Republic of Turkey
Turkey is a peninsula that, uniquely, straddles 2 continents. Located in southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia, 97 percent of its area occupies Anatolia, the peninsula of land that lies between the Black Sea on the northern coast of the country, and the Mediterranean to the south, where the continents of Asia and Europe meet. The remaining 3 percent of the country is in Thrace, a region in the southeastern Balkan peninsula, north of the Aegean Sea. Turkey has an area of 780,580 square kilometers (301,382 square miles) with a total coastline of 8,430 kilometers (5,238 miles), and shares its land borders with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. The country is strategically situated since it controls the Turkish Straits, comprised of the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles, which connect the Black Sea to the Aegean on the west coast. Comparatively, Turkey is slightly larger than the state of Texas. The capital city, Ankara, is located in the northwest center of Anatolia.
In July of 2000, Turkey's current population was estimated at 65,666,677. Between 1990 and 2000, the average annual growth rate of the population was 1.27 percent, with a total fertility rate of 2.16 children born per woman. The World Bank expects Turkey's population to reach 91 million by 2025. Since 1986, the state has actively promoted population control but, ironically, for about 40 years following the establishment of the republic in 1923 the government actually encouraged population growth.
The Turkish population is very young with only 6 percent aged 65 and over, and 65 percent between the ages of 15 and 65. In 1995, approximately 67 percent of the population lived in urban areas. As of 1999, urban dwellers increased to 75.3 percent of the total population. Approximately 20 percent of them live in Istanbul, making it the most heavily populated city in the country.
Turks constitute almost 80 percent of population and Kurds 20 percent. The rest of the population is made up of small minorities of Arabs, people from the Caucasus, Greeks, Armenians, and Jews. The ethnic Turks are a diverse people who differ from one another in dialect, customs, and outlook. The 3 major groups are the Anatolian Turks, who have lived in the Central Anatolian Plateau for centuries; the Rumelian Turks, who were originally mainly immigrants from the Ottoman territories in the Balkans; and the Central Asian Turks, descended from Turkic-speaking immigrants from the Caucasus region, southern Russia, and Central Asia. Turkey is the only country with a Muslim majority population (99.8 percent) that operates under a secular constitution and a democratic government.
Industrial expansion in the 1960s and 1970s gave birth to the modern textile industry in Turkey. Currently, it is one of the most important sectors in the Turkish economy, accounting for 10 percent of GDP, 20 percent of the labor force, and 40 percent of total manufacturing output. This sector is the largest in the country and it is the largest supplier of exports as well. Today, Turkey is extremely competitive in international markets and was ranked sixth in world exports of clothing in 1998.
The fact that Turkey is a major grower of cotton is a great advantage for the textile and clothing sector. Thanks to the easy availability of the raw materials, Turkish spinning and weaving industries have developed significantly, creating integrated and diversified production in all sub-sectors of the textile industry. In terms of cotton spinning, the installed capacity in Turkey is equivalent to around 33 percent of that of the EU as a whole. The export value of cotton and cotton textile products was US$777 million in 1999 and the main destinations were the EU countries and the United States.
In addition to the cotton-based textile industry, Turkey makes a strong showing in both woolen textiles and man-made fibers. It is the third largest mohair producer and has the sixth largest synthetics capacity in the world. In 1999, the export value of wool or woolen textile products was US$107 million, while the man-made fibers industry accounted for US$1.1 billion.
The Turkish home textile industry has also been a strong competitor in world markets. Turkish towels and bathrobes, produced primarily around the western cities of Denizli and Bursa, enjoy a worldwide reputation for quality, and the home textiles sector accounted for 3.2 percent of Turkey's total exports in 1999, bringing in US$859 million.
The clothing industry has shown stable growth over the years and is today one of the most important manufacturing sectors. In 1999, the production volume of clothing equaled 223,000 tons, and its export revenues reached US$6.2 billion, giving it a 23 percent share of Turkey's total exports. The major markets for clothing exports are again the EU and the United States. The EU accounts for 71 percent of all clothing exports, and Germany leads all European countries with 38 percent of total exports. The clothing manufacturers are spread through the west and south of the country, with the majority based in Istanbul.
