Nagorno-Karabakh known as Artsakh, is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, within the mountainous range of Karabakh, lying between Lower Karabakh and Zangezur, covering the southeastern range of the Lesser Caucasus mountains. The region is mountainous and forested. Nagorno-Karabakh is a disputed territory, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but most of the region is governed by the Republic of Artsakh, a de facto independent state with Armenian ethnic majority established on the basis of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. Azerbaijan has not exercised political authority over the region since the advent of the Karabakh movement in 1988. Since the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994, representatives of the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been holding peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group on the region's disputed status; the region is equated with the administrative borders of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast comprising an area of 4,400 square kilometres.
The historical area of the region, encompasses 8,223 square kilometres. The prefix Nagorno- derives from the Russian attributive adjective nagorny, which means "highland." The Azerbaijani names of the region include the similar adjectives dağlıq or yuxarı. Such words are not used in the Armenian name, but they have appeared in the official name of the region during the Soviet era as Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. Other languages highland; the names for the region in the various local languages all translate to "mountainous Karabakh", or "mountainous black garden": Armenian: Լեռնային Ղարաբաղ, transliterated Leṙnayin Ġarabaġ Azerbaijani: Dağlıq Qarabağ, Дағлыг Гарабағ or Yuxarı Qarabağ, Јухары Гарабағ Russian: Нагорный Карабах, transliterated Nagornyy Karabakh or Nagornyi Karabah The Armenians living in the area refer to Nagorno-Karabakh as Artsakh, using the name of the 10th province of the ancient Kingdom of Armenia. Urartian inscriptions use the name Urtekhini for the region. Ancient Greek sources called the area Orkhistene.
Nagorno-Karabakh falls within the lands occupied by peoples known to modern archaeologists as the Kura-Araxes culture, who lived between the two rivers Kura and Araxes. The ancient population of the region consisted of various autochthonous local and migrant tribes who were non-Indo-Europeans. According to the prevailing western theory, these natives intermarried with Armenians who came to the region after its inclusion into Armenia in the 2nd or earlier, in 4th century BC. Other scholars suggest that the Armenians settled in the region as early as in the 7th century BC. In around 180 BC, Artsakh became one of the 15 provinces of the Armenian Kingdom and remained so until the 4th century. While formally having the status of a province, Artsakh formed a principality on its own — like Armenia's province of Syunik. Other theories suggest. Tigran the Great, King of Armenia, founded in Artsakh one of four cities named "Tigranakert" after himself; the ruins of the ancient Tigranakert, located 30 miles north-east of Stepanakert, are being studied by a group of international scholars.
In 387 AD, after the partition of Armenia between Byzantium and Sassanid Persia, two Armenian provinces Artsakh and Utik became part of the Sassanid satrapy of Caucasian Albania, which, in turn, came under strong Armenian religious and cultural influence. At the time the population of Artsakh and Utik consisted of several Armenized tribes. Armenian culture and civilization flourished in the early medieval Nagorno-Karabakh. In the 5th century, the first-ever Armenian school was opened on the territory of modern Nagorno-Karabakh—at the Amaras Monastery—by the efforts of St. Mesrop Mashtots, the inventor of the Armenian alphabet. St. Mesrop was active in preaching Gospel in Artsakh and Utik. Overall, Mesrop Mashtots made three trips to Artsakh and Utik reaching pagan territories at the foothills of the Greater Caucasus; the 7th-century Armenian linguist and grammarian Stephanos Syunetsi stated in his work that Armenians of Artsakh had their own dialect, encouraged his readers to learn it. In the same 7th century, Armenian poet Davtak Kertogh writes his Elegy on the Death of Grand Prince Juansher, where each passage begins with a letter of Armenian script in alphabetical order.
