Official name: The Republic of Turkey (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti)
Wedged in between Europe, Russia, Persia and the Arab world, for centuries Anatolia – the heartland of the modern Turkish state – has been both a battleground and the arena of successive civilizations, each leaving their mark on the region.
The last great migration was that of Turkish tribes from Central Asia, who contributed to Turkey’s identity today, founding the once expansive and powerful Ottoman Empire, encompassing many peoples, including Arabs.
Turkey has developed into a regional superpower as the result of its potentially strong agricultural sector, combined with a sizeable population, and, today, as a crossroads in the flow of oil and gas from the region to Europe. No longer a country exporting unskilled labourers, today’s Turkey is an active player in the international field of trade and industry.
In 1920, the Kemalist regime (1923-1945) replaced Istanbul with Ankara as the capital of Turkey and divided the nation into seven regions: Marmara, Aegean, Black Sea, Mediterranean, Central Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia, and South-Eastern Anatolia. This division stems from the desire of the Kemalist authorities to break up the regional units that might threaten the centralizing policy of the Republic, especially in areas densely populated by Kurds. Internal documents of the state mention the existence during this period of a Kurdish-Turkish ethno-linguistic border along the Euphrates river, and the administrative map of the country shows two regions with a Kurdish majority, which also include non-Kurdish areas. The Kemalist authorities wanted each region to be contiguous with Ankara. Although three massif lines run north to south in Eastern Anatolia, the other five regions border on the Central Anatolia Region in which Ankara is located.
Arable land constitutes only 30-35 percent of the total area of Turkey. In fact, 56 percent of the land lies at an elevation of more than 1,000 metres, thus reducing its suitability for agriculture. Forests, two-thirds of which are degraded, cover only 26 percent of the total area.
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