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Turkey

Turkey is often called "the cradle of civilization," as it has been home to a rich variety of tribes and nations of people since 6500 B.C.

The Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, replacing the dynastic and the ocratic Ottoman system, with its Sultanate and Caliphate. The Republic is based on a secular democratic, pluralist and parilamentary system.

Geography: Location: southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia.Terrain: Narrow coastal plain surrounds Anatolia, an inland plateau becomes increasingly rugged as it progresses eastward. Turkey includes one of the more earthquake-prone areas of the world.Highest Mountain: Mount Ararat 5,137 metres .

Climate: Moderate in coastal areas, harsher temperatures inland.

Currency: Turkish New Lira (TRY)

In recent years, Turkey has become a major tourist destination in Europe.

Tourism in Turkey is focused largely on a variety of historical sites, and on seaside resorts along its Aegean and Mediterranean Sea coasts. In the recent years, Turkey has also become a popular destination for culture, spa, and health care tourism. In 2011, Turkey attracted more than 31.5 million foreign touristsranking as the 6th most popular tourist destination in the world.

There are thousands of hotels and other tourist-oriented industries in İstanbul, catering to both vacationers and visiting professionals. Turkey's largest city, Istanbul, has a number of major attractions derived from its historical status as capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. These include the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (the "Blue Mosque"), the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapı Palace, the Basilica Cistern, the Dolmabahçe Palace, the Galata Tower, the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar, and the Pera Palace Hotel. Istanbul has also recently became one of the biggest shopping centers of the European region by hosting malls and shopping centers.

Foreign tourists mainly come from the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Arab World, Iran, Ukraine, Romania, Russia and Japan, but tourists from North America, France and Scandinavia are not uncommon. There seems to be a trend in which British tourists tend to go on holiday to Aegean resorts such as Bodrum or Marmaris, whilst Russian and Arab tourists almost exclusively go to resorts on the Mediterranean coast of southern Turkey (e.g. Antalya) While Arab, Japanese and German tourists mainly visit Istanbul and historical sites such as Ephesus.