Turkey, officially the Republic of
Turkey (Turkish Türkiye Cumhuriyeti), southeastern Europe and
southwestern Asia, bordered on the northwest by Bulgaria and Greece; on the
north by the Black Sea; on the northeast by Georgia and Armenia; on the east by
Iran and the Azerbaijani exclave of Naxçıvan; on the south by Iraq, Syria, and
the Mediterranean Sea; and on the west by the Aegean Sea. The total area of Turkey is
779,452 sq km (300,948 sq mi). The capital is Ankara; İstanbul is the largest city.
The modern Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal (later
Atatürk) from a portion of the Ottoman Empire,
following the empires collapse as a result of World War I (1914-1918). Turkey became a
secular state in 1928, and a multiparty political system was established in
1950. Apart from a brief period of government by a military junta in 1960 and
remained under civilian rule until 1980, when, in a period of political
instability, inflation, and acts of terrorism, the military again took control.
Civilian rule was restored to Turkey
at the end of 1983.
LAND AND RESOURCES The
main area of Turkey, known
as Anatolia, is in Asia between the Mediterranean
and Black seas. Turkish Thrace in Europe makes
up about 3 percent of the countrys area. Turkey has relatively rich
agricultural resources and important deposits of lignite, black coal, iron ore,
and chromium; some petroleum is found in the southeast. With several active
seismic zones within its boundaries, Turkey is subject to frequent
Rivers and Lakes Almost all
the rivers of Turkey
contain rapids and are thus unsuitable for navigation. A number of rivers do
not flow during the dry summer. Some rivers are, however, important sources of
hydroelectric power and water for irrigation. The Kızılırmak (1150 km/715 mi
long), which empties into the Black Sea, is
the longest river flowing entirely within national boundaries. The
Büyükmenderes (ancient Meander) drains western Anatolia into the Aegean Sea; its many loops and bends have given rise to
the term meander in English. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers flow from
eastern Turkey to empty
ultimately into the Persian Gulf.
Van Gölü (Lake Van) is Turkeys
largest lake; its waters are saline, as are those of another large body of
water, Lake Tuz. Freshwater lakes include Beysehir,
Eğridir, and Burdurall in the southwest.
Climate and Vegetation The
Mediterranean and Aegean shores of Turkey experience long, hot summers and
mild, rainy winters. İstanbul, located on the Bosporus,
has an average temperature range in January of 3° to 8° C (37° to 46° F). In
July the average range is 18° to 28° C (65° to 82° F). Precipitation averages
about 820 mm (about 32 in) annually, and is heaviest between October and March.
Olives, citrus fruit, figs, grapes, cotton, and early spring vegetables are
raised. Scattered forests alternate with low herbaceous growth. The central
Anatolian Plateau has a continental climate with hot summers and colder winters
than those along the shore. Ankara, located here, has an average temperature
range of -4° to 4° C (24° to 39° F) in January and 15° to 30° C (59° to 86° F)
in July. The average annual precipitation is about 350 mm (about 14 in). Along
the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts, more than
one-third of the yearly precipitation, which is about 650 mm (about 26 in) at
İzmir, falls in December and January. The plateau receives only about half as
much precipitation, but it is more evenly distributed over the course of the
year. Grasslands and grain fields are abundant on the plateau, with sparse
forests restricted to higher slopes. The eastern highlands experience even
longer and colder winters. Pastoralism and grazing prevail. Some sparse forests
are found, and alpine vegetation is common at higher elevations.
Humid deciduous forests as well as a thick brush cover are found
along the Black Sea, and the climate is mild
and rainy. Southeastern Anatolia records the hottest summer temperatures in Turkey
(averaging more than 30° C/86° F in July and August); grain farming is dominant
here, with grazing in its drier portions. Higher elevations have forests
similar to those in the eastern highlands.
Animal Life Only wild boar, which are seldom
hunted or killed by Muslims (the great majority of the population), remain
abundant in the forests. Wolf, fox, wildcat, hyena, jackal, deer, bear, marten, and mountain goat inhabit more remote areas.
The camel, water buffalo, and Angora goat have been domesticated. In addition
to numerous local species of birds, including the wild goose, partridge, and
quail, migrations of birds of preylesser spotted eagles, buzzards, hawks,
kestrels, and falconspass down the Bosporus.
Trout are abundant in the mountain streams, and bonito, mackerel, and bluefish
are plentiful in the Turkish Straits. Anchovies are caught in the Black Sea.
Mineral Resources In addition to good supplies of
coal and iron ore, Turkey
has a number of small but important mineral deposits, such as chromium near
Guleman and Fethiye, high-grade magnetite at Divriği, and lead and zinc in
scattered areas. Boron, copper, and silver are also found, and petroleum occurs
in the southeast.