Turkey’s population of 71 million people follow the Sunni branch of Islam. There are also Christian and Jewish communities in Turkey. However, since the Turkish Republic was founded on secular (not religious) principles, religion does not seem to hold the significance that it does in other Muslim countries. The Turkish language is of Central Asian origin but uses the Latin alphabet. It has a natural vowel harmony that makes it sound melodic and soft. Some Turkish words that have entered the English vocabulary include divan, ottoman and yoghurt.
Throughout Turkey, groups of men enjoying cards or backgammon (known as tavla) are a common sight. Tight family bonds cement the generations. Turkish tradition also embraces rich hospitality in which food and drink play a central role. Respect for elders is sacred, and children are regarded as national treasures. Many families blame the advent of television and the Internet for eroding these disciplines.

In 1952, Turkey became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). NATO membership contributed to advances in communications, transport and its defence policy. New roads, highways and projects to improve the tourism infrastructure changed the face of the country.

Turkish music and dance are deeply rooted in history and tradition, influenced by Ottoman classics, mystical Sufi chants and Central Asian folk tunes, as well as jazz and pop. Traditional instruments include the bağlama and ud string instruments, kaval and ney wind instruments and davul and darbuka percussion instruments.

An enduring faith is attached to the blue bead, or mavi boncuk, an amulet that protects the wearer from the evil eye. It may be seen dangling wherever good luck is needed.
All men over the age of 20 must serve 15 months of compulsory military service, and Turkish society still considers this to be a fundamental rite of passage to manhood.

In Islamic art, the highest place is held by calligraphy, the art of beautiful writing, because a calligrapher’s prime task is writing the Holy Koran.

Turkey has several unique oppotunities for different types of tourism compiled under the category of alternative tourism, health and thermal tourism, winter sports, mountain climbing and layout tourism, adventure trips, plateu tourism and ecotourism, conference and expo tourism, cruise ship and yacht tourism, golf tourism and etc. However, it is yet hard to say that this potential is used in rational manner.
Visas/Passports

All visitors must have a valid passport. US citizens are required to have a visa. Visas can be obtained with the payment of 20 USD from the visa desks in international airports and ports.
ORDINARY PASSPORT HOLDERS OF NATIONALS OF THE FOLLOWING COUNTRIES MAY OBTAIN STICKER TYPE VISAS AT THE TURKISH INTERNATIONAL BORDER GATES TO ENTER INTO TURKEY:
(Duration of Stay : 3 Months) Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, United States of America
Cruiseship passengers cruising in and out of Turkey and not exceeding 24 hours at each shore do not require a tourist visa.
It is stricly forbidden to take antiquities and historical treasures out of the country. Certain articles may only be exported by permission of Directorate of Museums and Antiquities.

Public Holidays

Jan 01 New Years Day
Apr 23 Independence & Childrens Day
May 19 Youth & Sports Day
Aug 30 Victory Day
Oct 29 Republic Day

Religious Holidays

Annual Fasting Holiday End of Ramadan, Sacrifice Holiday End of Muslim Pilgrimage. Both subject to Lunar Calendar.

Work Hours

In general work days are Monday through Friday. Most businesses and banks are open from 9.00 am to 5.00pm. Close for lunch from 12.00 noon till 1.00 or 1.30 pm. Friday is a relgious day but businesses and shops are open. Shops may have longer hours and open through the week except Sundays.
Area

780.000 sq. km. (300.000 sq. miles)
97% in Asia, 3% in Europe.
Borders

Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Bulgaria and Greece.
Peninsula

Surrounded by Black Sea, Maramara, The Aegean and the Mediterranean.
Straits

Bosphorus, Dardanelles
Landscape

Coastal fertile lands, north south forested, central plateau, eastern mountainous.
Climate

Combination of four different: Continental, Oceanic, Mediterranean and Mountainous. Weather conditions vary according to the season and region.
Population

Over 60 milion
Capital

Ankara
Main Cities

Istanbul, Izmir, Antalya, Adana, Bursa
Language

Turkish. It is written with Latin characters.
Religion

99% Moslem, Rest Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Jewish. In addition to the mosques , Greek Orthodox , Roman Catholic Churches and Synagogues are available to the worshippers.

Currency

The monetary unit is Yeni Turkish Lira (YTL.) The coins are 0.25 , 0.50 , 1.-, and the banknotes are in 5-, 10- , 20.- , 50- and 100-.
Exchange

The exchange rates for the foreign currencies are published daily. You can exchange cash and Travelers cheques at the hotel cashier. Banks are open between 09.00am-12.00noon / 01.30-05.00pm. The exchange slips for the conversions should be kept since you may be required to show these when converting your Turkish money back into foreign currency.
Credit Cards

American Express , Dinner`s Club , Mastercharge and Visa credit cards are honored by the wellknown Restaurants and the Stores . Check before purchase.
Shopping

Shops and stores are open Monday thru Saturday from 09.30am till 07.00pm. Cash, Traveler`s Cheques and the major Credit Cards are welcomed by the Stores. There are variety of goods you can purchase such as Oriental carpets, Leather wares, Costumes, Gold and Silver Jewelry, Brass and Copper Works, Silk etc. Articles you purchase may accompany you or be shipped and delivered to your door with full coverage by the large stores. Turkey is a G.S.P. (Generalized System of Preference) country . This is a system to help developing countries to improve their economic conditions thru foreign trade. We do advise you to get certificate with your purchases of goods manufactured and produced in Turkey such as Carpets and Jewelry.
V. A. T

The value added tax 18 % is applied to all services and purchases.
Tipping

It is customary to tip an extra of 10 % for all services delivered.
Taxis

All of the taxis have meters. Available at taxi stands.
Phone Calls

Automatic dialing is possible anywhere in the country . Reduced rates are applied in the evening and early mornings . For local , trunk and international calls token-jetons-should be obtained . Telephone Cards are also available.
Local Time

G.M.T. + 2 Hours
Measures

In Metric System – Kilogram and Meter.
Electricity

220 Volts AC. Cycles 50 Mz.
Tap Water

It has been chlorinated but may have strong taste. Bottled spring water is suggested.