Turkey

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Generalities and basic facts

Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a contiguous transcontinental country, located mostly on Anatolia in Western Asia and on East Thrace in Southeastern Europe. Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, Iran and the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. The Mediterranean Sea is to the south; the Aegean Sea is to the west; and the Black Sea is to the north. The Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Dardanelle demarcate the boundary between Thrace and Anatolia; they also separate Europe and Asia.Turkey's location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a country of significant geostrategic importance.

Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage. The country's official language is Turkish, a Turkic language, which is spoken by approximately 85% of the population as mother tongue. Turks constitute 70% to 75% of the population. Minorities include Kurds (18%) and others (7–12%). The vast majority of the population is Muslim. Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe, NATO, OECD, OSCE and the G-20 major economies. Turkey began full membership negotiations with the European Union in 2005, having been an associate member of the European Economic Community since 1963 and having joined the EU Customs Union in 1995. Turkey is also a member of the Turkic Council, Joint Administration of Turkic Arts and Culture, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Economic Cooperation Organisation. Turkey's growing economy and diplomatic initiatives have led to its recognition as a regional power

The coastal areas of Turkey bordering the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea have a temperate Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters. The coastal areas of Turkey bordering the Black Sea have a temperate Oceanic climate with warm, wet summers and cool to cold, wet winters. The Turkish Black Sea coast receives the greatest amount of precipitation and is the only region of Turkey that receives high precipitation throughout the year. The eastern part of that coast averages 2,500 millimetres annually which is the highest precipitation in the country.

Education in Turkey is governed by a national system which was established in accordance with Atatürk's reforms after the foundation of the Republic in 1923. It is a state-supervised system designed to produce a skilful professional class for the social and economic institutes of the nation. The adult literacy rate in 2011 was 94.1%.

The traditional Turkish national sport has been yağlı güreş (oiled wrestling) since Ottoman times. Edirne has hosted the annual Kırkpınar oiled wrestling tournament since 1361. International wrestling styles governed by FILA such as Freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling are also popular, with many European, World and Olympic championship titles won by Turkish wrestlers both individually and as a national team.

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