Most of its territory is located in Asia (Anatolia, which includes Asia Minor) and a smaller part is in Europe (Eastern Thrace). These parts are separated by the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus Strait, which are of strategic importance and form the waterway connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. Modern Turkey, whose predecessor was the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire, appeared on the political map after World War I.
Turkey is a predominantly mountainous country, with powerful marginal ridges surrounding a high inland plateau, with narrow plains occupying the area on the periphery. The Eastern Anatolian Plateau has a particularly complex orographic pattern. Haphazardly stretching ridges join in the extreme east of the country with the mountain ranges of Zagros and Azerbaijan. The volcanic cone of Great Ararat (5,137 m, the highest point in Turkey) crowns this mountain cluster.
Over the centuries, the territory of Turkey has been a place of constant contact and mixing of many peoples. The ancient inhabitants of Anatolia were similar in appearance to the Sumerians of Mesopotamia and the Turan Turks of Central Asia. From about the twentieth century BC, when Anatolia was invaded by a small number of Indo-European tribes who created the Hittite kingdom on its territory, and throughout the subsequent period, when the region was ruled by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans, the indigenous population underwent little change. The Turkic tribes that later settled here became another ethnic component.
Religion in Turkey
Despite the fact that Islam is no longer a state religion since 1928, 99% of the population (according to Turkish handbooks) are Muslims.
Turks practice Sunni Islam. Arabic is partially replaced by Turkish in worship. It is forbidden by law to wear religious clothing except for official clergymen in places of worship and during religious services.
Most Kurds adhere to the Shiite (or more accurately, the Alawite) trend of Islam. Among the Arabs living in Turkey there are not only Muslims (Sunnis) but also Christians (Maronites).
The present territory of Turkey (Asia Minor) was one of the main centers for the spread of early Christianity. Later, the Byzantine Empire existed here for several centuries, and its capital Constantinople was the center of Orthodoxy until its capture by the Turks in 1453. The Lausanne Peace Treaty of 1923 secured the rights of Christian minorities in Turkey, but due to various factors, both the absolute and relative numbers of Christians are constantly decreasing.
The Orthodox Church in Turkey is represented by three Local Churches. Most of the country is the canonical territory of the Church of Constantinople, centered in Istanbul. The north-east of Turkey (the counties of Artvin, Ardahan, and the northern part of Erzurum, the historical region of Tao-Klarjeti) is covered by the jurisdiction of the Georgian Church. A small region in the south of the country is part of the Antiochian Church and includes the ancient patriarchal cathedra of that Church, Antioch (Antakya).
The Armenian Apostolic Church in Turkey is led by the Patriarch of Istanbul and the Catholicos Patriarch of Cilicia. The Armenian Catholic Church is headed by the Archbishop of Istanbul, the Chaldo-Catholic Church by the Archbishop of Diyarbakir, and the Syro-Catholic Church by the Vicar of Mardin. The exarch of the Roman Catholic Church in Turkey is the papal representative in Istanbul.
The chief rabbi of Istanbul is in charge of Jewish affairs.
System of State
The Turkish Republic is a unitary state with a mixed form of government (it combines elements of both parliamentary and presidential republics). The current constitution was adopted in 1982.
The constitution of the Republic of Turkey includes articles and provisions that cannot be amended and on which legislative initiatives are prohibited. These include provisions that:
- The Turkish state is a republic;
- The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and socio-legal state;
- The Turkish State, country and nation are one indivisible whole;
- Provisions on the national flag, the anthem and the capital, Ankara.
The history of Turkey proper dates back to the 11th century, when Turkic tribes entered Asia Minor. However, long before that, for several millennia, the territory of Turkey was one of the centers of civilization development and a place of contacts between the East and the West. The earliest of the major states in the region was created by the Hittites; the Hittites conquered a large part of Asia Minor. The rival of the Hittite state was the Hurrian power of Mitanni, whose lands were located to the east, in the area of Lake Van. The Hittite kingdom was devastated by the barbarians. The remnants of the Hittites founded a new state on the lands near the border between modern-day Turkey and Syria.
On the place of the Hittite kingdom arose the monarchy of Phrygia. The Phrygians, relatives of the Thracians, who inhabited the present-day European part of Turkey, were the ancestors of the Armenians. Around the same time the state of Urartu came to replace Mitanni.
Phrygia and Urartu were devastated by the nomadic Cimmerians. On the place of Phrygia appeared several states the most powerful among which was Lydia.
Another center of ancient culture was the Aegean coast. The Homeric Troy was just one of 46 independent cities whose history goes back to about XXX century B.C., but the Greek civilization itself was born not in the most ancient Greece, but in the Ionian Greek colonies on the Anatolian coast.
