Turkey is a country in both Europe and Asia. The area of Turkey is about 780,000 square kilometers.
Turkey is a republic. There are 81 provinces in Turkey. The money of Turkey is called Turkish Lira. The capital city is Ankara, a city in central Anatolia. The cultural and economic center is in the European side of Istanbul. In the past Istanbul was called Constantinople. The Republic was founded in 1923, after World War I and a war of independence (Kurtuluş Savaşı). Before that, Turkey was the core of the Ottoman Empire.
Many civilizations were located in the area that is now Turkey, like the Hittites, the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire. Many important events in the history of Christianity happened in Turkey. Because it lies in both Europe and Asia, some people see Turkey as the “door” between Europe and Asia.
Modern Turkey’s warm and varied climate lets many kinds of food crops grow, and livestock and forestry are important industries. Turkey makes enough food to feed itself. Turkish manufactures include airplanes, electronics, cars, clothing and textiles for home and for other countries.
Turkey is a popular place for tourists to visit. It has hundreds of kilometers of beautiful beaches on its Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, and many important historical places.
People have been living in Anatolia (the Asian part of Turkey – also called Asia Minor) longer than almost anywhere else in the world, except Africa.
The first major empire in the area was the Hittites (from the 18th century to the 13th century BC). The Hittites, who spoke one of the Indo-European languages, developed a high culture in Central Anatolia. Their kingdom was destroyed by the Cimmerians in the 7th century BC and the successor states were Lydia, Caria and Lycia.
From 1950 BCE, Greeks and Assyrians inhabited parts of southeastern Turkey. The Assyrian capital was named Tushhan (900-600 BC). The Assyrians ruled over southeastern Turkey until the Assyrian Empire was conquered by Babylonia in the year 612 BC. Then Anatolia became home for various kingdoms including the Achaemenid Empire, Hellenistic kingdoms, Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire), Seljuk Empire, and Mongol Empire.
During the 14th century, after the fall of the Mongol Empire, Lord Osman built a new empire named after himself: the Ottoman Empire. It became one of the longest existing empires of all time. The Empire also stretched across the Balkans, (Yugoslavia and Bulgaria) in Europe. The Kingdom was ruled by Muslim law, but other religions had certain minority rights.
In World War I the Ottoman Empire was one of the Central Powers. The Central Powers lost the war and the Ottoman Empire was destroyed, but after that Atatürk led the army to get rid of foreign enemies, like the Greeks. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was the first President of Turkey. He made many changes that made Turkey more modern. But some people did not like some of the things he did because they thought they were against Islam. Religious secondary schools were gotten rid of, for example.
On 15 July 2016, a coup was attempted.
Turkey is trying to join the European Union (EU). The EU says that before Turkey can join, it must start trading with the Republic of Cyprus and improve human rights.
Turkey is in the OECD and the G-20 and is one of the 20 largest economies. The Turkish currency is called the Lira. The first coins were made in Turkey.
In the 1970s, many Turks moved to other countries, like Germany, to escape the bad economy at the time and to get better jobs. They often come back to Turkey for their summer holidays. Today, many of the people who left in the 1970s want to move back to Turkey.
Until the 1980s the government owned most companies, but then Prime Minister Turgut Özal sold them. Before, foreigners were usually not allowed to buy companies, land or property. Earthquakes in 1994, 1999, and 2001 slowed economic growth a bit.
Turkey mostly buys and sells with the EU, the United States, the Russian Federation, and Japan. Turkey and the EU agreed not to put a lot of tax on what they buy and sell to each other. After that it was easier for Turkish factories to sell products to the EU and for business people in the EU to buy companies in Turkey.
Turkey’s exports in 2010 were worth 117 billion United States dollars.
Turkey has no petroleum or natural gas so it buys them from other countries, like Russia. In 2010, oil was found in the Turkish City of Diyarbakir, but there was not enough oil to extract. Turkey is searching for natural gas in Northern Turkish Cyprus.
The capital and second-largest city of Turkey is Ankara. The largest and the most crowded city is Istanbul which is the only city in the world that has land on two different continents. The third largest city is the coastal city of Izmir which is the main port of the country. Turkey is divided into 81 provinces. Each province has its own little government but they can only make decisions about small things: the government in Ankara decides important issues. The provinces are in 7 regions. Each province is divided into districts. There are 923 districts altogether.
Turkey has a traditional culture. Turkish culture is a modern Islamic culture.
Different parts of Turkey have similar but not exactly the same lifestyles. Southern Turkey also has a traditional life style but Turks living by the Mediterranean have southern, much thicker, and more masculine accents than western Turkey. Northerners, by the Black Sea have softer accents and also have modern lifestyles.
Rich cities in Turkey include Istanbul, İzmir, Konya, Ankara, Mersin (also known as Icel), and Antalya.
Turkey’s literacy rate is currently 95%. People in Turkey are required to go to school for 12 years.
İstanbul University was the first university in Turkey. It was established in 1453. Ankara University was the first university that was started after Turkey became a republic. It was established in 1946.
There were 6065 high schools in Turkey in 2002 according to Ministry of National Education. In 2011, there were 166 universities in Turkey.
The 1999 İzmit earthquake was an approximately 7,4 magnitude earthquake that struck northwestern Turkey on August 17, 1999, at about 3:02 am local time. 18000 people died in the earthquake. Many people have been killed by earthquakes in Turkey.
The New York Times estimated that over 570 people died in the Erzincan earthquake of March 13 1992. The earthquake was a 6,8 on the Richter Scale.