Turkey

Date:  2013-05-28  Author: admin    Source:Wikipedia

Turkey
 
Turkey, is a transcontinental country, located mostly on Anatolia inWestern Asia and on East Thrace in Southeastern Europe. Turkey is bordered by eight countries:Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west; Georgia to the northeast; ArmeniaIran and theAzerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. TheMediterranean Sea is to the south; the Aegean Sea is to the west; and the Black Sea is to the north. The Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles (which together form the Turkish Straits) demarcate the boundary between Thrace and Anatolia; they also separate Europe and Asia.
The country's official language is Turkish, a Turkic language, which is spoken by approximately 85% of the population as mother tongue. The most numerous ethnic group is the Turks, who constitute between 70% and 75% of the population according to The World FactbookKurds are the largest ethnic minority and, according to the same source, number around 18% of the population while other ethnic minorities are estimated to be at 7–12%. The vast majority of the population is Muslim.
The area now called Turkey (derived from the Medieval Latin Turchia; i.e., "Land of the Turks") has been inhabited since the Paleolithic, including various Ancient Anatolian civilizations andThracian peoples. After Alexander the Great's conquest, the area was Hellenized, which continued with the Roman rule and the transition into the Byzantine Empire. TheSeljuk Turks began migrating into the area in the 11th century, starting the process ofTurkification, which was greatly accelerated by the Seljuk victory over the Byzantines at theBattle of Manzikert in 1071. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, upon which it disintegrated into several small Turkish beyliks. Starting from the late 13th century, the Ottoman beylik united Anatolia and created an empire encompassing much of Southeastern EuropeWestern Asia and North Africa. After the Ottoman Empire collapsed following its defeat in World War I, parts of it were occupied by the victorious Allies. A cadre of young military officers, led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues, organized a successful resistance to the Allies; in 1923 they established the modern Republic of Turkey, with Atatürk as its first president.
Turkey is a democraticsecularunitaryconstitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage. Turkey has become increasingly integrated with the West through membership in organisations such as the Council of EuropeNATOOECDOSCE and the G-20 major economies. Turkey began full membership negotiations with the European Union in 2005, having been an associate member of the European Economic Community since 1963 and having joined the EU Customs Union in 1995. Turkey has also fostered close cultural, political and economic relations with the Middle EastCaucasus, the Turkic states of Central Asia and the African countries through membership in organisations such as the Turkic CouncilJoint Administration of Turkic Arts and Culture,Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Economic Cooperation Organisation.
Turkey's location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a country of significant geostrategic importance. In addition to its strategic location, Turkey's growing economy and diplomatic initiatives have led to its recognition as a regional power. Turkey is the world's 17th largest economy by nominal GDP and the 16th largest by purchasing power parity. Turkey is projected to be the fastest growing OECD economy through 2017, and one of the fastest in the world through 2060, completing its transition from an upper-middle income economy into a high-income economy by 2015.
Turkey is a transcontinental Eurasian country. Asian Turkey (made up largely of Anatolia), which includes 97% of the country, is separated from European Turkey by the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles (which together form a water link between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean).European Turkey (eastern Thrace or Rumelia in the Balkan peninsula) comprises 3% of the country.
The territory of Turkey is more than 1,600 kilometres (1,000 mi) long and 800 km (500 mi) wide, with a roughly rectangular shape.It lies between latitudes 35° and 43° N, and longitudes 25° and45° E. Turkey's area, including lakes, occupies 783,562 square kilometres (300,948 sq mi), of which 755,688 square kilometres (291,773 sq mi) are in Southwest Asia and 23,764 square kilometres (9,174 sq mi) in Europe. Turkey is the world's 37th-largest country in terms of area. The country is encircled by seas on three sides: the Aegean Sea to the west, the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean to the south. Turkey also contains the Sea of Marmara in the northwest.
