The history of the geographic area occupied by the modern state of Turkey and the history of the peoples who occupy that state are quite different. Linking the two is the history of the Ottoman Empire. That empire was a vast, pan-Islamic state that expanded, beginning in the fourteenth century, from a small Turkish emirate located within the boundaries of the present-day Republic of Turkey to include holdings across North Africa, southeastern Europe, and most of the Middle East.

Prehistory and Early History:

The land mass occupied by the Asian part of the Republic of Turkey, east of the Sea of Marmara, is known as Anatolia. The region was inhabited by an advanced Neolithic culture as early as the seventh millennium B.C., and metal instruments were in use by 2500 B.C. Late in the third millennium B.C., the warrior Hittites invaded Anatolia and established an empire that made significant economic and administrative advancements. In about 1200 B.C., the Phrygians overthrew the Hittites in western Anatolia, where a Phrygian kingdom then ruled until the seventh century B.C. That kingdom was succeeded by a Lydian kingdom, which in turn was conquered by the Persians in 546 B.C. Meanwhile, beginning in about 1050 B.C., Ionian Greeks began founding cities along the Aegean coast of Anatolia, and in the eighth century B.C., peoples such as the Armenians and the Kurds moved into eastern Anatolia. In the late fourth century B.C., Alexander the Great of Macedonia conquered all of Anatolia. One of the city-states that Alexander founded, Pergamum, became a unique center of wealth and culture. In 133 B.C., Pergamum became the center of a Roman province and remained a cultural center for several centuries. In 330 A.D., the Roman emperor Constantine established the capital of the Greek-speaking half of his empire at Byzantium, on the Sea of Marmara. The city was renamed Constantinople, and the eastern half of the Roman Empire became known as the Byzantine Empire. With its center in Anatolia, the Byzantine Empire remained a powerful entity until the eleventh century. The Patriarchiate of Constantinople, established in the fourth century, represented the Greek-speaking Roman Empire in the Christian church.

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