Modern Turkey was founded in 1923 from the remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire by national hero Mustafa KEMAL, who was later honored with the title Ataturk or “Father of the Turks.” Under his leadership, the country adopted radical social, legal, and political reforms. After a period of one-party rule, an experiment with multi-party politics led to the 1950 election victory of the opposition Democrat Party and the peaceful transfer of power. Since then, Turkish political parties have multiplied, but democracy has been fractured by periods of instability and military coups (1960, 1971, 1980), which in each case eventually resulted in a return of formal political power to civilians. In 1997, the military again helped engineer the ouster – popularly dubbed a “post-modern coup” – of the then Islamic-oriented government. An unsuccessful coup attempt was made in July 2016 by a faction of the Turkish Armed Forces.
Turkey intervened militarily on Cyprus in 1974 to prevent a Greek takeover of the island and has since acted as patron state to the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” which only Turkey recognizes. A separatist insurgency begun in 1984 by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a US-designated terrorist organization, has long dominated the attention of Turkish security forces and claimed more than 40,000 lives. In 2013, the Turkish Government and the PKK conducted negotiations aimed at ending the violence, however intense fighting resumed in 2015. Turkey joined the UN in 1945 and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. In 1963, Turkey became an associate member of the European Community; it began accession talks with the EU in 2005. Over the past decade, economic reforms, coupled with some political reforms, have contributed to a growing economy, although economic growth slowed in recent years.
From 2015 and continuing through 2016, Turkey witnessed an uptick in terrorist violence, including major attacks in Ankara, Istanbul, and throughout the predominantly Kurdish southeastern region of Turkey. On 15 July 2016, elements of the Turkish Armed forces attempted a coup that ultimately failed following widespread popular resistance. More than 240 people were killed and over 2,000 injured when Turkish citizens took to the streets en masse to confront the coup forces. The government accused followers of the Fethullah Gulen transnational religious and social movement (“Hizmet”) for allegedly instigating the failed coup and designates the movement’s followers as terrorists. Since the attempted coup, Turkish Government authorities arrested, suspended, or dismissed more than 130,000 security personnel, journalists, judges, academics, and civil servants due to their alleged connection to Gulen’s movement. Following the failed coup, the Turkish Government instituted a State of Emergency from July 2016 to July 2018. The Turkish Government conducted a referendum on 16 April 2017 in which voters approved constitutional amendments changing Turkey from a parliamentary to a presidential system. The amendments went into effect fully following the presidential and parliamentary elections in June 2018.
The Best of Turkey...
Turkey's Most Popular Sights...
Here is a list of some of the most interesting and visited places. Cities or areas listed will always have more than just one thing see and do. With the popular cities or areas we list some of the best known, which should go on everyone’s, must see list when they visit.
|Black Sea Region|
|Central Anatolia Region|
Eastern Anatolia Region
|Southeastern Anatolia Region|
|Currency||Türk Lirası/Turkish Lira|
|Area||total: 783,562 km2 water: 13,930 km2 land: 769,632 km2 ranked 37th|
|Population||80,274,604 (July 2016 est.) ranked 20th|
|Language||Turkish (official), Kurdish, other minority languages|
|Ethnic Groups||Turkish 70-75%, Kurdish 18%, other minorities 7-12% (2008 est.)|
|Religion||Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews)|
|Electricity||230V, 50Hz (European or Italian plug)|
|Emergencies||dial 155 for police / 110 for fire / 112 for medical|
|Drives on the||Right|
|Anthem||İstiklal Marşı (Turkish) “Independence March”|
|Motto||Egemenlik, kayıtsız şartsız Milletindir “Sovereignty unconditionally belongs to the Nation”|
|President||Recep Tayyip Erdoğan|
|Prime Minister||Binali Yıldırım|
Holidays and Observances in Turkey in 2020
|Jan 1||Wednesday||New Year’s Day||National holiday|
|Mar 20||Friday||March Equinox||Season|
|Apr 23||Thursday||National Sovereignty and Children’s Day||National holiday|
|May 1||Friday||Labor and Solidarity Day||National holiday|
|May 19||Tuesday||Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day||National holiday|
|May 23||Saturday||Ramadan Feast Eve||Half Day|
|May 24||Sunday||Ramadan Feast||National holiday|
|May 25||Monday||Ramadan Feast Day 2||National holiday|
|May 26||Tuesday||Ramadan Feast Day 3||National holiday|
|Jun 21||Sunday||June Solstice||Season|
|Jul 15||Wednesday||Democracy and National Unity Day||National holiday|
|Jul 30||Thursday||Sacrifice Feast Eve||Half Day|
|Jul 31||Friday||Sacrifice Feast||National holiday|
|Aug 1||Saturday||Sacrifice Feast Day 2||National holiday|
|Aug 2||Sunday||Sacrifice Feast Day 3||National holiday|
|Aug 3||Monday||Sacrifice Feast Day 4||National holiday|
|Aug 30||Sunday||Victory Day||National holiday|
|Sep 22||Tuesday||September Equinox||Season|
|Oct 28||Wednesday||Republic Day Eve||Half Day|
|Oct 29||Thursday||Republic Day||National holiday|
|Nov 10||Tuesday||Ataturk Memorial Day||Observance|
|Dec 21||Monday||December Solstice||Season|
|Dec 31||Thursday||New Year’s Eve||Observance|