The only comprehensive history of Caucasian Albania was written in Armenian, by the historian Movses Kaghankatvatsi. Around the mid 7th century, the region was conquered by the invading Muslim Arabs through the Muslim conquest of Persia. Subsequently, it was ruled by local governors endorsed by the Caliphate. According to some sources, in 821, the Armenian prince Sahl Smbatian revolted in Artsakh and established the House of Khachen, which ruled Artsakh as a principality until the early 19th century. According to other sources, Sahl i Smbatean "was of the Zamirhakan family of kings," and in the year 837-838, he acquired sovereignty over Armenia and Albania; the name "Khachen" originated from Armenian word "khach," which means "
Batumi is the capital of Autonomous Republic of Adjara and the second-largest city of Georgia, located on the coast of the Black Sea in the country's southwest. It is situated in a Subtropical Zone at the foot of Caucasus. Much of Batumi's economy revolves around tourism and gambling, but the city is an important sea port and includes industries like shipbuilding, food processing and light manufacturing. Since 2010, Batumi has been transformed by the construction of modern high-rise buildings, as well as the restoration of classical 19th-century edifices lining its historic Old Town. Batumi is located on the site of the ancient Greek colony in Colchis called "Bathus" or "Bathys" – derived from. Under Hadrian, it was converted into a fortified Roman port and deserted for the fortress of Petra founded in the time of Justinian I. Garrisoned by the Roman-Byzantine forces, it was formally a possession of the kingdom of Lazica until being occupied by the Arabs, who did not hold it. From 1010, it was governed by the eristavi of the king of Georgia.
In the late 15th century, after the disintegration of the Georgian kingdom, Batumi passed to the princes of Guria, a western Georgian principality under the sovereignty of the kings of Imereti. A curious incident occurred in 1444 when a Burgundian flotilla, after a failed crusade against the Ottoman Empire, penetrated the Black Sea and engaged in piracy along its eastern coastline until the Burgundians under the knight Geoffroy de Thoisy were ambushed while landing to raid Vaty, as Europeans knew Batumi. De Thoisy was released through the mediation of the emperor John IV of Trebizond. In the 15th century in the reign of the prince Kakhaber Gurieli, the Ottoman Turks conquered the town and its district but did not hold them, they returned to it in force a century and inflicted a decisive defeat on the Georgian armies at Sokhoista. Batumi was recaptured by the Georgians several times, first in 1564 by prince Rostom Gurieli, who lost it soon afterwards, again in 1609 by Mamia II Gurieli. In 1723, Batumi again became part of the Ottoman Empire.
After the Turkish conquest Islamisation of the hitherto Christian region began but this was terminated and to a great degree reversed, after the area was re-annexed to Russian Imperial Georgia after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78. It was the last Black Sea port annexed by Russia during the Russian conquest of that area of the Caucasus. In 1878, Batumi was annexed by the Russian Empire in accordance with the Treaty of San Stefano between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. Occupied by the Russians on August 28, 1878, the town was declared a free port until 1886, it functioned as the center of a special military district until being incorporated in the Government of Kutaisi on June 12, 1883. On June 1, 1903, with the Okrug of Artvin, it was established as the region of Batumi and placed under the direct control of the General Government of Georgia; the expansion of Batumi began in 1883 with the construction of the Batumi-Tiflis-Baku railway and the finishing of the Baku-Batumi pipeline. Henceforth, Batumi became the chief Russian oil port in the Black Sea.
The town population increased doubling within 20 years: from 8,671 inhabitants in 1882 to 12,000 in 1889. By 1902 the population had reached 16,000, with 1,000 working in the refinery for Baron Rothschild's Caspian and Black Sea oil company. In the late 1880s and after, more than 7,400 Doukhobor emigrants sailed for Canada from Batumi, after the government agreed to let them emigrate. Quakers and Tolstoyans aided in collecting funds for the relocation of the religious minority, which had come into conflict with the Imperial government over its refusal to serve in the military and other positions. Canada settled them in Saskatchewan. During 1901, sixteen years prior to the October Revolution, Joseph Stalin, the future leader of the Soviet Union, lived in the city organizing strikes. On March 3, 1918, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk gave the city back to the Ottoman Empire. Kemal Atatürk ceded the area to the Bolsheviks of the Soviet Union on the condition that it be granted autonomy, for the sake of the Muslims among Batumi's mixed population.
When Georgia gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1989, Aslan Abashidze was appointed head of Adjara's governing council and subsequently held onto power throughout the unrest of the 1990s. Whilst other regions, such as Abkhazia, attempted to break away from the Georgian state, Adjara remained as an integral part of the Republic's territory. Abashidze ruled the area as a personal fiefdom. In May 2004, he fled to Russia because of mass protests in Tbilisi sparked by the Rose Revolution. Batumi today is one of the main port cities of Georgia, it has the capacity for 80,000-ton tankers to take materials such as oil that are shipped through Georgia from Central Asia. Additionally, the city exports regional agricultural products. Since 1995 the freight conversion of the port has risen, with an approximate 8 million tons in 2001; the annual revenue from the port is estimated at between $200 million and $300 million. Since the change of power in Adjara, Batumi has attracted international investors, the
Baku is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, as well as the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region. Baku is located 28 metres below sea level, which makes it the lowest lying national capital in the world and the largest city in the world located below sea level. Baku lies alongside the Bay of Baku. At the beginning of 2009, Baku's urban population was estimated at just over 2,000,000 people. About 25 percent of all inhabitants of the country live in Baku's metropolitan area. Baku is the sole metropolis in Azerbaijan. Baku is divided into 48 townships. Among these are the townships on the islands of the Baku Archipelago, the town of Oil Rocks built on stilts in the Caspian Sea, 60 kilometres away from Baku; the Inner City of Baku, along with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower, were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. According to the Lonely Planet's ranking, Baku is among the world's top ten destinations for urban nightlife; the city is the scientific and industrial center of Azerbaijan.
Many sizeable Azerbaijani institutions have their headquarters there. The Baku International Sea Trade Port is capable of handling two million tons of general and dry bulk cargoes per year. In recent years, Baku has become an important venue for international events, it hosted the 57th Eurovision Song Contest in 2012, the 2015 European Games, 4th Islamic Solidarity Games, the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix since 2016, will host the final of the 2018-19 UEFA Europa League and, will be one of the host cities for UEFA Euro 2020. The city is renowned for its harsh winds, reflected in its nickname, the "City of Winds". Baku is derived from the Persian name of the city باد-کوبه Bād-kube, meaning "Wind-pounded city", in which bād means "wind" and kube is rooted in the verb کوبیدن kubidan, "to pound", thus referring to a place where wind is strong and pounding. Indeed, the city is renowned for harsh winds; this is reflected in the city's nickname as the "City of Winds". A less probable folk etymology explains the name as deriving from Baghkuy, meaning "God's town".
Baga and kuy are the Old Persian words for "god" and "town" respectively. Arabic sources refer to the city as Baku, Bakukh and Bakuye, all of which seem to come from a Persian name. During Soviet rule, the city was spelled in Cyrillic as "Баку" in Russian and "Бакы" in Azerbaijani. Nowadays, when Azerbaijan is using the Latin alphabet, it is spelled as "Bakı". Around 100,000 years ago, the territory of modern Baku and Absheron was savanna with rich flora and fauna. Traces of human settlement go back to the Stone age. From the Bronze age there have been rock carvings discovered near Bayil, a bronze figure of a small fish discovered in the territory of the Old City; these have led some to suggest the existence of a Bronze Age settlement within the city's territory. Near Nardaran, in a place called Umid Gaya, a prehistoric observatory was discovered, where on the rock the images of sun and various constellations are carved together with a primitive astronomic table. Further archeological excavations revealed various prehistoric settlements, native temples and other artifacts within the territory of the modern city and around it.
In the 1st century CE, the Romans reached Baku. Near the city, in Gobustan, Roman inscriptions dating from 84–96 CE were discovered; this is one of the earliest written evidences for Baku. Baku was the realm of the Shirvanshahs during the 8th century CE; the city came under assault of the Khazars and the Rus. Shirvanshah Akhsitan I built a navy in Baku and repelled another Rus assault in 1170. After a devastating earthquake struck Shamakhi, the capital of Shirvan, Shirvanshah's court moved to Baku in 1191; the Shirvan era influenced Baku and the remainder of what is present-day Azerbaijan. Between the 12th and 14th centuries, massive fortifications were undertaken in Baku and the surrounding towns; the Maiden Tower, the Ramana Tower, the Nardaran Fortress, the Shagan Castle, the Mardakan Castle, the Round Castle and the famous Sabayil Castle on the island of the Bay of Baku was built during this period. The city walls of Baku were rebuilt and strengthened. By the early 16th century Baku's wealth and strategic position attracted the focus of its larger neighbors.
The fall of the Ak Koyunlu brought the city into the sphere of the newly formed Iranian Safavid dynasty, led by king Ismail I. Ismail I captured it, his successor, king Tahmasp I removed the Shirvanshahs from power, made Baku a part of the Shirvan province. Baku remained as an integral part of his empire and the successive Iranian dynasties to come for the next centuries, until the irrevocable cession in the first half of the 19th century; the House of Shirvan, who ruled Baku since the 9th century, was extinguished in the course of the Safavid rule. At this time the city was enclosed within the lines of strong walls, which were washed by the sea on one side and protected by a wide trench on land; the Ottomans gained control over Baku as a result of the Ottoman-Safavid War of 1578–1590. In 1604 Baku fortress was destroyed by Shah A
Ganja is Azerbaijan's second largest city, with a population of around 332,600. It was named Elisabethpol in the Russian Empire period; the city regained its original name, Ganja, in 1920 during the first part of its incorporation into the Soviet Union. However, its name was changed again in 1935 to Kirovabad and retained that name through most of the rest of the Soviet period. In 1989, during Perestroika, the city regained its original name. Though some sources from medieval Islamic time attribute the building of the town to a Muslim Arab ruler, modern historians believe that the fact that the name Ganja derives from the New Persian ganj and in Arabic source the name is recorded as Janza suggests that the city existed in pre-Islamic times and was founded in the 5th century; the area in which Ganja is located was known as Arran from the 9th to 12th century. According to medieval Arabic sources, the city of Ganja was founded in 859-60 by Muhammad ibn Khalid ibn Yazid ibn Mazyad, the Arab governor of the region in the reign of the caliph al-Mutawakkil, so-called because of a treasure unearthed there.
According to the legend, the Arab governor had a dream where a voice told him that there was a treasure hidden under one of the three hills around the area where he camped. The voice told him to use the money to found a city, he informed the caliph about the money and the city. Caliph made Muhammad the hereditary governor of the city on a condition that he would give the money he found to the caliph. Foundation of the city by Arabs is confirmed by the medieval Armenian historian Movses Kagankatvatsi, who mentions that the city of Ganja was founded in 846-47 in the canton of Arshakashen by the son of Khazr Patgos, "a furious and merciless man". An important city of the South Caucasus, Ganja has been part of the Sassanid empire, Great Seljuk Empire, Kingdom of Georgia, Atabegs of Azerbaijan, Khwarezmid Empire, Il-Khans, Qara Qoyunlu, Ak Koyunlu, the Safavid, the Afsharid, the Zand and the Qajar empires of Persia/Iran. Prior to the Iranian Zand and Qajar rule, following Nader Shah's death, it was ruled locally for a few decades by the khans/dukes of the Ganja Khanate, who themselves were subordinate to the central rule in mainland Iran and were a branch of the Iranian Qajar family.
Ganja is the birthplace of the famous poet Nizami Ganjavi. The people of Ganja experienced a temporary cultural decline after an earthquake in 1139, when the city was taken by king Demetrius I of Georgia and its gates taken as trophies, still kept in Georgia, again after the Mongol invasion in 1231; the city was revived after the Safavids came to power in 1501, incorporated all of Azerbaijan and beyond into their territories. The city came under brief occupation by the Ottomans between 1578–1606 and 1723-1735 during the prolonged Ottoman-Persian Wars, but stayed under intermittent Iranian suzerainty from the earliest 16th century up to the course of the 19th century, when it was forcefully ceded to neighbouring Imperial Russia. For a short period, Ganja was renamed Abbasabad by Shah Abbas after war against the Ottomans, he built a new city 8 kilometres to the southwest of the old one, but the name changed back to Ganja during the time. During the Safavid rule, it was the capital of the Karabakh province.
In 1747, Ganja became the center of the Ganja Khanate for a few decades following the death of Nader Shah, until the advent of the Iranian Zand and Qajar dynasties. The khans/dukes who de facto self-ruled the khanate, were subordinate to the central rule in mainland Iran and were from a branch of the Iranian Qajar family. From the late 18th century, Russia started to increase its enroachments into Iranian and Turkish territory to the south. Following the annexation of eastern Georgia in 1801, Russia was now keen to conquer the rest of the Iranian possessions in the Caucasus. Russian expansion into the South Caucasus met strong opposition in Ganja. In 1804, the Russians, led by General Pavel Tsitsianov and sacked Ganja, sparking the Russo-Persian War of 1804-1813; some western sources assert that "the capture of the city was followed by a massacre of up to 3,000 inhabitants of Ganja by the Russians". They claim that "500 of them were slaughtered in a mosque where they had taken refuge, after an Armenian told the Russian soldiers that there might have been "Daghestani robbers" among them".
Militarily superior, the Russians ended the Russo-Persian War of 1804-1813 with a victory. By the Treaty of Gulistan that followed, Iran was forced to cede the Ganja Khanate to Russia; the Iranians managed to oust the Russians from Ganja during the 1826 offensive during the Russo-Persian War of 1826-1828, but the resulting Treaty of Turkmenchay made its inclusion into the Russian Empire definite. It was renamed Elisabethpol after the wife of Alexander I of Russia, in 1868 became the capital of Elisabethpol Governorate. Elizavetpol was an uyezd of Tiflis Governorate before 1868; the Russian name was not accepted by Azerbaijanis. In 1918, Ganja became the temporary capital of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, at which point it was renamed Ganja again, until Baku was recaptured from the British backed Centrocaspian Dictatorship. In April 1920, the Red Army occupied Azerbaijan. In May 1920, Ganja was the scene of an abortive anti-Soviet rebellion, during which the city was damaged by fighting between the insurgents and the Red Army.
In 1935, Joseph Stalin renamed t
The Caspian Sea is the world's largest inland body of water, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. It is an endorheic basin located between Europe and Asia, to the east of the Caucasus Mountains and to the west of the broad steppe of Central Asia; the sea has a surface area of 371,000 km2 and a volume of 78,200 km3. It has a salinity of 1.2%, about a third of the salinity of most seawater. It is bounded by Kazakhstan to the northeast, Russia to the northwest, Azerbaijan to the west, Iran to the south, Turkmenistan to the southeast; the Caspian Sea is home to a wide range of species and may be best known for its caviar and oil industries. Pollution from the oil industry and dams on rivers draining into the Caspian Sea have had negative effects on the organisms living in the sea; the wide and endorheic Caspian Sea has a north–south orientation and its main freshwater inflow, the Volga River, enters at the shallow north end. Two deep basins occupy its southern areas.
These lead to horizontal differences in temperature and ecology. The Caspian Sea spreads out over nearly 750 miles from north to south, with an average width of 200 miles, it covers a region of around 149,200 square miles and its surface is about 90 feet below sea level. The sea bed in the southern part reaches as low as 1,023 m below sea level, the second lowest natural depression on Earth after Lake Baikal; the ancient inhabitants of its coast perceived the Caspian Sea as an ocean because of its saltiness and large size. The word Caspian is derived from the name of the Caspi, an ancient people who lived to the southwest of the sea in Transcaucasia. Strabo wrote that "to the country of the Albanians belongs the territory called Caspiane, named after the Caspian tribe, as was the sea. Moreover, the Caspian Gates, the name of a region in Iran's Tehran province indicates that they migrated to the south of the sea; the Iranian city of Qazvin shares the root of its name with that of the sea. In fact, the traditional Arabic name for the sea itself is Baḥr al-Qazwin.
In classical antiquity among Greeks and Persians it was called the Hyrcanian Ocean. In Persian middle age, as well as in modern Iran, it is known as Daryā-e Khazar. Ancient Arabic sources refer to it as Baḥr Gīlān meaning "the Gilan Sea". Turkic languages refer to the lake as Khazar Sea. In Turkmen, the name is Hazar deňizi, in Azeri, it is Xəzər dənizi, in modern Turkish, it is Hazar denizi. In all these cases, the second word means "sea", the first word refers to the historical Khazars who had a large empire based to the north of the Caspian Sea between the 7th and 10th centuries. An exception is Kazakh, where it is called Kaspiy teñizi. Renaissance European maps labelled it as Mar de Bachu, or Mar de Sala. Old Russian sources call it the Khvalis Sea after the name of Khwarezmia. In modern Russian, it is called Каспи́йское мо́ре, Kaspiyskoye more; the Caspian Sea, like the Black Sea, is a remnant of the ancient Paratethys Sea. Its seafloor is, therefore, a standard oceanic basalt and not a continental granite body.
It became landlocked about 5.5 million years ago due to a fall in sea level. During warm and dry climatic periods, the landlocked sea dried up, depositing evaporitic sediments like halite that were covered by wind-blown deposits and were sealed off as an evaporite sink when cool, wet climates refilled the basin. Due to the current inflow of fresh water in the north, the Caspian Sea water is fresh in its northern portions, getting more brackish toward the south, it is most saline on the Iranian shore. The mean salinity of the Caspian is one third that of Earth's oceans; the Garabogazköl embayment, which dried up when water flow from the main body of the Caspian was blocked in the 1980s but has since been restored exceeds oceanic salinity by a factor of 10. The Caspian Sea is the largest inland body of water in the world and accounts for 40 to 44% of the total lacustrine waters of the world; the coastlines of the Caspian are shared by Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The Caspian is divided into three distinct physical regions: the Northern and Southern Caspian.
The Northern–Middle boundary is the Mangyshlak Threshold, which runs through Chechen Island and Cape Tiub-Karagan. The Middle–Southern boundary is the Apsheron Threshold, a sill of tectonic origin between the Eurasian continent and an oceanic remnant, that runs through Zhiloi Island and Cape Kuuli; the Garabogazköl Bay is the saline eastern inlet of the Caspian, part of Turkmenistan and at times has been a lake in its own right due to the isthmus that cuts it off from the Caspian. Differences between the three regions are dramatic; the Northern Caspian only includes the Caspian shelf, is shallow. The sea noticeably drops off towards the Middle Caspian; the Southern Caspian is the deepest, with oceanic depths of over 1,000 metres exceeding the depth of other reg
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
Rapid transit or mass rapid transit known as heavy rail, subway, tube, U-Bahn or underground, is a type of high-capacity public transport found in urban areas. Unlike buses or trams, rapid transit systems are electric railways that operate on an exclusive right-of-way, which cannot be accessed by pedestrians or other vehicles of any sort, and, grade separated in tunnels or on elevated railways. Modern services on rapid transit systems are provided on designated lines between stations using electric multiple units on rail tracks, although some systems use guided rubber tires, magnetic levitation, or monorail; the stations have high platforms, without steps inside the trains, requiring custom-made trains in order to minimize gaps between train and platform. They are integrated with other public transport and operated by the same public transport authorities. However, some rapid transit systems have at-grade intersections between a rapid transit line and a road or between two rapid transit lines.
It is unchallenged in its ability to transport large numbers of people over short distances with little to no use of land. The world's first rapid transit system was the underground Metropolitan Railway which opened as a conventional railway in 1863, now forms part of the London Underground. In 1868, New York opened the elevated West Side and Yonkers Patent Railway a cable-hauled line using static steam engines. China has the largest number of rapid transit systems in the world at 31, with over 4,500 km of lines and is responsible for most of the world's rapid transit expansion in the past decade; the world's longest single-operator rapid transit system by route length is the Shanghai Metro. The world's largest single rapid transit service provider by number of stations is the New York City Subway; the busiest rapid transit systems in the world by annual ridership are the Tokyo subway system, the Seoul Metropolitan Subway, the Moscow Metro, the Beijing Subway, the Shanghai Metro, the Guangzhou Metro, the New York City Subway, the Mexico City Metro, the Paris Métro, the Hong Kong MTR.
Metro is the most common term for underground rapid transit systems used by non-native English speakers. Rapid transit systems may be named after the medium by which passengers travel in busy central business districts. One of these terms may apply to an entire system if a large part of the network runs at ground level. In most of Britain, a subway is a pedestrian underpass. In Scotland, the Glasgow Subway underground rapid transit system is known as the Subway. In most of North America, underground mass transit systems are known as subways; the term metro is a shortened reference to a metropolitan area. Chicago's commuter rail system that serves the entire metropolitan area is called Metra, while its rapid transit system that serves the city is called the "L". Rapid transit systems such as the Washington Metro, Los Angeles Metro Rail, the Miami Metrorail, the Montreal Metro are called the Metro; the opening of London's steam-hauled Metropolitan Railway in 1863 marked the beginning of rapid transit.
Initial experiences with steam engines, despite ventilation, were unpleasant. Experiments with pneumatic railways failed in their extended adoption by cities. Electric traction was more efficient and cleaner than steam and the natural choice for trains running in tunnels and proved superior for elevated services. In 1890 the City & South London Railway was the first electric-traction rapid transit railway, fully underground. Prior to opening the line was to be called the "City and South London Subway", thus introducing the term Subway into railway terminology. Both railways, alongside others, were merged into London Underground; the 1893 Liverpool Overhead Railway was designed to use electric traction from the outset. The technology spread to other cities in Europe, the United States and Canada, with some railways being converted from steam and others being designed to be electric from the outset. Budapest, Chicago and New York all converted or purpose-designed and built electric rail services.
Advancements in technology have allowed new automated services. Hybrid solutions have evolved, such as tram-train and premetro, which incorporate some of the features of rapid transit systems. In response to cost, engineering considerations and topological challenges some cities have opted to construct tram systems those in Australia, where density in cities was low and suburbs tended to spread out. Since the 1970s, the viability of underground train systems in Australian cities Sydney and Melbourne, has been reconsidered and proposed as a solution to over-capacity. Since the 1960s many new systems were introduced in Europe and Latin America. In the 21st century, most new expansions and systems are located in Asia, with China becoming the world's leader in metro expansion operating some of the largest systems and possessing 60 cities operating, constructing or planning a rapid transit system. Rapid transit is used in cities and metropolitan areas to transport large numbers of people short distances at high frequency.
The extent of the rapid transit system varies between cities, with se