At various points in its history, the region has been inhabited by diverse civilisations including the Anatolian peoples, Assyrians, Greeks, Thracians, Phrygians, Urartians, and Armenians. Hellenization started during the era of Alexander the Great and continued into the Byzantine era. 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 symbolises the foundation of Turkey. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, when it disintegrated into small principalities called beyliks. Beginning in the late 13th century, the Ottomans started uniting beyliks and conquering the Balkans. After Mehmed II conquered Constantinople in 1453, Ottoman expansion continued under Selim I. During the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent the Ottoman Empire encompassed much of Southeast Europe, West Asia and North Africa and became a world power. From the late 18th century onwards, the empire's power declined with a gradual loss of territories and wars. In an effort to consolidate the weakening social and political foundations of the empire, Mahmud II started a period of modernisation in the early 19th century, bringing reforms in all areas of the state including the military and bureaucracy, along with the emancipation of all citizens.
In the latter half of the 11th century, the Seljuk Turks began penetrating into medieval Armenia and the eastern regions of Anatolia. In 1071, the Seljuks defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert, starting the Turkification process in the area; the Turkish language and Islam were introduced to Armenia and Anatolia, gradually spreading throughout the region. The slow transition from a predominantly Christian and Greek-speaking Anatolia to a predominantly Muslim and Turkish-speaking one was underway. The Mevlevi Order of dervishes, which was established in Konya during the 13th century by Sufi poet Celaleddin Rumi, played a significant role in the Islamization of the diverse people of Anatolia who had previously been Hellenized. Thus, alongside the Turkification of the territory, the culturally Persianized Seljuks set the basis for a Turko-Persian principal culture in Anatolia, which their eventual successors, the Ottomans, would take over.
In 1243, the Seljuk armies were defeated by the Mongols at the Battle of Köse Dağ, causing the Seljuk Empire's power to slowly disintegrate. In its wake, one of the Turkish principalities governed by Osman I would evolve over the next 200 years into the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans completed their conquest of the Byzantine Empire by capturing its capital, Constantinople, in 1453: their commander thenceforth being known as Mehmed the Conqueror.
The architecture of the Seljuk Turks combined the elements and characteristics of the Turkic architecture of Central Asia with those of Persian, Arab, Armenian and Byzantine architecture. The transition from Seljuk architecture to Ottoman architecture is most visible in Bursa, which was the capital of the Ottoman State between 1335 and 1413. Following the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453, Ottoman architecture was significantly influenced by Byzantine architecture. Topkapı Palace in Istanbul is one of the most famous examples of classical Ottoman architecture and was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years. Mimar Sinan (c.1489–1588) was the most important architect of the classical period in Ottoman architecture. He was the chief architect of at least 374 buildings which were constructed in various provinces of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.
In 1514, Sultan Selim I (1512–1520) successfully expanded the empire's southern and eastern borders by defeating Shah Ismail I of the Safavid dynasty in the Battle of Chaldiran. In 1517, Selim I expanded Ottoman rule into Algeria and Egypt, and created a naval presence in the Red Sea. Subsequently, a contest started between the Ottoman and Portuguese empires to become the dominant sea power in the Indian Ocean, with a number of naval battles in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. The Portuguese presence in the Indian Ocean was perceived as a threat to the Ottoman monopoly over the ancient trade routes between East Asia and Western Europe. Despite the increasingly prominent European presence, the Ottoman Empire's trade with the east continued to flourish until the second half of the 18th century.
The Ottoman Empire's power and prestige peaked in the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, who personally instituted major legislative changes relating to society, education, taxation and criminal law. The empire was often at odds with the Holy Roman Empire in its steady advance towards Central Europe through the Balkans and the southern part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Ottoman Navy contended with several Holy Leagues, such as those in 1538, 1571, 1684 and 1717 (composed primarily of Habsburg Spain, the Republic of Genoa, the Republic of Venice, the Knights of St. John, the Papal States, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and the Duchy of Savoy), for the control of the Mediterranean Sea. In the east, the Ottomans were often at war with Safavid Persia over conflicts stemming from territorial disputes or religious differences between the 16th and 18th centuries. The Ottoman wars with Persia continued as the Zand, Afsharid, and Qajar dynasties succeeded the Safavids in Iran, until the first half of the 19th century. Even further east, there was an extension of the Habsburg-Ottoman conflict, in that the Ottomans also had to send soldiers to their farthest and easternmost vassal and territory, the Aceh Sultanate in Southeast Asia, to defend it from European colonizers as well as the Latino invaders who had crossed from Latin America and had Christianized the formerly Muslim-dominated Philippines. From the 16th to the early 20th centuries, the Ottoman Empire also fought twelve wars with the Russian Tsardom and Empire. These were initially about Ottoman territorial expansion and consolidation in southeastern and eastern Europe; but starting from the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774), they became more about the survival of the Ottoman Empire, which had begun to lose its strategic territories on the northern Black Sea coast to the advancing Russians.
The earliest examples of Turkish paper marbling, called ebru in Turkish, are said to be a copy of the Hâlnâme by the poet Arifî. The text of this manuscript was rendered in a delicate cut paper découpage calligraphy by Mehmed bin Gazanfer and completed in 1540, and features many marbled and decorative paper borders. One early master by the pseudonym of Şebek is mentioned posthumously in the earliest Ottoman text on the art known as the Tertib-i Risâle-i Ebrî, which is dated based on internal evidence to after 1615. The instructions for several ebru techniques in the text are accredited to this master. Another famous 18th-century master by the name of Hatip Mehmed Efendi (died 1773) is accredited with developing motifs and perhaps early floral designs, although evidence from India appears to contradict some of these reports. Despite this, marbled motifs are commonly referred to as hatip designs in Turkey today.