In the 4th century B.C. the territory of Turkey was occupied by the Persians and remained under their rule until the invasion of the troops of Alexander of Macedon. Under his successors, Asia Minor split into several smaller states, the largest of which were Pergamum, Bithynia, Pontus and Armenia. During this period begins the penetration into Asia of the strengthened Rome, which by the middle of the first century B.C. had conquered or subjugated all the lands of the region.
During the next millennium, Turkey was part of the Roman Empire. After its division into Eastern and Western, the territory of Turkey became part of (and later formed the basis of) the Eastern Roman, or Byzantine Empire. Most of Turkey remained under Byzantine rule until the invasion of the Seljuk Turks in the 11th century.
The onslaught of the Seljuks was so powerful that the Byzantine emperor came to the conclusion that his position was hopeless without significant support from Christian countries and appealed to them for help, which was the reason for organizing the First Crusade. Nevertheless, the Turks retained power over Asia Minor. After the death of Suleiman’s great-grandson, Kylich-Arslan II, in 1192, the Seljuk rulers of the Rum (Konya) Sultanate established an Islamic state in Asia Minor.
Collapse of the Seljuk state
At the Battle of Kese-dag in 1243, the Mongols defeated the Seljuk ruler Keikhusrev II and turned the Seljuk monarchy into their vassal. Little interest on the part of the Mongols in the affairs of the Seljuks and a lack of support for their rulers led to political chaos. Almost at the same time the Byzantine emperors regained Constantinople, captured by the Crusaders during the Fourth Crusade and turned by them into the capital of the Latin Empire, but they turned their main attention to solving Balkan problems. Soon almost the whole of Anatolia came under the rule of Turks. Asia Minor broke up into more than a dozen tiny principalities (beyliks).
The Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman Empire was created by Turkic tribes in Anatolia and existed from the end of the Byzantine Empire in the 14th century until the formation of the Turkish Republic in 1922. Its name was derived from Sultan Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman dynasty. The influence of the Ottoman Empire in the region began to fade in the 17th century and it finally collapsed after its defeat in World War I.
The modern Turkish Republic traces its origins to one of the Gazi Bailiks. The creator of the future mighty power, Osman (1259-1324/1326), inherited from his father Ertogrul a small Seljuk frontier estate on the southeastern border of Byzantium, near Eskisehir. Osman became the founder of a new dynasty, and the state was named after him and went down in history as the Ottoman Empire.
In April 1924 in Ankara the Grand National Assembly under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal adopted the Constitution which provided for the establishment of the parliament. Under the constitution, parliamentarians elected the president of the country, who appointed the prime minister, who formed the government with the consent of the Grand National Assembly. Women were barred from participating in elections and could not run for office. Freedom of speech, assembly, press and movement were restricted in the interest of national unity.
In World War II Turkey remained neutral until February 1945, when it declared war on Germany and Japan.
In 1974, the centuries-old Greek-Turkish conflict flared up with renewed intensity as a result of the coup in Cyprus, where tensions had long been brewing between the two major communities – the Greek and the Turkish. The upheaval was caused by the overthrow of the Greek Cypriot independence government by the Greek Cypriot National Guard, which advocated unification with Greece. In response, the Edgewit government sent troops to the island to prevent its annexation by Greece. These troops took over the northern third of the island, creating a security zone for the ethnic minority Turkish Cypriots there. As a result, Cyprus was divided into two parts.
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Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye ), officially known as the Republic of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Cumhuriyeti ) is a state located partly in southwestern Asia, partly in southern Europe. It was formed in the early 1920s as a result of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the overthrow of the monarchy and the transformation of a territory dominated by the Turkish ethnic group into a Turkish nation-state. Most of the country is on the Anatolian Peninsula (Asia Minor Peninsula) between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.
Turkey is bordered by Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran in the east, Iraq and Syria in the south, and Greece and Bulgaria in the west. Turkey is washed by four seas: the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara.
-1077 – conquest of Nicea by the Seljuk Turks. – Emergence of the Konya (Rum, Romei) Sultanate, a Seljuk Turk state with its capital in Konya, which gradually expanded its borders to almost the entire territory of Asia Minor. – The Koni Sultanate became a vassal of the Mongol Ilkhans of Iran (the Hulaguids). By 1307 it disintegrated into small principalities. One of them – beylik (district) of Osman, which was given to him as a lien, was the core of the formed at the beginning of the 14th centuryOsmanian state.
- In 1318 the Hulaguids overthrew the last Seljuk sultan and destroyed this state.
- In 1299 – Osman, the son and heir of Ertogrul took the title of “Sultan” and refused to recognize the authority of the sultans of Conia. By his name the Turks began to be called Ottoman Turks, or Ottomans. Their power over Asia Minor was spreading and strengthening, and the sultans of Conia could not prevent this.
