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Middle East: Turkey

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A republic in W Asia and SE Europe, between the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, and the Aegean: one of the oldest inhabited regions of the world; the centre of the Ottoman Empire; became a republic in 1923. The major Asian part, consisting mainly of an arid plateau, is separated from European Turkey by the Bosporus, Sea of Marmara, and Dardanelles. Official languages: Turkish; Kurdish and Arabic minority languages. Religion: Muslim majority. Currency: lira. Capital: Ankara. Population: 64,567,000 (1998 est.). Area: 780,576 sq. km (301,380 sq. miles).

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

In 2002 the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi; AKP), a party with Islamist roots, swept the parliamentary elections. It came to power under the ostensible leadership of Abdullah Gül, since party leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was ineligible to serve in parliament or as prime minister because of a 1998 conviction; a constitutional amendment in late 2002 removed this ineligibility. Erdoğan won a seat in parliament in early 2003 and quickly replaced Gül as prime minister. That same year Turkey refused to grant transit through its territory to the U.S. military during the Iraq War, though it did extend rights to air transport....

from Encyclopedia Britannica

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