Welcome to Turkey
Explore Our Best Destinations Turkey
Turkey a richly historical land with some of the best cuisine you will ever taste, scenery from beaches to mountains and the great city of Istanbul. From the ancient port city of Ephesus (Efes) to the soaring Byzantine dome of Aya Sofya, Turkey has more than its fair share of world-famous ruins and monuments. A succession of historical figures and empires – including the Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans – have all left their mark on this former stopover along the Silk Road.
Experiencing their legacy takes you from the closeted quarters of the sultan and his harem in İstanbul’s sprawling Topkapı Palace to the romantic and mysterious Lycian ruins on Mediterranean beaches. Turkey’s diverse landscapes, from Aegean olive groves to eastern steppe, provide a lyrical setting for its many great ruins. The country’s most magical scenery is to be found in Asian Anatolia, where beautiful vistas are provided by the vertiginous Mediterranean coastline, Cappadocia’s otherworldly ‘fairy chimney’ rock formations and wavy valleys, the alpine pastures of the Kaçkar Mountains, and golden beaches such as 18km-long Patara.
Turkey offers activities to suit every temperament, from outdoors adventure to cultural enrichment. Watery fun includes diving, windsurfing, rafting and canyoning in mountain gorges, kayaking over Kekova’s sunken ruins and traditional gület cruises on the Mediterranean and Aegean.
Or take to the air with Ölüdeniz’ thrilling paragliding flights or a hot-air balloon ride over Cappadocia. The best thing about sampling Turkey’s delicious specialties – ranging from meze on a Mediterranean harbor to a pension breakfast featuring ingredients fresh from the kitchen garden – is that they take you to the heart of Turkish culture. For the sociable and family-orientated Turks, gathering together and eating well is a time-honored ritual.
So get stuck into olive oil–lathered Aegean vegetables, spicy Anatolian kebaps and dishes from Turkey’s many other corners – and as you drink a tulip-shaped glass of çay and contemplate some baklava for dessert, remember that eating is deepening your understanding of Turkey.
Turkey is considered to be the gateway between Europe and Asia; it is an Eurasian country located on the Mediterranean stretching across the Anatolian peninsula in southwest Asia and the Balkan region of southeastern Europe. It is bordered by the Black Sea, the Marmara Sea, the Aegean Sea and Mediterranean Sea.
Official Name: Republic of Turkey
Area: 780,580 sq. km.
Currency: New Turkish Lira (TRY) 1 EUR = 3.92 TRY
Official language: Turkish
Time zone: GMT +2
Dialing Code: +90
Internet top-level domain (TLD): .tr
Emergency services: 112
Religions: 99% Muslim, 1% other
Government: Parliamentary Republic
Population density: 93/km² (240/sq. miles)
Lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
Highest point: Mount Ararat 5,166 m
Population: 82.306.183 (2016 census)
The country is a Presidential Parliamentary Democracy
President of the Republic: Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Prime Minister: Mr. Binali Yıldırım
Calling code: The international calling code is +90
Average temperatures: If you are planning your vacation in Turkey, it is a good idea to check the average temperatures so that you can bring the appropriate clothes with you. Depending on the season and which region you visit, you can expect to find varying temperatures in Turkey. The country can be divided into the following regions with reference to temperature:
Turkey’s southern coast enjoys a Mediterranean climate, and the Aegean coastal climate as far north as İzmir is much the same. The mean temperature range in these regions is 17–20°c (63–68°f), and the annual rainfall ranges from 58 to 130 cm (23 to 51 in). The Black Sea coast is relatively mild (14 to 16°c/57 to 60°f) and very moist, with 71 to 249 cm (28 to 87 in) of rainfall. The central Anatolian plateau is noted for its hot, dry summers and cold winters: the average annual temperature is 8–12°c (46–54°f), and annual precipitation is 30–75 cm (12–30 in). With the exception of some warmer pockets in the valleys, the eastern third of Turkey is colder (4–9°c/39–48°f), and rainfall averages 41–51 cm (16–20 in). The little precipitation there is on the central plateau tends to be concentrated during the late fall and winter months.