- In 1326 on the lands reclaimed from the Byzantines was founded by the Turkish sultanate with its capital in the city of Bursa. Support the power of the Turkish sultans were janissaries.
- In 1362 the Turks, after conquering the lands in Europe, moved the capital to the city of Adrianople (Edirne). The European possessions of Turkey were called Rumelia.
- In 1375 the Turks conquered Cilicia. 1396 – Battle of Nikopol between the army of Sultan Bayazid the Lightning and the Crusaders led by the Hungarian King Sigismund I near the fortress of Nikopol in Bulgaria. The victory in the battle consolidated the dominance of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkan Peninsula. 1402 – The Battle of Ankara. Having lost the battle to Emir Timur, Bayazid I the Lightning was captured and died (or was poisoned) in captivity. However, after 30 years the heirs of Bayazid were able to reunite the shattered country and resume their advance to the west.
- In 1453 the Turks took Constantinople (see The Fall of Constantinople) and made it the capital of the new empire.
- Under Selim the Terrible, the Ottoman Empire conquered Syria, Arabia, and Egypt. The Turkish sultan deposed the last caliph in Cairo and became caliph himself.
- In 1526 the Battle of Mohács took place, during which the Turks defeated the Czech-Hungarian army and occupied Hungary and in 1529 approached the walls of Vienna. At the height of its power, during the reign of Suleiman “the Magnificent” (1520-1555), the empire stretched from the gates of Vienna to the Persian Gulf, from the Crimea to Morocco.
- In 1678 the Turks seized Ukrainian territories west of the Dnieper River. 1683 – Battle of Vienna. Occurred after the Ottoman Empire besieged Vienna, the capital of Austria, for two months. The victory of the Holy League troops, who came to the aid of the Habsburgs, put an end forever to the Ottoman Empire’s wars of conquest in Europe.
- The era of the Russo-Turkish Wars, covering a period of 242 years, 1676-1918. – ten military conflicts between the Russian and Ottoman empires in the XVII-XIX centuries. The hostilities in the Transcaucasus during World War I can be considered the eleventh Russian-Turkish war. The Russo-Turkish wars were one of the main causes of the decline and collapse of the Ottoman Empire (1299-1923).
- In the nineteenth century, separatist sentiments intensified on the outskirts of the empire. It began to gradually lose its territories. Weakening, the Ottoman Empire tried to rely on German aid, but it only dragged it into World War I, which ended in the defeat of the Fourth Union. 1914 – The Ottoman Empire officially announced its entry into World War I, having actually entered it the day before by shelling the Black Sea ports of Russia. 1915 – mass arrests in Constantinople (Istanbul) of the Armenian intellectual, religious, economic and political elite; generally accepted day  of the start of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire. 1918, the Armistice of Mudros was concluded, followed by the Treaty of Sèvres (August 10, 1920), which did not enter into force because it was not ratified by all signatories (ratified only by Greece). According to this treaty, the Ottoman Empire was to be dismembered, and one of the largest cities in Asia Minor, Izmir (Smyrna), was promised to Greece. The Greek army captured it on 15 May1919 and the War of Independence started. The Turkish nationalists led by Mustafa Kemal refused to recognize the peace treaty and expelled the Greeks from the country by armed force. By 18 September 1922 Turkey was liberated from the conquerors. The Lausanne Peace Treaty of 1923 (July 24) recognized the new boundaries of Turkey. 1923 – The Turkish Republic was proclaimed, and Mustafa Kemal, who later adopted the surname Ataturk (father of Turks), became its first president.
- December 1925 – Transition of Turkey from the Muslim calendar to the Gregorian calendar.
Legislative power is vested in unicameral parliament – Grand National Assembly of Turkey consisting of 550 deputies elected for 4 years (before 2007 – for 5 years) through universal direct suffrage based on proportional representation system. The minimum threshold for parties is set at 10%. The executive power (real) belongs to the government headed by the prime minister, but the president also has a number of powers.
On October 21, 2007, Turkey held a referendum on amendments to the current constitution. The amendments changed the manner of election and the term of office of the president, as well as the term of office of the parliament. Under the 1982 constitution, the head of state – the president – was elected by parliament. The president was elected for a seven-year term and could not be re-elected. Under the amendments, the head of state will be elected by popular vote for a 5-year term with the possibility of re-election for another term. Parliamentary elections will be held every four years.
Turkey is located in the eastern hemisphere. Its area (including inland waters) is 779 thousand 452 square kilometers. The main part of the territory of Turkey – 97% – is located in Asia, and only 3% – in Europe. Turkey’s geographic feature is its location at the crossroads of important routes, which in ancient times have linked Europe with Asia, and the Black Sea countries and nations with the Mediterranean. Nowadays, highways and railroads pass through Turkey connecting Europe with many Asian countries.
