Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye [ˈtyɾcije]), officially the Republic of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Cumhuriyeti [ˈtyɾcije d͡ʒumˈhuɾijeti] (About this sound listen)), is a transcontinental country in Eurasia, mainly in Anatolia in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe.Turkey is bordered by eight countries with Greece and Bulgaria to the northwest; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, the Azerbaijan and Iran to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the south. The country is encircled by seas on three sides with the Aegean Sea to the west, the Black Sea to the north, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles, which together form the Turkish Straits, divide Thrace and Anatolia and separate Europe and Asia.Ankara is the capital while Istanbul is the country’s largest city and main cultural and commercial centre, classified as a leading global city.
Approximately 70–80% of the country’s citizens identify themselves as ethnic Turks.Kurds are the largest minority at about 20% of the population; other ethnic minorities include Circassians, Albanians, Arabs, Bosniaks, and Laz people. The official language is Turkish, which is the most widely spoken Turkic language in the world.Minority languages spoken today in Turkey include Kurmanji, Bosnian, Arabic, Zaza, Kabardian, and several others.
The area of Turkey has been inhabited since the Paleolithic age by various ancient Anatolian civilisations, as well as Assyrians, Greeks, Thracians, Phrygians, Urartians, and Armenians.After Alexander the Great conquered these lands, the area was Hellenized, a process which continued under the Roman Empire and its transition into the Byzantine Empire.The Seljuk Turks began migrating into the area in the 11th century, and their victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 symbolizes the start and foundation of Turkey. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, when it disintegrated into small Turkish principalities.
Turkey is a charter member of the UN, an early member of NATO, the IMF and the World Bank, and a founding member of the OECD, OSCE, BSEC, OIC and G-20. After becoming one of the first members of the Council of Europe in 1949, Turkey became an associate member of the EEC in 1963, joined the EU Customs Union in 1995 and started accession negotiations with the European Union in 2005 which have been effectively stopped by the EU in 2017 due to “Turkey’s path toward autocratic rule”. Turkey’s economy and diplomatic initiatives led to its recognition as a regional power while its location has given it geopolitical and strategic importance throughout history. Turkey is a secular, unitary, parliamentary republic; slated to transition to a presidential system in 2019, following a 2017 referendum. However, Turkey’s current administration headed by president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of the AKP has enacted measures to increase the influence of Islam, reversed and undermined Kemalist policies, and has reversed earlier reforms such as freedom of the press.
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