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Turkey

Turkey is known as having a long history with ancient cultural practices. In fact, the Anatolian peninsula (on which most of modern Turkey sits), is considered one of the oldest inhabited areas in the world. Around 1200 B.C.E, the Anatolian coast was settled by various Greek peoples and the important cities of Miletus, Ephesus, Smyrna and Byzantium (which later became Istanbul) were founded. Byzantium later became the capital of the Roman and Byzantine Empires.

The modern history of Turkey began in the early 20th century after Mustafa Kemal (later known as Ataturk) pushed for the founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and a war for independence. According to the U.S. Department of State, the Ottoman Empire lasted for 600 years but collapsed during World War I after it participated in the war as an ally of Germany and it became fragmented after the formation of nationalist groups.

Turkey is located on the Black, Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. The Turkish Straits (which are made up of the Sea of Marmara, the Strait of Bosphorus and the Dardanelles) form the boundary between Europe and Asia. As a result, Turkey is considered to be in both Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia. The country has a varied topography that is made up of a high central plateau, a narrow coastal plain and several large mountain ranges. The highest point in Turkey is Mount Ararat which is a dormant volcano located on its eastern border. The elevation of Mount Ararat is 16,949 feet (5,166 m).

The climate of Turkey is temperate and it has high, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The more inland one gets however, the harsher the climate becomes. Turkey's capital, Ankara, is located inland and has an average August high temperature of 83˚F (28˚C) and January average low of 20˚F (-6˚C).