The region occupied by Turkey was permanently inhabited at least as early as 7000 B.C. The Byzantine Empire, the great Christian empire that dominated the region for almost 1,000 years, fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 A.D. The Ottomans established an empire that lasted until the early 20th century.

For a summary of its history before the era of the Ottoman Turks, see Asia Minor.

The Ottoman Empire was dissolved after World War I. It had been allied with Germany and had been defeated. By the Treaty of Sèvres (1920), all non-Turkish possessions of the empire were surrendered, and parts of the Turkish homeland itself (in Thrace and Anatolia) were ceded to Greece. The breakup of the empire and the harsh provisions of the treaty rallied the people to a nationalist movement led by Mustafa Kemal, a Turkish army commander. In 1920 he called for the election of a new National Assembly. Elections were held; Sultan Mohammed VI was declared deposed; and a provisional government was formed, with Kemal as president. The assembly conferred on him the surname Atatürk, “father of the Turks.”

Gallipoli Peninsula.Gallipoli Peninsula. ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) and other Allied forces landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey on April 25, 1915, during World War I (1914-1918). British forces landed on the tip of the peninsula, and ANZAC forces landed farther north, in an area later called Anzac Cove. The Allied campaign at Gallipoli failed, and the troops were withdrawn. The inset map shows the location of Gallipoli Peninsula in the Aegean Sea.

The new government at Ankara rejected the Treaty of Sèvres, and fighting broke out. During the Greco-Turkish War, or War for Turkish Independence (1920–22), the Turks drove out the Greek army. Russian, French, and Italian forces withdrew from Anatolia. When hostilities ceased, Sultan Mohammed VI, who had continued to head a rival government at Constantinople (Istanbul), was exiled. The Treaty of Lausanne (1923) was negotiated with the European powers. Under its provisions, Turkey was recognized as a fully independent state, and the ceded areas of Thrace and Anatolia were restored.