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My Favourite Planet > English > Middle East > Turkey
Turkey Facts and figures for Turkey page 3
Hagia Sofia, Istanbul at My Favourite Planet
Note: information about tourist visas for Turkey
can be found on page 4: practical info.
name: Republic of Turkey
Türkiye Cumhuriyeti

capital: Ankara (pop. 4.5 million *)

largest city: Istanbul (pop. 12.8 million *)

See a list of Turkey's 23 largest cities below.

location: Turkey is a transcontinental Eurasian country.

Asian Turkey (Anatolia) makes up 97% of the country, separated from European Turkey by the Bosphorus Strait, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles (which together form a marine link between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean).

European Turkey (Eastern Thrace or Rumelia on the Balkan peninsula) makes up 3% of the country.

local time: Eastern European Time (EET)

Daylight Saving Schedule:

Summer (from last Sunday in March)
GMT/UTC +3 hours

Winter (from last Sunday in October)
GMT/UTC +2 hours

currency: Turkish Lira (abbreviation: TRY, TYL or TL)

telephone code: +90

electricity: 220V / 50Hz (European plug)

climate: south and west coass, Mediterranean climate, temperate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters.

Elsewhere (Black Sea coast and the interior) harsher.

visas: See page 4: practical info.

total area: 783,562 square kilometres
(302,535 sq miles)
water: 1.3 %

coastline: total 7,200 km

north: Black Sea (Karadeniz)

west-south: Aegean (Egedenizi) and Mediterranean (Akdeniz)

international boundaries: Land boundaries: total 2,648 km

west: Greece 206 km, Bulgaria 240 km

east: Georgia 252 km, Armenia 268 km, Azerbaijan 9 km,
Iran 499 km

south: Syria 822 km, Iraq 352 km

terrain: high central plateau (Anatolia); narrow coastal plains;
several mountain ranges

lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 metres

highest point: Mount Ararat 5,166 metres

population: 71,517,100 (2008 census)

ethnicities: Turkish 80%, Kurdish 20% (estimated);
other ethnic groups include: Abkhazians, Adjarians, Albanians, Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians, Bosniaks, Circassians, Greeks, Hamshenis, Jews, Laz, Pomaks, Roma, Zazas

language: majority/official language Turkish;

Armenian, Kurdish spoken, particularly in eastern Turkey;

Various other ethnic languages and dialects spoken in various locations

religion: Turkey is officially a secular republic, with no state religion.

The population is predominantly Muslim (99%), the majority are Sunni (75%) and a large minority are Alevi (15-25%).

Other religious groups include: Christians (mostly Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic) and Jews (96% Sephardi and 4% Ashkenazi)

national holiday:

Republic Day, 29 October (1923)

the national flag of Turkey


Ephesus photo gallery at My Favourite Planet

Kusadasi photo gallery at My Favourite Planet

Pergamon and Bergama photo galleries at My Favourite Planet

Selçuk photo galleries at My Favourite Planet

7 regions: Aegean (Ege Bölgesi), Black Sea (Karadeniz Bölgesi), Central Anatolia (Iç Anadolu Bölgesi), Eastern Anatolia (Doğu Anadolu Bölgesi), Marmara, Mediterranean (Akdeniz Bölgesi), Southeastern Anatolia (Güneydoğu Anadolu Bölgesi)

81 administrative provinces (iller, singular ili), each divided into districts (total of 923 districts); each province also has 7 non-administrative regions for census purposes.

81 provinces: Adana, Adiyaman, Afyonkarahisar, Agri, Aksaray, Amasya, Ankara, Antalya, Ardahan, Artvin, Aydin, Balikesir, Bartin, Batman, Bayburt, Bilecik, Bingol, Bitlis, Bolu, Burdur, Bursa, Canakkale, Cankiri, Corum, Denizli, Diyarbakir, Duzce, Edirne, Elazig, Erzincan, Erzurum, Eskisehir, Gaziantep, Giresun, Gumushane, Hakkari, Hatay, Icel (Mersin), Igdir, Isparta, Istanbul, Izmir (Smyrna), Kahramanmaras, Karabuk, Karaman, Kars, Kastamonu, Kayseri, Kilis, Kirikkale, Kirklareli, Kirsehir, Kocaeli, Konya, Kutahya, Malatya, Manisa, Mardin, Mugla, Mus, Nevsehir, Nigde, Ordu, Osmaniye, Rize, Sakarya, Samsun, Sanliurfa, Siirt, Sinop, Sirnak, Sivas, Tekirdag, Tokat, Trabzon (Trebizond), Tunceli, Usak, Van, Yalova, Yozgat, Zonguldak

political system: parliamentary democracy

constitution: 7 November 1982; amended 1987, 1995, 2001 and 2007; amendment passed by referendum concerning presidential elections on 21 October 2007

president: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (AKP party)

prime minister: Ahmet Davutoğlu (AKP party)

parliament: 550 members, elected every four years (party-list proportional representation system)

