Asia Minor has always had great importance for communications between Europe and Asia. A very old road (via regia) from Susa (seat of the Persian kings) led to the Aegean coast, but did not follow a direct route; it lingered with long laps, since it had a commercial character, touching Diyarbekir, Malatya, Boǧazköy (on the site of the capital of the Hittites), Angora, Gordio (Polatli), Sardis, Ephesus. Later the main arteries, which led to the cities of Ionia, moved towards Constantinople, then towards Brussa, then back to Constantinople, while now the main node of the network is Angora, although the direction continues to be important. of Istanbul.
The ways and means of communication have also improved in recent years, while still remaining at a level below the European average. The roads are usually natural and are well suited to caravan traffic, less well suited to transport by two-wheeled wagons (kâni). In the surroundings of the most important cities, artificial roads made it possible to use cars, especially after numerous bridges were built (1684 in 1933 and 1884 in 1934). Trebizond will then benefit from the opening of the road with Bayazït, which will allow to channel part of the Persian trade. But, given the great distances, transport by rail is of particular value. At first, that is, under the sultans, the state did not deal with them, but granted construction to private companies, subsidized by banks, which thus opened the way to not only economic but also political expansion. The first line (Smyrna-Aydïn), which still dates back to 1856 and is important because it serves to connect the Meander valley to the sea, is due to the English initiative; of 1863, due to a French initiative, is the Smyrna-Kasaba (in the Hermos valley, extended in 1875 up to AlaŞehir by the Turkish government and in 1894 up to Afyon Karahisar), while only later was the trunk built that detaches from Magnesia and reaches the Sea of Marmara in Panderma. In 1888, in view of the fact that it seemed to have less political aims, the construction of the Baghdād line (Anatolische Eisenbahngesellschaft, transformed in 1903 into a company with international capital) was then granted to Germany. Since the HaydarpaŞa-Izmit branch already existed (1872), the Izmit-Angora branch was soon built (Pressel project), but then due to Russian opposition (since the line would have come too close to the southern border), construction continued with a more southern route, which touches Conia (1896),
The program of the national government, which has just come to power, has been to promptly build new lines, no longer as in the past to be managed by foreigners, but with the intention of creating an efficient state network (‘Izmet Inonü program), by contracting out the construction only (840 km. to a Swedish-Norwegian consortium). To get an idea of the pace at which the construction of the railway network has proceeded, it is sufficient to report the following data:
It is also evident that the number of lines managed by private companies is decreasing more and more. We recall that on 29 May 1927 the Angora-Cesarea line (380 km.) Was inaugurated, on 30 August 1930 the Cesarea-Sïvas (228 km.), On 23 April 1931 the FevzipaŞa- Malatya, on 13 April 1932 the Kütahya- Balïkesir, on 15 December 1932 the Samsun-Sïvas, which made it possible to greatly accelerate communications between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. On 2 September 1933 the Caesarea-UlukïŞla (station of the Taurus line) was inaugurated and finally on 5 August 1935 the Malatya trunk reached Ergani, where there are important copper mines, and on 22 November of the same year to Diyarbekir. Other lines are under construction; the main ones are the Sïvas-Erzerum (700 km.), the Afyon Karahisar-Adalia (300 km.) and the Sïvas-Malatya (140 km.). The first line is expected to reach Erzerum in 1940; from here there is already a connection (narrow gauge, built during the World War) to Sarïkamïş, from where the line continues towards the Russian wide gauge border (1572 mm.), to reconnect with the Tiflis line, which in its time is joint with the railways of Iran. The second line was completed by Afyon Karahisar up to Sandïklï, the third is already half built.
Now the Turkish railway network consists of two transversal lines: 1st. HaydarpaŞa-Izmit-EskiŞehir-Angora-Cesarea-Sïvas-Erzerum (the last trunk, as mentioned, under construction), from which two trunks branch off towards the Black Sea, one of which leads to the coal basin and the other to Samsun ; 2nd. Smyrna-Magnesia-Afyon Karahisar-Conia-Adana-Malatya-Diyarbekir. A third cross line from the Mediterranean reaches Nusaybin (from where it will continue towards Mosul) and sends a trunk to Aleppo, but it is in the hands of the French (Syria). The two main transversal lines then have two connections between them by means of the Afyon Karahisar-Kütahya-EskiŞehir and UlukïŞla-Caesarea trunks. The speed of the trains is decent.
Given the existence of a coastal strip overlooking several seas, Turkey is also of considerable importance for maritime traffic, but the number of ports that have sufficient equipment is scarce; recent works have improved the landings in Zonguldak and Samsun. Turkey also retains dominion over the Straits, even if their political and economic importance has somewhat expired compared to the past.
Traffic in Turkish ports is around 22-25 million tons. register and is exercised in a slight prevalence by Turkish ships. For the movement of ships entering ports in 1934, see table.
The Italian flag is in second place in all three seas (17.2% of the ton in the Marmara region; 15.0% in the Mediterranean and 4.3% in the Black Sea).
Traffic on rivers is completely insignificant. For Turkey travel information, please check zipcodesexplorer.com.
With law 815 of 19 April 1926, freight and passenger cabotage, piloting, towing, port and navigational activities also in rivers and lakes, fishing, maritime recovery, have been reserved, dating from 10 July 1926, to the flag Turkish; the crews must also be Turkish. Of course, this provision has involved vast and numerous exceptions, but it is the harbinger of a national navy; which at present does not seem very efficient, made up as it is (Lloyd’s Register, 1935-36) of only 182 ships for 199.284 tons, almost all aged material, mostly made up of steamers (172 for 196.708 tons). No sailing ship.
The Turkish navy occupies one of the last places among the world navies: the 22nd. Most of the aforementioned fleet belongs to a state organization: which, since 1927, was authorized to borrow 5 million Turkish lira to increase the fleet. However, it does not appear that substantial increases have occurred; it has recently become known, however, that six steamers of tonnage not exceeding 300 tons have been ordered from German shipyards; an additional eight, including 5,000-tonne 18-knot passenger ships, will be ordered from British yards.
The Turkish government has always refused to allow foreign companies to operate domestic airlines. After having carried out the plans for these lines through American specialists, the Turkish authorities have tried in vain to put them into operation since 1932. The Istanbul-EskiŞehir-Ankara line (first project), with extension to Diyarbekir (second project), could not have a normal development and suspended all activities (1936). The operation of the internal air lines is entrusted to the state airways administration, which has been under the authority of the Ministry of Public Works since 10 June 1935. The budget of this body was raised from 180,000 to 600,000 Turkish lira (equal to 6 million Italian lire). Currently in Turkey there is only one foreign company, “Air-France”, for the connection between Istanbul and Europe; it operates the (summer) line Istanbul-Bucharest-Belgrade-Budapest-Strasbourg-Paris.
The Italian company “Ala Littoria”, which operated the Brindisi-Piraeus-Istanbul maritime airline, ceased its activity on 10 January 1936 by agreement with the Turkish government.