Turkey -- Geography --
Official Name: Republic of Turkey
Capital City: Ankara
Climate: Mediterranean coastal area have mild, rainy winters with mostly hot, dry
summers. Inland, the higher elevations experience much colder winters
Languages: Turkish (official), Kurdish, Arabic, others
Official Currency: Turkish Lira
Land Area: 769,630 sq km (Anatolia: 755,688 sq.km
Thrace: 24,888 sq.km)
Landforms: The European side is mostly rolling hills, while across the Bosphorus Strait into central Turkey there are wide plains, all surrounded by, and mixed with
high, rugged mountains. Along the Mediterranean coast
the land is lower and very fertile. The Tigras, Kizilirmak, Sakarya and Euphrates
are major rivers, and Lake Van the largest lake.
Land Divisions: 81 provinces
Total length of land borders: 2,627 km
Land borders with
neighbours (in km): Armenia (268), Azerbaijan (9), Bulgaria (240), Georgia (252), Greece (206), Iran (499), Iraq (331), Syria (822)
Total length of coasts: 8,333 km
The most populated Cities
(2000 census): Istanbul (10,018,735 ) - Ankara (4,007,860) Capital - Izmir (3,370,866)
Other Cities: Bursa - Konya - Adana - Antalya - Icel - Urfa - Dyarbakir - Manisa - Hatay - Kocaeli - Samsun - Balikesir - Gaziantep - K.Maras
Turkey -- History --
The Republic of Turkey was established on October 29, 1923 from the remnants of the Ottoman Empire. The origins of modern Turkey can be traced back to the arrival of Turkish tribes in Anatolia in the 11th century, under the Seljuks. Following the Seljuk Turks defeats to the Mongols, a power vacuum allowed for the new Ottoman dynasty to establish itself as a powerful force in the region. In the 16th century, at the height of its power, the Ottoman Empire grew to cover Anatolia, North Africa, the Middle East, South-Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Following its defeat in World War I, Western powers sought to partition the empire through the Treaty of Sevres. With the support of the Allies, Greece had invaded and occupied Izmir as provided for in the Treaty. On May 19, 1919 this prompted the beginning of a nationalist movement under the command of Mustafa Kemal Pasha, a military commander who had distinguished himself in the Battle of Gallipoli. Kemal Pasha sought to revoke the terms of treaty which had been signed by the Sultan in Istanbul, this involved mobilising every available part of Turkish society in what would become the Turkish War of Independence (Turkish: Kurtulus Savas?).
By September 18, 1922 the occupying Entente armies were repelled and the country was liberated. This was followed by the abolition of the Sultan's office by the Turkish Grand National Assembly on November 1, 1922, thus ending 631 years of Ottoman rule. In 1923 the Treaty of Lausanne recognised the sovereignty of a new Turkish Republic, Kemal was granted the name Ataturk (meaning father of Turks) by the National Assembly and would become the republic's first President. Ataturk instituted a wide-range of far reaching reforms with the aim of modernising the new Republic from the remnants of its Ottoman past. There are many different ways of classifying the history of Turkey. The least disputed classification is based on three global periods: the war of independence, the single-party period and the multi-party period. Even if these periods have distinct characteristics, some issues do repeat in every period with subtle differences.
Turkey -- Economy --
General Information: Turkey’s economy has experienced considerable industrialization and modernization since the establishment of the republic in 1923, and especially since the end of World War II (1939-1945). Turkey is among the most advanced of the developing nations, but it remains poorer than most European countries. Turkey is still strongly agricultural, and farming remains the occupation of about 33 percent of the population. However, Turkey’s economy is undergoing a structural transformation in which manufacturing, commercial agriculture, construction, and the service industries have expanded steadily while the role of traditional subsistence agriculture has declined.
By 1995 Turkey’s progress toward privatization was sufficiently impressive that the EU agreed to form a customs union with Turkey. As a condition for full membership, however, the EU also called for political reforms that would bring Turkey’s democratic practices up to the standards of other EU member states. In 1997 the EU presented Turkey with a list of specific political reforms that were required for Turkey to become an official EU membership candidate.
