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This report was compiled by
Mr. Sebahattin KESKIN
, Head of Data Collection and Analysis
Department of Soil & Water Resources National Information Centre
General Directorate of Rural Services

last updated: 28 June 2001

icon overview   Overview
icon land   Land resources
icon water   Water resources (AQUASTAT)
icon plant   Plant nutrient resources
icon hotspots   Hot spots
icon brightspots   Bright spots
icon challenges and view points   Challenges and viewpoints
icon references and links   References / Related internet links

1.   Country overview

1.1  Geography and administrative units

1.2  Socio-economic features

1.3  Climate

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1.1  Geography and administrative units

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. It has also been as a center of commerce because of its land connections to three continents and sea surrounding it on three sides. 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 long and 550 kilometers wide.

Turkey has a total area of 779,452 square kilometers, of which 14,300 square kilometers is water surfaces. Turkey has influential geo-political status because its location serves as a natural bridge between Europe and Asia. It is surrounded by the Black see in the north, the Mediterranean sea in the south and the Aegean sea in the west. The actual surface area of the Turkey inclusive of its lakes, is 814,578 square kilometers, of which 790,200 are in Asia and 24,378 are located in Europe.

It shares land boundaries with Greece and Bulgaria in the north west, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan in he northeast, Iran in the east and Iraq and Syria in the southeast.The land borders of Turkey are 2,753 kilometers in total, and coastlines (including islands) are another 8,333 kilometers. Turkey has two European and six Asian countries for neighbors along its land borders. The land border to the northeast with the commonwealth of Independent States is 610 kilometers long; that with Iran, 454 kilometers long ,and that with Iraq 331 kilometers long. In the south is the 877 kilometers long border with Syria. Turkey’ s borders on the European continent consist of a 212 kilometers frontier with Greece and a 269 kilometers border with Bulgaria.

Turkey is generally divided into seven regions: the Aegean, the Mediterranean, Central Anatolia, the East and Southeast Anatolia regions. Turkey has 81 provinces and 76,457 villages. Capital of Turkey is Ankara city.

[Map 1.1.1: Outline Map - www.askasia.org]

[Map 1.1.2: Administrative Map]

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1.2  Socio-economic features

Population: On a general basis, the population in Turkey is characterized by youth and dynamism. Based on better health care conditions available after the 1950’ s, the average life span in the country has taken an upward trend. Statistics in Turkey indicate that elderly are mostly concentrated in the rural areas.

Population-Employment: Following the acceleration of agricultural mechanization in the 1950s and the rapid growth in industrial investments, migration from villages to the cities speeded up. This reduced the proportion of population living in rural areas from 75% in 1950 to 46.3% in 1985.

Likewise, while 71,8% of economically active manpower worked in the farming sector in 1968, this was down to 66.1% in 1970, 60.9% in 1975, 60.6% in 1983 and 49.3% in 1990. A major portion of the economically active population is employed in the agricultural sector. The basic reason behind this is that a large part of agricultural production is carried out in small family enterprises in Turkey.

In other words, although the rate of population employed in agriculture has fallen constantly, its importance and weight in the overall picture will be maintained for a long time come. According to the 1980 general agricultural census, 0.18% of the enterprises are large scale and 99.82% small scale, 4.8% of the farm land belongs to large enterprises, 95.2% to small ones.

The Economy: Since the Second World War, the Turkish economy has been transformed by the steady growth of industry and services, and has experienced the consequent decline in the share of agriculture in national income. The economic growth rate, albeit erratic, has been one of the highest in the OECD. Turkey followed a classic path import-substitution industrialization up to 1980s. Since then it has embarked on a structural economic reform programme, aimed at liberalizing the previously regulated domestic market, and at re-orienting the Turkish economy by adopting outward-looking trade policies.

Turkey's economic performance during the 1980s was impressive, and the Gross National Product (GNP) grew by a striking 9.4 percent in 1990. Manufacturing output increased by an average of 5 percent Per year during the period of 1985 to 1994 and was matched by a corresponding growth in services. Since the early 1980s, the country's economic strategy has shifted away from import-substitution and protected industrialization to a greater degree of outward orientation and international competitiveness.

The 1991 was a year of recession, but growth in GNP picked up again in 1992 (6.4 percent) and 1993 (8.1 percent). Domestic demand increased by 13.8 percent in 1993 and continued to boom until well into 1994, at which time the trend reversed dramatically.

The government's prior retrenchment programme included a wage freeze in the public sector and a reduction in public investment. Real wages in agricultural areas have been especially hard-hit by these developments, nor has the overall economic growth narrowed the gap between urban and rural incomes. In an effort to reduce regional disparities, and to generate employment, government has invested heavily in rural infrastructure. The current account deficit was corrected, but real wages fell sharply in 1994 and the inflation rate continued to soar.

Despite this crisis, the country appeared to gradually recover in 1995, with GNP again rising sharply (by over 8 percent) after the downturn of the previous year. The Turkish economy as a whole can be said to have been transformed by the steady growth of industry and services, and by relatively new sectors, such as tourism and services.

Agriculture: The world is not able adequately to feed the population living in it and the food deficit is growing parallel to the growth of population. However, Turkey is one of the seven countries of the world that maintain self-sufficiency in food.

Agriculture production is of special importance to Turkey due to its increasing population and the great contribution agriculture makes to the national economy.

Until 1978, the share of the agricultural sector claimed a top position in the GNP. This share, however, has fallen since, due to the increasing emphasis on industrialization, from 21.5% in 1979 to 19.6% in 1983, to 18.0% in 1987 and 18.1% in 1990. Provisional figures for 1991 and 1992 put the rates at 16.8% and 16.5% respectively.

This development must not be interpreted as a decrease in the importance attached to agriculture. The fall of its share in the GNP reflects the rapid development in other sectors. The agriculture sector growth rate was 0,1% in 1981. It rose to 2.1% in 1987, to 11.6% in 1990. The increase is estimated to be 0.8% in 1991 and 3.2% in 1992.

Agricultural Population: At present, 46 percent of the population depend on the agriculture for its income. Although still very high compared to most developed countries, the figure is nearly 10 percent lower than decade ago. The share of the urban population in the total is rising by around 4.5 percent every year. And rural population has been shrinking in absolute terms for the last 6 years as a result of substantial migrations to the towns.

It is expected that by the year 2000 the urban population will rise to 70-75 percent of the total population. The number of the settlements with a population of less than 5 000 is continually decreasing, whereas those with over 500 000 inhabitants increased from only four to a total of 66, between 1995 and 1990. A high population growth rate and rapid urbanization mean that internal trade and marketing must play amore signified role on meeting food needs than in the past.

Agriculture in the Turkish economy: In 1999, agriculture accounted for 14% of GDP, and 13.8% of exports. These percentages are lower than in the past, partly due to a more rapid growth in the industrial and service sectors, but the agricultural sector is still of substantial importance of the Turkish Economy, and agricultural output increased by an annual average of 1.1 percent between 1990 and 1998. The country produces virtually all the commonly needed food crops, with some surpluses for export.

Agricultural output in Turkey consists predominantly of crop production which in 1999 accounted for 72.4 percent of total agricultural output, as against 21.6 percent for livestock products. Fisheries and forestry account for 3.9 percent and 2.46 percent respectively.

Main Crops: Cereals, especially wheat and barley, are Turkey's most important crops. With production of 21 million tons in 1998, the country ranked 7th in the world in wheat production, 8th in barley. Except for certain processed products, wheat is not an export crop.

Turkey's most important agricultural exports are tobacco, cotton, dried fruit (hazelnuts, seedless raisins, figs, apricots), pulses (chickpeas and lentils), live sheep, goats, fresh fruits (apples and citrus fruits) and fresh tomatoes. Exports of processed agricultural products include tomato puree, some mutton and sugar, processed nuts and canned fruit. According to the 1999 statistics, Turkey ranked 2nd in the world in chickpeas and lentils, 1st in nuts, 8th fresh fruits, 1st in figs and apricots.

Agriculture also plays a key role in supplying raw materials to industry, especially sugar, tobacco, tea and cotton. In 1993, Turkey was the world's 4th largest tobacco producer, although production has since fallen back. Sugarbeet production has increased as sugar has replaced other sweeteners.

Turkey is virtually self-sufficient in the main food crops, although the rapid growth in population and per capita income has led to the demand for food outstripping agricultural production, and a shift in consumption of major commodities met from domestic sources has decreased over the last decade.

Although Turkey remains a net exporter of food products, imports, particularly of dairy products and beef, are tending to grow faster than exports. Significant quantities of rice and processed food products are imported, and the imports of both cotton and burley tobacco have increased as a result of more liberal trade policies.

Food security and crop diversification: Turkey enjoys a good relation with Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), International Wheat and Maize Improvement Center (CIMMYT), International Center for Agriculture Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) and International Plant Genetics Resources Institute (IPGRI). FAO cooperated with the country in support of several research projects, and has provided technical assistance in various fields. CIMMYT and ICARDA have been providing important specialized training opportunities for Turkish scientists, as well as semi-developed and developed germplasm for wheat, barley, maize, forage crops, lentil and chickpea breeding programmes. These research programmes have been of considerable benefit to Turkish agriculture. Several wheat, barley, chickpea and lentil cultivars suitable for Turkish conditions have been selected and released from germplasms developed by ICARDA and CIMMYT.

At the initiation of ICARDA, Turkey supplied considerable quantities of germplasm in cereals and food legumes which helped found the ICARDA collections. Since the early 1980s, ICARDA has been using Turkish institutions in Central Anatolia for advanced testing of its cereal and food legume germplasm targeted for the highlands of WANA. In addition, Turkey, CIMMYT and ICARDA have established collaborative programmes in key areas. Wheat material, which was obtained through the International Winter Wheat Development Programme within the framework of common studies of Turkey and CIMMYT, is being disseminated to many developing countries. Turkey and ICARDA have joined forces in tackling important research and related problems concerning Turkey and the highlands of WANA.

Through the ''Barley for Highlands'' project, ICARDA's germplasm for highlands are tested and selected in Central Anatolian conditions of cold and drought. To project of ''Durum Wheat for Highlands'' is aimed at developing hardy and disease resistant germplasm with good grain quality. A similar approach has been adopted for the development hardy lentil and chickpea cultivars for autumn sowing. The forage legume project, also undertaken jointly with ICARDA, is aimed at discovering alternative forage crops to grow on fallow land. Studies have been carried out in Sivas and Kayseri provinces to define the constraints on agricultural production and to identify solutions.

In addition, research on sugarbeet, tea and tobacco are respectively carried out by the Sugar Company, the Tea Company and the General Directorate Association makes studies related to plant nutrition and breeding, soil fertility, food storage and animal health using the techniques of nuclear physics. Agriculture faculties of universities run research projects as thesis work, as well as special projects in various fields, which are mostly supported by the Scientific and Technical Research Association of Turkey (TUBITAK), and from the government budget.

Apart from these institutions, a few private sector companies, generally subsidiaries of national and international seed companies, carry out adaptation studies on imported plant varieties. These studies tend to concentrate on vegetables, maize, sunflowers, soybeans, millet and safflower cultivars. Certain private companies also carry out research in agronomy and plant protection.

[Table 1.2.1: Population Growth]

[Table 1.2.2: Employment Rate]

[Table 1.2.3: Main Economic Indicators]

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1.3  Climate

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 Anatolia plateau experiences extremes of hot summers and cold winters with limited rainfall.

The average rainfall is about 650 mm, which varies considerably from region to region. For example in the central and southeastern plateaus, it is 250 mm and in the northeastern coastal plains and mountain regions it is 2,500 mm.

Turkey, being situated in the temperate zone, has various climatic types in different parts of the country. The average annual temperature varies between 18-20 on the South coast, falls to 14-15 on the West coast, and finally, in the ,interior areas, (according to the location of the place from the mean sea level ) fluctuates between 4-18 . Because of the highly variable terrain and exposure to hot and cold winds, local microclimates can vary widely from the regional averages.

[Map 1.3.1: Climate Region]

[Map 1.3.2: Aridity Index]

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2.   Land resources

2.1  Physiography

2.2  Soils

2.3  Agroecological systems

2.4  Wetlands, mangroves and inland valley bottoms

2.5  Inundation Land Types

2.6  Natural hazards

2.7  Land cover

2.8  Land use

2.9  Land use change

2.10  Land Productivity

2.11  Environmental Impact of land uses

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2.1  Physiography


Turkey is a predominantly mountainous country, and true lowland is confined to the coastal fringes. About one-fourth of the surface has an elevation above 4,000 feet (1,219 meters), and less than two-fifths lies below 1,500 feet. Mountain crests exceed 7,500 feet in many places, particularly in the east, where Turkey's highest mountain, Mount Ararat (Agri) reaches 16,853 feet (5,137 meters) close to the borders with Armenia and Iran. Steep slopes are common throughout the country, while flat or gently sloping land makes up barely one-sixth of the total area. These relief features affect other aspects of the physical environment, producing climates often much harsher than might be expected for a country of Turkey's latitude and reducing the availability and productivity of agricultural land. Structurally, the country lies within the geologically young folded-mountain zone of Eurasia, which in Turkey trends predominantly east to west. The geology of Turkey is complex, with sedimentary rocks ranging from Paleozoic to Quaternary, numerous intrusions, and extensive areas of volcanic material. Four main regions can be identified: the northern folded zone, the southern folded zone, the central massif, and the Arabian platform.

[Map 2.1.1: Physical map]


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2.2  Soils


The Turkish National Soil Map: In Turkey the real understanding of soil survey and mapping began in 1952 with the help of FAO. The Turkish team, led by the American soil consultant Harvey Oakes, undertook the first reconnaissance survey. As a result,  a map of Turkey at a scale of 1:800,000 called ‘Turkey General Soil Map’ was prepared. A report and map of Turkey’s soils was completed between 1952-1954, with geological and topographical maps being used to develop a reconnaissance-level study of all the regions.

After this, full classification and mapping was made for Turkey’s soils. The maps were formed by the General Directorate of Soil and Water (today known as the General Directorate of Rural Services (GDRS)) by co-ordinating studies made at a national level. After the European initiative to prepare a small-scale map of the European Soils was commenced, the General Directorate of Soil and Water decided to make use of this map study in 1966-1971. The General Directorate of Soil and Water prepared the Turkey Development Soil Map (TDSM), based on a 1:25,000 scaled topographical map at the reconnaissance level. In this study, map units were recorded relating to the 1938 American Soil Classification System based on soil groupings including land determinants including the important phases of depth, slope, stoniness, erosion degree and other similar characteristics. After evaluating the data, two maps were produced. Firstly, the ‘Soil Resource Inventory Map’ was published for every province at a scale of 1:100,000. Secondly, the ‘Watershed Soil Map and Report’ was produced showing 17 of Turkey's 26 major watersheds, or catchments, at a scale of 1:200,000. Because of the reconnaissance level of the survey, the level of detail at the scale of 1:25,000 was not sufficient. In Turkey, this was the first original land study that mapped nation-wide knowledge and at the same time brought out important problems of soils and their distribution areas. Today this study is the main resource that can be applied to the problems and uses of Turkey’s soils.

The Turkey Soils Potential Survey and Non Agriculture Aims Land Usage Planning Project was replaced with the Turkey Development Soil Map Surveys by the General Directorate of Soil and Water between 1982-1984. These reports identified differences in soil depth, soil stoniness, soil erosion levels and distributions in all of the provincial Great Soil Groups supported by data obtained from field trips. In addition, occurrences of differences in drainage, saltiness, alkalinity problems, land usage and land feasibility classes were made, bringing the maps up to date by incorporating readings made at the scale of 1:25,000 from field studies.

From 1987 onwards, maps were prepared from the results of the Turkey Development Soil Maps Surveys at a scale of 1:100,000. With the consultation of the GDRS and the surveys, a map called the Turkey Soil Zones Map was also prepared at the scale of 1:2,000,000. This was published as the Turkey General Soil Management Plan.

[Table 2.2.1: Soil associations]

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2.3  Agroecological systems

The Soils with high production capacity cover 6.5% (5 million ha) of the total land area (77.9 million ha) in Turkey. The proportion is equal 1/5 of the potential agricultural soils of country. The highly and moderately productive soils of Turkey comprise an area of 19.1 million ha. This is almost equal to one quarter (24%) of the country's land. However, there are 7.4 million ha land which are marginally productive, bur currently used for crop production, pasture land forest and settlement areas cover about 4.8 million ha. About 573.239 ha of land is occupied by various industries and urban settlements, most of which are of prime quality.

[Table 2.3.1: Suitability class and areas of land use]

[Table 2.3.2: Ideal Land Use Patern]

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2.4  Wetlands, mangroves and inland valley bottoms

Turkey is particularly rich in wetlands, possessing 250 separate areas of wetland with a total area exceeding 1 million hectares. About 75 percent of these wetland exceed 10 hectares, and Turkey has 19 Class A and 45 Class B wetlands according to international standards. The draining of Turkey’s wetlands started in the years when malaria was widespread and became the responsibility of the State Department of Hydraulic Works in the 1950s. In the following years, the original purpose of draining wetlands was replaced with the aim of gaining additional farmland and gradually more extensive areas were effected. More than 190.000 hectares of wetland had been drained by the end of 1986.

Anatolia is crossed by two major bird migration routes, and over half of Turkey’s bird species are migratory. The country ‘s wetlands are especially important to migrating waterfowl, whose very survival depends on locating suitable habitats. Drainage of wetlands has resulted in huge decreases in both the bird populations and in the diversity of nesting birds. The most notorious example has been the disappearance of the rare Anhinga melanogaster from Amik Lake, and many endemic fish object species also became extinct as a result of the draining of this lake. Five of Turkey’s wetland areas get specific mention in the list drawn up by the RAMSAR Wetlands Convention: Manyas Lake, Goksu Delta, Sultan Reedbeds, Salt Lake and Burdur Lake.

Plans to site an industrial precinct close to Burdur Lake and an airport near Isparta have provoked heated debate and litigation. Sultan Sazligi, which can be accurately described as a wildlife paradise, has been the target of plans to drain large areas for cultivation and irrigation. The opposition lead by Turkish conservation movement helped amend the plans, but irrigation projects in the areas surrounding the wetland are reported to have caused a decrease in the density and diversity of birds.


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2.5  Inundation Land Types


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2.6  Natural hazards

The most important type of forest protection is fire prevention and control, which is undertaken by the General Directorate of Forest (OGM). During the period 1984-1993,  a total of about 133,000 hectares of forest was burned in nearly 17,000 separate fires, for an average burned area of about 7,9 ha. In an average year there are likely to be at least 1,500 fires, but the average area burned in each fire rarely exceeds 10 ha. This indicates that the rate of spread is not great. The riskiest areas for forest fires are the Aegean Region (41 % of all fires), the Mediterranean Region (24 %) and Marmara Region (22 %), and only 13 % of all fires occur in all the other regions of Turkey. About 43 % of the forest areas in Turkey are deemed to be at risk to forest fires. The causes of forest fires in Turkey are estimated to be: 25 % due to human negligence (camps, shepherds' campfires, cigarette butts etc.), 26 % due to intentional action (clearing for crops, malicious damage), 1 % due to lightning and other natural causes, and 48 % due to unknown causes.


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2.7  Land cover

According to the surveys made in 1982-1984 by General Directorate of Rural Services (GDRS); the total area of Turkey is 77.900 000 ha, separate into 28.053 507 ha of arable land, 21.505 168 ha of grass and pasture, 23.227 975 ha of forest, 1.158 109 ha of water surfaces and 3.954 941 ha residential and other land areas.

[Table 2.7.1: Land cover]


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2.8  Land use

The size of Turkey’s land resources and climatic features allow all kinds of grain, vegetables, fruit and forestry products to be produced in Turkey abundantly.

Since almost all of Turkey’s arable land is cultivated, work is being carried out to benefit from this land in the best possible manner by reducing fallow land, planting for additional crops, irrigation, increasing the use of fertilizer and machinery, seed improvement and similar measures.


[Table 2.8.1: Land use types and sizes]


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2.9  Land use change


[Table 2.9.1: Land use change]

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2.10  Land Productivity


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2.11  Environmental Impact of land uses

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3.   Water Resources (AQUASTAT)

3.1  Hydrography

3.2  Irrigation and drainage

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Information on Turkey's water resources is available at [AQUASTAT: Turkey].

3.1  Hydrography

Water Resources: Turkey has a total land area of 779,452 km2 , which 765,152 km2 is land and the remaining 14,300 km2 is surface water. Rainfall accounts for an average of 501 billion m3 of water annually. It is estimated that 274 billion m3 of this returns to the atmosphere through evaporation and transpiration from soil and water surfaces and plants; 41 billion m3 feeds underground reservoirs through leakage and deep percolation; and 186 billion m3 runs off into seas or lakes. Around 6.9 billion m3 of water is added to the country's water potential through rivers of neighboring countries.

Thus the renewable fresh (surface) water potential of Turkey is about 234 billion m3 , depending on climatic fluctuations. The total safe yield of ground water resources is estimated at 12 billion m3. Finally, it is estimated that the total (technically and economically) usable surface and ground water potential of Turkey is 110 billion m3 , with 95 billion m3 of this coming from internal rivers. 3 billion m3 from external rivers and 12 billion m3 from ground water resources.

Turkey possesses 177,714 km of river, 203,599 hectares of lakes natural of lakes and 179,920 hectares of lakes created by dams and artificial lakes, an area which is increasing all the time. To review matters related to water resources, Turkey has been divided into 26 water collection regions. The country's great geographical and climatic variety means that its water supplies are often not to be found in the right place and at the right time to meet demand. The Average annual precipitation is 643 mm, but this figure conceals wide variation from region to region.

