About Turkey

Turkey covers an area of 780,000 sq km and consists of Thrace the European part and Anatolia the Asian part, separated by the Marmara Sea and the Dardanelles.  It is one of the biggest countries in both Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

The Culture of Turkey varies and depends largely on the region and ethnic background of the people and where they live.  In the cities and larger towns the culture is similar to Europe, however people in the rural areas tend to to be more traditional in their way of dress, lifestyle and culture.

Turkey applied to join the EU in 1987 and was confirmed as a  Candidate Country in 1999.   Accession talks started in 2005.

In Turkey a law has been  passed which allows the current Prime Minster of Turkey to apply for the Presidency.   The elections were held in June 2015, resulting in a hung parliament, a second snap election was held in November 2015  and the AKP Party this time won by an outright majority and Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected as President.   The role of Prime Minister was abolished in 2018.

One of the reasons why Turkey has yet to join the EU is “Turkey has still not made progress towards the necessary normalisation of its relations with the Republic of Cyprus,” according to other EU Governments.

In May 2012 the EU and Turkey launched a positive agenda highlighting areas where they could expand co-operation.

But Cyprus took up the EU’s six-month rotating presidency in July 2012 and progress stalled, as Turkey refused to talk to the Cyprus authorities.

Negotiations for Turkey to join the EU have also been overshadowed by concerns about freedom of speech and democracy in Turkey, treatment of religious minorities, women’s and children’s rights, civilian control of the military.

An advantage for Turks if their country does join the EU would be that there would be mobility of employment and therefore Turks would be able to seek better paid employment throughout Europe.

At a glance facts

  • Languages – Turkish, Kurdish, Dimla, Azeri, Karbadian
  • Population – 81,916,871 (2018)
  • International Dialling Code 90
  • Time – Turkey is 2 hours ahead of the UK



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Turkish Lira
Location / Status:
Europe, EU Candidate

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