Official name: Republic of Turkey
Area: 780,580 sq km
Independence: 29 October 1923 (successor state to the Ottoman Empire)
National Holiday: Independence Day, 29 October (1923)
Constitution: 7 November 1982 (Encarta: A new constitution, complete with major reform measures intended to help ease Turkey's passage into the EU, was approved in October 2001.)
Population: 67,803,927 (2000)
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Ethnicity: Turkish 80%, Kurdish 20%
Languages: Turkish (official), Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, Greek
Religions: Muslim 99.8% (% 75 - 80 Sunni, % 15 - 20 Alevi, %5 other Muslim sects or groups), other 0.2% (Christian and Jews)
Geographic coordinates: 39 00 N, 35 00 E
total: 780,580 sq km
land: 770,760 sq km
water: 9,820 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than Texas
total: 2,627 km
border countries: Armenia 268 km, Azerbaijan 9 km, Bulgaria 240 km, Georgia 252 km, Greece 206 km, Iran 499 km, Iraq 331 km, Syria 822 km
Coastline: 7,200 km
exclusive economic zone: in Black Sea only: to the maritime boundary agreed upon with the former USSR territorial sea: 6 nm in the Aegean Sea; 12 nm in Black Sea and in Mediterranean Sea
Climate: temperate; hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters; harsher in interior
Terrain: mostly mountains; narrow coastal plain; high central plateau (Anatolia)
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Ararat 5,166 m
Natural resources: antimony, coal, chromium, mercury, copper, borate, sulfur, iron ore, arable land, hydropower
Turkey is a secular parliamentary republic founded on the principle of the division of powers into legislative, executive and judiciary. The Constitution is the supreme law of the country.
The president is the head of state and is elected by at least a two-thirds majority of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), known as the Meclis, for a one-time, seven-year term. To be eligible for the post, a nominee must be a Turkish citizen over 40 years of age, eligible to be elected to the TGNA, and to have completed higher education. The President heads the National Security Council and represents the office of the Commander-in-Chief. In times of war, the Chief of the General Staff acts as Commander-in-Chief on behalf of the President. The President has the power to promulgate or return laws to parliament for reconsideration, to call public referendums, to call new parliamentary elections, appoint the Prime Minister or accept his resignation; appoint or remove ministers; ratify and publish international agreements, etc.
President: Abdullah Gul (since August 28th, 2007)
The Executive power is in the hands of the president and the Council of Ministers, headed by a prime minister. The Prime Minister is appointed by the president from among the members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly and nominates the ministers, whose appointment is subject to the approval of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Upon the prime minister's proposal, the president dismisses and appoints new ministers. Within a week of the formation of a new Council of Ministers, the prime minister or a minister presents the Government Programme before the Turkish Grand National Assembly, following which a vote of confidence is taken. Prior to general elections, the ministers of justice, internal affairs and communications must resign from the Cabinet, and independent, neutral (with no political ties) are appointed instead. The Council of Ministers issues regulations on the application of laws or other matters, provided that they do not conflict with existing laws and are examined by the Council of State. The Turkish Grand National Assembly can dismiss the cabinet by a vote of no confidence.
Prime minister: Recep Tayyip Erdogan (since March 2003)
Under the 1982 constitution, the legislative power rests in the Turkish Grand National Assembly, (the Meclis), which sits in Ankara. It is a 550-seat unicameral body elected under a system of proportional representation by universal adult suffrage for a five-year term. Only parties that have mustered more than 10 per cent of the national vote are represented in the Assembly. The Turkish Grand National Assembly enacts, amends, and revokes laws; supervises the work of the Council of Ministers and authorises it to issue decrees on specific matters that have the force of law; ratifies international agreements and decisions concerning the printing of money, declaring a state of war, and the participation of the country's armed forces in operations abroad; decides on issues concerning the granting of amnesties and pardons, etc.
The 1982 Constitution proclaimed the independence of the national courts and the judges. Turkey has a unified legal system of civil and military courts, each with a Court of Appeal sitting in Ankara. The Constitutional Court reviews the constitutionality of laws and decrees with the force of law, as well as the Rules of Procedure of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Its decisions are published immediately in the Official Gazette and are binding for all, including the legislative and executive powers. The judges are appointed by the president. The High Court of Appeals is the last instance for reviewing decisions and judgements given by courts of justice. The judges are elected by the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors. The Council of State is the highest administrative tribunal. Three-fourths of the judges are appointed by the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors and one-fourth by the President. The 1982 constitution stipulated the establishment of Courts for Security of the State to deal with offences against Turkey's national and territorial integrity, democratic order, offences against the internal and external security of the state, etc. In addition, there are many lesser civilian and military courts.