Travel Guides: Turkey Part 2
The most popular sport in Turkey is football. Turkey’s top teams include Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas. In 2000, Galatasaray strengthens its role as European big club by winning the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup. Two years later the Turkish national team finished 3rd in the 2002 World Cup finals after Japan and South Korea, while in 2008 the national team competition catch UEFA Euro 2008 semifinals. Istanbul Ataturk Olympic Stadium hosted the 2005 UEFA Champions League final, while Istanbul’s Sukru Saracoglu stadium has hosted the UEFA Cup Final 2009.
Other major sports like basketball and volleyball are also popular. Turkey hosted the finals of EuroBasket 2001 and the 2010 FIBA World Championship finals. National men’s basketball team finished in 2nd place at EuroBasket 2001 and reached the quarter final of the FIBA World Championship in 2006, while Efes Pilsen SK won the Korac Cup in 1996, finished 2nd in the 1993 Saporta Cup, and reached the Final Four of Euroleague and Turkish 2001. Players Suproleague in 2000 and basketball as Mehmet Okura and Hidayet Turkoglu also had success in the NBA.
Women’s volleyball team, namely Eczacibasi, Acibadem Vakifbank Gunes Sigorta and Fenerbahce have won numerous titles and medals at European Championships. Traditional Turkish national sport has been yagli talkative (Wrestling) since Ottoman times. Edirne annual wrestling tournament hosted at Kirkpinar since 1361. International wrestling styles that covered the FILA wrestling freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling are popular with many titles at the European championships, World and Olympic wrestlers won individual or Turkish national team.
A successful Turkish sport was weightlifting. Weightlifters, men and women, have beaten many world records and won several titles at the European championships, World and Olympic. Halil Mutlu Naim Süleymanoğlu reached legendary status as one of the few weightlifters to have won three gold medals at three Olympics. Racing cars have become popular recently, especially following the inclusion of Turkey Rally Championship calendar WRC FIA in 2003, and the inclusion of Turkish Grand Prix calendar from Formula 1 in 2005.
Other important annual events held racing circuit includes MotoGP Grand Prix Istanbul Park in Turkey, World Road Championship FIA GP2 Series and Series Le Mans. Occasionally Istanbul hosts Antalya Turkish Championship F1 Racing boat, while the Turkish leg of the Red Bull Air Race World Series, a championship air races, takes place over the Golden Horn in Istanbul. Surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, paragliding and other extreme sports are becoming more popular every year.
Turkey is a founding member of the United Nations (1945), OECD (1961), OIC (1969), OSCE (1973), ECO (1985), BSEC (1992) and large economies of G-20 (1999). On October 27, 2008, Turkey was elected non-permanent membership of UN Security Council. Turkey is a member of the board effective at the beginning of January 1, 2009. Turkey has previously been a member of the UN Security Council in 1951-1952, 1954-1955 and 1961.
In line with the traditions of Western orientation, relations with Europe have always been the central part of Turkey’s foreign policy. Turkey became a founding member of the Council of Europe in 1949, applying for association membership in the EEC (predecessor of the EU) in 1959 and became an associate member in 1963. After decades of political negotiations, Turkey applied for full membership of the EEC in 1987 became an associate member of the EU Customs Union agreement reached in 1992 west with the EU in 1995 and officially began formal negotiations with the EU accession since October 30, 2005.
The accession process will take probably a few decades, because political and cultural disagreements persist between the EU and Turkey. Another defining aspect of Turkey’s foreign relations has been its links with the US. Based on the common threats posed by the Soviet Union, Turkey joined NATO in 1952, and ensuring close bilateral relations with Washington throughout the Cold War. In the environment after the Cold War, Turkey’s geo-strategic importance shifted close to the Middle East and the Balkans Cucaz.
Member of Turkish independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Turkey shares common cultural and linguistic heritage, allowed Turkey to extend its economic and political relations deep into Central Asia. The most prominent of its relations emerged complete with multi-billion dollar natural gas and oil pipeline from Baku in Azerbaijan to Ceyhan port in Turkey. Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline as it is called was one of Turkey’s foreign policy strategies to become energy pipeline from the west. However, Turkey’s border with Armenia, a state in the Caucasus, remains closed following the occupation of Azeri territory during the War.
Turkey has made in the last four decades a remarkable increase in economy. The energy industry is represented mainly by coal industry, located in northwestern Anatolia. Electricity is obtained in the hydro and thermal power plants. In 2008, over 90% of Turkey’s fuel was from outside the country. Turkey maintains an oil pipeline project between its ports, Black Sea Samsun and Ceyhan on the Mediterranean, which already serves as a terminal for pipelines that bring oil from Azerbaijan and Iraq. Since 2003, Russia is Turkey’s first commercial partner, with trade of 38 billion dollars in 2007.
Hundreds of Turkish companies operate in Russia, two million Russians annually Fri Turkey (one million according to other estimates), and Russia providing, through Blue Stream, 65% of Turkey’s gas needs. Turkey is 15 as GDP-PPP in the world, and 17 in NGDP. The country is a founding member of the OECD and G-20 major economy. During the first six decades of the republic between 1923 and 1983, Turkey joined mainly to a quasi-statistical approach with strict government budget planning and government-imposed limits on private sector participation, foreign trade, foreign currency flow, direct foreign investment.
