02 February 2011
Turkey… also the name of my favorite meat… is the first country I researched. This whole part of my Mission in 2011 stemmed from the fact that John Gidding, a designer on HGTV, is from Turkey and – aside from knowing that my cousin spent time there while her husband was in the military – I don’t know much about the place. From my research, Turkey was once part of the Ottoman Empire and it officially formed as the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923 by Kemal Ataturk.
With over 75 million people, the country is ranked 17th largest and their biggest city is Istanbul (was also the capital for the Ottoman Empire). Other fun facts is that the country’s currency is the Turkish lira, the new capital – as of the 20s – is Ankara, and the country is transcontinental (Europe and Asia). The country’s Internet domain is .tr and to call someone on a phone in Turkey you would use the calling code 90.
While the country was founded as a secular republic, the Islam-based political party won the presidential elections in 2002 and many fear their efforts to create an Islam state. There is also speculation about the military (called the guardians of the secular system) and their attempts or plots to overthrow the government to prevent such actions.
People of Turkey are called Turkish but there are other cultures and groups living in the country that refuse to assimilate or Turkify themselves. One group is the Kurds and conflicts and tension have continued until even today as the Turkish government sees many of the groups fighting for Kurdish rights as ‘terrorists.’
Aiding the U.S. has become a habit; Turkey was near the Soviet Union during the Cold War and is now next to the Middle East – which allows the U.S. to have a close base of operations. Turkey also has the second largest standing Armed Forces (the first being the U.S. Armed Forces).
Turkey has been in negotiations to become a member of the EU and with this changed many of their laws to allow for women’s rights among other things. One thing that differs from the U.S. to Turkey is that Turkish journalists reporting in the country do not have the First Amendment on their side. TV news (the most popular form) has often been shut down for broadcasting sensitive materials. There is also speculation that journalists reporting stories about the military, Kurds or other ‘sensitive’ topics are imprisoned or attacked. While the government can block websites such as YouTube, citizens have learned ways to get around the system. And there are about 22 million Facebook users in the country.
For more info on Turkey… Google it yourself! I’m going to bed.
Posted by Stac at 11:20 PM