chapter  5
28 Pages


Turkey is a country largely located in southwestern Asia, but with a tip extending into southeastern Europe. The country has sometimes been controlled by Europeans, but prior to current nationhood was part of an Ottoman Empire that included both European and southwest Asian territory, and even a bit of North Africa. Turkey is predominantly Muslim but has been governed by a mostly secular government for over 80 years, during which time it sought to imitate Western patterns in many respects – including adopting a Western alphabet for its distinctive language (which is, however, related to Finnish, thanks to earlier Turkic migrations). Its dominant ethnicity as well as language differs from those of Arab and other neighbors on the Asian side. Turkey recently applied for membership in the European Union, and has adopted further contemporary Western patterns – including abolition of the death penalty – as part of this process. The application has stalled, however, with various European leaders indicating their belief that Turkey is too different from Europe to be included. So where is Turkey? What region is it part of? Is it a section of Asia (which is where it mostly is geographically)? Or Europe (where some of its leaders seem to want to be, at least economically and politically)? Or must it simply be regarded as a special case, a region unto itself, and if so how many special mid-sized regions of this sort must be identified within a world history program?