GENERAL INFORMATION ON
Official Name: The Republic of Turkey (Türkiye
Founder: Mustafa Kemal ATATÜRK ( 1881-1938 )
Population: 65.3 million (as of 2000)
Language: Turkish (uses Latin Alphabet)
Currency: Turkish Lira (TL)
Electricity: 220 volts a.c. all over Turkey
Weights and Measures: Metric and Kilo system
Flag: Red background with a white crescent and star in
With an area of 769,064 square kms (297,000 sq. miles), Turkey is about the size
of Texas and Massachusetts or France and ex-West Germany combined. Spanning the
European and the Asian continents, Turkey is a land rich with mountains, rolling
steppes, rivers, agricultural valleys and 8,400 kms (5,200 miles) of shores.
Turkey is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on the southwest, the Black Sea on
the north and the Aegean Sea on the west. The Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara
and the Bosphorus break up Turkey in her European and Asian parts.
Turkey share borders with Greece and Bulgaria in the
West, Georgia and Armenia to the Northeast, Iran to the East and Iraq and Syria
in the Southeast.
Half the fun at a Turkish table is the road leading to the entre which consists
of lamb, beef (always fresh) or fish (always jumping!): a multitude of hors
d'oeuvres called 'meze'. These range from börek (ground meat or parsley and
white cheese wrapped in flaky pastry and fried in vegetable oil), spiced rice
wrapped in vine leaves (dolma), well chilled cucumber and dill in yoghurt
dressing (cacik) and aubergine dishes to freshly cooked shrimp in butter and
An estimated 70.2 million people, with an annual
growth rate of 1.6%.
Turkish, an Altaic language, written in the Latin
script since 1928.
Most well-educated Turks and especially those involved in the tourism business
speak excellent English and often French and German as well.
Turkey has been a Republic since 1923. The form
of government is a secular, multiparty democracy with a unicameral legislature,
a President and a Prime Minister.
Major Commercial Cities
Istanbul, the cultural and business
center with a population of 9.8 million.
Ankara, the political capital, with 3.2
Izmir, the economic capital of the Aegean
region, with 2.2 million people.
Adana, the fast-growing southern city, a
magnet for industry and agriculture, with a population of 1.1 million.
Turkey has the best of Mediterranean climates,
though warmer and more reliable than the western Med but not as humid and
sweltering as the eastern or southern Med. Spring begins in May and summer
reaches deep into October along the lower Aegean and throughout the
Mediterranean coasts. Istanbul, central and eastern parts of Anatolia become
quite cold between December and April.
Spring and summer travellers to Turkey need to
bring T-shirts, shorts, sunhat, pants, swim-wear, a sweater or a light jacket
for that chilly evening after a suntan, and a sturdy pair of walking shoes.
Those arriving in Turkey in the winter must pack rain-gear and a warm overcoat
together with gloves, hats and warm woollens. During the Congress the weather
could be warm with balmy evenings but one should not forget also the possibility
of rain showers and cool evenings.
Turkey has an industrialized economy with a large
agricultural sector. Major sectors are automotive, iron and steel, household
appliances and electronics, textiles and apparel, consumer goods, foodstuffs,
pharmaceuticals, chemicals, cement, building materials, glass, ceramics and
financial services. The economy is based on free-market principles, although
the state sector is still quite large.
During the Congress the Moslem Holy month of
Ramadan will be in its last days. The post-Congress tours will take place
during the Eid El Fitr (Seker Bayram in Turkish)
For most offices 9 am - 6pm, many bank branches
close between 12:30am 1.30pm for lunch. Large stores and the Grand Bazaar are
generally open from 10 am - 6:30 pm.
Small shops stay open till all hours, generally opening between 9 - 10 in the
In the middle of summer in hot southern locations, some shops may close in mid
afternoon for a short siesta and then stay open till 9 or 10 at night. Breakfast
(7 - 10am ) and lunch (12am - 2:30pm ) at standard times. Dinner tends to be
late, around 8 - 9pm and even later during the summer months, although
restaurants are generally open for service by 7 pm.