60 Interesting Facts About Turkey

Last updated on November 1st, 2022

41. The species of birds called Turkeys got their name from Turkey (the country).

42. The color turquoise is derived from the French word ‘turquois,’ which represents the amazing color of South Turkey’s Mediterranean.

43. The world’s oldest-known ceramics were originally from Catal Huyuk and Jordan Valley in Anatolia.

44. The Istanbul tunnel is the world’s second-oldest underground railway system.

45. The tulip flower, which is the symbol of The Netherlands, was originally discovered in Turkey.

Tulips in Gulhane Park, Istanbul
Interesting Facts About Turkey – Tulips in Gulhane Park, Istanbul. Image credit – Brooke T

10 facts about Turkey culture

46. Religion

Even though the country is mostly secular, Islam remains as the major religion in Turkey. It is believed that the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) is God’s last emissary. It means he was the last person to follow in the footsteps of Abraham, Moses and Jesus Christ (P.B.U.T). His purpose was to bring revelation to the world. Specifically, he didn’t only preach to certain individuals or groups. Instead, Muhammad (S.A.W) brought God’s message to the entire world. Muslims pray five times a day. The specific time they are required to pray is written on their calendars. Muslims in Turkey also follow the practices of the holy month called Ramadan.

47. Social Etiquette

Turkish people strictly follow a specific meeting hand shake. It needs to be done firmly. Friends and family usually greet each other by giving two kisses on the cheeks. For elders, it is customary to kiss their right hand and then place your forehead to their hand. Upon entering a room, it is required to greet the most senior person present. During social gatherings, they greet the person who’s closest to them and proceed greeting in an counterclockwise manner.

48. Gift Giving

The giving of gifts doesn’t affect etiquette or business relationships. Instead of physical gifts, the Turkish prefer dining in restaurants or going on sightseeing trips. However, they still appreciate a gift from a business partner. The best gifts to give are those that originated from your country. Since the majority of the population is Muslim, be very careful when offering alcohol.

49. Dining

Business entertainment in Turkey is usually done in restaurants. Turks really enjoy great food and having a satisfying meal. They consider it a time to relax and have good conversations. Turkish food is a delicacy featuring numerous tasty and delicious dishes. When they invite you over to dine with them, they will always insist on paying the bill; they are not used to sharing the payment. The best policy to follow is to accept their offer and don’t argue with them. Turks will always appreciate a ‘thank you’ for their gracious contributions.

50. Clothing

Similar to other developed countries, modern Turks also wear casual clothes inspired by Western fashion. For traditional Turks, they wear dresses similar to those in Caucasia. They are made out of wool, cotton and silk. In Turkish history, they have lived close to the Silk Road which affected their choices of clothing. To this day, local costumes are still worn during celebrations such as the major festivals.

51. Festivals & Holidays

Two major holidays are important in Turkish history. Milli Bayramlar are festivals that mark their victories in the war following World War I. Dini Bayramlar are celebrated as religious traditions. They are called Kurban Bayrami and Ramazan Bayrami. During the festival, animals are sacrificed. The meat that comes from the animals is distributed to the poor and the needy.

52. Communication

In Turkey’s culture, they consider politeness a major essential in communication. The general rule is that you have to use a more polite language to your elders. This is especially practiced when you meet a senior for the first time. It’s also very important to address people with their correct honorifics. Doing so expresses that you recognize their social status. A common practice that they perform is communicating without using any words. They only use eye and hand gestures to get their message across.

53. Values

The Turks give utmost importance to their families. They meet up together during every possible occasion. It’s customary for each member of the family to support everyone else’s careers without question. In general, they are very hospitable people. It’s not unusual for them to invite you into their home, even if they don’t exactly know you.

54. Facebook

One of the fun facts that most people are not aware of is that Turkey loves Facebook. The country is considered the highest-rated Facebook user in the entire world. They love keeping in contact with family and friends, building very strong bonds and relationships with them. Also, they’re always interested to know what their loved ones are up to. Facebook allows them to do that.

55. Literature

Folk tales, novels and epic poems are part of the Turkish culture. There are plenty of stories that have been passed on for generations. They value the lessons ingrained in their literature. This is why starting from when they are very young, parents will tell stories to their children. The most popular characters beloved by the entire country are Hacivat, Koroglu and Karagoz.

5 Turkey facts for kids

56. Geography

Turkey is a peninsula that serves as a bridge between Asia and Europe. The country is surrounded by the Aegean Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea. Istanbul is its biggest city. Some parts of it are located in Asia, while others are in Europe. Earthquakes are also very common in Turkey.

57. Nature

Birds make Turkey their resting destination during their migratory journeys. This happens between winter and summer. Birds flock in Bird Lake, which is a government-protected national forest. As of 2016, there are 39 parks that are home to rare species and their habitats.

58. Culture

Different groups have conquered Turkey in the past. This means the Turks come from varied backgrounds. Most of the population lives in the cities. Islam is the number-one religion in Turkey, with Kurdish also being practiced. They are very hospitable and family oriented. They love eating all types of exotic food like wild turkey. Soccer is their favorite sport.

59. Government

Their head of government is the Prime Minister. He is in charge of the well being of the entire country. The Turkish institution known as the Grand National Assembly is composed of 600 members elected by the Turkish population. It is this Assembly who elects the rightful president. Turkey is hugely involved in the United Nations. Because of its location, the country is a strategic place for world conferences.

60. History

Turkey is considered to be home of the world’s earliest settlements. The country was built 8,800 years ago. The Hittites made an empire where they ruled for years. After the Trojan War, King Midas became ruler in 700 B.C. Constantine was elected the Roman Emperor and created Constantinople. Istanbul was formally established in 1923. Turkey is now a secular country, meaning that there is a separation between government and religion.

About the flag of Turkey

Flag of Turkey
Flag of Turkey

1. Design and Symbolism

Turkey is a Eurasian country surrounded by Russia, Iran, Syria, and Greece. It was the seat of the Ottoman Empire, a powerful force that connected the Eastern and Western worlds for more than 600 years. Now it stands as a modern republic.

The flag of Turkey features a white star and crescent on a solid red field. The color comes from old Ottoman war banners. According to the current interpretation, it represents the blood of heroes who fought colonial powers during the war for Turkish independence.

Meanwhile, the symbols came from a dream of Osman I, the first Ottoman emperor. He saw a moon rise from the chest of Sheikh Edebali and rest on him. A tree also sprang and grew big enough to cover the world with its shade. The men took it as a sign of God-given authority over the earth. Afterward, Osman married the Sheikh’s daughter and established a dynasty.

2. Adoption

The Ottoman Empire adopted the flag in 1844. Turkey retained it as a republic and passed production guidelines on May 29, 1936.

3. Technical Details

The flag dimensions have a ratio of 2:3. The diameter of the crescent is half the flag height. As for the exact shade of the color red, use E30A17 for HEX and 0-96-90-11 for CMYK.

4. History

The Ottoman Empire

In 1299, Osman I established an empire that would eventually control most of North Africa, West Asia, and Southeast Europe. The mighty Ottoman Empire lasted until 1922. Its capital city was Constantinople, later renamed Istanbul.

The Ottomans used a variety of war flags throughout history. Most had a green background. The star and crescent began to appear on Turkish flags in 1453, while the red field became official in 1793. The original star had eight points. In 1844, it morphed into a five-pointed star.

The Republic of Turkey

The early 1900s saw the decline of the empire. The Arab Revolt of 1916 drove out the Ottomans from the Middle East. When World War I broke out, the empire sided with the losing Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. These setbacks led to the partition and occupation of its territories.

Unhappy with foreign occupation, the Turkish War of Independence broke out in 1919 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal (“Ataturk”). It led to the fall of the sultanate and the rise of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. The flag remained despite the change of government. Standardized proportions came along through the Turkish Flag Law of 1936.

5. Flag Facts

Horse-Tail Standard

War flags only became popular in the 16th century. Before that, Turkish armies used standards called “tughs” – a pole with horse hair around the top. This practice continued until the 19th century, with later designs featuring the star and crescent.

Alternative Theories

Some historians suggest that the Ottomans got the star-and-crescent from the Byzantines. The pair of symbols appeared in Byzantium coins as early as the 4th century BC. Central Asian communities also worshiped gods associated with the sky, sun, and moon. The crescent is an ancient symbol of early Turkic states around Asia.

Turkey – the country at a glance

Independence29 October 1923 (republic proclaimed succeeding the Ottoman Empire)
Capital CityAnkara
(39°55′N 32°50′E)
Largest CityIstanbul
(41°1′N 28°57′E)
Areatotal: 783,562 sq km
land: 769,632 sq km
water: 13,930 sq km
Population83,047,706 (2022 est.)
Official LanguageTurkish
BordersSyria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Bulgaria and Greece
CurrencyTurkish lira ₺ (TRY)
ReligionIslam and Christianity
Life expectancy at birth76.21 Years (2022)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Climatetemperate; hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters; harsher in interior
Terrainhigh central plateau (Anatolia); narrow coastal plain; several mountain ranges
Mean elevation1,132 m
Lowest pointMediterranean Sea 0 m
Highest pointMount Ararat 5,137 m
Natural resourcescoal, iron ore, copper, chromium, antimony, mercury, gold, barite, borate, celestite (strontium), emery, feldspar, limestone, magnesite, marble, perlite, pumice, pyrites (sulfur), clay, arable land, hydropower
Agricultural land49.7%
Birth rate14.28 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)
Death rate6.05 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)
Sex ratio1.01 male(s)/female (2022 est.)
Government typeparliamentary republic
PresidentRecep Tayyip Erdoğan
Vice PresidentFuat Oktay
National anthem"Istiklal Marsi" (Independence March)
Independence day29 October 1923
National holidayRepublic Day, 29 October (1923)
National symbolstar and crescent
Literacy rate96.2%
National colorsred, white
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Industriestextiles, food processing, automobiles, electronics, mining (coal, chromate, copper, boron), steel, petroleum, construction, lumber, paper
Exports$203.29 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2020 est.)
apparel, foodstuffs, textiles, metal manufactures, transport equipment
Imports$232.01 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2020 est.)
machinery, chemicals, semi-finished goods, fuels, transport equipment
GDP - per capita (PPP)$28,400 (2020 est.)
Time ZoneEET (UTC+2)
Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Internet country code.tr
Calling Code+90
Drives on theRight
Table last updatedJuly 25, 2022