Turkey (Turkish: تورکیه), officially the Islamic Republic of Turkey (Turkish: تورکیه ایسلام جومهوریّتی) is a country situated in Anatolia and Thrace that connects Europe and Asia. Turkey is a totalitarian state masquerading as a theocratic republic that is divided into 63 provinces (Turkish: اوستان). Turkey is bordered by Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Persia, Babylonia, and Syria.
Anatolia is one of the oldest permanently settled places in the world. Originally contested between the Greeks and Persians, it was made wholly Roman in the mid-1st century BCE, and when Rome bifurcated, it became part of the Greek Byzantine Empire. Beginning in the 10th century, Turkic tribesmen made their way to Anatolia from Central Asia. The numerous wars between Greeks and the Turks, in particular after the Turks built the Seljuk Emirate of Rum, weakened the Byzantines, and eventually, the Ottomans, another Turkic tribe, came to take over the whole of what is now Turkey -as well as many other territories in Europe, Near East and Africa. The Ottomans defeated a coalition made of Poland, Hungary, and Bohemia in the Crusade of Varna in 1444, and by 1453 they had even conquered Constantinople.
From the 15th to early 19th century, the Ottoman Empire was one of the greatest military and economic powers in the world. At its height, the Empire's domains reached from Hungary to Kuwait and from Algeria to Odessa, but like all other Empires, the Ottomans declined. Following a humiliating defeat throughout the Napoleonic Wars, the Ottomans were challenged both by the many ethnicities and religious groups inside their territory and by foreign powers. Though the Empire made extensive reforms in its political system, economy and military, it was not enough, the Empire was doomed to be little more than a buffer state propped up by the British and the French in their ongoing Great Game against the Russians, who challenged them many times, each time claiming to be protecting the Orthodox Christians living under the Ottomans' 'care'. Beginning in the Congress of Berlin, the Ottomans began losing control over the Balkans and North Africa, and their final nail in the coffin came when they fought alongside the Central Powers in the First Great War. Ottoman forces pushed the British back in the Balkans, but they failed to stop French and British advance in the Near East, and though they were allies the Germans were hesitant to help them after it turned out that the Ottomans were committing genocide against Greeks, Assyrians, Kurds, and Armenians.
The Ottoman Empire was pressed to sign the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920 which stripped away much of their territories and reduced the Empire to a de facto vassal state of the Entente, and this was met by outrage by Ottoman officers, so Mustafa Kemal, a general of the Ottoman Army, staged a coup, proclaimed the new Kingdom of Turkey, and continued the fight with the Entente, finally securing Turkey's independence in 1925. Mustafa Kemal became Mustafa I, and he began a thorough reorganization of the state, reducing -though not completely removing- the power of the clergy, reinforcing a civic Turkish identity that he hoped would unify Greeks, Kurds, Armenians and Turks under one banner, and began rebuilding the losses of the war. Mustafa I used the chaos of the ongoing events in 1936 to remilitarize the Straits, which European powers agreed to reluctantly, but when Turkey, which had pro-Russian ties despite its official neutral status, closed down the straits to Allied maritime traffic while not hindering Moscow Accord's ships, the Allied powers promptly invaded Turkey in 1941. Germany, the United Kingdom, and Bulgaria defeated the young Turkish Kingdom in a week-long campaign, trying and hanging Mustafa I till dead and putting his son Mustafa II on the throne.
When the Cold War began, Turkey was initially neutral, but problems over the remilitarization of the Straits in 1950 brought it to the attention of the European powers, so Turkey was a European client-state in all but name. Successive Turkish governments played to the tone Germany kept setting. Mustafa II introduced some European-influenced reforms, giving the women the right to vote, reducing the powers of the khans through land reforms and weakening the grip of the clergy, but this only increased national agitation, and eventually, in 1979, the Islamic Revolution in Turkey removed the monarchy and established a theocratic republic with an unelected head of state and an elected but largely figurehead head of government.
Though Mustafa II escaped to Berlin and established a government-in-exile -now headed by his son Mustafa Kemaloglu, styled Mustafa III- the Islamic Republic in Turkey persists.
PoliticsConstitutionally, Turkey can be identified as a theocratic Republic. The Head of State is the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution (Turkish: ایسلام اینقیلابینین عالی رهبری). He rules by decree and makes the final decisions on the economy, environment, foreign policy, education, national planning, and military, among other things. He outlines elections guidelines, fires and reinstates presidential cabinet appointments, has the final say on the selection of ministers or even the election of the president. He is the commander-in-chief and Supreme Commander of the armed forces, controls the military intelligence, and has the sole power to make war or peace. He also directly appoints the head of the judiciary, the state radio-television networks, the commanders of the law enforcement and military forces, and six of the twelve members of the Upper House. The Assembly of Experts (Turkish: رهبرلیین موتخصصیسلیر مجلیسی) is a body responsible for electing and dismissing the Leader, but it is largely considered a ceremonial body without any real power, and any criticism made by a member of the AoE often leads to their arrest, dismissal, and execution. Since 1993, Abdurrahim Suleyman Hamzaoglu has been the Supreme Leader.
Turkish is Turkey's official and national language. Minorities speak Greek, Kurdish, Armenian, Persian, and Arabic.
EconomyTurkey's economy is a mixture of central planning, state ownership of some large enterprises, village agriculture and small-scale private trading and service ventures. In 2021, the GDP was $187.8 billion, or $3,463.95 at per capita. Turkey is a lower income economy. By GDP, it is the 7th largest economy in the Near East, while by GDP per capita its records are much lower, being the 12th in the Near East. Transport equipment, machinery, metals, manufactures, apparel, electronics, foodstuff, textiles and plastic are among Turkey's major exports, while its imports include fuels, machinery, chemicals, semi-finished goods and transport equipment. Due to the extensive sanctions that the UN and many of its member-states have put on Turkey, its primary trading partners are fellow rogue states such as Russia, Syria, Babylonia and Tripolitania. The currency, Turkish Lira is among the weakest, $1 being worth 35,000 lira as of December 2021. Some of Turkey's main companies include Hamzaoglu Holdings, Anadolu Isuzu, Turkish Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (TMIDRO), National Bank of Turkey and Anadolu Telecommunications Company.
Turkey does not boast a good standard of living or quality of life. The GDP per capita is low, albeit not the lowest, while the HDI score is classified as 'medium' at best, and both have been falling in the recent years. Though the Turkish constitution obliges the government to provide basic healthcare, welfare, education and housing to all citizens, the lack of funds and corruption rampant in Turkey has made this a legal fiction. This, as well as political oppression and persecution, has made Turkey face a dramatic brain- and labor drain.
DemographicsAs of April 2021, Turkey has a population of 54.2 million, which makes it the 2nd most populated in the Near East. Egypt has a population density of 69.2 per square kilometer. 46.87% of the population are aged 25-54, while 28.7% are aged below 15. This, added to the total fertility rate of 1.63, is projected to result in a demographic crisis in the near future. Meanwhile Turkish citizens have a life expectancy of 71.2 years, and the median age is 28.4, a number that has only been rising since the 1990s. Constantinople, the national capital, has a population of 14.7 million and is Turkey's largest population center and makes up 25% of its total population. Other major urban centers include Ancyra (3.2 million), Smyrna (1.9 million), Bursa (1.3 million) and Adana (1.13 million).
Turkey being a theocratic state, Sunni (Hanafi) Mohammedanism is the official religion and the government maintains that "100% of the population follow it", not taking any religious questions in its census. OSS World Factbook believes that up to 25% of the population may be Christian and 43-56% of the population are 'atheist or otherwise godless', with the true share of Mohammedanism standing at the highest at 32% of the population, of which only 25-28% are truly Sunni, much less Hanafi.
Since the Revolution, and most recently since the early 2000s, Turkey has been suffering from an immigration crisis, with most of its educated work force leaving the country for better job opportunities, but also to escape the oppressive system that exists in Turkey, and the diaspora stands at over 5 million, with the US, Canada and Germany holding the largest of the share.
MilitaryTurkey has two parallel uniformed military forces. The Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic (Turkish: تورکیه ایسلام جومهوریتی سیلاح قوّلتری) is the main, larger and less-funded of the two branches. It is divided into the Turkish Ground Forces (Turkish: قورو قوّتلری), Turkish Air Force (Turkish: حربی هوا قوّتلری) and the Turkish Navy (Turkish: دنیز قوّتلری). The Armed Forces are the uniformed, professional military and tasked with the defense of the country and its territorial integrity. There is also a parallel force called the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (Turkish: ایسلام اینقلابینین کیچیکچیلری کرپوسو), which is similarly divided into a Ground Force Branch (Turkish: قورو قوّتلری), Navy (Turkish: دنیز قوّتلری), Aerocosmic Force (Turkish: ائروکوسمیک قوّتلری) and the Quds Force (Turkish: قودس قوّتلری). Though the first three branches have similar functions as their formal equivalent, the Quds Force operates outside the Turkish borders, namely to 'expand the aims and goals of the Islamic Revolution). In addition, there is also Mobilisation Resistance Force (Turkish: بسیج موقاویمت قوِّتلری), a supposed voluntary paramilitary that operates as an unofficial branch of the IRGC.
Turkey has a compulsory draft. The system existed since Kemalid era and even before in Ottoman times, and as a result the military is among the largest by personnel numbers, with 1,200,000 active and 2,500,000 reserve personnel serving at any time. It is underfunded though, with a budget of $5.6 billion, amounting to 3% of the GDP. Given Turkey has been under a military embargo since 1979 -and given its government is not even recognized by many countries- Turkey has little military-related imports, with most of its military being produced domestically, though many suspect that most of the military equipment is either poor-quality goods smuggled from Russia, or rehashed versions of military goods sold to the country during the Cold War. Since the Islamic Revolution, Turkey has been fighting an ongoing Kurdish, Armenian and Greek Insurgency in its eastern, northeastern and western territories.
Doener Kebab and fries,
as popular in Berlin as it is in Constantinople
Turks waving the Pride Flag in protest against the government
Turkish soldiers in parade
Guidance Patrol extorting a woman in Ancyra
Sultan Ahmed's Mosque in Constantinople