Snapshot: Istanbul

Istanbul's vastly growing population and blending of cultures make it one of the most dynamic cities in the world.

Night view of Istanbul, Turkey. (Yusuf Anil Akduygu /

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Interesting Facts:
Turkey sits directly on at least three active earthquake faults. Thirteen major quakes have rocked Turkey since 1939—the latest was a 7.4 magnitude whopper in 1999 which killed more than 18,000 people. Istanbul straddles one of the most active seismic fault lines on the globe. A few miles away beneath the Marmara Sea, the North Anatolian fault line is stirring, and scientists are predicting a major rupture within the next few decades and say the question is not 'if', but 'when?'

The secular country of Turkey was founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who was an army officer, revolutionary statesman, and its first President. An admirer of the Enlightenment, Atatürk instituted wide-ranging and progressive political, economic, and social reforms, transforming Turkish society into a modern, democratic, and secular nation-state. Atatürk also worked to solve the literacy problem, creating a Language Commission, which developed a brand new Turkish alphabet using the Roman alphabet in 1928.

The American doughnut shop operator Krispy Kreme announced in 2008 that it will franchise about 25 outlets in Istanbul that will open in the next five years.


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