This transcontinental country in Eurasia is officially named the Republic of Turkey. Ankara is the capital. However, Istanbul is a leading global city, and most of the usual activity of a capital city happens there.
Since the Paleolithic age, people have inhabited Turkey. After Alexander the Great conquered the lands the region became influenced by Greek culture. Byzantium was a Greek colony and the name of the country at the time. The country later became absorbed into the vast Roman Empire. Constantinople, named after the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.
Turks began their migration into the area in the 11th-century. Their victory over the Byzantines in 1071 symbolised the foundation of Turkey as we know it today.
The Ottoman Empire began in the 13th-century. A few centuries later, the famous Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent came to power, in 1520. The Ottomans had control until the19th-century. At this time, the Ottomans started to cede strategic territories to Europe, mainly to Russia.
The Lausanne Convention
During World War I, the Ottoman government committed genocide against its minority peoples including the Greeks. Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire started after the war. The Turkish War of Independence ended with the abolition of the monarchy, in 1922. The Lausanne Convention resolved the conflict. 1.1 million Greeks left Turkey for Greece in exchange for 380,000 Muslims who migrated from Greece to Turkey. Atatürk became the first president of the new republic in 1923. Constantinople officially became Istanbul in 1930.
Turkey invaded Cyprus on 20 July 1974. Subsequently, years of conflict followed. Turkish Cypriots supported The 2004 Annan Plan for reunifying Cyprus, but Greek Cypriots rejected it. The Cyprus dispute is still ongoing.
Turkey is a member of the UN and a member of NATO. Turkey joined the EU Customs Union in 1995 and started negotiations with to join the European Union in 2005. The EU has so far vetoed this move because of some of the activities of the strict Turkish government. On 15 July 2016, an unsuccessful coup attempt tried to oust the government and severe repercussions ensued.
There are 189 nature parks and 40 national parks in Turkey. Furthermore, there are over 200 nature reserve areas. Ankara is renowned for the Angora cat, the Angora rabbit and the Angora goat. The national dog is the Anatolian Shepherd.
The now extinct Anatolian leopard came from the area. In the forests of Turkey, you can still find Eurasian lynx and European wildcat.
The areas on the coast of the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean have a temperate Mediterranean climate., Hot, and dry summers follow mild, wet winters. The regions bordering the Black Sea have a temperate oceanic climate. Warm, humid summers lead to cold winters, with a great deal of rain. Where the coast borders the Sea of Marmara, connecting the Aegean and the Black Sea, the climate is somewhere between the two. The summer is warm but not too hot, and there is snowfall in winter. Snow is rare in the other coastal areas of Turkey.
The country has the sea on three sides. The Aegean to the west, the Black Sea to the north, and the Mediterranean to the south. The Sea of Marmara, together with the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, separates Europe from Asia.
Eight countries border Turkey
The official language is Turkish but you will find a large number of English speakers in the main cities. This magical country has a fascinating history.
A chequered past of conflict and power struggles dominate Turkey´s story.
Mainly the land sits in Western Asia, with a small portion of land on the Balkan peninsula within southeast Europe. Eight countries border Turkey: Greece and Bulgaria to the northwest, Georgia to the northeast, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran to the east, and Iraq and Syria to the south.
Nearly 80% of the country’s citizens are Turks. Almost 20% of the population are Kurds. The small number of ethnic minorities living in the republic include Albanians, Arabs, Bosniaks, Circassians, and people from Laz.