Tag Archives: family


Families are divided into several types according to social, economic and local conditions. The traditional extended and nuclear families are the two common types of families in Turkey. The traditional extended family, generally means that three generations live together: grandfather, adult sons and sons’ sons, their wives and their unmarried daughters a married daughter becomes a member of her husband’s family and lives there. There is a unity of production and consumption together with common property. This type of family is becoming more and more rare today. The nuclear family, parallel to industrialization and urbanization, replaces traditional families. The nuclear family consists of a husband, wife and unmarried children and is more suitable to modern Turkish social life today.There are some economic, traditional and emotional conditions that form the duties and responsibilities of the modern nuclear family member. As for the economic conditions, each individual is supposed to play a part in supporting the continuation of the family. The father is usually responsible for making the basic income, the mother may perhaps contribute by working and if not, will assume full-time take care of the home. Grandparents may also supply help with incomes from their pension or returns from owned property and rents. Younger children help with the housework (re-pairing, painting, cleaning) and when older contribute by usually covering at least their own expenses. Tradition places the father as the head of the family, but the mother has equal rights. The father is the representative and protector of the family whereas the mother takes care of all the day to day things.

As Turkey is essentially an Islamic country, Islam plays an important role in the lives of women. Having begun in Arabic countries in 7C AD, Islam was influenced by the traditions and customs of these countries and the way in which women were treated. Men could marry or live with as many women as they liked, kill women and even bury new born girls alive. When Islam made marriage laws and put a limit on the number of wives allowed, it was accepted as the first system to give some economic rights to women by saving them from the sole sovereignty of their husbands.

In Turkey, following the declaration of the Republic in 1923, one of the most significant elements in the social revolution planned and advocated by Ataturk was the emancipation of Turkish women, based on the principle that the new Turkey was to be a secular state.

In 1926, a new code of Turkish civil law was adopted which suddenly changed the family structure. Polygamy was abolished along with religious marriages and divorce and child custody became the right of both women and men. A minimum age for marriage was fixed at 15 for girls and 17 for boys. Perhaps most importantly, the equality of inheritance was accepted as well as the equality of testimony before a court of law; previously, under Islamic law, the testimony of two women was equal to that of one man. With the secularization of the educational system, women gained equal rights with men in the field of education as well and no longer had to wear the veils and long garments required by the old religious beliefs. The right to vote for women was granted at the municipal level in 1930 and nationwide in 1934. Theoretically, Turkish women were far ahead of many of their western sisters at that time, for instance in France where women only gained the right to vote in 1944.

The charter of the International Labor Organization adopted in 1951, declaring equal wages for both sexes for equal work was ratified by Turkey in 1966.

Although all the new regulations brought the status of women to a very improved level, the actual status of women within the family institution did not provide for proper equality between men and women. Still today, the husband is the head of the family. A woman does the housework, and if a woman needs to work outside the home she has to get the approval of her husband. As a Turkish proverb says “a husband should know how to bring food and the wife to make it suffice” confirming once again a woman’s place in the home.

Women today
Social life consists of two different places: Inside and outside the home. Women leave the outside world to the men, generally remaining in the home. Women get married at an earlier age than men and settle into their role of housewife and home maker. As the education level of women increases, the fertility rate decreases. Nearly every female university graduate has only one child.

9 million of the 21 million working population of Turkey are women. In the rural areas, the rate of working women, especially in agriculture, is very high. However, women work in this sector as an extension of their housework and not to make a living. In urban areas, women hold important posts in both public and private sectors, the arts and sciences. Today, Turkish women are bank managers, doctors, lawyers, judges, journalists, pilots, diplomats, police officers, army officers or prime ministers.

Nearly two thirds of health personnel including doctors and pharmacists, one quarter of all lawyers and one third of banking personnel are women.

As for the politics, in the elections of 1937, the number of woman MP’s was 18, which meant 4.5%. Today, unfortunately, this rate is much less than before. However, Turkey has also seen Tansu Ciller as the first woman Prime Minister.

Although men and women are equal before the law, men are tolerated in regard to adultery and women are more advantageous in terms of working conditions.

A new law proposition
A package called “Democratization of the family” is a new law preposition awaiting parliamentary discussion and enactment and it will include changes in the position of women, some of which are as follows:

  • The cancellation of former obligatory permission from their husbands for women to work.
  • Equality in the case of adultery.
  • In the case of divorce, equality in the sharing of belongings which were acquired after marriage.

An important stage of feminism in Turkey started in the 1980s and is different from the previous stages because it was initiated by women who spoke for themselves, rather than by men who had manipulated the female image for their own political agenda. At this stage of feminism women spoke for themselves, beginning by arguing the reality of their bodies and their physical needs as opposed to the idealization and the symbolization of the female body as used for the national image.Feminism strongly challenges the image of some Turkish women as covered, almost sexless beings and also as sacrificial mothers who would do and endure anything for their children and family.

To very briefly summarize the position of women in Turkey today, it can be said that unless you are a woman living in a metropolitan city and financially independent, life is still likely to be bound by the customs of traditional family life.

In the traditional family, marriage is still a family rather than a personal affair. Marriages are not conducted by the imam anymore as they were before the republic. By law they have to be civil. Approximately 40% of marriages are only civil, 50% are both civil and religious, 10% are only religious which means they are not legal. Polygamy is very rare and only in some villages with a rate of 3%.It is legally forbidden to marry before the age of 15 for women and 17 for men. The average age for girls to marry is around 17-18. Early marriages are more frequent in rural areas. For young men in big cities the problems of receiving an education, military service and acquiring a job are among the reasons that delay marriage.

The continuity of a family is provided by children. With the development of people’s educational levels, the belief in the continuity only being provided by sons is losing its effect.At the pregnancy of a new bride, an excitement among family members grows. Upon hearing the good news, a golden bracelet comes immediately as a present from the mother-in-law. In rural areas a pregnant woman declares it with some symbols mostly on her clothing; her scarf, motifs on it and suchlike.

For the births, in rural places midwives are present, whereas in big cities hospitals are common. After the birth, the new mother receives presents of gold and the child gets all manner of gifts. The mother is not supposed to go out from her house for 40 days. If she works, she has a holiday of 40 days automatically. Relatives, friends and neighbors are all helpful. In the first three days only close relatives come to visit, but in the following days the others also come to visit with lots of presents. Breast-feeding continues normally until the age of two or even later and then weaning is sudden.

In Anatolia there is a custom of planting trees in the names of newly born children. Chestnut, mulberry and apple trees are planted for girls, poplar or pine trees for boys. Planting trees for boys is a kind of investment for him to be used in his marriage when he grows up.

Naming a child
Turkish names always have meanings. Some of the children’s names may derive from the time in which he was born; Bayram (Feast), Safak (Dawn), Bahar (Spring), Ramazan (the holy month, Ramadan), or the events during the birth; Yagmur (Rain), Tufan (Storm), or express the parents’ feeling about the child, if they want him to be the last one; Yeter (Enough), Songul (Last rose) and sometimes names of elder people in families are chosen as displays of respect.

When a name is selected, it is given by an imam or an elder person in the family by holding the child in the direction of Mecca (Kible) and reading from the Koran into his left ear and repeating his name three times into his right ear.

Circumcision is an operation in which the foreskin of the penis is removed. It is a practice of great religious significance among certain religious groups, notably the Jews and the Moslems. Circumcision is known to have been practiced in ancient Egypt even before it was introduced to the Jews as part of God’s covenant with Abraham. In Islam, however, the authority for circumcision came not from the Koran but from the example of the Prophet Mohammed. In Islam, whatever the prophet does or says is called sunnet; therefore this word stands for circumcision in modern Turkish.Urologists claim that circumcised males have far fewer urinary tract infections and are less at risk for catching sexually transmitted diseases than are uncircumcised males. On the other side, pediatricians say that the medical risks attendant upon the surgery far outweigh the possible future consequences of foregoing the operation.

As an Islamic country, in Turkey all Moslem boys are circumcised between the ages 2-14 by licensed circumcising surgeons. From the social point of view, the most prominent feature of circumcision is the introduction of a child to his religious society as a new member. This explains the reason for circumcision of people who convert into Moslems as a first step. It is impressed on a boy at a very early age that circumcision is a step for transition to manhood. As long as they are accepted as very important events in people’s lives, circumcisions are generally made with big ceremonies in festive atmosphere.

