Turkey, exotic,colorful,many-faceted,romantic,ever-old,and ever-new is the gateway and to the fabled east.Turkey is a country located at a point where the three continents of the old world,Asia, Africa and Europe,are closest to each other and where Asia and Europoe meet
Because its geographical location, Anataolia has always been important throughout history and is the birth place of many great civilizations. Turkey is not only a passageway from which the ancient Asian Turkish Culture is transmitted to the Europe, but also coounted as a window of Western Culture opening to meet the Eastern Culture.The surface area of Turkey including the lakes is 815.000 km2 /315.000 Sq.miles. It is much larger than many European countries,for examples bigger than Great Britain and France combined,Italy and Spain together, also 18 % bigger than Texas in USA. Out of the total land, 97 % is in Asia and this part is called Anataloia by Turks or Asia Minor in the history, 3 % is in Europe which is called Thrace, Trakya by the Turks.
The country is divided by the Dardanalles, the sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus and surrounded With Three seas, The Blak Sea on the north, The Aegean on the west and Mediterrenean on the south So it is a Big peninsula.Turkey has boundaries with the neighbouring countries,such as Greece, (212kms/131 miles)and Bulgaria ( 269 kms/167 miles)in the West, Armenia, Georgia, very little part of Azerbaycan( 610kms/380 miles) and Iran( 454 km/ 280 miles) in the East, Syria (877 kms/540 miles) and Irag (331kms/205miles on the south .Turkey is a rectangular shape with a length 1660km/1031 miles and a width of 550 km/341 miles.and is stretching between 26 degrees north to 42 degree north, and from 26 east to 45 east. Turkey has 8200 kms sea shores. Because of these long coastal borders and being a bridge between the continents of Asia and Europe, Turkey had been the center of the major commerce and immigration roads. Ankara has been the capital of Turkey since 1924.
When discussing history it is always difficult to know from which period to actually begin. The earlier civilizations of Anatolia cannot be ignored. Some historians take the advent of the Turks into Anatolia 6000 BC. It has to be noted that civilizations are never built without foundations. Just like a wall made of bricks, they are all established upon former civilizations. Therefore it is quite possible to see traces of the very earliest cultures inherent in those that followed.
As a great world crossroads, the land has seen the struggles and accommodations to each other of the Hattis, and the Assyrians, the Sea peoples, the trojans and the Greeks, the Byzantines, the Crusaders, abd the Seljuks,the Ottomans, The Kurds, The Armenians and the Turks, to name only the most well-known.More than once the personal loyalties have been weighted more on the side of a desire for feuding,or for land, or for tolarence than they have been enclaves of people-identified often not by themselves but by their enemies in terms of religion, language or family-who because of the very rugged topography have maintained their culture unresponsive to and ignored by whatever group claimed to rule the land.
Another major element in the long history is the importance of the trade routes that made a network linking Anatolia to the East, to Egypt and to Europe. The roads usually followed the paths of least
Resistance; they went over mountain passes, along the river valleys and across the safest fords. As
Fully as their builders were able to engineer them, they were all-weather roads;they often were elevated high ways. They were politically important in that they were part of the mechanism keeping
A government in Rome or in Susa in touch with wat was happening in Sardis,for example.
They were important economically in enabling goods and services to move with dispacts. They were important tools in faciliating the communication of ideas.The spread of Christianity and later of İslam followed the trade routes. Regularly at about the distance that could be travelled in a day there was some kind of shelter for people and their animals to spend the night. Many of the towns and cities evolved as part of the system of roads, shelters, caravansaries and marketplaces.Besides the routes on land people also used a relay of fire towers to communicate quickly over long Distances. Crusader castles were sited on hilltops so as tbe the places of defense and alarm,so as to be able to signal to each other.
Between 2000 and 12000 BC, the civilization of incoming Hittites, as they came to be known, was caught up in the dominant culture.The Hittites are a people mentioned frequently in the Bible (Old Testament).Hattis, Hurrians and Luwians and assumed in time a character and significance of its own.
The Hittite civilization directly affected its own sucessors, Urartians, Hellenes and Etruscans.After all,Since the civilizations are the creation of soceities not races, their characters are passed on by socialTraditions not blood ties;so, for example,the ancient Greek Mythology and religion in one direction,no less than Urartian in the other show market Hittite influence. Then, the peoples of Turkey did not form a single society. There were numerous societies with different :-):-):-):-)rial, spirtitual and linguistic conventions;each built up its own tradition, preserved and then transmitted it. Thus, at the time of Hittite Empire,when over 20 languages were in use, intercourse among peoples had already begun to draw to a larger human mosaic. This produced a socail pattern, both geographically and historically in which traditions were blended, discoveries and inventions passed on and most important, customs and habits diffused. For instance, myths and epics borrowed from the Hittites from outside, particularly in Babylon, traveleld extensively through other cultures of the ancient world, from the Sumerian of the 4th and 3rd milennia in mesopotemia as far in time and space as the Hellenisatic period of western Turkey and the Agean.
