Humanities › Geography History and Geography of Turkey Share Flipboard Email Print Westend61/ Brand X Pictures/ Getty Images Geography Country Information Basics Physical Geography Political Geography Population Key Figures & Milestones Maps Urban Geography By Amanda Briney Geography Expert M.A., Geography, California State University - East Bay B.A., English and Geography, California State University - Sacramento Amanda Briney, M.A., is a professional geographer. She holds a Certificate of Advanced Study in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from California State University. our editorial process Amanda Briney Updated September 05, 2019 Turkey, officially called the Republic of Turkey, is located in Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia along the Black, Aegean, and Mediterranean Seas. It is bordered by eight countries and also has a large economy and army. As such, Turkey is considered a rising regional and world power and negotiations for it to join the European Union began in 2005. Fast Facts: Turkey Official Name: Republic of TurkeyCapital: AnkaraPopulation: 81,257,239 (2018)Official Language: TurkishCurrency: Turkish liras (TRY) Form of Government: Presidential republicClimate: Temperate; hot, dry summers with mild, wet winters; harsher in interiorTotal Area: 302,535 square miles (783,562 square kilometers) Highest Point: Mount Ararat 16,854 feet (5,137 meters) Lowest Point: Mediterranean Sea 0 feet (0 meters) History Turkey is known as having a long history with ancient cultural practices. In fact, the Anatolian peninsula (on which most of modern Turkey sits), is considered one of the oldest inhabited areas in the world. Around 1200 BCE, the Anatolian coast was settled by various Greek peoples and the important cities of Miletus, Ephesus, Smyrna, and Byzantium (which later became Istanbul) were founded. Byzantium later became the capital of the Roman and Byzantine Empires. The modern history of Turkey began in the early 20th century after Mustafa Kemal (later known as Ataturk) pushed for the founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and a war for independence. According to the U.S. Department of State, the Ottoman Empire lasted for 600 years but collapsed during World War I after it participated in the war as an ally of Germany and it became fragmented after the formation of nationalist groups. After it became a republic, Turkish leaders began working to modernize the area and bring together the various fragments that had formed during the war. Ataturk pushed for various, political, social and economic reforms from 1924 to 1934. In 1960, a military coup took place and many of these reforms ended, which still cause debates in Turkey today. On February 23, 1945, Turkey joined World War II as a member of the Allies and shortly thereafter became a charter member of the United Nations. In 1947 the United States declared the Truman Doctrine after the Soviet Union demanded that they be able to set up military bases in the Turkish Straits after communist rebellions began in Greece. The Truman Doctrine began a period of U.S. military and economic aid for both Turkey and Greece. In 1952, Turkey joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and in 1974 it invaded the Republic of Cyprus, which led to the formation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Only Turkey recognizes this republic. In 1984, after the beginning of governmental transitions, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), considered a terrorist group in Turkey by several international organizations, began acting against Turkey's government and led to the deaths of thousands of people. The group continues to act in Turkey today. Since the late 1980s, however, Turkey has seen an improvement in its economy and political stability. It is also on track to joining the European Union and is growing as a powerful country. Government Today, the government of Turkey is considered a republican parliamentary democracy. It has an executive branch that is made up a chief of state and a head of government (these positions are filled by the president and prime minister, respectively) and a legislative branch that consists of the unicameral Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Turkey also has a judicial branch, which is comprised of the Constitutional Court, High Court of Appeals, Council of State, Court of Accounts, Military High Court of Appeals, and the Military High Administrative Court. Turkey is divided into 81 provinces. Economics and Land Use Turkey's economy is currently growing and it is a large mix of modern industry and traditional agriculture. According to the CIA World Factbook, agriculture consists of about 30% of the country's employment. The main agricultural products from Turkey are tobacco, cotton, grain, olives, sugar beets, hazelnuts, pulse, citrus, and livestock. Turkey's main industries are textiles, food processing, autos, electronics, mining, steel, petroleum, construction, lumber, and paper. Mining in Turkey consists mainly of coal, chromate, copper, and boron. Geography and Climate Turkey is located on the Black, Aegean, and Mediterranean Seas. The Turkish Straits (which are made up of the Sea of Marmara, the Strait of Bosphorus, and the Dardanelles) form the boundary between Europe and Asia. As a result, Turkey is considered to be in both Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia. The country has a varied topography that is made up of a high central plateau, a narrow coastal plain and several large mountain ranges. The highest point in Turkey is Mount Ararat, which is a dormant volcano located on its eastern border. The elevation of Mount Ararat is 16,949 feet (5,166 m). The climate of Turkey is temperate and it has high, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The more inland one gets, however, the harsher the climate becomes. Turkey's capital, Ankara, is located inland and has an average August high temperature of 83 degrees (28˚C) and January average low of 20 degrees (-6˚C). Sources Central Intelligence Agency. "CIA - The World Factbook - Turkey."Infoplease.com. "Turkey: History, Geography, Government, and Culture- Infoplease.com."United States Department of State. "Turkey."