If a family has more than one boy, they wait for an appropriate time to perform it altogether. In this case the younger child might be less than 4. In some rural areas, villagers sometimes share expenses of a circumcision feast like they do with the work. Wealthy people may take poor boys or orphans together with their children for circumcision. Charity organizations make collective ceremonies for poor boys and orphans. Considering school periods of children, circumcisions are held in summer months while the children are on vacation, from June through September at weekends.

Circumcision Ceremony
When a family determines a date for their feast, they invite relatives, friends and neighbors by sending invitation cards in advance. Depending on the economic position of families, feasts might take place in a ceremonial hall or a hotel instead of a house. They prepare a highly decorated room for the boy with a nice bed and many colorful decorative things. Boys should also wear special costumes for this feast; a suit, a cape, a scepter and a special hat with “Masallah“, meaning “God preserve him”, written on it.

In the morning of the feast, the children of guests are all taken for a tour around in a big convoy with the boy either on horseback, horse carts, or automobiles. This convoy is also followed by musicians playing the drums and the clarinet.

After they come back, the boy wears a loose long white dress and, is circumcised by the surgeon while somebody holds him. This person who holds is called kirve, and has to be somebody close to the boy. In the eastern parts of Anatolia, this is the first contact of a big relationship which will continue for lifetime. He will play an active role in the boy’s lifetime and have nearly equal rights with the father in decisions. This is similar to a godfather in Christianity. Although there is no blood relation to his kirve, the boy will not even be allowed to marry his kirve’s daughter in order not to have incest because he is considered to have become somebody from the family.

After the circumcision, the boy is in pain and has to be kept busy with music, lots of jokes or some other animation. Presents also are given at this time to help him forget his pains. In the meantime words from the Koran are recited and guests are taken to tables for the feast meal which is a special one laid with different food changing from region to region. After a few days the boy recovers and festivities end.

Today, there is a small group of people who prefer their children to be circumcised in hospitals while they are in hospital after birth, whereby ignoring the traditional side.

Divorce is not very common. Although many women are not satisfied with their marriages, they do not have the courage to divorce. Therefore they continue their lives for their children’s sake or not to suffer from the social pressure it may evoke.The other reason is economic. If a woman does not work, she does not have many alternatives when divorced. After a certain age, in a country where employment is a problem, it is really a risk to survive.

From the legal point of view, when couples divorce, each of them gets his own belongings without taking the things obtained together into consideration. A new law proposal is waiting to be enacted in parliament. The change will allow the sharing of everything equally.

Throughout the ages in Anatolia, many different rituals regarding death and burial have been applied. Types of graves have differed. Graves under the floors of houses, wooden rooms, tumuli, chamber-like graves, rock-tombs, sarcophagi, domed or conical tombs (turbe, kumbet) and mausoleums are some places where the dead have been laid.Although it is difficult, death is considered to be as a natural part or aspect of life. There are many people who prepare themselves for death by putting necessary amount of money for funerals in their bank accounts, keeping winding sheets ready, or buying land in a cemetery in advance. Dying as martyrs is an honorable thing. In Islam, it is believed that martyrs go directly to heaven.

When somebody dies, the corpse is laid on a bed in a separate room, the head facing the direction of Mecca, eyelids closed, the big toes are tied to each other and the two arms rest on both sides next to the body. Burial has to take place as soon as possible during the daytime. If somebody dies in the late afternoon, he is buried the next day. The corpse might rest for a period of time in a cool place or a mortuary but only if there are close relatives coming from a far away place.

According to religious belief, if somebody is buried without an ablution, he is not allowed to enter heaven. Therefore, dead people have to be washed by authorized people, and always women by a woman, men by a man. Meanwhile the death is declared from a mosque minaret by a muezzin with some words from the Koran together with his name, funeral time and place. After the ablution the corpse is dressed in a white shroud, put in a wooden coffin covered with a green piece of cloth. A martyr’s coffin is covered with the Turkish flag. The coffin is carried to the table outside in the courtyard of a mosque on people’s shoulders before prayers. Nobody stands in front of the funeral procession and people in the street stand up and salute the funeral motionless and in silence.

