Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey (Turkish Türkiye Cumhuriyeti), a nation in western Asia and southeastern Europe. The vast majority of Turkey is composed of the Asian territory of Anatolia, or Asia Minor, a large mountainous peninsula. The capital city, Ankara, is located there. The rest of Turkey, called Eastern (or Turkish) Thrace, occupies the far southeastern part of Europe. This region of rolling fertile hills is home to İstanbul, Turkey’s largest city. Asian Turkey and European Turkey are separated by three connected waterways of great strategic importance: the Sea of Marmara and the straits of the Bosporus and the Dardanelles (also called the Turkish Straits).
Together, they form the only water route between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea, an arm of the Mediterranean Sea. Roughly rectangular in shape, Turkey occupies an area slightly larger than the state of Texas. Turkey borders the Aegean Sea and Greece on the west; Bulgaria on the northwest; the Black Sea on the north; Georgia, Armenia, and the autonomous Azerbaijani republic of Naxçivan on the northeast; Iran on the east; and Iraq, Syria, and the Mediterranean Sea on the south. Turkey’s coastline is extensive and makes up about three-fourths of the country’s total boundary.
The landscapes of Turkey are varied, from fertile plains in the northwest and southeast to broad river valleys in the west to high barren plateaus and towering mountains in the east. In the rugged Asian interior, the climate fluctuates dramatically, with cold, snowy winters and hot, dry summers. Along the Mediterranean coastline the climate is less extreme, with warm summers and mild, moist winters. Turkey’s unique geographic location between Europe and Asia has exposed the region to diverse influences and contributed to its historical and cultural evolution. Indeed, Turkey has served as bridge for the movement of peoples between Asia and Europe throughout human history. Turkey has drawn on these diverse influences to develop its own distinctive identity and a rich culture expressed in architecture, the fine arts, music, and literature. Diversity remains a hallmark of contemporary Turkey, in environment, people, and culture. Traditional beliefs and practices remain widespread, especially in rural areas. Turkey is also a democratic, rapidly modernizing society. The dominant religion is Islam, and most people speak Turkish, the national language. © "Sweden" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
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