Turkey – Some General Facts
|Population||72,907,000||Religion||Muslim ( mostly sunni )|
|Capital||Ankara||Language||Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic
|Life Expectancy||69||G.D.P. per Capita||U.S. $7,300|
Straddling the continents of Europe and Asia, Turkey tries to be a bridge between West and East. The portion of Turkey’s land in Europe may be small (about 5 percent), but the country’s largest city, Istanbul, is there. With nearly 13 million people, Istanbul is the third most populous European urban area, after Moscow and Paris.
The Asian part of Turkey is dominated by the dry plateau of Anatolia; the coastal areas of Anatolia consist of fertile lowlands. The country, especially northern Turkey, suffers from severe earthquakes. Mount Ararat, the highest point in Turkey at 5,137 meters (16,854 feet), is the biblical resting-place of Noah’s ark.
Turkey joined the UN in 1945 and NATO in 1952. Although Turkey and Greece both belong to NATO, disputes over the Aegean Sea and Cyprus strain relations between the two countries. Turkish forces invaded Cyprus in 1974 to protect the Turkish-Cypriot community during a military coup—it still maintains some 35,000 troops in northern Cyprus. UN peacekeepers remain on the island.
Southeastern Turkey saw years of civil war in the 1980s and 1990s between Turkish forces and Kurds from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who wanted to form an independent Kurdish state. Relations improved when the Turkish parliament passed laws giving more rights to Kurds, but Turkey has used cross-border operations to quell Kurdish insurgents located in Iraq.
In 1990 Turkey supported the West against Iraq following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and in 2003 allowed U.S. forces to use Turkish air space in the Iraq war. In 1999 Turkey gained approval as a candidate country for membership in the European Union. Turkey hopes to be able to join the EU by 2015, but the road has not been smooth. Questions about the role of religion in public life occupy Turkish discourse, notably seen in the state’s ban on wearing headscarves in government buildings and schools, which has been a focus of protests.
There are some five million Turks working and living in EU countries—most in Germany. Most trade is with Europe, and many European vacationers come to Turkey for the climate, fine beaches, resorts, Roman ruins, and Crusader castles.
—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition
A brief history of Kalkan
Kalkan was the only safe harbour between Kaş and Fethiye and would have offered safety to ships during rough weather.
Indeed, a fierce battle was once fought in the bay after Roman and Rhodian ships, unable to attack the neighbouring Lycian port of Patara due to bad weather, found short-lived safety in Kalkan’s bay.
The Lycian coast was famous for its piracy and Kalkan bay no doubt provided a convenient hiding place for pirates to suddenly pounce upon the many heavily-laden
merchant ships sailing by.
Kalkan became an important port during the 19th century – even more so than Fethiye or Antalya, its two larger neighbours. It was settled by people of both Greek and Turkish origin and was known by its Greek name “Kalamaki.”
Camels brought goods to Kalkan from the nearby Xanthos valley and from as far away as the mountain highlands near Elmali. Cargo ships were then loaded in Kalkan’s harbour to sail for the far reaches of the Ottoman Empire carrying charcoal, silk, olive oil and wine, as well as cotton, grain, sesame seed, flour, grapes, acorns used for dye, and lumber from the vast cedar and pine forests.
By the early 20th century Kalkan had become quite a sizeable village.
Following World War I, the exchange in population between the new Turkish Republic and Greece took place in 1923 after the Turkish War of Independence. Most of the Greek origin people then living in Kalkan left Turkey. Some went to the nearby Greek island of Meis, but most were resettled near Athens and named their new town “Kalamaki”.
Trading continued until it faded away in the 1950’s due to the improvement of the Turkish road system and the adoption of overland transport. With no more sea trade, the population of Kalkan trickled away as people moved to larger coastal cities to find work. The late 1970’s saw the arrival of tourism which is now the main economy of Kalkan.
Kalkan has retained its historic charm. Strict building and preservation codes are enforced and many of Kalkan’s buildings are listed. Despite the changes tourism has brought to the people of Kalkan, traditional life still continues for many of the local residents. Historically, many locals of Kalkan have owned land both in Kalkan and in the nearby mountain village of Bezirgan, set in a beautiful valley 17 km from Kalkan. Today many of these residents continue to follow the pattern of their ancestors, spending summers in the coolness of the mountains and winters near the warm coast.
Korsan translated to English means pirate, a pun on the fact that the owners of the Korsan Restaurants, the Bilgutay family, have always had very strong associations to the sea with three generations of the family serving in the Turkish Navy.
In the mid 1970’s Gurkan Bilgutay, who knew the Turkish coastline like the back of his hand, retired from the navy. Looking for a change of life-style and pace he opened a restaurant and a small pansiyon in his favourite sleepy fishing village that restaurant was Korsan, bringing the total number of restaurants in Kalkan at that time to 2 !
This was the beginning. In his youth Gurkan had also been a musician and, with three other musicians, formed Turkey’s first Rock’n’Roll band. The band’s notoriety and connections with Istanbul meant friends started to visit this little unknown place on the Mediterranean and tourism was born. Before long Gurkan was accommodating the first foreign visitors and Kalkan was officially on the map.
Gurkan’s son Uluc took over the business in 1990 and in 1992 Uluc’s wife, Claire, joined the family and the business.
Korsan Ltd has expanded greatly since those early days in the 1970’s, The Korsan Brand is now made up of; The Korsan Meze, The Korsan Fish Terrace, The Korsan Apartments, The Korsan Suites Hotel, Korsan Koy, Korsan Construction, Korsan Villa Rentals, Korsan Villa Maintenance as well as The Patara Stone House.
Korsan is a family business with a team that have worked together for so long they are practically part of the family too. Uluc and Claire’s sons, Patrick Ömer and Oliver Eren are waiting in the wings …… the tradition continues!