Life Style

Country Profile and Facts 

Official Name

Republic of Turkey

Date of Foundation

October 29, 1923



Largest Cities

Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana, Antalya


814.578 km2

Geographical Coordinates

Eastern Meridians 26° and 45° and Northern Parallels 36° and 42°

Coastal Borders

Mediterranean Sea in the south, Aegean Sea in the west and Black Sea in the north


The official language is Turkish. English is widely spoken in major cities.


TL (Turkish Lira) 1 Euro approximately equals to 2,30 Turkish Liras.

Time Zone

GMT+2; CET +1; and EST (US -East) +7

Business Hours

The workweek in Turkey runs from Monday to Friday. Banks, government offices and majority of  corporate offices open at 9 AM and close at 5 PM.

Public Holidays

There are two types of public holiday in Turkey: Those fall on the same day each year; and the religious festivals which change according to the lunar calendar and, therefore, fall on different dates each year.

1 January, 23 April, 1 May, 19 May, 30 August, 28 & 29 October

Eid (Ramadan): 8-11 September 2010

Greater Eid: 15-19 November 2010


Visas are easily obtained upon arrival to the air­port and are required for citizens of most countries.


220V. European standard round two-pin sockets.

Health Services

Cities and major touristic towns have a selection of private inter­national and public hospitals with good standards.


As with many Mediterranean nations Turkish food is very healthy, fresh and enjoyable.


Tap water is chlorinated and, therefore, safe to drink. However, it is recommended that you consume bottled water, which is readily and cheaply available


Turkey has three GSM operators, with all of them offering 3G services and almost over 95% coverage over the country. Internet service is available all around the country.

International Dial Code


General Statistics About Turkey

* A population of 73.722.988

* Average age of population: 28.5

* 166 universities, 104 of which are public universities

* Internet access per household : % 41.6

* 61.8 million mobile phone users

* 21 national, 14 regional and 229 local TV channels

* Non-permament member of the United Nations Security Council 2009-2010

* A candidate for the European Union since 2005

* A member of United Nations since 1945

* A member of Unesco since 1945

* A member of Council of Europe since 1949

* A member of Nato since 1952

* Turkey’s negotiation process with the EU began on October 3th 2005.

* Number of 3G mobile phone subscribers : 19.407.264

* Number of mobile internet users): 1.448.020

* Number of internet subscribers) : 8.672.376


The official language of the country, Turkish is spoken by 220 million people and is the world’s 5th most widely used language. Today’s Turkish has evolved from dialects known since the 11th century and is one of the group of languages known as Ural-Altaic which includes Finnish and Hungarian.

Turkish is written with the Latin alphabet with the addition of 6 different characters. Turkish is completely phonetic – each letter of the alphabet has only one sound-, so each word sounds exactly how it is written. During Ottoman times Turkish was written in Arabic script, that a limited number of people were able to write. In order to improve literacy and therefore to overcome the difficulties of learning and reading Turkish using Arabic script, Turkey switched to the Latin alphabet following the initiative started by Atatürk in 1928.

English has replaced French and German as the chief secondary language taught in school and is becoming more widespread. English is widely spoken and understood by many throughout Turkey. German, Russian and French are also spoken especially in popular holiday destinations.


The contemporary Turkish education system was established in 1924 after Atatürk closed the religious schools, set up new secular schools, and made elementary school attendance compulsory. It was many years before the country had the educational infrastructure to provide universal primary education, but since the early 1980s almost all children between the ages of six and ten have been enrolled in school. The most recent data on literacy (see Facts about Turkey) put Turkey’s overall adult literacy rate around 86.5 percent. This statistic broke down as 94.3 percent literacy among males aged fifteen and over, and 78.7 percent among females in that age-group.

The public education system provides for five stages of education: preschool, primary school, middle school, high school, and university. Noncompulsory preschool programs established in 1953 offer education to children between the ages of four and six. The demand for preschool education has been limited, apparently because of parents’ unwillingness to entrust the education of small children to institutions outside the family. Preschool programs are most common in large cities, where, since the 1980s, they have been increasing in popularity and in numbers. Primary education is coeducational as well as compulsory, and encompasses a five-year program for ages six to eleven. Attendance at the country’s estimated 46,000 primary schools was reckoned at 97 percent for the 1994-95 school year.

