous forests in upland regions inland. Alpine plants are found on the higher slopes and towards the summits of the mountains. Wildlife is well represented, especially in the remote areas, and includes bears, wolves, jackals, wild cats, lesser-spotted eagles, and falcons. Turkey occupies an area where seismic activity is a frequent occurrence, and the country regularly experiences devastating earthquakes.

Agriculture employs almost half the workforce, with the principal crops being wheat, sugar beet, cotton, tobacco, barley, fruit and nuts, maize, and oilseeds. Turkey is self-sufficient in most foodstuffs. The country’s primary mineral resources are chromium, iron ore, coal, magnetite, zinc, and lead – hydroelectric power supplied by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. A growing manufacturing industry produces mainly processed foods, chrome, iron and steel, textiles, motor vehicles, and Turkey’s famous carpets. The country’s main exports are chrome, iron and steel, cotton, dried fruits, tobacco, textiles, leather clothes, and carpets.

Tourism is a fast-developing industry and plays an increasingly important role in the economy.

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