Geographical and Political Location. Turkey, a country of utmost strategic importance in the world due to its geopolitical location, is on the crossroads between the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa, which are referred to as the “Lands of the Old World”. This country, enjoying a wealth of divine gifts of all kinds of scenic wonders, is a unique bridge between all faiths as well as Eastern and Western civilizations.

Turkey is linked to the oceans through the Black Sea, Marmara and Mediterranean Seas, which encircle it on three sides. It is like a neighbor to the entire world and has been the epicenter of major trade and migration routes throughout history. The Black Sea is linked to the world via the Straits and momentous shipping routes pass through the Marmara, an interior sea. The country borders Georgia, Armenia, Nakhichevan and Iran to the east, Bulgaria and Greece to the west, and Iraq and Syria to the south.

Turkey is a member of a variety of international organizations such as the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe,World Trade Organization (WTO), Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, and the Economic Cooperation Organization and it is also a candidate for full EU membership.

Area and Surface Formations. Turkey, rectangular in shape, has a surface area of 814,578 square kilometers. In this respect, it is greater than all of its neighbors except Iran, and all European countries except the Russian Federation. The land segment on the European continent with 3% of its total area is called Thrace, and the remaining 97% landmass in Asia is called Anatolia.

The length of the land borders of the country is 2,875 kilometers; its coastline is 8,333 kilometers long, while its landmass is approximately 550 kilometers wide and about 1,500 kilometers long.

Turkey is  located  in  the  temperate  zone between the   36  and 42nd degrees of northern latitudes and 26 and 45th degrees of eastern longitudes; and there is a  time difference of 76 minutes between its easternmost and westernmost tips.

Turkey, an elevated and mountainous country with all types and ages of geological formations, is even higher than the highest continent Asia with an average altitude of 1,132 meters, the latter being 1,010 meters. It is surrounded by high mountains in the north and south. The North Anatolian Mountains along the Black Sea coast and the Taurus Mountains in the south set Turkey’s high elevation characteristics. The Kaçkar Peak, the highest summit in the North Anatolia Mountains, is followed by the Ilgaz and Köroğlu mountains. The Samanlı Mountains, Uludağ, Istranca Mountains and Tekir Mountains are located in the Marmara Region; the Kozak, Yunt and Aydın Mountains in the Aegean; the Kızıldağ, Mount Hasan and the İdris, Elma and Ayaş mountains in Central Anatolia; and the Karacadağ and Raman Mountain in Southeastern Anatolia. The Great Ağrı Mountain is the highest peak in Turkey with 5,137 meters, and located in Eastern Anatolia along with the inactive volcano Mount Süphan as well as Nemrut and Alacadağ peaks.

Turkey is replete with seas, rivers and plains as well as lands fit for agriculture and raising livestock. The mountain ranges in the north and south are separated from each other by the large plains in Central Anatolia. The most fertile lands in the Black Sea Region are the Bafra, Çarşamba and Merzifon plains in addition to the Konya plain in Central Anatolia, the Çukurova Plain in Southern Anatolia, the Muş Plain in Southeastern Anatolia and the Bakırçay, Gediz, Büyük Menderes and Küçük Menderes plains in the Aegean Region.

Turkey is located within the Alpine-Himalayan zone, one of the most prominent seismic belts in the world, and eight major earthquakes have taken place along the North Anatolian Fault since 1939 .

Streams and Lakes. Turkey is among the richest countries in terms of streams and lakes as well. The Black Sea is the largest river basin towards which the rivers with highest energy production capabilities are headed. The rivers pouring into the Black Sea are the Kızılırmak (1,355 km.), Sakarya (824 km.), Yeşilırmak, Çoruh, Bartın and Filyos. The Susurluk and Gönen streams flow into the Marmara Sea; Bakırçay, Gediz, B. Menderes, K. Menderes and Meriç (the Maritsa) into the Aegean Sea; and Dalaman, Manavgat, Aksu, Göksu, Seyhan, Ceyhan and Asi into the Mediterranean.

The Euphrates, Tigris, Aras, Kura, Arpaçay and Çoruh Rivers are the streams which originate in Turkey and flow into other countries before they reach the seas. The Euphrates runs in Turkey for 1,263 kilometers and the Tigris for 523 kilometers. These two rivers have a longer course outside of Turkey and they flow into the Persian Gulf.

There are a large number of natural and artificial lakes with varying sizes in Turkey. Approximately 11% of its area consists of lakes and swamps. The majority of the lakes are concentrated in the Marmara, Central Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia, and Mediterranean regions. The biggest natural lake is Lake Van in Eastern Anatolia with a 3,713 km² surface area and 451 meters depth. The Erçek, Çıldır and Hazar lakes are also in Eastern Anatolia, the richest region in terms of lakes. The major lakes in the “Lakes District” in the western Taurus zone are the Beyşehir and Eğirdir lakes and the brackish water Acıgöl and Burdur lakes. Around the Marmara Sea are the Sapanca, İznik, Ulubat, Manyas, Terkos, Küçükçekmece and Büyükçekmece lakes. The lakes in Central Anatolia are rather shallow and very salty. Among these the Tuz (Salt) Lake is the second biggest lake in the country with an area of 1,500 km² and the Akşehir and Eber lakes are also in this region.
Climate. In Turkey, located in the temperate climatic zone, it is possible to enjoy the four seasons and different climates simultaneously. People can both swim in the sea and see the snowy mountains at the same time.

Turkey is also affected by the Mediterranean climate characterized by hot and arid summers. However, thanks to its location among the Eastern Mediterranean basin and its elevated landmass, it varies from the dry subtropical areas with much more abundant precipitation.

Significant climatic differences are observed among the regions depending on various factors such as the distance to
the seas, altitude and the existence of mountain ranges. In the Mediterranean, Aegean and Southern Marmara regions, the Mediterranean  climate  is  sensible  with  its hot and dry summers and mild and rainy winters. A more moderate and rainy maritime climate predominates in the Black Sea Region. In the central regions a steppe climate is observed, with dry and hot summers and cold and snowy winters. In Eastern Anatolia the summers are cool, the winters gelid and snowy. In Southeastern Anatolia, while the summers are hot and dry, there is not too much  cold  weather  during  winter.