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Turkey lies in Middle East Asia, southern Europe and northeastern Africa. Turkey limits north with Kazakhstan, Armenia, Crimea, the Black Sea, Hungary, and Serbia, the west with Libya, the south with Abyssinia, and the East with Iran.
In 1299 Osman I, chief for a small Sultanate in northwestern Anatolia, declares himself ruler to the dismissed Seljuk Sultanate, creating the Ottoman State which would become the Ottoman Empire. From this date and up to 1453, the Ottoman State grow into becoming the most important power in Anatolia, much at expense of both Seljuk and Byzantine regions in Anatolia.
In 1453 Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, conquered Constantinople getting control of the whole Byzantine Empire and closing the Venetian controlled traffic to East Asia, which would prompt the search for a new route by the Portuguese and other maritime powers. Mehmed II, also called Mehmed the Conqueror, also pretended to get to Rome, but died while invading the Italian peninsula and their troops retired.
Salim I defeated Persia and conquered Egypt by 1520. Suleiman conquered Belgrade, and soon Hungary, Transylvania, Wallachia and, Moldavia became tributary principalities to the Ottomans, while Baghdad fell and the Ottomans gained Mesopotamia and an outlet to the Persian Gulf. Suleiman's admiral Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha converted the Ottoman Navy into the most powerful army in the Mediterranean, capturing Tunis, Algeria and Nice.
In 1543, the Ottomans and the Hungarians captured Vienna. However at the death of Suleiman and the stagnation of the initial drive by the Turks the Habsburgs manage to capture Vienna back. Except for some minor expansion in the Middle East and Northern Africa, the Ottomans begun to lose their power compared to the European nations, particularly in innovations on warfare (firearms, fortresses) and navigation.
This lead to an stagnation in the western front, however the Ottomans were still influential in the Islam world, keeping constant warfare against the Persians and having bring many Khanates into their sphere of influence. Throughout the Khanates, the Ottoman kept a rivalry with Russia, an in 1710 the Crimea, Kazakhstan and the Ottoman Empire defeated the Russian army.
The Ottoman Empire was a decisive force in the partitions of Russia allied with the Dual Commonwealth and Sweden, with almost one third of 1768 Russia becoming part of Turkey itself or their tributary Khanates.
Between the 17th and 18th centuries, several places inside the Empire begun to break independent in all but the name, beginning with Egypt. Hungary passed from a tributary principality to become just an ally and then, by 1730 had conquered Wallachia, Transylvania and Moldavia. When Algeria, Tunes, and finally Egypt felt to the Aragonese, the Ottomans could not prevented it.
In 1743 the French captured Palestine, and manage to settle an arrangement: Palestine would be a free state inside the Ottoman realm, co-administered by France.
Serbia declared her independence in 1815. The final blow were in 1864, when Crimea, supported by several European powers, fought the Ottomans and manages to get control of the whole Crimean peninsula and most Ottoman territories in the northern shore of the Black Sea.
Modernization and Revival
After the Crimean War, it was evident that the Ottoman Empire had lost any superiority to the other European powers. Greece declare her independence in 1876, and the Greek nationalist almost captured Istanbul. This led to a process of modernization. The Ottoman Empire rebuilt the army and the navy, adopting modern weapons and shipbuilding techniques. In the 1880's the Turks begun a campaign to bring the whole Arabic peninsula under Ottoman rule, and in 1887 they managed to control an independence movement in Bulgaria.
In May 1895 Turkey besieged Athens. England, Aragon and Serbia declared war to Turkey, but by December the whole Greece was against under Turkish control.
The Great War of 1912
The beginning of the 20th century was a built up of alliance and armies, waiting for a war to happen. And it happened. A Serbian anarchist killed the Austrian archduke in Sarajevo, in the spring of 1912. Nobody blamed the Serbian government, but the Serbian refusal to process the killer lead to Austria declaring war to Serbia. Then Germany declared war to Austria, France declared war to Germany, Hungary declared war to France, Italy and Aragon declared war to Hungary and Germany, the Ottoman Empire declared war to Aragon, France and Italy, and the Dual Commonwealth declared war to the Ottomans and Hungary. England, while allied to Germany, did not declared any war until the Aragonese begun attacking German colonies in Africa.
The Ottoman empire focused on securing their Balkan interests and expanding in Africa, until they captured Egypt from the Aragonese in 1916. All Turkish pretensions were recognized in the Peace Conferences at Frankfurt, which basically meant that, with the exception of Palestine, no signatory European nation would have any intervention in any territory that the Ottomans had claimed, and not even in Palestine would they support any nationalist or independentist movement. This included the recognition of the Ottoman rule on Greece and Egypt, among other territories.
The fall of the Ottoman dynasty
With this carte blanche, the Ottomans begun a process of clean up against any subversive movement. The targets were not based on religious affiliation or ethnicity but mostly on political views, and this affected even the Turks proper.
For the last three centuries the Ottoman Sultans were not the driving power in the Ottoman Empire but rather their viziers and, in the first half of the 20th century a pretty much secular military. But the Ottoman Sultan was still an important political and symbolic figure. The abuses by the military were blamed on the Sultan, and when Mehmed VIII died in 1934, his nephew Osman VI proved to be even more incompetent and there was no other heir that would be considered a descendant of Osman I.
In 1948 Osman VI was deposed in a coup d'etat, along with General Mustafa Mehmed Pasha, by elements in the Army concerned with the isolation of Turkey for their human rights records, among with disagreement with the repressive policies, lead by General Mehmed Gulek. Mehmed Gulek soon called for a Constitutional Convention and in May 7, 1949 a new constitution was approved. Turkey would become a constitutional monarchy with a Sultan as Head of State, and the Chief of Government would be a Prime Minister. In August 1949 general elections were called with the double goal of approving the constitution by referendum and electing the Parliament.
As Sultan, Prince Mohammad of Zanzibar was selected as being the closest relative to Osman I that was both alive, available (was eight in the secession of the Zanzibar Sultanate), Sunni Muslim, and had some royal training. (Despite the constitution allowed for freedom of religion, the special status of Mecca and Medina required that their temporal ruler (the Sultan) be Sunni Muslim.)
The Referendum would be valid if a majority of the Turkish citizens did vote for yes, and it did, and if a province had voted for no with more than 60% of negative votes, would held a second referendum for independence or integration as a Special Status Region. Only Bulgaria (62%) and Cyprus (75%) had a disapproval of more than 60%, and they both chose for the Special Status alternative. A Special Status Region was provided as a province or region in which some articles of the Constitution would not apply while they would have some other regime in certain points. Palestine and Makkah were Special Status Regions from the beginning, and some other regions were granted Special Status even if they had approved the Constitution.
Turkey is subdivided in cities, provinces and Special Status Regions. Provinces and cities are grouped in standard regions.
The standard regions have a more historical meaning with little political power.
Special Status Regions
Turkey has several Special Status Regions. These are regions with a great deal of political autonomy, however they plight allegiance to the Sultan and the Turkish Parliament.
The Special Status Regions are: