Turkey is at the crossroads of the Balkans, Caucasus, Middle East, and Mediterranean. It is among the larger countries of the region in terms of territory and population and its land area is greater than that of any European state. Nearly all of the country is in Asia, comprising the oblong peninsula of Asia Minor.
Turkey is among the world's developed countries according to the CIA World Factbook. Turkey is also defined by economists and political scientists as one of the world's newly industrialized countries. Turkey has the world's 17th-largest nominal GDP and 13th largest GDP by PPP. The country is among the world's leading producers of agricultural products, textiles, vehicles, transportation equipment, construction materials, consumer electronics and home appliances.
Turkey is currently the U.S.’ 32nd largest goods trading partner with $20.5 billion in total goods trade during 2018. According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of Goods and Services to Turkey supported an estimated 68 thousand jobs in 2015.
More than 60% of the world’s hazelnuts originate in Turkey.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the current Turkish president. He previously served as Prime Minister and as Mayor of Istanbul and founded the Justice and Development Party. Coming from an Islamist political background and as a self-described conservative democrat, he has promoted socially conservative and liberal economic policies in his administration.
Abdullah Öcalan is a Kurdish leader and one of the founding members of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party. He was arrested in Nairobi in 1999 by the Turkish National Intelligence with the support of the CIA in Nairobi.
The Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK is a Kurdish far-left militant and political organization based in Turkey and Iraq. Since 1984 the PKK has been involved in an armed conflict with the Turkish state with the initial aim of achieving an independent Kurdish state, later changing it to a demand for equal rights and Kurdish autonomy in Turkey.
When the Turks denied the United States passage into Iraq for the Iraqi Invasion of 2003, Iraqi Kurds took the opportunity to help the United States overthrow Saddam, once and for all. The Kurds also turned to American-led airstrikes to help repel the threat of ISIS in 2014. While the Kurds still lack true independence, the United States has pledged support for Kurdistan in the form of arms and ammunition, as well as USAID to the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).
Mesut Özil is a German professional footballer who plays for Premier League club Arsenal. He is considered to be one of the best players in the world. Due to his performances in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Özil ensured his place among Europe's top young talents. He was sought by teams like Barcelona, Arsenal and Real Madrid.
Süreyya Ayhan Kop is a Turkish former female middle distance track runner. She became the first Turkish woman ever to reach an Olympic semi-final and the first Turkish woman to reach a World Championship final. She was the best European woman athlete running 1500 m in two consecutive years 2002 and 2003. In November 2009, she was banned for life by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) due to her second anti-doping rule violation.
Turkish military and judicial officials have been arrested by state security forces as Ankara cracks down on opposition factions who masterminded a failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government over the weekend. About 6,000 people had been detained following rolling gun battles and airstrikes between opposition forces and those loyal to the Erdogan administration.
Turkey has been an applicant to accede to the EU since 1987, but since 2016 accession negotiations have stalled. The EU has accused and criticized Turkey for human rights violations and deficits in rule of law. In 2017, EU officials expressed that planned Turkish policies violate the Copenhagen criteria of eligibility for an EU membership. Turkey’s accession negotiations area at a standstill and no further work towards the modernization of the EU-Turkey Customs Union is foreseen.