Country Studies

The Library of Congress Country Studies include extensive information about all Middle Eastern countries, including historical overviews as well as information about government structure, economics, and demographics.

Specific countries can’t be bookmarked, so follow the link above and select the country of interest.

Essays on Turkish Cinema: Gonul Donmez-Colin’s Blog

Gönül Dönmez-Colin is an independent researcher and author specialized in the cinemas of the Middle East and Central Asia. She is the author of Women, Islam and Cinema (Reaktion Books, 2004), Cinemas of the Other: A Personal Journey with Filmmakers from the Middle East and Central Asia (Intellect Books, 2006), Cinema of North Africa and the Middle East (ed.) (Wallflower Press, 2007) and Turkish Cinema: Identity, Distance and Belonging (Reaktion Books, 2008) as well as a book written in Turkish, Paylasilan Tutku Sinema (Cumhuriyet Yayinlari, 1998).

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk: A Biography

The founder of the Turkish Republic and its first President, stands as a towering figure of the 20th Century. Among the great leaders of history, few have achieved so much in so short period, transformed the life of a nation as decisively, and given such profound inspiration to the world at large.

The Treaty of Sevres: The End of the Ottoman Empire

The Treaty of Sèvres was signed with the Ottoman Empire after the end of World War One. The terms of the Treaty of Sèvres were harsh and many in the Ottoman Empire were left angered and embittered by their treatment.

Turkey Fact Sheet

A quick fact sheet providing clear information about Turkey.

Turkey Facts and Figures

Turkey facts and figures from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center

Turkey in Perspective

This resource from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center offers a country profile section containing basic facts about the target country, followed by selected themes organized under the major headings of Geography, History, Economy, Society and Security.

Turkey’s War for Independence

This brief article reviews Turkey’s War for Independence, resulting in the creation of a Turkish State.

Turkish Cultural Orientation

Cultural Orientations from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center offer an engaging introduction to a given cultural group. Linguists and non-linguists alike will benefit from these interactive materials and pertinent language exchanges that are coupled with an objective and practical look at daily life in different contexts. Topics include religion, traditions, family life and differences in the lifestyles of urban and rural populations.

Turkish Flag

Details about the Turkish flag.

Al-Monitor Pulse: Turkey (text)

Al-Monitor Pulse: Turkey offers  original reporting and analysis by prominent journalists and experts from the Middle East about Turkey

Antalya Province, Turkey (images)

Pictures of Turkey’s natural environments.

Cappadocia, Land of Fairy Chimneys (images)

Pictures of Turkey’s unique stone sights.

Examining Turkey – Resources from America Abroad (multimedia)

This collection of multimedia resources from America Abroad provides a historical review of Turkey, a look at contemporary Turkey, and a lens on Turkish culture.

Faces of Turkey: Adventures in Sustainable Eating (video)

In travel or in our daily lives, at restaurants or at markets, we pass by others, forgetting that all the people we interact with are just like us… human: full of happiness and pain and hope. In Turkey, we tried to take an extra moment to “see” some of the food producers that make up this wonderful country

Historic Areas of Istanbul (images)

Pictures of Turkey’s finest buildings.

History of the Ottoman Empire (audio)

The Ottoman Empire has long captured the public imagination in a way that few other royal houses and empires have managed to do. From the days when its armies threatened the gates of Vienna, its long-rumored decline as the “sick man of Europe,” and the Taksim demonstrations of 2013 when Turkish Prime Minsiter Erdoğan was accused of “neo-Ottomanism,” the legacy that the Empire left is long and vast. But who were the Ottomans? Why were they so successful?  And why have they lasted so long in the public’s imagination?

Listen to these two podcasts from 15 Minute History

  • History of the Ottoman Empire, part 1
  • History of the Ottoman Empire, part 2

Hurriyet Daily News (text)

Leading news source for Turkey and the region.

Jadaliyya: Turkey (text)

A collection of articles about Turkey  posted on Jadaliyya

Mahir Zeynalov: Diary of a Skeptic (text)

This is the blog of a Turkish report for Today’s Zaman newspaper based in Istanbul, Turkey. He regularly posts analysis based on his own reporting.

Turkey News (text)

Current news about Turkey from the New York Times.

Who are the Turks? (audio)

Over the past two thousands years, the Turkic peoples have migrated and expanded from a small group of pastoral nomads in what is now western China to form Islam’s longest lasting empire, six modern nation-states that bear their names, and large minorities across Eurasia. But … who are the Turks? Do they even form a coherent social category? Where did they come from? And what makes them “Turk”ish?

A podcast from 15 Minute History.

Elif Shafak and the Armenian Genocide

In this lesson, created by Primary Source, students study about the Armenian genocide and its controversy in Turkey.

Empire, Republic, Democracy: A History of Turkey

Empire, Republic, Democracy: A History of Turkey traces the final years of the Ottoman Empire, the struggle for independence, and Turkish resistance against European imperialism. The student text explores Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s sweeping reforms, the emergence of a multiparty democracy, a string of military coups, and the Kurdish conflict. Students also examine a range of current issues in Turkey, including economic development, religion and secularism, human rights, authoritarianism, and foreign affairs. The Teacher Resource Book contains lesson plans and activities incorporating geography, art, photographs, and recent interviews with Turkish youth.

Choices also produced videos about the Ottoman Empire and Turkey to accompany the printed unit as part of our free Scholars Online video library, available here.


A History of the Jews of Turkey

An AP-style document-based question (DBQ) unit for world history classrooms that examines the history of Sephardic Jews from their expulsion from Spain in 1492 to the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in the 20th century.  The map contained in document 5 may be downloaded separately for higher resolution viewing.   From University of Texas, Austin

psu logo edited Making the Modern Middle East: World War I & Its Aftermath

This lesson is sequenced to follow a post-World War One focus on the Treaty of Versailles and specifically the creation of the League of Nations.  The Interwar Years and the critical role of the League of Nations would be a unit taught before this focusing on the Mandate System and how territories were shaped by the victors of the war.

Students will need the context of how the victors distributed the spoils of war and drew the geo-political boundaries and the creation of treaties to determine the level of consequence economically, politically and socially.

In addition, it can be carried forth with the emphasis on Turkeys geo-political location as determined to be part of Europe or the Middle East.  Evaluation of this context will require examination of the differing views on this action.


psu logo edited Mem u Zin: Understanding Kurdish Culture through Poetry and Film

In this lesson, high school students watch the Kurdish film Mem u Zin to understand Kurdish culture. Students explore life cycle events and how the film symbolizes Kurdish longing for their land

psu logo edited  Migration of the Turks

In this lesson students will map Turkic migration.  Students will use Google Maps Engine, the Library of Congress’ Country Studies and self-selected web resources to discover, map and self-check their map of the historical Turkic migration.  This lesson will take two 55 minute class periods.

The Southeastern Anatolia Project

This case study was created to help students understand the complexities of large-scale construction and development projects. Such projects often inspire an optimistic outlook; students will get a better sense of the many different benefits that such projects can have and the ways in which the quality of living can be dramatically improved. At the same time, students will gain an understanding that such projects have side effects, both positive and negative, that can extend across geo-political boundaries.

Developed by the University of Texas at Austin

World Regions: A Focus on France: Muslim Citizenry in France and a Comparison of Laws on Religious Dress in France, Turkey, and Uzbekistan

This lesson offers an introduction to French ideals of assimilation and secularism, and also provides a comparative view of laws between France, Turkey and Uzbekistan. Students work with newspaper articles to glean information regarding how France views the practice of veiling and people who veil and how citizenry is conceived. This is an interesting view into some of the challenges faced by Muslim immigrants living in a Muslim minority society.

Developed by University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, ReOrienting the Veil