Ancient History/Ancient Near East/Anatolia/Introduction

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Because of its strategic location at the intersection of Asia and Europe, Anatolia has been a cradle for several civilizations since prehistoric ages, with Neolithic settlements such as Çatalhöyük (Pottery Neolithic), Çayönü (Pre-Pottery Neolithic A to pottery Neolithic), Nevali Cori (Pre-Pottery Neolithic B), Hacilar (Pottery Neolithic), Göbekli Tepe (Pre-Pottery Neolithic A) and Mersin. The settlement of Troy starts in the Neolithic and continues forward into the Iron Age. Major civilizations and peoples that have settled in or conquered Anatolia include the Colchians, Hattians, Luwians, Hittites, Phrygians, Cimmerians, Lydians, Persians, Celts, Tabals, Meshechs, Greeks, Pelasgians, Armenians, Romans, Goths, Kurds, Byzantines, Seljuk Turks, and Ottomans. These peoples belonged to many varied ethnic and linguistic traditions. Through recorded history, Anatolians have spoken both Indo-European and Semitic languages, as well as many languages of uncertain affiliation. In fact, given the antiquity of the Indo-European Hittite and Luwian languages, some scholars have proposed Anatolia as the hypothetical center from which the Indo-European languages have radiated. Other authors have proposed an Anatolian origin for the Etruscans of ancient Italy. Today the inhabitants of Anatolia are mostly native speakers of the Turkish language, which was introduced with the conquest of Anatolia by Turkic peoples and the rise of the Seljuk Empire in the 11th century. However, Anatolia remained multi-ethnic until the early 20th century (see Rise of Nationalism under the Ottoman Empire). The last population exchange "Exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey", as result of the Treaty of Lausanne, between Turkey and Greece eliminated the majority of Turks in Greece and Greeks in Turkey. A significant Kurdish ethnic and linguistic minority exists in the south eastern regions, while Armenians and Georgians used to have a presence in the northeast.