A bomb exploded during a wedding celebration in Gaziantep, Turkey, injuring and killing over 50 people. Gaziantep is approximately 75 miles (122km) north of Aleppo, Syria and approximately 410 miles (661 km) southwest of Ankara (capital of Turkey). The city is located near Kurdish enclaves.
Modern Turkey was founded in 1923 from the 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 radical 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 Democrat Party and the peaceful transfer of power. Since then, Turkish political parties have multiplied, but democracy has been fractured by periods of instability and military coups (1960, 1971, 1980), which in each case eventually resulted in a return of formal 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 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.
A separatist insurgency begun in 1984 by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has long dominated the Turkish military's attention and claimed more than 40,000 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, but fighting resumed in 2015.
Late 2015 and the first half of 2016 witnessed an uptick in terrorist violence in Turkey's two largest cities and elsewhere. Several car bomb and gun attacks in Ankara in October 2015, and two attacks there in February and June 2015 were followed by an attack on Istanbul's Ataturk Airport.
Turkey is geographically split between Europe and Southwestern Asia. The portion west of the Bosporus strait is part of Europe. Turkey enjoys many natural resources: coal, iron ore, copper, chromium, antimony, mercury, gold, barite, borate, celestite (strontium), emery, feldspar, limestone, magnesite, marble, perlite, pumice, pyrites (sulfur), and clay. Its terrain varies from a high central plateau to narrow coastal plains and several mountain ranges.
CIA World Factbook; The Columbia Gazetteer, 8/2016; 8/2016
This map has also been used:
- Istanbul, Turkey, January 2016