Turkish painting, in the Western sense, developed actively starting from the mid 19th century. The very first painting lessons were scheduled at what is now the Istanbul Technical University (then the Imperial Military Engineering School) in 1793, mostly for technical purposes. In the late 19th century, human figure in the Western sense was being established in Turkish painting, especially with Osman Hamdi Bey. Impressionism, among the contemporary trends, appeared later on with Halil Pasha. The young Turkish artists sent to Europe in 1926 came back inspired by contemporary trends such as Fauvism, Cubism and even Expressionism, still very influential in Europe. The later "Group D" of artists led by Abidin Dino, Cemal Tollu, Fikret Mualla, Fahrünnisa Zeid, Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, Adnan Çoker and Burhan Doğançay introduced some trends that had lasted in the West for more than three decades. Other important movements in Turkish painting were the "Yeniler Grubu" (The Newcomers Group) of the late 1930s; the "On'lar Grubu" (Group of Ten) of the 1940s; the "Yeni Dal Grubu" (New Branch Group) of the 1950s; and the "Siyah Kalem Grubu" (Black Pen Group) of the 1960s.
From the second half of the 18th century onwards, the Ottoman Empire began to decline. The Tanzimat reforms, initiated by Mahmud II just before his death in 1839, aimed to modernise the Ottoman state in line with the progress that had been made in Western Europe. The efforts of Midhat Pasha during the late Tanzimat era led the Ottoman constitutional movement of 1876, which introduced the First Constitutional Era, but these efforts proved to be inadequate in most fields, and failed to stop the dissolution of the empire. As the empire gradually shrank in size, military power and wealth; especially after the Ottoman economic crisis and default in 1875 which led to uprisings in the Balkan provinces that culminated in the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878); many Balkan Muslims migrated to the Empire's heartland in Anatolia, along with the Circassians fleeing the Russian conquest of the Caucasus. The decline of the Ottoman Empire led to a rise in nationalist sentiment among its various subject peoples, leading to increased ethnic tensions which occasionally burst into violence, such as the Hamidian massacres of Armenians.
Turkish literature is a mix of cultural influences. Interaction between the Ottoman Empire and the Islamic world along with Europe contributed to a blend of Turkic, Islamic and European traditions in modern-day Turkish music and literary arts. Turkish literature was heavily influenced by Persian and Arabic literature during most of the Ottoman era. The Tanzimat reforms introduced previously unknown Western genres, primarily the novel and the short story. Many of the writers in the Tanzimat period wrote in several genres simultaneously: for instance, the poet Nâmık Kemal also wrote the important 1876 novel İntibâh (Awakening), while the journalist Şinasi has written, in 1860, the first modern Turkish play, the one-act comedy "Şair Evlenmesi" (The Poet's Marriage). Most of the roots of modern Turkish literature were formed between the years 1896 and 1923. Broadly, there were three primary literary movements during this period: the Edebiyat-ı Cedîde (New Literature) movement; the Fecr-i Âtî (Dawn of the Future) movement; and the Millî Edebiyat (National Literature) movement. The first radical step of innovation in 20th century Turkish poetry was taken by Nâzım Hikmet, who introduced the free verse style. Another revolution in Turkish poetry came about in 1941 with the Garip movement led by Orhan Veli, Oktay Rıfat and Melih Cevdet. The mix of cultural influences in Turkey is dramatised, for example, in the form of the "new symbols of the clash and interlacing of cultures" enacted in the novels of Orhan Pamuk, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature.
Yeşilçam is the sobriquet that refers to the Turkish film art and industry. The first movie exhibited in the Ottoman Empire was the Lumiere Brothers' 1895 film, L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat, which was shown in Istanbul in 1896. The first Turkish-made film was a documentary entitled Ayastefanos'taki Rus Abidesinin Yıkılışı (Demolition of the Russian Monument at San Stefano), directed by Fuat Uzkınay and completed in 1914. The first narrative film, Sedat Simavi's The Spy, was released in 1917. Turkey's first sound film was shown in 1931. Turkish directors like Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Yılmaz Güney and Ferzan Özpetek won numerous international awards such as the Palme d'Or and Golden Bear.
The origin of Turkish theatre dates back to ancient pagan rituals and oral legends. The dances, music and songs performed during the rituals of the inhabitants of Anatolia millennia ago are the elements from which the first shows originated. In time, the ancient rituals, myths, legends and stories evolved into theatrical shows. Starting from the 11th-century, the traditions of the Seljuk Turks blended with those of the indigenous peoples of Anatolia and the interaction between diverse cultures paved the way for new plays. After the Tanzimat (Reformation) period in the 19th century, characters in Turkish theatre were modernised and plays were performed on European-style stages, with actors wearing European costumes. Following the restoration of constitutional monarchy with the Young Turk Revolution in 1908, theatrical activities increased and social problems began to be reflected at the theatre as well as in historical plays. A theatrical conservatoire, Darülbedayi-i Osmani (which became the nucleus of the Istanbul City Theatres) was established in 1914. During the years of chaos and war, the Darülbedayi-i Osmani continued its activities and attracted the younger generation. Numerous Turkish playwrights emerged in this era; some of them wrote on romantic subjects, while others were interested in social problems, and still others dealt with nationalistic themes. The first Turkish musicals were also written in this period. In time, Turkish women began to appear on stage, which was an important development in the late Ottoman society. Until then, female roles had only been played by actresses who were members of Turkey's ethnic minorities. Today there are numerous private theatres in the country, together with those which are subsidised by the government, such as the Turkish State Theatres. Notable players, directors and playwrights of Turkish theatre include Muhsin Ertuğrul, Haldun Taner, Aziz Nesin, Gülriz Sururi, Yıldız Kenter, Müşfik Kenter, Haldun Dormen, Sadri Alışık, Çolpan İlhan, Münir Özkul, Adile Naşit, Erol Günaydın, Gazanfer Özcan, Nejat Uygur, Genco Erkal, Metin Serezli, Nevra Serezli, Levent Kırca, Zeki Alasya, Metin Akpınar, Müjdat Gezen, Ferhan Şensoy, among others.
The 1913 coup d'état effectively put the country under the control of the Three Pashas, who were largely responsible for the Empire's entry into World War I in 1914. During World War I, the Ottoman government committed genocides against its Armenian, Assyrian and Pontic Greek subjects. After the Ottomans and the other Central Powers lost the war, the conglomeration of territories and peoples that had composed the Ottoman Empire was partitioned into several new states. The Turkish War of Independence, initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his comrades against the occupying Allied Powers, resulted in the abolition of the sultanate on 1 November 1922, the replacement of the Treaty of Sèvres (1920) with the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey on 29 October 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.
The Ottoman Empire entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers and was ultimately defeated. The Ottomans successfully defended the Dardanelles strait during the Gallipoli campaign (1915–1916), and achieved initial victories against British forces in the first two years of the Mesopotamian campaign, such as the Siege of Kut (1915–1916); but the Arab Revolt (1916–1918) turned the tide against the Ottomans in the Middle East. In the Caucasus campaign, however, the Russian forces had the upper hand from the beginning, especially after the Battle of Sarikamish (1914–1915). Russian forces advanced into northeastern Anatolia and controlled the major cities there until retreating from World War I with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk following the Russian Revolution (1917). During the war, the empire's Armenians were deported to Syria as part of the Armenian Genocide. As a result, an estimated 800,000 to 1,500,000 Armenians were killed. The Turkish government has refused to acknowledge the events as genocide and states that Armenians were only relocated from the eastern war zone. Genocidal campaigns were also committed against the empire's other minority groups such as the Assyrians and Greeks. Following the Armistice of Mudros on 30 October 1918, the victorious Allied Powers sought to partition the Ottoman state through the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres.
By 18 September 1922 the Greek, Armenian and French armies had been expelled, and the Turkish Provisional Government in Ankara, which had declared itself the legitimate government of the country on 23 April 1920, started to formalise the legal transition from the old Ottoman into the new Republican political system. On 1 November 1922, the Turkish Parliament in Ankara formally abolished the Sultanate, thus ending 623 years of monarchical Ottoman rule. The Treaty of Lausanne of 24 July 1923, which superseded the Treaty of Sèvres, led to the international recognition of the sovereignty of the newly formed "Republic of Turkey" as the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, and the republic was officially proclaimed on 29 October 1923 in Ankara, the country's new capital. The Lausanne Convention stipulated a population exchange between Greece and Turkey, whereby 1.1 million Greeks left Turkey for Greece in exchange for 380,000 Muslims transferred from Greece to Turkey.
Following the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, some Kurdish and Zaza tribes, which were feudal (manorial) communities led by chieftains (agha) during the Ottoman period, became discontent about certain aspects of Atatürk's reforms aiming to modernise the country, such as secularism (the Sheikh Said rebellion, 1925) and land reform (the Dersim rebellion, 1937–1938), and staged armed revolts that were put down with military operations.
Ottoman cuisine contains elements of Turkish, Byzantine, Balkan, Armenian, Kurdish, Arab and Persian cuisines. The country's position between Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean Sea helped the Turks in gaining complete control of the major trade routes, and an ideal landscape and climate allowed plants and animals to flourish. Turkish cuisine was well established by the mid-1400s, the beginning of the Ottoman Empire's six hundred-year reign. Yogurt salads, fish in olive oil, sherbet and stuffed and wrapped vegetables became Turkish staples. The empire, eventually spanning from Austria and Ukraine to Arabia and North Africa, used its land and water routes to import exotic ingredients from all over the world. By the end of the 16th century, the Ottoman court housed over 1,400 live-in cooks and passed laws regulating the freshness of food. Since the fall of the empire in World War I (1914–1918) and the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923, foreign food such as French hollandaise sauce and Western fast food have made their way into the modern Turkish diet.
Supporters of Atatürk's reforms are called Kemalists, as distinguished from Islamists, representing the two diverging views regarding the role of religion in legislation, education and public life. The Kemalist view supports a form of democracy with a secular constitution and Westernised culture, while maintaining the necessity of state intervention in the economy, education and other public services. Since its foundation as a republic in 1923, Turkey has developed a strong tradition of secularism. However, since the 1980s, issues such as income inequality and class distinction have given rise to Islamism, a movement that supports a larger role for religion in government policies, and in theory supports obligation to authority, communal solidarity and social justice; though what that entails in practice is often contested. Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP has been described as becoming increasingly authoritarian. Even before the constitutional referendum in 2017 the Council of Europe said the country had autocratic tendencies and warned of a "dramatic regression of [Turkey's] democratic order". Many elements in the constitutional reform package that was approved with the referendum in 2017 have increased concerns in the European Union regarding democracy and the separation of powers in Turkey.
