Geographical and Political Location: Turkey, a country of utmost strategic importance in the world due to its geopolitical location, is on the crossroads between the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa, which are referred to as the “Lands of the Old World”. This country, enjoying a wealth of divine gifts of all kinds of scenic wonders, is a unique bridge between all faiths as well as Eastern and Western civilizations.
Turkey is linked to the oceans through the Black Sea, Marmara and Mediterranean Seas, which encircle it on three sides. The country borders Georgia, Armenia, Nakhichevan and Iran to the east, Bulgaria and Greece to the west, and Iraq and Syria to the south.
Area and Surface Formations: Turkey, rectangular in shape, has a surface area of 814,578 square kilometers. In this respect, it is greater than all of its neighbors except Iran, and all European countries except the Russian Federation. The land segment on the European continent with 3% of its total area is called Thrace, and the remaining 97% landmass in Asia is called Anatolia.
The length of the land borders of the country is 2,875 kilometers; its coastline is 8,333 kilometers long, while its landmass is approximately 550 kilometers wide and about 1,500 kilometers long. Turkey is located in the temperate zone between the 36 and 42nd degrees of northern latitudes and 26 and 45thdegrees of eastern longitudes; and there is a time difference of 76 minutes between its easternmost and westernmost tips.
HİSTORY OF TURKEY (TÜRKİYE TARİHİ ) Turks and the Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire at the height of its power (ca. 1683 In the 10th century, the Seljuks started migrating from their ancestral homelands towards the eastern regions of Anatolia, which eventually became the new homeland of Oğuz Turkic tribes following the Battle of Manzikert (Malazgirt) in 1071. The victory of the Seljuks gave rise to the Anatolian Seljuk Sultanate; which developed as a separate branch of the larger Seljuk Empire that covered parts of Central Asia, Iran, Anatolia and Southwest Asia.
In 1243, the Seljuk armies were defeated by the Mongols and the power of the empire slowly disintegrated. In its wake, one of the Turkish principalities governed by Osman I was to evolve over the next 200 years into the Ottoman Empire, expanding throughout Anatolia and the Levant. In 1453, the city of Constantinople fell to the Ottoman armies of Mehmed II, marking the abolition of the Byzantine Empire.
The Ottoman Empire interacted with both Eastern and Western cultures throughout its 623-year history. In the 16th and 17th centuries, it was among the world's most powerful political entities, often locking horns with the Holy Roman Empire in its steady advance towards Central Europe through the Balkans and the southern part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth on land; and with the combined forces (Holy Leagues) of Habsburg Spain, the Republic of Venice and the Knights of St. John at sea for the control of the Mediterranean basin; while frequently confronting Portuguese fleets at the Indian Ocean for defending the Empire's monopoly over the ancient maritime trade routes between East Asia and Western Europe, which had become increasingly compromised since the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope in 1488.
Following years of decline, the Ottoman Empire entered World War I through the Ottoman-German Alliance in 1914, and was ultimately defeated. After the war, the victorious Allied Powers sought the dismemberment of the Ottoman state through the Treaty of Sèvres.
The occupation of İstanbul and İzmir by the Allies in the aftermath of World War I prompted the establishment of the Turkish national movement. Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Pasha, a military commander who had distinguished himself during the Battle of Gallipoli, the Turkish War of Independence was waged with the aim of revoking the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres. By September 18, 1922, the occupying armies were repelled and the country saw the birth of the new Turkish state. On November 1, the newly founded parliament formally abolished the Sultanate, thus ending 623 years of Ottoman rule. The Treaty of Lausanne of July 24, 1923, led to the international recognition of the sovereignty of the newly formed "Republic of Turkey" as the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, and the republic was officially proclaimed on October 29, 1923, in the new capital of Ankara
Turkish A rchitecture ( T ürk M imarisi) : Turkish architecture reached its peak during the Ottoman period. Ottoman architecture, influenced by Seljuk, Byzantine and Arab architecture, came to develop a style all of its own. In Ottoman times the mosque did not exist by itself. It was looked on by society as being very much interconnected with city planning and communal life. Beside the mosque there were soup kitchens, theological schools, hospitals, Turkish baths and tombs.
Examples of Ottoman architecture of the classical period, aside from Istanbul and Edirne, can also be seen in Egypt, Tunisia, Algiers, the Balkans and Hungary, where mosques, bridges, fountains and schools were built.
i nside of Selimiye M osque( by Sinan) During the years 1720-1890, Ottoman art deviated from the principles of classical times. In the 18th century, during the Lale (Tulip) period, Ottoman art came under the influence of the excessive decorations of the west; Baroque, Rococo, Ampir and other styles intermingled with Ottoman art. Fountains became the characteristic structures of this period.
Traditional Turkish Houses Being strong and durable, functional, economical and aesthetic are the basic characteristics of the traditional Turkish house. The houses are built along the roads and on the edges of the squares in an order which reflects a strong respect for the neighbors. The materials used in the houses varied according to the regions and climatic conditions. Wood and stone were used in the Black Sea Region, while it was stone and wood according to the locale in the West and the South and combinations of mud brick and wood in the Center and the Eastern parts of the country.
Important persons in Turkish History Piri Reis (1465 - 1554) Famous Turkish sailor and the first Turkish marine cartographer born in Gelibolu (Gallipoli). Piri Reis was both a great sea commander who was heroic and smart in battle and one of the most important cartographers and sailor writers of his time.
Yunus Emre (1238 - 1320) One of the greatest and the deepest poets of the Turkish folk literature. Yunus Emre is a great poet who managed to turn the Anatolian dialect into a language of literature and who succeeded in reciting poetry and chanting hymns in pure Turkish. He has written about issues which looked extremely complex. Yunus, in most of his poems declares his great love for the God. He has felt the elusive excitements of the love of God and also made others to feel it.
Orhan Pamuk Orhan Pamuk is a world famous and Nobel prize winner Turkish novelist from modern times. He was born in Istanbul on 7th of June 1952. During his childhood in Nisantasi neighborhood, he dreamed to become a painter so he kept painting until he was 22 years old. Orhan Pamuk became a writer in 1974. Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006, becoming the first Turkish citizen to win such a prize and one of the two youngest persons to get this prize in the history of Nobel. His books are translated into dozens of languages for over 100 countries around the world.
Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi The great mystic and poet Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi was born in Belh (Balkh), in present day Afghanistan but in Greater Khorasan region back in Persian times, on September 30, 1207 AD. Mevlana Celaleddin-i Rumi's masterpiece, his six volume Mesnevi consisting of 25700 couplets, is regarded as the most outstanding work of Persian-Islamic mysticism. It is not clear when Mevlana started writing the Mesnevi, though it is known that he started on the second volume of his magnum opus in 1264.
This masterpiece of Islam's mystic literature was written in the form of poetry which included philosophical, mystical, and spiritual messages and could in a sense be considered allegories which carry deep spiritual and religious meanings. Mevlana and his thought transcended the boundaries of his time and thus he and his writings are still relevant and fresh in this day and age, some 700 years after. The universality of his thought finds its reflection in, for example, the famous verses where he says:
Come! Come whoever you are. Doesn't matter if you are an unbeliever. Doesn't matter if you have fallen a thousand times. Come! Come whoever you are. For this is not the door of hopelessness. Come, Just as you are!
Turkish B ath ( H amam) The tradition of the Turkish bath extends far back, to a time before Turks had reached Anatolia. When the Turks arrived in Anatolia, they brought with them one bathing tradition, and were confronted with another, that of Romans and Byzantines, with certain local variants. The traditions merged, and with the addition of the Moslem concern for cleanliness and its concomitant respect for the uses of water, there arose an entirely new concept, that of the Turkish Bath. In time it became an institution, with its system of ineradicable customs.
Turkish C offee From the days of the Ottoman Empire through the present, coffee has played an important role in Turkish lifestyle and culture. The serving and consumption of coffee has had a profound effect on betrothal and gender customs, political and social interaction, prayer, and hospitality customs throughout the centuries. Although many of the rituals are not prevalent in today's society, coffee has remained an integral part of Turkish culture.
Brought to Istanbul in 1555 by two Syrian traders, coffee became known as the "milk of chess players and thinkers". By the mid-17th century, Turkish coffee became part of elaborate ceremonies involving the Ottoman court. Coffee makers (kahveci usta), with the help of over forty assistants, ceremoniously prepared and served coffee for the sultan. Betrothal customs and gender roles also became defined through coffee rituals. In ancient times, women received intensive training in the harem on the proper technique of preparing Turkish coffee. Perspective husbands would judge a woman's merits based on the taste of her coffee.
Turkish coffee is served hot from a special coffee pot called "cezve". Tradition states that after the guest has consumed the coffee and the cup is turned upside down on the saucer and allowed to cool, the hostess then performs a fortune reading from the coffee grounds remaining in the cup. Rich in tradition and flavor, Turkish coffee remains a favorite today.
Publicity films prepared by Turkish Republic Ministry of Culture