The foundations of the iron and steel industry were laid in the late 1930s with the establishment of the first integrated steel mill (a steel mill that takes raw materials in the form of iron ore and coke to produce molten iron, which is further processed to produce finished steel products) in 1939. At present, there are 3 integrated steel mills: the recently privatized KDCI (Karabuk, Black Sea region) plant and the 2 public-sector plants, Erdemir (Eregli, Black Sea region) and Isdemir (Iskenderun, East Mediterranean region). With the 1980 reforms, private sector investments accelerated, and several private electric arc furnaces (lower capacity mini-mills that produce steel from iron-bearing scrap) were established. Today, there are 17 electric arc furnaces (EAFs), only one of which is state-owned. The total steel production capacity of these 20 plants is 19.9 million tons, of which over 70 percent comes from EAFs.
Since 1980, the Turkish iron and steel industry has been one of the fastest growing in the world. In 1999, Turkey's raw steel production rose to 14.3 million tons, with a 1.9 percent share of the total world production.
Turkey currently ranks seventeenth among the 66 steelmaking countries in the world and fifth in Europe. In 1999 steel products were exported to 149 countries, with the top 6 buyers being Italy, Israel, the United Kingdom (UK), the United States, the United Arab Emirates, and Greece. With a total export value of US$2.1 billion in 1999, the steel industry is the second most important export sector in the country, after textiles and clothing.
Turkey has been manufacturing chemicals since the very early years of the republic. Although it has not been a high-flying sector, it has shown slow but steady improvement over time. Currently, it is one of the country's largest industries in terms of value, and is the fourth major export sector, accounting for 6.6 percent of Turkey's total exports and worth US$1.7 billion. The major chemical exports are plastic raw materials and plastic products, followed by rubber and rubber products. There are 6,000 companies manufacturing chemicals in Turkey, the most prominent being Petkim, a state-owned petrochemical company established in 1965, which supplies around 40 percent of the domestic market. Petkim's 2 major complexes are located at Kocaeli (Marmara Region) and Izmir (Aegean Region). Aside from Izmir and Kocaeli, most of the private sector companies are located in Istanbul, Ankara, and Adana. Primary chemicals produced in Turkey include boron products, caustic soda, chlorine, industrial chemicals, and sodium phosphates.
In comparison with the rest of Europe, Turkey was a latecomer to the cement industry. However, with accelerated investments and a number of structural reforms such as the elimination of government price-setting practices in 1984 and privatization of the industry from 1989, Turkey has become self-sufficient in this sector. Today, there are 51 cement plants in Turkey, all of which are private companies. By 2001, the country was the eighth largest cement producer in the world with a 2.5 percent share of the world market, and the largest producer in Europe. In 1999, Turkey produced 38.1 million tons of cement. While 34.7 million tons of it went to the domestic market, the balance was exported. The chief markets for Turkish cement are the United States, Spain, Israel, Egypt, and France.
A domestic construction sector did not exist in the founding days of the Turkish Republic, with almost all building done by foreign companies. The sector developed steadily over 50 years following the establishment of the Republic. The 1970s and early 1980s saw a period of international expansion for Turkey's construction sector, and Turkish firms became quite successful in the oil-producing states of the Middle East. The industry contracted with the Iran-Iraq war, but large domestic infrastructure projects enabled it to survive the difficult period. The break-up of the Soviet Union marked the beginning of a new era in the Turkish construction sector, and led to the diffusion of Turkish construction firms throughout Russia and Central Asia. Today, the construction sector makes up about 6 percent of the gross national product (GNP), and Turkey's share in international global contracting services is about 2-3 percent. (Since most construction is offered outside the country, the industry contributes only to GNP, and not to GDP.) During the 1990s, 34 percent of construction services performed were located in the Russian Federation, while Libya accounted for another 15 percent, followed by Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Saudi Arabia.
Geologically complex, Turkey possesses some of the richest and most diverse mineral deposits in the world numbering 4,400, excluding petroleum and coal. Today, 53 minerals are produced in the Turkish mining sector, with 85 percent of production belonging to the state-owned enterprises that predominate in the production of mineral fuels and metallic ore. The 15 percent that belongs to the private sector is concentrated in industrial minerals. Turkey is a major producer of boron, chromite, marble, barites, magnesite, pumice, feldspar, celestite, and emery. Two-thirds of boron reserves and 40 percent of marble reserves in the world are located in Turkey, and the country provides 80 percent of the world demand of emery. In 1999, mining products accounted for 1.4 percent of total exports, worth US$353 million—down from 1998, when mining exports accounted for a 1.9 percent share of total exports, worth US$531.6 million.