In order to regulate the whole surface waters in the country the construction of 662 dams is required. It is obvious that the possibilities mentioned above require great amounts of investment and a long period of construction. The water supplies from these dams would be regulated to achieve the following: irrigation of 6 609 382 ha; drainage of 135 801 ha; flood control of 636 794 ha; conveyance of 7 726 hm3 of water to urban areas and generation of 121 884 MKwh of electric power by the hydroelectric power plants with a total capacity of 34 484 MW of generated electricity.

Water withdrawal: The total annual water withdrawal is 42.0 billion m3 for whole country by 2000. Estimated sectoral annual water requirements and water consumption in Turkey is given Table 1. and Table 4. It is understood by comparison of the latest two tables that; 30.6 /43.3 = 71% in total water resources development realized in 1990 and 79% in 1995 and 80% in 2000. The total development of water resources by public institutions in several sectors reached 32 billion m3 in 1994. His means that 14 % of the gross water potential (32/234), or 29 % of technically and economically usable potential (32/110) has been developed. Almost 75 % of these developed water resources are being used for agricultural purposes.

Wastewater: With rapid industrialization and urbanization, domestic waste, hospital waste and industrial waste have become a threat to soil purity. Legislative action was not taken until 1993 and is not being implemented. Much of the waste is dumped in rivers, streams and the sea, even though this is forbidden by law. The polluted water in turn pollutes the soil. Out of 17 polluted rivers, 11 are subject to the dumping of domestic waste and 16 for industrial waste, and the picture for water catchment areas is similar. The dumping of untreated waste threatens irrigation systems and drinking water supplies, and because of the intensive industrialization around Istanbul and the sewage produced by the conurbation, the Sea of Marmara has become heavily polluted. There were 200 species of fish in this sea, only a few of which now remain.

[Table 3.1.1: Water Requirements for Turkey]

[Table 3.1.2: Water Consumption for Turkey]


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3.2  Irrigation and drainage

Irrigation: In Turkey, water that can be used for agricultural purposes and the topography of irrigable farm land differ in features. Therefore, only 25.85 million ha of the 28.15 million ha of cultivated can be irrigated. Since the land that can be irrigated and the water resources are in different locations, under considerations of project economy the area of land that can be irrigated is accepted as 8.5 million ha. By the end of 1995, 4.5 million ha of land will be connected to the irrigation network, meaning that 47.8% of the 8.5 million ha of land that can be irrigated is now being irrigated. To organize the water regime in Turkey, the building of 473 dams of various sizes is under consideration and the most important investment in this respect is the Atatürk High Dam within the Southern Anatolia Project (GAP) now under construction. When this project, along with all the dams within it, is completed, 1.8 million ha of land will be opened up to irrigated farming and agricultural production will rise substantially.

In addition to building irrigation networks, important projects are now being carried out for in-field development, flood control, land reclamation, drainage and drying.

The supply and management of water resources plays a pivotal role in food production and security, and many countries, of which Turkey is one, have therefore devoted much attention to improving and expanding their irrigation systems. A total of 75 % of the funds allocated for agricultural investments is directed towards irrigation projects. The full completion of projects in this sector ranges between 15 and 20 years. In recent years, average area of irrigation projects implemented by the General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSI) is around 60,000 ha while General Directorate of Rural Services (GDRS) is responsible for extending irrigation to nearly 15,000 ha annually. 3,3 million ha of land have been opened up to irrigation, resulting an estimated total of 4,5 million ha by the end of 1995.

By the end of 1995, almost 3 million ha of land have been opened up to irrigation as a result of the efforts of public sector, with a further 1 million ha irrigated as a result of private initiatives, giving an estimated total of 4.5 million ha. Of this total, about 95 % is irrigated by surface methods (furrow, basin, border, or flooding). The remaining 5 % is watered mostly by hand-moved sprinklers and some micro irrigation, mainly in the Aegean and Mediterranean Regions.

On-farm development projects (subsurface drainage, irrigation structures, land levelling, access roads, soil reclamation etc.) are effective tools for improving the efficiency of irrigation schemes and the GDRS is engaged to carry out such projects. These are relatively cheap to manage, but the success rate is hampered by the need for better synchronization between different implementing agencies and a greater involvement of the farmers.

In Turkey, there are about 8.5 million ha of land economically and physically irrigable. Half of this area has already been equipped with irrigation infrastructure. The rapid expansion of irrigated lands helps to create rural employment and to alleviate migration from rural to urban areas. The average yield of irrigated land is 7.6 times that of dry farming land, and the average value-added per irrigated hectare is 2.6 times that of one rainfed hectare. Irrigated land, although constituting 17 % of total arable land, contributes 34 % to agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP) derived from crops

Institutional environment:Large number of organizations, governmental and non-governmental, have direct and indirect interest in the aspects of water resources development and conservation. Governmental and non-governmental organizations are at the water users level for execution, operation and maintenance of the projects.

Governmental organization;

  • The General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works ( DSI ) was established in 1954 and is under the Ministry of Public Works and Settlements. DSI is responsible for major irrigation projects, flood control, swamp reclamation, hydropower development, and water supply to cities with population over 100,000.. In recent years, it has been responsible for extending irrigation to an average of nearly 50,000 ha per year.
  • General Directorate of Rural Services (GDRS), the successor to the Soil and Water General Directorate (TOPRAKSU) and GDRS is under Prime Ministry (Governed by one of the State Ministers). GDRS is responsible for on-farm works, construction of rural roads, village water supplies, small scale irrigation projects, soil conservation and land consolidation projects, researches on soil-water-plant relationships, as well as settlement and re-settlement activities. GDRS is responsible for extending irrigation to an average of nearly about 39 000 ha per year.
  • General Directorate of Electrical Power Resources Survey and Development Administration (EIE) was established in 1935, is under the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. EIE is responsible for conducting surveys on electrical energy (including hydropower), and for rational use and conservation energy. There is a close coordination between DSI and EIE in collecting hydrometric data and surveying hydropower resources.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) is responsible for the development of villages, the development of agriculture, assistance in the development of water and soil resources, carrying out investigations and research, planning programs and projects to meet the needs for protection and development of water and soil.
  • The General Directorate of Agrarian Reform (GDAR) is responsible for certain land consolidation projects in areas declared as 'Reform Regions' by a Cabinet Decree.

As it is shown on Table 321, the cost of larger irrigation projects is higher than the smaller ones. Small scale irrigation project is defined as supplying less than 500 liters of water per second or irrigating less than about 1000 ha of land.

User Organization; In general, user organizations are responsible for operation and maintenance (O&M) of irrigation scheme transferred to them according to the agreement signed by the involved parties. The user organization are:

  • Irrigation Group
  • Irrigation Cooperative
  • Water User Association
  • Village Legal Entity
  • Municipality

Legislation in the Water Sector: The Turkish Constitution of 1982 states that water resources are natural wealth of the country, and under the authority of the State, to be used for benefit of public. However, legislation about water rights and ownership is rather complex and should be revised and rearranged. The arrangement should be consider all technical , economical social and legal issues. This is very important especially in the regions where water resources are limited.