The two-year middle-school program, for ages twelve to fourteen, also is coeducational and has been compulsory since 1972. However, authorities generally do not enforce middle-school attendance, especially in rural areas, where middle schools are few in number and most students must travel long distances to attend. The Ministry of National Education does not publish data on middle-school attendance, but overall it probably does not exceed 60 percent of the relevant age-group. To encourage higher levels of attendance, a 1983 law prohibited the employment of youths younger than fourteen. Middle-school graduation is a prerequisite to access to general, vocational, and technical high schools, and is deemed advantageous for admission to many vocational training programs.

Secondary school education is not compulsory but is free at all of the country’s estimated 1,300 public high schools. The Ministry of National Education supervises the high schools, which are divided into lycée (general) and vocational schools. The lycées are coeducational and offer three-year college preparatory programs. A select number of lycées in the largest cities are bilingual, teaching classes in Turkish and either English, French, or German. Twelve lycées are open to students from the three legally recognized minorities–Armenians, Greeks, and Jews–and teach classes on some subjects in Armenian or Greek. In contrast, many of the vocational high schools offer four-year programs. Vocational high schools include technical training schools for men; domestic science schools for women; teacher-training schools; auxiliary health care, commercial, and agricultural schools; Muslim teacher-training schools; and other specialized institutions. The Muslim teacher-training schools, called imam hatip okullari , have expanded dramatically since the late 1970s. During the early 1990s, they numbered about 350 and enrolled 10 percent of all high school students. Except for the emphasis on religious subjects, the curriculum of the imam hatip okullari resembles that of the lycées rather than the vocational schools.

Higher education is available at several hundred institutions, including professional schools and academies, institutes, and conservatories, but primarily at the twenty-seven public universities, which enrolled more than 450,000 students in 1993-94. In the mid-1980s, when Özal was prime minister, his government authorized Turkey’s first private university, Bilkent, in Ankara. The university law of 1946 granted academic autonomy to Turkey’s universities. However, government policies since the 1980 coup, especially a 1981 law on higher education, have institutionalized extensive government interference in university affairs. The military leaders believed that the universities had been the center of political ideas they disliked and perceived as harmful to Turkey’s stability. They thus sought through the 1981 higher education law and applicable provisions of the 1982 constitution to introduce both structural and curricular changes at the universities. For example, the constitution stipulates that the president of the republic may appoint university rectors, establishes the government’s right to found new universities, and assigns duties to the Council of Higher Education (Yuksek Ögretim Kurumu–YÖK). The higher education law prohibits all teachers and matriculated students from belonging to or working for a political party and requires curricular standardization at all universities.

The YÖK consists of twenty-five members, of whom eight are appointed directly by the president, eight by the Interuniversity Council, six by the Council of Ministers, two by the Ministry of National Education, and one by the General Staff of the armed forces. The chair of the YÖK is appointed by the president of the republic. The YÖK’s powers include recommending or appointing rectors, deans, and professors; selecting and assigning students; and planning new universities. The YÖK also has authority to transfer faculty members from one university to another. The YÖK effectively has reduced the faculty senates, which prior to 1980 had authority to enact academic regulations, to mere advisory bodies.

Education has continued to serve as an important means of upward social mobility. Annually since at least 1975, the number of students applying for university admission has exceeded the number of available spaces. To qualify for admission, every applicant must pass the nationwide university entrance exam, which is designed, administered, and evaluated by the Center for Selection and Placement of Students. During the early 1990s, more than 100,000 applicants sat for the entrance exam each year. Scoring is based on a complicated system that assures that the number who pass does not exceed the number of available spaces. Even if an applicant qualifies for admission, the individual’s actual score determines whether he or she may study a chosen discipline or must take up a less preferred one.

In addition to the five levels of education described above, the system provides special education for some children with disabilities, as well as a wide range of adult education and vocational programs. Labor specialists consistently have cited inadequate skills as a key factor in Turkey’s high level of unemployment, which during the early 1990s averaged 10 percent annually. In 1995 half of the urban unemployed had only a primary education, and an estimated 40 percent of pupils dropped out of school upon completing this level of education. Since 1980 the Ministry of National Education has conducted major literacy campaigns aimed at the population between ages fourteen and forty-four, with emphasis on women, residents of the urban gecekondus , and agricultural workers. The ministry also has provided primary, middle school, and secondary equivalency program courses to upgrade education levels. In addition, through its Directorate of Apprenticeship and Nonformal Education, the ministry provides nonformal vocational training to people lacking required skills, such as school dropouts, seasonal agricultural workers, and people in the urban informal sector.

