The Republic of Turkey (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti in Turkish), is a transcontinental country in Eurasia, 97 percent in Anatolia in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe separated by the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles. Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, parliamentary republic with a diverse cultural heritage. It is bordered by eight countries: Greece and Bulgaria to the northwest; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan and Iran to the east; Iraq and Syria to the south. The country is encircled by seas on three sides: the Aegean Sea is to the west, the Black Sea to the north, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Ankara is the capital while Istanbul is the country’s largest city and main cultural and commercial center. Approximately 70-80% of the country’s citizens identify themselves as ethnic Turks. Other ethnic groups include legally recognized (Armenians, Greeks, Jews) and unrecognized (Kurds, Arabs, Circassians, Albanians, Bosniaks, Georgians, etc.) minorities. Kurds are the largest ethnic minority group, making up approximately 20% of the population.
The territory of Turkey is more than 990 miles (1,600 kilometers) long and 500 miles (800 km) wide, with a roughly rectangular shape. It lies between latitudes 35° and 43° N, and longitudes 25° and 45° E. Turkey’s land area, including lakes, occupies 302,535 square miles (783,562 km²), of which 291,773 square miles (755,688 km²) are in Southwest Asia and 9,175 square miles (23,764 km²) in Europe. Turkey is the world’s 37th largest country in terms of area. The Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles, which together form the Turkish Straits, divide Thrace and Anatolia; they also separate Europe and Asia.
The European section of Turkey, East Thrace (the easternmost region of the Balkan peninsula), forms the borders of Turkey with Greece and Bulgaria. The Asian part of the country is comprised mostly by the peninsula of Anatolia, which consists of a high central plateau with narrow coastal plains, between the Köroğlu and Pontic mountain ranges to the north and the Taurus Mountains to the south. Eastern Turkey, located within the western plateau of the Armenian Highlands, has a more mountainous landscape and is home to the sources of rivers such as the Euphrates, Tigris and Aras, and contains Mount Ararat, Turkey’s highest point at 16,854 feet (5,137 meters), and Lake Van, the largest lake in the country. Southeastern Turkey is located within the northern plains of Upper Mesopotamia.
Turkey is divided into seven geographical regions: Marmara, Aegean, Black Sea, Central Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia, Southeastern Anatolia and the Mediterranean. The uneven north Anatolian terrain running along the Black Sea resembles a long, narrow belt. This region comprises approximately one-sixth of Turkey’s total land area. As a general trend, the inland Anatolian plateau becomes increasingly rugged as it progresses eastward.
Turkey’s varied landscapes are the product of complex earth movements that have shaped the region over thousands of years and still manifest themselves in fairly frequent earthquakes and occasional volcanic eruptions. The Bosphorus and the Dardanelles owe their existence to the fault lines running through Turkey that led to the creation of the Black Sea. The North Anatolian Fault Line runs across the north of the country from west to east, along which major earthquakes took place in history. The latest of those big earthquakes was the 1999 İzmit earthquake.
The area of Turkey has been inhabited since the Paleolithic by various ancient Anatolian civilizations, as well as Assyrians, Greeks, Thracians, Phrygians, Urartians and Armenians. After Alexander the Great’s conquest, the area was Hellenized, a process which continued under the Roman Empire and its transition into the Byzantine Empire. The Seljuk Turks began migrating into the area in the 11th century, starting the process of Turkification, which was accelerated by the Seljuk victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, when it disintegrated into small Turkish beyliks.
In the mid-14th century the Ottomans started uniting Anatolia and created an empire encompassing much of Southeast Europe, West Asia and North Africa, becoming a major power in Eurasia and Africa during the early modern period. The empire reached the peak of its power in the 16th century, especially during the reign (1520–1566) of Suleiman the Magnificent. It remained powerful and influential for two more centuries, until important setbacks in the 17th and 18th century forced it to cede strategic territories in Europe, signalling the loss of its former military strength and wealth. After the 1913 Ottoman coup d’état which effectively put the country under the control of the Three Pashas, the Ottoman Empire decided to join the Central Powers during World War I which were ultimately defeated by the Allied Powers. During the war, the Ottoman government committed genocides[III] against its Armenian, Assyrian and Pontic Greek citizens.
