Turkey straddles the border of Europe and Asia, with the majority of the country located in Southwest Asia. A total area of 780,580 sq. km lies within Europe. The country is bordered on the east by Georgia, Armenia, and Iran, and on the south by Iraq, Syria, and the Mediterranean Sea. The Aegean Sea, Greece, and Bulgaria are to the west, and the Black Sea forms the northern border.
Turkey is one of the 20 most populated countries in the world. Turkey’s population was estimated to be about 70 million at the end of 2004. The population of Turkey has been predominantly youthful since the establishment of the Republic in 1923, and the young and dynamic Turks of today are no exception. Recent projections estimate that only 8 percent of the total population is above the age of 60, while approximately 30 percent is under the age of 15.
Turkish is the language spoken in Turkey. The Turkish language belongs to the Ural-Altaic group, and has an affinity with the Finno-Hungarian languages. Turkish is spoken over a large geographical area in Europe and Asia in the form of many different dialects: Azeri, Turkmen, Tartar, Uzbek, Baskurti, Hogay, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Yakuti, and Guvas, among others. You can find people who speak Turkish (in one form or another) from Yugoslavia all the way to China.
The Turkish Republic is based on a secular democratic, pluralist, and parliamentary system, in which human rights are protected by law and social justice. Turkey is a constitutional republic with a multiparty parliamentary system and a president with limited powers elected by the single-chamber parliament, the Turkish Grand National Assembly.
Turkey's economy is a mix of modern industry and commerce combined with a traditional agricultural sector. In 1980, Turkey changed its economic development policy from “import substituting industrialization” to an “export-led growth” strategy. Since then, significant progress has been made toward the establishment of the principles and fundamentals of a market economy. Turkey’s economy has opened up to world trade; export-promoting incentives, tax exemptions, rebates, and favorable credit terms are offered; direct import controls have been eliminated; and quantity restrictions have been dismantled.