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Turkish Democratic Republic
Turkey, a country that occupies a unique geographic position, lying partly in Asia and partly in Europe. Throughout its history, it has acted as both a barrier and a bridge between the two continents.
Turkey is situated at the crossroads of the Balkans, Caucasus, Middle East, and the eastern Mediterranean. It is among the larger countries of the region in terms of territory and population, and its land area is greater than that of any European state. Nearly all of the country is in Asia, comprising the oblong peninsula of Asia Minor—also known as Anatolia (Anadolu)—and, in the east, part of a mountainous region sometimes known as the Armenian Highland. The remainder—Turkish Thrace (Trakya)—lies in the extreme southeastern part of Europe, a tiny remnant of an empire that once extended over much of the Balkans.
The country has a north-south extent that ranges from about 300 to 400 miles (480 to 640 km), and it stretches about 1,000 miles from west to east. Turkey is bounded on the north by the Black Sea, on the northeast by Georgia and Armenia, on the east by Azerbaijan and Iran, on the southeast by Iraq and Syria, on the southwest and west by the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea, and on the northwest by Greece and Bulgaria. The capital is Ankara, and its largest city and seaport is Istanbul.
Of a total boundary length of some 4,000 miles (6,440 km), about three-fourths is maritime, including coastlines along the Black Sea, the Aegean, and the Mediterranean, as well as the narrows that link the Black and Aegean seas. These narrows—which include the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles—are known collectively as the Turkish straits; Turkey’s control of the straits, the only outlet from the Black Sea, has been a major factor in its relations with other states. Most of the islands along the Aegean coast are Greek; only the islands of Gökçeada and Bozcaada remain in Turkish hands. The maritime boundary with Greece has been a source of dispute between the two countries on numerous occasions since World War II.
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History of Anatolia
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Anatolia, Turkish Anadolu, also called Asia Minor, the peninsula of land that today constitutes the Asian portion of Turkey. Because of its location at the point where the continents of Asia and Europe meet, Anatolia was, from the beginnings of civilization, a crossroads for numerous peoples migrating or conquering from either continent.
Prehistoric Cultures of Anatolia
Anatolia may be defined in geographic terms as the area bounded to the north by the Black Sea, to the east and south by the Southeastern Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, and to the west by the Aegean Sea and Sea of Marmara; culturally the area also includes the islands of the eastern Aegean Sea. In most prehistoric periods the regions to the south and west of Anatolia were under the influence of, respectively, Syria and the Balkans. Much visible evidence of the earliest cultures of Anatolia may have been lost owing to the large rise in sea levels that followed the end of the last Ice Age (about 10,000 years ago) and to deposition of deep alluvium in many coastal and inland valleys. Nevertheless, there are widespread—though little studied—signs of human occupation in cave sites from at least the Upper Paleolithic Period, and earlier Lower Paleolithic remains are evident in Yarımburgaz Cave near Istanbul. Rock engravings of animals on the walls of caves near Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast, suggest a relationship with the Upper Paleolithic art of western Europe. Associated with these are rock shelters, the stratified occupational debris of which has the potential finally to clarify the transitional phases between cave-dwelling society and the Neolithic economy of the first agricultural communities.
In the Middle East the first indications of the beginning of the Neolithic transition from food gathering to food producing can be dated to approximately 9000 BCE; the true Neolithic began about 7300 BCE, by which time farming and stock breeding were well established, and lasted until about 6250 BCE. The Neolithic was succeeded by the Chalcolithic Period, during which metal weapons and tools gradually took their place beside their stone prototypes, and painted pottery came generally into use. The Chalcolithic ended in the middle centuries of the 4th millennium BCE, when the invention of writing foreshadowed the rise of the great dynastic civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia, and was followed by periods of more advanced metalworking known as the Early and Middle Bronze Age.
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