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| government=Parliamentary Republic
| timezone=UTC +2
'''Turkey''' ([[Turkish phrasebook|Turkish]]: ''Türkiye'')
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
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.
Turkey occupies a landmass slightly larger than [[Texas]], at just over 750,000 square kilometres, and is more than three times the size of the [[United Kingdom]]. In terms of the variety of terrain and particularly the diversity of its plant life, however, Turkey exhibits the characteristics of a small continent. There are, for example, some 10,000 plant species in the country (compared with some 13,000 in all of [[Europe]]) — one in three of which is endemic to Turkey. Indeed, there are more species in [[Istanbul Province]] (2,000) than in the whole of the United Kingdom. While many people know of Turkey's rich archaeological heritage, it possesses an equally valuable array of ecosystems — peat bogs, heathlands, steppes, and coastal plains. Turkey possesses much forest (about a quarter of the land) but, as importantly, some half of the country is semi-natural landscape that has not been entirely
* [[Ankara]] — the capital of Turkey and its second largest city
* [[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
* [[Izmir]] — Turkey's third largest city
* [[Konya]] — a quite large city that is the heartland of mystic Sufi order, the site of Rumi's tomb, and with some elegant Seljuq architecture, all surrounded by vast steppes
* [[Trabzon]] — the wonderful
* Metro Bus [http://www.metroturizm.com.tr/en/index.htm]
* Varan [http://www.varan.com.tr/]
Bus travel is convenient in Turkey. Go to the Otogar (bus station) in any of the major cities and you can find a bus to almost any destination departing within half an hour, or a couple of hours at the most. Buses are staffed by drivers and a number of assistants. During the ride you will be offered free drinks, a bite or two, and stops will be made every two and a half hours or so at well-stocked road restaurants. The further east you travel, the less frequent buses will be, but even places as far as Dogubeyazit or Van will have regular services to many places hundreds of kilometers away. Only the smallest towns do not have a bus straight to Istanbul or Izmir at least once every two days.
Some Turkish desserts are modeled on the sweet and nutty Arabic kind: famous dishes include ''baklava'', a layered pastry of finely ground nuts and phyllo dough soaked in honey and spices, and Turkish Delight (''lokum''), a gummy confection of rosewater and sugar. There are also many more kinds of desserts prepared using milk predominantly, such as kazandibi, keşkül, muhallebi, sütlaç, tavuk göğsü, güllaç etc.
''Ayran'' is a popular drink of water and yoghurt not unlike the Finnish/Russian ''buttermilk'' or Indian ''lassi'', but always served without sugar (and, in fact, typically with a little salt added). A version loved by the locals ''köpüklü ayran'' is a delicacy if you're travelling by bus over the Toros (Taurus) Mountains. Ask for ''yayık ayranı'' or ''köpüklü ayran''.
===Things to do===
Turks are a very friendly, polite and hospitable people, sometimes even to a fault.
* When you are invited into a Turkish home, make sure to bring them a gift. Anything is fine from flowers to chocolate and indeed something representative from your country (but not wine and other alcoholic beverages if you are about to meet the host or if you do not know them well enough, as many Turks, for religious reasons or not, do not drink alcoholic beverages, and that is why it would be considered inappropriate as a gift). When you arrive at the house take off your shoes just outside or immediately inside the door, unless the owner explicitly allows you to keep them on. Even then, it might be more polite to remove your shoes. And if you really want their respect, thank your host for the invitation and compliment them. When inside the house, don't ask for anything for they will surely offer it. The host will make sure to make you feel at home, so don't take advantage of their kindness.
===Gay and lesbian travelers===
Turkey is considered to be quite safe for gay and lesbian travelers, and violence against homosexuals is quite rare. There are no laws against homosexuality in Turkey, but same-sex relationships are not recognized by the government and