Turkey Geography and Population

Turkey (Geography)

Turkey (Geography) The majority of Turkey is made up of the Anatolian Plateau, which stretches with surrounding coastal areas from the Aegean Sea in the west to Iran in the east. Anatolia is shaped like a giant rectangle whose two long sides are made up of the Pontic Mountains in the north and the Taurus Mountains in the south. To the east, the two mountain ranges in the Eastern Anatolian Highlands unite, appearing more and more dramatic the further east you go. There are tectonic movements in several regions of the country, and violent earthquakes occur regularly.

European Turkey (Thrace) consists of a hilly lowland around the river Ergene; facing the Dardanelles and the Black Sea, the region is surrounded by mountains.

The Aegean Coastal Region and the Marmara Region are the largest industrial cities and are the most densely populated and economically significant parts of Turkey. Here you will also find the best agricultural land and the most important tourist attractions. The counterpart is the eastern plateau with wild and sparsely populated mountain areas. The northern coastal region is in many ways a world unto itself, a long, narrow and fertile coastal plain facing the Black Sea, cut off from the hinterland by high mountains. Only from the major port cities like Trabzon and Samsun are there reasonable connections to the interior of the country. This region has a large and varied production of citrus fruits, nuts (which are an important commodity in Turkey) and tea. The coastal region of the Mediterranean is similarly isolated from the rest of the country, but by the major coastal citiesAntalya and Adana are vast areas with fertile plains and good growth opportunities for both cotton and citrus fruits. Central Turkey is dry and in many places only sparsely populated. Here is a poor farm that allows only modest cultivation of grain, primarily wheat, as well as grazing for sheep and goats. From here a considerable emigration takes place to southern and western Turkey and to Western Europe.

The largest lakes are Tuz Gölü, a salt lake SE of Ankara, and Van Gölü in the eastern Kurdish area. In Eastern Anatolia, the Euphrates and Tigris also run, originating only 80 km apart and running south. Both rivers are used for irrigation and production of electricity, in the ambitious GAP project. This project, which includes the Great Atatürk Dam, is a source of conflict with both Syria and Iraq, where water shortages are a bigger problem than in Turkey.


In the western part of Turkey, the climate is subtropical Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The precipitation is on an annual basis approximately 800 mm with significant regional differences. At the Black Sea, the annual precipitation is over 2500 mm. In central and eastern Anatolia there is a mainland climate; the summers can have temperatures of up to 40 °C, while the winter temperatures can drop to −45 °C. Especially in the eastern part of the country, large amounts of snow fall, which in the highest areas can remain for 4-5 months.


The population of Turkey is young and the birth rate is high but declining; population growth is in the early 2000’s. of less than 1.5% per annum. Almost the entire population is Muslim, about 98%. There are small Armenian, Greek and Jewish minorities, which are gradually declining. However, the Jewish minority locally still plays a certain role in business.

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A large minority is made up of the Kurds, who are thought to make up over a fifth of the population, perhaps up to 15 million. (see Kurdistan). The Kurds traditionally lived in the mountainous regions of eastern Anatolia, where they are today separated from the Kurdish groups in Iraq and Iran by guarded borders, which, however, are lively crossed. In the 1920’s there was an extensive forced relocation of Kurds to the west, just as urbanization and internal migration have led so many Kurds to the big cities in the west that today (2006) it is assumed that a considerable part of the Kurdish population lives outside the area that can be called Kurdistan.

Over 3.5 million Turks and Kurds live outside Turkey, of which approximately 90% in Europe and by far the most in Germany. In the post-war period, Turkish emigration can be divided into two phases: a first phase, which extends to 1973 and was almost exclusively labor migration, and a second phase after 1973, which, when most European countries introduced immigration bans, consists of family reunifications and political reasons. and illegal emigration.

Turkey’s cities are growing rapidly and the urban population makes up at least 70% of the total population. The three largest cities, Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, together hold an estimated 20 million people. people, Istanbul alone approximately 9 mio. (unofficially, 15-16 million people live in the city).


