Belgium the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, the North Sea to the northwest, it has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; the sovereign state is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organisation is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds, it is divided into three autonomous regions: Flanders in the north, Wallonia in the south, the Brussels-Capital Region. Brussels is the smallest and most densely populated region, as well as the richest region in terms of GDP per capita. Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups or Communities: the Dutch-speaking Flemish Community, which constitutes about 59 percent of the population, the French-speaking Community, which comprises about 40 percent of all Belgians. A small German-speaking Community, numbering around one percent, exists in the East Cantons.
The Brussels-Capital Region is bilingual, although French is the dominant language. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments. Belgium was part of an area known as the Low Countries, a somewhat larger region than the current Benelux group of states that included parts of northern France and western Germany, its name is derived after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, the area of Belgium was a prosperous and cosmopolitan centre of commerce and culture. Between the 16th and early 19th centuries, Belgium served as the battleground between many European powers, earning the moniker the "Battlefield of Europe", a reputation strengthened by both world wars; the country emerged in 1830 following the Belgian Revolution. Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa.
The second half of the 20th century was marked by rising tensions between the Dutch-speaking and the French-speaking citizens fueled by differences in language and culture and the unequal economic development of Flanders and Wallonia. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Despite the reforms, tensions between the groups have remained, if not increased. Unemployment in Wallonia is more than double that of Flanders. Belgium is one of the six founding countries of the European Union and hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country's capital, Brussels. Belgium is a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, WTO, a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area. Brussels hosts several of the EU's official seats as well as the headquarters of many major international organizations such as NATO.
Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy. It has high standards of living, quality of life, education, is categorized as "very high" in the Human Development Index, it ranks as one of the safest or most peaceful countries in the world. The name "Belgium" is derived from Gallia Belgica, a Roman province in the northernmost part of Gaul that before Roman invasion in 100 BC, was inhabited by the Belgae, a mix of Celtic and Germanic peoples. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings. A gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire; the Treaty of Verdun in 843 divided the region into Middle and West Francia and therefore into a set of more or less independent fiefdoms which, during the Middle Ages, were vassals either of the King of France or of the Holy Roman Emperor. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 15th centuries.
Emperor Charles V extended the personal union of the Seventeen Provinces in the 1540s, making it far more than a personal union by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 and increased his influence over the Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The Eighty Years' War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands; the latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and comprised most of modern Belgium. This was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. Following the campaigns of 1794 in the French Revolutionary Wars, the Low Countries—including territories that were never nominally under Habsburg rule, such as the Prince-Bishopric of Liège—were annexed by the French First Republic, ending Austrian rule in the region; the reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, after the defeat of Napo
HeidelbergCement is a German multinational building materials company headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany. It is one of the largest building materials companies in the world. On 1 July 2016, HeidelbergCement AG completed the acquisition of a 45% shareholding in Italcementi; that acquisition made HeidelbergCement the number one producer of construction aggregates, the number 2 in cement and number 3 in ready mixed concrete worldwide. The enlarged group has activities in around 60 countries with 60,000 employees working at 3,000 production sites. HeidelbergCement operates 139 cement plants with an annual cement capacity of 176 million tonnes, more than 1,500 ready-mixed concrete production sites, over 600 aggregates quarries; the company was founded on 5 June 1874 by Johann Philipp Schifferdecker, at Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It was making 80,000 tonnes per annum of Portland cement in 1896, it acquired numerous other small companies from 1914 onwards, by 1936, it was making one million tonnes per annum.
Activities abroad began with the acquisition of part of France. Shipments reached 8.3 million tonnes in 1972. In 1977, a massive program of purchases in North America began with the acquisition of Lehigh Cement. In 1990, expansion in eastern Europe began. In 1993, it acquired part of SA Cimenteries CBR of Belgium, which had a major multinational operation. Since it has continued to expand, with complete buy out of CBR, purchases in eastern Europe and Asia. A major step was the acquisition of Scancem in 1999, with operations in Northern Europe as well as Africa. Indocement in Indonesia was included in 2001. In May 2007, the British company Hanson was acquired, a transaction worth £7.85 billion, which gave the company a stronger market position in the United Kingdom and the United States, turned HeidelbergCement into the world's leading producer of aggregates. HeidelbergCement has 29 cement and grinding plants in Western and Northern Europe, 19 in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 16 cement plants in North America, 14 in Africa and the Mediterranean Basin.
