Turkey has a settled history that dates back more than 4,000 years, making it one of the longest surviving civilizations in the world. However, modern Turkey really began after the fall of the Ottoman Empire post-WWI. The Ottomans took control of the Anatolian Peninsula during the 15th century, and their authority over the region lasted until the empire’s decline in the 19th and 20th century.
The Ottoman Empire fought on the side of the Central Powers during WWI, and although they were eventually defeated, millions of people from minority populations such as the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians were displaced from their homes and killed, which is still denied by the Turkish government today. After the war, the Allied Powers occupied the area, prompting the Turkish Nationalist Movement in 1918.
The War of Independence saw the Turkish Nationalist Movement finally succeed in expelling foreign authorities in 1922, leading to the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, who moved the capital from Istanbul to Ankara.
Turkey’s diverse regions have different climates, with the weather system on the coasts contrasting with that prevailing in the interior. The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts have cool, rainy winters and hot, moderately dry summers. Annual precipitation in those areas varies from 580 to 1,300 millimeters (22,8 – 51,2 inches), depending on location. Generally, rainfall is less to the east. The Black Sea coast receives the greatest amount of rainfall. The eastern part of that coast averages 1,400 millimeters (55,1 inches) annually and is the only region of Turkey that receives rainfall throughout the year.
Mountains close to the coast prevent Mediterranean influences from extending inland, giving the interior of Turkey a continental climate with distinct seasons. The Anatolian Plateau is much more subject to extremes than are the coastal areas. Winters on the plateau are especially severe. Temperatures of -30°C to -40°C (-22 to -40 Fahrenheit) can occur in the mountainous areas in the east, and snow may lie on the ground 120 days of the year. In the west, winter temperatures average below 1°C. Summers are hot and dry, with temperatures above 30°C. Annual precipitation averages about 400 millimeters (15,7 inches), with actual amounts determined by elevation. The driest regions are the Konya Plateu and the Malatya Plateu, where annual rainfall frequently is less than 300 millimeters (11,8 inches). May is generally the wettest month and July and August the driest.
The climate of the Anti-Taurus Mountain region of eastern Turkey can be inhospitable. Summers tend to be hot and extremely dry. Winters are bitterly cold with frequent, heavy snowfall. Villages can be isolated for several days during winter storms. Spring and autumn are generally mild, but during both seasons sudden hot and cold spells frequently occur.
To summarize Turkish culture and traditions in one article is impossible because the diversity of heritage across the country varies and other cultures such as Greek, Armenian, Georgian, and Arabic practises have been woven in throughout history.
The northeast coast near the border is a tight combination of Turkish and Georgian culture as seen in the Laz and Hemsin communities and the southeast typically reflects Kurdish and Arabic culture, while the western coast in the last 80 years has been widely influenced by European traditions. However, quite a few traditions are strong fast across Turkey and any first time visitor will spot them immediately if they know what to look for.
In direct disbelief of Islamic traditions, the Nazar Boncugu, also known as the evil eye is in offices, homes, in transport and businesses. Turks believe this talisman wards off evil and these days, as well as featuring heavily in Turkish culture, it is one of the top recommended souvenirs to buy
Likewise, when a baby is born, friends and family will often give it an evil eye for protection. Turks adore children, so do not be surprised if your kid receives their undivided attention. The children also increase family size, so represent a symbol of increased strength. Pregnancy is the next natural thing to do after marriage and anybody shunning parenthood, or unable to conceive can become the target of gossip, or socially questioned in some regions.
Since pregnancy is an assumed must, many traditions revolve around it such as cravings or determining the sex, although, in modernized areas, couples are turning to the medical profession to find out the sex of their child. In smaller villages, some mother stay indoors for 40 days to regain health and help their new-borns with a good start in life.
Food is an integral part of Turkish society. Each meal is a gift from Allah to enjoy, and not waste, so Turkish women often spend hours in the kitchen, with painstaking and intense recipes. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and typically includes eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, and olives but never forget the bread, at either breakfast or other mealtimes. It is a staple part of Turk’s diets and sold in masses across the country. Some Turks even refuse to sit down to a meal without it.