Background: Modern Turkey was founded in 1923 from the Anatolian remnants of the defeated Ottoman Empire by national hero Mustafa KEMAL, who was later honored with the title Ataturk or "Father of the Turks." Under his authoritarian leadership, the country adopted wide-ranging social, legal, and political reforms. After a period of one-party rule, an experiment with multi-party politics led to the 1950 election victory of the opposition Democratic Party and the peaceful transfer of power. Since then, Turkish political parties have multiplied, but democracy has been fractured by periods of instability and intermittent military coups (1960, 1971, 1980), which in each case eventually resulted in a return of political power to civilians. In 1997, the military again helped engineer the ouster - popularly dubbed a "post-modern coup" - of the then Islamic-oriented government. Turkey intervened militarily on Cyprus in 1974 to prevent a Greek takeover of the island and has since acted as patron state to the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," which only Turkey recognizes. A separatist insurgency begun in 1984 by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - now known as the People's Congress of Kurdistan or Kongra-Gel (KGK) - has dominated the Turkish military's attention and claimed more than 30,000 lives. After the capture of the group's leader in 1999, the insurgents largely withdrew from Turkey mainly to northern Iraq. In 2004, KGK announced an end to its ceasefire and attacks attributed to the KGK increased. Turkey joined the UN in 1945 and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. In 1964, Turkey became an associate member of the European Community. Over the past decade, it has undertaken many reforms to strengthen its democracy and economy; it began accession membership talks with the European Union in 2005.
Location: Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia (that portion of Turkey west of the Bosporus is geographically part of Europe), bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Georgia, and bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, between Greece and Syria
Area land: 769,632 sq km
Area water: 13,930 sq km
Coastline: 7,200 km
Country name conventional long form: Republic of Turkey
Country name conventional short form: Turkey
Country name former: Republic of Turkey
Population: 78,785,548 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 26.6% (male 10,707,793/female 10,226,999); 15-64 years: 67.1% (male 26,741,332/female 26,162,757); 65 years and over: 6.3% (male 2,259,422/female 2,687,245) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: 1.235% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 17.93 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 6.1 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.51 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female; total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 23.94 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 25 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 22.82 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.5 years; male: 70.61 years; female: 74.49 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 2.15 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: less than 0.1%; less than 0.1% note - no country specific models provided (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: NA 4,600 (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 200 (2009 est.);
Nationality: noun: Turk(s); adjective: Turkish;
Ethnic groups: Turkish 70-75%, Kurdish 18%, other minorities 7-12% (2008 est.);
Religions: Muslim 99.8% (mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews);
Languages: Turkish (official), Kurdish, other minority languages;
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 87.4%; male: 95.3%; female: 79.6% (2004 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $958.3 billion (2010 est.); $893.1 billion (2009 est.); $937.1 billion (2008 est.);
GDP (official exchange rate): $729.1 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 7.3% (2010 est.); -4.7% (2009 est.); 0.7% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $12,300 (2010 est.); $11,600 (2009 est.); $12,400 (2008 est.);
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 8.8%; industry: 25.7%; services: 65.5% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 17.11% (2008);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.9%; highest 10%: 33.2% (2005);
Labor force: 24.73 million;
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 29.5%; industry: 24.7%; services: 45.8% (2005);
Unemployment rate: 12.4% (2010 est.); 14.1% (2009 est.);
Budget: revenues: $159.4 billion; expenditures: $189.6 billion (2010 est.);
Industries: textiles, food processing, autos, electronics, mining (coal, chromate, copper, boron), steel, petroleum, construction, lumber, paper;
Industrial production growth rate: 6% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 198.4 billion kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 198.1 billion kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - exports: 1.12 billion kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - imports: 790 million kWh (2008 est.);
Statistics: CIA World Factbook.
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In the neighborhood of Pangalti, an area rich with history, specialty shops dedicated to fresh and local fare knit a sense of community among the locals.
In Turkey's upcoming presidential election, one man represents the country's two biggest opposition parties, and he is largely unknown.
A New Yorker planned a sybaritic summer in a Turkish village by the sea, but didn't consider that she might have trouble fitting in.
Despite Israel's ongoing sabotage of peace talks, Turkey continues to work toward reconciliation between theocratic rivals in the Middle East.