Things to Buy:
Turkish Carpets - Carpet weaving is traditional in Turkey. Turkish
carpets are famous for their beauty and durability. That's because they are the most important shopping products for foreign people.
Ceramics - Ceramics made in Kutahya and Iznik are unique and well-known. There are also handmade tiles, plates, cups, bowls which are very decorative and interest taking.
Copper Vessels - They are one of the most purchased antique-like decorative goods by foreigners. Being a coppersmith was traditional in Ottoman Empire.
Jewellry - Gold and silver are well found.
Leather - It is a big industry in Turkey. You can find many Leather shoes, bags, cushions, jackets, hats, trousers are attractive.
Meerschaum - It is a hydrous magnesium silicate-a clay-like material which is carved into a pipe. It is a unique material found in Eskisehir. The beautiful pipes carved out of this stone are recommended highly for usage and decorative purchases.
What to Bring:
In hot times of the year (June to mid-September) of Marmara, Aegean, and Meditarenean - take light, cotton summer clothings and cardigans for the evening.
In hot times of the year (June to mid-September) of Black Sea, Central and Eastern Anatolia - besides summer wear, warmer clothing should be taken for cool evenings at high altitudes.
In winter, woolens and rain gears are needed. Most of the country is cold and rainy, High Central and Eastern Anatolia are mostly snowy. Mediterenean coast does not get very cold.
Comfortable shoes are neccessary for visiting archeological and historical sites.
Turkey's land mass is 774.815 sq km. Anatolia is a high plateau region rising progressively towards the East, and is broken by the valleys of about fifteen rivers. There are numerous lakes; and the greatest lake Van is larger than some inland seas. In the North, the Eastern Black Sea Mountain chain runs parallel to the Black Sea; in the South, The Taurus Mountains sweep down almost to the narrow, fertile coastal plain along the sae coast.
The coastline of Turkey's four seas is over 8333 km. long .
Turkey enjoys a variety of climates changing from the temperate and rainy climate of Black Sea to the continental climate of the interior, then , to the Meditarenean climate of the Aegean and the Mediterranean Coastal regions.
Summers are hot, springs are warm and winters are usually are cold or cool. Autumn is nice for the entire duration of September and October. Then the wheather starts to cool down.
The above is what you should expect normally. However global climate changes, as you may have noticed in your own country. So there may be small changes in the climate descriptions given above.
Government & Policies:
The Turkish Republic is based on a secular parliamentary system.
Agriculture plays an important role in Turkish economy. Turkey is the one of the most important food exporters in the world. The main crops are wheat, rice, cotton, tea, tobacco, hazelnuts and fruits. Sheeps are Turkey's most important live-stock, Turkey is one of the greatest wool and cotton producers in Europe.
Industial goods have also come to play an important role in the economy bringing the economic growth to a higher ratio, from white goods to cars.
Turkey has become a major touristic destination in Europe. With the rapid development of summer & winter tourism facilities, people from all over the world are able to enjoy the cultural, historical and natural sites of Turkey.
Population & People:
Turkey has 72 millions of inhabitants. 99% of the population are Muslim. Istanbul is the greatest city having over 10 millions of inhabitants.
Turkish society have modernized after the revolutions and reforms of Ataturk-the founder of Turkey. Westernization is high at cities but traditions of Turkey are different from West. The people at the country side are more conservative and traditional.
Hospitality is one of the cornerstones of the Turkish way of life. Every Turkish people feels bound to honour his guest in the best possible manner.
8 years of primary and middle school is compulsory for children. After the middle school, secondary, high schools, private colleges and universities are available. Bogazici University in Istanbul is the best university in Turkey.
The national monetary unit is Turkish Lira (TL). Inflation of 100% per annum is an important problem for Turkish people. But prices do not change in terms of stable foreign exchange like USD or DM. Exchange rates for foreign currencies are published daily.
In cheap restaurants, hotels, tipping may not be necessary. In expensive restaurants, hotels and in hairdressers, tipping is customary.
Post offices are easily recognizable by their yellow 'PTT' signs. Major post offices are open 08:00 - 24:00 hrs., Mon.-Sat.; 09:00 - 19:00, Sun.
Other offices have the same hour as government offices; 09:00 - 12:30, 13:30 - 17:00.
Choose express mail-APS-to send your mails in the fastest way within Turkey.
Telephone cards are available to make cheap phone calls at PTT phone boxes. At many touristic places you can use your credit card in the phone machine. Also there are private telephone and fax offices.
Radio & TV:
There are hundreds of local and national private TV and radio channels in Turkey as well as a government-dependent channel: TRT. On TRT, short news are given in English, German and French in the evenings.
There are also international TV channels available like CNN, NBC-Europe, BBC, Eurosport.
Electricity is supplied at 220 volts. Plugs have two round prongs.
Most of the hotels have laundries. The reception will help you for laundry. Automatic laundries are common in many touristic cities.
Bottled water is suggested. Tap water has no guarantee to be clean enough. Or it may not be tasty since in most places it is very chlorinated.
Doctors & Dentists:
Doctors and dentists can be found in Turkish major hospitals and clinics, in addition, there are certain foreign-operated hospitals in Istanbul and other big cities.
Modern Western style health care can be found in Istanbul.
Smoking is forbidden by Turkish Law in closed public areas (such as buses) . Most of the Turkish adults smoke, but it is not causing as much discomfort like in the past thanks to this law.
Government offices open at 8:30, close at 17:30. (12:30-13:30 noon break)
Shops are open between 9:00-19:00.(13:00-14:00 noon break)
Jan 1= New Year's Day.
Apr 23 = National Independence and Children's Day.
May 19 = Ataturk Commemoration and Youth and Sports Day.
Aug 30 = Victory Date.
Oct 29 = Republic Day.
Religious festivals such as Ramazan and Kurban Bayrami are also official holidays. Since these festivals are according to Hicri calender, their dates change every year.
Wrestling was Turkey's traditional sport. But the most popular sport is soccer in these days. Then comes the basketball. Other different kinds of sports are done all around the country. Some interesting ones: Underwater diving, wind-surfing, golfing, airsports, caving, hunting, winter sports, mountaineering, trekking.