The company sold Maxit Group and its 35% share in Vicat Cement to help finance its acquisition of Hanson plc in August 2007. In most of the group’s European countries, HeidelbergCement is the market leader in the cement business. Adolf Merckle was a big investor in HeidelbergCement. A capital increase in HeidelbergCement in September 2009, combined with a selling of shares from the Merckle family, opened up for other international owners and higher trading volumes on the stock exchanges. In August 2006, HeidelbergCement AG entered the Indian cement market with the acquisition of Mysore Cement. On 1 July 2016, HeidelbergCement AG completed the acquisition of a 45% shareholding in Italcementi S.p. A. With the acquisition, HeidelbergCement becomes the number 1 producer of aggregates, the number 2 in cement and number 3 in ready mixed concrete worldwide; the company agreed to sell its assets in the United States for $660 million to Cementos Argos to fulfil anti trust requirements for the takeover.
HeidelbergCement has entered new important markets, such as France and Italy in Europe and Morocco in North Africa and Thailand in southeast Asia. In the Canada and Kazakhstan, the takeover will further strengthen the existing market presence of HeidelbergCement; the enlarged group has activities in around sixty countries, with 60,000 employees working at 3,000 production sites. HeidelbergCement operates 139 cement plants with an annual cement capacity of 176 million tonnes, more than 1,500 ready mixed concrete production sites, over 600 aggregates quarries. HeidelbergCement's Global Corporate Headquarters are located in Germany; the company operates in over 50 countries/territories around the world including: HeidelbergCement has been involved in the planned construction of a controversial cement plant on the Indonesian island of Java through its subsidiary "Indocement". The objective is the exploitation of the Kendeng mountains against the resistance of the people living there. In addition to the destruction of the complex ecological system, the construction has created the marginalization of indigenous living inhabitants of the region to follow.
In this region, the indigenous known as Sedulur Kendeng are protesting against the planned mining operation of PT Semen Indonesia, a state owned enterprise. In March 2017, 50 protestors poured concrete over their feet in front of the Presidential Palace in Jakarta; this is the second time. In addition to the protest against the factory building and its ecological consequences as "misconceived `development` at the expense of indigenous and peasants", the activists appealed politically at HeidelbergCement that a multinational "company should not invest in environmental destruction and human rights violations, in any country in the world." In Israeli occupied West Bank HeidelbergCement's wholly owned subsidiary Hanson Israel manufactures ready-made cement and asphalt for Israel’s construction industry. In March 2009, the Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din filed a petition with the Israeli high court demanding a halt to mining activity in West Bank quarries, including Hanson Israel's Nahal Raba quarry.
According to research of the ARD magazine "Panorama" on 2 September 2010 and the ARD Studios Tel Aviv, the minerals produced are brought to Israel without any benefit to the Palestinian communities. Palestinians from the village of az-Zawiya in the immediate vicinity of the quarry lay claim to the land; the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the petition from Yesh Din in December 2011. In 2015, HeidelbergCement founded a new subsidiary, HeidelbergCement Palestine and started the import of cement to Ga
Thailand the Kingdom of Thailand and known as Siam, is a country at the centre of the Southeast Asian Indochinese peninsula composed of 76 provinces. At 513,120 km2 and over 68 million people, Thailand is the world's 50th largest country by total area and the 21st-most-populous country; the capital and largest city is a special administrative area. Thailand is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Myanmar, its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest. Although nominally a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, the most recent coup in 2014 established a de facto military dictatorship. Tai peoples migrated from southwestern China to mainland Southeast Asia from the 11th century. Various Indianised kingdoms such as the Mon, the Khmer Empire and Malay states ruled the region, competing with Thai states such as Ngoenyang, the Sukhothai Kingdom, Lan Na and the Ayutthaya Kingdom, which rivaled each other.
European contact began in 1511 with a Portuguese diplomatic mission to Ayutthaya, one of the great powers in the region. Ayutthaya reached its peak during cosmopolitan Narai's reign declining thereafter until being destroyed in 1767 in a war with Burma. Taksin reunified the fragmented territory and established the short-lived Thonburi Kingdom, he was succeeded in 1782 by Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, the first monarch of the Chakri dynasty and founder of the Rattanakosin Kingdom, which lasted into the early 20th century. Through the 18th and 19th centuries, Siam faced pressure from France and the United Kingdom, including forced concessions of territory, but it remained the only Southeast Asian country to avoid direct Western rule. Following a bloodless revolution in 1932, Siam became a constitutional monarchy and changed its official name to "Thailand". While it joined the Allies in World War I, Thailand was an Axis satellite in World War II. In the late 1950s, a military coup revived the monarchy's influential role in politics.
Thailand became a major ally of the United States and played a key anti-communist role in the region. Apart from a brief period of parliamentary democracy in the mid-1970s, Thailand has periodically alternated between democracy and military rule. In the 21st century, Thailand endured a political crisis that culminated in two coups and the establishment of its current and 20th constitution by the military junta. Thailand is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy under a military junta. Thailand is a founding member of Association of Southeast Asian Nations and remains a major ally of the US. Despite its comparatively sporadic changes in leadership, it is considered a regional power in Southeast Asia and a middle power in global affairs. With a high level of human development, the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, the 20th largest by PPP, Thailand is classified as a newly industrialized economy. Thailand the Kingdom of Thailand known as Siam, is a country at the centre of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia.
The country has always been called Mueang Thai by its citizens. By outsiders prior to 1949, it was known by the exonym Siam; the word Siam may have originated from Pali or Sanskrit श्याम or Mon ရာမည. The names Shan and A-hom seem to be variants of the same word; the word Śyâma is not its origin, but a learned and artificial distortion. Another theory is the name derives from Chinese: "Ayutthaya emerged as a dominant centre in the late fourteenth century; the Chinese called this region Xian, which the Portuguese converted into Siam." A further possibility is that Mon-speaking peoples migrating south called themselves'syem' as do the autochthonous Mon-Khmer-speaking inhabitants of the Malay Peninsula. The signature of King Mongkut reads SPPM Mongkut Rex Siamensium, giving the name "Siam" official status until 24 June 1939 when it was changed to Thailand. Thailand was renamed to Siam from 1946 to 1948. According to George Cœdès, the word Thai means "free man" in the Thai language, "differentiating the Thai from the natives encompassed in Thai society as serfs".
A famous Thai scholar argued that Thai means "people" or "human being", since his investigation shows that in some rural areas the word "Thai" was used instead of the usual Thai word "khon" for people. According to Michel Ferlus, the ethnonyms Thai/Tai would have evolved from the etymon *kri:'human being' through the following chain: *kəri: > *kəli: > *kədi:/*kədaj > *di:/*daj > *dajA > tʰajA2 or > tajA2. Michel Ferlus' work is based on some simple rules of phonetic change observable in the Sinosphere and studied for t
A cement is a binder, a substance used for construction that sets and adheres to other materials to bind them together. Cement is used on its own, but rather to bind sand and gravel together. Cement mixed with fine aggregate produces mortar for masonry, or with sand and gravel, produces concrete. Cement is the most used material in existence and is only behind water as the planet's most-consumed resource. Cements used in construction are inorganic lime or calcium silicate based, can be characterized as either hydraulic or non-hydraulic, depending on the ability of the cement to set in the presence of water. Non-hydraulic cement does not set under water. Rather, it sets as it reacts with carbon dioxide in the air, it is resistant to attack by chemicals after setting. Hydraulic cements set and become adhesive due to a chemical reaction between the dry ingredients and water; the chemical reaction results in mineral hydrates that are not water-soluble and so are quite durable in water and safe from chemical attack.
This allows setting in wet conditions or under water and further protects the hardened material from chemical attack. The chemical process for hydraulic cement found by ancient Romans used volcanic ash with added lime; the word "cement" can be traced back to the Roman term opus caementicium, used to describe masonry resembling modern concrete, made from crushed rock with burnt lime as binder. The volcanic ash and pulverized brick supplements that were added to the burnt lime, to obtain a hydraulic binder, were referred to as cementum, cimentum, cäment, cement. In modern times, organic polymers are sometimes used as cements in concrete. Non-hydraulic cement, such as slaked lime, hardens by carbonation in the presence of carbon dioxide, present in the air. First calcium oxide is produced from calcium carbonate by calcination at temperatures above 825 °C for about 10 hours at atmospheric pressure: CaCO3 → CaO + CO2The calcium oxide is spent mixing it with water to make slaked lime: CaO + H2O → Ca2Once the excess water is evaporated, the carbonation starts: Ca2 + CO2 → CaCO3 + H2OThis reaction takes time, because the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the air is low.
The carbonation reaction requires that the dry cement be exposed to air, so the slaked lime is a non-hydraulic cement and cannot be used under water. This process is called the lime cycle. Conversely, hydraulic cement hardens by hydration. Hydraulic cements are made of a mixture of silicates and oxides, the four main components being: Belite; the silicates are responsible for the cement's mechanical properties—the tricalcium aluminate and brownmillerite are essential for formation of the liquid phase during the kiln sintering. The chemistry of these reactions is not clear and is still the object of research; the earliest known occurrence of cement is from twelve million years ago. A deposit of cement was formed after an occurrence of oil shale located adjacent to a bed of limestone burned due to natural causes; these ancient deposits were investigated in the 1970s. Cement, chemically speaking, is a product that includes lime as the primary curing ingredient, but is far from the first material used for cementation.
The Babylonians and Assyrians used bitumen to bind together burnt alabaster slabs. In Egypt stone blocks were cemented together with a mortar made of sand and burnt gypsum, which contained calcium carbonate. Lime was used by the ancient Greeks. There is evidence that the Minoans of Crete used crushed potshards as an artificial pozzolan for hydraulic cement. Nobody knows who first discovered that a combination of hydrated non-hydraulic lime and a pozzolan produces a hydraulic mixture —but such concrete was used by the Ancient Macedonians, three centuries on a large scale by Roman engineers. There is... a kind of powder. It is found in the neighborhood of Baiae and in the country belonging to the towns round about Mt. Vesuvius; this substance when mixed with lime and rubble not only lends strength to buildings of other kinds, but when piers of it are constructed in the sea, they set hard under water. The Greeks used volcanic tuff from the island of Thera as their pozzolan and the Romans used crushed volcanic ash with lime.
This mixture could set under water. The material was called pozzolana from the town of Pozzuoli, west of Naples where volcanic ash was extracted. In the absence of pozzolanic ash, the Romans used powdered brick or pottery as a substitute and they may have used crushed tiles for this purpose before discovering natural sources near Rome; the huge dome of the Pantheon in Rome and the massive Baths of Caracalla are examples of ancient structures made from these concretes, many of which still stand. The vast system of Roman aqueducts made extensive use of hydraulic cement. Roman concrete was used on the outside of buildings; the normal technique was to use brick facing material as the formwork for an infill of mortar mixed with an aggregate of broken pieces of stone, potsherds, recycled chunks of concrete, or other building ru
Albania the Republic of Albania, is a country in Southeast Europe on the Adriatic and Ionian Sea within the Mediterranean Sea. It shares land borders with Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, North Macedonia to the east, Greece to the south and a maritime border with Italy to the west. Geographically, the country displays varied climatic, geological and morphological conditions, defined in an area of 28,748 km2, it possesses remarkable diversity with the landscape ranging from the snow-capped mountains in the Albanian Alps as well as the Korab, Skanderbeg and Ceraunian Mountains to the hot and sunny coasts of the Albanian Adriatic and Ionian Sea along the Mediterranean Sea. The area of Albania was populated by various Illyrian and Ancient Greek tribes as well as several Greek colonies established in the Illyrian coast; the area was annexed in the 3rd century by Romans and became an integral part of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia and Illyricum. The autonomous Principality of Arbër emerged in 1190, established by archon Progon in the Krujë, within the Byzantine Empire.
In the late thirteenth century, Charles of Anjou conquered Albanian territories from the Byzantines and established the medieval Kingdom of Albania, which at its maximal extension was extending from Durrës along the coast to Butrint in the south. In the mid-fifteenth century, it was conquered by the Ottomans; the modern nation state of Albania emerged in 1912 following the defeat of the Ottomans in the Balkan Wars. The modern Kingdom of Albania was invaded by Italy in 1939, which formed Greater Albania, before becoming a Nazi German protectorate in 1943. After the defeat of Nazi Germany, a Communist state titled the People's Socialist Republic of Albania was founded under the leadership of Enver Hoxha and the Party of Labour; the country experienced widespread social and political transformations in the communist era, as well as isolation from much of the international community. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1991, the Socialist Republic was dissolved and the fourth Republic of Albania was established.
Politically, the country is a unitary parliamentary constitutional republic and developing country with an upper-middle income economy dominated by the tertiary sector followed by the secondary and primary sector. It went through a process of transition, following the end of communism in 1990, from a centralized to a market-based economy, it provides universal health care and free primary and secondary education to its citizens. The country is a member of the United Nations, World Bank, UNESCO, NATO, WTO, COE, OSCE and OIC, it is an official candidate for membership in the European Union. In addition it is one of the founding members of the Energy Community, including the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and Union for the Mediterranean; the term Albania is the medieval Latin name of the country. It may be derived from the Illyrian tribe of Albani recorded by Ptolemy, the geographer and astronomer from Alexandria, who drafted a map in 150 AD, which shows the city of Albanopolis located northeast of the city of Durrës.
The term may have a continuation in the name of a medieval settlement called Albanon or Arbanon, although it is not certain that this was the same place. In his history written in the 10th century, the Byzantine historian Michael Attaliates was the first to refer to Albanoi as having taken part in a revolt against Constantinople in 1043 and to the Arbanitai as subjects of the Duke of Dyrrachium. During the Middle Ages, the Albanians called their country Arbëri or Arbëni and referred to themselves as Arbëreshë or Arbëneshë. Nowadays, Albanians call their country Shqipëria; as early as the 17th century the placename Shqipëria and the ethnic demonym Shqiptarë replaced Arbëria and Arbëresh. The two terms are popularly interpreted as "Land of the Eagles" and "Children of the Eagles"; the first traces of human presence in Albania, dating to the Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic eras, were found in the village of Xarrë close to Sarandë and Dajti near Tiranë. The objects found in a cave near Xarrë include flint and jasper objects and fossilized animal bones, while those found at Mount Dajt comprise bone and stone tools similar to those of the Aurignacian culture.
The Paleolithic finds of Albania show great similarities with objects of the same era found at Crvena Stijena in Montenegro and north-western Greece. Several Bronze Age artefacts from tumulus burials have been unearthed in central and southern Albania that show close connection with sites in south-western Macedonia and Lefkada, Greece. Archaeologists have come to the conclusion that these regions were inhabited from the middle of the third millennium BC by Indo-European people who spoke a Proto-Greek language. A part of this population moved to Mycenae around 1600 BC and founded the Mycenaean civilisation there. In ancient times, the territory of modern Albania was inhabited by a number of Illyrian tribes; the Illyrian tribes never collectively regarded themselves as'Illyrians', it is unlikely that they used any collective nomenclature for themselves. The name Illyrians seems to be the name applied to a specific Illyrian tribe, the first to come in contact with the ancient Greeks during the Bronze Age, causing the name Illyrians to be applied pars pro toto to all people of similar language and customs.
The territory known as Illyria corresponded to the area east of the Adriatic sea, extending in the south to the mouth of the Vjosë river. The first accou
Pirelli Tower, is a 32-storey, 127 m skyscraper in Milan, Italy. The base of the building is 1,900 m2, with a length of 75.5 m and a width of 20.5 m. The construction used 30,000 m3 of concrete; the building weighs close to 70,000 t with a volume of 125,324 m3. Characterized by a structural skeleton, curtain wall façades and tapered sides, it was among the first skyscrapers to abandon the customary block form. After its completion it was the tallest building in Italy but in 1961 Mole Antonelliana recovered priority after rebuilding of its pinnacle; the architectural historian Hasan-Uddin Khan praised it as "one of the most elegant tall buildings in the world" and as one of the "few tall European buildings statements that added to the vocabulary of the skyscraper". The building inspired the Pan Am Building in New York and the National Mutual West Plaza in Auckland. In 1950, Alberto Pirelli and owner of the giant Pirelli tyre company, ordered that a skyscraper be built in the area where the corporation's first factory was located in the 19th century.
The project was developed by architect Gio Ponti, with the assistance of Pier Luigi Nervi and Arturo Danusso. Construction of the tower began in 1956 when Italy was experiencing an economic boom; the tower was to be surrounded by low lying buildings on a pentagonal plot of land. Upon its completion in 1958, it became a symbol not only of Milan, but of the economic recovery of Italy after the devastation of World War II. At 127 m, it was the tallest building in Italy after Mole Antonelliana until 1995; the company sold the building to the Lombardy regional government in 1978. It's the seat of the Regional Council. Photo by Paolo Monti On the afternoon of 18 April 2002, a Rockwell Commander 112 single-engine airplane registered in Switzerland hit the building; the aircraft was scheduled to fly from Locarno to Milan. The plane was low on fuel and Linate Airport was preparing an emergency landing prior to the crash, but the pilot strayed and crashed into the building; the pilot and two people inside the tower were killed in the accident.
