Today, we celebrate Turkey in honor of the many global scholars and spouses from Turkey. A few weeks ago, Merve Falan gave a fantastic presentation about her home country. She shared about the country’s history and culture and even provided Turkish treats for everyone to try. Merve shared that “Istanbul is a magical city that tells you about everything. The city is a storyteller.” By the end of her presentation, most of the audience was ready to pack their bags and travel to Turkey.
Turkey is located at the crossroads of the Balkans, Caucasus, Middle East, and the eastern Mediterranean. Because of Turkey’s unique geographic position as the gateway between two continents, its culture is a unique blend. Once the center of the Ottoman Empire, the modern republic was founded in 1923.
The Turkish flag also has a rich history. While the star and crescent symbols are often seen as Muslim symbols, they actually have a history that predates the rise of Islam. Ancient civilizations throughout the Middle East used a crescent moon as a religious symbol. The crescent and start became associated with Islam when the Turkic peoples of Central Asia captured the Anatolian peninsula and added the crescent and star to their own red flags.
Today, over 80 million people live in Turkey. The largest city is Istanbul and the capital is Ankara. Turkey has large areas of arable land and exports products such as cotton, fruits, hazelnuts, and wheat.