Turkey facts and figures


Present-day Turkey was created in 1923 from the Turkish remnants of the Ottoman Empire. Soon thereafter, the country instituted secular laws to replace traditional religious fiats. In 1945 Turkey joined the UN, and in
1952 it became a member of NATO. Turkey intervened militarily on Cyprus in 1974 to protect Turkish Cypriots and prevent a Greek takeover of the island; the northern 37 percent of the island remains under Turkish Cypriot
control. Relations between the two countries remain strained, but have begun to improve over the past few years. In 1984, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Marxist-Leninist, separatist group, initiated an insurgency in
southeast Turkey, often using terrorist tactics to try to attain its goal of an independent Kurdistan. The group – whose leader, Abdullah OCALAN, was captured in Kenya in February 1999 – has observed a unilateral cease-fire
since September 1999, although there have been occasional clashes between Turkish military units and some of the 4,000-5,000 armed PKK militants, most of whom currently are encamped in northern Iraq. The PKK changed its
name to the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress (KADEK) in April 2002.


South eastern Europe and south western Asia (that portion of Turkey west of the Bosporus is geographically part of Europe), bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean
Sea, between Greece and Syria.


total: 780,580 sq km

water: 9,820 sq km

land: 770,760 sq km

Land boundaries:

total: 2,648 km

border countries: Armenia 268 km, Azerbaijan 9 km, Bulgaria 240 km, Georgia
252 km, Greece 206 km, Iran 499 km, Iraq 352 km, Syria 822 km


temperate; hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters; harsher in interior


high central plateau (Anatolia); narrow coastal plain; several mountain

Land use:

arable land: 34.53%

permanent crops: 3.36%

other: 62.11% (1998 est.)


68,109,469 (July 2003 est.)


noun: Turk(s)

adjective: Turkish


Turkish (official), Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, Greek