Two goals of the restoration work were to maintain the structural and artistic integrity of the building and to upgrade its status as an executive headquarters by introducing new support services and technological systems. Architecture of Italy List of tallest buildings in Italy Terranova, Antonino. Skyscrapers. Vercelli: White Star Publishers. ISBN 8880952307. Regione Lombardia – official website
Turkey the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental country located in Western Asia, with a smaller portion on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe. East Thrace, located in Europe, is separated from Anatolia by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorous strait and the Dardanelles. Turkey is bordered by Bulgaria to its northwest. Istanbul is the largest city. 70 to 80 per cent of the country's citizens identify as Turkish. Kurds are the largest minority. At various points in its history, the region has been inhabited by diverse civilizations including the Assyrians, Thracians, Phrygians and Armenians. Hellenization continued into the Byzantine era; the Seljuk Turks began migrating into the area in the 11th century, their victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 symbolizes the start and foundation of Turkey. The Seljuk Sultanate of Rûm ruled Anatolia until the Mongol invasion in 1243, when it disintegrated into small Turkish principalities. Beginning in the late 13th-century, the Ottomans started uniting these Turkish principalities.
After Mehmed II conquered Constantinople in 1453, Ottoman expansion continued under Selim I. During the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent the Ottoman Empire encompassed much of Southeast Europe, West Asia and North Africa and became a world power. In the following centuries the state entered a period of decline with a gradual loss of territories and wars. In an effort to consolidate the weakening social and political foundations of the empire, Mahmut II started a period of modernisation in the early 19th century, bringing reforms in all areas of the state including the military and bureaucracy along with the emancipation of all citizens. In 1913, a coup d'état put the country under the control of the Three Pashas. During World War I, the Ottoman government committed genocides against its Armenian and Pontic Greek subjects. Following the war, the conglomeration of territories and peoples that comprised the Ottoman Empire was partitioned into several new states; the Turkish War of Independence, initiated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his colleagues against occupying Allied Powers, resulted in the abolition of monarchy in 1922 and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, with Atatürk as its first president.
Atatürk enacted numerous reforms, many of which incorporated various aspects of Western thought and customs into the new form of Turkish government. The Kurdish–Turkish conflict, an armed conflict between the Republic of Turkey and Kurdish insurgents, has been active since 1984 in the southeast of the country. Various Kurdish groups demand separation from Turkey to create an independent Kurdistan or to have autonomy and greater political and cultural rights for Kurds in Turkey. Turkey is a charter member of the UN, an early member of NATO, the IMF and the World Bank, a founding member of the OECD, OSCE, BSEC, OIC and G-20. After becoming one of the first members of the Council of Europe in 1949, Turkey became an associate member of the EEC in 1963, joined the EU Customs Union in 1995 and started accession negotiations with the European Union in 2005 which have been stopped by the EU in 2017 due to "Turkey's path toward autocratic rule". Turkey's economy and diplomatic initiatives led to its recognition as a regional power while its location has given it geopolitical and strategic importance throughout history.
Turkey is a secular, unitary parliamentary republic which adopted a presidential system with a referendum in 2017. Turkey's current administration headed by president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of the AKP has enacted measures to increase the influence of Islam, undermine Kemalist policies and freedom of the press; the English name of Turkey means "land of the Turks". Middle English usage of Turkye is evidenced in an early work by Chaucer called The Book of the Duchess; the phrase land of Torke is used in the 15th-century Digby Mysteries. Usages can be found in the Dunbar poems, the 16th century Manipulus Vocabulorum and Francis Bacon's Sylva Sylvarum; the modern spelling "Turkey" dates back to at least 1719. The Turkish name Türkiye was adopted in 1923 under the influence of European usage; the Anatolian peninsula, comprising most of modern Turkey, is one of the oldest permanently settled regions in the world. Various ancient Anatolian populations have lived in Anatolia, from at least the Neolithic period until the Hellenistic period.
Many of these peoples spoke the Anatolian languages, a branch of the larger Indo-European language family. In fact, given the antiquity of the Indo-European Hittite and Luwian languages, some scholars have proposed Anatolia as the hypothetical centre from which the Indo-European languages radiated; the European part of Turkey, called Eastern Thrace, has been inhabited since at least forty thousand years ago, is known to have been in the Neolithic era by about 6000 BC. Göbekli Tepe is the site of the oldest known man-made religious structure, a temple dating to circa 10,000 BC, while Çatalhöyük is a large Neolithic and Chalcolithic settlement in southern Anatolia, which existed from approximately