Turkey’s failure to gain quick EU acceptance produced disappointment within the country. At the same time, a period of political instability followed military intervention in the political process in 1997. These factors combined to depress Turkey’s economy, which was already hampered by budget deficits and decades of high double-digit annual inflation rates. Consequently, in 1999 Turkey applied for and received an economic stabilization loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Austerity measures demanded of Turkey by the IMF led to the loss of 1.5 million jobs within two years. A second IMF loan in 2001, a period in which Turkey experienced its worst economic performance in decades, brought Turkey’s total IMF debt to $31 billion, making it one of the largest recipients ever of IMF credit.
Turkey’s successful implementation of the IMF-backed austerity measures, including important progress in reducing inflation, prompted the IMF in late 2004 to extend more loans to the country. The new three-year deal allocated an additional $10 billion to fund the overhaul of Turkey’s tax collection system and further reforms in social security and banking. Turkey’s improving economy permitted the government to introduce a revalued currency, called the new Turkish lira (Yeni Turk Liras?, or YTL) in January 2005. The new currency dropped six zeroes from the old Turkish lira (TL) in a million-to-one conversion. Turkey’s government hoped the new currency would boost international trade.
National Output: Turkey’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2003 was $240.4 billion. Some 22 percent of the GDP was contributed by industry, 13 percent by agriculture, and 65 percent by government and private services.
Labor: The domestic Turkish labor force included 33.7 million economically active persons in 2003. Of those, 33 percent were employed in agriculture, forestry, and fishing; 43 percent held jobs in service industries; and 24 percent worked in industry. In 1999 about 1.2 million Turkish citizens were employed abroad, especially in Germany, Saudi Arabia, and France; annual remittances from emigrant workers totaled about $4.6 million. The main labor organizations were the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions, with about 1.7 million members, and the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey.
Agriculture: Since 1950, Turkey’s agricultural output has increased through the use of more machinery and fertilizer and more productive plant varieties. Turkey is one of a handful of countries in the world that produces an overall surplus of foods. The diversity of climates in Turkey allows many specialty crops to be grown, including tea, figs, and silk.
Cereals and livestock are raised on the Anatolian Plateau. In this region most farmers own some of the land they cultivate, and large landholdings are the exception. Cereals—including wheat, barley, and maize—and livestock together account for about two-thirds of Turkey’s total agricultural output. In areas where irrigation is possible, a broader range of crops is grown, including cotton, sugar beets, grapes, and other fruits. The livestock industry is of special significance in the mountainous eastern provinces. Sheep are the main livestock, and Turkey produces more wool than any other country in Europe. Cattle provide milk, meat, and hides, and are used as draft animals. Goats, horses, donkeys, water buffalo, and camels are also raised. The long silky hair of Angora goats, called mohair, is used to make a soft yarn.
In the more fertile coastal areas, especially in the Aegean and Mediterranean region, large landholdings worked with hired labor are common. In these areas, important export crops such as cotton and tobacco are raised, as well as olives, grapes, figs, and many other varieties of fruits. Cotton is also widely grown on the Adana Plain. The intensively cultivated Black Sea coastlands produce tobacco, tea, hazelnuts, sugar beets, potatoes, and other vegetables and fruits.
Forestry and Fishing: Although 13 percent of Turkey’s area is classified as forested, lumbering is relatively unimportant. Only about one-third of the forested area has commercial value. The remainder produces shrub and brush useful primarily as a fuel. Nearly all of Turkey’s forests are owned and managed by the government. In 2003, 15.8 million cubic meters (558 million cubic feet) of timber was cut. About one-eighth was sawed into lumber; most of the rest was used as fuel.
The fish catch in 2001 was 594,971 metric tons; most of the fish came from the Mediterranean and Black seas. Anchovies generally make up the bulk of the catch, which is relatively small. Sardines, mullet, mackerel, and whiting are also caught.
