Turkey Türkiye Cumhuriyeti

Area: 780,580 sq km


Climate: temperate; hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters; harsher in interior

Terrain: mostly mountains; narrow coastal plain; high central plateau (Anatolia)

Elevation extremes: lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m highest point: Mount Ararat 5,166 m

Geography—note: strategic location controlling the Turkish Straits (Bosporus, Sea of Marmara, Dardanelles) that link Black and Aegean Seas


Population: 65,599,206 (July 1999 est.)

Ethnic groups: Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, Armenian, Greek

Religions: Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (Christian and Jews)

Languages: Turkish

Vakutek, located in Istanbul, is representing Busch in Turkey   After the recent earthquake in Turkey (17. August 1999), MSF sent its first specialists within 24 hours. With about 40 employees, MSF provided medication, gave psychological assistance, observed the possible outbreak of epidemics and secured water supply and sanitation. Additionally, 37 specialists for kidney treatment were flown in. Until October, when Turkish infrastructure was reestablished, MSF provided 30 tons of supplies and treated 600-700 people a day.

Route notes of the rally:

…coming from Greece.

Sunday 7th May - Day 7 — Thessaloniki to Istanbul 684km

The main road east to Turkey along the coast is usually heavy with trucks so we have found some lovely, empty fast roads just inland. Eventually we join the coast before Kavala with the mountainous island of Thassos looming offshore. Through the Turkish border and then it is a fast run along the coast of the Sea of Marmaris to the fabled city of Istanbul.

Monday 8th May Day 8 — Istanbul

Rest Day / Prizegiving Party Night!

Tuesday 9th May - Day 9 — Istanbul to Bolu 310km

From Istanbul cross the Bosphorus bridge and enter Asia, heading on the Main highway east to Sakarya the route turns south to the quiet tarmac picturesque route approaching Bolu Abant Lake for the overnight halt.

Wednesday 10th May - Day 10 — Bolu to Samsun 600km

Anatolin Plateau skirting the Pontic Mountains. Quickly lose the motorway and follow the two lane main highway over rolling, undulating plateau country, mostly fertile farmland with a couple of long gradual passes and some forest. Join the coast just before the historic city of Samsun.

Thursday 11th May - Day 11 — Samsun to Trabzon 400km

The Route follows the coast with a couple of small towns - Unye and Ordu that are coastal resorts and have pleasant main parts of town if time to stop. A sting in the tail over the Black Sea Mountains around Zigani before reaching Trabzon. Trabzon's Hotel is situated in the old part of town with some interesting bazaars and restaurants. Some traditional old parts with wooden buildings plus the Ayasophia Mosque.

Friday 12th May - Day 12 — Trabzon to Sarphi (border) 150km

A two lane coastal road becomes more attractive with some coastal mountains and tea and sunflower plantations. The border was a sleepy backwater but now is being upgraded to become a major commercial gateway.

Sarphi to Batumi 25km

Mostly through built up residential area with interesting old wooden houses in the traditional style. At first the centre of Batumi appears uninteresting - Soviet Style City but down near the seafront it is a very attractive resort town with parks and very appealing Old Russian colonial architecture.

…moving on to Georgia.