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Fast Facts
Official Name: Republic of Turkey
Population: 75,8 million (UN, 2010)
Capital: Ankara (Istanbul is the largest city)
Government: Republican parliamentary democracy
Leaders: Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Prime Minister), Abdullah Gul (President)
Religion: Muslim 99,8% (Sunni majority)
Languages: Turkish (official), Kurdish and other minority languages
GDP: $960.5 billion (CIA 2010 est.)
GDP/Capita: $12,300 (CIA 2010 est.)
Main exports: Apparel, foodstuffs, textiles, metal manufactures, transport equipment
Time zone: GMT + 2
International dialing code: +90
Currency: 1 Turkish Lira (TRY) = USD 8
Country briefing
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Founded in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal, later known as Ataturk (meaning ‘Father of the Turks’), Turkey was once the center of power for the Ottoman Empire. Consequently, the country did not suffer from the impact of colonialism like many other Middle Eastern states. The rule of Ataturk was authoritarian, but he was eager to push forward wide-ranging social, economic and political reforms. Most importantly, Turkey was set to become a secular state, adopting the Latin script and for a period forbidding traditional Muslim clothes as well as religious schooling. This all happened in a country where about 99% of the population was Muslim.