And the passage of time was maked by the development of language into something far more complex than a mere wehicle for the transmission of tradition and experience. Its utilisation for the expression of ideas and concepts saw the emergence of western Turkey by the 6C BC as the home of philosophy. Thales,Anaximander, Anaimenes, Heraclitus established the area as the cultural heart of the world’s landscape. The mid 4C BC heralded the thesut of the accumulated civilization of the classical period .Throughout the surrounding regions of the so called Near East and the Mediterrrenean, until blocked By the rise of Rome some two venturies later. For the eastward conquest of Alexander of Macedon prompted the mutual accommodation of the cultures of Asia and Europe, and the development of the Earliest urban centres of the Hellenistic Age- the coastal cities of
Pergamum, Ephesus, Priene, Miletus and Didyma. The cultural equals of Rome in its heyday, these cities with their flourishing art had a direct and improtant influence on the civilization of the Roman Empire and no less on its eastern Roman successor right up to the Byzantine zenith in 10C BC.
Subsequently, as the region came to be dominated by the Seljuk Turks in the 11C AD, their particular mastery in,for example, the building of medreses ( Islamic Institutes of higher education), hospitals, observatories, bridges and caravesaries-as well as carpet weaving and other crfats- made its own distinctive contrubiton. Then, from the 13-20 C AD, one of the world’s most durable imperial dynasties, the Ottomans,impressed its own seal on the culture of Turkey and created a vast territorial empire, based on the strength and integrity of this cultural resource-base. And so we come to modern Turkey,- which was established Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in the beginning of 20 th C-
MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK
Original name, Mustafa Kemal, but he has been noted for as Atatürk all over the world, as the commander of the Ottoman troops in Gallipoli, army general and commander of Turkish forces in
War of Independence and he was one of the greatest heros and a statesman in 20th century. He was chosen as the first president of Turkish Republic after it was proclaimed in 1923 and continued his job till his death for over 15 years. Mustafa Kemal Retired his military uniform and inspired the people to an event even greater task: Transformation of the country into the democratic and secular republic of Turkey. He has made so many good reforms in Turkey. His reforms can be listed under general heading of Secularization :
Abolition of the Sultanate and Caliphate; establishment of the republic.
Abolition of the religious courts.
Suppression of religious broherhoods; closing of sacred tombs as places of worship.
Replacement of traditional clothing by western styles; abolition of the fez and salvar.
Abolition of Medreses, Islamic theological schools, unification of education, renovations of
School programmes according to contemporary and national needs, opening new universities
Education through 5th grade was made compulsory, ( now 8th grade.)
Adoption of new Civil Law code.
Adoption of solar calendar and changing the moslem holy day of the week,Friday, into a weekday with Sunady becoming the official day of rest.
Introduction of Latin Alphabet.
Purification of Turkish Language from foreign words.
Turkish women were given the rights to be chosen as the member of the parliment.
Implementation of “ Peace at home,peace in the world,” as Turkish Foreign Policy.
Thousands of his statues or busts and millions of his photos have been erected or hung all over the
Country. His name has been given to countless instutitions, buildings, streets, parks and suchlike.
Foreigners unaware of his accomplishments might think that the Turks are a bit obsessed with a man now dead for approiximately 60 years. No other nation on earth has loved a leader as much as the Turkish nation loves Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
In 1934 everone had to take a surname and Mustafa Kemal was given the surname “ Atatürk” which means “ father of the Turks.” By the Turkish Grand National Assembly. With all that he did for his country, he really reserved this title. We can understand him better as the years go by. If Atatürk didn’t do these transformations, Turkey could be considered as one of the most fundementalist countries today such as Iran or Irag ruling by religios laws.
Turkey is divided into 7 geographical regions : ,
THE BLACK SEA REGION is a mountainpous area in the north. It has a steep and rocky coast and rivers cascade through the gorgeous of the coastal ranges.As the northern Anatolian Mountains run parallel to the coastline access inland from the coast is limited to a few narrow valleys, so the coast therefore has always been isolated from inland areas. It is densely wooded, comprising more than one-fouth of Turkey’s forested areas. The region is mainly agricultural, corn being the dominat field crop. Tea is grown in the eastern coastal strip, hazelnuts around Giresun and Samsun, tobacco in Samsun and Trabzon
THE MARMARA REGION covers the Europedan part as well as the northwest of the Anatolian plain.It has the highest population density. This region is economically the most developed areaof tTurkey because of Istanbul and Bursa. Its agriculture is varied, including tobacco,wheat,rice,sunflower,corn, olives, grapes and natural silk. On the straits and the coasts of Marmara Sea fishing is well developed.
THE AGEAN REGION extends from the Agean coast to the inner parts of western Anatolia.Forest lands and fertile plains carrying the same names as its rivers are dominant.Its wealth rests on the production of several export crops, including tobacco,cotton,high-quality grapes suitable for drying,olives and figs.
THE MEDITERRENEAN REGION is located in the south of Anatolia. The western and central Taurus mountains suddenly rise up behind the coastline.The region has several subregions.
