Turkey is a transcontinental country in Eurasia and Middle East, located mainly in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Greece and Bulgaria to the northwest; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan and Iran to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the south. The country is encircled by seas on three sides, with the Aegean Sea to the west, the Black Sea to the north, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles, which together form the Turkish Straits, divide Thrace and Anatolia and separate Europe from Asia. Ankara is the capital while Istanbul is the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre, classified as a leading global city.
Approximately 70–80% of the country's citizens identify themselves as ethnic Turks.Kurds are the largest minority at about 20% of the population; other ethnic minorities include Circassians, Albanians, Arabs, Bosniaks, and Laz people.The official language is Turkish, which is the most widely spoken Turkic language in the world.Minority languages spoken today in Turkey include Kurmanji, Bosnian, Arabic, Zaza, Kabardian, and several others.
At various points in its history, the region has been inhabited by diverse civilizations including the 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 symbolizes the start and foundation of Turkey. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, when it disintegrated into small Turkish principalities. Beginning in the late 13th-century, the Ottomans started uniting these Turkish principalities. 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.
In 1913, a coup d'état effectively put the country under the control of the Three Pashas. During World War I, the Ottoman government committed genocides against its Armenian, Assyrian and Pontic Greek subjects.Following the war, the conglomeration of territories and peoples that formerly comprised the Ottoman Empire was partitioned into several new states. The Turkish War of Independence, initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues against occupying Allies, resulted in the abolition of monarchy in 1922 and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 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.