Theme Week Turkey

Saturday, 18 April 2020 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage, Union for the Mediterranean
Reading Time:  2 minutes

Levent business district in Istanbul © Derrick Brutel/cc-by-sa-4.0

Levent business district in Istanbul © Derrick Brutel/cc-by-sa-4.0

Turkey is a transcontinental Eurasian country located mainly on the Anatolian peninsula in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan peninsula in Southeastern Europe. East Thrace, the part of Turkey in Europe, is separated from Anatolia by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosporus and the Dardanelles (collectively called the Turkish Straits). Istanbul, which straddles Europe and Asia, is the largest city in the country, while Ankara is the capital. Turkey is bordered on its northwest by Greece and Bulgaria; north by the Black Sea; northeast by Georgia; east by Armenia, the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan and Iran; southeast by Iraq; south by Syria and the Mediterranean Sea; and west by the Aegean Sea. Approximately 70 to 80 percent of the country’s citizens identify as Turkish, while Kurds are the largest minority, at between 15 to 20 percent of the population.

At various points in its history, the region has been inhabited by diverse civilisations including the Anatolian peoples, Assyrians, Greeks, Thracians, Phrygians, Urartians, and Armenians. Hellenization started during the era of Alexander the Great and continued into the Byzantine era. The Seljuk Turks began migrating into the area in the 11th century, and their victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 symbolises the foundation of Turkey for many Turkish nationalists. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, when it disintegrated into small Turkish principalities called beyliks. Beginning in the late 13th century, the Ottomans started uniting the beyliks and conquering the Balkans. The Turkification of Anatolia increased during the Ottoman period. After Mehmed II conquered Constantinople in 1453, Ottoman expansion continued under Selim I. During the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire encompassed much of Southeast Europe, West Asia and North Africa and became a world power. From the late 18th century onwards, the empire’s power declined with a gradual loss of territories and wars. In an effort to consolidate the weakening social and political foundations of the empire, Mahmud II started a period of modernisation in the early 19th century, bringing reforms in all areas of the state including the military and bureaucracy, along with the emancipation of all citizens.

The 1913 coup d’état effectively put the country under the control of the Three Pashas, who were largely responsible for the Empire’s entry into World War I in 1914. During World War I, the Ottoman government committed genocides against its Armenian, Assyrian and Pontic Greek subjects. After the Ottomans and the other Central Powers lost the war, the conglomeration of territories and peoples that had composed the Ottoman Empire was partitioned into several new states. The Turkish War of Independence, initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his comrades against the occupying Allied Powers, resulted in the abolition of the sultanate on 1 November 1922, the replacement of the Treaty of Sèvres (1920) with the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey on 29 October 1923, with Atatürk as its first president. Atatürk enacted numerous reforms, many of which incorporated various aspects of Western thought, philosophy and customs into the new form of Turkish government.

Today, Turkey’s economy and diplomatic initiatives have led to its recognition as a regional power and a newly industrialized state by several analysts, while its location has given it geopolitical and strategic importance throughout history. Turkey is a secular, unitary, formerly parliamentary republic that adopted a presidential system with a referendum in 2017; the new system came into effect with the presidential election in 2018. Turkey’s current administration, headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of the AKP, has enacted measures to increase the influence of Islam and undermine Kemalist policies and freedom of the press.

Akhtamar Island on Lake Van with the Armenian Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Anatolia © panoramio.com - gozturk/cc-by-3.0 Alanya on the Turkish Riviera © Ozgurmulazimoglu/cc-by-sa-3.0 Antalya on the Turkish Riviera with Hıdırlık Tower in the foreground © Bernard Gagnon7cc-by-sa-3.0 Aydın © Zeynel Cebeci/cc-by-sa-4.0 Balloon flights over Goreme in Cappadocia © flickr.com - Mr Hicks46/cc-by-sa-2.0 City center of Bursa © Karelj/cc-by-sa-3.0 Hagia Sophia in Istanbul © flickr.com - Dennis Jarvis/cc-by-sa-2.0 Izmir © TARIK GANDUR/cc-by-sa-3.0 Levent business district in Istanbul © Derrick Brutel/cc-by-sa-4.0 Mersin © Nedim Ardoğa/cc-by-sa-3.0 Topkapı and Dolmabahçe palaces in Istanbul © Carlos Delgado/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Akhtamar Island on Lake Van with the Armenian Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Anatolia © panoramio.com - gozturk/cc-by-3.0
Tourism in Turkey has increased almost every year in the 21st century, and is an important part of the economy. The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism currently promotes Turkish tourism under the Turkey Home name. Turkey is one of the world’s top ten destination countries, with the highest percentage of foreign visitors arriving from Germany and Russia in recent years. In 2018 Turkey ranked 6th in the world in terms of the number of international tourist arrivals, with 45.8 million foreign tourists visiting the country. Turkey has 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the “Historic Areas of Istanbul“, the “Rock Sites of Cappadocia“, the “Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük“, “Hattusa: the Hittite Capital”, the “Archaeological Site of Troy“, “Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape”, “HierapolisPamukkale“, and “Mount Nemrut“; and 51 World Heritage Sites in tentative list, such as the archaeological sites or historic urban centres of Göbekli Tepe, Gordion, Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Perga, Lycia, Sagalassos, Aizanoi, Zeugma, Ani, Harran, Mardin, Konya and Alanya. Turkey is home to two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the world’s oldest religious site Göbekli Tepe, and numerous other World Heritage Sites.

