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Tuesday 28th May
Turkey Information - Page 2
Turkey has been the home of many civilisations. Ancient people who lived in the area include the Hittites of Hattusha, Phrygians and Lydians. The Persians ruled between 545-383 BC, followed by the Greeks (333-30BC) and the Romans (30BC-395 AD).

In 330 AD the Roman Emperor Constantine moved his capital to Byzantium, a Greek city, dividing the Roman Empire into two. Byzantium was renamed Constantinople becoming the capital of the Christian Empire. The Byzantine Empire lasted until 1453.

In the eleventh century Seljuk Turks from Central Asia migrated to Turkey (Anatolia). Their most famous leader, Osman (1259-1326), founded the Osmanli or Ottoman Dynasty. The Ottoman Empire superseded the Byzantine Empire and Constantinople became Istanbul. With the change in name came a change in religion and the centre of Christianity became Islamic.

The Ottoman Empire lasted until 1923. During this time the Empire ruled parts of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe. Countries under its control included Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Tunisia, (Africa), Cyprus, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen (Middle East), Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, (Asia), Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia (Europe).

In 1526 the Ottoman army occupied Buda in Hungary. By 1683 the Ottomans had moved further into Europe and tried to take Vienna (Austria) but were defeated by the King of Poland, John III (Jan Sobieski). The Turks were finally driven out of Hungary in 1686 by the Austrian, Hungarian and Polish armies.

In the eighteenth century the Ottoman Empire fought a number of wars against European countries and Russia. The most well remembered war of the mid nineteenth century was the Crimean War (1845-1856) when Britain, France and the Ottoman Empire fought against expansionist Russia.

Twenty years later the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878) saw the liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule. However Bulgaria lost territory to the Turks and in 1912 Greece, Serbia, Montenegro and Bulgaria attacked the Ottomans (the First Balkan War) gaining land from the Ottoman Empire. In the Second Balkan War (1913) Greece, Serbia, Montenegro and Romania fought against Bulgaria winning territory for Greece and Serbia.

Unrest in the Balkans contributed towards the First World War (1914-1918). During the War, also known as the Great War, the Ottoman Empire allied itself with Germany and Austria-Hungary. At the end of the War Ottoman territory was greatly reduced.

Ottoman rule ended in 1922 and Turkey was formed in 1923. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (Father of the Turks) became the President of the Republic of Turkey.

Turkey stayed out of the Second World War (1939-1945) until 1945 and in the same year joined the United Nations. Turkey became a member of NATO in 1952.

In 1963 fighting broke out in Cyprus between the Turkish and the Greek Cypriot population. Just over a decade later a coup led to Turkish forces invading Cyprus. In 1983 the Turkish Cypriot leader proclaimed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus separate from the south although this separation was only recognised by Turkey.

Turkey is an Associate Member of the EU and is working towards full EU membership.

Turkey’s banking system and financial markets weathered a global financial crisis, its GDP growing in 2010 and 2011.

In 2018 Turkey suffered a currency and debt crisis.

Turkey's services sector earns the highest percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Industry is the second largest provider of the GDP. Agriculture, the traditional employer, provides employment for a large percentage of the working population.

Agricultural crops are grains, beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas, potatoes, sugar beets, tomatoes, olives, citrus fruits, cherries, grapes, melons, tea, tobacco and cotton. Livestock is reared for meat and dairy products. Other primary industries are fishing and mining.

The textiles and clothing industries are important to the Turkish economy. Other major industries include vehicles (cars, buses and trucks), electronics, steel, construction, paper, textiles and food processing.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, opened in 2006, ends at a marine terminal at Ceyhan on Turkey's Mediterranean coast. It was estimated that the pipeline would bring up to a million barrels of oil a day from the Caspian.

Tourism is an important earner of foreign currency. Money remitted from Turkish people working abroad is also a significant source of foreign exchange.

Turkey has had ambitions to join the EU since 2005 but negotiations have not progressed successfully. (2019)

Turkey's history has left a rich legacy in the arts. Its earliest art dates back to prehistory. Large wall paintings from Neolithic times have been found at the site of Catalhoyuk, 45 km south of Konya.

Byzantine frescoes and mosaics can be seen in churches converted by the Ottoman Turks into mosques. One of the best examples of rediscovered Byzantine art is that found at the Kariye Mosque, formerly the Church of St Saviour in Khora.

Poetry and music are an integral part of Turkish culture. The oral tradition of poetry goes back to the early Turkish clans. Various forms of poetry covered subjects such as nature, love, courage, war and death. Music, classical, religious and folk, has always been important to the Turkish way of life. Turkish musical instruments include the baglama (a long necked lute), cymbal, flute, zither and drums.

The creation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 gave impetus to Turkish culture. The founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, encouraged the Turkish people to recognise their own culture. Painting, sculpture and architecture flourished, with developments in the world of music, theatre and film.

Turkish basketball and football are popular team games.

Turkey reached their first European Football Championship in 1996 and in 2000 played in the quarter final of the UEFA Championship. The striker Hakan Sukur is said to be one of the best Turkish football players of the twentieth century.

Other popular sports are athletics, weightlifting and wrestling. Gold medals have been awarded at the Olympics for Greco-Roman wrestling, judo and weightlifting.

Turkey's long coastline and good weather are ideal for water sports such as diving and windsurfing.

Religious holy days include the Feast of Ramadan and the Feast of the Sacrifice.

Other holidays are New Year's Day (1 January), National Sovereignty & Children's Day (23 April), Ataturk's Commemoration & Youth and Sports Day (19 May), Victory Day (30 August) and Republic Day (29 October 1923).

News from the Republic of Turkey can be found in Newslink.

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