• Location: Southeast Europe, on the shores of the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Marmara Sea. It can be easily identified on a map by finding the largest shore of the Black Sea.

    Highest Point: Ararat Mountain/5137 m.

    Largest Lake: Van/3712 km2

    Longest River: Kızılırmak/1355 km

    Area: 814.578 km2

    Population: 75 million

    Capital: Ankara, 4.5 million inhabitants

    Borders: Turkey shares a border with Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

    Climate: Because of Turkey's geographical conditions, one cannot speak about a general overall climate. In Istanbul and around the sea of Marmara (Marmara region) the climate is moderate (winter 4 deg. C and summer 27 deg. C); in winter the temperature can drop below zero. In Western Anatolia (Aegean region) there is a mild Mediterranean climate with average temperatures of 9 deg. C in winter and 29 deg. C in summer. On the southern coast of Anatolia (Mediterranean region) the same climate can be found. The climate of the Anatolian Plateau (Central Anatolian region) is a steppe climate (there is a great temperature difference between day and night). Rainfall is low and there is more snow. The average temperature is 23 deg. C in summer and -2 deg. C in winter. The climate in the Black Sea area (Black Sea region) is wet, warm and humid (summer 23 deg. C, winter 7 deg. C). In Eastern Anatolia and South-Eastern Anatolia there is a long hard winter, where year after year snow lies on the ground from November until the end of April (the average temperature in winter is -13 deg. C and in summer 17 deg. C).

    Money: The national currency is Turkish Lira (TL). Notes are in denominations of TL 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of 1 TL and 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 Kurus. (1TL=100 Kuruş)


    Official holidays
    Jan 1: New Year's Day

    National holidays
    Apr 23: National Sovereignty and Children's Day (anniversary of the establishment of Turkish Grand National Assembly)
    May 1: Labour and Solidarity Day (recently added in 2009)
    May 19: Atatürk Commemoration and Youth & Sports Day (the arrival of Atatürk in Samsun, and the beginning of the War of Independence)
    Aug 30: Victory Day (victory over invading forces in 1922).
    Oct 29: Republic Day (anniversary of the declaration of the Turkish Republic)

    Religious holidays
    Ramazan Bayrami: Three-day festival when sweets are eaten to celebrate the end of the fast of Ramadan month. Also known as "Seker (sweets) Bayrami" since it is customary to offer candies to family members and friends that are visiting.

    Kurban Bayrami: Four-day festival when sacrificial sheep are slaughtered and their meat distributed to the poor. The dates of these religious festivals change according to the Islamic calendar and thus occur 10-11 days (exact difference between Gregorian and Lunar calendars is 10 days and 21 hrs) earlier each year. According to this;

    Ramazan Bayrami (or Seker Bayrami) was celebrated on 9-10-11 September 2010, and on 30-31 August-1 September 2011, and it will be celebrated on 19-20-21 August in 2012.

    Kurban Bayrami (Sacrifice holiday) was celebrated on 31 December 2006 - 1-2-3 January 2007 and on 20-21-22-23 December 2007. In 2010 it was celebrated on 16-17-18-19 November 2010. And it will be celebrated on 6-7-8-9 November 2011 and on 25-26-27-28 October 2012.

    All these holidays are also considered as official holidays in Turkey.

    Turkish is spoken as a native language in Turkey. Turkish language is not an Indo-European language. It belongs to the Altay branch of the Ural-Altay linguistic family. The languages of this family are called Altaic because they are believed to have originated in the high lands around the Altay Mountains of Central Asia. More than 90 percent of all contemporary speakers of Altaic languages speak a Turkish language.
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