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Turkey: Background & Country Profile

Introduction Turkey
Background:
Present-day Turkey was created in 1923 from the Turkish remnants of the Ottoman Empire. Soon thereafter, the country instituted secular laws to replace traditional religious fiats. In 1945 Turkey joined the UN, and in 1952 it became a member of NATO. Turkey intervened militarily on Cyprus in 1974 to protect Turkish Cypriots and prevent a Greek takeover of the island; the northern 37 percent of the island remains under Turkish Cypriot control. Relations between the two countries remain strained, but have begun to improve over the past few years. In 1984, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a Marxist-Leninist, separatist group, initiated an insurgency in southeast Turkey, often using terrorist tactics to try to attain its goal of an independent Kurdistan. The group - whose leader, Abdullah OCALAN, was captured in Kenya in February 1999 - has observed a unilateral cease-fire since September 1999, although there have been occasional clashes between Turkish military units and some of the 4,000-5,000 armed PKK militants, most of whom currently are encamped in northern Iraq. The PKK changed its name to the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress (KADEK) in April 2002.

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Source: The CIA World Fact Book 2003

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