Turkey Turkey's 23 largest cities
city population (estimated * see below)
Adana 2,006,650 Fourth largest Turkish city: the ancient Antioch in Cilicia (or Antioch on the Saurus); inland commercial centre for agriculture, gateway to fertile Çukurova (Cilician) plain.
Ankara 4,466,756 Turkey's capital and second largest city.
Antakya 1,386,224 Fortified port and provincial capital near the Syrian border; ancient Antioch.
Antalya 1,789,295 The fastest growing city, centre of the Mediterranean region's beach resort area known as "theTurkish Riviera". Ancient Attalia, founded by King Attalus II of Pergamon in the 2nd century BC.
Aydın 946,971 Inland agricultural market town near the Aegean Sea; ancient Tralles (Roman name, it also had various other names in antiquity); Aydin province includes the popular seaside town of Kusadasi.
Balıkesir 1,118,313 Inland agricultural market town in the Marmaris (ancient Aeolia) region of the north Aegean, large olive production, beautiful rural landscape
Bursa 2,439,876 First capital of the Ottoman Empire, near the Sea of Marmaris, on the foothills of Mount Uludag; ancient Prussa; a national park, thermal baths, and winter sports resort; once a western terminus of the Silk Road, and later the largest centre for Ottoman Turkey's own domestic silk production and trade.
Diyarbakır 1,460,714 Second largest city in Southeastern Anatolia (after Gaziantep), on the River Tigress; large Kurdish population ("unofficial capital of Kurdistan"); ancient Amida.
Edirne   Main city of eastern Thrace, the second capital of the Ottoman Empire; formerly Adrianople, founded by Roman Emperor Hadrian in 125 AD.
Gaziantep 1,560,023 (informally Antep) Largest city in Southeastern Anatolia; one of the oldest continally inhabited cities in the world; ancient Doliche (Roman).
Istanbul 12,573,836 Turkey's largest city and the fifth largest in the world. Former capital of the Ottoman and Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empires. The only city in the world to straddle two continents. Formerly known as Byzantium, Constantinople.
Izmir 3,739,353 Turkey's third largest city and main port on the Aegean Sea; ancient Smyrna. Capital of Izmir province which includes Bergama (Pergamon) and Selçuk (ancient Ephesus).
Izmit 1,437,926 Administrative centre, university town and industrial port on the Sea of Marmaris; ancient Nicomedia.
Kahramanmaraş 1,004,414 Inland administrative centre, and market town in the Mediterranean region, at the foot of Taurus mountains; produces textiles and ice cream; called Maraş until 1973; ancient Hittite city, known by Romans as Germanicia Caesarea.
Kayseri 1,165,088 Principal city of Central Anatolia; important trade, industrial and cultural centre; ancient Caesarea Mazaca.
Konya 1,959,082 On the Central Anatolian plain; ancient Iconium; former captal of Seljuk Empire; home to and site of the tomb of Rumi, mystic and poet, founder of the Dervish order; place of Dervish pilgrimage; splendid Islamic architecture.
Manisa 1,319,920 Inland market town northeast of Izmir in the Aegean Region; ancient Magnesia.
Mersin 1,595,938 Modern, busy port city on the Mediterranean coast in south Anatolia; ancient Zephyrium (also Hadrianopolis); second largest skyscraper in Turkey; huge hotels, an opera house, expensive real estate; plans to build a nuclear power plant.
Samsun 1,228,959 Port on the Black Sea; ancient Amisos
Şanlıurfa 1,523,099 Inland market town in South-eastern Anatolia, near the Syrian border; locally known as Urfa; many ancient names including Ur and Edessa; mixed population, mainly Kurdish; fascinating old quarter and ancient bazaar; home of Nabi, 17th century poet.
Sinop 47,000 Black Sea port on the northern-most peninsula of Anatolia; the ancient fortress Sinope.
Trabzon 400,187 The wonderful Sumela Monastery is just outside the city and it is a great gateway to exploring northeastern Turkey.

Van 979,671 On Lake Van in Eastern Anatolia, an ancient Armenian city; today the majority of the population are Kurds. Long story, short description. If you know more, please get in contact.

* Population estimates vary enormously from source to source. Though it is true Turkey's population is growing steadily, and more people are moving into cities from the countryside, often numbers quoted for cities are actually for their respective regions or even provinces rather than actual urban populations. More than one city claims to be the fourth largest in Turkey based on such statistics. Another factor is that as cities grow they absorb surrounding towns and villages - a continuous process and a headache for the people who produce statistics and journalists. Spare little sympathy for such people, that is what they are paid for. ;-)
Maps, photos and articles: © David John
except where otherwise specified.

Additional photos: © Konstanze Gundudis

All photos and articles are copyright protected.

Images and materials by other authors
have been attributed where applicable.

Please do not use these photos or articles without permission.

If you are interested in using any of the photos for your website,
project or publication, please get in contact.

Higher resolution versions are available on request.
See also
The Cheshire Cat Blog
photo essays about Turkey:

Istanbul Essentials part 1

Istanbul Essentials part 2

Istanbul Essentials part 3
with video

Ionian Spring part 1

Ionian Spring part 2

Ionian Spring part 3
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