Form of Government: Republic (Established on October 29, 1923, by Mustafa Kemal ATATÜRK , founder of modern Turkey) Turkey has been holding freely contested multi-party elections since 1946.
Head of State: President Ahmet Necdet SEZER (seven-year term, elected on 16 May 2000)
Legislature: Unicameral system (550 seats / five-year term) Last general elections held on November 3, 2002
Government: Justice and Development

Party (AKP), absolute majority government Prime Minister: Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN (March 11, 2003) Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs: Abdullah GÜL (March 11, 2003)


Gross National Product: $489,7 billion (2002 forecast) (Purchasing Power Parity)
Currency: New Turkish Lira (YTL)
Per Capita Annual Income: Approximately $ 7,300 (Purchasing Power Parity)

Some Other Facts About Turkey

  • In terms of population, Turkey is the second largest country in Europe (after Germany ), with 70 million people. In 2020, it is projected to be the most populous European country, with a population of 83 million.
  • Four million Turks live abroad. Of that number, almost 2.5 million live in Germany .
  • Geographically, Turkey straddles two continents, Europe in the west and Asia in the east.
  • The two continents are divided by the Istanbul and Dardanelles straits, which are located in Turkey .
  • Turkey is unique in being on the one hand Balkan and European, and on the other, Middle Eastern, Caucasian and Asian. It is also as much a Black Sea country as it is an Aegean and Mediterranean one.
  • Another unique aspect of Turkey is the fact that it is the only democratic, secular country among the Muslim nations of the Middle East .
  • In addition to being a pioneering country in the Islamic world, Turkey has also become fully integrated into Europe since 1923, when the Republic was established. She is a member of almost all European/European-related institutions, such as the Council of Europe, OSCE, NATO, OECD. Turkey has been an associate member of the European Union since 1963 and a candidate for full membership in the Union since 1999.
  • Turkey has the second biggest Army in NATO after the United States .
  • Turkey also entertains relations of strategic cooperation with the United States .
  • Turkey lies in close proximity to 70 percent of the world's proven energy resources and is a prospective regional centre for storage and distribution of oil and natural gas.
  • Turkey is among the world's 20 largest economies and she is a member of the Group of 20 countries.
  • The Turkish economy has been identified as being one of the 10 significant emerging markets by U.S. sources.
  • Turkey is a prominent producer and exporter of many commodities. Here are some examples:
  • Turkey is the leading cement producer in Europe and the seventh-ranked producer in the world.
  • Turkey is the second-ranked producer of glass-made items in Europe and fourth-ranked producer in the world.
  • Turkey has 40% of the world marble reserves.
  • Turkey is the second-ranked exporter of jewelry in the world.
  • Turkey is the world's leading supplier of processed leather.
  • Turkey is the second-ranked supplier of textiles and garments to the EU.
  • Turkey is the fifth-ranked carpet exporter in Europe.
  • Turkey is the sixth-ranked cotton producer in the world.
  • Turkey is the world's principal supplier of hazelnuts, chickpeas, fresh and dried figs, and apricots.
  • Turkey is the second-ranked supplier of cherry and watermelon in the world.
  • Turkey is the second-ranked producer of pine tree honey in the world.
  • Turkey is the second-ranked supplier of red lentils in the world.
  • Turkey is the third-ranked producer of tomatoes and second-ranked producer of tomato paste in the world.
  • Turkey is the third-ranked producer of olives and fourth-ranked producer and exporter of olive oil in the world.

Practical Informaiton About Turkey

Work Hours

Banks are open weekdays from 8:30 am until noon or 12:30 am, depending on the bank, and from 1:30 am until 5.00 am. However, there are some banks which continue to serve during lunch breaks.

Museums are generally open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 am until 5.00 am or 5:30 pm and closed on Monday. Palaces are open the same hours but are closed on Thursdays. For specific information on museums, please visit our museums section.

Shops and bazaars are normally open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 1.00 pm and from 2.00 pm to 7.00 pm, and closed all day on Sunday. But most stores in shopping malls and crowded streets are open seven days a week, including lunch breaks.

You can find restaurants or cafes open virtually at any time of the day or night.

Mail-Telephone Calls

Post offices are painted bright yellow and have PTT (Post, Telegraph, and Telephone) signs on the front. The central Post office is open Monday through Saturday from 8 am to 9 am, Sunday from 9 am to 7am. Smaller ones are open Monday through Friday between 8:30 am and 5.00 pm.

How do I make calls?
To make calls from your mobile phone in Turkey , please dial by following these guidelines.

  • To call another Turkcell subscriber: Dial 0, the network code, and then the seven-digit number; 0 53x xxx xxxx
  • To call a fixed line within Turkey : Dial 0, the tree-digit area code, and then the seven digit number; 0 xxx xxx xxxx.
  • To call another GSM operator in Turkey : Dial 0, the operator's three-digit network code and then the seven-digit number ; 0 xxx xxxx
  • To call an international GSM number: Dial the international prefix + the country code the GSM Network code and then the mobile number.
  • To call an international fixed line: Dial the international prefix + the country code the area code and then the phone number.
  • To send an SMS to a domestic GSM subscriber: After writing your message dial 0 xxx xxx xxxx
  • To send an SMS to an international GSM number: After writing your message dial the international prefix + the country code the GSM network code and then the mobile number.


As of 1 January 2005, the monetary unit in Turkey was changed to New Turkish Lira (YTL), which comes in bank notes of 1.00 YTL; 5.00 YTL; 10.00 YTL ; 20.00 YTL; 50.00 YTL and 100.00 YTL. Smaller denominations will come in coins of 1.00 YTL; 50 Ykr; 25Ykr; 10Ykr; 5Ykr and 1Ykr. "Ykr" stands for New Kurus which represent the cents of YTL.

In Turkey travellers' checks are rarely accepted. We recommend that you cash your travellers' checks at the banks.

ATMs can be found in even the smallest Turkish towns. Most accept international credit cards or bank cards (a strip of logos is usually displayed above the ATM). Almost all ATMs have a language key to enable you to read the instructions in English.

Credits cards are widely used in restaurants, cafés, shopping centers, super markets, boutiques, etc. VISA, MASTERCARD and EUROCARD are more widely accepted as compared to AMERICAN EXPRESS and DINERS Card.


The value-added tax, here called KDV, is 18%. Hotels typically combine it with a service charge of 10% to 15%, and restaurants usually add a 15% service charge. Value-added tax is nearly always included in quoted prices. Certain shops are authorized to refund the tax (ask).


The electrical current in Turkey is 220 volts, 50 cycles alternating current (AC); wall outlets take Continental-type plugs, with two round prongs.

Safety & Security

The streets of Istanbul are considerably safer than their counterparts in the United States or Western Europe . Travelers should nevertheless take care of their valuables, as pickpockets, although not as common as in the U.S. or Europe , do operate in the major cities and tourist areas.


Weights and measurements: Metric System
Local Time: GMT+2hours (Summer).

Important Service Telephone Numbers
Emergency: 112
Municipal Police: 153

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