The Republic of Turkey is a Eurasian country that stretches across the Anatolian peninsula in western Asia and Thrace in the Balkans region of southeastern Europe. It is named for the Turkic peoples, however the people inhabiting Turkey are just one branch of this vast family of ethnicities. Turkey's location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a country of significant geostrategic importance.
Most of Harry Turtledove's stories are set in the "Ottoman" era, although even at the time, the names "Turkey" and "Ottoman Empire" were used interchangeably. In some timelines, the Ottoman Empire continues on for longer than it did in OTL. Both versions redirect here for convenience.
In 1565, the Ottoman Turks attempted to conquer Malta. The trumpeting of a Maltese Elephant warned the defenders of an attack, and the Turks' invasion was repelled. This incident caused the animal to have a sacred status in the island's culture.
The history of the Ottoman Empire was changed thanks to the efforts of Sabbatai Tzevi, a Turkish-born Jew who proclaimed himself the Messiah and led a substantial group of followers as he proselytized throughout the Empire. In September, 1666, Sultan Mehmed IV brought Sabbatai before him, expecting Sabbatai to convert to Islam. Instead, after listening to Sabbatai, Mehmed announced that he was converting, and changed his name to Sabbatai I.
From then on, the Sabbateans flourished within the Ottoman Empire, eventually spreading into Europe.
Turkey began a program of genocide against Armenians within its territory after the war. This made Turkey the target of international outrage, including its wartime co-belligerent, the United States. Officially, the US asked their de jure ally KaiserWilhelm II, who was much closer to Turkey geographically, to pressure the Sultan. However, German protests were more apathetic in nature and the US, weary from their costly wartime experience, had to back down, allowing the genocide to continue.
In the years afterwards, tobacco imports from Turkey became too expensive for many US cigarette companies and they stopped including it in their products. Turkish opium poppy proved to be a profitable source of income for European smugglers such as Pierre Dutourd. Germany and the Soviet Union, both sharing land borders with Turkey, kept stirring up unrest within the country.
When the Race-German War of 1965 began over Poland, the city of Istanbul was used as a major supply base for the Race's effort in defending their colony. Despite being protected by the Race's anti-missile defences, a German nuclear missile managed to get through and destroy the city.