Sunday, December 19, 2010
In 1953, Turkey issued a set and souvenir sheet commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Conquest of Constaninople by Sultan Mohammed II (Scott # 1090-1101, 1101a). 100,000 sets and 25,000 souvenir sheets were issued, and Scott '11 prices them unused at $48.05 and $175.- , respectively.
I recommend purchase of both the set and the souvenir sheet. Though far fewer of the souvenir sheets were issued, it is likely that a much higher proportion of the sets were used as postage and discarded. The issue commemorates a pivotal event in Turkish history, and will be eagerly sought after as Turkey's stamp collecting population continues to grow.
With a population of about 72 1/2 million, Turkey is perhaps the most culturally European of the Islamic nations, and a likely model for their modernization, economic development, and democratization. The country experienced rapid economic growth between 2002 and 2007, with GDP averaging 7.4%, but this slowed in 2008 to 5% and stalled in 2009 to 1%, due to the global financial crisis, from which the country is recovering. While traditional agriculture is still a pillar of the Turkish economy, it is becoming more dependent on industry. Key sectors include tourism, banking, construction, home appliances, electronics, textiles, oil refining, petrochemical products, food, mining, iron and steel, the machine industry, automotive, and shipbuilding. It is likely that in the future, Turkey will benefit from serving as an economic and cultural nexus connecting Europe, the Near East, and the Turkic (formerly Soviet) nations of Central Asia.