Development of water resources are under the responsibility of the state, except some privately owned small springs and waters. Use of groundwater resources (more than 10 m below the ground) is arranged by a special law. Groundwater licenses are issued by DSI for each reservoir, when request by users. The licenses cover only right of use and utilization. The water use right can neither be transferred nor sold.

There is no special law for surface water rights. Special legislation for the use of surface waters has been enacted only for hydropower production and thermal waters which are subject to prior authorization. On the other hand, private consumptive uses of surface water are not subject to any prior authorization. If any conflict arises among the users, various customary rules and regulations developed locally are applied. In incase conflict the court settlement is final. Framework for use of water is mentioned in Civil Code enacted in 1926, and need for special water law is also stated, but since then no special law has been promulgated.

The drought period, especially in the western part of the country and deterioration in the quality of water put pressure on the water resources. The number of conflicts about the use of water increased. The need for revising the legislation to settle the problems was more evident.

There is no general statutory order priorities in the Turkish laws. The priorities are established in the light of public interest, beneficial use criteria and national planning, on a case by case basis. DSI's priority list starts with drinking and industrial water supply, continues with irrigation, power generation, flood control, and ends with navigation.

The main laws are relevant to the irrigation water sector and are given below:

Law on established of the DSI (Law No: 6200, 1953). This the law by which the States Hydraulic Works had been established

6200 Coded Establish Law of DSI entered into force in 1954. The Law defines the duties and responsibilities of DSI. According to its law DSI also acts, to some extent, as an organization responsible for integration of water sector, although it is not stated specifically in the law.

The Groundwater Law, coded 167 and entered into force in 1968, regulates the usage, development and protection of groundwater resources.

DSI is authorized by the law which was enacted in 1968 to supply municipal water to cities whose population is more than 100,000 but the City Council should have a resolution that the project should be undertaken by DSI and the resolution should also be approved by the Council of Ministers. The City Council has to recover the cost of the project according to the law.

The General Directorate of the Bank of Provinces (GDBP) is authorized by its establishment Law, coded 4759 (entered into force in 1975), to supply municipal water to all municipalities, irrespective of the size of municipality. GDBP is responsible for assisting the municipalities in financing, developing and construction the projects of infrastructure, including water supply and sewerage.

The responsibility for drinking water supply to the villages was given to DSI by the Law of Rural Area Water Supply, coded 7478 and entered into force in 1960, and later on in 1964 the responsibility is transferred to the GDRS.

The Laws define the organization and duties of the GDRS (Law No: 3202). According to its law GDRS, especially Article 2 says that GDRS is the responsible organization to carry out soil irrigation services such as land leveling , field-side channels, in-land irrigation and drainage facilities necessary to utilization for farming purposes of water obtained from irrigation facilities constructed by the state or any other agricultural areas.

The Law of Environment, coded 2872 and into force in 1983, covers all environmental issues in a broader sense including the water.

There are also some other laws related with water issues such as 927 coded the Law of Usage of Cold and Hot Mineral Waters and Thermal Springs, 1953 coded the General Sanitary Law, 2891 coded the Establishment Law of Electrical Power Resources Survey and Development Administration, Law of Operation of Lake Van, 3039 coded the Law of Paddy and Cultivation, and 4373 coded the Law of Flood Protection.

Trends: Development of water resources is an important issues for Turkey. An important factor is the need to expand irrigation in order to achieve higher yields in crop production.

In Turkey, Per capita availability of potential water resources is 3,500 m3/year, which is high for the Middle East. However, water resources in Turkey are not evenly distributed. The river flow regimes are irregular and cannot be taken directly as usable resources.

The share of irrigation in total consumption is around 75 % . Furthermore, it might go up as high as 80 % upon the completion of the Southeastern Anatolia project (GAP).

The farmers are not charged any fees based on the resource value of the water they use for irrigation. They pay an annual area-based fee to recover the costs of operation, maintenance expenses, and the capital cost of the project.

Turkey can be divided roughly into two regions with respect to Per capita potential water availability: a relatively water poor Western Region formed by Marmara, Aegean, and Central Anatolian regions of Turkey, and the rest of Turkey as the relatively water rich region. The Western Region is densely populated and heavily involved in cash crop production.

As it is the case for all input subsidies in agriculture, water pricing sends wrong signals to the farmers and encourages the over-use of water resources. By the year 2010, per capita water availability in Turkey will be slightly less than 2,500 m3/year. Generally, countries with Per capita annual water availability between 1,000 and 3,000 m3 have major problems during drought years. Conflicts in sectoral allocation of water are likely to arise. The burden of adjustment will ultimately fall on the agricultural sector as the major consumptive user. Increase in water use efficiency of already existing irrigation systems will not only save water, but it will also improve the yields.

The environmental problems related to water resources have reached quite dangerous levels in Turkey. The effectiveness of the laws and relations, which depend on the monitoring and enforcement abilities of the government, is yet to be seen.

[Table 3.2.1: Average Rates of Public Irrigation Construction]


3.2 > 3.

4.   Plant nutrient resources

4.1  Plant nutrient use and nutrient balance

4.2  Fertilizer production and costs

4. > top

4.1  Plant nutrient use and nutrient balance


In order to determine the fertility status of Turkish agricultural soils, 243 453 soil samples are collected from all over Turkey and analyzed for texture, pH, organic matter, lime, available potassium, available phosphorous. The results are grouped for nine different agricultural zones.

As for potassium level, the majority of the soils are of high level (28 671 285 ha). This is followed by sufficient (1 915 307 ha), medium (1 362 205 ha) and low potassium level soils (864 742 ha). The distribution in percentages is % 87.38, % 5.84, % 4.15,and % 2.64 respectively for these potassium level groups.

As for phosphorous, the majority of the soils are of very low level (9 686 339 ha). This is followed by low (9 359 908 ha), medium (5 572 504 ha), very high (5 139 574 ha) and high(3 055 217 ha) soils. The distribution in percentages is % 29.52, % 28.52, % 16.98, % 15.66 and % 9.31 respectively for these phosphorous level groups.

According to the soil survey and research trials zinc and iron deficiency seems to create a major problem in Turkish soils. Potentially %48 of the soils is deficient in iron content and %50 of the soils is deficient in zinc content.

The variability of the physical and chemical properties of the soils is very high. This causes a problem in uniform application of agricultural practices. There are many wide spread major soil groups because of great variety of geological structure, climate and vegetation in Turkey.

In fact there are a lot of factors, which restrict using new agricultural techniques related to soil fertility management; too much sloppy areas and obligatory cultivation on steep slopes, shallow soils, low biologic activity, high sensitivity to erosion, stoniness, salinity and drought risks.

Soil erosion is a crucial problem from the point of views of soil fertility and sustainability. Because of water and wind erosion, the majority of arable lands are subjected to the degradation of soil structure and soil loss. %68 of the arable land seriously suffer from soil erosion. Whilst conventional technique of terracing, strip cropping and appropriate cultivation techniques have been shown to reduce soil loss and increase yield of arable crops, but transfer of knowledge and application by farmers has been slight.

Effective soil depth is very important factor for soil fertility. Only %14 of total land area has a soil depth of 90 cm or deeper. As for land slope, only %38 of total land area is suitable for ideal farming. %11 of arable land are covered by stones and seriously restricted in soil fertility. Insufficient soil depth the sloppy and stony structure caused to decrease soil fertility and increase soil erosion.

