Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Cumhuriyeti ( listen)), 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 bordered by eight countries with Greece and Bulgaria to the northwest; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, the Azerbaijan and Iran to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the south. The country is encircled by seas on three sides with the Aegean Sea 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 and separate Europe and Asia. Ankara is the capital while Istanbul is the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre, classified as a leading global city.
Approximately 70–80% of the country's citizens identify themselves as ethnic Turks. Kurds are the largest minority at about 20% of the population; other ethnic minorities include Circassians, Albanians, Arabs, Bosniaks, and Laz people. The official language is Turkish, which is the most widely spoken Turkic language in the world. Minority languages spoken today in Turkey include Kurmanji, Bosnian, Arabic, Zaza, Kabardian, and several others.
The area of Turkey has been inhabited since the Paleolithic. In historic times, the area was inhabited by ancient Anatolian civilisations, as well as Assyrians, Greeks, Thracians, Phrygians, Urartians, and Armenians. After Alexander the Great conquered these lands, 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, and their victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 symbolizes the start and foundation of Turkey. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, when it disintegrated into small Turkish principalities.
From the end of the 13th century the Ottomans started uniting these Turkish principalities in Anatolia and then went on to create an empire that encompassed much of Southeast Europe, West Asia and North Africa. The Ottoman Empire became a world power beginning with the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent in the early modern period. It remained powerful and influential for two more centuries, until important setbacks in the 19th and 20th century forced it to cede strategic territories in Europe, which signalled 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. During the war, the Ottoman government committed genocides against its Armenian, Assyrian and Pontic Greek subjects.[I] 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, initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues against 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 secular, unitary, formerly parliamentary republic which adopted a presidential system with a referendum in 2017; the new system came into effect with the presidential election in 2018. Turkey's current administration headed by president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of the AKP has enacted measures to increase the influence of Islam, reversed and undermined Kemalist policies, and has reversed earlier reforms such as freedom of the press. Turkey is a charter member of the UN, an early member of NATO, the IMF and the World Bank, and a founding member of the OECD, OSCE, BSEC, 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 which have been effectively stopped by the EU in 2017 due to "Turkey’s path toward autocratic rule". Turkey's economy and diplomatic initiatives led to its recognition as a regional power while its location has given it geopolitical and strategic importance throughout history.
The name of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye) can be divided into two components: the ethnonym Türk and the abstract suffix –iye meaning "owner", "land of" or "related to" (originally derived from the Greek and Latin suffixes –ia in Tourkia (Τουρκία) and Turchia). The first recorded use of the term "Türk" or "Türük" as an autonym is contained in the Old Turkic inscriptions of the Göktürks (Celestial Turks) of Central Asia (c. AD 735). The Turkic self-designation Türk is first attested in reference to the Göktürks in the 6th century AD. A letter by Ishbara Qaghan to Emperor Wen of Sui in 585 described him as "the Great Turk Khan." An early form of the same name may be reflected in the form of "tie-le" (鐵勒) or "tu-jue" (突厥), name given by the Chinese to the people living south of the Altay Mountains of Central Asia as early as 177 BC. The Greek name, Tourkia (Greek: Τουρκία) was used by the Byzantine emperor and scholar Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in his book De Administrando Imperio, though in his use, "Turks" always referred to Magyars. Similarly, the medieval Khazar Empire, a Turkic state on the northern shores of the Black and Caspian seas, was referred to as Tourkia (Land of the Turks) in Byzantine sources. However, the Byzantines later began using this name to define the Seljuk-controlled parts of Anatolia in the centuries that followed the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. The medieval Greek and Latin terms did not designate the same geographic area now known as Turkey. Instead, they were mostly synonymous with Tartary, a term including Khazaria and the other khaganates of the Central Asian steppe, until the appearance of the Seljuks and the rise of the Ottoman Empire in the 14th century, reflecting the progress of the Turkic expansion.