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Basic Information

Area: 783,562 km²

Calling code: +90

Population: 70,586,256

Official Language: Turkish

Time zone: EET (UTC+2), Local time: 18:34


The Republic of Turkey is located in Western Eurasia, bordering the countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Iraq and Syria. It is larger than any country in Europe, and its territory spans some 783,562km2. It is home to over 72.5 million residents, 69% of which live in the countries urban areas. The largest and most important economic centre is the capital city of Istanbul which is located on the Bosphorus Strait in Western Turkey. Istanbul has a population of 12.8 million, which makes it the fifth largest city in the world; other large cities with a population of over 1 million include Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, and Adana.
Turkey is divided into 81 provinces, which are subdivided into a further 957 districts each with an elected mayor who oversees the running of services in each area. Despite having strong relations with the European Union, Turkey is not yet a full member but hopes to join by 2015. It is a member of several other international organizations which allow it to trade freely with the European and Asian markets. The current currency used is the Turkish lira (YTL).


The service sector has experienced rapid growth, particularly in Turkey's larger cities, where it now contributes 64.7% to the total GDP. Turkey has the 18th largest economy in the world based on the GDP purchasing polarity figure of $863.3 billion (2009). The secondary sector generates over a quarter of the GDP, with industries such as shipbuilding and the manufacturing of automobiles and mechanical components being of importance. The largest companies in Turkey are Koc Holding (Conglomerate), Sabanci Holding (holding), Dogan Group (media), Tupras-Türkiye Rafinerileri (Energy and Water) and Turk Ekonomi Bankasi (TEB) (banking).
Although agriculture only accounts for 9% of the GDP, it still employs over a quarter of the labourforce and is an important part of Turkey's economy. Over 75% agricultural land is used to cultivate vegetables and most popular products grown are grain, olives, sugar beets, hazelnuts, cotton, tobacco and pulses. Turkey is one of the few self-sufficient countries in the world in terms of food production, and it is the worlds largest exporter of figs, apricots, hazelnuts and raisins.
The tourism sector is going form strength to strength, with the country currently attracting over 30.9 million international visitors annually, and tourist related services produced a record high figure of $21.9 billion in 2009.


The positioning of Turkey makes it a hub for flights between Asia and Europe. It has a large number of transportation options including travel by air, boat, bus, train, tram, and metro system. There are 90 airports in the country, the largest being the Atatürk International Airport (IST), which is located 24km west of Istanbul's city centre. It is Europe's 9th busiest airport in terms of traffic, handling over 29 million passengers annually, and it is a base for the countries flag carriers of Turkish Airlines and Onur Air. A flight to London takes approximately 3 hours and 40 minutes.
The train system is particularly strong, and it acts as a transportation service for both passengers and freight. Train providers operate services to the adjacent countries of Bulgaria, Greece, Iran, Pakistan and Syria, while a light rail operates routes to domestic destinations. A total of eight cities have underground metro stations, they are Istanbul, Ankara, Adana, Bursa, Eskişehir, Konya, Antalya and Kayseri.
The shipping of goods via seaports is an integral part of Turkey's economy, with 6 major ports located in the country: Aliaga, Diliskelesi, Izmir, Kocaeli (Izmit), Mercin Limani, Nemrut Limani. Turkey has a total of 612 merchant marine.


Turkey has a total workforce of 25.3 million, 1.2 million of which are currently working in other countries. In 2009, 45% of the labourforce worked within the service sector, 24% in Industry and 29% in agriculture. Turkey has a large number of foreign nationals residing in the country - 18% of the population are of Kurdish decent, while the remaining minorities are made up of Greeks, Arabs, Albanians, Bosnians and Abkhazians. The coutries official sole language of Turkish is spoken by 90% of the population, and due to the large number of ethnic minorities the main public TV station makes weekly broadcasts in Arabic, Bosnian and Kurdish.
The education system is structured into two sectors, primary and higher. Education is compulsory for all Turkish citizens between the ages of 7 and 14, with a 99% attendance rate for this age group. In high school students are taught the English language, along with a second foreign language - usually German, French, Italian or Russian. Turkey has 1,273 higher education institutes, with over 1 million students currently enrolled in study programmes. Despite the large number of higher education facilities, Turkey has a relatively low national literacy rate of 95.3%.

Business Costs

Lease costs are highest in the capital city of Istanbul (European side), where the average rental costs $43.38 per square foot per annum. This puts prices in the capital city on par with Vancouver, Budapest and Beirut. Rental costs are lower in other smaller cities of Ankara and Izmir and utility costs such as water and electricity are also low.
Income taxes are based on a progressive scale ranging from 15% - 35% depending on the amount of income earned by the individual. The 15% rate is applicable to all residents earning below 8,700 Turkish lira per annum, while the highest tax bracket applies to those earning more than 50,001 Turkish lira a year. Corporate tax rates are set at 20%, which is lower than the European Average tax rate of 26%. There are 3 value added tax rates in operation in the country: 1%, 8% and 18% depending on the type of goods or service.
A minimum wage pact is in operation which ensures that all legal workers receive at least 729 Turkish lira a month, which is the current equivalent of $491.67, while the city of Istanbul is home to the countries highest wages.
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