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10 things you didn't know about Turkey

14th May 2014

You've holidayed in Turkey, tried the local cuisine, seen the sights, made new friends, soaked up the sun and even learned a few Turkish words...

So now you can say you know Turkey? Or do you?

Here is a list of 10 things you may not know about Turkey;

1. Most Turks didn't have surnames until 1934
Until the introduction of the Law on Family Names in 1934, as part of Atatürk's Reforms, most Muslim Turks had no surname. The law required all citizens of Turkey to adopt an official surname. Before that, male Turks used their father's name followed by -oğlu ("son of"), or a nickname of the family, before their given name (e.g. Mustafa-oğlu Mehmet, Köselerin Hasan) before the modern era. The Turks who descended from a ruling house used -zade ("descendant in the male line") (e.g. Sami Paşazade Mehmet Bey)

2. Turkey was amongst some of the first countries to give women the right to vote

In Turkey women won the right to vote in municipal elections on March 20, 1930. Turkey holds first election that allows women to vote.

3. Not all Islam in Turkey is the same
Islam is the religion with the largest community of followers in the country, where most of the population is nominally Muslim,of whom over 72% belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. Over 25% of the population is Shia Alevi. There is also a small Bektashi community belonging to a Sufi order of Islam that is indigenous to Turkey.

4. Turkey is both Secular and Democratic
In 1923 the Republic of Turkey was formed marking the beginning of a huge change in the country. Turkey became a secular republic and adopted big changes in politics, making it the only Muslin country in the world to be both secular and democratic.

5. Turkey is responsible for 80% of the world’s hazelnut exports

6. Ankara is the capital of Turkey - Not Istanbul
It became so in 1923 after the War of Independence
. Ankara (historically known with the names Ancyra and Angora) is the capital of Turkey and the country's second largest city, (largest is Istanbul)

7. Istanbul's Grand Bazaar has 64 streets, over 4000 shops and over 25,000 workers

8. The first ever Christian church to be built by man was in Antioch, Turkey
The Cave Church of St. Peter (also the Grotto of St. Peter; Turkish Sen Piyer Kilisesi) is an ancient cave church with a stone facade, located just outside Antioch (modern Antakya), Turkey.

This cave is widely believed to have been dug by the Apostle Peter himself as a place for the early Christian community of Antioch to meet, and thus to be the very first Christian church.
Whether or not this is so, St. Peter (and St. Paul) did preach in Antioch around 50 AD and a church had been established in Antioch by as early as 40 AD

9. Santa Claus (St Nicholas) was born in Patara, Turkey
Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra (Demre, part of modern-day Turkey) in Lycia. Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker (Nikolaos ho Thaumaturgos). He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for Santa Claus.

10. The Turkish alphabet does not include "X" or "Q"
But instead has other letters such as the dotless "ı" instead
. The Turkish alphabet is a Latin alphabet used for writing the Turkish language, consisting of 29 letters, seven of which (Ç, Ğ, I, İ, Ö, Ş, and Ü) have been modified from their Latin originals for the phonetic requirements of the language.

source: Wikipedia

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