U.S. Department of State
Background Notes: Turkey, February 1999
Released by the Bureau of European Affairs,
U.S. Department of State
Official Name: Republic of Turkey
Area: 766,640 sq. km. (296,000 sq. mi.); slightly larger than Texas.
Cities: Capital-Ankara (pop. 3.69 million). Other cities -- Istanbul (6.82 million), Izmir (2.61 million), Adana (1.93 million).
Terrain: Narrow coastal plain surrounds Anatolia; an inland plateau becomes increasingly rugged as it progresses eastward. Turkey includes one of the more earthquake-prone areas of the world.
Climate: Moderate in coastal areas, harsher temperatures inland.
Nationality: Noun -- Turk(s). Adjective -- Turkish.
Population (1996): 64 million.
Annual growth rate: 5%.
Ethnic groups: Turkish, Kurdish, other.
Religions: Muslim 98%, Christian, and Jewish.
Languages: Turkish (official), Kurdish, and Arabic.
Education: Years compulsory -- 8. Attendance -- 95%. Literacy -- 82%.
Health: Infant mortality rate -- 40.7/1,000. Life expectancy -- 72 yrs.
Work force (22.7 million): Agriculture -- 40%. Industry and commerce- 16%. Services -- 38%.
Constitution: November 7, 1982.
Branches: Executive -- President (chief of state), Prime Minister, Council of Ministers (cabinet). Legislative -- Grand National Assembly (550 members) chosen by national elections at least every 5 years. Judicial -- Constitutional Court, Court of Cassation, Council of State, and other courts.
Political parties: Motherland Party (ANAP), Virtue (Fazilet) Party, True Path Party (DYP), Democratic Left Party (DSP), Republican Peoples Party (CHP) several smaller parties.
Suffrage: Universal, 21 and older.
National holiday: Republic Day, October 29.
Flag: White crescent and star on a red field.
GNP (1998 est.): $208 billion.
Annual growth rate (1998): 4.5%.
GNP per capita: $3200.
Average annual inflation rate (1998): 75%.
Natural resources: Coal, chromite, copper, boron, oil.
Agriculture (13% of GNP): Major cash crops -- cotton, sugar beets, hazelnuts, wheat, barley, and tobacco. Provides more than 47% of jobs, 12% of exports.
Industry (29% of GNP): Major growth sector. Types -- Food processing, textiles, basic metals, chemicals, and petrochemicals.
Trade (1997 est.): Exports -- $26.2 billion: textiles and apparel, iron and steel, electronics, tobacco, motor vehicles. Imports -- $48.6 billion: petroleum, machinery, motor vehicles, electronics, iron and steel, plastics. Major partners -- France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, U.K., U.S., Russia.
Bridging Europe and Asia Minor, Turkey is a land of geographic,
economic, and social contrasts. Slightly larger than Texas, modern
Turkey spans bustling cosmopolitan centers, pastoral farming villages,
barren wastelands, peaceful Aegean coastlines, and steep mountain
regions. More than half of Turkey's population live in urban areas
that juxtapose Western life-styles with traditional-style mosques and
markets that ring the cities' edges. Most Turks, however, work in
agriculture. Although Turkey is still a developing country, recent
improvements in services have resulted in the proliferation of
electricity nationwide and telephone connections for all its 34,500
Although 98% of the population is Muslim, Turkey has been officially
secular since the early 1920s. Most Turkish Muslims belong to the
Sunni branch of Islam. The growing appeal of political Islam and the
Kurdish insurgency continue to fuel public debate on several aspects of
Turkish society including the role of religion, the necessity for human
rights protections, and the expectation of security.
Turks of Kurdish origin constitute an ethnic and linguistic group.
Estimates of their population range up to 10 million. Although an
increasing number have migrated to the cities, the traditional home of
the Kurds is in poor, remote areas of the east and southeast, where
incomes are less than half the national average and all other economic
and social indicators lag.
Turkish culture, rich in Ottoman and folkloric elements, is traditional
and modern. Turkish carpet weaving is one of the oldest crafts in the
world. Ceramics and other Ottoman-era crafts retain their varied
Modern Turkish cultural life dates from the 1923 founding of the
republic and early efforts to Westernize Turkish society. As a result,
the arts, literature, drama, and classical and contemporary music have
flourished. State support of cultural activities is extensive and
encompasses a national network of theaters, orchestras, opera and
ballet companies, university fine arts academies, and various
conservatories. Public funds also are used to provide partial support
for private theater groups and for major art exhibits and festivals.
The legendary Mustafa Kemal, a Turkish World War I hero later known as
"Ataturk" or "father of the Turks," founded the Republic of Turkey in
1923 after the collapse of the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire. The
empire, which at its peak controlled vast stretches of northern Africa,
southeastern Europe, and western Asia, had failed to keep pace with
European social and technological developments. The rise of
nationalism impelled several ethnic groups to seek independence,
leading to the empire's fragmentation. This process culminated in the
disastrous Ottoman participation in World War I as a German ally.
Defeated, shorn of much of its former territory, and partly occupied by
forces of the victorious European states, the Ottoman structure was
repudiated by Turkish nationalists who rallied under Ataturk's
leadership. The nationalists expelled invading Greek forces from
Anatolia after a bitter war. The temporal and religious ruling
institutions of the old empire (the sultanate and caliphate) were
The new republic concentrated on westernizing the empire's Turkish core
-- Anatolia and a small part of Thrace. Social, political, linguistic,
and economic reforms and attitudes introduced by Ataturk before his
death in 1938 continue to form the ideological base of modern Turkey.
Referred to as "Kemalism," it comprises secularism, nationalism, and
modernization and turns toward the West for inspiration and support.
The continued validity and applicability of Kemalism are the subject of
frequent discussion and debate in Turkey's political life.
Turkey entered World War II on the allied side shortly before the war
ended and became a charter member of the United Nations. Difficulties
faced by Greece after World War II in quelling a Communist rebellion
and demands by the Soviet Union for military bases in the Turkish
Straits caused the United States to declare the Truman Doctrine in
1947. The doctrine enunciated American intentions to guarantee the
security of Turkey and Greece and resulted in large-scale U.S. military
and economic aid. After participating with United Nations forces in
the Korean conflict, Turkey in 1952 joined the North Atlantic Treaty
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
The 1982 constitution preserves a democratic, secular, parliamentary
form of government with a strengthened presidency. It provides for an
independent judiciary and safeguards internationally recognized human
rights. These rights, including freedom of thought, expression,
assembly, and travel, can be limited in times of emergency and cannot
be used to violate the integrity of the state or to impose a system of
government based on religion, ethnicity, or the domination of one
social class. The constitution prohibits torture or ill treatment.
Labor rights, including the right to strike, are recognized in the
constitution but can be restricted. The President and the Council of
Ministers led by the Prime Minister share executive powers. The
President, who has broad powers of appointment and supervision, is
chosen by the GNA for a term of 7 years and cannot be reelected. The
Prime Minister administers the government. The Prime Minister and the
Council of Ministers are responsible to the GNA.
The 550-member GNA carries out legislative functions. Election is by
proportional representation. To participate in the distribution of
seats, a party must obtain at least 10% of the votes cast at the
national level as well as a percentage of votes in the contested
district according to a complex formula. This "double threshold" or
"barrage" mechanism is intended to reduce the likelihood of coalition
governments by reducing the number of smaller parties in parliament.
The President is to enact laws passed by the GNA within 15 days. With
the exception of budgetary laws, the President may return a law to the
GNA for reconsideration. If the GNA reenacts the law, it is binding.
Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority for approval.
They also may be submitted to popular referendum.
The 1982 constitution preserves the judicial system previously in
effect and provides for a system of State Security Courts to deal with
offenses against the integrity of the state. The high court system
remains in place with its functional division, common in European
states, including a Constitutional Court responsible for judicial
review of legislation, a Court of Cassation (or supreme court of
appeals), a Council of State serving as the high administrative and
appeals court, a Court of Accounts, and a Military Court of Appeals.
The High Council of Judges and Prosecutors, appointed by the President,
supervises the judiciary.
Modern Turkey has a democratic tradition marred by several periods of
instability and authoritarian rule. One-party rule (Republican People's
Party-CHP) established by Ataturk in 1923 lasted until elections in
1950. The Democrat Party then governed Turkey until 1960, when growing
economic problems and internal political tensions culminated in a
military coup. A new constitution was written, and civilian government
was reinstated with the convening of the Grand National Assembly (GNA)
in 1961. This constitution established a National Security Council
(NSC) composed of the President, the Prime Minister, other key
ministers, and the Chief of the Turkish General Staff and
representatives of the army, air force, and navy.
Coalition governments, dominated by the CHP, ruled Turkey for the next
5 years. In 1965 and 1969, the Justice Party (JP), led by Suleyman
Demirel, won sizable majorities of GNA seats and ruled alone.
Political agitation surfaced in 1968 and increased as left- and right-
wing extremists took to the streets. In March 1971, senior military
leaders grew dissatisfied with the JP's inability to cope with domestic
violence. In a so-called "coup by memorandum," they called for the JP's
replacement by a more effective government.
Demirel's government resigned and was replaced by a succession of
"above party" governments, which ruled until the October 1973 general
elections. Those elections saw the CHP reemerge as the largest party
and its chairman, Bulent Ecevit, become Prime Minister of a coalition
government composed of the CHP and the conservative, religiously
oriented, National Salvation Party. In 1974, the coalition faltered.
Ecevit resigned, early elections were called, and a prolonged
government crisis ensued.
From 1975 to 1980, unstable coalition governments ruled, led
alternately by Demirel and Ecevit. By the end of 1979, an accelerating
decline in the economy, coupled with mounting violence from the extreme
left and right, led to increasing instability. Demirel's government
began an economic stabilization program in early 1980, but by summer,
political violence was claiming more than 20 victims daily. A severely
divided GNA was unable to elect a new president or to pass other
legislation to cope with the crisis.
On September 12, 1980, the CNS ("Council of National Security"), led by
General Kenan Evren, moved successfully to restore public order.
Thousands of terrorists were captured, along with large caches of
weapons and ammunition. While political activity was banned and the
former political parties dissolved, the CNS initiated steps to restore
democratic civilian rule by 1983. These measures included a national
referendum on November 7, 1982, which resulted in overwhelming public
approval (91%) of a new constitution drawn up by the 160-member
Consultative Assembly and modified by the CNS. The referendum
simultaneously approved General Evren as President for a 7-year term.
A temporary article banning former political party leaders from
politics for 10 years also went into effect.
New political parties were allowed to form in 1983 as long as founding
members were not leaders or members of parliament attached to any pre-
1980 political parties. Prior to the deadline for participation in the
1983 national elections, three political parties -- the Nationalist
Democracy Party, the Motherland Party and the Populist Party -- were
In the 1983 elections, the Motherland Party (ANAP -- founded by Turgut
Ozal, Deputy Prime Minister 1980-82 and architect of Turkey's
successful economic austerity program under the military government)
won an absolute majority in the then 400-member Grand National
Assembly. The Populist Party came in second and the Nationalist
Democracy Party third. The new government took office in December
The Ozal administration, the first civilian government since the early
1970s to rule without coalition partners, made economic reform its
In September 1987, a referendum lifting the 10-year ban on former
politicians passed by a small margin. Ozal called immediately for
national elections, the first since 1980 in which all legal parties
were allowed to participate. The elections were held in November, and
Ozal won a second 5-year term and a comfortable majority in parliament
(292 of then 450 seats based on a weighted proportional system). The
Social Democrat Populist Party won 99 seats and became the main
opposition party. Former Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel's True Path
Party won 59 seats. No other party reached the 10% level necessary to
enter parliament. The Democratic Left Party of former Prime Minister
Bulent Ecevit won only 8% of the vote.
In 1989, Turgut Ozal was elected President by the Parliament, but
Ozal's Motherland Party suffered a setback in March 1989 municipal
elections, receiving only 22% of the votes cast; down from 36% in 1987.
In October 1991, Suleyman Demirel's True Path Party (DYP) won 179 seats
in the parliamentary elections and formed a coalition government with
the Social Democratic Populist Party, which had won 99 seats. In 1993,
Demirel was elected President after Turgut Ozal died, and Tansu Ciller
became Turkey's first female Prime Minister.
In the March 1994 local elections, the Islamist Welfare Party (RP)
(usually known by its Turkish name, "Refah") emerged as the big winner,
capturing the mayorships of Ankara and Istanbul and most municipalities
in Turkey's southeast, even though the DYP got the largest percentage
of the vote. Originally dismissed as a protest vote, the RP emerged as
a real force, signaling further changes in Turkey's government system.
In the September 1995 party convention, Deniz Baykal was elected CHP
party leader. Baykal and Ciller failed to conclude an agreement to
continue the coalition, forcing the government to resign on September
20, which led to a 45-day parliamentary "crisis." President Demirel
asked Ciller to try to form a new government. Ciller established a
DYP-only minority government in late September, but failed to win a
vote of confidence. Demirel gave Ciller a second chance to form a
government, and she again turned to Baykal. They formed a new DYP-CHP
coalition that won a confidence vote on November 5. The two parties
cooperated in passing a new election law and set general elections for
In the December 1995 elections, three parties emerged with nearly
identical electoral support of around 20% each: the Islamic-oriented
Welfare Party of Necmettin Erbakan, the moderate center-right
Motherland Party of Mesut Yilmaz, and Ciller's moderate center-right
True Path Party.
The latter two parties represent the secular Turkish mainstream, but as
a result of animosity between their two leaders, they were unable to
successfully forge a lasting coalition that would have precluded a RP
role in government; the ANAP-DYP coalition lasted only a few months.
In July 1996, Ciller and Erbakan agreed to form a government in which
Erbakan, because his party had garnered more votes, was the senior
The Erbakan government tried to set some new policy directions by
"reaching out" to a new group of international partners, challenging
the military's political role, and seeking to chip away at secularism.
As a result, the military, throughout the spring and late summer of
1997 supported a growing popular movement of business, labor, and
community groups to build pressure for the Erbakan government's
resignation. In June, Mesut Yilmaz formed a new minority government
with Ecevit's Democratic Left Party (DSP) and Cindoruk's Democrat
These three parties governed with 223 of 550 seats in Parliament. This
was possible because the Republican People's Party (CHP) under Deniz
Baykal supported the coalition without being a part of it. As a
requirement of CHP's support, in June 1998 Yilmaz announced that he
would resign at the end of the year and hand over power to an
"election" government until new elections in April 1999.
President Suleyman Demirel asked Ecevit on January 7 to form a
government to succeed that of Prime Minister Yilmaz, which fell on
November 25 in response to corruption allegations. Ecevit's government
won a vote of confidence on January 17 and is expected to rule until
national elections are held on April 18, 1999.
Principal Government Officials
President of the Republic -- Suleyman Demirel
Prime Minister -- Bulent Ecevit
Minister of Foreign Affairs -- Ismail Cem
Ambassador to the United States -- Baki Ilkin
Ambassador to the United Nations -- Huseyin Celem
Turkey maintains an embassy in the United States at 1714 Massachusetts
Avenue NW, Washington, DC, 20036 (Tel. (202) 659-8200) and consulates
general in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Houston.
Turkey is a free market economy oriented to Western markets. The share
of agriculture in the economy is decreasing as industry and services
continue to expand rapidly. Turkey continues to examine ways to improve
its investment climate through changes in its IPR legislation. The
Turkish privatization board continues to evaluate a series of
significant privatizations including telecommunications, iron and
steel, and banks.
Turkey is a customs union partner with the European Union and a member
of the WTO. Turkey has a number of bilateral investment and tax
treaties, including with the U.S., that guarantee free repatriation of
capital in convertible currencies and eliminate double taxation.
Nonetheless, foreign direct investment has totaled only $11 billion at
the most since 1980, a paltry sum reflecting investor concerns about
political uncertainty, inadequate regulations, stalled privatization,
and troubling macroeconomic indicators.
Turkey has undertaken economic reforms over the past 15 years that have
reduced the government's role in the economy and permitted the private
sector to thrive. Turkey has abandoned the insulated, state-directed
economic policies put in place by Ataturk. An export-led growth
strategy and free-market principles catapulted Turkey into the ranks of
the fastest growing economies in the OECD.
Turkey's leadership, however, failed to complete the reform program
that was initiated in the early 1980's, exacerbating Turkey's economic
problems. Large public sector deficits and resulting high inflation
continue to hamper the economy.
Rapidly overcoming a government-caused financial crisis in 1994,
Turkey's economy quickly resumed strong growth. GNP in 1996 and 1997
grew 7.4% and 8.0%, respectively. Inflation also remained close to
pre-1994 levels at around 80%. In 1997, markets reacted well to the
experienced politicians and managers named to key ministerial
portfolios and senior bureaucratic positions in the Yilmaz government.
