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Country, western Asia and southeastern Europe. Area: 303,224 sq mi (785,347 sq km), nearly all of which lies in Asia. Population: (2009 est.) 71,983,000. Capital: Ankara. Ethnic groups include the Turks and Kurds. Languages: Turkish (official), Kurdish, Arabic. Religion: Islam (mostly Sunni). Currency: Turkish lira. Turkey is a mountainous country with an extensive plateau covering central Anatolia. The highest peak is Mount Ararat (16,945 ft [5,165 m]). The Taurus Mountains lie in the south. Rivers include the Tigris, Euphrates, Kizil, and Menderes. Turkey is a major producer and exporter of chromite and also mines iron ore, coal, lignite, bauxite, and copper. It is the Middle East's leading steel producer. Chief agricultural products include wheat, barley, olives, and tobacco. Tourism also is important. Turkey is a multiparty republic with one legislative house; its head of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. Turkey's early history corresponds to that of Anatolia, the Byzantine Empire, and the Ottoman Empire. Byzantine rule emerged when Constantine the Great made Constantinople (Istanbul) his capital. The Ottoman Empire, begun in the 12th century, dominated for more than 600 years; it ended in 1918 after the Young Turk revolt (1908) precipitated its demise. Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a republic was proclaimed in 1923. Turkey remained neutral throughout most of World War II (1939–45), siding with the Allied powers in 1945. Since the war it has alternated between civil and military governments and has had several conflicts with Greece over Cyprus. The country has developed a strong, diversified economy, but it has also experienced periods of political and civic turmoil between Islamists and secularists and ongoing ethnic tension with Kurdish separatists.
Variants of TURKEY
Turkey officially Republic of Turkey
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Turkey, visit Britannica.com.