The Family

Families are divided into several types according to social, economic and local conditions. The traditional extended and nuclear families are the two common types of families in Turkey. The traditional extended family, generally means that three generations live together: grandfather, adult sons and sons’ sons, their wives and their unmarried daughters a married daughter becomes a member of her husband’s family and lives there. There is a unity of production and consumption together with common property. This type of family is becoming more and more rare today. The nuclear family, parallel to industrialization and urbanization, replaces traditional families. The nuclear family consists of a husband, wife and unmarried children and is more suitable to modern Turkish social life today.

There are some economic, traditional and emotional conditions that form the duties and responsibilities of the modern nuclear family member. As for the economic conditions, each individual is supposed to play a part in supporting the continuation of the family. The father is usually responsible for making the basic income, the mother may perhaps contribute by working and if not, will assume full-time take care of the home. Grandparents may also supply help with incomes from their pension or returns from owned property and rents. Younger children help with the housework (re-pairing, painting, cleaning) and when older contribute by usually covering at least their own expenses. Tradition places the father as the head of the family, but the mother has equal rights. The father is the representative and protector of the family whereas the mother takes care of all the day to day things.

Households. Households in Turkey hold an average of 4.3 persons. In urban areas, this figure drops to an average of four persons; in rural areas, it rises to 4.9. Only 5 percent of Turkish households are single-person households, while two in every five households have five or more members (TDHS 1998:4).

Today, about 70 percent of Turkish households are nuclear, with at least one child and both parents, and 20 percent of households are extended families, married couple living with other kin, mostly the parent(s) or other relatives of the husband. Even when a household is classified as nuclear, most often close extended family members will be living in very nearby. About 5 percent of households can be defined as dispersed families, in which single parents or some kinfolk living together. Polygamous households are statistically negligible, but remain despite their illegality.

Marriage. Since the enactment of the republic’s 1926 Civil Code, municipal authorities perform marriages in a secular ceremony. Marriages carried out only by religious authorities are considered legally invalid, so people who want to be united in a religious marriage must do so after their official service.

Read more: Turkey – Family Life And Structure – Single Parent, Development, Percent, Children, Women, Mortality, Households, and Average


Turkey is the only secular country in Islamic world. Secularism is enshrined in the constitution that religion has no place whatsoever in governing of the country. Like other European countries, the weekly holiday is Sunday – not Friday as many are mistaken- and the Gregorian calendar is used in Turkey. The constitution secures the freedom of belief and worshiping. During the time of the Ottoman Empire, people of many different faiths lived together in peace, and since then this diversity has been preserved. Today there are 236 churches and 34 synagogues open for worship in Turkey.

Tourists visiting Turkey are unlikely to see much evidence that they are in a Muslim country, except for the call to prayer which can be heard 5 times a day. People wear contemporary dresses like any western country, and especially in big cities and popular holiday destinations, one can easily spot many who are closely observing fashion of Paris, London, Milan. There is probably no difference between the way in which people dress in especially large cities in Turkey and the rest of Europe. It is only in smaller villages, more remote areas and the east of the country that dress codes are more local. It is quite common for village women to wear headscarves but this is generally as much out of practical and cultural than religious considerations.

The only time when you need to worry about dress codes is when visiting a mosque. Everyone should wear clothes which cover their legs, so no shorts for either sex. Women should also make sure that their shoulders and head are covered. Shoes should be removed before entering a mosque. There is usually a rack or storage area where they can be left or you can carry them with you in a bag. Mosques are usually closed to visitors during prayer times.

There are two major Islamic Festivals which are celebrated in Turkey. The dates of both change each year, according to lunar calendar. Eid (Ramazan or Seker Bayrami) falls at the end of period of fasting. Greater Eid, the Feast of Sacrifice (Kurban Bayrami) falls almost two months after Eid, when wealthy believers usually sacrifice a sheep or a cow and it is distributed to the needy including friends, family and neighbours. Government offices and some other institutions are closed during these periods but life in resorts continues much as usual, and many Turks also head to the holiday destinations.

