The Republic of Turkey is a country of nearly 80 million people which is seen as European despite being officially 97% in Asia. It has been integrated into Europe mostly due to its involvement in NATO and the EU.

The region of Turkey is one of the oldest inhabited lands in the world, with settlements found by archaeologists going back to Neolithic times. The city of Troy was located in modern-day Turkey, then called Anatolia, as the Greeks occupied the region from 1200BC who also founded Smyrna (Izmir), and Byzantium (Constantinople, now Istanbul). Anatolia was also occupied by Armenians and was conquered by Alexander the Great in 300BC. In 324AD the Roman Emperor Constantine claimed Byzantium as their new capital and called it New Rome.

Turks only moved into modern Turkey in about the 11th century, but their new home was a successful one as the Ottoman Empire rose to become a dominant force in Europe until the First World War. The Allies occupied Constantinople and Smyrna after WWI but the Turks revolted, led by Mustafa Ataturk, who created a republic in 1923. Turkey was an important ally for the Americans as a means to limiting the spread of communism and remains so in the fight against terrorism.

As a cornerstone of European history, modern Istanbul is a huge draw for tourists and as one of the largest cities in the world attracts millions of visitors for trade. Agia Sofia was one of the world’s most important churches, which has now become a mosque, but with all the Byzantine decoration still largely intact.

Beach holiday makers now account for the largest group of holiday makers which now number over 28 million per year. The Turkish Riviera is served by many UK tour operators and airlines sending package tourists to the resorts at Bodrum, Fethiye, Marmaris, Kuşadası, Çeşme, Didim and Alanya.

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