Turkey with Simon Reeve episode 1: Simon Reeve sets off on the first leg of his two-part journey around Turkey, a dramatic and beautiful country that now finds itself at the centre of world events.
In this programme, he visits Istanbul and the beaches and crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea, before ending up at the war-torn border with Syria. In the region thought to have been the origin of the first vineyards, Simon meets a producer now trying to sell wine in a Muslim country with an increasingly conservative government. Simon Reeve, in Istanbul, he meets some of the people shaping modern Turkey, from loyal supporters of the nation’s controversial and authoritarian president to the master builder constructing one of the world’s largest mosques and the notorious billionaire cashing in on a Turkish property boom.
Along Turkey’s famous Turquoise Coast, Simon has a taste of luxury at the country’s most expensive hotel, but discovers an industry on its knees as war in Syria and deadly terror attacks keep millions of holidaymakers away. Only one sector is bucking the trend – halal-friendly tourism.
Finally, Simon reaches Turkey’s southern border where state-of-the-art camps have been built for hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria. Many are trying to carve out a new life in Turkey, and some are even learning Turkish, but the nearby thud of artillery and rockets is a constant reminder of the war just a few miles away.
Turkey with Simon Reeve episode 1
Turkey is a transcontinental country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It is bordered on its northwest by Greece and Bulgaria; north by the Black Sea; northeast by Georgia; east by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran; southeast by Iraq; south by Syria and the Mediterranean Sea; and west by the Aegean Sea. Istanbul, which straddles Europe and Asia, is the country’s largest city, while Ankara is the capital. Approximately 70 to 80 percent of the country’s citizens are ethnic Turks, while the largest minority are Kurds at 20 percent.
One of the world’s earliest permanently settled regions, present-day Turkey was home to important Neolithic sites like Göbekli Tepe, and was inhabited by ancient civilisations such as the Hattians and Anatolian peoples. Hellenization started in the area during the era of Alexander the Great and continued into the Byzantine era. The Seljuk Turks began migrating in the 11th century, and the Sultanate of Rum ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, when it disintegrated into small Turkish principalities.
Beginning in the late 13th century, the Ottomans started uniting the principalities and conquering the Balkans, and the Turkification of Anatolia increased during the Ottoman period. After Mehmed II conquered Constantinople in 1453, Ottoman expansion continued under Selim I. During the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire became a global power. From the late 18th century onwards, the empire’s power declined with a gradual loss of territories and wars. In an effort to consolidate the weakening empire, Mahmud II started a period of modernisation in the early 19th century. The 1913 coup d’état effectively put the country under the control of the Three Pashas, who were largely responsible for the Empire’s entry into World War I in 1914.