Adventurer and journalist Simon Reeve is on a journey around Turkey - a land of beauty and extremes, in a unique position at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. In this two-part series, Simon discovers a country undergoing dramatic and fundamental cultural and political changes.
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. 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.
Simon Reeve sets off on the second leg of his two-part journey around Turkey, a dramatic and beautiful country that now finds itself at the centre of world events.
In the Taurus Mountains Simon stays with descendants of the original Turks, nomads known as Yoruks, whose lifestyle is under threat from the modern world and an increasingly Islamic government. They're not the only minority at odds with the authorities in Turkey; Simon sees first-hand the devastating effects of fighting in the country's Kurdish region. In an area where the government has detained foreign journalists, Simon gathers unique footage in the aftermath of a crackdown on Kurdish militants - the wholesale destruction of the historic centre of one of Turkey's oldest cities.
Away from the conflict in the south, Simon heads towards the Black Sea coast. He meets a wildlife conservationist protecting Turkey's population of brown bears, and villagers who still communicate over long distances using an ancient bird language. In the country's capital he meets a victim of President Erdogan's authoritarian purge of people accused of complicity in the failed coup against him.
Finally Simon's journey comes full circle when he returns to Istanbul - home to the new craze of 'Ottomania', a celebration of the vast empire that preceded modern Turkey. Simon visits the set of one of the world's most popular TV dramas - even getting a speaking role - based in the court of an Ottoman sultan.