Mining: Turkey maintains an important place in world mineral production. The country is among the world’s leaders in the production of chromium ore and boron. Large deposits of iron ore are worked in the country’s northeastern area. Fossil fuel extraction in southeastern Turkey is used primarily to meet domestic demands; in 2002 Turkey produced 17 million barrels of petroleum, 378 million cubic meters (13.3 billion cubic feet) of natural gas, and 53.3 million metric tons of coal. Most of the coal was low-grade lignite, which is mined in many areas, although some amounts of higher-grade coal were extracted. Other mineral products included copper, bauxite, manganese, antimony, lead, zinc, and sulfur. Northwestern Anatolia is the world’s top producer of meerschaum, a fine white clay used for making tobacco pipes.
Manufacturing: Turkey’s leading manufactured products in the early 2000s included textiles, automobiles, iron and steel, cement, processed food, paper, tobacco products, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, leather products, glassware, and refined petroleum and petroleum products. The major food-processing industry is the production of sugar from sugar beets. Istanbul, Izmir, Adana, and Bursa were the most important manufacturing centers.
Energy: In 2002 Turkey produced 123.3 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. Thermal plants burning fossil fuels produced 73 percent of the electricity, and 27 percent came from hydroelectric facilities, including a large plant on the Euphrates River near Elaz?g. Turkey is in the process of building a massive hydroelectric project called the Southeast Anatolia Project, or GAP (the acronym for its Turkish name). The project, involving construction of 22 dams and 19 power plants along the Euphrates, is scheduled for completion in 2005. The centerpiece of GAP, the Ataturk Dam, was completed in 1990.
Currency and Banking: The monetary unit of Turkey is the new Turkish lira (YTL), divided into 100 new kurus. The devalued YTL was introduced on January 1, 2005, and replaced the old Turkish lira (TL, to remain legal tender until the end of 2005). Due to chronically high inflation rates since the 1970s, the TL had experienced a severe depreciation in value, with one million TL equal to approximately U.S. $0.75 cents in late 2004. The devaluation of the YTL, which followed Turkey’s success in reducing inflation, dropped six zeroes from the old TL in a million-to-one conversion. The devaluation required Turkey to begin minting a new kurus, as the old kurus had been dropped years ago due to inflation. The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey, founded in 1930, is the bank of issue. The country also has many state banks concerned with economic development, such as the Agriculture Bank of the Republic of Turkey, founded in 1863, and several commercial banks. Turkey’s principal stock exchange is in Istanbul.
Foreign Trade: Foreign trade is an increasingly important part of Turkey’s economy. Until recent decades, agricultural products were the most important exports, followed by minerals and other raw materials. Industrialization in Turkey, especially since the end of World War II, has provided a new source of exports.
The cost of Turkey’s annual imports is usually much higher than earnings from exports; in 2003 imports totaled $69.3 billion and exports $47.3 billion. The principal exports were textiles, iron and steel, cement, dried fruits, leather garments, and tobacco. Chief imports were machinery, crude petroleum, transportation vehicles, and chemical products. Considerable income is derived from tourism in Turkey; in 2003 some 13.3 million foreigners spent an estimated $13.2 billion in the country.
Turkey’s chief trading partners for exports, in order of importance, are Germany (accounting for one-quarter of all purchases), Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, and France. Principal sources of imports, in order of importance, are Germany, Italy, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and Russia.
Transportation: Turkey has 8,671 km (5,388 mi) of railroad track, all of which is operated by the Turkish Republic State Railways. The country also is served by 354,421 km (220,227 mi) of roads. In 2002 there were 66 passenger cars in use for every 1,000 residents. The leading ports of Turkey are Istanbul and Izmir; other important ports include Trabzon, Giresun, Samsun, and Zonguldak, on the Black Sea, and Iskenderun and Mersin (Icel) in the south. The national airline, Turkish Airlines, provides domestic and foreign service; major international airports serve Istanbul, Ankara, Adana, Antalya, and Izmir.