Agriculture. Turkey is one of the world’s largest agricultural countries and in practice self-sufficient in agricultural products. The role of the industry in the country’s economy is declining in importance, but more than a third of the workforce is still employed here. About a third of the country’s area, 25 million. ha, is cultivated, and the gnsntl. use size is 8 ha. Production is very varied, and for a large number of crops, Turkey is among the ten largest producers in the world; this applies wheat, barley, sugar beet, tomatoes, apples, tea, tobacco and cotton. Important export crops are cotton, tobacco, fruit and nuts. The country had a significant growth in agricultural production in the second half of the 1990’s; especially 1996 and 1998 had high growth rates, due to favorable weather conditions. Cotton, which has traditionally been Turkey’s most important export, has lost importance, but extensive irrigation has been launched to revitalize production. The tobacco is produced in the Aegean and Thracian regions as well as by the Black Sea and is exported primarily to the United States and tobacco producers in Eastern Europe. Turkey has large populations of sheep, cattle and goats, but in line with the extinction of nomadism and the general development of agriculture, the goat population is strongly returning.

Mining. Turkey has extensive mineral resources of bauxite, chromium, copper, iron ore, manganese and sulfur. Mining employs approximately 170,000 people and is responsible for 10% of exports. approximately 60% of the sector is state-owned, and the coal mines are 100% state-run. Coal resources are among the largest in this part of the world and will hardly ever be depleted. Turkey also has some oil production, but the oil is a heavy, sulfur-containing type, which in quantity is not enough for Turkey’s own consumption. Up to 10% of Turkey’s imports are oil and oil products, especially crude oil from Saudi Arabia. Turkey has launched a certain trade offensive in the former Soviet republics to the east, from which it seeks to replace Saudi Arabia oil.

Industry. Turkey’s industrialization began in earnest in the 1930’s, when Kemal Atatürks government initiated a state-run program to establish basic industries that produced textiles, sugar, cement, chemicals, iron and steel. Although the development programs of the 1930’s have formed the basis of the current industrial structure, the actual development did not begin to pick up speed until the 1950’s. Since then, the industry has moved towards more technologically sophisticated areas such as electrical items and later electronic consumer goods, cars (under license) and machinery. Most industries are established to meet a domestic demand for consumer goods, but there are also export industries. The state plays a declining but still central role in most industries, and many factories are judged to be inefficient. The reasons are many, but includes political interference in pricing and other management decisions, inappropriate location of production facilities, lack of modern machinery and methods, too few investments and too many employees. The state-owned companies are found mainly in the iron and steel production and chemical industry, but also in the textile and food sector. The privately owned sector is more efficient, but has some of the same weaknesses, on the basis of protectionist customs rules which have limited development. Most significant is the textile industry, which accounts for 40% of exports. The iron and steel industry is growing strongly; steel production is exported to EU countries, and steel is among the products included in Turkey’s customs agreement with the EU. The car industry, which mainly produces small cars on licensing agreements with European car factories. For culture and traditions of Turkey, please check animalerts.

Infrastructure. Until the 1950’s, Turkey relied on railways, but since then the development of the road network has had the highest priority, and many railways are now dilapidated and threatened with closure. Today (2006) Turkey has an extensive network of good roads, in many places motorways. However, the quality of the road network decreases the further east in the country you go. Passenger transport is mainly handled by buses, which regularly operate the bus terminals that most cities have built. Freight traffic also largely travels by road, and goods are increasingly being transported from Europe to the Middle East via Turkey. Both along the Black Sea and along the Mediterranean coast, there is significant coaster traffic, frequently with Istanbul as the terminus. In addition, the national airline, Turkish Airways, which serves most major cities in the country.

Tourism. Revenues from tourism are very significant and increasing. This is especially the case with charter and mass tourism. Turkey has large, as yet undeveloped tourism potentials partly due to the climate, partly due to the many and very diverse sights. Due to the conflict between the Turkish state and militant Kurds, the eastern part of Anatolia has almost no tourism, but here too there are great opportunities. The main sights are archeological remains scattered over most of the country, the mosques and the bustling crowds in the big cities as well as palaces, fortifications and administration buildings from the time of the sultans in Istanbul. In addition, the varied nature.