While the coffin rests guarded on the table outside, people perform their regular prayers. From within the mosque, following the prayers, they all come out and line up in front of the coffin to take part in the funeral service under the leadership of the Imam. Women are not allowed to join this service. At the end of the service, the Imam asks people what they thought of the deceased and answers are always positive: “He was good. May God bless him. Mercy be upon his soul, etc.” Funeral services are not held for parricides or the stillborn.

The coffin is carried to the cemetery by a hearse followed by a long convoy. Graves are rectangular in shape and designed to accommodate only one person. The deceased is buried in only the shroud not the coffin. The body is laid on its right shoulder facing the direction of Mecca. The tombstone is on the head’s side.

The Imam’s prayers signify the end of the burial. The deceased is commemorated on the seventh and fifty-second days of his death with Islamic readings; mevlit. Sometimes big funerary meals or halvah are offered to the poor and surrounding people.

Oral tradition continues with proverbs. When considering daily life, proverbs embody the deepest feelings and beliefs of the Turkish people. They reveal a nation’s character in its finest details.Following is a selection of some proverbs from among thousands:

  • If God wants to make a poor man happy he first makes him lose his donkey and then allows him to find it again.
  • He who handles honey has the chance to lick his fingers.
  • When a bald man dies, everybody remembers “what golden hair he had”; when a blind man dies, they say “what beautiful eyes he had”.
  • Two tightrope walkers cannot perform on the same tightrope.
  • A vinegar seller with a smiling face makes more money than a honey seller with a sour face.
  • The hunter is sometimes hunted.
  • Stretch your legs to the length of your blanket. (Know your limits)
  • Water priority to the youngsters, talking priority to the elders.
  • You reap whatever you sow.
  • A pen is sharper than a sword.
  • A tree is bent while yet it is young.
  • There is nothing more expensive than what is bought cheaply and there is nothing cheaper than what is bought expensively.



Since the Republic of Turkey was founded on the social and economic heritage of the Ottoman Empire, it inherited a heavy burden of debts and an economic structure that had been based completely on agriculture.

Areas of economic value remained outside the border of the new Republic.

Economic policies were geared to spreading private ownership of land, appropriating land for landless farmers and migrants, protecting domestic production by customs policies and refraining from external borrowing.

New laws were also introduced and banks as well as financial institutions were founded.

Positive economic developments produced new policies including statism. Under the statist policies, the private sector was not excluded from the national economic scene but was supported.

Public corporations were also developed to handle general daily needs. These corporations were owned either partly or completely by the state and were called State Economic Enterprises (KIT in Turkish), and whilst being an autonomous body were for the public’s benefit.

Another problem for Turkey was World War II. Although Turkey did not take an active part in the war, a major part of the country’s natural resources were allocated to defense. This caused production to fall, external trade relations to be stopped and therefore new extraordinary measures had to be introduced. After World War II, a new capitalist system, which derived from America, was dominant in the world. During this period, America was giving credit to Western European countries. This played an important part in the reconstruction of their economies. Under this framework Truman’s Doctrine and the Marshal Plan (1947-1948) were developed to help the European countries against the Soviet threat. Turkey was one of the countries receiving aid and as a result became a member of the IMF (International Money Fund) and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

During the years that followed, democratic improvements and radical changes made way for the introduction of a liberal economic system.

Demand for exported Turkish products, particularly agricultural, grew considerably during this period. The Korean War contributed to this demand.

During the second half of the 1950s the economy reached a stalemate.

According to the 1961 Constitution, economic planning became a legal requirement and as a result The State Planning Organization was established. Five-Year-Development Plans started to play an important role from 1963 onwards.

A package of economic stability measures which came to be known as the January 24 Decisions was introduced in 1980, when Suleyman Demirel was Prime Minister and Turgut Ozal was holding an important and leading position in The State Planning Organization. The main aims of the package concentrated on foreign trade and economic liberalization.

After the military coup of 1980 the Armed Forces recognized the January 24 Decisions. This was the point at which Turgut Ozal came onto the political scene as he had been responsible for designing the package. When Turgut Ozal became Prime Minister, he used many novel ideas in order to integrate Turkey with the rest of the World on an economic basis. The main achievement was the introduction of a free market economy. He represented liberal tendencies and often said, “you can never make rivers flow in the opposite direction”.