Communications: Turkey had about 30 major daily newspapers in the early 2000s, in addition to many dailies with small circulations. Larger dailies include Bugun, Cumhuriyet, Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Yeni Gunaydin, and Zaman—all published in Istanbul. The country is also served by many weekly and monthly publications. The government runs four national radio networks and five television channels; there are also many privately owned radio and television stations. In 2000 there were 562 licensed radio receivers and 443 licensed television sets in use for every 1,000 residents. Telephone lines numbered 268 per 1,000 people in 2003.
Turkey -- Culture --
Turkey (country), officially the Republic of Turkey (Turkish Turkiye Cumhuriyeti), a nation in western Asia and southeastern Europe.
From the 14th through the 16th centuries, the Ottoman Empire was a major center for Islamic art. The architecture, calligraphy, ceramics, and painting preserved from this period are among the classic examples of Islamic art. Modern Turkish art began to emerge in the 19th century as local artists began to experiment with, and adapt, methods and styles being developed in central and western Europe. The final five decades of Ottoman rule (1873-1923), although a time of serious economic and political decline, was also an age of great artistic achievement. During this period new literary journals popularized novels, plays, and poems; painters exhibited large works in the impressionist style in Istanbul’s new galleries; and musicians composed original works that blended European and traditional Turkish scales.
Artistic creativity declined in the years after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. Until the mid-20th century, the Turkish government played a central role in defining art that it considered appropriate, especially with respect to visual art. The government encouraged artists to stress themes that reflected the official image of a modern and secular society. At the same time, government patronage of all forms of art opened new opportunities for people to pursue artistic careers. Since 1950, however, the government has not actively promoted particular art styles. Consequently, new creative energy has emerged in literature, the visual arts, and music.
Literature: Until the mid-19th century, Turkish literature centered on the Ottoman court. This literature, which included poetry and some prose, represented a fusion of Persian, Arabic, and Turkish classical styles. Western influences were introduced in the 1860s by the Young Ottomans, a group of intellectuals who attempted to combine Western cultural forms with a simplified form of the Turkish language. This trend continued through the remainder of the 19th century and became more pronounced in the period immediately before World War I (1914-1918).
After the founding of the republic in 1923, Turkey produced an impressive number of poets, novelists, and playwrights. Orhan Veli is generally considered the father of modern Turkish poetry, which is characterized by a rebellion against rigidly prescribed forms and a preoccupation with immediate perception. Novelists and poets who have gained international acclaim and whose works have been translated into English include Halide Edip Ad?var, Naz?m Hikmet, Sait Faik Abas?yan?k, Faz?l Husnu Daglarca, Yasar Kemal, Nusret Aziz Nesin, Orhan Pamuk, Oktay Rifat, Ilhan Berk, and Bilge Karasu. Yasar Kemal’s novels include the prizewinning Memed, My Hawk (1955; translated 1961) and Seagull (1976; translated 1981). Naz?m Hikmet is one of Turkey’s most acclaimed political poets.
Visual Arts: Painting, ceramics, and carpet design are among the most popular visual arts in contemporary Turkey. Painters whose work has won international recognition include Salih Acar, Ibrahim Balaban, Turan Erol, Leyla Gams?z, and Adnan Turani. In ceramics, the work of Mehmet Gursel, Faik K?r?ml?, and Ahmet Sahin is notable. Artists such as carpet weaver Belkis Balpinar, calligrapher Feridun Ozgoren, and musician Niyazi Say?n consciously incorporate traditional methods and folk motifs in their work.
Turkey is renowned for its historic architecture, especially the magnificent mosques designed and constructed during the Ottoman period. The field of modern architecture, however, has not attracted significant creative talent. Modern buildings tend to imitate those of Europe in style and construction materials—cement and bricks for low-rise buildings; steel girders and glass for high-rise structures. The area of sculpture has seen little development, and public monuments continue to commemorate Ataturk or events from Turkey’s war of independence.
