Turkey (/ˈtɜːrki/; Turkish: Türkiye [ˈtyɾcije]), officially the Republic of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Cumhuriyeti (help·info); pronounced [ˈtyɾcije d͡ʒumˈhuɾijeti]), 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 a democratic, secular, unitary, parliamentary republic with a diverse cultural heritage. Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Greece and Bulgaria to the northwest; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan and Iran to the east; Iraq and Syria to the south. The country is encircled by seas on three sides: the Aegean Sea is 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; they also separate Europe and Asia. Ankara is the capital while Istanbul is the country’s largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Approximately 70-80% of the country’s citizens identify themselves as ethnic Turks. Other ethnic groups include legally recognised[II] (Armenians, Greeks, Jews) and unrecognised (Kurds, Arabs, Circassians, Albanians, Bosniaks, Georgians, etc.) minorities. Kurds are the largest ethnic minority group, making up approximately 20% of the population.
The area of Turkey has been inhabited since the Paleolithic by various ancient Anatolian civilisations, as well as Assyrians, Greeks, Thracians, Phrygians, Urartians and Armenians. After Alexander the Great’s conquest, 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, starting the process of Turkification, which was accelerated by the Seljuk victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, when it disintegrated into small Turkish beyliks.
In the mid-14th century the Ottomans started uniting Anatolia and created an empire encompassing much of Southeast Europe, West Asia and North Africa, becoming a major power in Eurasia and Africa during the early modern period. The empire reached the peak of its power in the 16th century, especially during the reign (1520–1566) of Suleiman the Magnificent. It remained powerful and influential for two more centuries, until important setbacks in the 17th and 18th century forced it to cede strategic territories in Europe, signalling the loss of its former military strength and wealth. After the 1913 Ottoman coup d’état which effectively put the country under the control of the Three Pashas the Ottoman Empire decided to join the Central Powers during World War I which were ultimately defeated by the Allied Powers. During the war, the Ottoman government committed genocides[III]against its Armenian, Assyrian and Pontic Greek citizens.
Following the war, the conglomeration of territories and peoples that formerly comprised the Ottoman Empire was partitioned into several new states. The Turkish War of Independence (1919–1922), initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues against the occupying Allies, resulted in the abolition of monarchy in 1922 and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, with Atatürk as its first president. Atatürk enacted numerous reforms, many of which incorporated various aspects of Western thought, philosophy, and customs into the new form of Turkish government.
Turkey is a charter member of the UN, an early member of NATO, and a founding member of the OECD, OSCE, 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. Turkey’s growing economy and diplomatic initiatives have led to its recognition as a regional power while its location has given it geopolitical and strategic importance throughout history.
Turkey’s current administration headed by president Tayyip Erdoğan has reversed many of the country’s earlier reforms which had been in place since the founding of the modern republic of Turkey, such as Freedom of the Press, a Legislative System of Checks and Balances, and a set of standards for secularism in government, as first enacted by Atatürk.
The coastal areas of Turkey bordering the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas have a temperate Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters. The coastal areas bordering the Black Sea have a temperate oceanic climate with warm, wet summers and cool to cold, wet winters. The Turkish Black Sea coast receives the greatest amount of precipitation and is the only region of Turkey that receives high precipitation throughout the year. The eastern part of that coast averages 2,200 millimetres (87 in) annually which is the highest precipitation in the country.
The coastal areas bordering the Sea of Marmara, which connects the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea, have a transitional climate between a temperate Mediterranean climate and a temperate oceanic climate with warm to hot, moderately dry summers and cool to cold, wet winters. Snow falls on the coastal areas of the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea almost every winter, but usually melts in no more than a few days. However snow is rare in the coastal areas of the Aegean Sea and very rare in the coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea.
Mountains close to the coast prevent Mediterranean influences from extending inland, giving the central Anatolian plateau of the interior of Turkey a continental climate with sharply contrasting seasons.
Winters on the eastern part of the plateau are especially severe. Temperatures of −30 to −40 °C (−22 to −40 °F) can occur in eastern Anatolia. Snow may remain at least 120 days of the year. In the west, winter temperatures average below 1 °C (34 °F). Summers are hot and dry, with temperatures often above 30 °C (86 °F) in the day. Annual precipitation averages about 400 millimetres (16 inches), with actual amounts determined by elevation. The driest regions are the Konya plain and the Malatya plain, where annual rainfall is often less than 300 millimetres (12 inches). May is generally the wettest month, whereas July and August are the driest.
Tourism in Turkey has experienced rapid growth in the last twenty years, and constitutes an important part of the economy. The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism currently promotes Turkish tourism under the Turkey Home name. In 2013, 37.8 million foreign visitors arrived in Turkey, which ranked as the 6th most popular tourism destination in the world; they contributed $27.9 billion to Turkey’s revenues. In 2012, 15 percent of the tourists were from Germany, 11 percent from Russia, 8 percent from the United Kingdom, 5 percent from Bulgaria, 4 percent each from Georgia, the Netherlands and Iran, 3 percent from France, 2 percent each from the United States and Syria, and 40 percent from other countries.
Turkey has 13 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the “Historic Areas of Istanbul”, the “Rock Sites of Cappadocia”, the “Neolithic Site of Çatalhöyük”, “Hattusa: the Hittite Capital”, the “Archaeological Site of Troy”, “Pergamon and its Multi-Layered Cultural Landscape”, “Hierapolis – Pamukkale”, and “Mount Nemrut”; and 51 World Heritage Sites in tentative list, such as the archaeological sites or historic urban centres of Göbekli Tepe, Gordion, Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Perga, Lycia, Sagalassos, Aizanoi, Zeugma, Ani, Harran, Mardin, Konya and Alanya.
Turkey hosts two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the Mausoleum in Halicarnassus and the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus.