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March 2016

Turkey

Turkey

A car bomb exploded in the capital city of Ankara, Turkey, killing more than 30 people and injuring another 125. Ankara, located in north central Turkey, is the capital and the second largest city (pop 4.7 million). Turkey strongly opposed establishment of an autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq. An overhaul of the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC) taking place under the "Force 2014" program produced 20-30% smaller, more highly trained forces characterized by greater mobility and firepower and capable of joint and combined operations. Turkey is a NATO ally and hosts NATO's Land Forces Command in Izmir.

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 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 Kurdistan People's Congress or Kongra-Gel (KGK) - 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 2013, the PKK and the Turkish Government agreed to a cease-fire that continues despite slow progress in ongoing peace talks. Turkey joined the UN in 1945 and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. In 1963, Turkey became an associate member of the European Community; it began accession membership talks with the EU in 2005. Over the past decade, economic reforms have contributed to a quickly growing economy.

In 2001, Ankara adopted financial and fiscal reforms as part of an IMF program. The reforms strengthened the country's economic fundamentals and ushered in an era of strong growth averaging more than 6% annually until 2008. Global economic conditions and tighter fiscal policy caused the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to contract in 2009, but Turkey's well-regulated financial markets and banking system helped the country weather the global financial crisis, and its GDP rebounded strongly to around 9% in 2010-11, as exports returned to normal levels following the recession.

Slightly larger than Texas, Turkey enjoys a temperate climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters in general. The natural resources of the country include: coal, iron ore, copper, chromium, antimony, mercury, gold, barite, borate, celestite (strontium), emery, feldspar, limestone, magnesite, marble, perlite, pumice, pyrites (sulfur), and clay. Severe earthquakes can be experienced in the North. Turkey holds a strategic location controlling the Turkish Straits (Bosporus, Sea of Marmara, Dardanelles) that link the Black and Aegean Seas.

CIA World Factbook, 3/2016

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