However, the nature of the three-party coalition and the looming
prospects for parliamentary elections severely constrain the
government's ability to address the underlying structural problems of
The Turkish Government has had only partial success implementing
structural reform measures. Entrenched opposition has prevented a
series of weak governments from achieving serious reform. Steps such
as improved efficiency of tax collection and streamlining of the social
security system are essential to remove pressure on the state budget
and promote stable and sustainable growth. One area of success has
been in privatization. After a lackluster performance in 1997 ($465
million in proceeds compared to a target of over $7 billion), Turkey
sold more than $3.2 billion in public assets during the first half of
1998 -- almost as much as had been raised during the entire 1986-97
Reforming social security and subsidy programs remains a contentious
issue. Turkey's three separate social security systems with their low
retirement ages (the average age is 43) and inefficient operations are
a substantial drain on the treasury. Central government transfers to
cover the deficits of social security institutions amounted to 2.7% of
GDP in 1997 and were expected to reach 2.9% of GDP in 1998.
The trade deficit, which had deteriorated sharply in 1996, stabilized
in 1997, mostly due to a slowdown in imports following a 19% increase
in 1996, the first year of the EU Customs Union. The elimination of
duties for most manufactured imports led to a 33% rise in imports from
the EU, and the EU's share of imports increased from 47% to 53%.
Turkey's GNP has grown at an average annual rate of 5% since 1983
ranking it at the top of the OECD countries, although the growth
pattern has been uneven. The recession in 1994, when GNP fell a record
6%, brought to an end 13 years of positive growth. The economy
rebounded with 8.1% GNP growth in 1995, 7.4% in 1996, and 8.0% in 1997.
Officially, gross domestic product (GDP) totaled $185 billion in 1997.
Inflation, Wages, and Monetary Policy
Turkey's principal economic problem remains inflation, fueled primarily
by large public sector deficits and ingrained inflation expectations.
Annual consumer price inflation has averaged 79% since prices began to
escalate in 1988; wholesale price inflation has averaged 75% over the same
period. Average annual inflation was 75% in 1998. The government
continues to regulate some prices to control the impact of inflation on
low-income households. The prices of bread, sugar, tea, energy, and public
utilities are regulated. The government also exerts large control over
wage rates because of large public sector employment.
Turkey's monetary authorities have successfully adopted policies to
build up convertible currency reserves, maintain an even depreciation
of the lira in line with inflation, and ensure smooth functioning of
market clearing mechanisms. The Central Bank and Treasury finalized an
agreement in July 1997 to put strict limits on short-term Treasury
borrowings and realized a slight primary surplus (the public sector
balance excluding interest payments) instead of the projected 1% of GNP
primary deficit for 1997. The 1998 primary surplus exceeded 4% of GNP.
Principal Growth Sectors
Energy. Electric energy demand in Turkey is growing by approximately
10% a year. By the year 2000 electrical energy demand is projected to
reach 130 billion kWh. Much of this increase will be met by natural
gas fired plants. Even if all the current hydroelectric potential (120
billion kWh) can be used, total output will be far from sufficient to
meet anticipated requirements by the year 2000. Turkey requires 2000 -
2500 megawatts of additional power generation capacity per year over
the next 10-15 years. The Turkish Government plans to meet this demand
for electricity by encouraging Turkish and foreign private sector
investments in the power generation and distribution sectors through
build-operate, build-operate-transfer, and transfer of operating rights
projects. Once these privatizations are implemented, Turkey intends to
have an electricity pool system regulated by an independent regulatory
Telecommunications. Turkey currently has more than 17 million
telephone lines with a density of 25%. In order to meet its growing
demand, Turkey needs to install 2 - 2.5 million additional lines per
year. Telephone density is expected to reach 40% by 2005. Cellular
density is currently 2.5% and is expected to increase to 3.8% by the
spring of 1999. Reforms of telecommunications regulations will
continue until an independent regulatory body is established. The
government has initiated the process to enact new legislation regarding
these reforms and is expected to set up a regulatory body in 1999.
During 1998, the government sold two licenses for the provision of
cellular service and plans to privatize 39% of Turk Telecom beginning
in late 1998 and into 1999.
In 1993 Turkey had a telephone exchange main line capacity of
approximately 12.7 million and telephone subscriber density of 21 lines
per 100 persons. By the year 2002, Turkey aims to increase its
subscriber line capacity to 20 million, and increase the telephone line
density to 25 per 100 persons. The system is expected to be 80%
digital by that point.