The sparsely populated limestone plateus of Taşeli in the middle, the lake district in the west with its continental climate, where grain is grown; and the intensively cultivated,densely populated coastal plains.The coastal areas produce cotton,sesame,citrus fruits,early vegetables and bananas. The higher elevations have relatively little arable land, grain and livestock are produced and there is pastoral nomadism among the Yörüks.
THE CENTRAL ANATOLIAN REGION is exactly in the middle of Turkey and is less mountanious when compared to the other regions.This region varies in altitude from 600-1200m ( 1970-3940 ft) west to east. Steppes are common. Geologically young volcanicfeatures characterize the landscape. For the most part, the region is bare and monotonous and is used for grazing. But overgrazing has caused soil erosion on the plateau and during frequent summer dust storms a fine yellow powder blows across the plains. One-third of Turkey’s sheep and three-quarters of its angora goats raised here.
THE EASTERN ANATOLIA REGION is the largest and highest region. Nearly all of the area has an avbarage altitude of 1500-2000m/4920-6560ft. Anatolia’s highest peak mount Ararat ( 17200ft high) is located in this region.This is the most thinly populated region of the country. Farmimg is difficult because of the long, severe winters, step slopes and eroded soil. Grain, chiefly summer wheat and barley is the dominant crop. In the humid north-east, beef and dairy cattle are raised whilst in the south there are pastoral nomads who raised sheep and goats.
THE SOUTHERN ANATOLIA REGION is notable for the uniformity of its landscape. Vast stretches of this region consist only of wild and barren wasteland. Agricuılture is confined mainly to irrigated valleys and basins. Wheat,rice,vegetables,grapes,tobacco are grown.Much of the population is nomadic or seminomadic. Turkey’s principal oil fields are here.
The official language in Turkey is Turkish and this is spoken about 95 % of the population . About 5 % of the Turkish people who come from different ethnic origins, speak their mother tongues in daily life besides Turkish.Turkish is a branch of Ural-Altaic languages. These were originally spoken by the
Altai people who lived in the steppe area around the Altai mountains which form part of the border between China, Mongolia and Russia. The Altai spread out over a vast geographical area reaching as far as the Balkans and today more than 300 million people speak Turkish from Adriatic coast to the Great Walls in China. Sınce 1928 Turkish has been written in a phonetic Latin Alphabet of 29 letters. With only few variations of the pronouncation is like English. For example, we use a lot of dots either on the top of letters or underneath of them to produce vowels.
Because of the geographical formation of the country with mountains that run parallel to the coasts, Anatolia is a focal point of contrasting climates. While in the coastal areas winters are mild and summers are moderately hot., the inland areas experience extremes of temperature. The hot summers have high daytime temperatures with generally cool nights and the cold winters have limited precipitation with frost occuring on more than 100 days during the year.
In the Mediterrenean, Agean and Southern Marmara regions, the general Mediterrenean climate is dominant; summers are hot and dry, winters are mild and rainy. Frosts are rare and snowfall is almost unknown.The Black Sea region enjoys mild winters and a fair amount of rainfall throuhgout the year.In Central Anatolia, a typical plateau climate preveils where the summers are hot with minimum precipitation, and winters are cold with heavy and lasting snows. Villages may be isaolated by severe snowstorms. Eastern Anatolia is rugged country with higher elevations, a more severe climate and greater precipitation than the central plateau. The climate of this region is most inhospitable Summers are hot and extremely dry, winters are bitterly cold. Spring and Autumn are both subject to sudden hot and cold spells. The rainfall is maximum in the middle and eastern coasts of the Black Sea and the western part of the Mediterrenean. It is minimum around the Lake Salt in Central Anatolia. This is the rainfall avarage all over Turkey.
Black Sea and Mediterrenean : 150-200 cm / 60-80 inches.
Agean and South : 50-150 cm / 20-60 inches.
Eastern Anatolia : 30-50 cm / 12-20 inches.
Central : 30 cm / 12 inches or less
ADMINISTRATION AND GOVERNMENT
The republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state.The legislative power of the Turkish Republic is the Turkish Grand National Assembly ( TGNA) which performs its function on behalf of the Turkish nation. The TGNA was first empowerted to exercise legislative power in Ankara on April 23rd,1920, by Mustafa Kemal. The total numbers of the members are 550.
The duties of the TGNA include enacting and amending laws, monitoring the actions of the Cabinet and Ministers, debating the budget, ratifying international agreements and declaring a war. Anybody above the age of 21, who has a minimum primary school education and who has a security clearence can be elected as a deputy.Elections are held every 5 years. According to the constitution, all Turkish citizens over 18 years of age have the right to vote in elections and to take part in referendums. One- third of the assembly is enough to hold a session. The president is the head of the state and represents the unity of the Turkish Nation.He oversees the workings of the constitution and ensures that the departments of the state function harmoniously. He is eleceted for a period of 7 years. The cabinet which is politically responsible to the Legislature is composed of the Prime Minister and ministers.
