Straddling the continents of Europe and Asia, Turkey is where East meets West. Its strategic location between Europe and the Middle East has made it the West’s bridge to the Muslim world.
Slightly larger than Texas, Turkey is bordered by eight countries and three bodies of water, including the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean. The Bosphorus Strait divides Istanbul in half and is the boundary between Europe and Asia.
Turkey, with a population of nearly 82 million, has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. According to a March 2014 article in Forbes magazine, “The explosive rise of Turkey’s economy in the past decade is one of the most fascinating growth stories of all time. Since 2002, Turkey’s economy nearly quadrupled in size on the back of an epic boom in consumption and construction that led to the building of countless malls, skyscrapers, and ambitious infrastructure projects.”
Besides its strategic importance to the United States as a NATO ally, Turkey is worthy of study for a number of other reasons. It is the only country in the world that is Muslim, democratic, and secular all at the same time.
Dr. Allen H. Merriam, retired MSSU Professor of Communication, provides even more reasons Americans should learn about Turkey in his essay.