The lands of Turkey are located at a point where
the three continents making up the old world. Asia, Africa and Europe
are closest to each other, and straddle the point where Europe and Asia
meet. Geographically, the country is located in the northern half of the
hemisphere at a point that is about halfway between the equator and the
north pole, at a longitude of 36 degrees N to 42 degrees N and a latitude
of 26 degrees E to 45 degrees E. Turkey is roughly rectangular in shape
and is 1,660 kilometers wide.
Because of its geographical location the mainland of Anatolia
has always found favour throughout history, and is the birthplace of many
great civilizations. It has also been prominent as a centre of commerce
because of its land connections to three continents and the sea surrounding
it on three sides.
The actual area of Turkey inclusive of its lakes, is 814,578
square kilometres, of which 790,200 are in Asia and 24,378 are located
The land borders of Turkey are 2,573 kilometres in total,
and coastlines (including islands) are another 8,333 kilometres, Turkey
has two European and six Asian countries for neighbours along its land
The land border to the northeast with the commonwealth of
Independent States is 610 kilometres long; that with Iran, 454 kilometres
long, and that with Iraq 331 kilometres long. In the south is the 877
kilometre-long border with Syria, which took its present form in 1939,
when the Republic of Hatay joined Turkey. Turkey's borders on the European
continent consist of a 212-kilometre frontier with Greece and a 269-kilometre
border with Bulgaria.
Turkey is generally divided into seven regions: the Black
Sea region, the Marmara region, the Aegean, the Mediterranean, Central
Anatolia, the East and Southeast Anatolia regions. The uneven north Anatolian
terrain running along the Black Sea resembles a narrow but long belt.
The land of this region is approximately 1/6 of Turkey's total land area.
The Marmara region covers the area encircling the Sea of Marmara,
includes the entire European part of Turkey, as well as the northwest
of the Anatolian plain. Whilst the region is the smallest of the regions
of Turkey after the Southeast Anatolia region, it has the highest population
density of all the regions.
The most important peak in the region is Uludag
(2,543 metres), at the same time it is a major winter sports and tourist
centre. In the Anatolian part of the region there are fertile plains running
from east to west.
The Aegean region extends from the Aegean coast to the inner
parts of western Anatolia. There are significant differences between the
coastal areas and those inland, in terms of both geographical features
and economic and social aspects.
In general, the mountains in the region fall perpendicularly
into the sea. and the plains run from east to west. The plains through
which Gediz, Kücük Menderes and Bakircay rivers flow carry the same names
as these rivers.
In the Mediterranean region, located in the south of Turkey,
the western and central Taurus Mountains suddenly rise up behind the coastline.
The Amanos mountain range is also in the area.
The Central Anatolian region is exactly in the middle of Turkey
and gives the appearance of being less mountainous compared with the other
regions. The main peaks of the region are Karadag, Karacadag, Hasandag
and Erciyes (3.917 metres).
The Eastern Anatolia region is Turkey's largest and highest
region. About three fourths of it is at an altitude of 1,500-2,000 metres.
Eastern Anatolia is composed of individual mountains as well as of whole
mountain ranges, with vast plateaus and plains. The mountains: There are
numerous inactive volcanoes in the region, including Nemrut, Suphan, Tendurek
and Turkey's highest peak, Mount Agri (Ararat), which is 5,165 metres
At the same time, several plains extended along the course
of the River Murat, a tributary of the Firat (Euphrates). These are the
plains of Malazgirt, Mus, Capakcur, Uluova and Malatya.
The Southeast Anatolia region is notable for the uniformity
of its landscape, although the eastern part of the region is comparatively
more uneven than its western areas.
Turkey is surrounded by sea on three sides, by the Black Sea
in the north, the Mediterranean in the south and the Aegean Sea in the
west. In the northwest there is also an important internal sea, the Sea
of Marmara, between the straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus,
important waterways that connect the Black Sea with the rest of the world.
Because the mountains in the Black Sea region run parallel
to the coastline, the coasts are fairly smooth, without too many indentations
or projections. The length of the Black Sea coastline in Turkey is 1,595
kilometres, and the salinity of the sea is 17%. The Mediterranean coastline
runs for 1,577 kilometres and here too the mountain ranges are parallel
to the coastline.
The salinity level of the Mediterranean is about
double that of the Black Sea.
Although the Aegean coastline is a continuation of the Mediterranean
coast, it is quite irregular because the mountains in the area fall perpendicularly
into the Aegean Sea. As a result, the length of the Aegean Sea coast is
over 2,800 kilometres. The coastline faces out to many islands.
The Marmara Sea is located totally within national boundaries
and occupies an area of 11,350 square kilometres. The coastline of the
Marmara Sea is over 1,000 kilometres long; it is connected to the Black
Sea by the Bosphorus and with the Mediterranean by the Dardanelles.
Most of the rivers of Turkey flow into the seas surrounding
the country. The Firat (Euphrates) and Dicle (Tigris) join together in
Iraq and flow into the Persian Gulf. Turkey's longest rivers, the Kizilirmak,
Yesilirmak and Sakarya, flow into the Black Sea. The Susurluk, Biga and
Gonen pour into the Sea of Marmara, the Gediz, Kucuk Menderes, Buyuk Menderes
and Meric into the Aegean, and the Seyhan, Ceyhan and Goksu into the Mediterranean
In terms of numbers of lakes, the Eastern Anatolian
region is the richest. It contains Turkey's largest, Lake Van (3.713 square
kilometres), and the lakes of Ercek, Cildir and Hazar. There are also
many lakes in the Taurus mountains area: the Beysehir and Egirdir lakes,
and the lakes that contain bitter waters like the Burdur and Acigoller
lakes, for example. Around the Sea of Marmara are located the lakes of
Sapanca, Iznik, Ulubat, Manyas, Terkos, Kucukcekmece and Buyukcekmece.
In Central Anatoia is the second largest lake in Turkey: Tuzgolu: The
waters of this lake are shallow and very salty. The lakes of Aksehir and
Eber are also located in this region.
As a result of the construction of dams during the past thirty
years, several large dam lakes have come into existence. Together with
the Ataturk Dam lake which started to collect water in January 1990, the
following are good examples: Keban, Karakaya, Altinkaya, Adiguzel, Kilickaya,
Karacaoren, Menzelet, Kapulukaya, Hirfanli, Sariyar and Demirkopru.
Although Turkey is situated in a geographical location where
climatic conditions are quite temperate, the diverse nature of the landscape
, and the existence in particular of the mountains that run parallel to
the coasts, results in significant differences in climatic conditions
from one region to the other. While the coastal areas enjoy milder climates,
the inland Anatolian plateau experiences extremes of hot summers and cold
winters with limited rainfall.
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