Following the same path from 1993 onwards, the Prime Minister Tansu Ciller tried to overcome the deficit in the budget by putting emphasis on the privatization of State Economic Enterprises in international markets, the prevention of inequality in the tax system and reducing the rate of inflation (70% a year).

In 1994 Turkey suddenly started to loose economic stability and the Ciller Government, through emergency measures, was forced to introduce another package of policies known as April 5 Decisions.

This new package required that extra taxes were collected from the rich, and non-profitable State Economic Enterprises were shut down.

In order to obtain international support, Turkey suggested that there are two types of Islamic countries. The first is traditional and fundamentalist while the second, of which Turkey is a leading member, is more modern in its outlook. If Turkey, for any reason, cannot succeed, it will mean victory for the fundamentalists which could be seen as an important threat for the Western world.

Turkey is an associate member of the European Union and has been applying for full membership since 1987. Numerous reasons and excuses have been used by the EU committees to postpone full membership, however, the first step towards the EU was taken with the Customs Union in January 1996.

Economic Daily Life

Standard of Living

The legal minimum salary is $400-420. The percentage of the population living below the national poverty line is around 16%. The average income for a 4-people family was calculated to be around 14,750 USD in 2012.

Since 2002 GDP per capita has tripled from 3,492 USD to 10,782 USD in 2013. According to Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) GNI per capita surpassed 18 thousand USD in 2012.

Some examples for life standards:

  • Cell phone penetration rate in households: 93.7% (2013)
  • Internet access rate in households: 49.1% (2013)
  • Internet access rate in enterprises: 90.8% (2013)
  • PC penetration rate in households: 30.5% (2013)
  • Laptop penetration rate in households: 31.4% (2013)
  • Digital camera penetration rate in households: 28.1% (2013)
  • Printer penetration rate in households: 14.0% (2011)

Income Tax 25-40%

Unemployment Rate

In January 2014, unemployment rate was 10.1% and seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.1%.  In 2013, unemployment rate was 9.7%.

Seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Euro Area was 11.9% and 10.6% in (EU28) in February 2014. In terms of  unemployment ratio Turkey outperformed 14 EU countries according to this data.

After Russia, Germany, England and France, Turkey has the 5th largest labor force among the European countries. (2012, World Bank)

Institutions for Social Insurance

There are three big social security institutions established by the state, and all of these have been merged to give the same services.

  • The Retirement Trust (Emekli Sandigi)
  • The Social Insurance Board (Sosyal Sigortalar Kurumu)
  • The Social Insurance Board for small businessmen, craftsmen and others (Bag-Kur)

There are also Private Insurance Companies.


Women and men can retire after working between 7000 and 9000 working days, not before the age of 58 for women and 60 for men. Until 204, this age limit will be increased to 65.


Because the size of families has become smaller and urbanization problems have arisen, people have started to live in apartment blocks in the urban areas and in smaller houses in the rural areas. Generally apartments have 3 bedrooms with an average surface area of 100 m² / 120 yd². In larger cities apartments are more expensive to own with, the minimum price being about $50,000-100,000 USD. The average citizen cannot easily afford such a price even with the help of a mortgage. Renting is a possibility, or good fortune may mean inheriting an apartment.

The housing problem increased in the 1960s and the Mass Housing Fund was established in 1980. The fund gave credit to construction cooperatives and many people became the owners of their own apartments by forming these cooperatives.

Nearly half of the people living in big cities rent their flats rather than own them. The average rent is $500-750 a month. In smaller cities, flats are less expensive and more people own their houses or apartments. The proportion of people who rent their houses nationwide is 40%. Some of these people, who work for the state, live in apartments which belong to the state and they pay a very small amount of rent. There is also a large group of people who live in their relatives’ houses in which case they either do not pay rents or pay minimum amounts.


These include mining, the production of vehicles (cars, buses and trucks), cement, construction, lumber and petroleum products, iron and steel, cotton, textiles, leather goods, fertilizers, beer, wine and foodstuffs.

Turkey is one of the world’s leading shipbuilding nations.


These include petroleum products, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics, iron and steel, vehicles, vehicle parts, machinery, mechanical appliances, precious stones, precious metals, minerals, optical and photographic appliances.

Total imports to Turkey are valued at about 251.7 billion US Dollars (2013).