Turkey has a very diverse culture that is a blend of various elements of the Turkic, Anatolian, Ottoman (which was itself a continuation of both Greco-Roman and Islamic cultures) and Western culture and traditions, which started with the Westernisation of the Ottoman Empire and still continues today. This mix originally began as a result of the encounter of Turks and their culture with those of the peoples who were in their path during their migration from Central Asia to the West. Turkish culture is a product of efforts to be a “modern” Western state, while maintaining traditional religious and historical values (Culture of Turkey, Arts in Turkey, Turkish folklore, and Festivals in Turkey).

The architecture of the Seljuk Turks combined the elements and characteristics of the Turkic architecture of Central Asia with those of Persian, Arab, Armenian and Byzantine architecture. The transition from Seljuk architecture to Ottoman architecture is most visible in Bursa, which was the capital of the Ottoman State between 1335 and 1413. Following the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453, Ottoman architecture was significantly influenced by Byzantine architecture. Topkapı Palace in Istanbul is one of the most famous examples of classical Ottoman architecture and was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years. Mimar Sinan (c.1489–1588) was the most important architect of the classical period in Ottoman architecture. He was the chief architect of at least 374 buildings which were constructed in various provinces of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. Since the 18th century, Turkish architecture has been increasingly influenced by European styles, and this can be particularly seen in the Tanzimat era buildings of Istanbul like the Dolmabahçe, Çırağan, Feriye, Beylerbeyi, Küçüksu, Ihlamur and Yıldız palaces, which were all designed by members of the Balyan family of Ottoman Armenian court architects. The Ottoman era waterfront houses (yalı) on the Bosphorus also reflect the fusion between classical Ottoman and European architectural styles during the aforementioned period. The First National Architectural Movement (Birinci Ulusal Mimarlık Akımı) in the early 20th century sought to create a new architecture, which was based on motifs from Seljuk and Ottoman architecture. The movement was also labelled Turkish Neoclassical or the National Architectural Renaissance. The leading architects of this movement were Vedat Tek (1873–1942), Mimar Kemaleddin Bey (1870–1927), Arif Hikmet Koyunoğlu (1888–1982) and Giulio Mongeri (1873–1953). Buildings from this era are the Grand Post Office in Istanbul (1905–1909), Tayyare Apartments (1919–1922), Istanbul 4th Vakıf Han (1911–1926), State Art and Sculpture Museum (1927–1930), Ethnography Museum of Ankara (1925–1928), the first Ziraat Bank headquarters in Ankara (1925–1929), the first Türkiye İş Bankası headquarters in Ankara (1926–1929), Bebek Mosque, and Kamer Hatun Mosque.

Turkish cuisine is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine. In the early years of the Republic, a few studies were published about regional Anatolian dishes but cuisine did not feature heavily in Turkish folkloric studies until the 1980s, when the fledgling tourism industry encouraged the Turkish state to sponsor two food symposia. The papers submitted at the symposia presented the history of Turkish cuisine on a “historical continuum” that dated back to Turkic origins in Central Asia and continued through the Seljuk and Ottoman periods. Many of the papers presented at these first two symposia were unreferenced. Prior to the symposia, the study of Turkish culinary culture was first popularised by the publication of Süheyl Ünver’s Fifty Dishes in Turkish History in 1948. This book was based on recipes found in an 18th century Ottoman manuscript. His second book was about palace cuisine during the reign of Mehmet II. Following the publication of Ünver’s book subsequent studies were published, including a 1978 study by a historian named Bahaettin Ögel about the Central Asian origins of Turkish cuisine. Ottoman cuisine contains elements of Turkish, Byzantine, Balkan, Armenian, Kurdish, Arab and Persian cuisines. The country’s position between Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean Sea helped the Turks in gaining complete control of the major trade routes, and an ideal landscape and climate allowed plants and animals to flourish. Turkish cuisine was well established by the mid-1400s, the beginning of the Ottoman Empire‘s six hundred-year reign. Yogurt salads, fish in olive oil, sherbet and stuffed and wrapped vegetables became Turkish staples. The empire, eventually spanning from Austria and Ukraine to Arabia and North Africa, used its land and water routes to import exotic ingredients from all over the world. By the end of the 16th century, the Ottoman court housed over 1,400 live-in cooks and passed laws regulating the freshness of food. Since the fall of the empire in World War I (1914–1918) and the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923, foreign food such as French hollandaise sauce and Western fast food have made their way into the modern Turkish diet.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on GoTurkey.com, GoTurkeyTourism.com, List of World Heritage Sites in Turkey, History of the Republic of Turkey, Culture of Turkey, Turkish cuisine, Ottoman cuisine, Tourism in Turkey, Economy of Turkey, Politics of Turkey, Human rights in Turkey, Architecture of Turkey, Foreign relations of Turkey, Wikitravel Turkey, Wikivoyage Turkey and Wikipedia Turkey. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Johns Hopkins University & Medicine - Coronavirus Resource Center - Global Passport Power Rank - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.










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