Formal Name: Republic of Turkey
Short Form: Turkey
Term for Citizen(s): Turk(s)
Other Major Cities: Istanbul, İzmir (Smyrna), Bursa, Adana, Gaziantep, and Konya
Independence: Turkey celebrates October 29, 1923, the date on which the Republic of Turkey was declared after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, as its date of independence.
Public Holidays: New Year’s Day (January 1), National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (April 23), Commemoration of Atatürk and Youth and Sports Day (May 19), Victory Day (August 30), the End of Ramadan (September 30–October 2, 2008; variable date determined by the Islamic calendar), Republic Day (October 29), and the Feast of the Sacrifice (December 8–11, 2008; variable date determined by the Islamic calendar).
Flag: The flag has a red background with a white crescent, open to the right, on the left side and a five-pointed white star in the center. The precise origin of the crescent and star symbols, which are quite ancient in the Middle East, is unknown. The flag is an adaptation of the flag of the Ottoman Empire, which preceded the modern Turkish state.
Location: Thrace, the westernmost, European segment of Turkey, forms the southeastern most extremity of Europe, east of Bulgaria and Greece. Some 8 percent of Turkey’s territory is in Thrace.
Anatolia, which comprises the bulk of Turkish territory, is a peninsula in western Asia situated between the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The Sea of Marmara and the strategic Dardanelles and Bosporus straits separate Thrace and Anatolia.
Size: The total area of Turkey is 780,580 square kilometers, including 9,820 square kilometers of water.
Land Boundaries: The land boundaries of Turkey are as follows: with Syria, 822 kilometers; Iran, 499 kilometers; Iraq, 352 kilometers; Armenia, 268 kilometers; Georgia, 252 kilometers; Bulgaria, 240 kilometers; Greece, 206 kilometers; and Azerbaijan, 9 kilometers.
Length of Coastline: Turkey has 7,200 kilometers of coastline on the Mediterranean Sea, Aegean Sea, Black Sea, and Sea of Marmara.
Climate: The Aegean and Mediterranean coastal regions have cool, rainy winters and hot, moderately dry summers, with annual precipitation ranging from 580 to 1,300 millimeters. The Black Sea coastal region, whose temperature range is lower than the other coastal regions, has the heaviest rainfall in Turkey, averaging 1,400 millimeters per year. Because it is blocked from the sea by Turkey’s mountain ranges, the Anatolian Plateau has a severely continental climate, with extreme cold in the winter (reaching –40o C) and extreme heat in summer. Rainfall there is very sparse in summer, but snowfall in winter is heavy. Annual precipitation averages 400 millimeters. The eastern highlands have hot, dry summers and very cold winters with heavy snowfall.
Natural Resources: Turkey has abundant arable land; its water resources are greater than those elsewhere in the Middle East but generally less than those in European countries. Rivers offer hydroelectric power generation and irrigation. Known oil and natural gas deposits are small, but relatively large amounts of coal are present. Other significant mineral resources are boron and chromium. Long coastlines with a temperate climate support commerce, tourism, and fishing.
Land Use: Some 30 percent of Turkey’s land is rated as arable, and another 11.5 percent is used as pasture. About 11 percent of the arable land (3.3 percent of the total) is planted to permanent crops, and 18 percent of the arable land is irrigated.
Environmental Factors: Turkey’s main environmental problems are water pollution from the dumping of chemicals and detergents; air pollution, particularly in urban areas; deforestation; and the potential for spills from the 5,000 oil- and gas-carrying ships that pass through the Bosporus annually. The most pressing needs are for water and wastewater treatment plants, solid waste management, and the conservation of biodiversity. The release of pollutants by neighboring countries has critically contaminated the Black Sea, and multinational cooperation has not adequately addressed the problem. Air pollution has accelerated since rapid economic growth began in the mid-1990s. The problem is especially acute in Istanbul, Ankara, Erzurum, and Bursa, where the combustion of heating fuels increases particulate density in winter. Especially in Istanbul, increased car ownership and the slow development of public transportation cause frequent urban smog conditions. Industrial air pollution comes mainly from power plants and the metallurgy, cement, sugar, and fertilizer industries, a large percentage of which lack filtration equipment. Land degradation is a critical agricultural problem, caused by inappropriate use of agricultural land, overgrazing, over-fertilization, and deforestation. Serious soil erosion has occurred in more than half of Turkey’s land surface. According to one estimate, Turkey loses 1 billion tons of topsoil annually. Large areas of Turkey are prone to major earthquakes.
