TURKEY

Population

There are 62 million inhabitants of Turkey.  Major cities include Istanbul (10 million), the capital city of Ankara (3.6 million), Izmir (3.0 million), Konya (1.9 million), and Bursa (1.9 million).

Government

The Turkish republic is based on a secular, democratic, parliamentary system.  The Council of ministers, headed by the Prime Minister, governs the nation along with a popularly elected Grand National Assembly.  All citizens gain the right to vote at the age of 18.

Religion

The population is 99% Moslem.  Turkey is a secular state and recognizes freedom of worship.  It is the only country in the world in which mosques, churches and synagogues have coexisted peacefully for centuries.

Time Zone

Seven hours ahead of US Eastern Standard Time

Cuisine

Turkish food is plentiful, delicious and prepared with fresh-from-the garden ingredients.  A meal usually begins with a soup or several of the many traditional meze (hor d'oeuvres) followed by a fish or meat dish such as "shish kebab" or a mixed grill served with rice and cooked vegetables.  Dessert may be fresh fruit, sweets or a pastry such as a "baklava". 

Money Exchanging & Monetary System

The national monetary unit is the Turkish lira (TL). The coinage is in 10,000, 25,000,50,000 and 100,000 lira pieces.  Bank notes are of 100,000, 250,000, 500,000, 1,000,000, 5,000,000 and 10,000,000 liras.  The exchange rates for foreign currencies are published daily. The most widely accepted credit cards are American Express, Eurocard, Diner's Club, Visa and MasterCard. 

Tap Water

Turkey practices safe sanitation standards, as tap water is suitable for bathing and regular tasks such as brushing teeth and so forth.  However, as is customary in most Mediterranean countries, the majority of locals and visitors drink bottled water or consume other beverages.  Some foreign guests may complain that tap water appears cloudy because of the high-chlorine content (useful in ensuring a safe drinking supply).  We recommend that visitors practice local customs and drink bottled water, which is almost always served routinely with any meal.  Furthermore, drinking the very popular Turkish coffee adds another unique experience to one's visit.

Clothing

Light, cotton summer clothing and cardigans for evening that is casual and comfortable is recommended.  Jeans are acceptable.  Hats (with visors) and sunglasses are recommended.  Black Sea, Central and Eastern Anatolia:  Summer wear, warmer clothing should be taken for cool evenings at high altitudes.  Comfortable shoes are necessary for visiting archeological and historical sites.  Headscarves should be brought by women for visiting mosques:  Arms and legs should be covered by both men and women.

Electricity

220 volts A.C. throughout Turkey.  Voltage is clearly marked on all hotel outlets.  Your appliances will need a converter, as well as an International Plug.  We recommend that you pack one together with your electrical appliance, so that you do not have to spend valuable time looking for adapters and transformers during your stay.  Some of the finer hotels abroad have converters.  Ask the hotel staff for assistance.

 


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