Turkey

OVERVIEW: While modern Turkey is a relatively young republic having been founded upon the remains of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, it is an ancient land, the cradle of civilization and the center of world history.  The site of the first human settlement; the seat of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires; the birthplace of Homer and the last home of the Virgin Mary; the originator of yogurt and the presenter of coffee to the West – just a microscopic sampling of Turkey’s extraordinary heritage.  Today, this large country, with its spectacular coastline, majestic mountains, cosmopolitan cities and quaint villages is one of the world’s most desirable destinations, a captivating blend of East and West, antiquity and contemporary, the exotic and the familiar.

LOCATION: Eastern Mediterranean on both the European and Asian continents at the only point in the world where three continents converge – Europe, Africa and Asia.  The European portion of Turkey is known as Thrace, while the Asian is called Anatolia or Asia Minor; Istanbul straddles both as the world’s only city located on two continents.  Turkey is surrounded on three sides by water – the Aegean, Black and Mediterranean Seas – yielding more than 8.000 kilometers (5,000 miles) of coastline.

SIZE: 814.578 kilometer square (314,500 square miles) – 3 percent in Europe and 97 percent in Asia.

TIME ZONE: Local time is GMT +2

CAPITAL: Ankara in the heart of Anatolia.  Despite its long history – Ankara has been continuously inhabited since the Bronze Age – it is a thoroughly modern, well-planned city distinguished by wide avenues, green parks, elegant shops, embassies and government buildings, and numerous world-class hotels and restaurants. Indeed it is the only city in Turkey with an urban development plan dating to the 1930s, the result of the formerly provincial town being named the capital of The Republic or Turkey by its founder, Kemal Atatürk,  in 1923.

POPULATION: 79.814.871 citizens (as of 31.12.2016)            

LANGUAGE: Turkish, which uses the Latin Alphabet, part of the Ural-Altaic group and strongly related to Finno-Hungarian languages.  English is widely spoken in major cities and resort areas.

RELIGION: The only country in the world where churches, synagogues and mosques have peacefully co-existed for centuries, the population is 99 percent Muslim. As a secular state Turkey guarantees complete freedom of worship to non-Muslims.

CLIMATE: Although Turkey is situated in a geographical location where climatic conditions are quite temperate, the diverse nature of the landscape, and the existence of mountains running parallel to the coasts, results in significant differences in climatic conditions from one region to another. While the coastal areas enjoy milder climates – warm summers and mild winters - the inland Anatolian plateau experiences extremes of hot summers and cold winters with limited rainfall.

MONETARY EXCHANGE: Turkish lira (YTL) with coinage in 5, 10, 25 and 50 Kurus (YKr) and 1 TL.  Bank notes are in 5, 10, 20, 50 ,100 and 200 YTL denominations. The exchange rates for foreign currencies are published daily.by Central Bank of Turkey  - http://www.tcmb.gov.tr/wps/wcm/connect/tcmb+en/tcmb+en and can  be exchanged at banks, exchange booths, post offices widely located at the cities and airports; Exchange offices compared to Banks are better rated, generally no commissions are charged. City Located banks open mainly Monday to Friday, but airport branches are open 7/24. ATMs are widely available in major cities and tourist areas, as well possibilities to withdraw foreign currencies as there. Major credit cards are widely accepted; the most popular are Visa or MasterCard, but American Express is accepted in many of the more expensive places. Travellers cheques can be exchanged at some banks and currency exchange offices, but are not as welcome as cash or credit cards.

VISITORS: 42 million-plus total arrivals in 2014

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Latest and current information about visas, application process and fees please refer to http://www.mfa.gov.tr/visa-information-for-foreigners.en.mfa