The Republic of Turkey

May 20, 2004

Humanities 502

Geography Report


Did you know that Turkey, now named The Republic of Turkey, was once the heart of the huge Ottoman Empire that contained a lot of the Middle East, North Africa, and all of the southeastern part of Europe? It is located in two continents—Asia and Europe, but mostly Asia. There are a lot of things about Turkey that one could talk about… Let\'s talk about the size first.

In area it is about 300,000 square miles. As mentioned before, most of Turkey is in Asia, about 97 percent you could say. The other 3 percent is in Europe. The area of Turkey that belongs to Asia is mostly surrounded by water. North of Turkey is the Black Sea. Turkey also borders Syria and Iraq in the southeast, Iran in the east and Georgia and Armenia by the northeast. The European part of Turkey borders Greece and Bulgaria in the northwest near Istanbul, a city in Turkey.

Turkey is divided into two areas. The Asian part is known as Anatolia, a.k.a. Asia Minor, while the European part is called Thrace. Mostly, Anatolia is a large plateau. The plateau, called the Anatolian Plateau, rises from about 2,000 feet in the west to more than 6,500 feet in the east. It’s located northbound by the Pontic Mountains that stretch along the coast of the Black Sea, and down in the south by the Taurus and Anti-Taurus Mountains, which have much higher ranges. The Anatolian Plateau starts to slope in the west toward the Aegean Sea and becomes a region of little hills and small valleys. Over in the east the Pontic and Taurus mountains come together in a group of mountain ranges that contain the highest mountain in Turkey, Mount Ararat, at 16,853 feet high.

Turkey also has some extensive valleys. The coast of the Black Sea only has a small and thin plain. In the southern part of Turkey, the Mediterranean coastal plain is wider in places, like along the Gulf of Antalya and the Gulf of Iskenderun. The latter, a.k.a. the Cilician Plain, reaches from the plateau by a passageway through the Taurus Mountains called the Cilician Gates. In the west there are scattered areas of lowlands (or valleys) mixed up with hills. Even though there aren’t any actual active volcanoes in Turkey, much of the country is geologically unstable, and severe earthquakes have occurred, making it all the more unstable.

Turkey has a variety of mineral resources. The most important mineral deposits are found near the lower slopes of the Pontic and Taurus mountains. “High-quality” coal is mainly found in the region near Zonguldak on the west side of the coast of the Black Sea. Lignite, a less important kind of coal is found in Turkey in Europe and Anatolia, to the west. It is mostly used to produce electrical power. Turkey is mostly rich in metallic minerals like iron ore, chrome, copper, lead, zinc, and manganese. Most of the iron ore comes from central Anatolia. One of the world’s largest producers of boron is Turkey. It can be located in west Anatolia. Other very important minerals are magnesite, bauxite, mercury, sulfur, tungsten, and asbestos. There are many hydroelectric power stations on the main rivers. The biggest one is the Keban Dam on the Euphrates River. Most of Turkey’s electricity comes from waterpower.

Turkey’s longest river is the Kizilirmak at 734 miles long. It flows into the Black Sea, with the Sakarya and the Yeil Irmak—two other smaller rivers in Turkey. The Gediz and Menderes rivers flow to the west to the Aegean Sea, and the Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers flow south into the Gulf of Iskenderun. Turkey’s rivers get low in the summer and don’t help with navigation. Some have even been dammed to provide water for irrigation. There is a huge salt lake in the center of the plateau. Tuz Lake, which dries up in summer. There are other lakes as well. One of them, Lake Van, near the border on the east, is the largest. The part of Turkey that is in Europe is north and southbound by two mountain ranges. Between these two ranges is the valley of the Ergene River.

This country’s climate is more extreme though it’s located in the south. That’s because