(Republic of Turkey, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti)
- Location: Western Asia and Southeastern Europe
- Capital: Ankara
- Language(s): Turkish
- Population: 74,543,463
- Total Area: 783,562 sq km
- Currency: Turkish Lira
- Curious Alcohol Fact: Although Turkey is a Muslim country, there is no restriction or prohibition on alcohol.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 1.87 liters
- Most Popular Drink(s): Black tea, Turkish wines
The geographical location of Turkey is quite unique. A large chunk of the country is located in Asia (in the Anatolian Peninsula) and the other part is in Europe (East Thrace or Turkish Trakya). As a result of this strategic geopolitical location, Turkey has always been a bridge between the two continents, and that still holds true till today. Turkiye Cumhuriyeti is bordered by the following countries: Greece, Bulgaria, Iraq, Syria, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Mediterranean Sea lies to its south while the Black Sea is to the north. The country controls some islands (Bozca and Gokce) in the Aegean Sea, which lies to the west of the country. The capital city is Ankara and the country is making efforts to become a member of the European Union.
Of the population of almost 75 million, ethnic Turks are in the majority and they form almost 80% of the population. Apart from the Turks, other ethnic groups in the country are Kurds, Georgians, Bulgarians, Roma, Albanians, Greeks, Armenians, Arabs, Circassians, Jews and many others. The sole official language in the country is Turkish while Arabic and Kurdish are also spoken in some parts of the nation. More than four-fifths of the population belong to Islam while others are atheists, Christians, Jews or followers of the Baha’i faith.
Turkey is known for its rich historical heritage and is home to some of the most fascinating sites of attraction in the world. As a tourist, these are some of the places that you must visit: the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Dolmabahce Palace, Bosporus Bridge, Selimiye Mosque, Celsus Library and many other sites that are too numerous to be mentioned. Turkey is also blessed with some of the most alluring seas and beaches in the region and it will be a nice thing to visit one of these magical places. I particularly enjoyed my cruise on the Aegean Sea.
If you want to have more than just an idea of how foods tasted during the Ottoman Empire, Turkey is the place to be. The meals in the country reflect influences from the Middle East, the Balkans and even Central Asia to give a perfect blend of aromatic dishes. Like many other nations in the Mediterranean region, the use of olive oil in the kitchen is paramount. Some Turkish meals are typically Mediterranean as they contain seafood, vegetables, olive oil and herbs. It is the tradition among the Turks to start a meal with an appetizer called mezze. I had octopus salad for appetizer, and I must confess, nothing tasted better. Dairy products such as cheese, milk and cream also feature prominently in Turkish dishes.
Although more than 95% of Turkish citizens are Muslims, you can enjoy alcohol as if you are in Paris or London. One very popular local brand is Efes Pilsen while various Turkish wines are sold in stores and pubs. Tea and coffee are also widely consumed.
Without any surprise, I learnt that the most popular and widely supported sports in Turkey is football and the nation is quite successful in this area. Turkey has participated in many regional and international soccer tournaments with brilliant performances. In addition to football, other popular sports in the country include basketball, volleyball, racing and weightlifting. As far as sports are concerned, Turkey is one vibrant nation.
- If the country successfully enters the European Union, it will be the first and only Muslim state in the Union.
- Turkey was once the center of the Ottoman Empire.
- Turkey has one of the most powerful and modern militaries in the world.
- Mount Ararat is located in the country but is being claimed by Armenians.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).