Social Life


Turkish music evolved from the original folk form into classical through the emergence of a Palace culture. It attained its highest point in the 16th century through the composer “Itri”. Great names in Turkish classical music include “Dede Efendi”, “Haci Arif Bey” and “Tamburi Cemil Bey”. It is a form that continues to be professionally performed and one that attracts large audiences. Turkish music, locally called Turkish Classical Music, is a variation of the national musical tradition, played with instruments such as the tambur, kanun, ney and ud.

Folk music has developed gradually over the centuries in the rural areas of Turkey. It is highly diversified with many different rhythms and themes. Musical archives contain almost 10,000 such folk songs. Turkish religious music, mostly in the form of songs, is centuries old and rich in tradition, embodied most perfectly by Sufi (Mevlevi) music.

The Turks were introduced to western classical music through orchestras which were invited to the Sultan’s Palace to celebrate occasions such as weddings. The great Italian composer, Donizetti, conducted the Palace Orchestra for many years. The first military band was founded in the 19th century. During the Republican era, the Presidential Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1924, and the Orchestra of the Istanbul Municipality Conservatory played a leading role in introducing and popularising classical music in Turkey. Turkish composers drew their inspiration from Turkish folk songs and Turkish classical music. Today, conductors such as Hikmet Simsek and Gürer Aykal, pianists like Idil Biret and the Güher and Süher Pekinel sisters, and violinists like Suna Kan are internationally recognised virtuosos. Leyla Gencer was one of the leading sopranos of La Scala Opera, wildly acclaimed whenever she performed in her native Istanbul.

Popular music is to a large extent produced by the consumer generation, or even if not later came on to take on many of those characteristics, and takes its form from the criteria of its own particular sectoral features, in such a way that the values that comprise those criteria are not based on the preferences of the culture of any one section of society, and thus is a form that to a large extent brings together different cultures. In the same way that Europe has seen an industrialized society, the increase in artistic products related to popular culture and their increasing spread in all sections of society, and the efforts towards industrialization in Turkey and the concomitant rise in urbanization, have all led to an independent popular cultural atmosphere in society. The basic values that the wide community in which popular culture is influential expects from artistic endeavors can be summed up as easy to understand and comprehend and requiring no great depth, thus calling for no great debate. In Turkey, the products of popular culture have lent color to the last quarter of the 20th century in particular, and as objects, or from the visual point of view, have called to a wide constituency.


Turkish theatre is thought to have originated from the popular Karagöz shadow plays, a cross between moralistic Punch and Judy and the slapstick Laurel and Hardy. It then developed along an oral tradition, with plays performed in public places, such as coffee houses and gardens, exclusively by male actors.

Atatürk gave great importance to the arts, and actively encouraged theatre, music and ballet, prompting the foundation of many state institutions. Turkey today boasts a thriving arts scene, with highly professional theatre, opera and ballet companies, as well as a flourishing film industry.

The making of films in the true language of the cinema, free from the influence of the theatre, began towards the 1950s. One of the first of these directors was Ömer Lütfi Akad. Towards the 1960s, some 60 films a year were being made. Starting from that time, directors such as Metin Erksan, Halit Refig, Ertem Göreç, Duygu Sagiroglu, Nevzat Pesen and Memduh Ün produced successful films taking social problems as their subject matter. The period that began in the late 1960s, when television was having an adverse effect on the cinema, saw such prominent directors as Yilmaz Güney, Atif Yilmaz, Süreyya Duru, Zeki Ökten, Serif Gören, Fevzi Tuna, Ömer Kavur and Ali Özgentürk.

Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Fatih Akin, Ferzan Özpetek, Abdullah Oguz and Semih Kaplanoglu are successful directors of today’s Turkish cinema. Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s film “Uzak” won Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival in 2003. “The Edge Of Heaven” (Yasamin Kiyisinda) which directed by Fatih Akin (2006), won the Award for Best Screenplay (Prix De Scénario) at Cannes 2007. The record holder of Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival “Egg” (Yumurta), film of Semih Kaplanoglu, was awarded with Best 2nd Film in Estoril European Film Festival which took place in Portugal and honoured with Eurimages Award by the jury of Sevilla Film Festival in Spain. “Bliss” (Abdullah Oguz, 2007) has been rewarded with European Council’s ‘Human Rights Award’. Nuri Bilge Ceylan won the best director award in the 2008 Cannes Film Festival for his Üç Maymun (Three Monkeys).

The country enjoys numerous performing arts festivals throughout the year, the most prestigious of which is the Istanbul International Festival and Antalya Film Festival.