- Marmara coasts – (Istanbul): Hot summers and mild winters.
- Aegean coasts – (Izmir): Hot summers and mild winters.
- Mediterranean coasts – (Antalya): Hot summers and mild winters.
- Black Sea coast – (Trabzon): Temperate climate, warm summers, mild winters and relatively high rainfall.
- Central Anatolia – (Ankara): Steppe climate with hot, dry summers; cold winters.
- Eastern Anatolia – (Erzurum): Long snowy, cold winters and mild summers.
- Southeast Anatolia – (Diyarbakir): Hot summer, mild and rainy winters.
Main International Airports: for the capital city: Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW) and Istanbul Atatürk International Airport (IST); for the Mediterranean coast: Antalya International Airport (AYT); for the Aegean coast: Dalaman International Airport (DLM)
Ports and Terminals: Aliaga, Diliskelesi, Izmir, Kocaeli (Izmit), Mercin Limani, Nemrut Limani
Turkey is at the northeast end of the Mediterranean Sea in southeast Europe and southwest Asia. To the north is the Black Sea and to the west is the Aegean Sea. Its neighbors are Greece and Bulgaria to the west, Russia, Ukraine, and Romania to the north and northwest (through the Black Sea), Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran to the east, and Syria and Iraq to the south. The Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara, and the Bosporus divide the country. Turkey in Europe comprises an area about equal to the state of Massachusetts. Turkey in Asia is about the size of Texas. Its center is a treeless plateau rimmed by mountains.
The population of Turkey in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 72,907,000, which placed it at number 17 in population among the 193 nations of the world. Turkey is the most populous country in the Middle East. In 2005, approximately 6% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 29% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 102 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 2005–10 was expected to be 1.4%; the fertility rate has declined from 3.1 births per woman in 1990 to 2.7 births per woman in 2005; however, the government sought to reduce population growth further. The projected population for the year 2025 was 90,211,000. The population density was 94 per sq km (244 per sq mi).
The UN estimated that 65% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 1.93%. The capital city, Ankara, had a population of 3,428,000 in that year. Istanbul (formerly Constantinople), the largest city, had a 2005 metropolitan population of 9,760,000. The largest metropolitan areas after Istanbul were İzmir (formerly Smyrna), 2,500,000; Bursa, 1,413,000; Adana, 1,248,000; and Gaziantep, 1,004,000
Anatolia (Turkey in Asia) was occupied in about 1900 B.C. by the Indo-European Hittites and, after the Hittite empire’s collapse in 1200 B.C., by Phrygians and Lydians. The Persian Empire occupied the area in the 6th century B.C., giving way to the Roman Empire, then later the Byzantine Empire. The Ottoman Turks first appeared in the early 13th century, subjugating Turkish and Mongol bands pressing against the eastern borders of Byzantium and making the Christian Balkan states their vassals. They gradually spread through the Near East and Balkans, capturing Constantinople in 1453 and storming the gates of Vienna two centuries later. At its height, the Ottoman Empire stretched from the Persian Gulf to western Algeria. Lasting for 600 years, the Ottoman Empire was not only one of the most powerful empires in the history of the Mediterranean region, but it generated a great cultural outpouring of Islamic art, architecture, and literature.
After the reign of Sultan Süleyman I the Magnificent (1494–1566), the Ottoman Empire began to decline politically, administratively, and economically. By the 18th century, Russia was seeking to establish itself as the protector of Christians in Turkey’s Balkan territories. Russian ambitions were checked by Britain and France in the Crimean War (1854–1856), but the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) gave Bulgaria virtual independence and Romania and Serbia liberation from their nominal allegiance to the sultan. Turkish weakness stimulated a revolt of young liberals known as the Young Turks in 1909. They forced Sultan Abdul Hamid to grant a constitution and install a liberal government. However, reforms were no barrier to further defeats in a war with Italy (1911–1912) and the Balkan Wars (1912–1913). Turkey sided with Germany in World War I, and, as a result, lost territory at the conclusion of the war.