Environment. With the establishment of a Ministry of Environment in
1991, environmental issues have taken on increased prominence in the
market. New regulations regarding sewage, medical waste and power
plant emissions will add growth to this sector. All new plants, as a
part of their approval process, must submit an Environmental Impact
Assessment to the Ministry of the Environment and obtain approvals
before starting construction. Municipal governments nation-wide are
also implementing environmental projects to better handle sewage and
Transport. The Turkish government gives a special priority to major
infrastructure projects, especially in the transport sector. The
government is planning the construction of new airports, ports and
highways. The government will realize the majority of these projects
by utilizing the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model.
Textiles. The textile sector is Turkey's largest manufacturing industry
and its largest export sector. Turkey's textile producers are
generally very modern and highly competitive. The removal of quotas to
the EU -- part of the customs union -- has improved growth prospects.
The global phase-out of textile quotas called for in the Uruguay Round
also increases the sector's potential.
Other principal growth sectors are defense equipment, tourism
infrastructure, building products, automobiles and electronics.
Turkey's primary political, economic, and security ties are with the
West. During the last several years, Turkey has continued to expand
its relations with Western Europe, rejoining the Council of Europe
after an absence of several years and applying for full membership in
Turkey entered NATO in 1952 and serves as the organization's vital
eastern anchor, sharing a long sea and land border with Russia and
several Caucasian states and controlling the straits leading from the
Black Sea to the Mediterranean. Two NATO headquarters are located in
Izmir. Besides its relationships with NATO and the European Union
(EU), Turkey is a member of the OECD, the Council of Europe, and OSCE.
Turkey is also a member of the UN and the Islamic Conference
Due to proximity and Turkic linguistic and ethnic ties, the Turkish
Government and businesses continue to develop links with most of the
Central Asian and Caucasian states. The Turkish government has stated
that it would like to see the establishment of joint ventures between
Turkish and foreign firms to further tap the potential of the emerging
Central Asian markets. Turkey has established the Turkish
International Cooperation Agency to foster such ventures. Turkey also
has continued to expand its trade relations with the Middle East and
Turkey and the EU formed a customs union beginning January 1, 1996.
The agreement covers industrial and processed agricultural goods.
Turkey has harmonized its laws and regulations with EU standards.
Turkey adopted the EU's Common External Tariff regime, effectively
lowering Turkey's tariffs for third countries, including the United
Turkey is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It signed a
free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in
1991; it is negotiating free trade agreements with several central
European countries. In 1992 Turkey and ten other regional nations
formed the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Council to expand regional
trade and economic cooperation.
Turkish-American friendship dates to the late 18th century and was
officially sealed by a treaty in 1830. The present close relationship
began with the agreement of July 12, 1947, which implemented the Truman
Doctrine. As part of the cooperative effort to further Turkish
economic and military self-reliance, the United States has loaned and
granted Turkey more than $4 billion in economic aid and more than $14
billion in military assistance.
U.S.-Turkish relations were severely tested in July 1974, when Turkey
invoked a 1960 treaty of guarantee for Cyprus and sent troops there to
protect the Turkish Cypriot community following the overthrow of the
Cypriot Government by mainland Greek officers in the Cypriot national
guard. The ensuing fighting on Cyprus led to Turkish occupation of the
northern part of the island, which remains in place today. Turkey's
use of American-supplied arms during the intervention caused the U.S.
Congress to mandate an embargo in 1975 on military shipments to Turkey.
Resentment of this action led to a Turkish decision in July 1975 to
suspend important U.S. defense activities at joint installations and
cancel the 1969 defense cooperation agreement. The U.S. embargo was
relaxed in October 1975, and in March 1976 a new defense agreement was
signed, but not approved by the Congress. In September 1978, the
embargo ended and U.S.-Turkish relations improved markedly. Turkey
lifted restrictions on U.S. activities in late 1978.
The United States and Turkey signed a defense and economic cooperation
agreement in March 1980 that established a new framework for U.S.
military activities in Turkey and committed the United States to "best
efforts" in providing defense support to the Turkish armed forces. The
two countries signed an exchange of letters in March 1987 to extend the
agreement through December of 1990 and it continues to extend
automatically on a year-to-year basis unless one of the two parties
objects by September 18 of any year.
Turkey temporarily imposed some restrictions on American military
activities in early 1990 in response to the U.S. Senate's consideration
of a resolution to declare a day of remembrance for what Armenians and
others have described as genocide of Armenians by pre-republican
Turkey. Turkey lifted the restrictions after the resolution failed to
pass. The unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh and Cyprus issues continue to
disturb U.S.-Turkish relations.
The U.S. and Turkey have had a Joint Economic Commission since 1993.