Until the 18th century, painting in Turkey was mainly in the form of miniatures, usually linked to books in the form of manuscript illustrations. In the 18th century, trends shifted towards oil painting, beginning with murals. Thereafter, under European inspiration, painting courses were introduced in military schools. The first Turkish painters were therefore military people. The modernisation of Turkish painting, including representation of the human figure, started with the founding of the Academy of Arts under the direction of Osman Hamdi Bey, one of the great names in Turkish painting. In 1923, following the proclamation of the Republic, a society of contemporary painting was set-up, followed by many other such schools. Art exhibitions in Turkey’s cities multiplied, more and more people started to acquire paintings and banks and companies began investing in art.


In the period prior to the proclamation of the Republic in Turkey, opera, ballet and the theatre were mostly centred around Istanbul and Izmir. The first showing of opera at the imperial court was by artists trained by Guiseppe Donizetti (1788-1856) from the Italian opera. During the Republic, Ahmet Adnan Saygun, Necil Kazim Akses and Cemal Resit Rey were the first composers of opera, operettas and musicals.

Adnan Saygun’s first two operas, Özsoy and Tasbebek, Necil Kazim Akses’s Bay Önder staged in Ankara, a Mozart musical Bastien and Bastienne staged at the Ankara State Conservatory with pupils playing libretto in Turkish (1936),and the staging of western operas such as Madame Butterfly and Tosca (1940-1941) and the orchestrations, chorus and solo recitals of 1950-1952 all contributed to form a foundation for the establishment of today’s State Opera and Ballet.

Meanwhile in 1947, the famous ballerina and teacher Ninette de Valois was invited to Istanbul and through her intermediary the National Ballet School at Yesilköy was set up. In 1956-57 the first dancers graduated from Ankara State Conservatory and in 1959-60 the State Opera formed a corps de ballet. “Çesmebasi” which is one of the most important works in Turkish ballet history was first performed in 1965.

Notwithstanding the short history of opera in Turkey which only spans 56 years, the General Directorate of State Opera and Ballet numbers amongst its members many artists of international fame, and aside from Ankara and Istanbul branches have been set up in cities such as Mersin and everywhere very successful results have been achieved.

International Organizations Turkey

Black Sea Port State Control Secretariat

Developing 8 Countries (D-8)

ECO Trade and Development Bank (ECOBANK)

European Investment Bank

Food And Agriculture Organization Of The United Nations (FAO)

International Federation Of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

International Labour Organization (ILO)

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

International Organization For Migration (IOM)

Organization Of The Black Sea Economic Cooperation Permanent International Secretariat (BSEC)

Organization Of The Islamic Conference Research Centre For Islamic History, Art And Culture (IRCICA)

Parliamentary Assembly Of The Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC)

Statistical, Economic And Social Research And Training Centre For Islamic Countries (SESRTCIC)

Türksoy Director General (TÜRKSOY)

United Nations (Resident Coordinator)

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR)

United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

United Nations Information Center (UNIC)

United Nations Office On Drugs And Crime (UNODC)

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)

World Bank Country Office (WB)

World Health Organization (WHO)

Investment Opportunities

10 Reasons to Invest in Turkey 











A visit to Turkey today can clearly suggest that the old argument no longer holds as modern day Turkey is a fast-rising economic power, with a core of internationally competitive companies turning the youthful nation into an entrepreneurial hub, tapping cash-rich export markets in Russia and the Middle East while attracting billions of investment dollars in return. So complete has been Turkey’s transformation that about 10 years ago, Turkey which had a budget deficit of 16% of gross domestic product and inflation of 72% is now fulfilling European Union’s fiscal guidelines of a 60% ceiling on government debt, at 49% of GDP, and could well get its annual budget deficit below the 3% benchmark next year.

The Republic of Turkey borders the Mediterranean Sea and its strategic location between Europe and the Middle East brings potential economic benefits. Turkey has a unique economy and a potentially attractive risk and return profile. Turkey, situated at the crossroads where two continents meet, is an ideal center for investors looking for a location at the heart of Euro-Asia. With its dynamic and growing economy, huge market, competitive and skilled labor force, Turkey offers numerous opportunities to international investors.

