Turkey in facts and figures
03 October 2004

Turkey, which hopes to get the nod Wednesday from the European
Commission to obtain a date in December to launch membership talks
with the European Union, stands at the center of a strategic zone
between the Caucasus, the Middle East and the Balkans.

Following is a factsheet on Turkey, comparing some figures with those
of the European Union:

GEOGRAPHY: Covering an area of 779,452 square kilometres (311,781
square miles), Turkey borders Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran,
Iraq, Syria, Greece and Bulgaria, and is washed by the Mediterranean
to the south, the Aegean to the west and the Black Sea to the north,
and surrounds the Sea of Marmara. It is divided between two
continents, Europe and Asia. The area west of the Dardanelles and the
Bosphorus (the straits between Europe and Asia) accounts for five
percent of the total.

Comparatively, the total area of the EU countries is 3,691,214 sq km
(1,476,486 sq miles).

POPULATION: 70.7 million inhabitants (2003), including 13 to 19
million Kurds.

With Turkey joining, the EU's population, which stood at 455 million
in January 2004, would pass the half-billion mark.

CAPITAL: Ankara, population 3.5 million.

Istanbul is the country's largest city and industrial and commercial
hub with a population in excess of 10 million (Turkish State
Statistics Institute, 2000 - latest figures available).


The EU currently has 20 official, but only three working languages:
English, French and German.

RELIGION: Muslim (99 percent): 80 percent Sunni, 20 percent
Alevi. Armenians form the largest religious minority, with about
45,000 people, followed by some 35,000 Jews.

Turkey's entry into the EU would bring the number of Muslims in the
European bloc to around 80 million.

RECENT HISTORY: Founded in 1923, the Republic of Turkey was created
after the collapse of the Ottoman empire at the end of World War
I. The republic became a modern secular state under its founder,
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk ("father of the Turks"), until his death in
1938. His successor, Ismet Inonu, ran the counry as a single-party
dictatorship until 1946, when he introduced a multi-party
system. Turkey was the scene of military coups, followed by periods of
repression, in 1960, 1971 and 1980.

>From 1984 to 1999, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) led an armed
rebellion in southeastern Turkey, which claimed more than 37,000
lives. The PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey
and many other countries and international organisations, called a
unilateral truce after the capture in Kenya in 1999 of its founder and
leader, Abdullah Ocalan, who was tried and sentenced to death; his
sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.

The PKK has changed names several times since, and its latest
incarnation, the Kurdistan People's Congress (KONGRA-GEL), in June
announced the end of their truce, which the Turkish army had never

POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS: Ahmet Necdet Sezer has been president since
May 5,

Necmettin Erbakan, leader of the Welfare Party, became Turkey's first
Islamic prime minister on June 28, 1996, in a coalition with his
predecessor, Tansu Ciller, the country's first woman premier.

He was pressured into resigning by the army in June 1997 and was
replaced by Mesut Yilmaz, leader of the Motherland Party, who headed a
left-right coalition.

The Yilmaz coalition fell from power in November 1998 amid allegations
of corruption and links to organised crime. It was replaced by another
left-right coalition led by Bulent Ecevit.

In general elections in November 2002, the Justice and Devlopment
Party (AKP), which has its roots in radical Islam but describes itself
as simply "conservative", swept to power and obtained the absolute
majority of seats in Parliament. Its leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
became prime minister in March

ECONOMY: The economy, which is based mainly on textiles, light
industry, tourism and agriculture, saw considerable growth until it
was hit by a severe crisis in the aftermath of the first Gulf War in

With 14 million foreign visitors generating 13.2 billion dollars of
income, tourism in 2003 was the country's biggest earner. Long hit by
PKK terror attacks and the effects of the Gulf War, the sector boomed
in 2003 and 2004, with incoming tourist figures increasing by 43.5%
for the first six months of this year compared with the first six
months of 2003.

Turkey has been linked with the EU with an association accord signed
in 1963 and a customs agreement signed in 1996.

Turkey's candidacy for EU membership was rejected in 1989, largely due
to its human rights record, but was accepted on December 10, 1999.

GNP PER CAPITA: 2.790 dollars.

By comparison, the highest per capita GNP in the EU belongs to
Luxembourg, with 38,830 dollars; the lowest, Latvia's, is 3,480
dollars. The average per capita GNP of the EU is 19,775 dollars (World
Bank, 2003).

FOREIGN DEBT: 147.035 billion dollars (Turkish State Statistics

ARMED FORCES: 514,850 men, of whom 402,000 are land forces, 52,750
naval forces and 60,100 air forces (IISS 2003/2004).

Turkey has been a NATO member since 1952.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress