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Istanbul, Turkey - Jessica Turgeon, Alex Remedios, Connor Torrance


[edit] Introduction

Istanbul Map
Istanbul Map [1]
Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and it is located on the northwest part of the country. The city is known as the economic, cultural and financial hub of the country. As of January 2014, the population of Istanbul is 14,160,467 with a yearly population growth rate of 1.68%, making it the most heavily populated city in Europe and the 5th largest urban society in the world.Istanbul accounts for 20% of Turkeys total population.[2] Istanbul spans 5,343 square kilometeres and is the only city that is located on two continents at the same time. One part of Istanbul lies in Europe (Thrace) while the other part lies in Asia (Anatolia). 35% of the population lives on the Asian side, while 65% of the population lives on the European side.[3] Istanbul is separated by the Bosphorus strait, a waterway that forms a natural boundary between Europe and Asia. The Bosphorus strait is 31km long and connects two bodies of water, the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. The Bosphorus bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridge are both located in Istanbul and connect Europe and Asia.[4]
The Bosphorus Bridge
The Bosphorus Bridge [5]
The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge
The Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge [6]

The official language of Turkey is Turkish,[7] however, English is commonly spoken in Istanbul by many Turks. [8] Istanbul is a modern city that was founded after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Historically, the area that comprises Turkey has been inhabited for thousands of years. [9]Due to its proximity to the ‘cradle of life’, the land that Turkey is composed has played to host to a number of famous civilizations – including the Greek, Macedonian, and Roman. Modern Istanbul is an ethnically diverse constitutional monarchy. Though a large portion of the population is Muslim, Istanbul has quite a substantial minority population consisting of Christians and Kurds among various other groups.[10] On a global scale, Turkey is often seen as the gateway to the Middle East – both in reference to its geographic placement in between Europe and the Middle East, and because of its diverse population comprised of populations from both areas. Since the end of the Second World War, Turkey has been a key strategic player in global affairs. Aligning itself with the United States, Turkey is a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) member state. Due to this geopolitical role, Turkey has been involved in a number of Cold War confrontations, perhaps most famously its role during the Cuban Missile Crises.[11] Today Istanbul plays an important role in Global, European and Middle-Eastern politics. The ongoing Civil War in Syria and the issues between Israel and Palestine frequently involve Turkey due to the aforementioned states proximity to Turkey’s borders. Currently, Turkey is vying for membership in the European Union and continues to be an active member of the NATO military alliance. In 2004, NATO formed the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) in order to spread their influences into the Gulf region with selected countries; Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The ICI was launched because of global threats and in order to increase dialogue between western and Middle Eastern countries to counter terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. ICI is considered a soft power or gentle collaboration strategy, which uses intelligence sharing. [12]

[edit] Globalization

[edit] Economy

Emerging Cities Outlook
Emerging Cities Outlook [13]
As of 2014, Istanbul has been considered a future emerging city which demonstrates its growth in business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience and political engagement. This demonstrates Istanbul's competitiveness amongst other cities in becoming a global city. Currently Istanbul ranks 15th on The Emerging Cities Outlook (ECO) which shows that the city is most likely to continue to improve its global positioning over the next couple decades. [13]The city has remained the economic centre of the country as Istanbul is responsible for 36% of Turkeys exports and 40% of its imports and generates 23% of the Gross National Product (GNP) for Turkey. Annually, Istanbul collects 40% of the taxes and contributes it to the state. [14] Istanbul is also known as the banking centre and insurance centre of Turkey because all of the headquarters of the private banks as well as 21% of bank branches reside in Istanbul and the majority of insurance companies are located in Istanbul.[15] Even in the wake of neoliberalism, Istanbul remains a highly industrialized city, which accounts for 45% of production. The cities industrialized products include textiles, oil products, rubber, metals, leather, chemicals, glass, olive oil, tobacco, cotton and silk.[16]

Currently, Istanbul ranks 8th out of 78 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) metro regions and in 2012 it had a GDP of $332,4 billion. [17]

Despite Istanbul’s economic success, unemployment remains around 11% (2012). This number increases for the youth aged 15-24, standing at 19.2% (2012).[18]

[edit] Tourism


Istanbul is the sixth most popular city (out of 132) to visit and attracted 11.6 million tourists in 2012. Bangkok, London, Paris, Singapore and New York were the five cities that were ranked before Istanbul for travel. Tourism income brought in $10.6 billion in 2012. Around 1/3rd of revenue generated from tourism in Turkey was made in Istanbul, and also 1/3rd of tourists who came to Turkey went to Istanbul.[20]

Tourism is focused mainly around historical sights including mosques, basilicas, cathedrals and ancient bazaars. The top ten tourist attractions are the Galata Tower, Istanbul Archaeological Museum, Chora Church, Basilica Cistern, Dolmabahce Palace, Suleymaniye Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. [21] Istanbul isn’t just known for its historical sights. It also offers nightlife, beaches, shopping, dining and architecture. For the more daring tourist, visiting a Turkish bath is also a great way to experience the culture.

Regardless of Istanbul's large population and the amount of tourists it attracts, the city is listed as one of the safest in the world to travel to as the overall crime rate is relatively low. The continued investment toward public services like policing has resulted in lowing the crime rate. Around 1 in 66 people are affected by a crime each year in Istanbul. The most common crimes committed towards tourists are petty crimes such as pick-pocketing, bag snatching and purse slashing. These crimes generally occur in highly concentrated tourist areas such as Taksim Square, Beyazit, istiklal Caddesi, Sultanahmet and the Grand Bazaar. Physical violence is quite rare in general and violence committed towards foreign women by Turkish men can occur, although Turkish men are usually respectful towards women. As a result of cultural misinterpretation, smiling or bring friendly towards a local man could be interpreted as an invitation.[22]

Each day over 5 million people take advantage of the transit system. Istanbul has a reliable transit system made up of trams, metros, ferries, trains and buses (as well as airplanes) that allow tourists to get anywhere in Istanbul. Transit options like the minibuses, vans and short connectors are options you will only find in Istanbul and exist in order to give people the option to ride, not walk, up Istanbul's steep hills. The use of taxis should be avoided because of the gridlock traffic from morning until well after dark and also tourists may get scammed by the taxi drivers.[23] For tourists and locals, the ferry is the most enjoyable mode of transportation when travelling between continents because it avoids land traffic and also provides beautiful views of the Bosphorus.

[edit] Congress Toursim

Istanbul Congress Center
Istanbul Congress Center[24]
Recently, Istanbul has been hosting many international fairs and congresses. This demonstrates Istanbul’s ability to provide the proper infrastructure as well as the required technology. Some international conferences that the city has organized include Habitat Conference, NATO Summit, AGIT Summit, International Union of Architects (IUA), Formula 1, CeBIT Informatics Fair, Autoshow, EMITT Tourism Fair, World Association of Newspapers (WAN), Forum Istanbul 2005, Turkish-German Businessmen Congress, Turkish-Arabic Business Forum.

Istanbul is able to accommodate these events as well as provide the hotels, meeting halls, two international airports which all meet European standards. [24]

[edit] Political Geography

[edit] Population

[edit] Migration

[edit] Emigration to Immigration

Throughout history, Turkey has been regarded as a country of emigration and seen as a migrant sending nation. Major Turkish labor emigration began in 1961 with the signing of an agreement by Turkish and West German governments. This was to improve German economy with the supply of unskilled labourers, while increasing Turkish employment rate. Turkish workers were to return, and educate the industry from rural ideals [25] The oil crisis in 1973 led to European recession and the end of Turkish recruitment. The recession caused an economic rise in the Middle East, allowing Turkish workers to migrate to Libia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq etc. At the end of the labor demand period throughout Europe, Turkish emigration sustained through the 1980’s and 1990’s. Families were to be united with the labourers that had previously fled. Another reason of Turkish emigration in the 1990’s was the Kurdish minority and separatist movement. [25] Violence deriving from the Kurdish problem led to 330,000 people being displaced.

In the late 1990’s armed conflict with the separatists subsided and asylum applications decreased. People of Kurdish decent began boarding ships headed for the EU in search of labour illegally. [25] Today, means of emigration consist of educated individuals and university students emigrating to Europe or the CIS nations.

Turkish Emigrants Around Europe
Turkish Emigrants Around Europe[26]

During the last 20 years Turkey has become a destination for immigrants due to its geographical position, European Union ties and economy. Turkey’s migration flows also stem from people seeking asylum, refugees, labour and migrants moving to the EU. Turkey experiences both regular and irregular immigration including labourers, students, and victims of the human trafficking trade. [27]

Nationalities Within Turkey
Nationalities Within Turkey [26]

The history of immigration to Turkey begins with the founding fathers concept of national identity. In order to differentiate from a culturally diverse nation, priority was given to immigrants who either were Muslim Turkish speakers or belonged to ethnic groups that would easily assimilate Turkish identity and custom. From the introduction of Turkey in 1923 to 1997, more than 1.6 million immigrants settled and adjusted to Turkish nationalism. [25]

Today, government aided immigration has become scarce. Population has evolved and increased to a sufficient amount, as well as land for the new immigrants was becoming of rare availability. Turkey now faces a form of irregular immigration that can lead to many challenges ahead.

[edit] Irregular Immigration

Beginning in the early 1990’s, irregular immigration has become a part of Turkish migration. Irregular immigration does not allow for an accurate statistic but figures from 150,000 to one million are often referred to. [25] Irregular movement in Turkey is compiled of refugee and asylum seekers, transit migrants and illegal labourers. [26] Bordered by eight countries, along with a relaxed visa policy, Turkey has become an avenue for irregular immigration. [26] Nationals of neighbouring countries in the Middle East have been accepting the use of the Turkish Border as a transit route. [25] In 2000, the number of irregular migrants detained peaked at 94, 514. [28]

Illegal Immigrants
Illegal Immigrants [28]

The main countries were Pakistan, Iraq, Moldova, Afghanistan, Somalia, Mauritania, Ukraine, Russia and Iran. [26]The International Organization of Migration has estimated that 200,000 transit migrants move through Turkey each year, to account for those not apprehended.

Organized human trafficking and smuggling has also contributed to the unknown number of illegal migrants in Turkey. Turkish legislative policies and regulations have been put in place to eliminate the crime.

[edit] Future Directions

Turkey now faces challenges to its immigration and asylum policies. To join the European Union will contradict Turkish traditional ambitions of national identity and culture. As well meeting EU requirements will stress Turkey’s financial capital. [26] If Turkey manages to improve immigration restrictions and asylum regulations it will qualify as a sufficient third country for asylum seekers. [26] This means Turkey will evolve from a transit country into a destination for those seeking asylum in the EU. Former Turkish values - of only accepting immigrants of Turkish culture and familiarity - will be challenged. As of 2006, the EU has planned to develop policy for asylum and border controls. Precedence was given to illegal immigration and human trafficking. A full EU membership will depend on Turkish commitment to national legislations. [26]

[edit] Internal Migration

Internal migration towards Istanbul tripled in 2010 after a plateau period. The Turkish Statistical Institute recorded the annual net migration to Istanbul as a steady 30,000 over the last time period. In 2010, net migration rose to 102,000. [29] The majority of the migrants came from the Black Sea region of Turkey. The administrative director of Istanbul Bilgi University’s Center for Migration Research, Nese Erdilek claims Istanbul has also received the most immigration from the Black Sea. [29] Migrants will follow the routes of their peers when moving to the city. The proximity of Istanbul also plays a role in the increased net migration. Erdilek also states that difficulties men working in the tea and hazelnut industry face, may force them to move into the city. Problems in agriculture and construction divisions may have contributed. [29]

Analysts also explain that the younger population has a tendency to move to the urban area of Istanbul. The 40 universities located in Istanbul attract many students looking to complete their education. While the youth enters the city, the elderly show trends to leave and retire in a quieter area. The high costs of living in Istanbul also present a push factor for residents to leave.

[edit] Social Geography

[edit] Gender Inequality

There is an imbalance and ongoing difficulty with gender equality and the empowerment of women in Turkey. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report in 2008, Turkey ranked 123rd out of 142 countries worldwide. [30] The problem stems from Turkish society’s ideologies of men and women. Hulya Gulbahar lawyer and also head of the Organization for Education and the Support of Women suggests that all politicians and bureaucrats should accept the idea of equality, but do not. She also says, the growing conservatism affects the social democratic leftist and liberals in society, which leaves women’s organization alone. [30]

Gulbahar’s accusation is accurate when examining the current state of authority. The growing gap between men and women and failed attempts at women’s rights campaigns begin with a President who is perceived as feminist. [31]

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan [32]

On November 24th 2014, Tayyip Erdogan stunned the crowd and set off a new controversy at a Women’s Rights conference. [32] He declared that men and women are not equal and claimed feminists do not understand the Islamic status of motherhood. Erdogan goes on to say men and women are created different, their characters, habits and physique are different. “You cannot get women to do every kind of work men can do as in Communist regimes. You cannot tell them to go out and dig the soil. This is against their delicate nature". [32]

Erdogan’s comments received much criticism from both opposition political parties and women’s rights groups. The government’s view on men and women strongly relates to the occupations they participate in.

In 2012, the Men’s employment rate was almost three times as that of women’s; 64% : 22%. Even though Turkey has been selected as an emerging economy of the OECD members, it is ranked last when considering women’s economic participation. [33] The number of women above age 15 that are excluded form the work force rose from 18.8 million to 19.4 million from 2005 to 2013. It is also important to recognize female employment has risen from 5.3 million to 7.7 million in the same time frame. [34] However, the quality of work presented for women has suffered.

Female Occupations in 2012
Female Occupations in 2012 [32]

The determining factors for this trend are male dominated social relations and values. Turkish women have more domestic responsibility, according to Islamic tradition. Time-use data was taken in 2006 for Turkey, where it was found women aged 15-64 years old spend on average 5 hours and 17 minutes per day on care and household work. Men spent on average only 51 minutes per day. [33] Women’s decreased presence in the workforce is not specifically attributed to domestic perceptions, it also is derived from a lower education level. A feminist education and lack of public support leads to a lower quality of work.

Furthermore, the conservatism of the acting government in Turkey reinforces the position women have at home and does not give them the opportunity to participate in jobs that require more cognitive obligation. Interpreting from TurkStat figures, there are 220,000 women present in “high level executive manager” positions; this only covers 11.5% of the total with men included. [33]

[edit] Ethnic Groups

Ethnic Groups in Turkey
Ethnic Groups in Turkey [35]

The process of Turkish unification and national identity is apparent in looking in modern demographics. By a large margin, Turks account for 70-75% of the 81,619,392 people in Turkey. Approximately 18% are Kurdish and other minorities amass for 7-12%. [36] Minority groups include Zaza, Arabs, Turkmen and Circassians.

[edit] Gender and Age Structure

From birth to the age 65 and over, demographics of Turkey represent a relatively even ratio of male to female. 25.5% of the population is aged 0-14 years, where there are 10,660,110 males and 10,179,850 females. The proportion to total population then decreases from 15-24 years to 16.8%. There are 6,989,099 men and 6,709,480 women in this age category. The age majority of the population is then demonstrated in the 25-54 group at 42.9%. Males comprise 17,650,790 and females; 17,358,730. The second lowest age category is then evident from 55-64 years at 8.1%, and the lowest 65 and over encompasses 6.6%. Both male to female are comparatively close. All statistics were taken as estimated 2014. [36]

Turkey Population Pyramid by Age Group
Turkey Population Pyramid by Age Group [36]

[edit] Cultural Geography

[edit] Festivals

Every year during June and July many famous artists come from all over the world in order to take part in Istanbul’s yearly International Arts and Cultural festival, which are held at the Atatürk Cultural Center. For film lovers, Istanbul International Film Festival takes place every year in April, aiming to develop and promote Turkish cinema.[37] For flower lovers, during the month of April the annual International Istanbul Tulip Festival occurs. Tulips can be found throughout Istanbul in order to celebrate the origin of the Tulips. It is often misconstrued that tulips originated in Holland, but they in fact originated in Turkey. Istanbul plants millions of Tulips around the city; however, to really admire the tulips displays one must go to Emirgan Park because it is the largest park in Istanbul and there are many gardens to admire. [38]

An evil eye made of tulips in Emirgan Park
An evil eye made of tulips in Emirgan Park

[edit] Turkish Baths

Traditional Turkish Bath
Traditional Turkish Bath[39]

In Istanbul, there are a variety of hamamas (Turkish baths) that use steam to relax and cleanse the body. This is a very popular Turkish custom that is meant to promote health; cleansing the body and spirit. They are similar to a sauna in the sense that is it uses steam, however the practice is derived from Roman bathing.[40] Many of the Hamamas were designed by Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent and have been restored and modernized, however, these can be very expensive to attend. Historically, Turkish baths were reserved for the wealthy, however today, locals and tourists are able to enjoy them. Hamamas can be used privately in your hotel or publically as they are built throughout Istanbul. The public hamams are divided into separate sections for the men and women, or admits men and women at different times, there is never any mixing of men and women. The entire process can lengthy depending on how long you choose to stay in the steam room and what service you choose. The options are self-serve in which you cleanse yourself and bring your own supplies, traditional style where an attendant washes, massages and scrubs you, and finally other styles which involve aromatherapy, reflexology type spa treatments.[41]

[edit] References

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