Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye), known officially as the Republic of Turkey (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti (help·info)), is a Eurasian country that stretches across the Anatolian peninsula in western Asia and Thrace (Rumelia) in the Balkan region of southeastern Europe. Turkey is bordered by eight countries: Bulgaria to the northwest; Greece to the west; Georgia to the northeast; Armenia, Azerbaijan (the exclave of Nakhichevan) and Iran to the east; and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. The Mediterranean Sea and Cyprus are to the south; the Aegean Sea and Archipelago are to the west; and the Black Sea is to the north. Separating Anatolia and Thrace are the Sea of Marmara and the Turkish Straits (the Bosporus and the Dardanelles), which are commonly reckoned to delineate the border between Asia and Europe, thereby making Turkey transcontinental.
Due to its strategic location astride two continents, Turkey's culture has a unique blend of Eastern and Western tradition. A powerful regional presence in the Eurasian landmass with strong historic, cultural and economic influence in the area between Europe in the west and Central Asia in the east, Russia in the north and the Middle East in the south, Turkey has come to acquire increasing strategic significance.
Turkey is a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic whose political system was established in 1923 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, following the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War I. Since then, Turkey has become increasingly integrated with the West through membership in organizations such as the Council of Europe (1949), NATO (1952), OECD (1961), OSCE (1973) and the G20 industrial nations (1999). Turkey began full membership negotiations with the European Union in 2005, having been an associate member of the EEC since 1963, and having reached a customs union agreement in 1995. Meanwhile, Turkey has continued to foster close political, economic and industrial relations with the Eastern world, particularly with the states of Southwest, Central and East Asia. Turkey is classified as a developed country by the CIA and as a regional power by political scientists and economists worldwide.
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