After the general elections, the leader of the party winning the majority is appointed as the Prime Minister by the President. The ministers are selected by the Prime minister but again appointed by the president.The government is formed of the following ministers :
Justice, National Defence,Finance and Customs, National Education , Public Works and Housing, Health, Transport, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Labor and Social Security, Industry and Commerce,
Energy and Natural Resources, Culture, Turism and Information, Forestry, Environment, Home and Foreign Affairs.
60 % of the population earn between 200-400 USD per month. The legal minimum salary is 125 USD. The income tax is between 25-55 %. The unemployment rate unfortunately is 15 % of the total population There are 3 big social security instutitions established by the state :
The Retirement Trust
The Social Insurance Board
The Social Insurance Board for small businessmen,craftsmen and others.
Men can retire after working 25 years, women after 20 years. Pensions are based on 75 % of their last salaries.Because the size of families has become smaller and urbanization problems have arisen,people have started to live in apartment blocks in the urban areas and in smaller houses in the rural areas. Generally apartments have 3 bedrooms with an avarage surface area of 100 m2/120 yard2.
In the big cities the minimum price of a flat is 30.000 USD. The average citizen can not easily afford such a price even with the help of a mortgage. Renting is a possibility, or good fortune may mean inheriting an apartment. The average rent is a month 100-150 USD
The major imports are petroleum products, chemicals, pharmaceauticals, plastics, iron, steel, wehicles and machinery. The major exports are iron and :-):-):-):-)ls, machinery, buses, chemicals, cement, ceramics, glass, cotton, textiles, laether, agricultural goods, tobacco, fruits and foodstaffs.
Turkey is one of about 8 countries in the world which consistently produces surplus food and cattle for export.Turkey is believed to be rich in a wide variety of mineral deposits which are mostly governed by the state sector. Relatively few of these have been exploited on a large scale. This is due to a lack of domestic capital for exploration, political pressure that has discouraged wide-scale investment from abroad and inadequate processing facilities.
TURKEY’S TOTAL LAND
36 % agricultural land
30 % forests and brushwood
28 % grazing land
6 % swamps,river beds,rocks and water surfaces
Agriculture accounts for less than 20 % of the GNP, although it employs well over half of the national labor force.Agricultural production is generally carried out by small family enterprises in Turkey. 5 % of the farm land belongs to the large enterprises and 95 % to smaller concerns. 77 % of the cultivated land produces grain with wheat ranking as the first. Wheat is common all over the country except in the Black Sea region. Barley ranks as second, corn is third. Corn requires humid weather conditions during summer time, so the Black Sea region is very suitable for its growth. Vegetables accounts for 62 % of agricultural production.
Lentils,chickpeas and beans are common. Broad beans and peas also grow in Turkey but on a smaller basis. Chickpeas grow in Central Anatolia, broad beans in western parts and lentils especially in Souteastern Anatolia. The growing of potatoes has recently icreased.
Industrial vegetables such as cotton, flax,sesame seeds and opium poppies have been grown for a long time in Turkey but since the industrial developments after world war I new industrial vegetables such as sugar beet, sunflower seed and tea have also been produced.
Animal husbandary has considerable potential for Turkey. In parts of the country where agriculture and farming are limited, poeple make their living with animals,especially in central, eastern and south eastern. Generally traditional techniques are used,and the results are not as satisfactory when compared to modern countries
Fishing is very important for Turkey because Turkey is surrounded by different seas on three sides, and has numerous lakes and rivers means that there is a big seafood potential. Unfortunately, because of the porimitive techniques that are used, production and consumption of seafood per person is below the world average. The annual seafood catch per capita is around 12kg/26.4lb. Anchovy,small mackarel and bonito are the most common fish in Turkey. The major fresh water fish are carp and trout. Besides fish,mussels and shrimps are also abundant.Overfishing and water pollution are two big problems in Turkey.
For forestry and plants Turkey is one the richest in the world. Large areas in the southwest and northwest are covered by the Mediterrenean vegetation, consisting mainly of thick,scrubby underbrush in the lowlands and deciduous or coniferious forests at higher altitudes up to timberline.
The humid northern margins of the country are the most densely wooded regions of Turkey. On the eastern Black Sea coast there are subtropical forests. The Anatolian interior is a region of steppes. Forests of mostly oak and coniferous trees exist only on the elevated areas. The forest areas comprise of 26 % of the total area of Turkey. 99 % of the forests belong to the state. Much of the wood harvest is burned and used for energy. As a country with different climates and different ecosystems, Turkey has a tremendously rich flora and fauna. The number of species of flowers in Turkey is approximately 9000, out of which 3000 are endemic.
Animal life Increasing population, developing industries, large residential areas and unregulated hunting have been causing the desruction of natural resources which has a negative effect on wildlife. Throuhout the country today there are 120 species of mammals, 439 birds,135 repties and 345 fish. Many of these are very rare. Turkey is rich in wild animals,insects and game birds. Wolf,fox,wildcat,lynx,jackal,marten,hyena, bear,deer,gazelle,boar,mountain goat, snake ,scorpin, spider,beaver are among the animals still found in secluded and wooded regions. Major game birds are partridge, wild goose, quail and bastard. Indengenious animals found in Anatolia included sepherd dog from Kangal, white cat of Van region and Angora Goat. Bald Ibis from Birecik is extinct.