These include iron and metals, machinery, vehicles, vehicle parts, boilers, mechanical appliances, precious stones, precious metals, minerals, plastic, chemicals, cement, ceramics, glass, cotton, textiles, leather, agricultural goods, tobacco, fruits, and foodstuffs.

Total exports from Turkey are valued at about 151.9 billion US Dollars (2013).


Turkey is believed to be rich in a wide variety of mineral deposits which are mostly governed by the state sector. Relatively few of these have been exploited on a large scale. This is due to a lack of domestic capital for exploration and exploitation, political pressure that has discouraged wide-scale investment from abroad, and inadequate processing facilities.

Agriculture and Farming

Agriculture accounts for less than 10% of the GNP, although it employs 25% of the national labor force.

Turkey’s total land

36% agricultural land
30% forests and brushwood
28% grazing land
6% swamps, river beds, rocks and water surfaces

Agricultural production is generally carried out by small family enterprises in Turkey. 5% of the farm land belongs to the large enterprises and 95% to smaller concerns.

77% of the cultivated land produces grain with wheat ranking as the first. Wheat is common all over the country except in the Black Sea Region. Barley ranks as second, corn is third. Corn requires humid weather conditions during summer time, so the Black Sea Region is very suitable for its growth.

Vegetables account for 62% of agricultural production. Lentils, chickpeas and beans are common. Broad beans and peas also grow in Turkey but on a smaller basis. Chickpeas grow in Central Anatolia, broad beans in western parts and lentils especially in Southeastern Anatolia. The growing of potatoes has recently increased.

Industrial vegetables such as cotton, flax, sesame seeds and opium poppies have been grown for a long time in Turkey, but since the industrial developments after World War I new industrial vegetables such as sugar beet, sunflower seed and tea have also been produced.

Tobacco is grown in the Aegean, Marmara and Black Sea Regions. Soybeans are grown in the Mediterranean. Many kinds of fruit are grown in most parts of the country.

In 2013, 22,050,000 tons of wheat, 7,900,000 tons of barley, 5,900,000 tons of corn, 1,523,000 tons of sunflower, 2,250,000 tons of cotton, 16,483,306 tons of sugar beets were grown in Turkey.

Turkey is the world’s largest producer of hazelnuts, cherries, figs, apricots, quinces and pomegranates; the second largest producer of watermelons, cucumbers and chickpeas; the third largest producer of tomatoes, eggplants, green peppers, lentils and pistachios; the fourth largest producer of onions and olives; the fifth largest producer of sugar beet; the sixth largest producer of tobacco, tea and apples; the seventh largest producer of cotton and barley; the eighth largest producer of almonds; the ninth largest producer of wheat, rye and grapefruit, and the tenth largest producer of lemons.

Animal Husbandry

Animal husbandry has considerable potential for Turkey. In parts of the country where agriculture and farming are limited, people make their living with animals, especially in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia. Generally, traditional techniques are used, and the results are not as satisfactory when compared to modern countries.


Because Turkey is surrounded by different seas on three sides, and has numerous lakes and rivers there is a big seafood potential. Unfortunately, because of the primitive techniques that are used, production and consumption of seafood per person is below the world average.

Anchovy, small mackerel and bonito are the most common fish in Turkey. The major freshwater fish are carp and trout. Besides fish, mussels and shrimps are also abundant.

Overfishing and water pollution are two problems for Turkey.

Seafood Catches

87% Black Sea
7% Marmara Sea
4% Aegean Sea
2% Mediterranean Sea

Forestry and Plants

Large areas in the South, West and Northwest are covered by Mediterranean vegetation, consisting mainly of thick, scrubby underbrush in the lowlands and deciduous or coniferous forests at higher altitudes up to the timberline. The humid northern margins of the country are the most densely wooded regions of Turkey. On the eastern Black Sea coast there are subtropical forests. The Anatolian interior is a region of steppes. Forests of mostly oak and coniferous trees exist only on the elevated areas.

The forest areas comprise of 26% of the total area of Turkey.


58% Irregular and infertile
39% Real forest areas for production
1.5% Nature reserves
1.5% National parks (21 in total)

99.8% of the forests belong to the state. Much of the wood harvest is burned and used for energy. Forests in Turkey are very rich regarding plant types. As a country with different climates and different ecosystems, Turkey has a tremendously rich flora and fauna.

The number of species of flowers in Turkey is approximately 9,000, out of which 3,000 are endemic, whereas in Europe there are 11,500 species.

Animal Life

Increasing population, developing industries, larger residential areas and unregulated hunting have been causing the destruction of natural resources which has a negative effect on wildlife.

Throughout the country today there are 120 species of mammals, 439 birds, 130 reptiles and 345 fish. Many of these species are very rare.

Turkey is rich in wild animals, insects and game birds. Wolf, fox, wildcat, lynx, jackal, marten, hyena, bear, deer, gazelle, boar, mountain goat, snake, scorpion, spider, beaver are among the animals still found in secluded and wooded regions. Major game birds are partridge, wild goose, quail and bustard.

Indigenous animals found in Anatolia include shepherd dog from Kangal, White Cat of Van region, and Tiftik Kecisi (Angora goat) from Ankara (Angora). Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) from Birecik is extinct.


Turkey is not so rich in mining. The mines are divided into three categories: Metals, industrial raw materials and energy raw materials.

The main metals are copper, lead, zinc, mercury, iron, chrome, aluminum, gold and silver. Industrial raw materials include asbestos and phosphate. Energy raw materials are coals, uranium, oil and geothermal sources.

Energy Sources

45.6% petroleum (oil products)
28.4% coal
16.9% lignite
10.0% wood
43.6% natural gas
4.0% hydraulic
3.9% others


Electricity consumption per capita: 1,079 kw (1993)

January-June 1995)
37.8% hydraulic energy
62.2% thermic energy

The Southeastern Anatolia (GAP) Project

GAP is the largest regional development project ever undertaken in Turkey. It is a multi-purpose and integrated development project comprising of 22 dams and 19 hydroelectric power plants on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and their tributaries.

When completed, it is planned to irrigate over 1.7 million hectares / 4.2 million acres of land and produce 27 billion kilowatt / hours of electrical energy per year. The planned total irrigation area will cover 8.5 million hectares / 21 million acres of productive land.

GAP is not limited to energy production, irrigation and farming alone. It is obvious that the development in agriculture will affect all other sectors of the regional economy, industry, mining, transportation, education, health and communications. The population of the region is around 5 million today but it is growing day by day. With new investments a minimum of 2 million people will have new job opportunities in the area. The migration from the rural to urban districts will stop and it is hoped that people will start migrating back to this region again. With the opening of the Urfa tunnel in 1994, the construction of new factories in the private sector has already started.

The Ataturk Dam on the Euphrates is the biggest in Turkey and fifth in the world. It is at the core of the GAP project and is almost complete.

Crude Oil

82% Import
18% Domestic production.

76% of the domestic production is by the state (TPAO) and the 24% is by Turkish or foreign private companies like Shell, Mobil or Ersan.

Nearly all the domestic production is concentrated in Southeast Anatolia: Batman and Adiyaman.

Crude oil is processed at five major refineries: Izmit, Aliaga (Izmir), ATAS (Mersin), OAR (Kirikkale) and Batman.


According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, in 2012 travel and tourism made a total contribution of 10.9% to Turkish GDP and supported 8.3% of all jobs in the country.

The number of tourists coming to Turkey has been increasing rapidly in the last few years. There were more than 8 million in 1996. This figure means that Turkey has a share of 1.5% of the total number of tourists traveling throughout the world.

Most of the tourists coming to Turkey are from Germany and Russsia.

The number of Turkish tourists going abroad is about 2-3 million per year.

European Union

  • 12 September 1963: Ankara Agrement
  • 23 November 1970: The signing of the Additional Protocol
  • 1 January 1973: Additional Protocol to come into force
  • 14 April 1987: Turkey’s Application for Membership
  • 6 March 1995: The Association Council Decision Establishing the Customs Union
  • 10-11 December 1999: Recognition of the Candidate Status of Turkey at the Helsinki Summit
  • 8 March 2001: The first Accession Partnership Document issued
  • 17 December 2004: European Council decision to start Negotiations with Turkey in the Brussels Summit
  • 3 October 2005: Start of the Negotiations between Turkey and the EU
  • 20 October 2005: Start of the Screening Process
  • 13 October 2006: End of the Screening Process