The services sector accounted for 64 percent of GDP in 1999, while employing over one-third of the total labor force. Tourism and banking are the 2 primary service industries in Turkey.
With a share of nearly 26 percent of GDP, the tourism industry in Turkey is strategically important to the Turkish economy. The industry entered the 1980s with 1.5 million tourists annually and a global market share of 0.3 percent. However, the sector took off between 1983 and 1993, growing at an average annual rate of 18 percent, the highest tourism growth rate in the world for the period. In 1998, the number of foreign visitors reached 9.7 million, bringing revenues estimated at US$7.1 billion. As such, Turkey is currently in the world's top 20 tourist destinations, both in terms of visitor numbers and earnings.
Despite these statistics, Turkey remains a relatively undiscovered land for tourists. The country's long and gorgeous coastline, high mountains and lakes, and wealth of historical, religious, and archaeological sites offer opportunities for massive development of tourism. However, the growth of the sector has been plagued with problems, chief among them the fallout from the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in the Soviet Union, Kurdish terrorist campaigns, and economic problems in neighboring regions. In addition, access to natural and historical wonders is difficult in most parts of the country, and much investment in transportation, waste management, and infrastructure is required to remedy this problem. Since the 1980s, the government has identified tourism as a high-priority industry and has been steadily developing the sector, encouraging both private and foreign investment through new laws and incentive programs.
Today tourism is considered to be one of the leading industries in the Turkish economy. It creates jobs for at least 10 million Turkish citizens and offers a capacity of 563,000 beds. Further capacity of nearly 8,500 beds is available on some 990 yachts that cruise the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. These are operated by over 100 yacht agencies. The largest number of tourists are from Germany, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS, formerly the USSR), the United Kingdom, the United States, and France.
The Turkish financial system is based upon a universal banking system that legally enables commercial banks to operate in all financial markets. As such, banks carry out nearly all of the activities in the money and capital markets in Turkey, and the banking sector has become almost synonymous with the Turkish financial system. The only 2 areas prohibited to commercial banks are leasing and the trading of goods for commercial purposes. On the other hand, development and investment banks may not accept deposits, but can engage in the 2 activities prohibited to the commercial banks. Excluding the Central Bank of Turkey, there were 80 banks operating in Turkey by the end of 1999. Of these, 61 are commercial banks and 19 are development and investment banks. Seven of the banks are state-owned. Much like their counterparts in Germany and Japan, the major private banks have ownership linkages with large non-financial conglomerates. Most state banks are located in Ankara, while many of the private banks are centered in Istanbul.
The banking system has undergone a rapid technological transformation in the last decade. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in terms of trade finance, treasury operations, electronic banking, and information management, the dozen leading Turkish banks are as sophisticated as their counterparts in developed countries. Certainly, Turkish banks are among the most profitable in Europe, but this statistic could prove misleading in the long term. Given the high budget deficit and high inflation, operations have a short-term focus and profits come primarily from banking investment in short-term government securities and short-term loans with high real interest rates. Therefore, profitability has not been loan-based (contrary to their counterparts in developed countries) and banks lack a lending culture and risk-asset management systems. Therefore, as inflation responds to recent measures and begins to fall, banks will begin losing their highly profitable short-term operations, and will have to focus more on core banking operations with low margins.
The Central Bank of Turkey is responsible for the supervision of the banking sector in order to guarantee that banks meet liquidity requirements and operate responsibly. However, banking has suffered in the past from weak supervision and inconsistent accounting practices. The banking sector passed through a crisis in 1999 when 3 small banks failed. The same year, a new law was passed calling for the creation of an independent regulatory agency, toughening operating conditions, and giving weight to regulatory and sanctioning powers. It is expected that, under stricter supervision, the financial sector will grow considerably stronger.
Turkey has no territories or colonies.
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Turkish lira (TL). One Turkish lira equals 100 kurus (pronounced kouroush). However, because of the high inflation rates Turkey has faced in the past 20 years, kurus are no longer used due to the low purchasing power. As of the end of 2000, there are coins of 10,000, 25,000, 50,000, and 100,000 liras. The 10,000 and 25,000-lira coins were expected to be phased out by 2001, and probably replaced with new coins of 500,000 and 1 million liras.
Clothing, foodstuffs, textiles, metal manufactures.
Machinery, semi-finished goods, chemicals, transport equipment, fuels.
US$444 billion (purchasing power parity, 2000 est.).
Exports: US$26.9 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.). Imports: US$55.7 billion (c.i.f., 2000 est.).