Where Asia connects to Europe
A country between two continents, Turkey preserves the rich cultural heritage of the long imperial past with the future aim of growing and establishing itself as a great country. Modernization, which marked much of the twentieth century, has made Turkey take enormous steps in economic and social development, bringing it ever closer to Europe
A semi-arid plateau
The Turkish territory essentially corresponds to Anatolia, a vast plateau that the ancients called Asia Minor and which forms a peninsula washed by the Black Sea and the Mediterranean (Aegean and Levant Seas). The plateau is bordered by the Pontic Mountains (with 3,937 m of maximum altitude) along the Black Sea, and by the Taurus Mountains (3,734 m) along the Levant Sea. Higher mountains (Ararat, 5,137 m) are in the east, in Armenia and Kurdistan. Marine humidity is stopped by the mountains and the plateau is rather arid, especially in the interior, where the climate is mainly continental; the coasts have a typical Mediterranean climate and are increasingly popular with tourists. The Black Sea coast is the wettest area in the country, and the Pontic Mountains are covered with forests; in the interior of Anatolia, on the other hand, the typical vegetation of the steppe prevails. For Turkey 2017, please check mathgeneral.com.
The Turkish mountains feed large rivers (such as Tigris and Euphrates, and Kizilirmak – 1,182 km all in Turkey) and many large lakes (the largest, those of Van and Tuz, are salty). A gigantic program to enhance water resources is changing the hydrographic conditions of the eastern regions, where many dams block rivers, form large artificial lakes and feed aqueducts used for irrigation.
The coast on the Aegean Sea is indented and fronted by numerous islands that belong to Greece, while the northern and southern coasts are lower and more linear.
The whole Anatolian territory is strongly seismic and many disastrous earthquakes have struck it.
Always a bridge
The position of Anatolia has always had great geopolitical importance, especially due to the presence of the straits, the double passage between the Black and Aegean Seas. Asia and Europe are separated here by the small basin of the Marmara Sea, which connects to the Black Sea with the Bosphorus Strait and to the Aegean Sea with the wider and longer Strait of the Dardanelles. Both sides of the straits belong to Turkey, which is therefore divided into European Turkey – a small region – and Asiatic. The straits area has always played a fundamental role in relations between southern Europe, Russia and the Near East and has been disputed between Asian and European powers for millennia. On the European side of the Bosphorus stands the ancient and splendid city of Istanbul (8,832,000 residents), which had the name of Byzantium and Constantinople ; on the Asian shore extends most of its urban agglomeration, joined by two bridges to the European coast. The capital Ankara (3,203,000 residents) is located in the interior; Izmir (in Turkish Izmir, 2,250,000 residents) is on the Aegean coast. Agriculture is still important (cereals, cotton, fruit), but the economy is today mainly supported by industry (engineering, chemical, textile) and tourism, also attracted by real artistic and archaeological treasures of the classical, Byzantine and Ottoman. Living conditions are very uneven between city and countryside, but a very strong development has characterized the whole country in the last eighty years.