Improper agricultural practices lead to salinity in some areas. The low quality of irrigation water, waterlogging and unbalanced fertilization caused salinity problems in some areas. It has been estimated that 1,5 million ha of arable land resource suffers from yield limitations because of salt and boron problems and further 2,8 million hectare from waterlogging.

The main problem widely faced in Turkey in terms of land management is that land area is not expediently used with their capabilities. While %66 of total land resources is properly employed, %33 is under appropriate or non-agricultural uses. Road construction, urban development, new residential areas, industry, mine activities have recently imposed great constraints on agricultural lands and their production potential.


4.1 > 4.


4.2  Fertilizer production and costs

The balanced and sufficient amounts of fertilizer application are very important for the stability of productivity and it is improvement. In order to manage fertilizer applications properly, soils must be analyzed. Researches related for the optimal use of fertilizer must be conducted. The farm soils are mainly analyzed by the research institutes and branches of General Directorate of Rural Services (GDRS) freely. In addition to GDRS’ service Agricultural Faculties, other state and private institutions analyse the soil. According to the result of soil analyses, fertilizer recommendations are made as to each crop or each region. Recommendation is the result of many researches that have been conducted in GDRS Research Institutes. Field experiments and calibration studies were made in every region and for every crop that is economically important. The results of the experiments were collected in a guidebook named “Fertilizer and fertilization in Turkey”. This guidebook is used widespread all over the country for fertilizer recommendations and even by the banks to loan agricultural credits. The Guidebook is continuously updated according to the result of new trials.

Farmers may confront with some problems on using and purchasing fertilizers. In these sense quality control is very important. Governmental establishment continuously controls the quality of the fertilizers on market. Farmers sometimes traditionally insist on using same fertilizers for years, and usually these traditional application form and rate transforms into a shape which is not suitable both in form and quantity as the time passes. Agricultural Credit Cooperative gives support to farmers both in using proper amounts and supplying credit for purchasing fertilizers. Because of their customs farmers have a tendy to apply unnecessary fertilizer to the soil and cause some problems such as salinity and environmental pollution. The amount of fertilizer produced and consumed in Turkey is given in Table 421.

While total fertilizer production was 3.3 million ton, fertilizer consumption was about 5,5 million-ton in 1999. The total fertilizer production was not adequate for the total fertilizer consumption or demand. Thus fertilizer are imported from abroad. In fact the total fertilizer production capacity is enough to satisfy the whole demand. But under open market conditions and globalization, companies prefer to import fertilizer because of its cheaper price. Companies prefer importing because importing also reduce the problems of storage.

Different organic material and wastes such as sewage sludge, surfactants, food and textile industries waste materials are tried to be used in agriculture. Because of its relatively cheaper price and high organic matter content and sometimes high yields in shot times but these may cause pollution in soil and water resources. These alternative fertilizer forms should be used carefully, keeping in mind the benefits of the coming generations. As the concept of organic farming extends there will be more pressure to use these materials in agriculture. Research Institutes related with soil fertility and agricultural Universities are getting more concentrated on research with these materials.

The developing industries and urbanization causes heavy metal pollution in soil and waters. The amount of heavy metal in soil and water has the potential to increase by means of industrial activity, main road and airways, use of pesticides intensively and irrigation by polluted water. Turkey has not confronted with the problem soil and water contamination problem yet seriously on large scale. But the problem started to emerge on very heavily industrialized areas. Necessary measures must be taken before pollution becomes a real problem. To take measure is easier than to remedy soil and water pollutions after they are polluted. Research institutes related with soil fertility and agricultural universities are getting more concentrated on research about environment and pollution.

[Table 4.2.1: Fertilizer Production and Consumption]


4.2 > 4.


5.   Hot spots

5.0  Overview: constraints to sustainable agriculture

5.1  Land-related constraints

5.2  Water-related constraints

5.3  Plant Nutrition-related constraints

5.4  Other constraints

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5.0  Overview

Major problems in the land and water related to sustainable agricultural activities can be grouped under three headings as: policies and legal issues, institutional issues and technical and training issues.

Policies and Legal Issues:

A draft Law concerning the usage of water resources and justification was prepared in 1968 but not enacted yet. A draft Law concerning the usage of land resources has not been prepared yet.

During the last four decades Turkey has been deeply involved in implementing numerous projects concerning the human and social components of development which are of great importance for rapid improvement. This approach is relying solely on physical development and the changes are slow. This situation has become a real constraint to a rapid development in every sector, including agricultural and rural development.

In Turkey, the rapid expansion of irrigated land is expected to create rural employment and to stop migration from rural to urban areas. But the definition and the application of the irrigation and on-farm development projects are not under a specific policy; rather they change according to the government's attitude and implementing agencies.

Willingness of the users to pay for the service is badly affected by the deficiencies in irrigation water management characterized with low liability, inequity, inadequacy and low flexibility in water distribution in Turkey. This situation is a typical vicious circle in irrigation management.

Environmental law was enacted in 1983 and regulation on Environmental Impact Assessment was put into force in 1998. But there is no example for an irrigation project constructed and managed using the established guidelines. Pollution, urbanization, industrialization, lack of effective control on groundwater reserves are adversely affecting water quality.

Sewer system is insufficient in many urban areas and does not exist in most of the rural areas.

The deterioration of the quality of water resources due to the use of pesticides is largely observed in the areas of intensive agriculture.

One of the biggest problems is erosion in rural areas, due to uncontrolled use of land and conversion to other types of land uses and environmentally harmful mismanagement. Other causes include, for example, lack of adequate forest-fire control, overgrazing and unregulated browsing, harmful effects of airborne pollutants, economic incentives and other measures taken by other sectors of the economy.

Institutional Issues:

There are problems of lack of coordination, overlapping duties in the same area by several organizations, hence wasting time and money. For example, DSI and GDRS are dealing with on-farm water management issues at the same area of large irrigation schemes without any coordination.

Lack of coordination and synchronization of activities among the concerned institutions has resulted in a significant number of unfinished irrigation and drainage schemes. This seriously reduces the intended benefit of investments. This has also caused inefficiency and frequently decreased the potentials of irrigation practices by the farmers, while further eroding potentials for sustainability.

Although DSI constructs major irrigation infrastructure and GDRS small scale irrigation schemes and on-farm development works, DSI is legally in charge of the nation's ground water development. For small scale ground water irrigation projects, DSI sinks the wells, install the pumps and connects the electricity and GDRS completes the canal infrastructure. Both agencies report the same ground water schemes as their achievements.

Water User Associations have many problems associated with finance, administration and machinery. Some irrigation schemes are still operated by DSI.

Irrigation development in Turkey has been hampered by inappropriate investment management, which is manifested at the start-up of many new irrigation projects, excessively long completion periods, low economic rates of return (ERRs) to irrigation investment. Implementation lags were found to be somewhat larger for works undertaken by GDRS than for those carried out by DSI.

Many projects taken into the annual investment programs by both agencies, given available investment budget, suffer from severe delays in operation and reduced accrued benefits.

One of the most common reason of the predominance of political interventions in decisions on projects, without proper assessment of the requirements of farmers. There is no clear rule on obtaining the commitments of the majority of the future beneficiaries before the beginning of the investments.

Overloaded investments programmes usually contain projects with very low internal rates of return (IRR 8%).

