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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%.


Type: Republic.
Independence: 1923.
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 villages.

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 regional character.

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 abolished.

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 Organization (NATO).


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 authorized.

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 1983. The Ozal administration, the first civilian government since the early 1970s to rule without coalition partners, made economic reform its priority.

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 December.

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 partner.

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 Turkey party.

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 economy.

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 period.

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 body.

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 solid waste.

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 the EU.

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 Organization (OIC).

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 Russia.

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 States.

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.


The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program provides 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: 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- 4000.

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 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 publication).

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 an emergency.

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 ( and on CD-ROM. Call the NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-1986 for more information.

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