Music and Dance: In music and dance, perhaps more than in other Turkish art forms, there is a division between elite and popular genres. Turkey’s cultural elite emphasizes Western classical music, with some acceptance of traditional Ottoman court music. Both Ankara and Istanbul are home to respected opera companies. The Presidential Symphony Orchestra gives concerts each year in Ankara and on tour. Ankara and Istanbul also each have music conservatories, including schools of ballet.
Western operas and symphonies are also performed on traditional Turkish instruments and accompanied by folk dancing. Often, folk music is a source of inspiration for longer Turkish symphonic works. Several Turkish composers, of whom the best known is Adnan Saygun, have won national and international acclaim for the fusing of Turkish folk themes with Western forms. The Istanbul Music Conservatory has taken steps to preserve authentic folk music by recording it in all parts of the country. Folk arts festivals held each year in Istanbul present a wide variety of Turkish music and dance.
The popular music of Turkey, called arabesque, is influenced by Arab popular music and folk Islam. The common themes of arabesque are love, betrayal, and unfairness in life. State broadcasting disapproves of arabesque, but the establishment of private radio and television stations after 1980 opened new opportunities for arabesque music to receive extensive airplay.
Theatre and Film: During the 1960s and 1970s, Turkey was one of the world’s largest producers of motion pictures. Production fell to fewer than 20 new features per year by the 1990s due to competition from television and foreign-made movies. The country’s internationally acclaimed film directors include Tomris Giritlioglu,Y?lmaz Guney, and Yesim Ustaoglu. Erden K?ral’s film Mavi Surgun (The Blue Exile) was nominated for an Academy Award in 1994 as best foreign-made film. A highly regarded international film festival takes place in Istanbul during the early months of each year.
Libraries and Museums: Museums are located in all of Turkey’s major cities and also at many popular tourist sites. Turkey’s most notable museums include the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, with exhibits of the ancient Hittite and Phrygian civilizations, and the Ethnographic Museum in Istanbul, which contains Greek and Roman artifacts. Many famous archaeological sites—including the great Greek and Roman cities of Ephesus and Pergamum—are open to public view. The Topkap? Palace Museum (Topkap? Saray? Muzesi) in Istanbul, the country’s most popular tourist attraction, served as the official residence and administrative offices of Ottoman rulers from the late 15th century until 1853. It displays imperial treasures and religious relics from the golden age of the Ottoman Empire.
Among the many other historical sites in Istanbul that now are museums is Hagia Sophia, a 6th-century Christian church that was converted into a mosque in 1453 and into a museum in 1933; and the Dolmabahce Palace. Libraries in Turkey that have specialized collections include the National Library, in Ankara, which houses important government documents from the early republican period; the Beyaz?t State Library, in Istanbul, which is a repository for government documents from both Ottoman and republican periods; and the Suleymaniye Library, also in Istanbul, which has more than 64,000 handwritten manuscripts from the Ottoman era.
Turkey -- Life style --
Importance of the Family: The family is at the heart of daily life in Turkey, whether among Turks, Kurds, or Arabs. Members of extended families typically live near each other in urban neighborhoods, and most social interactions involve visits to the homes of relatives—parents, siblings, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. Boys and girls tend to grow up regarding their same-gender cousins as their closest friends. From early adolescence through adulthood, most people strive to behave in such a way so as not to bring shame to the family. Because of the strong emphasis on family life, young people generally seek to get married soon after finishing their education. In practice, this means that women, especially those in the working classes and rural areas, are expected to give greater priority to taking care of a husband and rearing children than to pursuing a career outside the home.
The importance of family life is also evident in the acquisition of consumer goods, which are purchased primarily to enhance family prestige rather than individual status. Thus, the most popular consumer goods are those that can benefit multiple family members, including appliances and electronic items such as radios, televisions, and computers, as opposed to goods used exclusively by one family member. The people of Turkey dress like Europeans and North Americans. Among middle- and upper-middle-class youth, status is attached to wearing internationally famous name-brand clothes and shoes.
