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Turkey - Introduction

Introduction to Turkey

Decorative tiles in Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

Check your Midnight Express stereotypes at the door - this is a rapidly modernising country with one foot in Europe and one in the Middle East. It's not all oriental splendour, mystery, intrigue and whirling dervishes but it is a spicy maelstrom of history knocking up against a pacy present.

Full country name: Repubic of Turkey
Area: 779,452 sq km
Population: 68.1 million
Capital City: Ankara (pop 3.7 million)
People: Turks (85%), Kurds (12%), other Islamic peoples, Armenians, Jews
Language: Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, Greek
Religion: Muslim (Sunni)
Government: republican parliamentary democracy
Head of State: President Ahmet Necdet Sezer
Head of Government: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
GDP: US$471 billion
GDP per capita: US$3,500
Annual Growth: -5%
Inflation: 26%
Major Industries: Textiles, food processing, tourism, motor vehicles, mining, lumber, petroleum, construction.
Major Trading Partners: Germany, USA, Italy, UK, France, Russia
Member of EU: no

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