What is the importance of Turkey
Turkey is a country in the south-east of Europe and in the west of Asia. The largest part is in Asia, it was also called Asia Minor earlier. The country has just under as many inhabitants as Germany. But it is more than twice as big. The capital Ankara is in the middle of the country, but the largest city is Istanbul.
Turkey lies between two seas: the Mediterranean Sea is to the west and south, and the Black Sea is to the north. The landscape consists for the most part of mountains. The highest mountain, the Great Ararat, is over 5000 meters high. There are important nature reserves and places that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Turkey has existed since 1923. Its full name is called the “Republic of Turkey”. The country has had a presidential system since 2018, giving President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan even more power. Turkey has wanted to join the European Union for many years and has been negotiating with Europe. So far, however, there has been no accession. Many European countries think that Turkey is not democratic enough and does not pay enough attention to human rights.
The services are growing. There are many jobs in banking, insurance, leisure, food, transportation, and so on. The industry is also growing. It is becoming more modern and more important, especially in the big cities. Agriculture is becoming less important for this. Many people earn more money than they used to.
Not only Turks live in Turkey, but also many Kurds and other minorities. Since around 1970, many Turks have moved to European countries to work there, including Germany.
What happened earlier in Turkey?
For a long time, people who spoke Greek lived on the territory of Turkey. That is why there are still many sights and ruins from the time of Ancient Greece in Turkey today. At the end of the Middle Ages, the Turks moved west from central Asia. In 1453 they had conquered what is now Turkey. Then and later they conquered large parts of North Africa and Southeast Europe. Because the rulers were called "Ottomans", one speaks of the Ottoman Empire.
After the First World War, the Ottoman Empire collapsed. Today's Turkish Republic has existed since 1922. The state founder Kemal Ataturk made the country more modern. For example, he replaced the Arabic alphabet with the Latin alphabet, i.e. with letters as we know them more or less in German.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been President since 2014. He drew more and more power to himself. In 2018 he converted the republic into a presidential system and thereby got even more power.
What do you need to know about the people of Turkey?
Many different peoples live in Turkey. About 71 out of 100 inhabitants are Turks. The second largest group are the Kurds with around 12 out of 100 inhabitants. Then there are many other, smaller groups of people. Most of the people are Muslim.
Many Kurds live not only in Turkey, but also in Syria, Iran and Iraq. They also have their own language that has nothing to do with Turkish. Kurds and Turks also live very differently. They say: they have a different culture. That is why the Kurds have long wanted to form their own state. However, they have not yet succeeded in doing this.
Who is in charge in Turkey?
Turkey has a constitution. The people elect the parliament. However, the government, parliament and the courts are not really independent of each other. The military also repeatedly intervenes in politics. The army has already taken power three times and ruled the country.
There is also no real freedom of the press. That means: Not everyone is allowed to write a newspaper or report in a newspaper how he sees things. Many people have already been imprisoned or fled abroad for this reason.
Small ethnic groups or religious communities like Christians are repeatedly harassed by the state. They cannot develop and live the way they want themselves to be.
There are repeated allegations that people are being tortured. There have been many court cases for this reason. There were also convictions. So there must be something to the allegations.
What is Turkey known for?
We know Turkey primarily as a holiday destination. There are beautiful beaches. The winters are short there because it is warmer in the eastern Mediterranean than in the western part. Vacation in Turkey is much cheaper than in Central Europe. That brings a lot of tourists there.
There are many places in Turkey that have been designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. These include mosques, cities, forts, caravanserais, thermal springs and many other attractions. Istanbul, the largest city, is very important. There are also many nature reserves. They are on the coast or inland. The most famous Turkish dish in our country is the kebab.
How do you earn your money in Turkey?
That depends a lot on which part of the country you are talking about: In the west there is a lot of services and industry. People there earn more money than they used to and they can afford more with it.
Transport is an important service. Turkey lies between Asia and Europe. So many transport routes lead through Turkey. The sea is also an important transport route. It runs between the European and the Asian part of Turkey. For crude oil and natural gas, pipes called “pipelines” run through the country, in other words: Peip-lein.
Much of the east is still as it was in the past. A lot of manual labor is required in agriculture. Many farms are very small. In the dry, mountainous areas there are fewer cows and more sheep and goats. That is a lot of work and brings in little money. In these areas in particular, many families receive money from relatives who have emigrated to Western Europe.
Tourism brings in a lot of money for the country. It creates a lot of jobs. There are also jobs for people who have not learned a trade, for example as a housekeeper in a hotel, as a gardener around hotels or as a taxi driver.
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