Turkey is both an old and a new country. While the Turks have been living in Anatolia for the last millennium, the country has gone through extensive Westernization since the end of the 18th century. However, in the case of Turkey, tradition has not arrested modernization; rather, the traditional has adapted itself to the modern. The revival of Islam and the emergence of certain ethnic identities during the recent decades have not led to the reversal of progress in the economy and democracy. There is a thriving private sector, and the economy continues to grow. At the turn of the 21st century, Turkey is the only Muslim country with a democratic political system. Although Turkey belongs to both the West and the East, its Western credentials are more marked. It is a member of the Council of Europe, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and it is presently carrying out negotiations with the European Union (EU) for accession to that Union as a full member. The A to Z of Turkey explores the history of this fascinating country through a chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on important persons, places, events, and institutions, as well as on significant political, economic, social, and cultural aspects.
Metin Heper is professor of political science at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey and a founding member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences. Nur Bilge Criss is assistant professor of international relations at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey.