Land & Water Resources

Geographic Location of Turkey


Turkey is located between 26 ° - 45 ° eastern longitudes and 36 ° - 42 ° northern latitudes .

Borders of Turkey

The Borders and Coastline of Turkey (km)

Bulgaria : 269 
Greece : 203 
Georgia : 276 
Armenia : 328 
Azerbaijan/Nakhichevan: 18 
Iran : 560 
Iraq : 384
Syria : 911 
Total Length ofLland Borders: 2,949 

Black Sea : 1,778 
Sea of Marmara : 1,275 
Aegean & Mediterranean: 4,763 
Total Length of Coastline: 7,816 

Total Borders & Coastline : 10,765 

Note: Coastlines of islands are not included.
  • Turkey posseses a number of different characteristics in terms of its geographical location. The total length of its land borders and coastline is 10,765 km, 2,949 km of which are the land borders while 7,816 km are the coastline. Turkey has borders with Greece and Bulgaria to the west, with Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan/Nakhichevan, and Iran to the east, and with Iraq and Syria to the south.
  • The border with Bulgaria ( 269 km) extends from the mouth of the Rezve Stream in the Black Sea to the north west of Edirne. The border with Greece( 203 km) extends along the Meriç River, passing around Edirne and Karaağaç and emptying into the Aegean Sea to the west of Enez. The total length of the border with Georgia( 276 km), the border with Armenia( 328 km) and Azerbaijan/Nakhichevan border ( 18 km) is 622 km, beginning from Sarp Village and extending along the Arpaçay and Aras rivers. The border with Iran ( 560 km) follows the summits of high mountains with extending up to the Kelsim Breach at the beginning of the Iraq border. The border with Iraq( 384 km) ends at the point where the Tigris and Habur rivers meet after passing through high and mountainous territory in the vicinity of Hakkari. The border with Syria( 911 km) runs immediately south of the Baghdad Railway, reaching the Mediterranean in Güvercinkaya.
  • The average altitude ( 1,132 m) of Turkey is higher than that ( 1,050 m) of Asia and three and a half times higher than that ( 330 m) of Europe. The elevation of Turkey increases from the west to the east. The altitude of Ulus, the centre of Ankara, is 875 m. The altitude of plains in the eastern region rises to 2,000 m.
  • Turkey ’s surface area is 780,000 km 2, namely 78 million hectares (Mha). Excluding the total area of reservoirs and lakes, Turkey’s land area is 769,600 km 2. Excluding mountainous areas which cover a little more than half of the total land area, Turkey has plains, plateaux, steep and rugged land, and flat hills. Plains of different altitudes covered with alluvium amount to 19 Mha. Plateaux cover 8 Mha. The total area of plains and plateaux is equal to 27 Mha, which is 30% of Turkey’s land. Rugged terrains with flat, wide hills amount to 10 Mha. Since agricultural operations are often relatively easy in these type of rugged terrains, 10 Mha might be added to 27 Mha as flat lands. Therefore, Turkey has about 37 Mha of flat lands. However, Turkey’s total agricultural area is about 28 Mha. The General Population Census of 2000 indicates that Turkey has a population of 67.8 million in a total of 81 provinces. The average population density is 88 persons per square kilometer.
Rivers and Lakes
  • Turkey has about 120 natural lakes, including small lakes in the mountains. The largest and deepest lake is Lake Van with a surface area of 3,712 km 2 and an altitude of 1,646 m from sea level. The second largest lake is Lake Tuz in central Anatolia. Being relatively shallow, this lake is at an altitude of 925 m from sea level and has a surface area of 1,500 km 2. There are four main regions where lakes are intensively dispersed: The “Lakes District” (Eğirdir, Burdur, Beyşehir, and Acıgöl Lakes), Southern Marmara (Sapanca, İznik, Ulubat, and Kuş Lakes), Lake Van and its environs, and Lake Tuz and its environs. Although some of the lakes are only a few meters in depth, some of them are of a depth of more than 30 meters. The depth of Lake Van is more than 100 m.
  • Turkey has 555 large dam reservoirs. The names and surface areas (km2) of the large ones are Atatürk (817), Keban (675), Karakaya (268), Hirfanlı (263), Altınkaya (118), Kurtboğazı (6).



  • Turkey is rich in terms of streams and rivers. Many rivers rise and empty into seas within Turkey’s borders. Rivers can be classified in relation to the sea into which they empty. The rivers emptying into the Black Sea are the Sakarya, Filyos, Kızılırmak, Yeşilırmak, and Çoruh. The rivers emptying into Mediterranean Sea are the Asi, Seyhan, Ceyhan, Tarsus, and Dalaman. The rivers emptying into the Aegean Sea are the Büyük Menderes, Küçük Menderes, Gediz, and Meriç. The rivers empting into the Sea of Marmara are the Susurluk/Simav, Biga, and Gönen. The Euphrates and Tigris rivers empty into the Gulf of Basra, while the Aras and Kura rivers empty into the Caspian Sea. As far as the lengths of the some major rivers are concerned, the Kızılırmak is 1,355 km, Yeşilırmak is 519 km, Ceyhan is 509 km, Büyük Menderes is 307 km, Susurluk is 321 km, the Tigris is 523 km, the Euphrates River up to the Syrian border is 1,263 km, and the Aras River up to the Armenia border is 548 km.


  • Turkey has a semi-arid climate with some extremities in temperature. Turkey is surrounded by seas on three sides and high mountains stretching along the Black Sea coast in the north and along the Mediterranean Sea coast in the south. Distance from sea and fluctuations in altitude result in climatic variance within short distances. Temperature, precipitation and winds vary, based on climatic features. The difference in the north to the south latitude (6 0) also plays a role in this temperature change. The southern coastal fringes enjoy the Mediterranean climate featuring hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The northern coastal fringes are of the Black Sea climate, which is mild and rainy in almost all seasons. Surrounded by high mountains, Central Anatolia features a steppe climate with little precipitation and daily and yearly temperature values differing significantly. Winters are long and cold in Central and Eastern Anatolia, while mild and short in coastal regions.