Following the war, the conglomeration of territories and peoples that formerly comprised the Ottoman Empire was partitioned into several new states. The Turkish War of Independence (1919–1922), initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues against the occupying Allies, resulted in the abolition of monarchy in 1922 and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, with Atatürk as its first president. Atatürk enacted numerous reforms, many of which incorporated various aspects of Western thought, philosophy, and customs into the new form of Turkish government. Its location has given it geopolitical and strategic importance throughout history.
Turkey’s current administration headed by president Tayyip Erdoğan has reversed many of the country’s earlier reforms which had been in place since the founding of the modern republic of Turkey, such as Freedom of the Press, a Legislative System of Checks and Balances, and a set of standards for secularism in government, as first enacted by Atatürk.
The name of Turkey (Türkiye) is based on the ethnonym Türk. The first recorded use of the term “Türk” or “Türük” as an autonym is contained in the Old Turkic inscriptions of the Göktürks (Celestial Turks) of Central Asia in around the 8th century. The English name Turkey first appeared in the late 14th century and is derived from Medieval Latin Turchia. The Greek cognate of this name, Tourkia (Τουρκία) was used by the Byzantine emperor and scholar Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in his book De Administrando Imperio, though in his use, “Turks” always referred to Magyars. Similarly, the medieval Khazar Empire, a Turkic state on the northern shores of the Black and Caspian seas, was referred to as Tourkia (Land of the Turks) in Byzantine sources. The medieval Arabs referred to the Mamluk Sultanate as al-Dawla al-Turkiyya (State of Turkey). The Ottoman Empire was sometimes referred to as Turkey or the Turkish Empire among its European contemporaries.
The Anatolian peninsula, comprising most of modern Turkey, is one of the oldest permanently settled regions in the world. Various ancient Anatolian populations have lived in Anatolia, from at least the Neolithic period until the Hellenistic period. Many of these peoples spoke the Anatolian languages, a branch of the larger Indo-European language family. In fact, given the antiquity of the Indo-European Hittite and Luwian languages, some scholars have proposed Anatolia as the hypothetical center from which the Indo-European languages radiated. The European part of Turkey, called Eastern Thrace, has also been inhabited since at least forty thousand years ago, and is known to have been in the Neolithic era by about 6000 BC.
Göbekli Tepe is the site of the oldest known man-made religious structure, a temple dating to circa 10,000 BC, while Çatalhöyük is a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately 7500 BC to 5700 BC. It is the largest and best-preserved Neolithic site found to date and in July 2012 was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The settlement of Troy started in the Neolithic Age and continued into the Iron Age.
The earliest recorded inhabitants of Anatolia were the Hattians and Hurrians, non-Indo-European peoples who inhabited central and eastern Anatolia, respectively, as early as ca. 2300 BC. Indo-European Hittites came to Anatolia and gradually absorbed the Hattians and Hurrians ca. 2000–1700 BC. The first major empire in the area was founded by the Hittites, from the 18th through the 13th century BC. The Assyrians conquered and settled parts of southeastern Turkey as early as 1950 BC until the year 612 BC. Urartu re-emerged in Assyrian inscriptions in the 9th century BC as a powerful northern rival of Assyria.
Following the collapse of the Hittite empire c. 1180 BC, the Phrygians, an Indo-European people, achieved ascendancy in Anatolia until their kingdom was destroyed by the Cimmerians in the 7th century BC. Starting from 714 BC, Urartu shared the same fate and dissolved in 590 BC, when it was conquered by the Medes. The most powerful of Phrygia’s successor states were Lydia, Caria and Lycia.
Starting around 1200 BC, the coast of Anatolia was heavily settled by Aeolian and Ionian Greeks. Numerous important cities were founded by these colonists, such as Miletus, Ephesus, Smyrna (now İzmir) and Byzantium (now Istanbul), the latter founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 657 BC. The first state that was called Armenia by neighboring peoples was the state of the Armenian Orontid dynasty, which included parts of eastern Turkey beginning in the 6th century BC. In Northwest Turkey, the most significant tribal group in Thrace was the Odyrisians, founded by Teres I.
All of modern-day Turkey was conquered by the Persian Achaemenid Empire during the 6th century BC. The Greco-Persian Wars started when the Greek city states on the coast of Anatolia rebelled against Persian rule in 499 BC. The territory of Turkey later fell to Alexander the Great in 334 BC, which led to increasing cultural homogeneity and Hellenization in the area.
Following Alexander’s death in 323 BC, Anatolia was subsequently divided into a number of small Hellenistic kingdoms, all of which became part of the Roman Republic by the mid-1st century BC. The process of Hellenization that began with Alexander’s conquest accelerated under Roman rule, and by the early centuries of the Christian Era, the local Anatolian languages and cultures had become extinct, being largely replaced by ancient Greek language and culture. From the 1st century BC up to the 3rd century CE, large parts of modern-day Turkey were contested between the Romans and neighboring Parthians through the frequent Roman-Parthian Wars.
In 324, Constantine I chose Byzantium to be the new capital of the Roman Empire, renaming it New Rome. Following the death of Theodosius I in 395 and the permanent division of the Roman Empire between his two sons, the city, which would popularly come to be known as Constantinople, became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. This empire, which would later be branded by historians as the Byzantine Empire, ruled most of the territory of present-day Turkey until the Late Middle Ages although the eastern regions remained in firm Sasanian hands up to the first half of the seventh century. The frequent Byzantine-Sassanid Wars, as part of the centuries long-lasting Roman-Persian Wars, fought between the neighboring rival Byzantines and Sasanians, took place in various parts of present-day Turkey and decided much of the latter’s history from the fourth century up to the first half of the seventh century.
The House of Seljuk was a branch of the Kınık Oğuz Turks who resided on the periphery of the Muslim world, in the Yabgu Khaganate of the Oğuz confederacy, to the north of the Caspian and Aral Seas, in the 9th century. In the 10th century, the Seljuks started migrating from their ancestral homeland into Persia, which became the administrative core of the Great Seljuk Empire.
In the latter half of the 11th century, the Seljuk Turks began penetrating into medieval Armenia and the eastern regions of Anatolia. In 1071, the Seljuks defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert, starting the Turkification process in the area; the Turkish language and Islam were introduced to Armenia and Anatolia, gradually spreading throughout the region. The slow transition from a predominantly Christian and Greek-speaking Anatolia to a predominantly Muslim and Turkish-speaking one was underway. Alongside the Turkification of the territory, the culturally Persianized Seljuks set the basis for a Turko-Persian principal culture in Anatolia,which their eventual successors, the Ottomans, would take over.
In 1243, the Seljuk armies were defeated by the Mongols, causing the Seljuk Empire’s power to slowly disintegrate. In its wake, one of the Turkish principalities governed by Osman I would evolve over the next 200 years into the Ottoman Empire. In 1453, the Ottomans completed their conquest of the Byzantine Empire by capturing its capital, Constantinople.
In 1514, Sultan Selim I (1512–1520) successfully expanded the empire’s southern and eastern borders by defeating Shah Ismail I of the Safavid dynasty in the Battle of Chaldiran. In 1517, Selim I expanded Ottoman rule into Algeria and Egypt, and created a naval presence in the Red Sea. Subsequently, a contest started between the Ottoman and Portuguese empires to become the dominant sea power in the Indian Ocean, with a number of naval battles in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. The Portuguese presence in the Indian Ocean was perceived as a threat to the Ottoman monopoly over the ancient trade routes between East Asia and Western Europe. Despite the increasingly prominent European presence, the Ottoman Empire’s trade with the east continued to flourish until the second half of the 18th century.
The Ottoman Empire’s power and prestige peaked in the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, who personally instituted major legislative changes relating to society, education, taxation and criminal law. The empire was often at odds with the Holy Roman Empire in its steady advance towards Central Europe through the Balkans and the southern part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
At sea, the Ottoman Navy contended with several Holy Leagues, such as those in 1538, 1571, 1684 and 1717 (composed primarily of Habsburg Spain, the Republic of Genoa, the Republic of Venice, the Knights of St. John, the Papal States, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Duchy of Savoy), for the control of the Mediterranean Sea. In the east, the Ottomans were often at war with Safavid Persia over conflicts stemming from territorial disputes or religious differences between the 16th and 18th centuries. The Ottoman wars with Persia continued as the Zand, Afsharid, and Qajar dynasties succeeded the Safavids in Iran, until the first half of the 19th century. From the 16th to the early 20th centuries, the Ottoman Empire also fought many wars with the Russian Tsardom and Empire. These were initially about Ottoman territorial expansion and consolidation in southeastern and eastern Europe; but starting from the latter half of the 18th century, they became more about the survival of the Ottoman Empire, which had begun to lose its strategic territories on the northern Black Sea coast to the advancing Russians. Between the 18th and the early 20th centuries, the Ottoman, Persian and Russian empires were neighboring rivals of each other.
In the 18th century, foreign countries maintained courier services through their official missions in the Ottoman Empire, to permit transportation of mail between those countries and Constantinople. Nine countries had negotiated “Capitulations” or treaties with the Ottomans, which granted various extraterritorial rights in exchange for trade opportunities. Such agreements permitted Russia (1720 & 1783), Austria (1739), France (1812), Great Britain (1832) and Greece (1834), as well as Germany, Italy, Poland, and Romania, to maintain post offices in the Ottoman Empire. Some of these developed into public mail services, used to transmit mail to Europe.
From the second half of the 18th century onwards, the Ottoman Empire began to decline. The Tanzimat reforms of the 19th century, which had been instituted by Mahmud II, were aimed to modernize the Ottoman state in line with the progress that had been made in Western Europe.
The Ottoman Empire did not maintain its own regular public mail service until 1840, when a service was established between Constantinople and other major cities in the country. As late as 1863, there were only 63 domestic post offices in the entire Empire, and service was sporadic and slow.
On January 1, 1863, the Empire issued its first adhesive postage stamps. It was the second independent country in Asia to issue adhesive stamps, preceded only by Russia in 1858, and three British colonies, the Scinde District of India in 1852, India itself in 1854 and Ceylon in 1857. the Ottoman Empire’s stamps came less than two years after its neighbor and former territory, Greece (independent 1832), issued its first stamps.
The design consists of the tughra, the Turkish emblem of sovereignty, for the then current ruler Sultan Abdülaziz, over a crescent bearing the inscription in Ottoman Turkish Devleti Aliye Osmaniye, or “The Sublime Ottoman Empire”. Between some of the stamps there is a control band with the words Nazareti Maliye devleti aliye, or “Ministry of Finance of the Imperial Government”. The stamps were designed and lithographed at the Constantinople mint, and the writing is entirely in Turkish using Arabic script. The issue includes four denominations issued as regular postage stamps, and the same four values as postage due stamps. Including paper variants, a total of 10 Scott catalogue numbers have been assigned to this issue (Scott #1-2, 4-7, and J1-4). The postage due stamps were among the first in the world to be issued for that specific purpose. The postage dues through 1913 had the same designs as the regular stamps, but were typically distinguished by being printed in brown or black.
“Dissatisfied” with the first issue as compared with “the well-executed stamps of other countries”, the Empire turned to France for its second issue of postage stamps, following Greece’s decision to have its first stamps printed in Paris. Commonly known as the Duloz issue, it was engraved by a Frenchman, Mr. “Duloz”, and originally printed by the Poitevin firm in Paris. The engraver has been identified as Pierre Edelestand Stanislas Dulos. Dulos, as his name is correctly spelled, was a highly skilled technical engraver and the inventor of a chemical process to produce recess or relief engraving plates, and engraved many French revenue stamps. The design was apparently prepared by the Turkish Ministry of Finance, but the name of the designer is unknown. The Duloz stamps were issued from 1865 to 1876, although two were overprinted for use in 1881–1882, and continued to be used for some time as the subsequent Empire issue was not valid for domestic postage until 1888 (Scott #8-52 and J6-35). In 1868, printing plates for the stamps were sent to Constantinople, where the remaining Duloz stamps were printed. Some of the subsequent printings were poorly printed and badly perforated.
The Duloz stamps were typographed or relief printed and the design consists of a central oval enclosing a crescent and star with radiating lines, and “have a distinctly oriental character”. Each value was printed in a single color. Turkish writing in Arabic script is overprinted on the oval in black, stating Postai devleti Osmaniye or “Post of the Ottoman Empire”. The bottom inscription states the denomination in para, or fortieths of a piastre (kuruş), and accordingly differs on each value. These stamps were reprinted in a series of issues with different colors and overprint script, from 1865 to 1882. Scott assigns 46 primary catalog numbers to the Duloz stamps, plus 29 numbers to the postage dues.
In 1865, the local post distribution company Liannos et Cie was established in Constantinople to distribute mail arriving in the city which was not addressed in Arabic as the staff of the Ottoman Postal Service were unable to read the Latin alphabet. The stamps were printed by Perkins Bacon & Company Ltd. from plates that are now held in the museum of the Royal Philatelic Society London. In 1866, a second service was set up on behalf of the Egyptian post office operating in the city to solve the same problem. Both services were short lived.
Postal stationery envelopes were first issued by the Ottoman Empire in 1869 and continue to be available to date. Postcards were first issued in 1877 and since then over one hundred different postcards have been produced.
Effective July 1, 1875, Turkey became a founding member of the General Postal Union, soon to become the Universal Postal Union, a multi-country treaty facilitating and standardizing the transport of mail between members. In January 1876, the Duloz stamps were overprinted with the values in western numerals (in piastres, not para) and French abbreviations as “a provisional series for franking letters to countries belonging to the Universal Postal Union”. Turkey hoped that joining the UPU would eliminate the foreign post offices operating in the country, but that did not occur as the foreign post offices continued to be competitive.
The Empire issue was first issued in September 1876, following Turkey’s entry into the Universal Postal Union, and unlike the preceding Duloz issue, bore the name of the country and the values in Western characters as well as Arabic. They were intended for use to countries in the UPU, but in March 1888 became officially valid for domestic use. The Empire stamps were issued from 1876 to 1890, and the basic postage stamps, not counting overprinted stamps, are assigned a total of 32 catalog numbers by Scott, including three postage dues (Scott #53-91 and J36-38).
The design of the Empire issue consists of a crescent, with ends pointing upward, surrounding Arabic script, which reads, like the Duloz stamps, “Post of the Ottoman Empire”. In the bottom center of the crescent itself appears, also in Arabic writing, the denomination, e.g. 20 paras or 2 piastres. In side-panels to the lower left and right of the crescent appear only the numerical value, but in Turkish numerals. Below the crescent is a label with the words EMP: OTTOMAN, that is, Ottoman Empire, and below the label is the value in western numerals and letters, e.g. “2 piastres”.
The stamps were typographed in two colors, except for the postage dues, which were printed only in black. There is a background composed of calligraphic letters, in mirror image, reading Postai devleti Osmaniye, or “Post of the Ottoman Empire”, and the Turkish year date 1291, equivalent to 1875. The color combinations used are often striking.
The efforts of Midhat Pasha during the late Tanzimat era led the Ottoman constitutional movement of 1876, which introduced the First Constitutional Era, but these efforts proved to be inadequate in most fields, and failed to stop the dissolution of the empire. As the empire gradually shrank in size, military power and wealth, especially after the Ottoman economic crisis and default in 1875 which led to uprisings in the Balkan provinces that culminated into the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, many Balkan Muslims migrated to the Empire’s heartland in Anatolia, along with the Circassians fleeing the Russian conquest of the Caucasus. The decline of the Ottoman Empire led to a rise in nationalist sentiment among its various subject peoples, leading to increased ethnic tensions which occasionally burst into violence, such as the Hamidian massacres of Armenians.
In 1892, the Ottoman Empire issued a series of large stamps with an intricate design known by philatelists as the “Arms and Tughra” issue, the only western writing being the value both in numerals and spelled out in French (Scott #95-100 and J39-42). The center of the stamps bears the Ottoman coat of arms surrounding the tughra of Abdul Hamid II. Stamps were issued for regular postage and for postage due and were overprinted for use as newspaper stamps and for other purposes.
In 1898, the Empire issued a series of stamps for its armed forces occupying Thessaly during the Greco-Turkish War. The stamps have an intricate design incorporating the tughra and the bridge at Larissa and are of interest for their unusual octagonal shape and perforations which permit them to be separated into either squares or octagons. They are the first postage stamps ever issued octagonally perforated (Scott #M1-5).
The Young Turk Revolution in 1908 restored the Ottoman constitution and parliament 30 years after their suspension by Sultan Abdülhamid II in 1878, which is known as the Second Constitutional Era, but the 1913 Ottoman coup d’état effectively put the country under the control of the Three Pashas, making sultans Mehmed V and Mehmed VI largely symbolic figureheads with no real political power.
From 1901 through 1911, the Empire issued a number of stamps with similar designs including the tughra of the reigning monarch. In 1913, a series of stamps was issued commemorating the recapture of Adrianople from the Bulgarians was issued (Scott #251-253). These stamps were designed by Oskan Effendi and were engraved and printed in England by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co., Ltd., and are in a more international style, with central vignettes surrounded by a frame.
In early 1914, a series of finely engraved stamps, some in two colors, was issued depicting scenes of Constantinople and other images (Scott #254-270). They were designed by Oskan Effendi and printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co. in England, and also have a more international appearance to them.
Turkey signed the secret Ottoman-German Alliance on August 2, 1914, and entered hostilities on the side of the Central Powers in October 1914. The war and its disruptions are reflected in Turkey’s stamps issued during the war, which included stamps depicting soldiers and battle scenes, a number of provisional stamp issues in which available stocks of older issues were overprinted due to paper shortages, and stamps issued to collect a tax for war orphans. Remainders of stamps as old as 1865 were overprinted, some of which already had overprints, and sometimes multiple new overprints were added, resulting in a complex variety of configurations of interest to collectors.
During the war, the Empire’s Armenians were deported to Syria as part of the Armenian Genocide. As a result, an estimated 800,000 to 1,500,000 Armenians were killed. The Turkish government has refused to acknowledge the events as genocide and claims that Armenians were only relocated from the eastern war zone. Large-scale massacres were also committed against the empire’s other minority groups such as the Assyrians and Greeks. The Allied Forces were victorious and occupied Constantinople, after which the Ottoman government collapsed. Following the Armistice of Mudros on October 30, 1918, the victorious Allied Powers signed the Treaty of Sèvres, on August 10, 1920, which confirmed the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire.
The occupation of Istanbul and Izmir by the Allies in the aftermath of World War I prompted the establishment of the Turkish National Movement in Ankara. Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Pasha, a military commander who had distinguished himself during the Battle of Gallipoli, the Turkish War of Independence was waged against the Allies with the aim of revoking the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres. Outside of a small area surrounding Constantinople, Turkey was controlled by the Nationalist Government and is referred to philatelically as “Turkey in Asia” or “Anatolia”. From 1920 to 1922, small stocks of old postage stamps were overprinted after which a number of large revenue stamps with intricate designs and without Western lettering were handstamped for validation as postage. The study of the stamps of this period is very difficult, for there are no reliable official records of the actual dates of their issue, or of the length of time for which they were used, and but few genuine letters with clear dates are available.
By September 18, 1922, the occupying armies were expelled, and the Ankara-based Turkish regime, which had declared itself the legitimate government of the country on April 23, 1920, started to formalize the legal transition from the old Ottoman into the new Republican political system. On November 1, 1922, the Turkish Parliament in Ankara formally abolished the Sultanate, thus ending 623 years of monarchical Ottoman rule.
The Treaty of Lausanne of July 24, 1923 led to the international recognition of the sovereignty of the newly formed “Republic of Turkey” as the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, and the republic was officially proclaimed on October 29, 1923, in Ankara, the country’s new capital. The Lausanne Convention stipulated a population exchange between Greece and Turkey, whereby 1.1 million Greeks left Turkey for Greece in exchange for 380,000 Muslims transferred from Greece to Turkey.
Mustafa Kemal became the republic’s first President and subsequently introduced many radical reforms with the aim of transforming the old religion-based and multi-communal Ottoman state system (constitutional monarchy) into an essentially Turkish nation state (parliamentary republic) with a secular constitution. With the Surname Law of 1934, the Turkish Parliament bestowed upon Mustafa Kemal the honorific surname “Atatürk” (Father of the Turks).
The republic’s first stamp issue was released beginning in 1923 (Scott #605-624). It was a definitive series depicting a star and crescent, somewhat reminiscent of the Duloz issue. This issue marked the end of the use of the tughra which had appeared as a design element in most of Turkey’s stamps from 1863 to 1922. The first republic issue was followed by an issue commemorating the Treaty of Peace at Lausanne (Scott #625-632), and other issues depicting national scenes and Mustafa Kemal. From the late 1920s up to 1940, Turkey overprinted a number of stamps to commemorate events such as exhibitions or the opening of a railroad.
In 1931, Turkey began a new stamp issue in a more contemporary style depicting Mustafa Kemal. Mustafa Kemal (Scott #737-757) that would continue to be a common subject of Turkey’s stamps thereafter. In the following decades, Turkey’s stamp production became more varied, producing colorful stamps with a great diversity of images including scenes of the country, archaeological sites, famous Turks, native flora and fauna, and folk costumes, to name just a few. Up to 1937, all of Turkey’s stamps had been printed by either engraving or typography. In 1937, Turkey issued its first stamps printed by lithography (Scott #781-784) and in 1938 it printed a stamp issue by photogravure (Scott #789-798), which thereafter became the standard methods for printing its stamps.
İsmet İnönü became Turkey’s second President following Atatürk’s death on November 10, 1938. In 1939, Turkey annexed the Republic of Hatay. Turkey remained neutral during most of World War II, but entered the closing stages of the war on the side of the Allies on February 23, 1945. On June 26, 1945, Turkey became a charter member of the United Nations. In the same year, the single-party period in Turkey came to an end, with the first multiparty elections in 1946.
The Truman Doctrine in 1947 enunciated American intentions to guarantee the security of Turkey and Greece during the Cold War, and resulted in large-scale U.S. military and economic support. In 1948, both countries were included in the Marshall Plan and the OEEC for rebuilding European economies. In 1949, Turkey became a member of the Council of Europe. The Democratic Party established by Celâl Bayar won the 1950, 1954 and 1957 general elections and stayed in power for a decade, with Adnan Menderes as the Prime Minister and Bayar as the President.
After participating with the United Nations forces in the Korean War, Turkey joined NATO in 1952, becoming a bulwark against Soviet expansion into the Mediterranean. Turkey subsequently became a founding member of the OECD in 1961, and an associate member of the EEC in 1963.
The country’s tumultuous transition to multiparty democracy was interrupted by military coups d’état in 1960, 1971, and 1980, as well as a military memorandum in 1997. Between 1960 and the end of the 20th century, the prominent leaders in Turkish politics who achieved multiple election victories were Süleyman Demirel, Bülent Ecevit and Turgut Özal.
Following a decade of Cypriot intercommunal violence and the coup in Cyprus on July 15, 1974, staged by the EOKA B paramilitary organisation, which overthrew President Makarios and installed the pro-Enosis (union with Greece) Nikos Sampson as dictator, Turkey invaded Cyprus on July 20, 1974, by unilaterally exercising Article IV in the Treaty of Guarantee (1960), but without restoring the status quo ante at the end of the military operation.
In 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey, was established. As of 2017, negotiations for solving the Cyprus dispute are still ongoing between Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot political leaders.
In 1984 the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group (listed as a terrorist organization by NATO, the United States and the European Union), began an armed insurgency campaign against Turkey. The conflict has claimed over 40,000 lives to date.
Since the liberalization of the Turkish economy in the 1980s, the country has enjoyed stronger economic growth and greater political stability. Turkey applied for full membership of the EEC in 1987, joined the EU Customs Union in 1995 and started accession negotiations with the European Union in 2005.
In 2013, widespread protests erupted in many Turkish provinces, sparked by a plan to demolish Gezi Park but soon growing into general anti-government dissent. On July 15–16, 2016, an unsuccessful coup attempt tried to oust the government. As a reaction to the failed coup d’état, the government is currently carrying out mass purges.
On April 29, 2017, Turkish authorities blocked online access to Wikipedia in all languages across Turkey. The restrictions were imposed in the context of the 2016–17 purges following the 2016 Turkish coup d’état attempt, a few weeks after a significant constitutional referendum, and following more selective partial blocking of Wikipedia content in previous years. Following the ban, Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia’s founder, was disinvited from the World Cities Expo in Istanbul from May 15-18. Turkish law professor Yaman Akdeniz estimates that Wikipedia is one of about 127,000 websites blocked by Turkish authorities. An estimated 45 percent of Turks have circumvented the Internet blocks, at one time or another, by using a virtual private network (VPN).
Turkey has 13 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Historic Areas of Istanbul, the Rock Sites of Cappadocia, the Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük, Hattusa: the Hittite Capital, the Archaeological Site of Troy, Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape, Hierapolis – Pamukkale, and Mount Nemrut. There are 51 World Heritage Sites in the tentative list such as the archaeological sites or historic urban centers of Göbekli Tepe, Gordion, Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Perga, Lycia, Sagalassos, Aizanoi, Zeugma, Ani, Harran, Mardin, Konya and Alanya. The country also hosts two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the Mausoleum in Halicarnassus and the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus.
Turkey has a very diverse culture that is a blend of various elements of the Turkic, Anatolian, Ottoman (which was itself a continuation of both Greco-Roman and Islamic cultures) and Western culture and traditions, which started with the Westernization of the Ottoman Empire and still continues today. This mix originally began as a result of the encounter of Turks and their culture with those of the peoples who were in their path during their migration from Central Asia to the West. Turkish culture is a product of efforts to be a “modern” Western state, while maintaining traditional religious and historical values.
Turkey issued its first airmail stamps on July 15, 1934, by overprinting five regular stamps with an image of an airplane with the year and surcharging them in brown or blue ink (Scott #C1-5). Further airmail stamps were issued in a similar manner in 1937 (Scott #C6-8, overprints and surcharges in brown only) and 1941 (Scott #C9-11, overprints/surcharges in black without the year). The first airmail stamps specifically designed as such were released on January 1, 1949, each bicolored printed in photogravure and perforated 11½ (Scott #C12-C17). The 5 kurus and 40 kurus stamps depicted a plane flying over Izmir while the 20 kurus and 50 kurus stamps portrayed Ankara and the 30 kurus and 1 lira stamps each pictured a plane over Istanbul. Scott #C13 is printed in blue gray and brown.
Ankara, formerly known as Ancyra and Angora, is the capital of the Republic of Turkey. With a population of 4,587,558 in the urban center (2014) and 5,150,072 in its province (2015), it is Turkey’s second largest city after former imperial capital Istanbul, having overtaken Izmir. The former Metropolitan archbishopric remains a triple titular see (Latin, Armenian Catholic and Orthodox).
Ankara was Atatürk’s headquarters from 1920 and has been the capital of the Republic since the latter’s founding in 1923, replacing Istanbul following the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The government is a prominent employer, but Ankara is also an important commercial and industrial city, located at the center of Turkey’s road and railway networks. The city gave its name to the Angora wool shorn from Angora rabbits, the long-haired Angora goat (the source of mohair), and the Angora cat. The area is also known for its pears, honey and muscat grapes. Although situated in one of the driest places of Turkey and surrounded mostly by steppe vegetation except for the forested areas on the southern periphery, Ankara can be considered a green city in terms of green areas per inhabitant, at 775 feet (72 square meters) per head.
Ankara is a very old city with various Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman archaeological sites. The historical center of town is a rocky hill rising 500 feet (150 m) over the left bank of the Ankara Çayı, a tributary of the Sakarya River, the classical Sangarius. The hill remains crowned by the ruins of the old citadel. Although few of its outworks have survived, there are well-preserved examples of Roman and Ottoman architecture throughout the city, the most remarkable being the 20 BC Temple of Augustus and Rome that boasts the Monumentum Ancyranum, the inscription recording the Res Gestae Divi Augusti.
As with many ancient cities, Ankara has gone by several names over the ages. It has been identified with the Hittite cult center Ankuwaš, although this remains a matter of debate. In classical antiquity and during the medieval period, the city was known as Ánkyra (Ἄγκυρα, “anchor”) in Greek and Ancyra in Latin; the Galatian Celtic name was probably a similar variant. Following its annexation by the Seljuk Turks in 1073, the city became known in many European languages as Angora; it was also known in Ottoman Turkish as Engürü. The form “Angora” is preserved in the names of breeds of many different kinds of animals, and in the names of several locations in the United States.
The foundations of the Ankara castle and citadel were laid by the Galatians on a prominent lava outcrop and the rest was completed by the Romans. The Byzantines and Seljuk made further restorations and additions. The area around and inside the citadel, being the oldest part of Ankara, contains many fine examples of traditional architecture. There are also recreational areas in which to relax. Many restored traditional Turkish houses inside the citadel area have found new life as restaurants, serving local cuisine. The citadel was depicted in various Turkish banknotes during 1927–1952 and 1983–1989.
After Ankara became the capital of the newly founded Republic of Turkey, new development divided the city into an old section, called Ulus, and a new section, called Yenişehir. Ancient buildings reflecting Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman history and narrow winding streets mark the old section. The new section, now centered on Kızılay Square, has the trappings of a more modern city: wide streets, hotels, theaters, shopping malls, and high-rises. Government offices and foreign embassies are also located in the new section. Ankara has experienced a phenomenal growth since it was made Turkey’s capital in 1923, when it was “a small town of no importance”. In 1924, the year after the government had moved there, Ankara had about 35,000 residents. By 1927, there were 44,553 residents and by 1950 the population had grown to 286,781. Ankara continued to grow rapidly during the latter half of the 20th century and eventually outranked Izmir as Turkey’s second largest city, after Istanbul. Ankara’s urban population reached 4,587,558 in 2014, while the population of Ankara Province reached 5,150,072 in 2015,