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Turkey is the bridge between three continents- Africa, Asia, and Europe. This means it has a blend of cultures. The people in Turkey are very hospitable and greet any company. The city of Istanbul stretches across the Bosphorus, which separates The Black Sea from The Mediterranean  Sea. From Leader to Leader to independence After World War 1, Mustafa Kemal, or Ataturk, led Turkey to independence from the Ottoman Empire. Before that, though, Turkey was part of many empires that include The Hittites, Macedonia, the Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Seljuk, and finally the Ottoman Empire. Turkey has been a follower about 20 times as long as it has been independent. People from Mesopotamia traveled North and established the Hittite Empire. At first, the Hittites only owned the land in central Anatolia (The peninsula in Turkey that is in Asia) but then they conquered land from modern-day Syria to the Aegean sea. The Hittite empire lasted from 1750-1200 BC, one of the longest empires on earth. After that Anatolia split into the Phrygians, who ruled western Turkey, and the Lydians, who ruled eastern Turkey. Around 625 BC Phrygia was conquered by the Lydians. By 334 BC Alexander the Great had conquered most of Turkey. Then, in 129 BC the turkish were handed over to the Roman Empire. At the beginning of the end of the Roman Empire, when the western area was becoming weaker than the east, the Roman Emperor Constantine moved the capital to Turkey. This city was called Constantinople. Soon, once the western Roman Empire was conquered the eastern area was renamed the Byzantine Empire. Around the year 1000, the Seljuks took over Anatolia from the Byzantines. Finally, in 1453 the Seljuks were taken over by the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans renamed Constantinople Istanbul. The Ottomans ruled Turkey up until the end of WW1. The Turkish call him Ataturk, or father Turkey. It is clear that the Ottomans were thought of as unjust rulers because that war is called “The war of liberation”. Leonardo Da  Vinci had planned to build a bridge across the Bosphorus, but it was never finished.Wildlife and Plants The Turks have lots of different species of animals. They have a diverse inventory of predators such as bears, wolves, caucasian lynx, and possibly even leopards! Leopards used to be widespread in Turkey but most were killed. Since Turkey is near Europe and Africa, many birds migrate through parts of Turkey. An ingredient called Turkish red is most likely an ingredient in some of the bread you eat. Turkish red is a wheat native to Turkey but now grown all over the world. Turkish red is not to be confused with Turkey red, which was a dye from Turkey and India commonly used in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was made from the tap root of a rubia plant.GeographyOne of the most beautiful spectacles in all of Turkey is their “Cotton Castle”. Many ancient peoples thought this was the gateway to an afterlife. Pamukkale (Turkish for Cotton Castle) is basically a waterfall. But, the water carries Calcium Bicarbonate that gets left behind, giving the illusion of a “Cotton Castle”. Turkey’s climate is mostly dry, but near water the climate is mild. The highest point in Turkey is The Great Arrat. It is 16,945 feet high, even higher than the continental divide! The Tigris and Euphrates rivers have both of their sources in the Taurus Mountains in Southeast Turkey. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers run through Iraq into the Persian Gulf. Earthquakes are common almost everywhere in Turkey.CultureA popular phrase in Turkey is “happy is the person who calls themselves a Turk”. Oil wrestling was invented in Turkey. In Oil wrestling a person puts oil on themselves so they can be slippery. However, like many countries in Europe, soccer remains the most popular sport. Turkey isn’t half bad and competes in the world cup every four years. The Blue Mosque, located in Istanbul is one of the most recognizable architectures in Turkey. A Mosque is a special place of worship for the religion of Islam. The Blue Mosque is an active mosque and open to tourists (when it isn’t being used as a mosque). In Turkey, the education is mandatory until you are 14. The Turkish are also famous for their food. Turkish delight, an old fashioned candy is made in Turkey. Though it isn’t very popular in the US, it’s very popular in Turkey. The Turkish also eat Hamsi, a fish that lives in the Mediterranean. Hamsi are often referred to as the “prince of fish”. A popular Turkish saying is “Come for the history, stay for the food”.GovernmentTurkey is a majority muslim country that has a democracy, making it a valuable ally for the US. Turkey has a prime minister and a president. The president is currently Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and the prime minister is Binali Y?ld?r?m. The president is the head of the executive branch and the prime minister is the head of the legislative. Instead of a house of representatives, Turkey has a Grand National Assembly.EconomyTurkey is the top exporter of hazelnuts in the world. They grow 70% of the world’s hazelnuts. They also grow other nuts, but are mainly known for their hazelnuts. Turkey has a GDP per capita of 10,787.65. That’s about ? of the US’s, but 10 times as much as that of Mozambique. In the 80s and 90s, prices in Turkey rose so quick 50 cents was like a penny. The Turkish government got a new currency in 2001 for the growing country, YTL.All in all, Turkey is a new old fashioned country. Turkey is very diverse, and one of the largest countries in Europe. They have plenty of history, but are still one of the newest countries in Europe.   

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