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Turkey

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Modern Turkey (circa 2006)

Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye), officially the Republic of Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye Cumhuriyeti), is a Eurasian country primarily occupying the Anatolian peninsula, and forming a bridge between eastern Europe and the Middle East. It borders Bulgaria and Greece to the west, and Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria to the east and southeast. Turkey's northern border is the shore of the Black Sea, to the west is the Aegean Sea, and most of its southern border lies along the Mediterranean Sea.

Modern Turkey occupies roughly the area known during Roman times as "Asia Minor" (or in Greek, "Anatolia"). Because of its strategic location between Europe and the Middle East, Turkey has played a significant role in the political and commercial history of the western and near eastern world.

Contents

Ancient History

Areas in modern Turkey played a prominent role in Biblical history. The modern Mount Ararat (which may or may not be the same mountain upon which Noah's ark came aground) is in Turkey. Likewise, many of the places visited by Paul of Tarsus on his first and second missions are in what is now Turkey, including the towns of Perga, Antioch, Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, the city of Ephesus, and the regions of Phrygia and Galatia.

The Hittites

Main Article: Hittite empire

These ancient peoples of Asia Minor, or what is called Anatolia (essentially modern day Turkey) flourished from 1600 to 1200 B.C.[1] The Hittite Empire, an Anatolian country, is believed to be the biblical decedents of Heth. They are located in Asia Minor and the north western part of Syria. They were known for their skills in working iron and making chariots. Even though they lived in the Bronze Age they were considered ahead of their time with their knowledge of Iron. Assyrian records have proven the existents of the Hittite people. In 1884, a script titled “People of Hattusa” was discovered which provided more evidence for the existents of the Hittite Empire. The Egyptians commonly referred to the land as the Land of Hatti. But the words Hatti doesn’t refer to Hittites it refers to Akkadograms, which was an earlier people that lived in the same area before the Hittites. The discovery of the Hittite Empire put to rest doubts about the validity of the Bible, because the Hittite Empire was one of the biggest ever mentioned in the Bible. In Ankara, Turkey there is a museum that contains many Hittite artifacts called the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. [2]

Troy

The ancient city of Troy (location of the mythic epic The Iliad) was located at the mouth of the Dardanelles, a channel which links the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. Troy's location was incredibly strategic, because this gave it a large degree of control over trade into the Marmara, which links to the Black Sea via the Bosporus, making this an important trade route. Today, the Dardanelles and the Bosporus are still used commercially; in fact, the Bosporus is the narrowest strait in current use for international navigation.

The Anatolian peninsula was a critical part of the Empire of Alexander.

Alexandrian Times

In Alexandrian times the city at the southern end of the Bosporus had been known by the Greek name Byzantium, but was renamed "Constantinople" when the Emperor Constantine I chose the city to be the new capital of the Roman Empire. Constantine also moved the Papacy to Constantinople. However, when the western Roman Empire collapsed, the Vatican was re-established in Italy, which prompted a rift in Christian traditions; the result is the modern-day Roman Catholic Church based in Italy, and the Eastern Orthodox Church, which has no single central authority.

Ottoman Empire

Main Article: Ottoman Empire

The collapse of the western Roman Empire prompted the rise of the eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire.

The Ottoman Empire founded by Osthman or Osman I who was born in 1258 and died in 1326 (From Oguz Turks in north-western Anatolia) founded an empire that lasted from 1299 AD until November 1, 1922 being succeeded by the Republic of Turkey on October 29, 1923 until present day. Mongols from The Mongol Empire that stretched from Eastern Europe across Asia dominate from the unification of the Mongol and Turkic tribes in modern day Mongolia and the Genghis Khan invasions, making him ruler of all Mongols in 1206. Following the defeat of the Seljuks from the Sunni Seljuq Empire, which stretched from the Hindu Kush to eastern Anatolia and from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf, by the Mongols in 1293 Osman I took the role as leader of the Turks and then eventually of the Ottoman Empire in their continuing fight against an ever-weakening Byzantine Empire. [3]

The city of Constantinople was renamed again, as Istanbul (or "Stanboul"), the name it bears today. The Turkish land-bridge was used extensively during the Crusades, and later was the land-based connection to Europe on the Silk Road. The Ottoman Empire stood until the 20th century, but was defeated as part of the Ottoman-German alliance in World War I.

Modern Turkey is a secular constitutional republic. Culturally, its people are a unique blend of the eastern and western traditions. Spiritually, Turkey is one of the most diverse nations in the area; Islam and Christianity are the two largest religions, but the Turkish government encourages freedom of religion, and other faiths are also present.

References

  1. The Hittites by Burak Sansal, All About Turkey.
  2. [Discovery of the Hittite Empire]By Albright School of Biblical Archeology
  3. The Ottoman Empire By Spitfire VII

See Also

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