Turkey Companies Traded On NYSE 

1: Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S. (TKC): Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S. (Turkcell) is a provider of mobile services in Turkey. The Company provides mobile voice and data services over its mobile communications network. Turkcell is not only the leading operator in Turkey, but is also the third biggest GSM operator in Europe in terms of subscriber numbers. Turkcell’s shares have been traded on the Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) since July 11, 2000 and it is the first and only Turkish company ever to be listed on NYSE.

Market Cap: 12.26B

P/E (ttm): 11.95

Avg Vol (3m): 726,650

2: Turkish Investment Fund Inc. (TKF): The Turkish Investment Fund, Inc. is a close-ended equity mutual fund launched and managed by Morgan Stanley Investment Management Inc. The fund invests in the public equity markets of Turkey and benchmarks the performance of its portfolios against the MSCI Turkey Index.

Market Cap: 113.43M

P/E (ttm): 1.74

Avg Vol (3m): 38,625

Turkish Companies In Forbes List

Thirteen Turkish companies placed among the 2,000 biggest companies in the world in Forbes Magazine’s list. Forbes Magazine listed the 2,000 largest companies from 62 countries according to their income, profit, assets and market values.

– 331st Is Bankasi (5.31 bln USD)

– 410th Koc Group (2.51 bln USD)

– 427th Akbank (6.91 bln USD)

– 452nd Garanti Bankasi (5.11 bln USD)

– 527th Sabanci Group (2.60 bln USD)

– 714th Turkcell (10.93 bln USD)

– 741st Turk Telekom (8.02 bln USD)

– 779th Halk Bankasi (2.63 bln USD)

– 850th Vakiflar Bankasi (1.59 bln USD)

– 942nd Enka (4.37 bln USD)

– 1262nd Erdemir (2.24 bln USD)

– 1340th Dogan Holding (0.73 bln USD)

– 1879th Anadolu Efes (2.86 bln USD)

The World Market Pulse team is engaged in deep research, monitoring and evaluation of world markets on a constant basis with special emphasis on emerging markets. Apart from Turkey ETFs and Istanbul Stock Exchange our team also tracks and evaluates various Turkey indices including the Dow Jones Islamic Market Turkey Index and Dow Jones Turkey Titans 20 Index (which is based on the top 20 companies of the Istanbul Stock Exchange) to get a better insight into understanding, evaluate and monitor the market dynamics of Turkey.


Turkey’s Membership of International Trade Organizations

Turkey has been a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since 1995. Its commitment to integrating regional and international trade norms is seen in Turkey’s participation and membership of various organizations, including the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), the World Customs Organization (WCO), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), D-8 and various other organizations.

In addition to the Customs Union with the EU, Turkey has signed Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Lichtenstein, Georgia, Israel, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Tunisia, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Egypt, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia as well as Chile, Jordan and Lebanon (where Lebanon is in the ratification process).

Turkey signed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1951 and became a party to the agreement. With the establishment of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as a result of the Uruguay Round in 1995, Turkey automatically became a founding member of the organisation.

With the establishment of the WTO, Turkey has bound all of its tariffs for the agricultural products in line with the Agreement on Agriculture. In the framework of the Schedule of Commitment List attached to this Agreement, Turkey has made 10% minimum cut per product and 24% average cut for all agricultural products between the period 1995 and 2004. As a result, Turkey has reached its current bound rates in 2004.

Turkey has also undertaken tariff reductions on industrial products to be implemented gradually within five years. However in the meantime, as a result of the Customs Union established with the EC in 1995 and came into force in 1996, Turkey began to apply the Community’s Common Customs Tariffs on the imports of industrial goods from third countries. Thus, with the Customs Union, Turkey”s simple average protection rate against the third countries declined up to 4,2% by 2007, which is far below its Uruguay Round bound rates. This rate is zero for the EU and EFTA countries since 1996. Hence, despite its developing country status in the WTO, in case of the industrial products Turkey has embarked on one of the most comprehensive tariff reductions among member countries.

Turkish Trade Policy

The objective of Turkey’s trade policies at all levels is to effectuate the principle of “free and fair trade” in its relations. In this regard, WTO, which regulates the course of the multilateral trade system is considered as an invaluable platform by Turkey to voice its concerns and endorse its interests.

Turkey is fully committed to the rules of the WTO as a founding member and actively participates in the multilateral trading system. Strengthening the WTO, through further liberalisation and establishment of a fairer trading system, is the essence of the external economic policy of Turkey.

