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Information about TURKEY

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Türkiye Cumhuriyeti

Area: 783,562 sq. km.
Neighbouring countries: Georgia to the North-East, Armenia and Iran to the East, Iraq and Syria to the South-east, and Greece and Bulgaria to the North-West (in Europe)
Capital City: Ankara
Languages: Turkish (official), Arabic, Armenian, Kurdish, Greek
Currency: New Turkish Pound (2005)
Member of: Council of Europe, EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), NATO, OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), OIC (Organisation of the Islamic Conference), UN and WTO (World Trade Organization)
(De Agostini, Jan. 2008)

Historical outline
Modern Turkey is born of the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I. The Turkish Republic is proclaimed on the 29th October 1923. According to the Constitution, Turkey is a State of democratic law, secular, respectful of human rights. All individuals are equal before the Law, without distinction of language, race, colour, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, membership of a religion or sect. There should be total freedom of conscience, creed and religious conviction.

The population is about 72 million (UN Statistics 2008). The Christians (half of whom are Catholics) are about 1%. (Statistical Yearbook of the Church 2008 and Dossier of the French Episcopal Conference on the Synod for the Middle East).

Relations with the Holy See
Turkey has diplomatic relations with the Holy See. The Apostolic Nuncio is Mgr. Antonio Lucibello, tit. archbishop of Thurio (27th Aug. 2005).


- BENEDICT XVI TO THE BISHOPS OF TURKEY: In this context, I know of your desire and your willingness for sincere dialogue with the authorities in order to find a solution to the various problems that your communities face, including the legal recognition of the Catholic Church and her property…


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