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A strategically located land that links southwestern Asia with south-eastern Europe and commands the waters connecting the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Turkey has for millennia been a prize for conquerors and a seat of empires. The Hittites, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, and the Ottoman Turks all left their mark on this fascinating land. The modern Republic of Turkey, which emerged from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, is unusual among the nations of the Middle East. A democracy in a region with autocrats, a Muslim country that enforces strict separation between religion and public life and that has always maintained cordial relations with Israel, Turkey is also a member of NATO and an important ally of the United States. Yet the nation is not without problems, including recurrent ethnic conflict and a military with a history of intervening in government affairs. Discusses the geography, history, economy, government, religion, people, foreign relations, and communities of Turkey.