Turkey , officially the Republic of Turkey, is a contiguous transcontinental country, located mostly on Anatolia in Western Asia, and on East Thrace in Southeastern Europe. Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, Iran and the Azerbaijani exclaveof Nakhchivan to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. The Mediterranean Sea is to the south; the Aegean Sea is to the west; and the Black Sea is to the north. The Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles (which together form the Turkish Straits) demarcate the boundary between Thrace and Anatolia; they also separate Europe and Asia. Turkey's location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a country of significant geostrategic importance.
Turkey has been inhabited since the paleolithic age, including various Ancient Anatolian civilizations and Thracian peoples.After Alexander the Great's conquest, the area was Hellenized, which continued with the Roman rule and the transition into the Byzantine Empire. The Seljuk Turks began migrating into the area in the 11th century, starting the process of Turkification, which was greatly accelerated by the Seljuk victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûmruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, upon which it disintegrated into several small Turkish beyliks.
Starting from the late 13th century, the Ottoman beylik united Anatolia and created an empire encompassing much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia and North Africa, becoming a major power in Eurasia and Africa during the early modern period. After theOttoman Empire collapsed following its defeat in World War I, parts of it were occupied by the victorious Allies. The Turkish War of Independence, initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues, resulted in the establishment of the modern Republic of Turkey in 1923, with Atatürk as its first president.
Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage. The country's official language isTurkish, a Turkic language spoken natively by approximately 85% of the population. Turks constitute 70% to 75% of the population. Minorities include Kurds (18%) and others (7–12%). The vast majority of the population is Muslim. Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, OSCE and the G-20 major economies. Turkey began full membership negotiations with the European Unionin 2005, having been an associate member of the European Economic Community since 1963 and having joined the EU Customs Union in 1995. Turkey is also a member of the Turkic Council, Joint Administration of Turkic Arts and Culture, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Economic Cooperation Organization. Turkey's growing economy and diplomatic initiatives have led to its recognition as a regional power..
Turkey has the world's 15th largest GDP by PPP and 17th largest nominal GDP. The country is among the founding members of theOECD and the G-20 major economies.
During the first six decades of the republic, between 1923 and 1983, Turkey generally adhered to a quasi-statist approach with strict government planning of the budget and government-imposed limitations over private sector participation, foreign trade, flow of foreign currency, and foreign direct investment. However in 1983 Prime Minister Turgut Özal initiated a series of reforms designed to shift the economy from a statist, insulated system to a more private-sector, market-based model.
The reforms, combined with unprecedented amounts of funding from foreign loans, spurred rapid economic growth; but this growth was punctuated by sharp recessions and financial crises in 1994, 1999 (following the earthquake of that year), and 2001; resulting in an average of 4% GDP growth per annum between 1981 and 2003. Lack of additional fiscal reforms, combined with large and growing public sector deficits and widespread corruption, resulted in high inflation, a weak banking sector and increased macroeconomic volatility. Since the economic crisis of 2001 and the reforms initiated by the finance minister of the time, Kemal Derviş, inflation has fallen to single-digit numbers, investor confidence and foreign investment have soared, and unemployment has fallen.
Turkey has gradually opened up its markets through economic reforms by reducing government controls on foreign trade and investment and theprivatization of publicly owned industries, and the liberalization of many sectors to private and foreign participation has continued amid political debate. The public debt to GDP ratio peaked at 75.9% during the recession of 2001, falling to an estimated 26.9% by 2013.
The real GDP growth rate from 2002 to 2007 averaged 6.8% annually, which made Turkey one of the fastest growing economies in the world during that period. However, growth slowed to 1% in 2008, and in 2009 the Turkish economy was affected by the global financial crisis, with a recession of 5%. The economy was estimated to have returned to 8% growth in 2010. According to Eurostat data, Turkish GDP per capita adjusted by purchasing power standard stood at 52% of the EU average in 2011.