After the Second World War, geographic research has progressed considerably in Turkey, thanks to Turkish geographers and Western, French and German geographers.
The original Turkish field survey contributions are promoted by three study centers: the Turkish Society of Geography and the Geography Institutes of the universities of Istanbul (two full professors of geography) and Ankara (three full professors of geography). Each chair is made up of free lecturers and assistants of specific competence. The Turkish society of geography, Türk cografya kurumu, founded in 1941, is based in Ankara, but now publishes its own social periodical in Istanbul; another scientific periodical is edited by the same Institute of Geography of the University of Istanbul.
Compared to the pre-war state, the cartographic representation can also be said to be much improved. Today we have an excellent 200,000 full card of the entire Turkey, in 124 color sheets: the new edition was completed during the Second World War. The official statistical publications, edited by the Istatistik umum müdürlu ǧ ü, have also been extended and perfected compared to the conditions of the past: the Bulletin of Statistics, a large monthly issue, should be particularly noted.
Physical conditions. – In recent years, Turkish researchers have faced various study problems, from morphology to climatology, from marine oscillations to vegetal landscapes. Significant contributions have been made to the investigation of the types of climate and the regime of watercourses. The exorheic regions of Anatolia, including the Arasse and Kura (Caspian Sea) basins, are extended for about 648,000 km 2, while the endorheic regions, and those bordering the Syrian shelf, occupy a total of 105,000 km 2, that is 14% of the whole Anatolia.
The side of the Black Sea which, perhaps due to the wetter climate, has expanded its dominion at the expense of the endorheic regions of Asia Minor, covers the largest surface (246,000 km 2) and surpasses the total area of the other three sides that surround the peninsula: the Marmara Sea, the Aegean Sea, the Levant Sea. The tributaries of the upper courses of the Euphrates and Tigris drain towards the Arabian Gulf a mountainous region with abundant snowfall, extending over 182,000 km 2.
Many measurements have been made on the flow of watercourses. For the Euphrates, in the locality of Keban, an annual average (17 years) of 660 m 3 / sec was recorded ; it fluctuates from a minimum of 225 in September to a maximum of 2160 in April. The Manavgat, which comes from the mountainous region of Pisidia, has an average of 220 m 3. Seyhan follows with 160, largely destined to irrigate the Cilician plain.
Population. – The first regular census of the Turkish population dates back to 1927. Subsequent censuses were carried out in the years 1935, 1940, 1945, 1950, 1955, 1960. The population, which was just 13.6 million in 1927, has grown rapidly dizzying to 16.2 million in 1935, to 17.8 in 1940, to 18.8 in 1945, to 20.9 in 1950, to 24,121,728 residents in 1955, to 27,774,217 in 1960. This population then doubled in just over thirty years. Between 1955 and 1960, that is, between the last two five-year censuses, the growth index touched the extraordinary value of 29.3%. Only the small republics of Central America show such fertile vitality. Undoubtedly, the still archaic family structure among the Turks keeps the birth rate very high; on the other hand to lower the
The territory of the republic is divided into 67 provinces (iller), in the local custom still referred to as vilayetler. At the head of the province is the vali, who has wider powers than our prefect. Each province is in turn subdivided into a certain number of districts (ilçeler), commonly called kazalar. The provincial and district capitals are classified as “cities” whatever their population. Each district includes several municipalities (bucaklar), and each municipality one or more villages (köyler) and other inhabited localities (mevkiler).
The population of cities is growing at a somewhat faster rate than the rural population: while in 1927 it made up 24% of the total, it now stands at 29%. Between 1950 and 1955 the maximum speed of increase is recorded by Alessandretta. For Turkey 2014, please check thesciencetutor.org.
Compared to 1927, the 1955 census also revealed some variations with regard to the religion professed: Catholics, for example, dropped from 39,500 to 22,300, for the whole of Turkey; the Orthodox from 109,000 to 84,800, the Christians of unspecified rite from 101,700 to 40,600; Jews from 81,800 to 40,300. The Turkish population is essentially becoming increasingly compact also from a religious point of view (98.9% Muslims).
