Turkey is a vast peninsula, covering an area of 780,580 square kilometres or around 315 thousand square miles, linking Asia to Europe through the Sea of Marmara and the Straits of Istanbul and Canakkale. Across the Sea of Marmara, the triangular shaped Trace is the continuation of Turkey on the European continent. Anatolia is rectangular in outline, 1500 kilometres long and 550 kilometres wide.
Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest; Greeceto the west; Georgia to the northeast;Amenia, Azerbaijan (the exclave of Nakhchivan) and Iran to the east; and lraq and Syria to the southeast. The Mediterranean Sea is to the south; the Aegean Sea to the west; and the Black Sea is to the north.
Turkey is the Successor state to the Ottoman Empire. It is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic, with an ancient and historical cultural heritage. Its political system was established in 1923 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War I. Since then, Turkey has become increasingly integrated with the West through membership in organizations such as the Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, WEOG, OSCE and the G-20 major economies. Turkey is resolutely headed towards accession to the European Union.
The history of Turkey tells of a 10,000 year-old civilisation. Anatolia is a melting pot where cultures from Sumer, Babylon and Assyria interacted for centuries with peoples such as the Hattis, Hittites and Hourrites. The result was a unique Anatolian civilisation which has long inspired the thoughts and legends of the West.
Turkish is spoken by 220 million people and is the world's 5th most widely used language. Today's Turkish has evolved from dialects known since the 11th century and is one of the group of languages known as Ural-Altaic which includes Korean, Finnish and Hungarian.