There is no owner or responsible organization of on-farm works (subsurface drainage , quarter canals, farms access roads, land levelling, some civil works etc.) done by GDRS and left as it is after installation.

As a result of the irrigation management deficiencies, subsurface drainage and several other on-farm works need to be repeated at some 15-20 years intervals in many large irrigation schemes equipped by DSI.

There is no monitoring and evaluation on the performance of small scale irrigation schemes realized by GDRS.

No land consolidation project has been practiced on dry farming lands yet.

All rural infrastructural services are provided by GDRS. Here, there are 2 main problems: there is almost no involvement of the beneficiaries and there is no environmental concern at the stage of project preparing and implementation.

Technical and Training Issues:

Extension on irrigated agriculture is not effective. This duty is the responsibility of the Ministry of agriculture. GDRS irrigation techniques and other relevant research findings are not effectively transferred to extension service and farmers. There is no relation between farmers training and finance issues. Land and water management advice is not clearly included in the extension programs for the improved management of land and water and group formation.

The coverage of piped and pressurized irrigation system (more sophisticated and water saving system) has very small percentage (less than 5%) of overall irrigated area. The prevailing irrigation method in Turkey is conventional ( classic irrigation system).

Training is one major problem. Because of the lack of training all the concerned parties are not enough aware of the situation and the measures to be taken.

DSI and GDRS are technical (engineering) organizations and do not have units hiring sociologists, environmentalists and other related specialists to address the socio-economic and environmental aspects of land and water management, including costs benefits analysis, collective choice arrangements, monitoring, conflict resolution mechanisms etc. DSI and GDRS do not deal with the human and social capital aspects of the issue but only technical and economical feasibility of projects.


5.0 > 5.

5.1  Land-related constraints to sustainable agriculture

The majority of the soils in Turkey are of Loam texturing ( 16 566 568 ha ) followed by loam clay (13 599 421 ha ),clay (1 566 953 ha),sandy (1 074 367 ha ) and heavy clay (16 229 ha ) texturing soils. The distribution in percentage is % 50.49, % 41.44, % 4.74, % 3.27 and % 0.05 respectively for these texture groups.

As for pH , the majority of the soils are of slightly alkaline ( 20 345 796 ha ), followed by neutral ( 9 769 980 ha ), medium level acidic (540 491 ha ),severe level alkaline (256 366 ha ) and severe level acidic soils (113 773 ha ).The distribution in percentages is % 62.0, % 29.86, % 5.36, % 1.65, % 0.78, and % 035, respectively for these pH groups.

As for organic matter the majority of the soils are of low content (14 366 661 ha ), followed by medium (7 423 594 ha ), very low (7 043 549 ha ), fair (2 485 103 ha ), high (1 494 632 ha ) soils. The distribution in percentages is % 43.78 % 22.62, % 21.47, % 7.57 and % 4.55 respectively for these organic matter groups.

As for lime level, the majority of the soils are of medium level (8 247 811 ha), followed by low lime (7 574 583 ha), lime (6 004 142 ha), very high lime (5 523 361 ha ) and high lime soils (5 463 641ha). The distribution in percentages is % 25.14, % 23.08, % 18.30, % 16.83 and % 16.65 respectively for these lime level groups.

As for total salt level, the majority of the soils are non saline (31 339 661 ha), and is followed by slightly saline (1 163 222 ha), medium saline (219 491 ha) and highly saline (34 509 ha).The distribution in percentages is % 95.51, % 3.54, % 0.67, % 0.28 respectively for these salinity level groups.


5.1 > 5.

5.2  Water-related constraints to sustainable agriculture

In Turkey, 90% of irrigation canals are concrete lined. These increases the conveyance efficiency in the system. But overall water use efficiency is about 40% ranging from 10% to 70%. Those indicators show a deficiency in irrigation water management in all (main and on-farm system).

Runoff, drainage and deep percolated water from irrigated lands contain high level of agricultural chemical, as a result of over fertilizer and chemical usage.

Rapid irrigation development and poor water management have put pressure on natural resources. In some irrigation schemes, the drainage water is reused or flow to marches threatening endangered wild life. Some drainage discharges and city sewages seriously threaten some lakes, estuaries and marine life as well.

Sediment accumulation in dead storage of dams and reduction of available water for irrigation and domestic use is threatening irrigated agriculture in many locations because of sever soil erosion from upper watersheds.

Water is conductive medium for the spread of diseases carrying bacterial and viral pathogens. The risk that one or more of those diseases are introduced or have impact is significant in irrigation schemes where land drainage is poor or badly maintained and where there are new settlements of immigrants at the suburbs of big cities.

5.2 > 5.

5.3  Plant Nutrition-related constraints to sustainable agriculture

As for organic matter the majority of the soils are of low content (14 366 661 ha ), followed by medium (7 423 594 ha ), very low (7 043 549 ha ), fair (2 485 103 ha ), high (1 494 632 ha ) soils. The distribution in percentages is 43.78%, 22.62%, 21.47%, 7.57% and 4.55 % respectively for these organic matter groups.

5.3 > 5.

5.4  Other constraints to sustainable agriculture

As for total salt level, the majority of the soils are non saline (31 339 661 ha), and is followed by slightly saline (1 163 222 ha), medium saline (219 491 ha) and highly saline (34 509 ha).The distribution in percentages is % 95.51, % 3.54, % 0.67, % 0.28 respectively for these salinity level groups.

5.4 > 5.

6.   Bright spots

6.0  Overview: society's response to ameliorate the situation

6.1  Land-related response indicators

6.2  Water-related response indicators

6.3  Plant Nutrition-related response indicators

6.4  Other response indicators

6. > top

6.0  Overview: society's response to ameliorate the situation


A draft Law Concerning the usage of water resources has been updated and will be enacted in the nearest future.

Preparing a draft Law Concerning the usage of land resources has already been started. The involvement of beneficiaries in agricultural and rural development has been encouraged by government. For example, during the last 3 years DSI has successfully transferred the operation and maintenance responsibility of schemes on about 1.2 million hectares to users. This is a phenomenal development in privatization efforts the pace of which has surpassed all expectations. Small scale irrigation projects cannot be carried out without setting up users cooperatives (generally village people). This is done before project implementation. After constructing the irrigation systems, GDRS gives its main O&M responsibility to the users.

To solve the problems related to environmental conservation, The Parliament approved a new law 1993. According to this law every activity related to environment must be approved by the Environment Commission under the Ministry of Environment. The Commission is responsible to review all agricultural and rural development project proposals of public of private organizations and has the authority to reject projects which are considered harmful to the environment.

Abroad classification of facilities defined in the regulation that are subject to the special permission are energy plants, non-metal production and processing facilities, metals production and processing, chemical plants, organic matter and plastics production and processing facilities, timber and paper mean production, beverage, food and agricultural product facilities, waste disposal plants and storage, packing and dumping of dusty material facilities.

A National Environmental Action Plan which involved the commission of water resources management was prepared and opened for discussion.

All services related to rural infrastructures are to be transferred to local authorities. By so doing financial, human and the other resources will be more efficiently managed. And the beneficiaries will be involved in all stages of the system.

Some government organizations involved in agricultural and rural development have carried out on some training programmes for farmers. In these programmes, the beneficiaries are informed about the importance of environmental conservation and environment friendly agriculture practices.