The European section of Turkey, East Thrace, forms the borders of Turkey with Greece and Bulgaria. The Asian part of the country,Anatolia, consists of a high central plateau with narrow coastal plains, between the Köroğlu and Pontic mountain ranges to the north and the Taurus Mountains to the south. Eastern Turkey has a more mountainous landscape and is home to the sources of rivers such as the EuphratesTigris and Aras, and contains Mount Ararat, Turkey's highest point at 5,137 metres (16,854 ft), andLake Van, the largest lake in the country.
Turkey is divided into seven census regionsMarmaraAegeanBlack SeaCentral AnatoliaEastern Anatolia,Southeastern Anatolia and the Mediterranean. The uneven north Anatolian terrain running along the Black Sea resembles a long, narrow belt. This region comprises approximately one-sixth of Turkey's total land area. As a general trend, the inland Anatolian plateau becomes increasingly rugged as it progresses eastward.
Turkey's varied landscapes are the product of complex earth movements that have shaped the region over thousands of years and still manifest themselves in fairly frequent earthquakes and occasional volcanic eruptions. The Bosphorus and the Dardanelles owe their existence to the fault lines running through Turkey that led to the creation of the Black Sea. There is an earthquake fault line across the north of the country from west to east, which caused a major earthquake in 1999.
 
The Anatolian peninsula, comprising most of modern Turkey, is one of the oldest permanently settled regions in the world. Various Ancient Anatolian populations have lived in Anatolia, beginning with the Neolithic period until conquest of Alexander the Great. Many of these peoples spoke the Anatolian languages, a branch of the larger Indo-European language family. In fact, given the antiquity of the Indo-European Hittite andLuwian languages, some scholars have proposed Anatolia as the hypothetical center from which the Indo-European languages radiated. European part of Turkey, called Eastern Thrace, has also been inhabited since forty thousand years ago, and entered Neolithic by about 6000 B.C. with its inhabitants starting the practice of agriculture.
Göbekli Tepe is the site of the oldest known man-made religious structure, a temple dating to 10,000 BC, while Çatalhöyük is a very large Neolithic andChalcolithic settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately 7500 BCE to 5700 BCE. It is the largest and best-preserved Neolithic site found to date and in July 2012 was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The settlement of Troy started in the Neolithic Age and continued into the Iron Age.
The earliest recorded inhabitants of Anatolia were the Hattians and Hurrians, non-Indo-European peoples who inhabited central and eastern Anatolia, respectively, as early as ca. 2300 BC. Indo-European Hittites came to Anatolia and gradually absorbed the Hattians and Hurrians ca. 2000–1700 BC. The first major empire in the area was founded by the Hittites, from the eighteenth through the 13th century BC. The Assyrians conquered and settled parts of southeastern Turkey as early as 1950 BC until the year 612 BC.
Following the collapse of the Hittite empire c. 1180 BC, the Phrygians, an Indo-European people, achieved ascendancy in Anatolia until their kingdom was destroyed by the Cimmerians in the 7th century BC. The most powerful of Phrygia's successor states were LydiaCaria and Lycia.
Starting around 1200 BC, the coast of Anatolia was heavily settled by Aeolianand Ionian Greeks. Numerous important cities were founded by these colonists, such as MiletusEphesusSmyrna (modern İzmir) and Byzantium (laterConstantinople and Istanbul), the latter founded by Greek colonists fromMegara in 657 BC. The first state that was called Armenia by neighboring peoples was the state of the Armenian Orontid dynasty, which included parts of eastern Turkey beginning in the 6th century BC. In Northwest Turkey, the most significant tribal group in Thrace was the Odyrisians, founded by Teres I.
Anatolia was conquered by the Persian Achaemenid Empire during the 6th and 5th centuries BC and later fell to Alexander the Great in 334 BC, which led to increasing cultural homogeneity and Hellenization in the area. Following Alexander's death in 323 BC, Anatolia was subsequently divided into a number of small Hellenistic kingdoms (including BithyniaCappadociaPergamum, and Pontus), all of which became part of the Roman Republic by the mid-1st century BC. Beginning with Alexander's conquest, Anatolia underwent a process of Hellenization, a process which accelerated under Roman rule, so that by the early centuries AD the local Anatolian languages and cultures has become extinct, replaced by Greek.
In 324, Constantine I chose Byzantium to be the new capital of the Roman Empire, renaming it New Rome (later Constantinople, modern Istanbul.) Following the death of Theodosius I in 395 and the permanent division of the Roman Empire between his two sons, Constantinople (Istanbul) became the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which would rule most of the territory of Turkey until the Late Middle Ages.
The House of Seljuk was a branch of the Kınık Oğuz Turks who resided on the periphery of the Muslim world, in the Yabghu Khaganate of the Oğuz confederacy, to the north of the Caspian and Aral Seas, in the 9th century. In the 10th century the Seljuks started migrating from their ancestral homeland into Persia, which became the administrative core of the Great Seljuk Empire.
In the latter half of the 11th century the Seljuks began penetrating into the eastern regions of Anatolia. In 1071, the Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert, startingTurkification of the area; the Turkish language and Islam were introduced to Anatolia and gradually spread over the region and the slow transition from a predominantly Christian and Greek-speaking Anatolia to a predominantly Muslim and Turkish-speaking one was underway.
In 1243, the Seljuk armies were defeated by the Mongols, causing the Seljuk Empire's power to slowly disintegrate. In its wake, one of the Turkish principalities governed by Osman I would, over the next 200 years, evolve into the Ottoman Empire, expanding throughout Anatolia, the Balkans, the Levant andNorth Africa. In 1453, the Ottomans completed their conquest of the Byzantine Empireby capturing its capitalConstantinople.
In 1514, Sultan Selim I (1512–1520) successfully expanded the Empire's southern and eastern borders by defeating Shah Ismail I of the Safavid dynasty in the Battle of Chaldiran. In 1517, Selim I expanded Ottoman rule into Algeria and Egypt, and created a naval presence in the Red Sea. Subsequently, a competition started between the Ottoman and Portuguese empires to become the dominant sea power in the Indian Ocean, with numerous naval battles in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and thePersian Gulf. The Portuguese presence in the Indian Ocean was perceived as a threat for the Ottoman monopoly over the ancient trading routes between East Asia and Western Europe (later collectively named the Silk Road, a term coined by Ferdinand von Richthofen in 1877.) This important monopoly was increasingly compromised following the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1488, which had a considerable impact on the Ottoman economy.
The Ottoman Empire's power and prestige peaked in the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly during the reign ofSuleiman the Magnificent. The empire was often at odds with the Holy Roman Empire in its steady advance towardsCentral Europe through the Balkans and the southern part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. At sea, the Ottoman Navy contended with several Holy Leagues (composed primarily of Habsburg Spain, the Republic of Genoa, the Republic of Venice, the Knights of St. John, the Papal States, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and theDuchy of Savoy) for control of the Mediterranean Sea. In the east, the Ottomans were occasionally at war withSafavid Persia over conflicts stemming from territorial disputes or religious differences between the 16th and 18th centuries.
From the beginning of the 19th century onwards, the Ottoman Empire began to decline. As it gradually shrank in size, military power and wealth, many Balkan Muslims migrated to the Empire's heartland in Anatolia, along with the Circassians fleeing the Russian conquest of the Caucasus. The decline of the Ottoman Empire led to a rise in nationalist sentiment among the various subject peoples, leading to increased ethnic tensions which occasionally burst into violence, such as the Hamidian Massacres. The Ottoman Empire entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers and was ultimately defeated. During the war, an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were deported and exterminated in the Armenian Genocide. The Turkish government denies that there was an Armenian Genocide and claims that Armenians were only relocated from the eastern war zone. Large scale massacres were also committed against the empire's other minority groups such as the Greeks and Assyrians.Following the Armistice of Mudros on 30 October 1918, the victorious Allied Powers sought to partition the Ottoman state through the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres.
 
The occupation of Constantinople and Smyrna by the Allies in the aftermath of World War I prompted theestablishment of the Turkish national movement. Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Pasha, a military commander who had distinguished himself during the Battle of Gallipoli, the Turkish War of Independence was waged with the aim of revoking the terms of the Treaty of Sèvres.
By 18 September 1922, the occupying armies were expelled, and the Ankara-based Turkish regime, which declared itself the legitimate government of the country in April 1920, started to formalise the legal transition from the old Ottoman into the new Republican political system. On 1 November, the newly founded parliament formally abolished the Sultanate, thus ending 623 years of Ottoman rule. The Treaty of Lausanne of 24 July 1923 led to the international recognition of the sovereignty of the newly formed "Republic of Turkey" as the continuing state of the Ottoman Empire, and the republic was officially proclaimed on 29 October 1923 in Ankara, the country's new capital. The Lausanne treaty stipulated a population exchange between Greece and Turkey, whereby 1.1 million Greeks left Turkey for Greece in exchange for 380,000 Muslims transferred from Greece to Turkey.
Mustafa Kemal became the republic's first President and subsequently introduced many radical reforms with the aim of transforming old Ottoman-Turkish state into a new secular republic. With the Surname Law of 1934, theTurkish Parliament bestowed upon Mustafa Kemal the honorific surname "Atatürk" (Father of the Turks.)
Turkey remained neutral during most of World War II, but entered the war on the side of the Allies on 23 February 1945, as a ceremonial gesture. On 26 June 1945, Turkey became a charter member of the United Nations. Difficulties faced by Greece after the war in quelling a communist rebellion, along with demands by the Soviet Union for military bases in the Turkish Straits, prompted the United States to declare the Truman Doctrine in 1947. The doctrine enunciated American intentions to guarantee the security of Turkey and Greece, and resulted in large-scale U.S. military and economic support. Both countries were included in the Marshall Plan and OEEC for rebuilding European economies in 1948, and subsequently became founding members of the OECD in 1961.
After participating with the United Nations forces in the Korean War, Turkey joined NATO in 1952, becoming a bulwark against Soviet expansion into the Mediterranean. Following a decade of Cypriot intercommunal violenceand the coup in Cyprus on 15 July 1974 staged by the EOKA B paramilitary organization, which overthrew PresidentMakarios and installed the pro-Enosis (union with Greece) Nikos Sampson as dictator, Turkey invaded Cyprus on 20 July 1974. Nine years later the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey, was established.
The single-party period ended in 1945. It was followed by a tumultuous transition to multiparty democracy over the next few decades, which was interrupted by military coups d'état in 196019711980 and 1997.In 1984, the PKK began an insurgency against the Turkish government; the conflict, which has claimed over 40,000 lives, continues today. Since the liberalisation of the Turkish economy during the 1980s, the country has enjoyed stronger economic growth and greater political stability.
Turkey is a parliamentary representative democracy. Since its foundation as a republic in 1923, Turkey has developed a strong tradition of secularismTurkey's constitution governs the legal framework of the country. It sets out the main principles of government and establishes Turkey as a unitary centralized state.
The President of the Republic is the head of state and has a largely ceremonial role. The president is elected for a five-year term by direct elections. Abdullah Gül was elected as president on 28 August 2007, by a popular parliament round of votes, succeeding Ahmet Necdet Sezer.
Executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers which make up the government, while thelegislative power is vested in the unicameral parliament, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature, and the Constitutional Court is charged with ruling on the conformity of laws and decrees with the constitution. The Council of State is the tribunal of last resort for administrative cases, and the High Court of Appeals for all others.
The prime minister is elected by the parliament through a vote of confidence in the government and is most often the head of the party having the most seats in parliament. The current prime minister is the former mayor of İstanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose conservative Justice and Development Party won an absolute majority of parliamentary seats in the2002 general elections, organized in the aftermath of the economic crisis of 2001, with 34% of the suffrage.
In the 2007 general elections, the AKP received 46.6% of the votes and could defend its majority in parliament. Although the ministers do not have to be members of the parliament, ministers with parliament membership are common in Turkish politics. In 2007, a series of events regarding state secularism and the role of the judiciary in the legislature occurred. These included the controversial presidential election of Abdullah Gül, who in the past had been involved with Islamist parties; and the government's proposal to lift the headscarf ban in universities, which was annulled by the Constitutional Court, leading to a fine and a near ban of the ruling party.
Universal suffrage for both sexes has been applied throughout Turkey since 1933, and every Turkish citizen who has turned 18 years of age has the right to vote. As of 2004, there were 50 registered political parties in the country. The Constitutional Court can strip the public financing of political parties that it deems anti-secular or separatist, or ban their existence altogether.
There are 550 members of parliament who are elected for a four-year term by a party-list proportional representation system from 85 electoral districts which represent the 81 administrative provinces of Turkey(İstanbul is divided into three electoral districts, whereas Ankara and İzmir are divided into two each because of their large populations). To avoid a hung parliament and its excessive political fragmentation, only parties winning at least 10% of the votes cast in a national parliamentary election gain the right to representation in the parliament. Because of this threshold, in the 2007 elections only three parties formally entered the parliament (compared to two in 2002).
Human rights in Turkey have been the subject of much controversy and international condemnation. Between 1998 and 2008 the European Court of Human Rights made more than 1,600 judgements against Turkey for human rights violations, particularly the right to life and freedom from torture. Other issues such as Kurdish rights, women's rights and press freedom have also attracted controversy. Turkey's human rights record continues to be a significant obstacle to future membership of the EU. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Turkish government has waged one of the world's biggest crackdowns on press freedoms. A large number of journalists have been arrested using charges of terrorism and anti-state activities such as the Ergenekon and Balyoz cases, while thousands have been investigated on charges such as "denigrating Turkishness" in an effort to sow self-censorship. As of 2012, CPJ identified 76 journalists in jail, including 61 directly held for their published work, more than Iran, Eritrea and China. A former U.S. State Department spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, said that the United States had "broad concerns about trends involving intimidation of journalists in Turkey."
Turkey is a founding member of the United Nations (1945), the OECD (1961), the OIC (1969), the OSCE (1973), theECO (1985), the BSEC (1992), the D-8 (1997) and the G-20 major economies (1999). On 17 October 2008, Turkey waselected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Turkey's membership of the council effectively began on 1 January 2009.[81] Turkey had previously been a member of the U.N. Security Council in 1951–1952, 1954–1955 and 1961.
In line with its traditional Western orientation, relations with Europe have always been a central part of Turkish foreign policy. Turkey became a founding member of the Council of Europe in 1949, applied for associate membership of the EEC (predecessor of the European Union) in 1959 and became an associate member in 1963. After decades of political negotiations, Turkey applied for full membership of the EEC in 1987, became an associate member of the Western European Union in 1992, joined the EU Customs Union in 1995 and has been in formal accession negotiations with the EU since 2005.
Since 1974, Turkey has not recognized the Republic of Cyprus, but instead supports the Turkish Cypriot communityin the form of the de facto Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which was established in 1983 and is recognized only by Turkey. The Cyprus dispute complicates Turkey's relations with both NATO and the EU, and remains a major stumbling block to Turkey's EU accession bid.
The other defining aspect of Turkey's foreign relations has been its ties with the United States. Based on the common threat posed by the Soviet Union, Turkey joined NATO in 1952, ensuring close bilateral relations withWashington throughout the Cold War. In the post–Cold War environment, Turkey's geostrategic importance shifted towards its proximity to the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans. In return, Turkey has benefited from the United States' political, economic and diplomatic support, including in key issues such as the country's bid to join the European Union.
The independence of the Turkic states of the Soviet Union in 1991, with which Turkey shares a common cultural and linguistic heritage, allowed Turkey to extend its economic and political relations deep into Central Asia, thus enabling the completion of a multi-billion-dollar oil and natural gas pipeline from Baku inAzerbaijan to the port of Ceyhan in Turkey. The Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline forms part of Turkey's foreign policy strategy to become an energy conduit to the West. However, Turkey's border with Armenia, a state in theCaucasus, remains closed following Armenia's occupation of Azerbaijani territory during the Nagorno-Karabakh War. Under the AK Party government, Turkey's influence has grown in the Middle East based on the strategic depth doctrine, also called Neo-Ottomanism.

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