23-26 SEPTEMBER 2012 ISTANBUL - TURKEY

ABOUT TURKEY

TURKEY has been called "the cradle of civilization" and one can discover what this really means only by traveling in this land of history. The world's first town, a neolithic city at Çatalhöyük, dates back to 6500 BC. From the days of Çatalhöyük up to the present time Turkey boasts of a rich culture that through the centuries has left a lasting foot-print on modern civilization.

Being the heir of many centuries of culture makes Turkey a paradise of knowledge and cultural heritage. Hattis, Hittites, Phrygians, Urartians, Lycians, Ionians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans have all occupied crucial places in the historical background of Turkey and ancient sites and ruins scattered throughout the country give proof to each civilization's unique distinction

There is no doubt that one visit will not be enough, and you will want to come back again and again as you discover one extraordinary place after another. All of them, no matter how different, have one thing the friendly and hospitable people of this unique country. Turkey is a paradise of sun, sea, mountains and lakes that offers the vacationer a complete change from the stress and routine of everyday life. From April to October, most places in Turkey have an ideal climate that is perfect for relaxing on sandy beaches or enjoying the tranquility of mountains and lakes.

Climate
Due to the variety of its physical features, Turkey possesses a mixed range of different climate types. The Mediterranean and Aegean coasts have mild winters and hot summers whereas the Black Sea coasts has a wetter climate with rain all year round. In the Marmara region where Istanbul is located, the climate is a combination of both with pleasantly warm spring and fall, with hot dry summer and relatively cold winter. The weather is June is very pleasant and warm enough to see the wonders of Istanbul and surrounding areas.

In İstanbul, average highest temperature in day time in September is 25 °C / 77 F, average lowest temperature at night in September is 21 °C / 69.5 F, average temperature in September is 15 °C / 59 F. Generally there is rain in September. The weather is rainy in 10 days of September, on average. It is advised for the guests who want to have a tour in İstanbul to bring their coats, rain boots and umbrellas.

Passport and Visas
Every visitor to Turkey must have a valid passport and a visa, if required. Participants are advised to contact the nearest Republic of Turkey Embassy or Consulate or your travel agency to determine whether a visa is necessary to enter Turkey.

Transportation
Turkish Airlines, Turkey’ s flag-carrier, flies to nearly 80 destinations worldwide and offers direct connections to leading cities not just in Europe but also in North America and the Far East.
  • 50 international airlines are fly to and from Istanbul.
  • International award-winning facility.
  • Distance from the airport to the city centre is 20 km.
  • Shuttle buses, metro and taxis to the city centre.
  • Capable of serving up to 20 million passengers annually.
  • State-of-the-art automated baggage handling and security measures.


Please contact your travel agent for detailed information or visit the airport website at:
www.ataturkairport.com

Currency & Credit Cards
Turkish currency is the Turkish Lira, TL. Please click on the Personal Currency Assistant which enables you to make currency conversions on actual rates. There will be a bank office in the Conference Center for your service convenience. TL is freely sold and bought in hotels, banks and special exchange offices called "Döviz Bürosu". Car rental offices, hotels, above average restaurants, shops, travel agencies and gas stations will accept your credit cards. You can get cash with your credit card or cash card by using cash machines (ATM's) in bank buildings or street booths.

The Turkish Lira is available in notes and coins. The exchange rate is determined daily; several banks and exchange offices are available. Traveler's checks can be cashed in most banks. Hotels and many shops and restaurants accept foreign currency. There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency that travelers can bring cash. Hotels, most restaurants and shops accept all major credit cards. (American Express, VISA, MasterCard /Euro card, Diners' Club),

Language
Turkish is the official language and it is written with the Latin alphabet. English, French and German are spoken in hotels, major restaurants and many shops.

Electricity
220 volt, 50 Hz. Most hotels have a receptacle with 110 volts. Socket type is European standards.

Communication
Public telephones operate with tokens or cards, sold at post offices or some booths. Some of the public phones, can access to AT&T and some other telecommunication Networks. Please check with your operator for the latest information. Fax messages can be sent from major post offices, or from the hotel. Cellular telephones can be hired.

Education & Health
Seventeen of 137 universities in Turkey are located in Istanbul, with faculties offering education in all subjects, from engineering to fine arts, economics to literature. The general level of education is of a high standard. There are also several foreign schools with the advantage of a second language from early years. Istanbul is as much a centre from the standpoint of health, İstanbul has several hospitals with state-of-the-art equipment.

Clothing
The dress is generally informal in Turkey; however for special evenings ladies compete to wear the latest fashion.

For visitors, it is advisable to bring comfortable shoes and pant suits for daytime visits. The organisers can set the tone for the evenings; in any case it is recommended to bring a cocktail dress. In most restaurants, gentlemen will feel more comfortable with a jacket and tie in the evening and some require formal dress.

