Activism Network - Turkey

I'm working on getting Activism Network software to work for an activist in Turkey. So I'm struggling with

1) Importing the Geonames Table - with UTF-8
I had to re-import the geonames table (that has world cities, with longitudes/latitudes) so that I would preserve the UTF-8 fields. UTF-8 uses 1-3 characters to express each letter and can support almost all of the world's languages. I had a lot of trouble importing data. Finally got it to work using Navicat's import wizard when I split the data into two chunks (otherwise it was only importing 37,000 of the 53,000 rows). Turkey has 53,000 rows in the geonames table - so hopefully most of the small to large cities are in it. It's only 4mb - so the size isn't bad at all if you just need data for one country. By contrast, the entire geonames database is 400mb (with indexes).

2) Converting my MySQL tables to UTF-8
I'm hoping this will be relatively easy and that I can just change the table structure, without messing up my existing data, right?

3) Converting PHP to use UTF-8
Apparently PHP doesn't support UTF-8 in its string functions. PHP 6 is meant to fix this, but most of us are still using PHP 4 on our shared hosting servers. The problem with UTF-8 is that your string functions assume that one letter = one byte. But in UTF-8 it can be 1-3 bytes. PHP functions, like the string length function, return values in bytes. Thus I need to check all of my string functions. Some of them are executed on what are most likely to be english characters (notably URLs, or variable names), but others need to support UTF-8.

4) Converting webages to UTF-8
Apparently this is rather easy. Just include a tag.

5) Is there anything else?
Please comment on this if you have any experience doing it.

If anyone has a database of turkish postal codes (with longitudes and latitudes), please let me know. Also a database of schools would be great too.

The good thing is that if this works, it means that people in pretty much any country could use this Activism Network software. That it isn't just for English speakers, nor just for Europeans (and others who use the ASCII character set).

I found a good website, which has a forum, mailing list, downloads, and a list of webservices that relate to the geonames database. An excellent resource.