The maximum length of the Turkish territory from west to east is 1’600 km, from north to south – 600 km. Its three sides are washed by the Black Sea in the north, the Aegean Sea in the west and the Mediterranean Sea in the south. The European and Asian parts of Turkey are separated by a water system, which forms a sea passage from the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea and includes the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. The southern part of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn Bay (Sea of Marmara) has one of the most beautiful cities in the world and Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul (formerly Constantinople).
There are more than 100 types of minerals on the territory of Turkey. The country has many types of ore, mining, chemical, fuel and energy resources. Chrome, tungsten, copper ores, borates, marble, coal, etc. are the most important. Turkey has 25% of the world’s mercury reserves.
Advantages : in the 90s, rapid growth after the liberalization of the economy. Agriculture produces almost all the country’s food. Textile, manufacturing, and construction industries are competitive. Tourism. A dynamic private economy. Availability of professionals. Customs Union with the European Union.
Weaknesses: Stably high inflation (in 2004, 54.4%). Unreliable public financial sector. State bureaucracy. Uneven privatization. Weak banking sector. Influential organized crime. Expensive military operations against the Kurds.
Turkey’s economy underwent reform in the 1980s and is now characterized by a significant share of the private sector and the prevalence of market relations. T. Erdogan’s government continues to liberalize the economy by privatizing state-owned concerns and opening up the domestic market to foreign investors.
The share of industry in the economy is about 28%, agriculture – 15%, construction – 6%, services – 51%. In the total volume of industrial production, the largest weight has manufacturing industry (84%, including construction). Textile, leather, food, chemical, pharmaceutical industries, energy, metallurgy, shipbuilding, automobile and consumer goods production are well developed. A dynamically developing industry is tourism. Currently, due to competition from East Asian countries, the textile industry of Turkey is on the decline (-12% in 2005). The most dynamic industries are automotive (+9.6% in 2005) and chemical industry (+7.2% in 2005).
The population of the Republic of Turkey was estimated at 12,532 thousand people when the country was founded. Totally 12 censuses were held in the country. Since 1927 the population of Turkey has increased 4.4 times and only from 1950 to 1985 it increased 2.5 times. The rapid growth of the population, which exceeded 73 million in 2005, remains an important problem for the country.
The distribution of people across Turkey is very uneven. The Marmara Sea, the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea are the most densely populated areas. The most densely populated city is Istanbul and the most sparsely populated area is Hakyari.
There has never been a census of the ethnic composition of the country, and the inhabitants themselves, irrespective of their origin, consider themselves Turks first and only then remember their origins. Thus, most of the Kurds prefer to call themselves Dogulu, a person from the east of the country, but they declare Kurdish to be their native language. Therefore, it can be very difficult to calculate, even approximately, the number of ethnic groups. Estimates extremely different, but it is possible to say with confidence that there are at least 11 million Kurds in Turkey and they live all over the country, not only in the east – before the main area of their residence. The majority of the population is Turkish. There is a large number of natives of the North Caucasus in the country, they are called under a common name “Circassians. They are mainly Adygs. Their total number varies by various estimates from 3 to 13 million people. In addition, more than 2 million Arabs live compactly in the south-east of Turkey. Armenians (40 thousand) and Assyrians are numerous in big cities, especially in Istanbul. Lazs and Hemshils (Armenians who converted to Islam) – 1.5 million, living mainly on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, today are the ethnographic groups of the Turks along with nomadic Yomi and Tahtacs. The Jews of Turkey, who make up about 1% of the population in Turkey and live in large cities, consider themselves Turks who practice Judaism. Greeks, Albanians, Georgians, Azerbaijanis (from Iran) and representatives of many other nations live all over the country, mostly in Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara and other large cities. In addition, a large number of people of Turkish nationality from Bulgaria, former Yugoslavia, Romania and the former Soviet Union have settled mainly in the resort areas of Antalya and Izmir, to a lesser extent in Bursa and Istanbul. Turks are Muslims by religion (most of them are Sunni, and some are Shiites, who are called “Alevis” in Turkey). Turkish is the official language.
In Turkey religion (Islam) is separated from the state by law, but all citizens are guaranteed freedom of religion. Most people in the country are Muslim. There are a large number of mosques – 78,000. There are 321 registered Christian communities of various denominations and 36 Jewish synagogues in Istanbul, Adana, Ankara, Izmir, Çanakkale, Hatay, Bursa, Kırklareli and three more synagogues registered but not yet active .
3] The territory of Turkey, as the historical territory of Byzantium, remains under the jurisdiction of the first by honor of the local Orthodox Church, the Constantinople Patriarchate, whose Primate, the Ecumenical Patriarch, has his residence in Istanbul.