The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition
Turkey Turk. Türkiye , officially Republic of Turkiye, republic (2005 est. pop. 69,661,000), 301,380 sq mi (780,574 sq km), SW Asia and SE Europe. It borders on Iraq (SE), Syria and the Mediterranean Sea (S), the Aegean Sea (W), Greece and Bulgaria (NW), on the Black Sea (N), and Armenia, Georgia, and Iran (E). Ankara is the capital of the country and Istanbul is its largest city.
Land and People
Asian Turkey (made up largely of Asia Minor), which includes 97% of the country, is separated from European Turkey (made up of E Thrace ) by the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles (which together form a water link between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean). Northeast Asian Turkey includes part of historical Armenia, and SE Asian Turkey includes part of Kurdistan (see Kurds ). European Turkey, which includes Edirne and most of Istanbul, is largely rolling agricultural land, drained by the Ergene River. Asian Turkey is mostly made up of highland and mountains, with some narrow strips of lowland in the west on the coasts of the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara and along the Simav, Gediz, and Menderes rivers; in the north on the Black Sea coast and along the Sakarya and Kizil Irmak rivers; and in the south on the Mediterranean coast and along the Aksu, Göksu, Seyhan, and Ceyhan rivers.
The center of W Asian Turkey is made up of the vast semiarid plateau of Anatolia (average height c.3,000 ft/914 m), which includes lakes Tuz and Beyşehir and which is fringed in the north by the Köroğlu Mts. and in the south by the Taurus Mts. In NE Turkey are the Pontic Mts. and in E Turkey are the Eastern Taurus Mts. Great Ararat Mt. (16,945 ft/5,165 m), the highest point in Turkey, and Lake Van are in the extreme eastern part of the country. SE Turkey is drained by the upper courses of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
Although the Turks regard the Osmanlis, or Ottomans, as their ancestors, they are a highly composite ethnic mixture. About 80% of the population is Turkish; Kurds make up most of the rest. The official language is Turkish, and Kurdish is widely used in the south and southeast; there is also an Arabic-speaking minority. About 99% of the people are Muslim, mostly of the Sunni branch; there is a significant Alawite minority. There are also small groups of Orthodox Christians (Istanbul is the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch) and Jews.
Turkey’s economy is a mixture of modern industry and traditional agriculture; great strides have been made since the 1970s to strengthen and diversify the economy. The most productive farmland is in W Turkey, but in the 1970s the country began the massive Southeast Anatolia Project to use the Tigris and Euphrates rivers for irrigation and hydroelectric power. Although plagued by the conflict with Kurdish separatists and bitterly opposed by Syria and Iraq (who are concerned that the downstream water flow from the rivers to them will be severely impeded), the project has nine dams and eight hydroelectric stations in operation (out of 22 and 19 originally planned). The government’s goal is to transform arid SE Turkey into a prosperous agricultural-industrial region.
Turkey’s chief crops are tobacco, cotton, wheat, barley, corn, rye, oats, rice, olives, sugar beets, pulses, and citrus. Large numbers of sheep, goats (including many mohair-producing Angora goats), and cattle are raised.
The principal minerals extracted are coal, chromium, copper and iron ores, boron, antimony, and mercury. Some petroleum is produced. The leading industrial centers are Istanbul, Ankara, Karabük , Bursa , Izmir , Adana , Samsun , and Diyarbakir . The country’s chief industries include food processing, mining, and the manufacture of textiles, motor vehicles, electronics, steel, construction materials, and forest products. Turkey is also noted for the manufacture of carpets, meerschaum pipes and artifacts, and pottery. There is a substantial tourist trade.
Turkey’s main ports are Istanbul, Izmir, Samsun, Iskenderun , Mersin , and Trabzon . Turkey has one of the Middle East’s best road and rail systems, which includes the Baghdad Railway . The annual value of Turkey’s imports is usually considerably higher than that of its exports. The chief imports are machinery, chemicals, semifinished goods, fuels, and transportation equipment. The principal exports are textiles and clothing, foodstuffs, iron and steel products, and transportation equipment. The leading trade partners are Germany, Italy, Great Britain, the United States, Russia, and France. Large numbers of Turks are employed in Western Europe, especially in Germany.
Turkey is a parliamentary democracy governed under the constitution of 1982. The president, who is the head of state, is elected by the legislature for a single seven-year term. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is appointed by the president. The unicameral legislature consists of the 550-seat Grand National Assembly, whose members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms; a party must receive at least 10% of the vote to be seated in the assembly. Administratively, Turkey is divided into 81 provinces.
Although Anatolia (the western portion of Asian Turkey) is one of the oldest inhabited regions of the world, the history of Turkey as a national state began only with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. For the earlier history of the region now constituting Turkey, see (for the ancient period) Asia Minor ; Ionia ; Pontus ; Thrace ; Byzantium ; (for the medieval period) Byzantine Empire ; Armenia ; Turks ; Konya ; Karaman ; Nicaea, empire of ; Trebizond, empire of ; (for the modern period before 1918) Ottoman Empire ; Eastern Question .
The Establishment of Modern Turkey
The Ottoman Empire, which had been tottering since the Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji in 1774, was dealt its death blow in World War I. By the Treaty of Sèvres (1920; see Sèvres, Treaty of ) the victorious Allies reduced the once mighty empire to a small state comprising the northern half of the Anatolian peninsula and the narrow neutralized and Allied-occupied Zone of the Straits. Sultan Muhammad VI accepted the treaty, but Turkish nationalists rallied under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal (from 1934 known as Kemal Atatürk ) and organized their forces for resistance.
In Apr., 1920, even before the Treaty of Sèvres was signed, a Turkish national government and national assembly began to function at Ankara. The nationalists defied the authority of the sultan, took the offensive against the Allies in Anatolia, and concluded (1921) a treaty of friendship with the USSR, which restored the Kars and Ardahan regions to Turkey in exchange for Batumi. In the meantime the Greeks, encouraged by the Allies, launched an offensive against the nationalists from their base at Izmir. The Turkish counteroffensive, beginning in Aug., 1922, ended with the complete rout of the Greeks and with the Turkish capture of Izmir (Sept., 1922). On Nov. 1, 1922, the Ankara government declared the sultan deposed, but it allowed his brother, Abd al-Majid, to succeed to the spiritual office of caliph.
Shortly afterward, a conference opened at Lausanne (see Lausanne, Treaty of ) to revise the Treaty of Sèvres. The Treaty of Lausanne (1923) established the present boundaries of Turkey, except for the disputed region of Alexandretta (Iskenderun; see Hatay ). Turkey was to exercise full sovereign rights over its entire territory, except the Zone of the Straits (see Dardanelles ), which was to remain demilitarized. Under a separate agreement negotiated at Lausanne in 1923, approximately 1.5 million Greeks living in Turkey were repatriated to Greece, and approximately 800,000 Turks living in Greece and Bulgaria were resettled in Turkiye.