Turkey Geography

Geography in Turkey

Turkey extends geographically over an area of approx. 783,500 km² across the border area of the two continents Europe and Asia. The Asian part of the Turkish national territory, including the Anatolia region, takes up about 97% of the national territory. The European part in the north-west (Eastern Thrace) covers about 3% of the area (approx. 23,800) km², in which the main part of the metropolis of Istanbul is located on the Bosporus. In the northwest, Turkey borders on Greece and Bulgaria, in the northeast on Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, in the east on Iran and in the south on Iraq and Syria. The politically divided island of Cyprus with the Republic of Cyprus and the internationally unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is located about 70 kilometers from the south coast. With a coastline of around 7.

The landscape of Turkey is characterized by plateaus, hills and mountain ranges. While Thrace, the European part of Turkey, consists of a plateau, the area becomes more hilly and wooded towards the Bosphorus.

The Black Sea region comprises the northern coastal strip of Turkey and is characterized by a mountainous landscape with extensive forests. The peaks of the Eastern Pontic Mountains as part of the Pontus Mountains are covered with snow in winter.

The lowlands of the Mediterranean region are bounded in the north by the Taurus Mountains and in the east by the Amanos Mountains and are thus protected from the effects of weather from Central Anatolia.

The heavily indented east coast of Turkey, the Aegean Sea, is reminiscent of neighboring Greece with its hilly landscape of vine, cypress and olive trees. The three largest islands in Turkey can also be found here. Gökçeada at the entrance to the Dardanelles, the Marmara island near the Dardanelles and the island of Bozcaada, which belongs to the province of Çanakkale

The interior of Turkey includes the inner Anatolian plateaus in Central Anatolia. The Tuz Gölü salt lake and mountain ranges that rise up to 3900 meters in places are located here in a semi-desert environment. Inner Anatolia is predominantly characterized by a steppe landscape that was caused by human interventions such as deforestation and cattle biting. Some of the highest mountains in Turkey, such as the Ararat and the Süphan Dağı, are located in the high mountain landscape of Eastern Anatolia. The source rivers of the Euphrates can also be found here, as well as Lake Van at 1,640 meters, the largest inland lake in Turkey. Much of Anatolia drains to the Black Sea via larger rivers such as Kızılırmak and Sakarya,

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Flora and fauna in Turkey

The meeting of different biogeographical regions, the climatic diversity and a mountainous landscape are the reason for the diverse flora in Turkey, which is considered to be the most varied in the Middle East. Around a third of the plant species are endemic, but many of them are now endangered. The land area of ​​Turkey is 36% used for agriculture and 26% is taken up by forest.

Many wildflowers and ground cover are native to the plateaus. Mullein and wolfberry are widespread in Anatolia. The central steppe areas are dominated by cacti, steppe shrubs and thorny plants such as thistles or the solstice knapweed, which withstood the centuries-long grazing of the cattle nomads. In addition, coniferous forests with black pines are common.

In the cooler north there are many European tree species such as spruce, beech, oak, elm and ash. Especially on the Black Sea coast there are extensive coniferous forests and commercial hazelnut, corn and tea plantations, in the Mediterranean region in the south there are more fruit and cotton plantations Tomatoes, olives, lemons or other fruit trees, as well as grapevines. There is also extensive macchia vegetation in the landscape.

The largest predators still living in Turkey today include the brown bear, wolf, golden jackal and Eurasian lynx. Occasionally, crawling cats and wild cats can also be found and in the southeast of the country striped hyenas, desert monitors and ichneumons. The Asiatic lion and the Caspian tiger have now been exterminated. Specimens of the Anatolian leopard are said to have been sighted again in Turkey. In addition, many small game species and wild boars are native to Turkey. The steppe is inhabited by wild camels, mongooses and porcupines.

On the Turkish coast you can meet a wide variety of fish species, as well as sharks and dolphins. The rare monk seal can now be seen again on the Aegean coast of Turkey.

Numerous bird species have their breeding and wintering places in Turkey. A well-known bird paradise is located south of Bandırma in the Kuşcenneti National Park, where pelicans, wild ducks, storks, cormorants, nightingales and pheasants have found their home. Important Greater Flamingo colonies are located in the interior and south of the country.

The main livestock in Turkey are cattle, horses, buffalo, sheep and goats. The camel population has steadily declined in the last few decades with the declining importance of animals as porters.

Flora in Turkey

National parks and nature conservation in Turkey

In Turkey, 41 national parks, 18 nature reserves and ten coastal protection areas have now been designated. This means that 1.3% of the national territory is under nature protection. However, none of these protected areas is managed according to the IUCN recommended international protected area management.

The Nemrut-Dağı National Park on the mountain in the Taurus Mountains, on the summit of which there is a monumental combination of sanctuary and tomb, the Historical National Park Troy on the west coast and the Göreme National Park in Central Anatolia, known for its cave architecture and tuff rock formations are part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

The most popular national parks in Turkey are in the Aegean Sea. Above all, the Kaz-Dagi National Park and the Dilek National Park offer both relaxation and grandiose nature experiences. On the Turkish Riviera between Antalya and Kumluca is the well-known Olympos National Park, the scenic highlights of which are beautiful beaches, deep canyons and quiet forests.

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