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Geography, Weather, & Wildlife of Turkey

Geography

Turkish Geography - Pamukkale
Pamukkale

Turkey is an odd shaped landmass that connects Europe and Asia. The country is bordered by the Black Sea to its north, the Mediterranean Sea to its south, and the Aegean Sea to its west. There is debate whether or not Turkey should be considered a part of Europe or Asia; many people consider the border between the two continents to be the Bosphorus Straight, which divides the city of Istanbul and Turkey itself. By this definition, on Turkey's European side, the country is connected to the Balkan Peninsula and borders Greece (west) and Bulgaria (north). The Asian side of Turkey then is primarily a peninsula jutting out from the Middle East. This part of Turkey borders Syria (south), Iraq (southeast), Iran (southeast), Armenia (east), and Georgia (northeast).

Geographically, Turkey is mostly at elevation, but only has a few locations with substantial mountains. Turkey also has an incredibly long coastline. The northern coast, along the Black Sea is home to a number of river deltas and is fairly hospitable. The Aegean Sea coast is even more ideal as the land is at a lower elevation and, with numerous bays, offers easy access to the sea. The country's central region and far east are more mountainous and drier making the regions fairly inhospitable.

Weather

Turkish Geography - Goreme
Goreme

Turkey's weather is best separated into two regions, the coasts and inland. Turkey's interior is primarily mountainous and hence temperatures sink much lower in the winters, while the coasts are fairly comfortable year round.

Turkey's coasts (including Istanbul) have moderate winters (averaging about 45-55˚ F (7-13˚ C) in the west and hotter on the southern coast) and hot and humid summers (80-90˚ F (27-32˚ C) on the western coast and again hotter in the south). It rarely rains along most of Turkey's coasts other than the Black Sea and the far southwest, which gets a fair amount of rain as the country's other coasts are relatively dry and sunny. Turkey's interior is fairly mountainous and the peaks can be snow filled and roads impassable for much of the winter as the valleys can be unbearably hot in the summers. Places like Cappadocia feel like barren desert in the summer.

Wildlife

Turkish Geography - Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea

Turkey is home to a number of large mammals including wolves, boar, bear, and deer among others, but rarely are any of these seen as they are generally secluded in small isolated forested regions. More commonly seen, and domesticated, are goats, camels, donkeys, and cattle, many of which are used for food or milk. Being surrounded by water on most sides, Turkey is also home to a large number of fish, both saltwater fish, such as sardines and mullets in the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea as well as freshwater fish found in the country's lakes and rivers.

There are also a number of birds that are commonly found in Turkey, both migrating birds that pass through with the seasons as well as more sedentary birds like quail and goose. There are also a large number of lizards in the country.

This page was last updated: November, 2013