Turkey is strategically positioned at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The Republic is a democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law. It has been a multi-party parliamentary democracy since 1947.
The country occupies a strategic position of the utmost importance. As bridge between Europe and Asia, and the protector of the straits between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Turkey is often referred as “the most important country in the region".
Turkey's foreign policy revolves around its commitment to Western values and institutions. It is a founding member of the Council of Europe. Full accession talks with EU are well underway since 2005. Turkey is also a staunch member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Legislative power is vested in the 550-member Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM), whose members are elected for four-year terms by the votes of Turkish citizens over the age of 18. Turkish women gained the right to vote in 1934, well ahead of women in many other European countries. It has free and privately-owned media, with no less than 16 national private TV networks.