Sports: The most popular sports in Turkey are soccer and wrestling. The third-place finish of Turkey’s national soccer team during the 2002 World Cup games was a source of great pride. Turkey has won many international wrestling prizes. Major holidays include the Muslim religious feast of Seker Bayrami (“sugar holiday”), which comes at the close of the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth lunar month; and Kurban Bayrami (“sacrifice holiday”), held during the 12th lunar month. Secular holidays include National Sovereignty Day (April 23, also Children’s Day), Ataturk’s Memorial and Youth Day (May 19), Victory Day (August 30), and Republic Day (October 29).
Turkey -- Political system, law and government --
President: Ahmet Necdet Sezer (2000)
Prime Minister: Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2003)
The Turkish Republic was proclaimed on October 29, 1923, after a nationalist movement led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Turkey has been under civilian rule since 1983. However, the military intervened in the political process in February 1997 and ordered the government to implement an 18-point list of measures to reinforce the secular establishment. Since then, Turkey’s civilian governments have been wary of further military intervention, and this concern has constrained governmental policy.
Central Government: Legislative power rests in the National Assembly, a 550-member unicameral body. Members are elected by popular vote to five-year terms under a system of proportional representation. Political parties must receive at least 10 percent of the vote to gain representation in the assembly. Extremist parties are banned, as are parties promoting religious causes. All citizens aged 18 or older are entitled to vote.
The constitution divides executive power between the prime minister and the president. The head of government is the prime minister, who represents the majority party or coalition in parliament. The prime minister selects a cabinet, called the Council of Ministers, and is responsible for carrying out government policy. The president, as head of state, is chosen by parliament for a seven-year term. The president’s executive powers are substantial. They include the authority to dissolve parliament, to approve the prime minister, to veto legislation or to propose legislative changes, to ask the constitutional court to rule on the constitutionality of legislation, and to submit constitutional amendments to the people in popular referenda.
Local Government: For administrative purposes, Turkey is divided into 81 provinces, called vilayets. Each province is governed by a provincial governor, who is appointed by the central government and is responsible to the minister of the interior. The provinces are divided into counties, which are in turn divided into districts. There are also locally elected assemblies at the province, county, district levels.
Judiciary: The old Ottoman laws that were based on Islamic religious law, the Sharia, were gradually abolished in modern Turkey. The religious courts were suppressed in 1924, and the constitution announced that year guaranteed independence to Turkey’s remaining courts.
The judicial system consists of courts of justices of the peace, with jurisdiction over some criminal and civil matters; courts of first instance, with wider powers; central criminal courts, which hear serious criminal cases; commercial courts; and a court of cassation, the highest court, which serves as a court of appeal.
The 1982 constitution provided for a constitutional court to determine the constitutionality of laws passed by parliament; judges to the court are appointed by the president. Turkey’s legal codes are largely adapted from European codes, especially the Swiss civil, the Italian penal, and the German commercial codes.
Political Parties: Since 1960, three types of political parties have dominated the political landscape in Turkey: Kemalist parties; nationalist and ethnic parties; and religious parties.
