Facts About The Country

Greek names were frequently latinized during the 500 years of Roman domination, which were in fact only an interlude between 1,000 years of city states and Hellenistic Kingdoms, and 1,000 years of Byzantine rule (both of which used Greek)

It is known that Turks first lived in Central Asia around 2000 B.C.Later, some of them left Central Asia and traveled extensively,establishing many independent states and empires within the vast area of Asia and Europe. Although their expansion was widespread, only the most significant are mentioned below. The Great Hun Empire (during the 3rd century B.C.) is generally considered a milestone in Turkish history. During this period, Turks migrated toward the northeast, traveled through Finland, and down to central Europe where they eventually settled. Some groups of Turks traveled to the southwest, settling in Northern India, Afghanistan and Turkistan. By the 6th century A.D., the Gok Turks took power and stablished an empire extending between the Black Sea and the Indian Ocean.


Other Empires such as the Avar (6th to 9th centuries A.D.) developed in Central Asia; the Hazar Empire (5th to 10th centuries A.D.) in the Crimea and Volga regions; the First Uygur Empire in Central Asia; the Second Uygur Empire (lasting through the 14th century); and many others subsequently passed from power.Around the 10th century A.D., Turks embraced the Islamic religion. After this significant change, the Karahanid Empire (10th to 11th centuries A.D.) of the Central Asia and the Ghaznavid Empire (10th to 12th centuries A.D.) developed in the areas that are today Iran, Afghanistan and Northern India.A group of Turks travelling southwest migrated to Anatolia. On 1071 A.D. they fought a crucial war with the Byzantine Empire and settled in Asia Minor (which covers most of modern Turkey). There they established many small feudal states and some empires. It is now known that the region of Anatolia has been inhabited for more than 10,000 years; it has a unique history that has embraced more than twenty cultures and civilizations for which is justifiably deserves recognition as the “Cradle of Civilization”.

In Anatolia, the Hittites founded one of the greatest states of the Bronze Age around 1500 B.C. The Hittite Empire was equal in strength and sophistication to ancient Egypt. During the 12th century B.C., the Hittite Empire was seized by the Thracians. Then, neo-Hittites continued to rule the area until 750 B.C. when the Phrygians (750-300 B.C.) took power. The Lydians, Lycians, and Carians of southwestern Anatolia also provided important contributions to Anatolian culture and civilization during the 6th century B.C. Alexander the Great brought the Hellenistic Age to Anatolia in 334 B.C. Next the Romans established a stronghold in “Asia Minor”. The Byzantine era in Anatolia began to shrink with the arrival of the Turks to the region in the 11th century A.D. The Ottomans built the largest empire in recent history within a short time period. After the conquest of Istanbul in 1453,the empire spread to Vienna in the west, Crimea in the north,the Arabian Gulf in the southeast, and all of northern Africa and Sudan; in total covering an area of 8 million square miles.


Under the rule of Suleyman the Magnificent (1520-1566), the empire reached its zenith. The Aegean, the Black Sea and the eastern Mediterranean became known as Ottoman lakes.The 18th century was the turning point of Ottoman power.The weakening of the empire continued until World War I,when Ottoman armies fought on several fronts throughout the far-reaching borders of the empire, but eventually lost.Anatolia was divided and occupied by allied forces, and the ear of the Ottoman Empire was officially over.Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk), an Army general, led the nation in its War of Independence (1919-1922).

At the time there was no army, no arms or ammunition, no government or treasury.Ataturk established an army with insufficient supplies and a government based on national sovereignty. After many miraculous victories, the occupying allied forces were pushed out of the country, and today’s Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923. After the peace, the young Republic consolidated all it means for economic development and, by its policy of peace succeeded in remaining out of World War II.