Shops: Monday-Saturday (09:00-21:00)
Offices: Monday-Friday (09:00-17:00)
Banks: Monday-Friday (09:00-17:00)
Turkey is where the three continents of the old world – Asia, Africa and Europe – are closest to each other. Only three percent of the country is in the European part and the rest are in the Anatolian Peninsula. The total area is 780 000 sq. kilometers, with population of 70 million. About 99 % of the Turkish population is Muslim, although as a whole it is a very liberal and loosely practiced version of the religion.
Straddling two continents, Europe and Asia, and bordering the volatile Middle East, Turkey has an unrivalled history stretching back thousands of years. From the ancient Hittites to the Ottomans, dozens of civilizations have made Turkey their home, leaving behind them a dazzling historical and archaeological heritage.
But despite its ancient roots, Turkey is a rapidly developing modern state. Born from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, the country was transformed by its far-sighted and ambitious first leader Kemal Ataturk. Since his death, the republic has maintained its Western orientation and European aspirations, despite the often-strong counter-current of traditionalism and Islam.
TRANSPORT – GETTING THERE
Turkish Airlines and British Airlines (plus the low-cost easyJet) fly direct to Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir all year round. During the holiday season (May – October), cheap charter flights from operators like Thomas Cook and My Travel go to the coastal airports of Dalaman, Antalya and Bodrum.
Turkish, which belongs to the Ural-Altaic group, is the official language. In addition to the Roman alphabet, modern Turkish uses the letters ç, ĝ, i (undotted), ö, ş, and ü, but no q, w, or x. With only minor exceptions, words are spelled phonetically. The language is agglutinative. A 1928 language reform substituted the Roman alphabet for the Arabic script, which had been used by the Turks since their conversion to Islam. During the 1930s there was a state-sponsored effort to rid the language of Arabic and Persian words and grammatical constructions. Turkish grammatical rules are now applied for all words, regardless of origin, though many Persian and Arabic expressions persist. Traditionally, there was a great difference between vernacular Turkish and written Ottoman Turkish, the latter being heavily influenced by Arabic and Persian and almost unintelligible to the mass of Turks. This difference has been almost obliterated, though some regional differences in dialect, particularly in the villages, still make effective communication difficult.
Kurdish and Arabic are also spoken. Kurdish is a language of the Iranian group and is written in Arabic script in Turkey. Two of the three major dialects are spoken in Turkey. Armenian and Greek are also spoken.
Private health insurance is essential for anyone planning to visit Turkey, no matter how short the stay.
The country has educational and judicial systems separated from any religious influence.
European citizens will find it quite easy to get a permission to enter the country as they will only have to complete a couple of forms on arrival.
Short-term rents are by no means the money-spinners in Turkey that they were for years in Spain or Portugal, for example. The tourist season on Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean coasts is shorter than in the Western Mediterranean and much shorter on the Black Sea). The main season is between June and September. The rental returns are more often than not insufficient to cover mortgage repayments.
Those buyers looking just for a holiday home will find a substantial portfolio of high-quality villas and apartments in many key locations, with prices low compared with most of the rest of coastal Europe.
Antalya and Alanya are more for mass-tourism, compact apartments available for as little as 15 000 GBP.
Bodrum and Bodrum Peninsula are more for affluent buyers, where luxury villas might cost 250-300 000 GBP, less than the cost of such house in a Spanish resort.
Turkey – no solid infrastructure but much lower prices.
The culture is fascinating, the cuisine is superb; the people are welcoming and intensely proud of their country’s achievements; and much of the coast is simply stunning. Throw double-figure capital growth into the equation to get the foundations for what could be a long and spectacular property boom.
Low entry costs and a very affordable cost of living.
Turkey is among the top seven emerging economies. Price Waterhouse Coopers regards Turkey as a faster-growing market than China and India. A strong and growing economy like this puts upward pressure on property prices. It is mostly cash purchase oriented market. There is a great investment opportunities to be found in Turkey’s coastal resorts. Good rental yields are possible during the holiday season and there is also scope for personal use.