The English name of Turkey (from Medieval Latin Turchia/Turquia ) means "land of the Turks". Middle English usage of Turkye is evidenced in an early work by Chaucer called The Book of the Duchess (c. 1369). The phrase land of Torke is used in the 15th-century Digby Mysteries. Later usages can be found in the Dunbar poems, the 16th century Manipulus Vocabulorum ("Turkie, Tartaria") and Francis Bacon's Sylva Sylvarum (Turky). The modern spelling "Turkey" dates back to at least 1719. The Turkish name Türkiye was adopted in 1923 under the influence of European usage.
According to the Address-Based Population Recording System of Turkey, the country's population was 74.7 million people in 2011, nearly three-quarters of whom lived in towns and cities. According to the 2011 estimate, the population is increasing by 1.35 percent each year. Turkey has an average population density of 97 people per km². People within the 15–64 age group constitute 67.4 percent of the total population; the 0–14 age group corresponds to 25.3 percent; while senior citizens aged 65 years or older make up 7.3 percent. In 1927, when the first official census was recorded in the Republic of Turkey, the population was 13.6 million. The largest city in Turkey, Istanbul, is also the largest city in Europe by population, and the third-largest city in Europe in terms of size.
The percentage of Christians in Turkey fell from 17.5% (three million followers) in a population of 16 million to 2.5% percent in 1927. The drop was the result of events that had a significant impact on the country's demographic structure, such as the Armenian Genocide, the population exchange between Greece and Turkey and the emigration of Christians that began in the late 19th century and gained pace in the first quarter of the 20th century. The Wealth Tax on non-Muslims in 1942, the emigration of a portion of Turkish Jews to Israel after 1948, and the ongoing Cyprus dispute, which damaged relations between Turks and Greeks (culminating in the Istanbul pogrom of 6–7 September 1955), were other important events that contributed to the decline of Turkey's non-Muslim population.
İsmet İnönü became Turkey's second President following Atatürk's death on 10 November 1938. On 29 June 1939, the Republic of Hatay voted in favour of joining Turkey with a referendum. Turkey remained neutral during most of World War II, but entered the closing stages of the war on the side of the Allies on 23 February 1945. On 26 June 1945, Turkey became a charter member of the United Nations. In the following year, the single-party period in Turkey came to an end, with the first multiparty elections in 1946. In 1950 Turkey became a member of the Council of Europe.
The other defining aspect of Turkey's foreign policy was the country's long-standing strategic alliance with the United States. The Truman Doctrine in 1947 enunciated American intentions to guarantee the security of Turkey and Greece during the Cold War, and resulted in large-scale U.S. military and economic support. In 1948 both countries were included in the Marshall Plan and the OEEC for rebuilding European economies. The common threat posed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War led to Turkey's membership of NATO in 1952, ensuring close bilateral relations with the US. Subsequently, Turkey benefited from the United States' political, economic and diplomatic support, including in key issues such as the country's bid to join the European Union. In the post–Cold War environment, Turkey's geostrategic importance shifted towards its proximity to the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Balkans.
Many of the papers presented at these first two symposia were unreferenced. Prior to the symposia, the study of Turkish culinary culture was first popularised by the publication of Süheyl Ünver's Fifty Dishes in Turkish History in 1948. This book was based on recipes found in an 18th century Ottoman manuscript. His second book was about palace cuisine during the reign of Mehmet II. Following the publication of Ünver's book subsequent studies were published, including a 1978 study by a historian named Bahaettin Ögel about the Central Asian origins of Turkish cuisine.
In line with its traditional Western orientation, relations with Europe have always been a central part of Turkish foreign policy. Turkey became one of the early members of the Council of Europe in 1950, applied for associate membership of the EEC (predecessor of the European Union) in 1959 and became an associate member in 1963. After decades of political negotiations, Turkey applied for full membership of the EEC in 1987, became an associate member of the Western European Union in 1992, joined the EU Customs Union in 1995 and has been in formal accession negotiations with the EU since 2005. Today, EU membership is considered as a state policy and a strategic target by Turkey. Turkey's support for Northern Cyprus in the Cyprus dispute complicates Turkey's relations with the EU and remains a major stumbling block to the country's EU accession bid.
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 G20. After becoming one of the early members of the Council of Europe in 1950, 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. In a non-binding vote on 13 March 2019, the European Parliament called on the EU governments to suspend Turkey's accession talks; which, despite being stalled since 2018, remain active as of 2020. Turkey's economy and diplomatic initiatives have led to its recognition as a regional power and a newly industrialized state by several analysts, while its location has given it geopolitical and strategic importance throughout history. Turkey is a secular, unitary, formerly parliamentary republic that 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 and undermine Kemalist policies and freedom of the press.
Turkey is a founding member of the United Nations (1945), the OECD (1961), the OIC (1969), the OSCE (1973), the ECO (1985), the BSEC (1992), the D-8 (1997) and the G20 (1999). Turkey was a member of the United Nations Security Council in 1951–1952, 1954–1955, 1961 and 2009–2010. In 2012 Turkey became a dialogue partner of the SCO, and in 2013 became a member of the ACD.
The Democratic Party established by Celâl Bayar won the 1950, 1954 and 1957 general elections and stayed in power for a decade, with Adnan Menderes as the Prime Minister and Bayar as the President. After fighting as part of the United Nations forces in the Korean War, Turkey joined NATO in 1952, becoming a bulwark against Soviet expansion into the Mediterranean. Turkey subsequently became a founding member of the OECD in 1961, and an associate member of the EEC in 1963.
The country's tumultuous transition to multiparty democracy was interrupted by military coups d'état in 1960 and 1980, as well as by military memorandums in 1971 and 1997. Between 1960 and the end of the 20th century, the prominent leaders in Turkish politics who achieved multiple election victories were Süleyman Demirel, Bülent Ecevit and Turgut Özal.
Following a decade of Cypriot intercommunal violence and the coup in Cyprus on 15 July 1974 staged by the EOKA B paramilitary organisation, which overthrew President Makarios and installed the pro-Enosis (union with Greece) Nikos Sampson as dictator, Turkey invaded Cyprus on 20 July 1974 by unilaterally exercising Article IV in the Treaty of Guarantee (1960), but without restoring the status quo ante at the end of the military operation. In 1983 the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognised only by Turkey, was established. The Annan Plan for reunifying the island was supported by the majority of Turkish Cypriots, but rejected by the majority of Greek Cypriots, in separate referendums in 2004. However, negotiations for solving the Cyprus dispute are still ongoing between Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot political leaders.
In the latter half of the 1970s, Turkey suffered from political violence between far-left and far-right militant groups, which culminated in the military coup of 1980. The Kurdistan Workers' Party (designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, the European Union and NATO ) was founded in 1978 by a group of Kurdish militants led by Abdullah Öcalan, seeking the foundation of an independent, Marxist-Leninist state in the region, which was to be known as Kurdistan. The initial reason given by the PKK for this was the oppression of Kurds in Turkey. A full-scale insurgency began in 1984, when the PKK announced a Kurdish uprising. Following the arrest and imprisonment of Abdullah Öcalan in 1999, the PKK modified its demands into equal rights for ethnic Kurds and provincial autonomy within Turkey. Since the conflict began, more than 40,000 people have died, most of whom were Turkish Kurds. The European Court of Human Rights and other international human rights organisations have condemned Turkey for human rights abuses. Many judgments are related to cases such as civilian deaths in aerial bombardments, torturing, forced displacements, destroyed villages, arbitrary arrests, murdered and disappeared Kurdish journalists, activists and politicians.
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 foreign trade, flow of foreign currency, foreign direct investment and private sector participation in certain fields (such as broadcasting, telecommunications, energy, mining, etc.). 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.
Since the liberalisation of the Turkish economy in the 1980s, the country has enjoyed stronger economic growth and greater political stability. Turkey applied for full membership of the EEC in 1987, joined the EU Customs Union in 1995 and started accession negotiations with the European Union in 2005. In a non-binding vote on 13 March 2019, the European Parliament called on the EU governments to suspend EU accession talks with Turkey, citing violations of human rights and the rule of law; but the negotiations, effectively on hold since 2018, remain active as of 2020.
The independence of the Turkic states of the Soviet Union in 1991, with which Turkey shares a common cultural and linguistic heritage, allowed Turkey to extend its economic and political relations deep into Central Asia, thus enabling the completion of a multi-billion-dollar oil and natural gas pipeline from Baku in Azerbaijan to the port of Ceyhan in Turkey. The Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline forms part of Turkey's foreign policy strategy to become an energy conduit from the Caspian Sea basin to Europe. However, in 1993, Turkey sealed its land border with Armenia in a gesture of support to Azerbaijan (a Turkic state in the Caucasus region) during the Nagorno-Karabakh War, and it remains closed.
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 in Izmit that year), and 2001; resulting in an average of 4 percent 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. After the economic crisis of 2001 and the reforms initiated by the then finance minister, Kemal Derviş, inflation dropped to single-digit figures for the first time in decades (8% in 2005), investor confidence and foreign investment soared, and unemployment fell to 10% in 2005. Turkey has gradually opened up its markets through economic reforms by reducing government controls on foreign trade and investment and the privatisation of publicly owned industries, and the liberalisation of many sectors to private and foreign participation has continued amid political debate.
The EU – Turkey Customs Union in 1995 led to an extensive liberalisation of tariff rates, and forms one of the most important pillars of Turkey's foreign trade policy.
The conflict between Turkey and the PKK (designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, the European Union and NATO ) has been active since 1984, primarily in the southeast of the country. More than 40,000 people have died as a result of the conflict. In 1999 PKK's founder Abdullah Öcalan was arrested and sentenced for terrorism and treason charges. In the past, various Kurdish groups have unsuccessfully sought separation from Turkey to create an independent Kurdish state, while others have more recently pursued provincial autonomy and greater political and cultural rights for Kurds in Turkey. In the 21st century some reforms have taken place to improve the cultural rights of ethnic minorities in Turkey, such as the establishment of TRT Kurdî, TRT Arabi and TRT Avaz by the TRT.
The most popular sport in Turkey is association football. Galatasaray won the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 2000. The Turkish national football team has won the bronze medal at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup and UEFA Euro 2008.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) was $8.3 billion in 2012, a figure expected to rise to $15 billion in 2013. In 2012, Fitch Group upgraded Turkey's credit rating to investment grade after an 18-year gap; this was followed by a ratings upgrade by Moody's in May 2013, as the service lifted Turkey's government bond ratings to the lowest investment grade Baa3. In September 2016, Moody's cut Turkey's sovereign debt to junk status. In the economic crisis of 2016 it emerged that the huge debts incurred for investment during the AKP government since 2002 had mostly been consumed in construction, rather than invested in sustainable economic growth. Private-bank debts in Turkey were 6.6 billion TL in 2002 and had increased to 385 billion TL by the end of 2015. Turkey's gross external debt reached $453.2 billion at the end of December 2017. Turkey's annual current account deficit was $47.3 billion at the end of December 2017, compared to the previous year's figure of $33.1 billion. In 2020, according to Carbon Tracker, money was being wasted constructing more coal-fired power stations in Turkey: and Fatih Birol the head of the International Energy Agency said that fossil fuel subsidies (which were around 0.2% of GDP for the first two decades of the 21st century ) should be redirected, for example to the health system.
As of 2014 , the country has a roadway network of 65,623 kilometres (40,776 miles). The total length of the rail network was 10,991 kilometres (6,829 miles) in 2008, including 2,133 kilometres (1,325 miles) of electrified and 457 kilometres (284 miles) of high-speed track. The Turkish State Railways started building high-speed rail lines in 2003. The Ankara-Konya line became operational in 2011, while the Ankara-Istanbul line entered service in 2014. Opened in 2013, the Marmaray tunnel under the Bosphorus connects the railway and metro lines of Istanbul's European and Asian sides; while the nearby Eurasia Tunnel (2016) provides an undersea road connection for motor vehicles. The Bosphorus Bridge (1973), Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge (1988) and Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge (2016) are the three suspension bridges connecting the European and Asian shores of the Bosphorus strait. The Osman Gazi Bridge (2016) connects the northern and southern shores of the Gulf of İzmit. The Çanakkale Bridge, currently under construction, will connect the European and Asian shores of the Dardanelles strait.
Health care in Turkey used to be dominated by a centralised state system run by the Ministry of Health. In 2003, the government introduced a sweeping health reform programme aimed at increasing the ratio of private to state health provision and making healthcare available to a larger share of the population. Turkish Statistical Institute announced that 76.3 billion TL was spent for healthcare in 2012; 79.6 percent of which was covered by the Social Security Institution and 15.4 percent of which was paid directly by the patients. In 2018, there were 34,559 medical institutions in Turkey, and on average one doctor per 583 people and 2.65 beds per 1000 people.
Other key sectors of the Turkish economy are banking, construction, home appliances, electronics, textiles, oil refining, petrochemical products, food, mining, iron and steel, and machine industry. In 2010, the agricultural sector accounted for 9 percent of GDP, while the industrial sector accounted for 26 percent and the services sector for 65 percent. However, agriculture still accounted for a quarter of employment. In 2004, it was estimated that 46 percent of total disposable income was received by the top 20 percent of income earners, while the lowest 20 percent received only 6 percent. The rate of female employment in Turkey was 30 percent in 2012, the lowest among all OECD countries.
In the early years of the 21st century, the chronically high inflation was brought under control; this led to the launch of a new currency, the Turkish new lira (Yeni Türk Lirası) in 2005, to cement the acquisition of the economic reforms and erase the vestiges of an unstable economy. In 2009, after only four years in circulation, the Turkish new lira was renamed back to the Turkish lira with the introduction of new banknotes and coins.
Many natural gas pipelines span the country's territory. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, the second longest oil pipeline in the world, was inaugurated on 10 May 2005. The Blue Stream, a major trans-Black Sea gas pipeline, delivers natural gas from Russia to Turkey. The undersea pipeline, Turkish Stream, with an annual capacity around 63 billion cubic metres (2,200 billion cubic feet), will allow Turkey to resell Russian gas to Europe while planned Nabucco pipeline will reduce European dependence on Russian energy.
As of 2017, there are 190 universities in Turkey. Entry to higher education depends on the Student Selection and Placement System (ÖSYS). In 2008, the quota of admitted students was 600,000, compared to 1,700,000 who took the higher education exam in 2007. Except for the Open Education Faculties (AÖF) at Anadolu, Istanbul and Atatürk University; entrance is regulated by the national ÖSYS examination, after which high school graduates are assigned to universities according to their performance. According to the 2012–2013 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the top university in Turkey is Middle East Technical University (in the 201–225 rank range), followed by Bilkent University and Koç University (both in the 226–250 range), Istanbul Technical University and Boğaziçi University (in the 276–300 bracket). All state and private universities are under the control of the Higher Education Board (YÖK), whose head is appointed by the President of Turkey; executive order 676 of October 2016 has created a system where in addition the President directly appoints all rectors of all state and private universities. Turkey is a member of the European Higher Education Area and actively participates in the Bologna Process.
Executive power is exercised by the President, while the legislative power is vested in the unicameral parliament, called the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The judiciary is nominally independent from the executive and the legislature, but the constitutional changes that came into effect with the referendums in 2007, 2010 and 2017 gave larger powers to the President and the ruling party for appointing or dismissing judges and prosecutors. The Constitutional Court is charged with ruling on the conformity of laws and decrees with the constitution. The Council of State is the tribunal of last resort for administrative cases, and the High Court of Appeals for all others.
The real GDP growth rate from 2002 to 2007 averaged 6.8 percent annually, which made Turkey one of the fastest growing economies in the world during that period. However, growth slowed to 1 percent in 2008, and in 2009 the Turkish economy was affected by the global financial crisis, with a recession of 5 percent. The economy was estimated to have returned to 8 percent growth in 2010. According to Eurostat data, Turkish GDP per capita adjusted by purchasing power standards stood at 64 percent of the EU average in 2018. The public debt-to-GDP ratio peaked at 75.9 percent during the recession of 2001, falling to an estimated 26.9 percent by 2013.
Law enforcement in Turkey is carried out by several departments (such as the General Directorate of Security and Gendarmerie General Command) and agencies, all acting under the command of the President of Turkey or mostly the Minister of Internal Affairs. According to figures released by the Justice Ministry, there are 100,000 people in Turkish prisons as of November 2008, a doubling since 2000.
Under the AKP government, Turkey's influence has grown in the formerly Ottoman territories of the Middle East and the Balkans, based on the "strategic depth" doctrine (a terminology that was coined by Ahmet Davutoğlu for defining Turkey's increased engagement in regional foreign policy issues), also called Neo-Ottomanism. Following the Arab Spring in December 2010, the choices made by the AKP government for supporting certain political opposition groups in the affected countries have led to tensions with some Arab states, such as Turkey's neighbour Syria since the start of the Syrian civil war, and Egypt after the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi. As of 2016 , Turkey does not have an ambassador in either Syria or Egypt. Diplomatic relations with Israel were also severed after the Gaza flotilla raid in 2010, but were normalised following a deal in June 2016. These political rifts have left Turkey with few allies in the East Mediterranean, where rich natural gas fields have recently been discovered; in sharp contrast with the original goals that were set by the former Foreign Minister (later Prime Minister) Ahmet Davutoğlu in his "zero problems with neighbours" foreign policy doctrine. In 2015, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar formed a "strategic alliance" against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. However, following the rapprochement with Russia in 2016, Turkey revised its stance regarding the solution of the conflict in Syria. In January 2018, the Turkish military and the Turkish-backed forces, including the Free Syrian Army and Ahrar al-Sham, began an intervention in Syria aimed at ousting U.S.-backed YPG from the enclave of Afrin.
Before the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the estimated number of Arabs in Turkey varied from 1 million to more than 2 million. As of April 2020, there are 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, who are mostly Arabs but also include Kurds, Turkmens and other ethnic groups; the vast majority of whom are living in Turkey with temporary residence permits and haven't been granted Turkish citizenship.
The Ministry of National Education is responsible for pre-tertiary education. This is compulsory and lasts twelve years: four years each of primary school, middle school and high school. Less than half of 25- to 34-year-old Turks have completed at least high school, compared with an OECD average of over 80 percent. Basic education in Turkey is said to lag behind other OECD countries, with significant differences between high and low performers. Turkey is ranked 32nd out of 34 in the OECD's PISA study. Access to high-quality school heavily depends on the performance in the secondary school entrance exams, to the point that some students begin taking private tutoring classes when they are ten years old. The overall adult literacy rate in 2011 was 94.1 percent; 97.9 percent for males and 90.3 percent for females.
The role of religion in public life has been the source of debate since the formation of Islamist parties. For many decades, the wearing of the hijab was banned in schools and government buildings because it was viewed as a symbol of political Islam. However, the ban was lifted from universities in 2011, from government buildings in 2013, from schools in 2014 and from the Armed Forces in 2017. The government of Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) pursue the explicit policy of Islamization of education to "raise a devout generation" against secular resistance, in the process causing lost jobs and educational opportunities for non-religious citizens of Turkey. However, some reporters say that Erdoğan's policies have caused an increase in interest and support of secularism in Turkey.
In 2013 there were 98 airports in Turkey, including 22 international airports. As of 2015 , Istanbul Atatürk Airport is the 11th busiest airport in the world, serving 31,833,324 passengers between January and July 2014, according to Airports Council International. The new (third) international airport of Istanbul is planned to be the largest airport in the world, with a capacity to serve 150 million passengers per annum. As well as Turkish Airlines, flag carrier of Turkey since 1933, several other airlines operate in the country.
In 2013, widespread protests erupted in many Turkish provinces, sparked by a plan to demolish Gezi Park but soon growing into general anti-government dissent. On 15 July 2016, an unsuccessful coup attempt tried to oust the government. As a reaction to the failed coup d'état, the government carried out mass purges.
In a mid-2010s poll, 2.9% of Turkish respondents identified as atheists. Atheism Association of Turkey, the first official atheist organisation in the Balkans, Caucasus and Middle East, was founded in 2014.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the AKP government has waged one of the world's biggest crackdowns on media freedom. Many journalists have been arrested using charges of "terrorism" and "anti-state activities" such as the Ergenekon and Balyoz cases, while thousands have been investigated on charges such as "denigrating Turkishness" or "insulting Islam" in an effort to sow self-censorship. In 2017, the CPJ identified 81 jailed journalists in Turkey (including the editorial staff of Cumhuriyet, Turkey's oldest newspaper still in circulation), all directly held for their published work (the country ranked first in the world in that year, with more journalists in prison than in Iran, Eritrea or China); while in 2015 Freemuse identified nine musicians imprisoned for their work (ranking third after Russia and China). In 2015 Turkey's media was rated as not free by Freedom House. In its resolution "The functioning of democratic institutions in Turkey" on 22 June 2016, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe warned that "recent developments in Turkey pertaining to freedom of the media and of expression, erosion of the rule of law and the human rights violations in relation to anti-terrorism security operations in south-east Turkey have (...) raised serious questions about the functioning of its democratic institutions."
