Turkey is a Republic founded in 1923 following the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The country inherited the traditions of the Empire, becoming as a result the modern interation of the former empire, with the majoirty of the population being ethnic Turks. The founding father of the country’s Patriarch was Mustafa Kemal, known also as Ataturk. The new nation recognised in its constitution the importance of a secular government. The division between lay people and political Islam has defined the recent history of the country, as evidenced by the four successful or attempted coups in the last 50 years. Since 2002 the country’s leader is Recep Erdogan, the leader of the Conservative Islamist party.
Even if the most important city culturally and economically is Istanbul, once ancient Constantinople, the capital is Ankara. Since 2005 there have been ongoing talks regarding entrance to the EU, even if recent political events suggest distance between Ankara and Brusseles. Since the Republic was founded it has opened up a difficult question regarding the Kurds, with the group comprising an important minority in Turkey.