Turkey was created in 1923 from the Turkish remnants of the Ottoman Empire.
Soon thereafter the country instituted secular laws to replace traditional
religious fiats. In 1945 Turkey joined the UN and in 1952 it became a
member of NATO. Turkey occupied the northern portion of Cyprus in 1974 to
prevent a Greek takeover of the island; relations between the two countries
remain strained. Periodic military offensives against Kurdish separatists
have dislocated part of the population in southeast Turkey and have drawn
international condemnation. Sharing one border with IRAQ
has created serious tensions with Turkey which are not yet resolved.
Membership of the European Union is the main political goal of present-day