In 2015, Aziz Sancar, a Turkish professor at the University of North Carolina, won the Nobel Chemistry Prize along with Tomas Lindahl and Paul Modrich, for their work on how cells repair damaged DNA. Other Turkish scientists include physician Hulusi Behçet who discovered Behçet's disease and mathematician Cahit Arf who defined the Arf invariant.
In 2015, life expectancy was 72.6 years for men and 78.9 for women, with an overall average of 75.8.
The automotive industry in Turkey is sizeable, and produced over 1.3 million motor vehicles in 2015, ranking as the 14th largest producer in the world. Turkish shipyards are highly regarded both for the production of chemical and oil tankers up to 10,000 dwt and also for their mega yachts. Turkish brands like Beko and Vestel are among the largest producers of consumer electronics and home appliances in Europe, and invest a substantial amount of funds for research and development in new technologies related to these fields.
In 2016 the Skills Matter survey conducted by OECD found the levels of numeracy and literacy in the adult population of Turkey at rank 30 of the 33 OECD countries surveyed.
Other mainstream sports such as basketball and volleyball are also popular. The men's national basketball team won the silver medal at the 2010 FIBA World Championship and at the EuroBasket 2001, which were both hosted by Turkey; and is one of the most successful at the Mediterranean Games. Turkish basketball club Fenerbahçe played the Final of the EuroLeague in three consecutive seasons (2016, 2017 and 2018), becoming the European champions in 2017 and runners-up in 2016 and 2018. Another Turkish basketball club, Anadolu Efes S.K. won the 1995–96 FIBA Korać Cup, were the runners-up of the 2018–19 EuroLeague and the 1992–93 FIBA Saporta Cup, and finished third at the 1999–2000 EuroLeague and the 2000–01 SuproLeague. Beşiktaş won the 2011–12 FIBA EuroChallenge, and Galatasaray won the 2015–16 Eurocup. The Final of the 2013–14 EuroLeague Women basketball championship was played between two Turkish teams, Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe, and won by Galatasaray. The women's national basketball team won the silver medal at the EuroBasket Women 2011 and the bronze medal at the EuroBasket Women 2013. Like the men's team, the women's basketball team is one of the most successful at the Mediterranean Games.
Turkish television dramas are increasingly becoming popular beyond Turkey's borders and are among the country's most vital exports, both in terms of profit and public relations. After sweeping the Middle East's television market over the past decade, Turkish shows have aired in more than a dozen South and Central American countries in 2016. Turkey is today the world's second largest exporter of television series.
On 20 May 2016, the Turkish parliament stripped almost a quarter of its members of immunity from prosecution, including 101 deputies from the pro-Kurdish HDP and the main opposition CHP party. In reaction to the failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016, over 160,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants have been suspended or dismissed, 77,000 have been formally arrested, and 130 media organisations, including 16 television broadcasters and 45 newspapers, have been closed by the government of Turkey. 160 journalists have been imprisoned.
Despite legal provisions, media freedom in Turkey has steadily deteriorated from 2010 onwards, with a precipitous decline following the failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016. As of December 2016, at least 81 journalists were imprisoned in Turkey and more than 100 news outlets were closed. Freedom House lists Turkey's media as not free. The media crackdowns also extend to Internet censorship with Wikipedia getting blocked between 29 April 2017 and 15 January 2020.
Between 1923 and 2018, Turkey was a parliamentary representative democracy. A presidential system was adopted by referendum in 2017; the new system came into effect with the presidential election in 2018 and gives the President complete control of the executive, including the power to issue decrees, appoint his own cabinet, draw up the budget, dissolve parliament by calling early elections, and make appointments to the bureaucracy and the courts. The office of Prime Minister has been abolished and its powers (together with those of the Cabinet) have been transferred to the President, who is the head of state and is elected for a five-year term by direct elections. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the first president elected by direct voting. Turkey's constitution governs the legal framework of the country. It sets out the main principles of government and establishes Turkey as a unitary centralised state.
In 2017 the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index rated Turkey at 4.88 (on a 0–10 scale), classifying Turkey as a hybrid regime. In 2018, Freedom House rated Turkey at 32 (on a 0–100 scale) as Not Free. In 2019 Turkey ranked 110th out of 167 countries in the Democracy Index.
In 2017 the theory of evolution was removed from the national curriculum of high schools, while the concept of jihad was added as a new subject.
Tourism in Turkey has increased almost every year in the 21st century, and is an important part of the economy. The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism currently promotes Turkish tourism under the Turkey Home name. Turkey is one of the world's top ten destination countries, with the highest percentage of foreign visitors arriving from Germany and Russia in recent years. In 2018 Turkey ranked 6th in the world in terms of the number of international tourist arrivals, with 45.8 million foreign tourists visiting the country.
During the October 2019 offensive into Syria, Turkish forces have been accused of war crimes, such as targeting civilians with white phosphorus and various other human rights violations. Turkey has officially rejected the claims, with the Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar stating that chemical weapons don't exist in the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces.
Between 9 October – 25 November 2019, Turkey conducted a military offensive into north-eastern Syria.
Immigration to Turkey is the process by which people migrate to Turkey to reside in the country. Turkey's migrant crisis created after an estimated 2.5 percent of the population are international migrants. Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees in the world, including 3.6 million Syrian refugees, as of April 2020.