The Customs Union with European Union is another major economic determinant of the Turkish foreign trade policy. Turkey sees Customs Union as an intermediary stage on the way to the full membership to the EU. Turkey has started the negotiation process on 3 October 2005 for the full membership and initiated the required institutional policy reforms in line with its responsibilities.

Turkey also makes efforts to achieve a liberalized world trade and beginning from its region, works to enhance its commercial and economic relations with its neighbours. Turkey expects its trade policy to contribute to the economic and also political stability in its region. Towards that end, Turkey also pursues ambitious trade agendas from a regional perspective in organizations such as Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and Developing-8 as a member.


Print Media

Compared to its population the total number of readers (of any kind of newspaper & periodical), is considered to be low. The total number of newspapers currently circulating in Turkey is estimated to be 2,459. Newspaper circulation per 1000 inhabitants is 95. Fifty five of these are national, 23 regional and 2,381 local.

Istanbul and Ankara, where the headquarters of all the national newspapers and broadcasting companies are placed, are the main media centers of Turkey. Among the national dailies, (with their average daily sales) Zaman (800,000), Posta (510,000), Hürriyet (450,000), Sabah (350,000), Milliyet (250,000), and Haber Türk (210,000) are the major ones…

Turkey’s mediascape is heavily dominated by large multi-sectoral groups such as Dogan Group, Turkuvaz, Ciner Group, Çukurova Group, Dogus Group, and Feza Group. All the major commercial channels and newspapers belong to these media holdings. Moreover the distribution of the print media is in the hands of  Dogan Group’s Yay-Sat and Turkuvaz Group’s Turkuvaz Dagitim Pazarlama. Indeed these large conglomerates are also active in many other sectors.


Radio broadcasting started in Turkey in 1927, with a private company owned by the state. From 1964 to 1994, Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) had a monopoly in radio broadcasting.

Currently, the number of private radio channels  in Turkey is around 1100, and 100 of them are also available on cable. Of these 36 are national, 102 are regional and 950 are local radio stations. TRT has 4 national radio channels; Radyo 1 (general), Radyo 2 (TRT-FM) (Turkish classical, folk and pop music), Radyo 3 (primarily classical music and also jazz, polyphonic and western pop music, broadcasts news in English, French and German), and Radyo 4 (Turkish Music). TRT’s international radio service Türkiye‘nin Sesi / The Voice of Turkey broadcasts in 26 languages.

TRT also has 10 regional radio stations. Besides the radio stations owned by the media holdings, there are also many independent national, regional and local radio stations. Private radios mostly offer music programmes. The most popular ones are Kral FM (Turkish pop music), Süper FM (Western pop music), Metro FM (Western pop music), Power Türk (Turkish pop music), and Best FM (Turkish pop music). Another radio station to mention is Açik Radyo (Open Radio), which broadcasts in the wider Istanbul  area since 1995


Television is the main information and entertainment source in Turkey. The Radio Television Supreme Council’s (RTÜK) first ever TV viewing survey (covering two weeks time) shows that average daily TV viewing time per person is 5.09 hours in the week days and 5.15 hours in the weekends. The first broadcasting company in Turkey, Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), was established in 1964 by the state.

The public broadcaster TRT has 11 national television channels: TRT 1 (general), TRT 2 (culture and art), TRT 3 (youth channel with sports and music programs and live broadcasts from the Turkish National Grand Assembly at specific hours), TRT 4 (education), TRT Müzik (wide range of music from traditional Turkish music to jazz). TRT has also a regional channel TRT-GAP for the southeastern region of Turkey, and two international channels TRT-TÜRK for Europe, USA and Australia, and TRT-AVAZ for the Balkans, Central Asia and Caucasus. In January 2009, as a part of the new democratization process initiated by the government, Turkey’s first full time Kurdish channel, TRT 6, was launched.

The multi sectoral groups again are the main actors in the private broadcasting market: Dogan Group owns Kanal D, Star TV and CNN-Türk, Turkuvaz Group owns ATV, Çukurova Group owns Show TV and Sky-Türk, Ciner Group owns HaberTürk, Dogus Group owns NTV and Feza Group owns Samanyolu TV. Kanal 7 is considered to be the voice of Milli Görüs. News channel 24 is owned by the businessman Ethem Sancak who also owns the Star daily. IHLAS Group’s TGRT channel’s 51 percent share has been sold to News Netherlands Company owned by Rupert Murdoch in September 2006.

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