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Known for their militaristic and disciplined culture, the turians are the most recent of the Citadel races invited to join the Council. They gained their Council seat after defeating the hostile Krogan for the Council during the 'Krogan Rebellions'. The turians deployed a Salarian-created biological weapon called the Genophage, which virtually sterilized the Krogan and sent them into a decline. The Turians then filled the peacekeeping niche left by the once-cooperative Krogan, and eventually gained a Council seat in recognition of their efforts.
Originally from the planet Palaven, Turians are best known for their military role, particularly their contributions of soldiers and starships to the Citadel Fleet. They are respected for their 'public service' ethic - it was the Turians who first proposed creating C-Sec - but are sometimes seen as imperialist or rigid by other races. There is some animosity between Turians and Humans, largely due to the Turian role in the First Contact War. This bitterness is slowly beginning to heal - shown by the cooperation of the two races on the construction of the SSV Normandy - but many Turians still hate Humans, and vice versa.
Turians typically stand over six feet tall, have two long, proportionately thick fingers and an opposable thumb on each hand - each tipped with talons - and a set of mandibles around their mouths. The most distinguishing feature of Turians is their metallic carapace, which is a result of their evolution. Turian features are avian, making them resemble humanoid birds or raptors. In Mass Effect: Revelation, David Anderson claimed that Turians reminded him of the evolutionary link between birds and dinosaurs.
Since the Unification War, Turians normally wear elaborate facial tattoos marking which colony they originate from, though it is not known which markings distinguish which colony. These are usually white - particularly on Turians with darker carapaces - but can be various colours; Garrus Vakarian's markings, for example, are dark blue. As a point of interest, the turian term 'barefaced' refers to one who is beguiling or not to be trusted (note that Saren Arterius does not bear any facial markings). It is also a slang term for politicians.
Turians are also recognisable by their voices, which have a distinctive 'flanging' effect.