Turkish Cuisine
Turkish cuisine is considered to be one of the three main cuisines of the world because of the variety of its recipes, its use of natural ingredients, its flavours and tastes which appeal to all palates and its influence throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The cuisine originated in central Asia, the first home of the Turks, and then evolved with the contributions of the island and Mediterranean cultures with which Turks interacted after their arrival in Anatolia. It was refined and enriched over the centuries in the Palaces of different empires, but its tendency for simplicity and natural tastes was preserved. In line with the Palace cuisine, regions of Anatolia developed their own gastronomic specialties.

Since the Ottoman Empire had brought several peoples together under one rule, it is hardly surprising that similar dishes can be found in so many of the countries which were once part of the Empire. The origin of the many Turkish dishes is sometimes reflected in their names such as Arnavut ciğeri (Albanian liver), tatar böreği (tatar meat pie), Çerkez tavuğu (circassian chicken) and Şam işi tatlılar (Damascus sweets).

Like its Chinese and French counterparts, Turkish cuisine developed according to what ingredients were available in the country. The original Turkish cuisine in Central Asia was composed mainly of meat dishes and milk product such as cheese. In Anatolia, the cuisine grew with the abundant supply of vegetables and fruits. With its root in Central Asia and its later development in Anatolia, Turkish cuisine is in a sense a bridge between far-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, with the accent always on enhancing the natural taste and flavour of the ingredients. There is no one dominant element in Turkish cuisine, like sauces in French and pasta in Italian cuisines.

On the other hand, the meat, fish, vegetables and pastas can be prepared in countless different ways. For instance, eggplant, a vegetable which is rarely consumed in Europe, is a main dish in Turkey and can be cooked no less than forty different ways. The sauces and spices used in Turkish cuisine are never allowed to alter the original taste of the main ingredient. All ingredients are basically cooked in their own juices and the flavour enhanced with butter, olive oil, salt, onions, garlic, spices and vinegar. The meat, fish and vegetables should be always fresh.

Some Specialities
Some Turkish culinary specialties have a world-wide reputation, one of which of course is the “lokum”, or Turkish delight as it is known throughout the world. This is made of sugar syrup, boiled with starch to which are added hazelnut, pistachios, mint or rose water. Other sweet specialties include pastes of almonds, pistachios and coconut. The roasted pistachio is a favourite snack and is also used in several dishes and sweets.

Of course, the best known is “Turkish coffee”. Its preparation is quite different from other coffees. The coffee is first stirred in cold water in Cezve (a pot with a handle) and then boiled until it produces foam. The foam is then poured into the cup and the coffee boiled once again. Coffee was imported to Istanbul at the beginning of the 16th century when Yemen was conquered. Soon, coffee-houses multiplied in Istanbul; they continue to exist today and to play an important social role. The offering of coffee in Turkey is an expression of friendship and respect.

Other enjoyment is “Meze” for Turkish people. The mezes (hors d’oeuvres) served with the rakı (special Turkish beverage) are brought on small plates and include fresh salads, white cheese, lakerda (pickled tuna), mussels stuffed with rice, çiroz (a fish dried in the sun and served olive oil, vinegar and dill), dolmas (stuffed vine leaves or cabbages) and turşu (vegetable pickles including cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage and aubergines). The main course follows the hors d’oeuvres.

Getting around:
The best way to travel in and around the Turkish coastal resorts is by the local minibus services which can be hailed from the roadside. There are good bus services between the major towns and organised tours to many attractions, though more independent travellers often prefer to rent a car.

Communications:
Public telephones operate with tokens or cards, sold at post offices or some booths. Some of the public phones, can access to AT&T and some other telecommunication Networks. Please check with your operator for the latest information. Fax messages can be sent from major post offices, or from the hotel. Cellular telephones can be hired.

The international country dialing code for Turkey is +90. The outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). Mobile phones work in most areas of the country; the network operators use GSM networks, which will not be compatible with many US cell phones. Internet cafes are available in the main towns and resorts.

Safety / Security
Istanbul remains a destination with no increased risk when compared with other major destinations in the world. According to a European Union study, Istanbul is the safest major city in the world. The EU Crime and Safety survey for 2006 showed that the crime rate in Istanbul was just 18 percent for the previous year . This can be compared with 32 percent in London, 27 percent in Amsterdam, 26 percent in Belfast and Dublin, 24 percent in Copenhagen, 23 percent in New York and Stockholm, 20 percent in Brussels, and 19 percent in Rome.

In addition, strict security measures are applied by the competent authorities in the city during major congresses and events.
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WHERE
İstanbul Grand Cevahir Hotel & Convention Center,
Address : Darülaceze Cad. No:9
Okmeydanı / Şişli
İstanbul / Türkiye
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