For about energy sources here is the table of enegry supplied :
45 % oil products
9 % hard coal
16 % lignite
10 % wood
10 % natural gas
4 % hydraulic
6 % others
TURKISH EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
Many reforms in education were made immediately after the foundation of the republic. The most important one was the secularization. Education has been made a top priority of national development. It has the largest budget of any ministry with an allocation of over 20 % of the national budget.
The aim of the Turkish Educational system is to nurture productive, happy individuals with broad views on world affairs who will unite in national consciousness and thinking to form an inseperable state, and will contribute to the prosperity of society through their skills. This is touht to be instriumental in making the Turkish nation a creative and distinguished memeber of the modern world.
The responsibility of executing Turkish National Education in accordance with the basic principals and in the name of the government is charged to the Ministry of National Education.The National Education system determined by the law is executed in two main basic movements called “ Normal education” and “ Common education. Normal Education is the education executed regularly under the roof of the school with the objectively prepared programs to the individuals with the determined age group and equals and includes the associatons of pre-school,primary school, senior school and high school. The pre-school education ,also called nursery education, is not obligatory and dependent on the will and includes the children of the 3-5 age group that do not reach to the period of obligatory education age in order to create a common environment for the children for preparation for primary education.
The primary education covers the education of the children between the ages of 6-14 for an eight year continous period, is obligatory for each citizen, the education at the state schools are not charged an the gradutes receive a primary school education diploma.A special feature of primary schools is that one teacher takes care of all students in one class,from the first grade and continues with those children for five years. With the sixth year, the system of one teacher for each class changes to a specialist teacher for each subject.After the 4th grade, students can choose one foreign language from English, German or French.Ther average number of students in each classroom is 25-40, but in some rural areas, where there are not enough teachers, even more the students have to fit into the same classroom.
The secondary (senior) school education covers the entire general, professional and techniqual instutitions having minimum three-year education period and is dependent on the primary education.
Besides the delivarence of minimum common culture values, the students are prepared for the higher education where the education should be directed to their interests, skills and capacities. Anataolian, Science,Fine Arts, Vocational, Technical and Islamic Theological schools are different from the General High School, but are still a part of the secondary education system.
The Higher Education consists of universities,faculties,research centers and high schools of further education which are all affiliated to an autonomous Higher Education Council. There are a total number of 58 universities excluding the private universities with more than one million students in Turkey. Students are admitted to universities through a two-phase examination held once a year. The first phase is for selection and the second for replacement. In order to obtain a good future, students want to study in good departments at good universities. This is why they start studying for the entrance exams as much as two years in advance, generally taking private courses as well. Generally speaking 1,500,000 students per year take entrance exams, out of which 800,000 are selected after the first phase, but approximately 500,000 of them are actually placed in schools of further education. Unlike the earlier educational levels, students have to pay a fee of approximately 250-500 USD dollar per year at higher education facilities.
NATIONAL DEFENCE AND ARMED FORCES
The primary, most important vdefender of Turkey’s independence is that the Turkish armed Forces. The role of Turkish armed forces is to defend and protect the land and the republic against internal and external threats and to fulfill the NATO duties agreed by international treaties.
Because of the geopolitical importance of its location as a member of NATO, Turkey has the largest army of any of the NATO countries after USA,with about 1,200,000 soldiers. With this size it is the 7th largest in the world.Approixmately 10-15 %of the national budget is allocated to the ministry of defense.
Since the Ottoman period different systems of military service have been used at different periods. Today, under the Military Service Law, all male citizens who are physically eligible must perform military service between the ages of 20 and 46. The compulsory serrvice period is 18 months including one month of holiday. Up until the age of 46 men might be recruited at different times of short periods as reserves in this so-called reserve period. The Turkish Army Forces consists of the Army, The Air Force, The Navy and the Gendarme. The uniforms of the air force staff are blue, the navy white in summer and black in winter, and the others are various of khaki.
The social function of military service : Military service is a very important social event in men’s lives.It has the distinct effect of dividing it into two phases: life before and after military service. Generally men serve in places other than their home regions without returning except for their vacations. Before leaving, the family provides a big meal in their son’s honour and invite relatives, friends and neighbours. A large group of friends escort the boy to the central bus or train station with musical instruments, ususally drums and clarinets, the louder the better. They may even carry him on their shoulders. Military service is a kind of school in which the young men of Turkey reach maturity through the experiences that they live. This is a place where they become acquainted with manners. For some, it is the first time they live away from home. Being away from family is also an opportunity to learn to stand responsibility on their on feet.
In some rural parts of Turkey, young men cannot get married before completing their military service, since this period is accepted as a major step in the transition to manhood. In these areas especially, if a young man is not recruited because of physical or mental reasons, he gets disappointed and tries his best to convince the authorities that he wants and can perform his duty. Young men who are not accepted into military service often suffer insults or loss of status among their peers.
