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| flag=[[Image:tu-flag.png]]
| capital=[[Ankara]]
| government=Republican parliamentary democracyParliamentary Republic | currency=Türk Lirası/Turkish Lira (TRY)| area=780''total:'' 783,580 562 km<sup>2</sup><br />''water:'' 13,930 km<sup>2</sup><br />''land:'' 769,632 km<sup>2</sup>
| population=73,193,000 (2006 est.)
| language=[[Turkish]] (official); Kurdish, [[Zazaisch Phrasebook|Zaza]], Arabic, Azeri, Laz| religion=Muslim (Sunni majority and Alevi minority) majority with small minorities of Eastern Rite Christians, Jews, agnosticsAgnostics, and atheists Atheists.
| electricity=220V/50Hz (European plug)
| callingcode=+90
There is evidence that the bed of the Black Sea was once an inhabited plain, before it was flooded in prehistoric times by rising sea levels. Mount Ararat (''Ağrı Dağı''), at 5,165 mmeters, is the country's highest point and legendary landing place of Noah's Ark, lies in the mountains on the far eastern edge of the country.
Turkey was founded in 1923 from the remnants of the Ottoman Empire. Soon thereafter the country instituted secular laws to replace traditional religious fiats. In 1945 Turkey joined the UN, and in 1952 it became a member of NATO.
During both religious holidays, many cities (but not all) provide '''public transport for free''' (but note that these do not include privately owned minibuses, ''dolmuş''es, taxis, or inter-city buses). This depends on the place and time. For example, [[Istanbul]]'s public transport authority provided free transport in Eid-ul Fitr 2008, but not in Eid-ul Adha 2008 when it passengers have to pay a discounted rate. For some years, it was all free in both holidays, while in some others there was no discount at all. To be sure, check whether other passengers use a ticket/token or not.
"[Missionary Journey][ '''Biblical TourTurkey Tours''']" This unique Biblical tour is most often operated over 6 days starting in Antalya, and following St. Paul's travel's on his first missionary journey north towards Pisidian Antioch (modern day Yalvac) then east traveling to Iconium (modern day Konya) then southeasterly to Lystra and Derbe where little remains today.
* [[Antalya]] — the fastest growing city, hub to an array of beach resorts
* [[Bodrum]] — a trendy coastal town in Southern Aegean which turns into a crowded city in season when it serves as a playground for Turkish and international holidaymakers alike, featuring a citadel, Roman ruins, trendy clubs and a number of villages surrounding the peninsula each with a different character from classy to rustic
* [[Bursa]] — the first capital of the Ottoman Empire
* [[Edirne]] — the second capital of the Ottoman Empire
* [[Istanbul]] — Turkey's largest city, the former capital of both the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires, and the only major city in the world to straddle two continents
The sole official language of Turkey is '''[[Turkish phrasebook|Turkish]]'''. Turkish is an Altaic language and its closest living relatives are other Turkic languages, which are spoken in southwestern, central and northern Asia; and to a lesser degree by significant communities in the Balkans. Because Turkish is an agglutinative language, native speakers of Indo-European languages generally find it difficult to learn. Since 1928, Turkish is written in a variant of the Latin alphabet (after so many centuries of using the Ottoman Turkish Arabic one, evident in many historical texts and documents) with the additions of ç/Ç, ğ/Ğ, ı, İ, ö/Ö, ş/Ş and ü/Ü, and with the exclusions of Q, W and X.
'''[[Kurdish phrasebook|Kurdish]] ''' is also spoken by an estimated 7-10% of the population. Several other languages exist, like Laz in the North-East (also spoken in adjacent Georgia), and in general people living near borders will often be speaking the language at the other side too, like Arabic in the South-East.
'''English''' is increasingly popular as a foreign language among the younger generation, though proficiency tends to be poor due to a lack of practice and exposure. To improve your chances of being understood, stick to simple words and avoid long sentences. Senior citizens rarely speak English, but they'll try to help you anyway with gestures or similar words. Outside the major cities ([[Istanbul]], [[Ankara]], [[Izmir]]) and tourist areas (like [[Bodrum]], [[Antalya]]), English is generally nonexistent, so take a phrase book and be prepared for slow communication with a lot of interpretive gestures.. Thanks to migration, even in rural areas most villages will have at least somebody who has worked in Germany and can thus speak '''[[German phrasebook|German]]'''. The same goes for other West-European languages like '''Dutch ''' (often mistakenly called "Flemish" there) or '''French'''. Recent immigration from [[Balkans]] means there is also a possibility to come across native '''Serbo-Croatian''', '''Bulgarian''', and '''Albanian ''' speakers mainly in big cities of western Turkey, but don't count on this. English is also increasingly popular among the younger generation. The "Universities" that train pupils for a job in tourism pour out thousands of youngsters who want to practice their knowledge on the tourist, with varying degrees of fluency. Language universities produce students that nowadays are pretty good at their chosen language.
Turkish people understand that visitors are usually not aware of Turkish culture and customs, and tend to be tolerant of blunders in this regard by foreigners. There are, however, some which will meet with universal disapproval, and these should be avoided at all costs:
* Don't mention the Armenian Genocide, Kurdish separatism and the Cyprus problem. These are extremely sensitive topics and are definitely to be avoided. Turkish society has a highly emotional approach to these issues.
* Be respectful of the Turkish anthem. Do not mock or mimick the Turkish anthem, as Turks are extremely proud and sensitive of their national symbols, and will be very offended.
* Be respectful of the Turkish flag. Don't put it on places where people sit or stand, don't drag it, don't wrinkle it, don't contaminate it, don't use it as a dress or uniform. Not only will Turks be very offended, furthermore the desecration of the Turkish flag is a punishable offence.
* Avoid shouting or talking loudly in public. Talking loudly is generally considered rude, especially on public transportation. Talking on a mobile phone on public transportation is not considered rude but normal, unless the conversation is too "private".
* Turks smile much less than Westerners, especially Anglo-Saxons. Avoid smiling at a stranger, because if you do they most likely will not respond in kind and they will regard you either as odd or think that you are mentally handicapped. Smiling in Turkey towards strangers in public is not done and will be considered inappropriate. Smiling is traditionally reserved for family and friends; smiling at a stranger will be considered offensive, as they will either think that you are making fun of them and there is something wrong with their clothes or hair. Furthermore, an automatic "Western smile" is widely regarded as insincere, as in "You don't really mean it".

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