Located in Western Asia and Southeast Europe, Turkey possesses a long and storied history. Today’s Turkey has been inhabited by a number of ancient civilizations and was the heart of the Ottoman Empire until its collapse following World War I. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire the Turkish National Movement fought to create an independent Turkish State. This State was established in 1922 and led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Ataturk abolished the sultanate of the Ottoman Empire and implemented radical reforms ensuring that Turkey would be a secular nation.
Turkey remained neutral during most of World War II but entered on the side of the allies in the final months of the war. After the war Turkey was supported by the United States through the Truman Doctrine and joined NATO in 1952. During this period the government transitioned from the single party rule of Ataturk and his party to a multi-party democracy. The change did not come easily with multiple coups occurring between 1960 and 1980. In addition, in 1978 the Kurdish minority in Turkey began an insurgency that has continued to this day. The insurgency, a Kurdish quest to gain autonomy, has claimed over 40,000 lives. The 21st century has seen the rise of the Turkish economy and the continued growth of its regional power. Turkey has also been implementing reforms in the hopes of joining the European Union. While Turkey faces the challenges of the Kurdish insurgency and the Islamic State at its borders, it is a key member of the coalition against the Islamic State and will continue to receive support from the West.