RELIGIONS IN MODERN TURKEY
Turkey is a unique setting for seeing the histories of the 3 monotheistic religions, Judaism,Christianity and Islam.It was here that Abraham was challenged by God, it was here that Paul heard the call to carry his message into Europe. In all parts of the country there are places celebrated for some pivotal event, for the work of some master artist, for the home of some religious leader.The unusal concentration is due in no small way to Turkey’s geography as the juncture of two peninsulas that bridge Asia and Europe. Many different peoples have converged here upon each other.In this relatively confined space, what they did in one corner sooner or later was felt by the rest, often with redoubled effect.
The peninsulas have focused the affairs of trade route, forum, battlefield and marketplace; the resulting struggle has produced both an abundance and a challenge of new ideas. Out of this also has come a confluence of religions. Followers of each of these religions have had a special tie to the land.
Judaism, the first of them to develop,has consistently been in the minority. In spite of that, resident Jews have frequently been accorded positions of distinction and authority. Grounded in Judaism, the early Christian church started in Anatolia.In an acknowledgement of the close relationship of İslam to the other religions, the leaders of the Ottoman Empire and a secular Turkish Republic have officially practiced religious tolerance through the ommunity system and the Turkish constitution.
Of the Anatolian land, the northern plain of the Fertile Crescent between the Tigris and the Euphrates (Mesopotamia) was home to people who contributed to some of the earliest development of western civilization and of Hebraic insight into the nature of God. In the account of Genesis, Noah’s family spread from the mountains of Ararat across the land. It is presuemd that some of these people settled the fertile plain of Anatolia.
Jews in Anatolian history : The percentage of Jews in Anatolia in relation to the total population has never been great, but the community has long played an important role in the commercial and intellectual life. According to the records, King Sargon II resettled over 27.000 Israelities in northern mesopotemia around 720BC, and during the time of Alexander the Great again a larged number of people were encouraged to move northwetward from Palestine into the newly conquered Greek lands. Many of these were trades and merchants. By the 2nd AD there may have been millions Jews in Asia Minor; they were located in almost all the cities of any size. This dispersion came about in part because of the destruction of Jaruselam (66-74), in particular the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.Part of it occured after the Simon Bar Kochba revolt (132-135 AD) when the emperor Hadrian leveled the whole of Jaruselam and forbade the Jews from entering the city.
Many of these Jews found a haven in Anatolia.Thirteen hundred years later, tens of thousands of Jews who were being persecuted during the inquisition in Europe were accepted as refugees by the Ottoman Sultan Beyazit II in 1492. The refugees first settled in Thessaloniki, Edirne and İstanbul, swelling the populations of the already residentJews in those cities. Jews denominations represented in Turkey include the Sephardic (those who came from Spain), the Ashkenazi (those who came from Crimenia in 17th century) and the Karait (those who rejected Talmud). By 1900 the total Jews community had swelled to 300.000, but today with many families who have moved to İsrael,it is numbered only 30.000
The land of Turkey has been the site of many of the most crucial events in the history of Christianity: Followers of Jesus were first called “ Christians” in Antioch-on-the Orontes.
Paul’s missionary journeys took him three times through western Anatolia. It was in Alexanderia Troas that he had the vision of a man appealing to him to extend his work to Macedonia. All seven ecumenical councils were held in western Anatolia. It was from Constantinople that the Eastern Roman Empire was ruled, and one of the most stately and most honoured Christian building,St. Sophia, was built here.
Between the 11th and 16th centuries Crusaders tramped across Turkey. When Ottoman forces led by sultan Mehmet II conqtered Constantinople in 1453, the Middle East balance of power transferred from Christianity to İslam.
Christianity began among a small minority of ordinary people. Before Constantine the Great legalized it, the congregations usually met in secret in member’s private homes.Therefore it is impossible to point to any building and identify it as a 1st or 2nd century church. The first buildings built specifically as churches were usually basilicas, large covered oblong buildings that ended in an apse. In their ruins now it is the outlines of the apses of those buildings that often mark them as ancient churches. The first church built in Constantinople is thought to be the original church of St. Irene that no longer exists. As Christianity became established by the 5th century, a number of important churches were built, the foundations of which either still support newer buildings or are visible as ruins.
The spread of western Christianity began from the liberal Jewish congregation in Antioch-on-the Orontez. Thanks largely to the missionary work in the 1st century AD of Peter, John,Paul and Barnabas, of their companions John Mark, Silas, Luke, and of their converts Timoty and Thecla, the church moved out over western Anatolia. The role played in the growth of Christianity by the Roman government must also be acknowledged in the stable government, the system of roads, the universal language and particulary in the effect of the government decrees ordering martyrdom which strengthened the faith of the believers.