The establishment of the Ministry of Environment in 1991 accelerated progress on some environmental problems such as urban air pollution. In the early 2000s, prospective membership in the European Union spurred the updating of some environmental legislation. However, in 2003 the merger of the Ministry of Environment with the Ministry of Forestry reduced the influence of environmental officials in policymaking, and enforcement procedures (such as those regulating traffic through the Bosporus) are considered weak. In general, private firms have responded more fully to environmental regulation than state-owned enterprises, which still constitute a large percentage of Turkey’s economy.
Time Zone: Turkey’s time zone is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
Strong bonds of friendship, alliance, mutual trust, and a unity of vision characterize the relationship between Turkey and the United States. We share the same set of values and ideals in our regional and global objectives: the promotion of peace, democracy, freedom and prosperity. Thus, Turkey and the United States face common challenges and opportunities that demand our concerted efforts. These challenges and opportunities form the specific items of our common agenda for consultation and cooperation.
We agree to translate our shared vision into common efforts through effective cooperation and structured dialogue.
Turkey and the United States pledge themselves to work together on all issues of common concern, including promoting peace and stability in the broader Middle East through democracy; supporting international efforts towards a permanent settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including international efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of a two-state solution; fostering stability, democracy and prosperity in a unified Iraq; supporting diplomatic efforts regarding Iran’s nuclear program including the recent P5+1 initiative; contributing to stability, democracy and prosperity in the Black Sea region, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Afghanistan; supporting the achievement of a just and lasting, comprehensive and mutually acceptable settlement of the Cyprus question under the auspices of the UN and in this context ending the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots; enhancing energy security, through diversification of routes and sources including from the Caspian basin; strengthening transatlantic relations and the transformation of NATO; countering terrorism, including the fight against the PKK and its affiliates; preventing WMD proliferation; combating illegal trafficking of persons, drugs and weapons; increasing understanding, respect and tolerance between and among religions and cultures; and promoting together effective multilateral action to find solutions to international challenges and crises of common concern.
The United States strongly supports Turkey’s accession to the European Union and the accession process now underway.
Our consultation and cooperation will also include enhanced bilateral relations with particular emphasis on economic and commercial relations and investments; defense/military cooperation; science and technology and public diplomacy efforts and exchanges.
Turkey and the United States make use of several consultation channels at various levels. It is now time to develop a more structured framework to make our strategic partnership more effective and results-oriented.
In addition to the established High-Level Defense Group (HLDG), Economic Cooperation Partnership Council (ECPC) and Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) consultation mechanisms, we envisage four mutually reinforcing tracks:
a) Expert Level Consultations: They will be held as frequently as appropriate on issues of common concern.
b) Policy Planning Consultations: Regular meetings will be held between the Policy Planning Units to analyze tendencies, trends and developments from a strategic perspective, and to offer recommendations, as appropriate, in terms of policies to be pursued and means to be employed.
c) Broad-Based Dialogue: In our determination to enhance and diversify the scope of our relationship, we will also actively promote bilateral exchanges among business groups, media, civil society, scientists and engineers, academicians and think-tanks and educators and students. We will also facilitate opportunities for dialogue between the US Congress and the Turkish Grand National Assembly.
d) High Level Review: We will conduct a review at the level of Under Secretaries at least once a year to provide comprehensive and timely assessments and guidance.
Finally, the Secretary of State of the United States and the Foreign Minister of Turkey will remain in regular contact as required to develop this shared vision and structured dialogue.