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GENERAL & PRACTICAL INFOS
The reasons for visiting Turkey are numerous. To begin with, this wonderful land is blessed by a lovely nature. Surrounded by seas on three sides, it is covered by mountains, forests, steppes and all sorts of land variations, all of which is of superb beauty. Indeed the greater part of the country is as lovely as a national park. The genuine friendliness and traditional hospitality of Turks towards visitors is justly renowned world wide. And then of course, the history of the land of Turkey, called Anatolia, is incredibly rich and long.
Turkey has hosted over the past 5000 years more than 36 civilisations .
The whole country is the reflection of this richness, through its culture, traditions, archeology, and still hosts many ethnic and religious minorities such as armenians, jewish, christians, old levantine families, and so on.
Its geographical location borders with Armenia, Iran, Syria, Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia which all add to Turkey’s great influence.
As a fact Turkey is the cradle of our civilisations, harboring in its bosom an incredible blend of cultures, history, and archaeological sites.
At this very moment there’s not a single reason not to go to Turkey. Regarding the average crime rate most foreigners will be even safer in Turkey than at home. The crime rate in Istanbul (about 12 million inhabitants) is far lower than in western countries and in non- tourist Turkey. It’s virtually non existent. The risk that something is stolen from you by Turks is about zero.
It is a well- known fact to those who have already been to Turkey, which The Turkish Republic is a singular and unique country, totally different from all Islamic countries of the world.
It is indeed a modern, democratic, secular country, where everyone can openly belong to any religion of their choice. This is guaranteed by the Constitution itself. Although the great majority of the population is Moslems, there is total respect and tolerance towards other convictions, cultures and descent.
You need to be aware though that Turkey, some areas are still conservative and the values of Islam are widely respected. Very informal or revealing clothing can be seen as disrespectful, especially in small towns.
ATATURK : MUSTAFA KEMAL
Turkey is a democratic, secular republic that was established in 1923 after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The founder of Modern Turkey is Ataturk who led Turks in the 1919-1922 War of Independence. He went on to reform the education system and language, replaced the Koranic law with European codes and commenced the process of building a modern, industrial society.
In 1949 Turkey became a member of the Council of Europe, 1952 it joined NATO and played a vital role in the Cold War. And joined the Customs Union with Europe and has applied for full membership of the European Union. The military is seen as the defender of the Constitution and Secularism in Turkey.
The new Civil Code, adopted in 1926, abolished polygamy and recognized the equal rights of women in divorce, custody, and inheritance. The entire educational system from the grade school to the university became coeducational. Ataturk greatly admired the support that the national liberation struggle received from women and praised their many contributions: " In Turkish society, women have not lagged behind men in science, scholarship, and culture. Perhaps they have even gone further ahead." He gave women the same opportunities as men, including full political rights. In the mid-1930s, 18 women, among them a villager, were elected to the national parliament. And Turkey had:
"The world’s first women supreme court justice."
The most difficult change in any society is probably a language reform. Most nations never attempt it; those who do, usually prefer a gradual approach. Under Atatürk’s Leadership, Turkey undertook the modern world’s swiftest and most extensive language reform. In 1928, when he decided that the Arabic script, which had been used by Turks for a thousand year, should be replaced with the Latin alphabet. He asked the experts: "How long would it take?" Most of them replied: "At least five years." "We shall do it," Ataturk said, "within five months".
Today, Turkey has major universities all over the country. Except for Europe and North America she has one of the world’s highest ratios of university graduates to population. English and German are widely spoken in hotels and restaurants resorts and cities. In villages it can be difficult to find people who speak languages other than Turkish. But the natural friendliness of Turkish people will overcome many barriers. If you learn even a few basic words of Turkish you will be rewarded with an enthusiastic response form the people.
WHAT TO PACK
Turkey has a diverse range of climates. The coast is generally mild in winter and hot in summer. The interior is warm in summer and cold in winter so you will need to bring clothes according to the season. Turks are generally informal in their choice of clothing and so there is little need to bring formal wear.
Turkey is also a country for walking either to enjoy the scenery or visiting the rights. Good footwear, hat, sun protection are advisable.
Turkey uses a 220volt electricity, 50cycles, 2pin European plug system, so you will need to bring an adapter if your electricity system is different.