İslam means “ submission” to Allah; an adherent is called a “ muslim”, one who submits himself to God. God is One: totality, unity. In its unity and comprehensiveness İslam pervades the whole of life. Alahüekber are the words calling people to prayer. Nothing exists that is not God; even that which is beyond human imagination is God. God cannot be seperated from anything. Out of this understanding of the nature of God comes corallary that all aspects of human life are ordered by and must be performed in accordance with God. All human beings are God’s slaves. All the categories into which human behavior is often divided are one and related. Thus for instance, İslam denies a seperation of politics and religion.
Anyone who has the respect of the community may be religious leader in any mosque. At the same time, no priestly intercessor may come between God and God’s slaves. Moral judgement is God’s province alone The requirements of islam can be comprehended by everyone, and in its teachings there are both commonplace guides and inspiration for profound insights. İslam is the most recent of the three great monotheistic religions, having developed from the revelations by God to prophet Mohammed. Mohammed was born in 571AD in the city of Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. A pious, charasmatic man, Mohammed was a merchant by trade, who is in youth searched for a purer and more meaninful religion than the polythestetic beliefs that surrounded him.
In his 40th year he received his first revelation. He was called to be the prophet of God to his people. He began to preach oneness of God and to preach the message entrusted to him-that there is but one God, to whom all humankind must commit themselves.The polythestetis Meccans resented Mohammed’s attacks on their godss and finally he emigrated with afew fellowers to Medina. This migration, which called the Hegira,took place in 622 AD; Moslems adopted the beginning of that year as the first year of their lunar calendar.
In Medina, Mohammed won accaptence as a leader. Within a few years he had established control of the surrounding region and in 630 AD he finally conquered Mecca. The Kaaba, a shrine that had for some time housedthe idols of the pagan Meccans, was rededicated to the woship of Allah and it became the object of pilgrimage for all Moslems. The holly book of İslam is the “ Koran”; it is believed to be the revelation of God to Mohammed. It contains 114 chapters (Suras) and 6666 verses (ayets). The first sura is the Fatiha; it is a prayer and is the ome most frequently recited by Moslems. Mohammed conveyed the revelations orally to those who learned them by heart. The one who had memorized the Koran chanted thedm for the public to hear and learn. After the death of Mohammed, the caliph Abu Bekr collected them in written form on individual pages. It was in caliph Ottoman’s time, 644-656 AD that caligraphers compiled them in a book. Because the Koran was revealed in Arabic, the language spoken by Mohammed, it was written in Arabic. Moslems maintain that it cannot be translated. There are, however, foreing language “ interpretaions” of it, including Turkish and English. Arabic is the language of İslam all over the world, hence the common custom of referring to God in İslam with the Arabic words, Allah.
In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate. Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds, the merciful, the compassionate, the ruler of the judgement day. You we serve, and of you we ask for aid. Guide us in the right path. The path of those to whom you are gracious. Not of those with whom you are angry nor of those who err.
The foundation of İslam is the Koran, the divine word; but so little of this is dogmatic or legislative that early Muslims found it an incomplete authority for determining the proper behavioe for the good life. This was especially true when İslam first began to spread among many diverse peoples. Thus the body of the Sunna developed, suplementing the Koran. The Sunna is a collections of traditions, moral sayings and anecdotes (hadiths) of Mohammed. “ Sunna” means the accepted system of social and legal behavior based on Mohammed’s deeds, utterances and unspoken approval. It is the theory and practice of the entire İslamic community. The Sunna is almost as important as Koran because it embodies all the eleborations of Koranci teaching.
Over time there have been serious disagreements concerning the hadiths, and interpretations of the Koran and Sunna have varied so much as to be contradictory. This situation is generally resolved by reference to what has become perhaps the most important of all the sayings attributed to Mohammed,
” My community will never agree in an error”. The principle that this expresses is called Icma, the agrement of İslam, according to it, every muslim knows that a belief entertained by the greater part of the community over the course of time is infallibly true, and that a practice ( for instance, the cult of saints) that has been allowed by most over a long period must be legitimate and good. Another way of expressing this is to state that the people of the Sunna do not deviate from dogma and practice.
The Koran, the Sunna and The Icma are thus the three supports of Islam. It is the Icma that has given Islam its constant unity with its past and its continuous flexibility. But while the Icma speaks with the voice of auothority, Muslims have been saved from internal intolerance and extreme sectarinism by another hadith of Mohammed which says “ The difference of opinion in my community are a divine mercy”.
FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM
The five duties, sometimes called five pillars of Islam, are 1) the statement of creed, 2) prayer, 3)alms,4)fasting, 5) pilgrimage
I. The creed (Kelime-i Şehadet) in Islam is the statement tyo say and to belive “ I witness that there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is His prophet.” When somebody believes in this, it means he believes and acknowledges everything declared by Mohammed.
II. Prayer (Namaz) is performed 5 times daily. “ At dawn, at noon,in mid-afternoon,in the evening and at midnight.” Prayer is the best indication of beeing a good servant to the Great Creator, Allah. At prayer a muslim enjoys the spiritual happiness caused by being in Allah’s presence and gets exalted spiritually by keeping oneself away from world concerns. To perform a prayer it is necessary to wash certain party of the body.( like hands, face and feet), this is called “ ablution”. The body, the clothes that are worn and the place where prayer is performed have to be clean, in addition. Prayer, by placing the feeling of responsibility in their hearts, purifies man out of all kinds of bad feelings and thoughts and by putting their behaviours under control and preventing them from comitting badness exalts man morally. In the Holy Koran , Allah, Almighty states
“ Establish worship. Worship preserved from lewdness and iniquity.”The place where muslims perform prayers in congreagation is called Cami ( Mosque) and Mescid ( very small mosquelike places). Mosques and mescids are at the same time places where knowledge and information about religion and morals and training are given to Muslims.The person who leads Muslims in prayers is called “ İmam”.When a Muslim prays he covers his head, removes his shoes and a places a carpet under him. He faces Mecca, kneeling,prostrating himself and standing with his hands open. It is accepted as being more correct if people practice namaz in the mosque, although they are not obliged to do so. Women generally practice at home except the holy days. Each set of prayer is about 10-20 minutes long. For a Muslim Friday is a holy day. The İmam gives a sermon to the people in Turkish at the noon time prayers on Fridays. Most of the male are supposed to attend the Holy Friday performance so you may notice that shops close so that workers may attend the Friday noon prayer in many places.
III.Alms(Zekat) It is a worship observed by rich people by giving a certain amount , 1/40 from his wealth, of their certain possessions and money, ever year to the people in need. Alms is a social philantropic system that provides peace and solidarity in the society. Alms decreases the ambition for money and by improving the mutual love and respect among individuals prevents the enmity against wealth. Thus it plays a major role in keeping the society in peace and safety.
IV. The Fasting (Oruç) It is a month-long worship which is observed every year in the lunar month of Ramadan during which Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and :-):-):-)ual desires from dawn to dusk. But the physically weak, the sick, the soldiers, travelers and afew others are exemted.Because the Moslem calendar is based on a lunar year the months rotate around the seasons. Each year, for instance, Ramadan begins ten or eleven days earlier than the previous year according to the Gregorian year. It is the ninth month of the Islamic year.The first revelation of Koran is commemorated in this month. Fasting strenghts volition by taming one’s real self and gives power to resist bad habits. Allah,Almight states in the Holly Koran; “ O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may ward off.” Fasting is a training of morals and behavior which improves the feelings of love, compassion and mercy and purifies soul of evils. Besides, it is a known fact that fasting is a very good practice for health. This is also accepted in the medical world. Concerning this, Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon on him) said. “ If you fast, you feel healthy.”
V.Pilgrimage (Hac) It is a worship performed once in a life time by the people who are in good health and can afford it. To perform it they pay a visit to the holy places on certain days to Saudi Arabia.Everybody wears the same type of clothing while performing this worship and this reminds of the day when we are in Allah’s presence after death. It makes it possible for believers to turn to Allah in a sincere way and to ask for being forgiven and acceptance of their repentance. Seeing the holy places gives man a spiritual excitement and strengthens the religious feelings. Pilgrimage which unites the people of different countries, colors and languages who came to the holy places about one goal, is an international assembly from social point of view.
As seen worships in Islam aim at maturing men morally and making them reach goodness and perfect and at the same time making it possible for the society to live in peace by purifying men of evils.
Muslim sectarinism is negligible, except for the division of İslam into Sunnis and Shiites. This devison arose over who should boceme the caliph in 1st C of the İslamic calendar. It is a convention to threat Sunni Islam as the norm because the vast majority of İslam are Sunnis.
Shiites the essential distinction between Sunnis and Shiites at the outset was that Shiites believed that Ali and his successors were divinely ordained caliphs. They consider that his sons Hasan and Husain were martyrs. Shiites have many more festivals than Sunnis, there are also many more saints, more dervishes and more religious communities ( tarikats). Although they believe the unity of God, in the prophet Mohammed and in the Koran, their practice of the requirenments of İslam differs from Sunni practice. The largest concentration of Shiites is in Iran.
SUFISM a Sufi is a Muslim who has devoted himself to the life of mysticsm.The scholars have contrasted them with the stern Sunni legalists (Ulema), noting that from the beginning of Islam
many people lived their daily lives in a spirit of devotion and saw in Islam a discipline of the soul
rather than a legal ritual. Sufis have ranged from people of humble background to whom mysticsm was a moral and an emotional experience to those of great intellectual power who found in it a profound truth and spiritual enlightenment. Over the years a number of Sufi orders (tarikats) have
Developed, centered around charasmatic leaders.
Dervishes were members of various Moslem religious communities called “ tarikats”. The word “tarikat” means the road that leads to spiritual union with God.”Usually the community was a mystical order. The tarikats started as collection of desciples around a reverred religious leader. After the breakup of the Seljuk Empire at the end of the 11th century these tarikats acquired a more formal but still popular and humanistic structure. Each tarikat claimed its origin in a historic founder whose inspiration the members traced from the Prophet Mohammet through an unbroken line of s