Located at the intersections of the Middle East, the Balkans, Caucasus, and the Mediterranean, the Republic of Turkey is surrounded by Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Greece, and Bulgaria, with maritime borders in the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Aegean Sea. The Asian portion of Turkey consists of the peninsula of Asia Minor, which is also popularly known as Anatolia, and the mountainous part in the east known as the Armenian Highland. Meanwhile, the Turkish Thrace is located in the southeasternmost part of Europe, extending to the Balkans. The country has been a stumbling block and a link that divides and connects Asia and Europe. It has also been the assembly point for Turkic, Anatolian Ottoman, and Western cultures.
The industry and services sectors are the major drivers of the country’s economy. Its agricultural sector still employs about 30% of its workforce while the textile and clothing sectors account for one-third of industrial employment. Furthermore, the automotive, construction and electronic sectors are as significant. In 2006, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline started to operate and is expected to bring up to 1 million barrels daily from the Caspian to market. Other gas pipelines are also arranged to aid the transit of gas from Central Asia to Europe via Turkey.
Following the downfall of Turkey’s economy, Ankara launched financial and fiscal reforms aimed to strengthen economic frameworks. These reforms yielded more than 6% annually until 2008 when GDP contracted due to the global economic crisis and tighter fiscal policy. However, the nation’s well-regulated financial markets and banking systems withstood the financial crisis and GDP soared to 7.3% in 2010.
Turkey’s national currency is the Turkish Lira which was established in 1927, replacing the Ottoman Lira. In January 2005, the currency was revalued and a new Turkish lira was introduced. Just like preceding issues, the new lira banknotes feature the founding father of the New Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.