“Precipitation varies by far with respect to the region and period.”

  •  Especially the mountainous coastal regions receive abundant precipitations (1,000–2,500 mm/year). Inner parts away from coastal fringes receive relatively less precipitation. Precipitation is 500–1,000 mm/year in the Marmara and Aegean regions and in the plateaux of East Anatolia. Most parts of Central Anatolia and Southeastern Anatolia have precipitation only 350–500 mm annually, whereas the environs of Lake Tuz receive the lowest precipitation level (250–300 mm/year).
  • Snow falls in almost every region of Turkey, but the number of days on which it snows and the durations of snow cover vary considerably with regard to theregions. It snows less than one day a year in the Mediterranean Region while more than 40 days in Eastern Anatolia on average. The duration of snow cover is less than one day in the Mediterranean and Aegean coastal fringes, 10–20 days in the Marmara and Black Sea coastal areas, 20–40 days in Central Anatolia, and 120 days in the Erzurum and Kars provinces in Eastern Anatolia. Throughout the four seasons, higher parts of the mountains retain snow, which melts slowly, feeding rivers and ground waters.
  • On account of its geographical features, Turkey has four distinctive seasons. Variation in altitude up to 5,000 m causes different climatic conditions in the same season.

  Mha ( million hectares)

Arable Land 

Irrigable Land 

Rainfed Agriculture


Presently Irrigated

: 28.05 

: 25.75

: 17.25

: 8.50

: 4.90 

Land Resources

  • Turkey ’s total land area is 78 Mha. Almost one third of this, 28 Mha, can be classified as cultivable land. Recent studies indicate that an area of about 8.5 million ha is economically irrigable under the available technology. Until now, an area of about 2.8 million ha has been equipped with irrigation infrastructures by DSİ.

Water Resources

Mean Precipitation : 643 mm/m2

Turkey ’s Surface Area : 780,000 km 2

 Annual Water Resources Potential Bm ³ (billion m ³ )A Precipitation Volume : 501

B Evaporation : 274

C Leakage into Groundwater : 69

D Springs Feeding Surface Water : 28

E Surface Water from Neighboring

Countries : 7


F Total Surface Runoff (gross) : 193

G Exploitable Surface Runoff : 98

H Groundwater Safe Yield : 14


I Total Potential (net) : 112

  • The total water volume in the world amounts to 1.4 billion km3, 97.5% of which is saline water in the oceans and seas, 2.5% of which is fresh water in the rivers and lakes. Due to fact that 90% of fresh water exists in the South Pole and North Pole, human beings have very limited readily exploitable fresh water resources.
  • Annual mean precipitation in Turkey is 643 mm, which corresponds to 501 Bm 3 (billion m 3) of annual water volume in the country. A volume of 274 Bm 3 water evaporates from water bodies and soils to atmosphere. 69 Bm 3 of volume of water leaks into groundwater, whereas 28 Bm 3 is retrieved by springs from groundwater contributing to surface water. Also, there are 7 billion m 3 volume of water coming from neighboring countries. Thus, total annual surface runoff amounts to a volume of 193 Bm 3 of water.


  • Including 41 (69-28) Bm 3 net discharging into groundwater (covering safe yield extraction, unregistered extraction, emptying into the seas, and transboundary), the gross (surface and groundwater) renewable water potential of Turkey is estimated as 234 (193+41) Bm 3. However, under current technical and economic constraints, annual exploitable potential has been calculated as 112 Bm 3 of net water volume, as 95 Bm 3 from surface water resources, as 3 Bm 3 from neighboring countries, as 14 Bm 3 from groundwater safe yield.

Water Resources versus Water Consumption Needs of Population

  • Countries can be classified according to their water wealth:
    • Poor: Annual water volume per capita is less than 1,000 m3
    • Insufficient / Water Stress: Annual water volume per capita is less than 2,000 m 3
    • Rich: Annual water volume per capita is more than 8,000- 10,000 m3
    • Turkey is not a rich country in terms of existing water potential. Turkey is a water stress country according to annual volume of water available per capita. The annual exploitable amount of water has recently been approximately 1,500 m 3 per capita.
    • The State Institute of Statistics (DİE) has estimated Turkey’s population as 100 million by 2030. So, the annual available amount of water per capita will be about 1,000 m 3 by 2030. The current population and economic growth rate will alter water consumption patterns. As population increases, annual allocated available amount of water per person will decrease. The projections for future water consumption would be valid on the condition that the water resources were protected from pollution at least for the next 25 years. It is imperative that available resources be evaluated rationally so as to provide clean and sufficient water resources for the next generation.

    Planning Studies in Turkey

    • Under the scope of DSİ’ planning studies, the most appropriate formulations of projects are prepared by using long-term data collections and investigations.
    • Data collection activities in planning studies are implemented with the coordination of different engineering fields consisting of gauging, observation, survey, soil and drainage, agricultural economy, hydrology, environmental impact assessment, geology, mapping and material studies.
    • The Hydrometeorology network of DSİ comprises the following stations; 1,114 river flow measurement, 120 lake water level, 115 snow level gauge, 452 meteorological and 1,000 water quality measurement. From those stations, hydrological and meteorological variables such as river flows, groundwater and lake water levels, sediment loads, water quality, amount of precipitation, and evaporations are collected and monitored. 

    DSİ’s River Flow and Lake Observation Stations