Turkey has been designated a Big Emerging Market (BEM) for U.S. exports
and investment by the Department of Commerce. In 1997, the U.S. trade
surplus with Turkey was more than $2.0 billion. The U.S. is Turkey's
third-largest export market.
Principal U.S. Officials
Ambassador -- Mark Parris
Deputy Chief of Mission -- Francis Ricciardone
Counselors Political Affairs -- Gene Christy
Political-Military Affairs -- Bruce Thomas
Economic Affairs -- Scott Kilner
Administrative Affairs -- Art Salvaterra
Public Affairs Officer -- Helena Finn
Defense/Air Attache -- Col. James M. Carlin, USAF
Navy Attache -- Comdr. Ken Taylor, USN
Army Attache -- Lt. Col. Greg Pepin, USA
Consuls General Istanbul -- Carolyn Huggins
Consul Adana -- Stuart Jones
U.S. Mission Addresses
The U.S. embassy is located at 110 Ataturk Blvd., Ankara. The
consulate general in Istanbul is at 104-108 Mesrutiyet Caddesi; the
consular agent in Izmir at 92 Ataturk Caddesi, third floor; and the
consulate in Adana, on Ataturk Caddesi.
TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION
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Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets. Travel Warnings are
issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel
to a certain country. Consular Information Sheets exist for all
countries and include information on immigration practices, currency
regulations, health conditions, areas of instability, crime and
security, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. posts
in the country. Public Announcements are issued as a means to
disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats and other
relatively short-term conditions overseas which pose significant risks
to the security of American travelers. Free copies of this information
are available by calling the Bureau of Consular Affairs at 202-647-5225
or via the fax-on-demand system: 202-647-3000. Travel Warnings and
Consular Information Sheets also are available on the Consular Affairs
Internet home page: http://travel.state.gov and the Consular Affairs
Bulletin Board (CABB). To access CABB, dial the modem number: 301-946-
4400 (it will accommodate up to 33,600 bps), set terminal
communications program to N-8-1(no parity, 8 bits, 1 stop bit); and
terminal emulation to VT100. The login is travel and the password is
info. (Note: Lower case is required). The CABB also carries
international security information from the Overseas Security Advisory
Council and Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Consular
Affairs Trips for Travelers publication series, which contain
information on obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad, can
be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government
Printing Office, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954; telephone:
202-512-1800; fax 202-512-2250.
Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be
obtained from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-
5225. For after-hours emergencies, Sundays and holidays, call 202-647-
Passport Services information can be obtained by calling the 24-hour,
7-day a week automated system ($.35 per minute) or live operators 8
a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday-Friday ($1.05 per minute). The number is 1-
900-225-5674 (TDD: 1-900-225-7778). Major credit card users (for a flat
rate of $4.95) may call 1-888-362-8668 (TDD: 1-888-498-3648).
Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at
877-FYI-TRIP (877-394-8747) and a web site at
http://www.cdc.gov/travel/index.htm give the most recent health
advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements, and advice on
food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. A booklet
entitled Health Information for International Travel (HHS publication
number CDC-95-8280) is available from the U.S. Government Printing
Office, Washington, DC 20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.
Information on travel conditions, visa requirements, currency and
customs regulations, legal holidays, and other items of interest to
travelers also may be obtained before your departure from a country's
embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this country, see
"Principal Government Officials" listing in this
U.S. citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in dangerous
areas are encouraged to register at the U.S. embassy upon arrival in a
country (see "Principal U.S. Embassy Officials" listing in
this publication). This may help family members contact you in case of
Further Electronic Information
Department of State Foreign Affairs Network. Available on the Internet,
DOSFAN provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy
information. Updated daily, DOSFAN includes Background Notes; Dispatch,
the official magazine of U.S. foreign policy; daily press briefings;
Country Commercial Guides; directories of key officers of foreign
service posts; etc. DOSFAN's World Wide Web site is at
U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). Published on an annual basis by
the U.S. Department of State, USFAC archives information on the
Department of State Foreign Affairs Network, and includes an array of
official foreign policy information from 1990 to the present. Contact
the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O.
Box 371954, Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954. To order, call (202) 512-1800 or
fax (202) 512-2250.
National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). Operated by the U.S. Department of
Commerce, the NTDB contains a wealth of trade-related information. It
is available on the Internet (www.stat-usa.gov) and on CD-ROM. Call the
NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-1986 for more information.
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