With its territory split between western Asia and southeastern Europe, the Republic of Turkey is a fascinating country with a rich and chaotic past and an equally complex present. Eight countries form its border--Bulgaria, Iran, Greece, Armenia, Georgia, Syria, Azerbaijan and Iraq, Turkey remains vital to the international community because of its geographic location, secularism and stable democratic government in a region known for chaos and war.

A founding member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations and the G-20, Turkey is home to mostly ethnic Turks and about 25 percent ethnic Kurds who practice Islam and speak Turkish, the country's official language. Rapid development of Turkey's diplomatic and economic initiatives have contributed to other world leaders recognizing Turkey as an emerging regional power.