Turkey, “Türkiye Cumhuriyeti”, is a transcontinental country, located mostly on Anatolia in Western Asia and on East Thrace in Southeastern Europe. Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, Iran and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. The Mediterranean Sea is to the south; the Aegean Sea is to the west; and the Black Sea is to the north. The Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles (which together form the Turkish Straits) demarcate the boundary between Thrace and Anatolia; they also separate Europe and Asia. Turkey’s location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a country of significant geostrategic importance.
The country’s official language is Turkish, a Turkic language, which is spoken by approximately 85% of the population as mother tongue. The most numerous ethnic group is the Turks, who constitute between 70% and 75% of the population according to The World Factbook. Kurds are the largest ethnic minority and, according to the same source, number around 18% of the population while other ethnic minorities are estimated to be at 7–12%. The vast majority of the population is Muslim.
The area now called Turkey has been inhabited since the Paleolithic, including various Ancient Anatolian civilizations and Thracian peoples. After Alexander the Great’s conquest, the area was Hellenized, which continued with the Roman rule and the transition into the Byzantine Empire. The Seljuk Turks began migrating into the area in the 11th century, starting the process of Turkification, which was greatly accelerated by the Seljuk victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, upon which it disintegrated into several small Turkish beyliks. Starting from the late 13th century, the Ottoman beylik united Anatolia and created an empire encompassing much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia and North Africa. After the Ottoman Empire collapsed following its defeat in World War I, parts of it were occupied by the victorious Allies. A cadre of young military officers, led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues, organized a successful resistance to the Allies; in 1923 they established the modern Republic of Turkey, with Atatürk as its first president.
Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage. Turkey has become increasingly integrated with the West through membership in organisations such as the Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, OSCE and the G-20 major economies. Turkey began full membership negotiations with the European Union in 2005, having been an associate member of the European Economic Community since 1963 and having joined the EU Customs Union in 1995. Turkey has also fostered close cultural, political and economic relations with the Middle East, Caucasus, the Turkic states of Central Asia and the African countries through membership in organisations such as the Turkic Council, Joint Administration of Turkic Arts and Culture, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Economic Cooperation Organisation. Turkey’s growing economy and diplomatic initiatives have led to its recognition as a regional power.
Turkey has undergone a profound economic transformation since 2001. It has recorded a remarkable GDP growth rate of almost % 6 in average during the period of 2002-2011. Thus, per capita income increased up to 10,500 USD in 2011, from the modest figure of 3,500 thousand dollars recorded in 2002.
Due to the global crisis, majority of the emerging markets suffered a significant slowdown in economic activity. Being an open and free-market economy, integrated with the global economic and financial system, Turkey was no exception.
Turkey was also adversely affected by the declining external demand and falling international capital flows.
Overall growth rates in 2008 and 2009 materialized well below the remarkable performance that was achieved between 2002 and 2007. However, Turkish economy bounced back and has achieved a growth rate of % 9.2 and % 8.5 in the years 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Today, Turkey is the 17th largest economy in the world with a GDP of about 800 billion dollars in 2012.
Monetary policies of the Turkish Central Bank played a crucial role in securing macroeconomic balances, and most importantly reining in inflation over the last decade. Having been one of the major concerns of the Government for more than 3 decades, inflation has finally been brought down to single digits by mid-2000s.
CPI inflation was % 6.16 last year. It is forecasted to settle down around % 5 in 2014.
Turkey has been extremely careful with its budget for the last decade. Once peaked at almost % 17 in 2001, EU-defined general government budget deficit/GDP ratio was % 2.6 in 2011 and Turkey met the Maastricht criteria of % 3 while outperforming 18 EU Countries (Central government budget deficit/GDP ratio was % 1.3 in Turkey in 2011 and Turkey outperformed 23 EU Countries).
While net public debt to GDP ratio was % 90.5 in 2001, it decreased to % 39.4 in 2011, which was below the level in 21 EU Countries and the Maastricht Criterion of % 60. The composition of the debt stock has also been improved and become more resilient to fluctuations in interest and exchange rates as well as capital flows.
Turkey’s international reserves have continued to increase throughout the last decade. The Central Bank international reserves reached 100,3 billion dollars by the end of 2012. FDI inflows and portfolio transfers are the main driving force behind considerable expansion in reserves.
Foreign Direct Investment
Turkey’s successful economic performance, young population, qualified and competitive labour force, liberal and reformist investment climate, highly developed infrastructure, advantageous geographic position, low tax rates and incentives and large domestic market, as well as customs union with the EU since 1996 provide ample opportunities for foreign investors.
As of 31 December 2012, the number of foreign firms active in Turkey is 32,146. 881 foreign firms have liaison offices in Turkey.
The total amount of foreign direct investments exceeded 130 billion USD by the end of 2012.
Turkey, with its natural beauties, unique historical and archaeological sites, ever-developing hotel and touristic infrastructure and a tradition of hospitality has so much to offer to its visitors. Turkey has recently become one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations. In 2012 31.8 million foreign visitors entered Turkey and tourism revenues exceeded 23.4 billion USD.
For more information please go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkey