Country Focus: Turkey

by Mindy Dake
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Official name: Republic of Turkey.
Capital: Ankara.
Population: About 59 million, of which 65% is urban. Some 30% of the total population works in agriculture. The average annual growth rate is 2.2%.
Language: Turkish (official language), Kurdish, Arabic.
Religion: Muslim (mostly Sunni) 99.8%, other 0.2%.
Government: Republican parliamentary democracy. Chief of state is President Suleyman Demirel, head of government is Prime Minister Tancu Ciller.
Official agricultural agencies: Ministry of Agriculture. The Turkish Grain Board (TMO), an agency within the Ministry, purchases and sells some of the country's grain and is responsible for setting import levies.
Land and climate: Bridging Europe and Asia, Turkey's total area is 780,580 square km of mostly mountainous terrain, with a high central plateau in the interior. About 30% of area is arable land, and about 21 million ha are cultivated. Climate is mostly temperate, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters; the climate in the interior is harsher.
Turkey is bordered by Georgia and Armenia to the northeast, Iran to the east, Iraq and Syria to the south and Greece and Bulgaria to the northwest. Turkey's coastline totals 7,200 km, with the Black Sea on the north, the Aegean Sea on the west and the Mediterranean Sea on the south. Turkey's location is strategic, as it straddles the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits and the Sea of Marmara, the waterways that link the Black and Aegean Seas.
Economy: Market economy. Industrial production accounts for about 35% of G.D.P., agriculture accounts for 18%, and services account for the balance. Major industries include textiles, food processing and mining.
Gross domestic product per capita: U.S.$1,950 (1992).
Currency: the Turkish lira. April 8, 1994 exchange rate: 33,594 lira per U.S. dollar.
Major crops: Wheat, barley, maize, fruits, cotton.
Wheat: Wheat is Turkey's most significant crop, with production in the past five years averaging about 15.5 million tonnes. Domestic consumption in the same period averaged about 14.8 million tonnes, and about 97% of that was food use. Varieties consist of approximately 60% hard and semi-hard red wheats, 20% soft red wheats, 15% white wheats and 5% durum.
Turkey is a net wheat exporter; annual exports since 1989-90 averaged slightly more than 2 million tonnes, while imports averaged about 1 million. Major export destinations include countries in the Middle East and former Soviet Union republics. Wheat is imported to upgrade the quality of domestic wheat stocks for milling and baking uses.
Barley: Barley is Turkey's major feed ingredient. Annual production in the past five years has averaged about 6.4 million tonnes, with consumption averaging 6 million. Annual exports averaged about 500,000 tonnes, with Saudi Arabia and the F.S.U. the primary destinations.
Maize: Turkey produces about 2.25 million tonnes of maize annually. Consumption averages 2.3 million tonnes, with about 80% for feed use, primarily poultry feeding.
Annual maize use is influenced by the availability of domestic barley. Maize also competes with imported sorghum and tapioca in feed milling. As a result, maize imports are highly variable from year to year; although the five-year average is 200,000 tonnes, annual imports in the same period ranged from a high of 740,000 to a low of 83,000. The U.S., Argentina and Bulgaria are Turkey's primary maize suppliers.
Livestock: The livestock and dairy sectors have been relatively static in recent years. Turkey's beef and veal production in 1994 is estimated to reach 295,000 tonnes, carcass equivalent, with consumption estimated at 322,000. Imports make up the difference.
The poultry industry, on the other hand, has expanded sharply, with production since 1986 tripling to an estimated 340,000 tonnes this year. Per capita poultry consumption, at an estimated 9.44 kg, also has increased at triple-digit rates. Nonetheless, Turkey still lags well behind its Middle East neighbors' average per capita consumption of 41 kg.
Transportation: Turkey has nearly 8,900 km of railroads, with 8,400 consisting of 1.435-meter gauge and the remainder electrified. Almost 50,000 km of highways traverse the country, some 50% of which are paved. Another 30% are gravel or crushed stone, with the remainder improved or unimproved earth. Ports include Iskenderun, Istanbul, Mersin and Izmir.