Facts

If someone were to randomly ask in a Thanksgiving table if turkeys originally came from Turkey, you could be the one with all the answers. Here’s what you can say: turkeys are native animals in North America. The reason why they have the same name is because in the 1500s, there were bird traders. The bird they traded looks very much like the turkey from North America.  These traders passed through Turkey from Madagascar to get to their buyers and were referred to as “turkey merchants.” By chance the Spanish bought the native birds in America and brought them back to Europe. People mistook the two birds as the same and began to call both birds, turkeys. Eventually, the native bird from North America was called turkey as well. The only difference is that the guinea fowl isn’t the main course like the turkey is.

Other Facts About Turkey

Turkey is one of the world’s few transcontinental countries because it has land in Western Asia and South Eastern Europe.  It is surrounded by 8 countries: Greece, Bulgaria, Armenia, Iran, Azerbaijani, Georgia, Syria, and Iraq.  This makes it very vulnerable to political problems any of these 8 countries may have like the ongoing civil war in Syria. One could imagine just how much external politics could influence the prices of everything from houses for sale to basic commodities like food and fuel.

Turkish is the national language and about 90% of the population speaks it as their native tongue. The rest use Kurdish, Arabic, Greek, and other minor dialects.  The country is basically composed of mostly Muslims with Turks as the main ethnic group followed by Kurds.

Turkey’s largest city is Istanbul which was capital city of 3 different empires: Ottoman, Byzantine, and Roman. Today the capital city of the Republic of Turkey is Ankara. In any given year up to today, there are more than 100 excavation sites or archaeological digs ongoing which is not surprising considering its long history which spans over 2,000 years.  Two of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World are found in Turkey. These are the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the Temple of Artemis. Biblical Abraham was born in Turkey as was Herodotus and Julius Caesar who are other big historical figures.

Contributions of Turkey to the World

  • Turkey gave Europe its first taste of coffee
  • The famous tulips from Denmark originally came from Turkey
  • Santa Claus (St. Nicolas) was born in Turkey
  • Mark Anthony gave a part of Turkey’s southwestern shoreline to Cleopatra as his wedding gift
  • The Trojan War happened in Turkey and there is a wooden statue in western Turkey as a monument to this event
  • Almost 70% of the world’s hazelnuts come from Turkey
  • St Peter’s Church is the first church built by man and it is found in Antioch, Turkey

Turkey sits on more than 300,000 square miles of land and has an estimated population of over 76 million (2012 figures). Its economy is bolstered by industries such as tourism, textiles, auto manufacturing, steel, mining, food processing, and agricultural products and byproducts from olives, grain, and cotton.