History of Turkey

Turkey Flag

Turkey's first known human inhabitants appeared in the Mediterranean region as early as 7500 BC and it has been ruled through the centuries by diverse cultures including the sun-worshiping Hittites, the Greeks who drove out the gentle Persians (who then migrated to India), and the Byzantines including Constantine. By 1453, the Ottomans under Mehmet the Conqueror had taken over Constantinople.

The Ottoman Sultanate lasted till the War of Independence in 1920-22 led by Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk or Father Turk). Kemal abolished the Sultanate and set about reinventing Turkish society and this is considered the birth of the Turkish Republic. Under Ataturk, Turkey went through a period of reform and secularism was strongly instituted into the constitution as well as in the fabric of society. Constantinople became Istanbul and women obtained the right to vote. Even today, Atatürk remains a hero in Turkey.

The east and south-east of Turkey saw years of civil war in the 1980s and 1990s between Turkish forces and those of the secessionist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in which over 30,000 people died. The PKK seeks greater political and cultural rights for the Kurdish community. Clashes between Kurdish fighters and Turkish forces in the south-east continue and dozens have died in the violence.


UAE Map Turkey Map - Click for larger view
  • Ankara - the capital of Turkey and its second largest city
  • Antalya - the fastest growing city, hub to an array of beach resorts
  • Bodrum - a trendy coastal town in the Southern Aegean which turns into a crowded city in season when it serves as a playground for Turkish and international holidaymakers alike, featuring a citadel, Roman ruins, trendy clubs and a number of villages surrounding the peninsula each with a different character from classy to rustic
  • Bursa - the first capital of the Ottoman Empire
  • Edirne - the second capital of the Ottoman Empire
  • Eskisehir - The Venice of Turkey, described as one of the most beautiful cities in Anatolia.
  • Istanbul (Constantinople) - Turkey's largest city, the former capital of both the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires, and the only major city in the world to straddle two continents
  • Izmir - Turkey's third largest city
  • Konya - a quite large city that is the heartland of mystic Sufi order, the site of Rumi's tomb, and with some elegant Seljuq architecture, all surrounded by vast steppes
  • Trabzon - the wonderful Sümela Monastery is just outside the city and it is a great gateway to exploring the Turkish Northeast
  • Urfa - magical city with beautiful architecture and extremely friendly locals at the gates of Eastern World; where Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, and Persian cultures mingle


Turkish Culture is unique in the world in that it has influenced and has been influenced in return by cultures and civilizations from China to Vienna and from Russian steps to North Africa for over a millennia. Turkish culture reflects this unparalleled cultural richness and diversity, and remains mostly shaped by its deep roots in Middle East, Anatolia and Balkans, the cradle of many civilizations for at least twelve thousand years.

Weather and Climate

Turkey Climate
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Surrounded by high mountains and open seas, Turkey is a cornucopia of natural wonders. Apart from that, Turkey is noted for its climatic diversity ranging from the Mediterranean to oceanic to continental climates.

The northern regions of Turkey have an oceanic climate whereas the southern areas are affected by a temperate Mediterranean climate. The continental climate reigning in the internal regions makes one experience four seasons in one day.

The southern regions which are popular among tourists particularly in summer and the central and northern regions of Turkey which are in demand rather in winter are popular for their cultural heritage as well as the variety of touristic and sports facilities.

Subject to a variety of climates, Anatolia is also rich in flora and fauna. The habitat of numerous varieties of flora and fauna alongside magnificent forests, Turkey, is worth visiting any season of the year.

Public Holidays

Turkey Public Holidays Year 2015
New Year's Day (Yılbaşı) 1 January 2015
National Sovereignty and Children's Day 23 April 2015
Labor and Solidarity Day (Emek ve Dayanışma Günü) 1 May 2015
Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth & Sports Day 19 May 2015
Ramazan Bayrami (End of Ramadan) 18 July 2015
Victory Day (Zafer Bayramı) 30 August 2015
Feast of the Sacrifice's Eve (Kurban Bayramı Arifesi) 23 September 2015
Feast of the Sacrifice (Kurban Bayramı) 23 September 2015
Republic Day (Cumhuriyet Bayramı) Start date: 28 October 2015 End date: 29 October 2015

Travel Advisory

There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Turkey. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to crime, the threat of terrorist attacks, and ongoing demonstrations throughout the country.