However, since 1983, Turkey began a series of reforms that were initiated by Prime Minister Turgut Ozal and designed to change the economy in statistics, remote system to a private sector, market based on model. Reforms boost rapid growth, but this growth was punctuated by major recessions and financial crises in 1994, 1999 (following the earthquake in that year) and 2001, resulting in an average of 4% GDP growth per year between 1981 and 2003. Lack of additional fiscal reforms, combined with a large public sector deficits and growing and widespread corruption, resulted in high inflation, a weak banking sector and increased macroeconomic volatility.
Since the 2001 economic crisis and reforms initiated by Finance Minister Kemal Derviş, inflation fell to single digit numbers, investor confidence and foreign investment, and unemployment fell. IMF projections are 6% inflation rate for Turkey in 2008. Turkey has gradually opened markets through economic reforms by reducing government controls on foreign trade and investment, and privatizes government-owned industry, opening many sectors of private and foreign participation has continued amid political debate. Rates of GDP in 2002-2007 rose on average 7.4%, which made Turkey one of the fastest economic growths in the world during that period.
However, GDP growth declined to 4.5% in 2008 and early 2009 the Turkish economy was affected by the global financial crisis, the IMF saying there will be a global recession with 5.1% for 2009, compared with the Turkish government estimate of 3.6%. Turkish economy is dependent on the industry in most cities, mostly concentrated in the western province of the country, and less on agriculture, however, traditional agriculture remains a mainstay for the Turkish economy. In 2007, the agricultural sector represents 8.9% of GDP, while industry and services sector represents 30.8% is 59.3%. However, agriculture accounts for 27.3% of the workforce. According to Eurostat data, the PPS Turkish GDP was 45% of the EU in 2008.
The tourism sector has experienced rapid growth over the past 20 years, and is an important part of the economy. In 2008, there were 30,927,192 visitors to the country, which contributed 21.9 billion dollars on revenue of Turkey. Other sectors of the Turkish economy are banking, construction, home appliances, electronics, textiles, oil refining, petrochemicals, mining, iron and steel, machinery and automobiles industry. Turkey has a large and growing automotive industry, which produced 1147110 vehicles in 2008, on the 6th as a manufacturer in Europe (after the United Kingdom and before Italy), and 15th in the world. Turkey is also one of the leading shipbuilding nations, in 2007 the country ranked No. 4 in world (after China, South Korea and Japan) in respect of vessels ordered, and No. 4 in world (after Italy, U.S. and Canada) in terms of mega-yachts ordered.
In recent years, high inflation was controlled, and this led to the launch of a currency in November, Turkish lira, on January 1, 2005, acquisition strengthened economic reforms. On January 1, 2009, Turkish rural com pound was again renamed as the Turkish lira, with the introduction of new bills and coins. As a result of economic reforms, inflation dropped further to 8.2% in 2005 and the unemployment rate to 10.3%. In 2004 it was estimated that 46.2% of total disposable income was 20% for the top wage income, less than 20% received 6%.
Turkey took advantage of a customs union with the EU, signed in 1995 to increase industrial production for export aces, while benefiting from foreign investment from EU countries. In 2007 exports reached 115.3 billion US dollars. However, large imports amounted to 162.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2007, threatened the balance of trade. Turkey’s exports amounted to 141.8 billion US dollars in 2008, while imports amounted to 204.8 billion US dollars. After years of low levels of FDI, Turkey succeeded in attracting 21.9 billion U.S. dollars FDI in 2007 and was expected to attract high figures in the coming years. A series of large privatizations, the stability promoted by Turkey’s EU accession negotiations, strong and stable growth, changes in banking and telecommunications have all contributed to the birth of foreign investment.
Turkish armed forces are made up of army, navy and air forces. Gendarmerie and the Coast Guard operates as part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in peacetime, although they are subordinate to Army and Navy Commands respectively in wartime, during which they performed as domestic law and military functions. Turkish Forces brass are the second largest in NATO’s existing military force after the US armed forces with a capacity of 1,043,550 soldiers working in five branches. Not all male Turkish citizens in the army fit to do so is not prescript army for a period of time varied from 3 weeks to 15 months, depending on education and job location.
Turkey does not provide a civil alternative military. Turkey is one of the five states that is part of NATO nuclear sharing policy of the alliance, together with Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. A total of 90 B61 nuclear bombs are housed at the Incirlik Air Base, of which 40 are allocated for use by Turkish Air Forces. In 1998, Turkey announced a modernization program worth US $ 160 billion over a period of 20 years in various projects including tanks, combat aircraft, helicopters, submarines, warships and guns.
Turkey is a Level 3 contributor to the program JGF. Turkey maintains its forces in international missions under UN and NATO control since 1950, including peacekeeping missions in Somalia and former Yugoslavia, and support for coalition forces in the Gulf War. Turkey maintains 36,000 troops in Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of N had troops deployed in Afghanistan as part of UN forces stability authorized, NATO-commanded ISAF since 2001. In 2006, the Turkish parliament carries out its peacekeeping forces with naval patrol vessels and around 700 ground troops as part of the expansion of the UN International Force in Lebanon following the Israel-Lebanon conflict.
General Team Manager is appointed by the president and answerable to the Prime Minister. Ministry Council is responsible to parliament for national security measures and adequate preparation of the armed forces for defense. However, authorities declare war and send the Turkish Armed Forces to foreign countries or allow foreign armed forces to be stationed in Turkey based solely on the parliament. The current commander of the armed forces is the head of the General Team, General Ilker Başbug since August 30, 2008.11