The Kemalist parties, which accept the principles of Kemalism, can be divided into two groups: center-right and center-left. The center-right parties tend to interpret the principles of Kemalism in a flexible spirit. Thus, they support limits on the government’s role in the economy, favor private capital, and are tolerant of some religious expression in public life. The main center-right Kemalist parties are Motherland (ANAP) and True Path (DYP). The founder of ANAP was Turgut Ozal, who served as prime minister from 1983 to 1989 and as president of Turkey from 1989 to 1993. DYP is similar to ANAP in its basic philosophy and appeal. The DYP’s leader, Tansu Ciller, became Turkey’s first female prime minister in 1993. Both ANAP and DYP lost all of their parliamentary seats in the 2002 elections. Center-left Kemalist political parties generally support a strong role for the state in economic affairs and a doctrinaire interpretation of secularism that is hostile to groups suspected of supporting religious causes. However, these parties also back Turkey’s membership in the European Union (EU), and they have accepted greater privatization of state-owned industries as an inevitable price for becoming part of Europe. One of the leading parties is the Democratic Left (DSP), led by veteran politician Bulent Ecevit, who was prime minister from 1999 to 2002. Ecevit previously served as prime minister in coalition governments during the 1970s. In the 2002 elections, however, Ecevit’s party received less than 10 percent of the total vote and consequently lost all its seats in parliament. Other center-left Kemalist parties include the Republican People’s Party, which was formed in 1992 and claims to be the successor of the old Ataturk party of the same name, and the Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP).
The nationalist and ethnic parties generally do not contest Kemalist principles, but neither do they incorporate them into their party platforms. The Nationalist Action Party (MHP), for example, is concerned primarily with defending Turkey’s territorial integrity. Thus, it is hostile to Kurdish efforts to assert a unique identity, which it interprets as a form of separatism. The MHP also opposes Turkey’s membership in the EU, which it believes will limit national sovereignty. Prior to the 1999 elections, neither the MHP nor its predecessors had attracted more than a small fraction of the vote in national elections. In 1999, however, it emerged from the elections as the second-largest party in parliament after the DSP. Three years later, in the 2002 elections, it did not receive enough votes to qualify for even one parliamentary seat.
None of Turkey’s ethnic Kurdish parties identify themselves explicitly as such—apart from the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which changed its name to the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress (KADEK) in 2002. The Kurdish parties support such causes as abolition of the death penalty, rescinding the law on broadcasting and publishing in prohibited languages (including Kurdish), freeing political prisoners, and Turkey’s membership in the EU. The Kurdish parties have experienced frequent forced dissolution by order of the constitutional court, and they subsequently reform under new names. The main such party currently is the People’s Democratic Party (HADEP), formed in 1994.
The religious parties do not explicitly challenge Kemalism, although they are philosophically opposed to the principle of secularism. The parties advocate the right of religiously inclined people to participate openly in politics and society. A well-known religious politician, Necmettin Erbakan, has been active since the early 1970s and served as a junior partner in a government led by Ecevit in 1974. In the early 1990s, Erbaken developed the Refah Party (RP) into an effective political organization that won major municipal elections, including the positions of mayor of Ankara and Istanbul. In 1995 the RP won the largest number of seats in parliament, and the following year the DYP reluctantly agreed to form a coalition with Refah. Erbakan became prime minister, the first openly Islamic prime minister in the history of the republic.
Health and Welfare: Turkey has a national health insurance program administered by the ministry of health. Medical services are free in government hospitals and clinics. However, these facilities are generally concentrated in urban areas, while rural areas, especially in eastern Anatolia, have relatively few hospitals and clinics. Private health care is readily available in large cities. People who can afford to do so tend to consult physicians in private practice and seek treatment in private hospitals.
Turkey does not have a national social security system to cover retirement, unemployment compensation, or payments for disabling conditions that prevent working. A retirement system covers civil servants, career military personnel, and workers in state-owned enterprises. Some private companies have also established pension plans for their workers. All such schemes together, however, cover less than half of the country’s total labor force.
Defense: In 2003 Turkey’s armed forces included 514,850 people. In 2002 about 36,000 troops were deployed in the Turkish-controlled section of Cyprus, a Mediterranean island also occupied by Greece. All male citizens from the ages of 20 to 32 are required to serve from 1 to 16 months in the armed forces.
International Organizations: Turkey is a member of the United Nations (UN) and its various affiliated organizations. It is also a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Economic Cooperation Organization, and the European Parliament. Turkey entered a customs union with the EU in 1995 and is in the process of meeting specific economic and political criteria set by the EU so that it may become a full member of that body.