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The Republic of Turkey is situated in both Asia and Europe, but mostly in West Asia. Turkey has a coastline on the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Thracian Sea. It is bordered by eight countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Additionally, Cyprus is about fifty miles off the coast of Turkey.

The Balkan Peninsula provides a land bridge to Europe, connecting Turkey to both Bulgaria and Greece, while the bulk of the land mass in Turkey is in Anatolia, also known as Asia Minor.

Anatolia has been inhabited at least since the Paleolithic era, and a city was formed there around 6500 BC. By 3000 BC, there were several Anatolian kingdoms, some showing Caucasian influences, although none appeared to have been large enough to encompass the full area of modern-day Turkey.

Around 1800 BC, the Hittites pushed the Hatti out of the area and, by 1450 BC, the Hittites created the first Anatolian empire. The Hittites were warlike, but they possessed organizational and diplomatic skills. Nevertheless, they faced opposition from Troy, and then a Greek invasion marked the end of the Hittite Empire, although pockets of Hittite culture remained. Meanwhile, the Trojans had become powerful and were soon at war with the Greeks, a conflict that was known as the Trojan War in 1250 BC.

After the Hittites, Anatolia was divided into a variety of warring kingdoms. As Greek colonies spread along the Mediterranean coast, Greek influences took hold in Anatolia. Except for the Lycians, who had established a confederation of city-states, the Greeks considered most of the inhabitants of Anatolia to be barbarians. The Persians invaded in 547 BC, ruling Anatolia through local administrators, who faced periodic resistance from various Anatolian factions.

Beginning in 334 BC, Alexander of Macedonia, also known as Alexander the Great, defeated the Persians. Although undefeated in battle, he failed to create a lasting nation. When he died in 323 BC, leaving no successor, his empire split into several parts, following a flurry of civil wars. Meanwhile, the Romans were looking toward Anatolia's trade network.

Beginning in 190 BC, Roman legions invaded the region. By 129 BC, Ephesus was the capital of the Roman province of Asia, and within sixty years the Romans had extended their rule to the Persian border.

By the 3rd century AD, Roman rule was waning. Diocletian tried to maintain power by splitting the Roman Empire into eastern and western administrative units, while simultaneously opposing the rise of Christianity. He failed on both accounts. Christianity spread, while Diocletian was faced with a civil war, in which Constantine was victorious. A new convert to Christianity,

Constantine built Constantinople on the ruins of ancient Byzantium. Constantinople is now known as Istanbul, the most populous city in Turkey. The western portion of the Roman Empire continued to weaken, while the eastern part of the empire prospered, and became known as Byzantium.

Under Justinian, Byzantium extended its reach to southern Spain, North Africa, and Italy. Eventually, the empire overextended itself, further weakened by the plague, invading Slavic tribes, and a long struggle with old rivals, the Persians. Invading Arab forces took Ankara in 654 and Constantinople in 669, introducing a new language, a new civilization, and a new religion - Islam.

The first Turkish empire came about in the 8th century, as the Turks absorbed portions of the Abbasid Empire, building their own kingdom centered in Persia. After a series of raids, the Turks faced Byzantine forces and were victorious, opening Anatolia to Turkish bands. This first Turkish empire was known as the Seljuk empire. Their empire was fractured by wars with Crusaders in the 12th and 13th centuries.

The Seljuks were defeated by the Mongols in 1243, after which one of the remaining Turkish factions evolved into the Ottoman Empire under Osman I. In 1453, the Ottomans captured Constantinople, defeating the Byzantines.

The Ottomans sided with Germany during World War I. During the war, more than a million Armenian civilians were killed, although Turkey has refused to acknowledge its part in the genocide. Following their defeat, the region was occupied by the Allies. In 1922, the Republic of Turkey was formed, succeeding the Ottoman Empire.

Since its formation, Turkey has experienced military coups in 1960, 1971, and 1980, as well as war with Cyprus in 1974, and today occupies a portion of North Cyprus. In 1984, a Kurdish separatist group began an insurgency against Turkey, which continues today.

The Turkish government is a constitutional republic.

Topics related to Turkey or to businesses, organizations, or other entities within Turkey are the focus of topics in this category.

 

 

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