. The English word "Turkish" comes from the ancient Turkish word Türk , which can be used as an adjective or a proper noun. In Turkish, the name of the country is Türkiye . After decades of nationalistic indoctrination, most citizens self-identify as Turks regardless of ethnic background. Some of the major non-Turkish ethnic groups—the Kurds in the southeast, the Arabs in the south, the Laz of the western Black Sea coast, and the Georgians in the northeast and northwest—express double identities. Turkey occupies Asia Minor and a small portion of Europe. Its area is 301,382 square miles (814,578 square kilometers). It is bounded on the west by the Aegean Sea; on the northwest by the Sea of Marmara, Greece, and Bulgaria; on the north by the Black Sea; on the east by Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran; and on the south by Iraq, Syria, and the Mediterranean. Although Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) is the major city and was the capital of the Ottoman Empire, the first president—Mustafa Kemal Atatürk—chose Ankara, an interior Anatolian city, as the capital in 1923. Militarily Ankara was less exposed and more easily defended than Istanbul. The choice also symbolized Atatürk's policy of nationalism, because Ankara was more Turkish and less cosmopolitan than the old capital. Turkey has 4,454 miles of coastline. The interior consists of mountains, hills, valleys, and a high central plateau. The western coastal plains are generally more densely populated and industrial than are the central and eastern regions, except for Ankara on the central Anatolian plateau. Because Asia Minor had been home to Lydians, Hittites, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottomans over the centuries, it is dotted with historic monuments. Physiographically, the country may be divided into five regions. The Black Sea region has a moderate climate and higher than average rainfall. It is dominated by the Pontic mountain range. The west is noted for agriculture, including grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and tobacco. In the more humid east, the mountains leave a narrow coastal plain rarely exceeding twenty miles wide. The Black Sea peoples settled and farmed the valleys and narrow alluvial fans of the area's rivers, developing a form of steep slope agriculture to grow vegetables and fruits. Tea, the major cash crop, did not become popular until the 1960s. Some villagers combined gardening with transhumant pastoralism, which involves grazing small herds of sheep, goats, and cattle on the lowlands in the winter and in the high Pontic pastures in the summer. Until recently, the rugged topography limited agriculture, and alternative land-based industries were virtually absent. Thus, many western Black Sea men sought work outside the region in the navy and merchant marine or in major cities, later returning home to retire. While the men worked away, the women kept up the home, farmed the land, and cared for the livestock. The central Anatolian plateau region is dotted with mountains and denuded of trees. It has a semi-arid climate with high temperatures in summer and low ones in winter. Villagers engage in animal husbandry and cultivate wheat, barley, and sugar beets. Areas unsuited for cultivation are used to graze large herds of sheep, cattle, and goats. Eastern Anatolia is the most mountainous, remote, undeveloped, and sparsely populated region. Its elevation and cold temperatures make it less suitable for crop cultivation than the rest of Anatolia. Historically, its people engaged predominantly in animal husbandry, especially transhumant nomadism with herds of sheep, cattle, and
goats. A tribal social organization survived longer in this area among the Turkish and Kurdish peoples. The Mediterranean coastal region is lined by the Taurus Mountains. It has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, humid winters. The eastern part, around Mersin and Adana, is known for extensive cotton production by wealthy...
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