Turkey (/ˈtɜːrki/; Turkish: Türkiye[ˈtyɾcije]), officially the Republic of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Cumhuriyeti; pronounced [ˈtyɾcije d͡ʒumˈhuɾijeti]), is a parliamentary republic in Eurasia, mainly on the Anatolian peninsula in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage.
Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Syria and Iraq to the south; Iran, Armenia, and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the east; Georgia to the northeast; Bulgaria to the northwest; and Greece to the west. The Black Sea is to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and the Aegean Sea to the west. The Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles, which together form the Turkish Straits, divide Thrace and Anatolia; they also separate Europe and Asia. Turkey's location between Europe and Asia makes it strategically important.
Turkey has been inhabited since the Paleolithic by various ancient Anatolian civilizations, as well as Assyrians, Greeks, Thracians, Phrygians, Urartians and Armenians. After Alexander the Great's conquest, 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, starting the process of Turkification, which was accelerated by the Seljuk victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, when it disintegrated into small Turkish beyliks.
In the mid 14th century the Ottomans started uniting 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. The empire reached the peak of its power in the 16th century, especially during the reign (1520–1566) of Suleiman the Magnificent. After the second Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1683 and the end of the Great Turkish War in 1699, the Ottoman Empire entered a long period of decline. The Tanzimat reforms of the 19th century, which aimed to modernize the Ottoman state, proved to be inadequate in most fields, and failed to stop the dissolution of the empire.
Effectively controlled by the Three Pashas after the 1913 coup d'état, the Ottoman Empire entered World War I (1914–1918) on the side of the Central Powers and was ultimately defeated. During the war, the Ottoman government committed ethnic cleansing or genocide against its Armenian, Assyrian and Pontic Greek citizens. Following the war, the conglomeration of territories and peoples that formerly comprised the Ottoman Empire was divided into several new states.
The Turkish War of Independence (1919–1922), initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues in Anatolia, resulted in the establishment of the modern Republic of Turkey in 1923, with Atatürk as its first president.
Turkey's official language is Turkish, a Turkic language, spoken by 85% of the population. 72.5% of the population are ethnic Turks; and 27.5% are legally recognized (Armenians, Greeks, Jews) and unrecognized (Kurds, Circassians, Arabs, Albanians, Bosniaks, Georgians, etc.) ethnic minorities. Kurds are the largest minority group. The vast majority of the population is Sunni Muslim, with Alevis making up the largest religious minority.
Turkey is a charter member of the UN, early member of NATO, and a founding member of the OECD, OSCE, 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, applied for full EEC membership in 1987, joined the EU Customs Union in 1995 and started accession negotiations with the European Union in 2005. Turkey's growing economy and diplomatic initiatives have led to its recognition as a regional power.