Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye), known officially as the Republic of Turkey (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, is a Eurasiancountry that stretches across the Anatolian peninsula in western Asia and Thrace (Rumelia) in the Balkan region of southeastern Europe. Turkey borders eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west, Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, Azerbaijan (the exclave of Nakhichevan), and Iran to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. The Mediterranean Sea and Cyprus are to the south; the Aegean Sea and Archipelago are to the west; and the Black Sea is to the north. Separating Anatolia and Thrace are the Sea of Marmara and the Turkish Straits (the Bosporus and the Dardanelles), which are commonly reckoned to delineate the border between Asia and Europe, thereby making Turkey transcontinental.
Due to its strategic location astride two continents, Turkey's culture has a unique blend of Eastern and Western tradition. A powerful regional presence in the Eurasian landmass with strong historic, cultural and economic influence in the area between the European Union in the west and Central Asia in the east, Russia in the north and the Middle East in the south, Turkey has come to acquire increasing strategic significance.
Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic whose political system was established in 1923 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War I. Since then, Turkey has become increasingly integrated with the West through membership in organizations such as the Council of Europe (1949), NATO (1952), OECD (1961), OSCE (1973) and the G20 industrial nations (1999). Turkey began full membership negotiations with the European Union in 2005, having been an associate member since 1963, and having reached a customs union agreement in 1995. Meanwhile, Turkey has continued to foster close political, economic and industrial relations with the Eastern world, particularly with the states of the Middle East, Central Asia and East Asia.

Administrative divisions

The capital city of Turkey is Ankara. The territory of Turkey is subdivided into 81 provinces for administrative purposes. The provinces are organized into 7 regions for census purposes; however, they do not represent an administrative structure. Each province is divided into districts, for a total of 923 districts.
Provinces usually bear the same name as their provincial capitals, also called the central district; exceptions to this are the provinces of Hatay (capital: Antakya), Kocaeli (capital: İzmit) and Sakarya (capital: Adapazarı). Provinces with the largest populations are İstanbul (+12 million), Ankara (+4.4 million), İzmir (+3.7 million), Bursa (+2.4 million), Adana (+2.0 million) and Konya (+1.9 million).
The biggest city and the pre-Republican capital İstanbul is the financial, economic and cultural heart of the country.[54] Other important cities include İzmir, Bursa, Adana, Trabzon, Malatya, Gaziantep, Erzurum, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Mersin, Eskişehir, Diyarbakır, Antalya and Samsun. An estimated 70.5% of Turkey's population live in urban centers. In all, 18 provinces have populations that exceed 1 million inhabitants, and 21 provinces have populations between 1 million and 500,000 inhabitants. Only two provinces have populations less than 100,000.

Major provinces:
  • İstanbul - 12,573,836
  • Ankara - 4,466,756
  • İzmir - 3,739,353
  • Bursa - 2,439,876
  • Adana - 2,006,650
  • Konya - 1,959,082
  • Antalya - 1,789,295
  • Mersin - 1,595,938
  • Gaziantep - 1,560,023
  • Şanlıurfa - 1,523,099
  • Diyarbakır - 1,460,714
  • Kocaeli - 1,437,926
  • Hatay - 1,386,224
  • Manisa - 1,319,920
  • Samsun - 1,228,959
(Population figures are given according to the 2007 census)

Geography and climate
Turkey is a transcontinentalEurasiancountry. Asian Turkey (made up largely of Anatolia), which includes 97% of the country, is separated from European Turkey by the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles (which together form a water link between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean). European Turkey (eastern Thrace or Rumelia in the Balkan peninsula) includes 3% of the country. The territory of Turkey is more than 1,600 kilometres (1,000 mi) long and 800 km (500 mi) wide, with a roughly rectangular shape. Turkey's area, inclusive of lakes, occupies 783,562 square kilometres (300,948 sq mi), of which 755,688 square kilometres (291,773 sq mi) are in Southwest Asia and 23,764 square kilometres (9,174 sq mi) in Europe. Turkey's area makes it the world's 37th-largest country, and is about the size of Metropolitan France and the United Kingdom combined. Turkey is encircled by seas on three sides: the Aegean Sea to the west, the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Turkey also contains the Sea of Marmara in the northwest.
The European section of Turkey, in the northwest, is Eastern Thrace, and forms the borders of Turkey with Greece and Bulgaria. The Asian part of the country, Anatolia (also called Asia Minor), consists of a high central plateau with narrow coastal plains, between the Köroğlu and East-Black Sea mountain range to the north and the Taurus Mountains to the south. Eastern Turkey has a more mountainous landscape, and is home to the sources of rivers such as the Euphrates, Tigris and Aras, and contains Lake Van and Mount Ararat, Turkey's highest point at 5,165 metres (16,946 ft).
Turkey is geographically divided into seven regions: Marmara, Aegean, Black Sea, Central Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia, Southeastern Anatolia and the Mediterranean. The uneven north Anatolian terrain running along the Black Sea resembles a long, narrow belt. This region comprises approximately one-sixth of Turkey's total land area. As a general trend, the inland Anatolian plateau becomes increasingly rugged as it progresses eastward.
Turkey's varied landscapes are the product of complex earth movements that have shaped the region over thousands of years and still manifest themselves in fairly frequent earthquakes and occasional volcanic eruptions. The Bosporus and the Dardanelles owe their existence to the fault lines running through Turkey that led to the creation of the Black Sea. There is an earthquake fault line across the north of the country from west to east, which caused a major earthquake in 1999.
The coastal areas of Turkey bordering the Mediterranean Sea have a temperateMediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet and cold winters. Conditions can be much harsher in the more arid interior. Mountains close to the coast prevent Mediterranean influences from extending inland, giving the central Anatolian plateau of the interior of Turkey a continental climate with sharply contrasting seasons. Winters on the plateau are especially severe. Temperatures of −30 °C to −40 °C (−22 °F to -40 °F) can occur in the mountainous areas in the east, and snow may lie on the ground 120 days of the year. In the west, winter temperatures average below 1 °C (34 °F). Summers are hot and dry, with temperatures generally above 30 °C (86 °F) in the day. Annual precipitation averages about 400 millimetres (15 in), with actual amounts determined by elevation. The driest regions are the Konya plain and the Malatya plain, where annual rainfall frequently is less than 300 millimetres (12 in). May is generally the wettest month, whereas July and August are the most dry.

Turkey is a founding member of the OECD and the G20 industrial nations.
For most of its republican history, Turkey has adhered to a quasi-statist approach, with strict government controls over private sector participation, foreign trade, and foreign direct investment. However, during the 1980s, Turkey began a series of reforms, initiated by Prime Minister Turgut Özal and designed to shift the economy from a statist, insulated system to a more private-sector, market-based model.[24] The reforms spurred rapid growth, but this growth was punctuated by sharp recessions and financial crises in 1994, 1999 (following the earthquake of that year), and 2001, resulting in an average of 4% GDP growth per annum between 1981 and 2003. Lack of additional reforms, combined with large and growing public sectordeficits and widespread corruption, resulted in high inflation, a weak banking sector and increased macroeconomic volatility.
Since the economic crisis of 2001 and the reforms initiated by the finance minister of the time, Kemal Derviş, inflation has fallen to single-digit numbers, investor confidence and foreign investment have soared, and unemployment has fallen. The IMF forecasts a 6% inflation rate for Turkey in 2008. Turkey has gradually opened up its markets through economic reforms by reducing government controls on foreign trade and investment and the privatisation of publicly-owned industries, and the liberalisation of many sectors to private and foreign participation has continued amid political debate. According to Forbes magazine, Istanbul, Turkey's financial capital, had a total of 35 billionaires as of March 2008 (up from 25 in 2007), ranking 4th in the world behind Moscow (74 billionaires), New York City (71 billionaires) and London (36 billionaires), while ranking above Hong Kong (30 billionaires), Los Angeles (24 billionaires), Mumbai (20 billionaires), San Francisco (19 billionaires), Dallas (15 billionaires) and Tokyo (15 billionaires).
The GDP growth rate from 2002 to 2007 averaged 7.4%, which made Turkey one of the fastest growing economies in the world during that period. The World Bank forecasts a 5.4% GDP growth rate for Turkey in 2008. Turkey's economy is no longer dominated by traditional agricultural activities in the rural areas, but more so by a highly dynamic industrial complex in the major cities, mostly concentrated in the western provinces of the country, along with a developed services sector. In 2007, the agricultural sector accounted for 8.9% of the GDP, while the industrial sector accounted for 30.8% and the services sector accounted for 59.3%. The tourism sector has experienced rapid growth in the last twenty years, and constitutes an important part of the economy. In 2007, there were 27,214,988 visitors to the country, who contributed 18.5 billion USD to Turkey's revenues. Other key sectors of the Turkish economy are banking, construction, automotive, home appliances, electronics, textiles, oil refining, petrochemical products, food, mining, iron and steel, and machine industry.
In recent years, the chronically high inflation has been brought under control and this has led to the launch of a new currency to cement the acquisition of the economic reforms and erase the vestiges of an unstable economy. On January 1, 2005, the old Turkish Lira was replaced by the New Turkish Lira by dropping off six zeroes (1 YTL= 1,000,000 TL). As a result of continuing economic reforms, inflation has dropped to 8.2% in 2005, and the unemployment rate to 10.3%. In 2004, it was estimated that 46.2% of total disposable income was received by the top 20% income earners, while the lowest 20% received 6%.
Turkey has taken advantage of a customs union with the European Union, signed in 1995, to increase its industrial production destined for exports, while at the same time benefiting from EU-origin foreign investment into the country. In 2005, exports amounted to 73.5 billion USD while the imports stood at 116.8 billion USD, with increases of 16.3% and 19.7% compared to 2004, respectively.[citation needed] For 2006, the exports amounted to 85.8 billion USD, representing an increase of 16,8% over 2005. In 2007 the exports reached 110.5 billion USD (main export partners: Germany 11.2%, UK 8%, Italy 6.95%, France 5.6%, Spain 4.3%, USA 3.88%; total EU exports 56.5%.) However, larger imports amounting to about 156.9 billion USD threaten the balance of trade (main import partners: Russia 13.8%, Germany 10.3%, China 7.8%, Italy 6%, USA 4.8%, France 4.6%, Iran 3.9%, UK 3.2%; total EU imports 40.4%; total Asia imports 27%).
After years of low levels of foreign direct investment (FDI), Turkey succeeded in attracting 21.9 billion USD in FDI in 2007 and is expected to attract a higher figure in following years. A series of large privatizations, the stability fostered by the start of Turkey's EU accession negotiations, strong and stable growth, and structural changes in the banking, retail, and telecommunications sectors have all contributed to a rise in foreign investment.