The strongest ethnic minority is always the Kurdish one (1,504,500 people). The Kurds were on the rise until 1950: starting from that year they seem to be in a phase of regression. The Arabs are 346,500; the Greeks 82,000; the Armenians 47,000. The Turkish census refers to the mother tongue.
Illiterates represented 89% of the population aged over six in 1927; now they are 59%.
Economic structure. – In the geographic-economic field, the surveys of the last fifteen years (1945-60) have mainly focused on agriculture and pastoral life styles. The changes made to the landscape by the enormous expansion of agricultural areas have been radical and profound in certain regions: in a twenty-year period, between 1935 and 1955, the cultivated area of the Turkey has roughly doubled; crops now cover more than a quarter of the land area. This surprising development was made possible not only by the use of mechanical means for plowing, but also by a government policy decidedly in favor of increasing basic food products. In fact, the tractor was able to easily convert vast areas of the plateau already abandoned to collective grazing by sheep to cultivation:
The expansion of cereals on the virgin lands of the plateau has made it possible to select the peripheral areas of old cultivation according to the particular characteristics of the soil and climate; therefore some industrial plants (Cilician cotton, oil seeds) and some export products benefited. Certain fundamental characteristics of Turkish agriculture nevertheless remain unchanged: that is, the very strong changes in yield and absolute production from one year to the next, and the undisputed dominance of cereals. The cereal cultivation of the Anatolian plateau seems to be materialized by the gigantic metal silos that stand near some railway stations and some road junctions, and which put an abnormal note in the yellowish and dusty landscape of the steppe.
The increase in agricultural production not only aims to meet the food needs of the residents, but also seeks to provide a certain margin for export abroad.
The government’s efforts to equip the country with an industrial apparatus sufficient to meet basic needs are continuing. The utilization of energy sources is carried out successfully. The coal mines (all nationalized) in 1958 produced 6,600,000 tons: mine production, including slag. The lignite deposits yield another 3,600,000 tons. Still in the field of mining, chromite production has instead decreased compared to the last few years: in 1958, 540,000 tons.
The production of electricity is almost entirely entrusted to thermal power stations. There is currently only one large hydroelectric plant on the Seyhan, behind Adana: 54,000 kW of installed power. The dam has created a huge lake-reservoir, about 325 km 2, which is also used for irrigation purposes.
For now, large modern industry remains essentially concentrated on the weaving of cotton, on the sugar factory, on the cement factory. In 1950 the first Turkish industrial census was carried out which would show that the wage workers are just 250,000 (63,000 in the textile industry and 37,000 in the food industry). For now, the factories have been concentrated in urban districts, and therefore in the western portion of the state: the region of the Sea of Marmara and the region of Smyrna are currently in the lead for the number of employees.
Internal circulation converges on the major railway axes, and especially on the Shkoder-Ankara-Adana diagonal. There are also modest bus services, over great distances, along the difficult roads of the plateau. In 1959 the port of Istanbul had a movement of 2,900,000 t (Smyrna 1,500,000).
Finances. – The economic development of Turkey in the last decade is marked by a more than fourfold increase in national income, which for just over half reflects an increase in wholesale prices. The volume of the country’s foreign exchange reserves, after a reduction in the central years, has grown from 1955 onwards thanks to the large inflow of American aid and foreign capital. This inflow more than offset the uninterrupted series of current account deficits.
The public authorities exercised a vigorous propulsive action for the strengthening of economic activities and, in particular, of local industries, which could be implemented through an adequate mobilization of bank loans. The state has increasingly resorted to public debt and bank credit to finance the deficit.
From August 1958, the complex structure of foreign exchange had been simplified into a new system which provided for a single import exchange rate and three export exchanges, subsequently reduced to two (August 1959). On August 20, 1960, the parity was raised to 9 lire for the US dollar and the exchange system was unified.