Turkey's size and difficult terrain, together with limited economic resources, have proved great obstacles to the construction of transportation facilities. When the republic was founded in 1923 there were about 4,000 km (2,500 mi) of railway track and 7,400 km (4,600 mi) of motor roads in Anatolia and Thrace, all in disrepair. By 2001, 8,607 km (5,348 mi) of track connected most of the important points in the country with Ankara, Istanbul, and the Black Sea and Mediterranean ports. The railways are owned and operated by the Turkish State Railways, a public corporation.
Animal transportation in most of the country has gradually given way to trucks and buses that use roads provided by extensive construction programs since World War II. In October 1973, the Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul was opened, facilitating the crossing of the Straits of the Bosporus by motorists; this six-lane steel suspension bridge had a main span of 1,074 m (3,524 ft). As of 2002, there were 382,397 km (237,621 mi) of roadways, of which 106,976 km (66,475 mi) were paved, including 1,726 km (1,073 mi) of expressways.
The Turkish merchant fleet in 2002 consisted of 531 vessels of all types, totaling 5,913,171 GRT (9,108,819 DWT). The leading ports were Mersin (Icel), Istanbul, Izmir, Iskenderun, and Izmit (Kocaeli).
Turkey had 120 airports in 2001, of which 86 had paved runways. Three international airports-Atatürk (Istanbul), Adnan Menderes (Izmir) and Esenboga (Ankara)-are served by some 20 international air carriers. A new international passenger terminal in Istanbul is one of the largest in Europe able to handle 30 simultaneous gate arrivals and departures. The new Sabiha Gokcen International Airport on Istanbul's Asian side can handle3.5 million passengers with a potential capacity for 10 million. Other international airports include Antalya, Dalaman, and Adnan Menderes at Izmir. With minor exceptions, domestic air transportation is the monopoly of the semipublic Turkish Airways Corp. (Türk Hava Yollari), which connects most major centers within the country on a regular schedule and operates some international flights. In 2001, scheduled airlines moved 339 million freight ton-km (211 million freight ton-mi); 9,905,400 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.