The lands of Turkey are located at a point where Asia, Africa and Europe are closest to each other, and straddle the point where Europe and Asia meet. Geographically, the country is located in the northern half of the hemisphere at a point that is about halfway between the equator and the north pole, at a longitude of 36 degrees North to 42 degrees North and a latitude of 26 degrees East to 45 degrees East. Turkey, as a country roughly rectangular in shape, has a width of approximately 550 kilometers and a length of approxiamately 1500 kilometers. Istanbul, once known as the capital of capital cities, has many unique features. It is the only city in the world to straddle two continents, and the only one to have been a capital during two consecutive empires - Christian and Islamic. Once capital of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul still remains the commercial, historical and cultural pulse of Turkey, and its beauty lies in its ability to embrace its contradictions. Ancient and modern, religious and secular, Asia and Europe, mystical and earthly all co-exist here.
The Turkish language is spread over a large geographical area in Europe and Asia; recent studies show that this language goes back 5500 years,and perhaps even 8500. At the same time, it is one of the most widely spoken tongues in the world - the seventh most widely spoken, to be precise. It is spoken in the Azeri, the Türkmen, the Tartar, the Uzbek, the Baskurti, the Nogay, the Kyrgyz, the Kazakh, the Yakuti, the Cuvas and other dialects. Turkish belongs to the Altaic branch of the Ural-Altaic family of languages, and thus is closely related to Mongolian, Manchu-Tungus, Korean, and perhaps Japanese. Some scholars have maintained that these resemblances are not fundamental, but rather the result of borrowings, however comparative Altaistic studies in recent years demonstrate that the languages we have listed all go back to a common Ural-Altaic