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Turkey is where the three continents of the old world - Asia, Africa and Europe – are closest to each other. Only three percent of the country is in the European part and the rest are in the Anatolian Peninsula. The total area is 780 000 sq. kilometers, with population of 70 million. About 99 % of the Turkish population is Muslim, although as a whole it is a very liberal and loosely practiced version of the religion.
Straddling two continents, Europe and Asia, and bordering the volatile Middle East, Turkey has an unrivalled history stretching back thousands of years. From the ancient Hittites to the Ottomans, dozens of civilizations have made Turkey their home, leaving behind them a dazzling historical and archaeological heritage.
But despite its ancient roots, Turkey is a rapidly developing modern state. Born from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire in 1923, the country was transformed by its far-sighted and ambitious first leader Kemal Ataturk. Since his death, the republic has maintained its Western orientation and European aspirations, despite the often-strong counter-current of traditionalism and Islam.