Cruising in Turkey


Modern Turkey was founded in 1923 from the Anatolian remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire by national hero Mustafa KEMAL, who was later honored with the title Ataturk, or "Father of the Turks." Under his authoritarian leadership, the country adopted wide-ranging social, legal, and political reforms. After a period of one-party rule, an experiment with multi-party politics led to the 1950 election victory of the opposition Democratic Party and the peaceful transfer of power.

Since then, Turkish political parties have multiplied, but democracy has been fractured by periods of instability and intermittent military coups (1960, 1971, 1980), which in each case eventually resulted in a return of political power to civilians. In 1997, the military again helped engineer the ouster - popularly dubbed a "post-modern coup" - of the then Islamic-oriented government. Turkey intervened militarily on Cyprus in 1974 to prevent a Greek takeover of the island and has since acted as patron state to the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," which only Turkey recognizes.

A separatist insurgency begun in 1984 by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - now known as the People's Congress of Kurdistan or Kongra-Gel (KGK) - has dominated the Turkish military's attention and claimed more than 30,000 lives. After the capture of the group's leader in 1999, the insurgents largely withdrew from Turkey, mainly to northern Iraq. In 2004, KGK announced an end to its ceasefire and attacks attributed to the KGK increased.

Turkey joined the UN in 1945 and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. In 1964, Turkey became an associate member of the European Community; over the past decade, it has undertaken many reforms to strengthen its democracy and economy, enabling it to begin accession membership talks with the European Union.


Location: Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia (that portion of Turkey west of the Bosporus is geographically part of Europe), bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Syria
Geographic coordinates: 39 00 N, 35 00 E
Map references: Middle East
Area: total: 780,580 sq km
Land: 770,760 sq km
Water: 9,820 sq km


7,200 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 6 nm in the Aegean Sea; 12 nm in Black Sea and in Mediterranean Sea
Exclusive economic zone: in Black Sea only: to the maritime boundary agreed upon with the former USSR


Temperate; hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters; harsher in interior


High central plateau (Anatolia); narrow coastal plain; several mountain ranges

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
Highest point: Mount Ararat 5,166 m


Turkey's dynamic economy is a complex mix of modern industry and commerce along with a traditional agriculture sector that still accounts for more than 35% of employment. It has a strong and rapidly growing private sector, yet the state still plays a major role in basic industry, banking, transport, and communication. The largest industrial sector is textiles and clothing, which accounts for one-third of industrial employment; it faces stiff competition in international markets with the end of the global quota system.

However, other sectors, notably the automotive and electronics industries, are rising in importance within Turkey's export mix. Real GNP growth has exceeded 6% in many years, but this strong expansion has been interrupted by sharp declines in output in 1994, 1999, and 2001. The economy is turning around with the implementation of economic reforms, and 2004 GDP growth reached 9%. Inflation fell to 7.7% in 2005 - a 30-year low. Despite the strong economic gains in 2002-05, which were largely due to renewed investor interest in emerging markets, IMF backing, and tighter fiscal policy, the economy is still burdened by a high current account deficit and high debt.

The public sector fiscal deficit exceeds 6% of GDP - due in large part to high interest payments, which accounted for about 37% of central government spending in 2004. Prior to 2005, foreign direct investment (FDI) in Turkey averaged less than $1 billion annually, but further economic and judicial reforms and prospective EU membership are expected to boost FDI. Privatization sales are currently approaching $21 billion.


Airports: 120 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 88
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 32
Heliports: 16 (2005)
Pipelines: gas 3,177 km; oil 3,562 km (2004)
Railways: total: 8,697 km
Roadways: total: 354,421 km


1,200 km (2005)

Merchant marine

Total: 538 ships (1000 GRT or over) 4,745,132 GRT/7,261,125 DWT
By type: bulk carrier 109, cargo 235, chemical tanker 45, combination ore/oil 1, container 26, liquefied gas 5, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 51, petroleum tanker 36, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 23, specialized tanker 2
Foreign-owned: 10 (Cyprus 3, Italy 3, South Korea 1, Monaco 1, Netherlands 1, Switzerland 1)
Registered in other countries: 344 (Albania 1, Antigua and Barbuda 5, The Bahamas 10, Belize 8, Cambodia 17, Comoros 10, Dominica 1, France 1, Georgia 24, Honduras 1, Isle of Man 3, North Korea 4, Liberia 2, Libya 2, Malta 101, Marshall Islands 24, Netherlands Antilles 8, Panama 31, Russia 54, Saint Kitts and Nevis 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 23, Slovakia 8, UK 1, unknown 3) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Aliaga, Ambarli, Eregli, Haydarpasa, Istanbul, Izmir, Kocaeli (Izmit), Toros 

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Albania - Algeria - Bulgaria - Croatia - Cyprus - Egypt - France - Georgia - Gibraltar - Greece - Israel - Italy - Lebanon - Libya - Malta - Monaco - Morocco - Romania - Serbia and Montenegro - Slovenia - Spain - Syria - Tunisia - Turkey - Ukraine

Further Reading

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