Apart from these organizations, some civic organizations and NGO's also make effort to inform the public about the environmental issues and sustainable development through campaigns. One of the most prominent campaigns in regent years, has been the TEMA's (a civic foundation which makes efforts against erosion in Turkey) erosion campaigns which placed the erosion issue on the top of agenda.

In order to have public support for environmental protection, some communication tools, TV,radio, extension services, training, study tours and so on, have been successfully used.


6.0 > 6.


6.1  Land-related response indicators

Information not available.

6.1 > 6.

6.2  Water-related response indicators

Information not available.

6.2 > 6.

6.3  Plant Nutrition-related response indicators

Information not available.

6.3 > 6.

6.4  Other respp ALIGN="JUSTIFY"> 

Genetic Diversity: Flora and fauna are unusually diverse and the country is a unique genetic reserve for a large number of plant species. The total number of species of edible fruit grown in the world, for example, is know to be 138, and about 80 of these are found in Turkey. The great diversity of fruit species can be illustrated by just a few figures: there are 286 local varieties of fig , 253 of pear, 91 of walnut and 64 of pomegranate. As for domestic animals, there are six different native varieties of cattle, 13 native varieties of sheep and 4 native varieties of goat raised in Turkey, and in fact there is ample genetic diversity in all types of domestic animals. For instance, honeybees (Apis mellifera) , which play an important role in the pollination and yield of many crop plants, occur in many different types in Turkey.

The many climatic regions in Anatolia have necessitated corresponding adaptations by the animal and plant species occupying these regions. The variation among honeybee populations distributed throughout Anatolia reflects the diversity of ecological conditions in different regions under the influences of selection by climate, flora and natural enemies.

Plant life: There are approximately 8.800 species of plants in Anatolia,3.000 of which are endemic. The richest zones in terms of native species are the Amanos Mountains, the Taurus Mountains, the Salt Lake Area, Sivas, Northern and Eastern Anatolia.

Mammals and Birds: There are 128 species mammals in Turkey, a figure that includes two-thirds of all European species as well as Asian and African species such as hyenas, pocupines, gerbils, antelopes, caracals and leopards. Most of the species classified as endangered by the Council of Europe and IUCN are to be found in Turkey ,including the Iynx, wolf and brown bear. There are 449 recorded species of birds in the country, of which 376 occur regularly and 229 species breed or have bred in the country, making Turkey an important area in this respect. The number of species of amphibians and reptiles known in Turkey is almost equal to the number of species in the whole of Europe. There is also a wide variety of reptiles, including 49 species of lizard and 36 species of snakes.

Fish and Invertebrates: As far as are concerned, the waters surrounding Turkey contain an estimated 318 species of fish, and a further 121 freshwater species are found in the country's rivers and lakes. Certain freshwater species are native to Turkey, for example the Abant Trout and the Van pearly mullet. The number of invertebrate species in Turkey is harder to gauge accurately. It is accepted that there are approximately 40.000 recorded species is accepted, but the actual total may well be in excess of 150.000.


6.4 > 6.

7.   Challenges and viewpoints

Agricultural Policy

On the basis of statements in development plans and programmes, the main objectives of Turkish agricultural policy are:

  • Ensuring an adequate growth rate in agriculture,
  • Increasing productivity and diversifying agricultural production by improving production techniques,
  • Improving the level of nutrition of the Turkish population ,
  • Raising the standard of living of those employed in the agricultural sector ,
  • Decreasing unemployment,
  • Controlling the influx of labor from rural areas to urban areas and reducing intra-sectoral income disequilibria, and
  • Improving agricultural structures and ensuring better utilization of production factors.

The Seventy Five Year Plan (1996-2000) : The most recent of the government Five Year Plans, while emphasizing the need for increased agricultural output and ,improved productivity ,also makes a special point of stressing environmental factors and the idea of sustainable growth and biological diversity. Following are the major provisions of the plan;

  • The target for increase in agricultural output will be 2.9 to 3.7 percent during the period of the plan,
  • The use of chemical fertilizers is set to rise from its present 5.1 million tons to 6.4 million tons by the year 2000,but it is stressed that due attention must be paid to the environment,
  • The expansion of irrigation will continue, but irrigation systems should also be 'environmentally friendly',
  • Improved nutrition is emphasized, and especially the need to increase levels of protein intake
  • As far as livestock is concerned, emphasis is put on improving the quality of breeds to increase productivity, but provision will be made to conserve native strains,
  • Efforts will be made to improve access to agricultural information and to produce reliable statistics for the sector,
  • More account should be taken of soil and climatic conditions so that crops are grown which are appropriate to the locality,
  • More attention must be paid to compliance with international standards,
  • Forests receive particular mention. Cadastral works will continue and plant -soil-water balances will be preserved to prevent deforestation and soil erosion,
  • Some attention is given to the building of closer cooperation between farmers, sales outlets and the food industry and to the development of producers' associations, and
  • The trend towards privatization and the market economy is embodied in resolution to minimize government intervention in pricing, and also to transfer research and extension activities to the private sector,

In order to integrate the Turkish agriculture with those of the development countries and achieve the determined goals, it is necessary to make reforms in agriculture.

Agricultural reform will yield the following results:

  • Agricultural data base and farmer registration system will be established
  • Agricultural transactions will be registered.
  • Productivity and production will increase and accordingly, living standard of the producers will be raised.
  • Through supervision, sustainability in agriculture will be ensured.
  • Diversity and quality in production will be achieved to compete with other countries.
  • The development of the trade balance in favor of agricultural exports will be maintained.
  • Waste of resources will be avoided through the utilization of production planning and support systems will be directing.
  • The use of agricultural lands for other purposes or misuse will be prevented.
  • Agricultural will be restructured to compete with the agriculture of other countries, within the framework of responsibility defined by international agreements.
  • Through the integration of agriculture and industry, industrial investments will be diverted to rural areas.
  • Sufficient and balanced nutrition will be provided for the people.
  • Adequate, continual, qualified and standard raw materials will be provided for the industry at favorable prices.
  • The formation of a healthy and sustainable environment will be guaranteed.
  • In order to achieve all these objectives , the agricultural policy will be carried out in a coordinated manner.

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8.   References and related internet links

8.1  References

8.2  Related internet links

8. > top

8.1  References

  • Cangir, C., Kapur, S., Duygu, P., Akça, E., and Eswaran, H., 1999. An Assessment of Land Resource Consumption in Relation to Land Degradation in Turkey. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, p253-259.
  • Dalgün, N., 2000. Country Report for the Regional Workshop on Water Quality Management and Pollution Control, General Directorate of Rural Services, Ankara.
  • Dursun, H., 1998., Country Report for Land Resources and Farm Holdings in Turkey, General Directorate of Rural Services, Ankara.
  • Environmental Protection General Directorate, 1998. Country Report for National Plan for in Situ Conservation of Plant Genetic Diversity in Turkey, Ankara.
  • Erdayı, M. A., 1999. Country Report for The Group Training Course in Agricultural and Rural Development with Environmental Conservation JFY. General Directorate of Rural Services, Ankara.
  • Erkan, A. Z, 1998. Country Report For The Group Training Course in Agricultural Land and Water Resources Development General Directorate of Rural Services, Ankara.
  • Eyüpoğlu, F., 1999. Fertility Status of Turkey Soils. General Directorate of Rural Services, Ankara.
  • General Directorate of Soil and Water (GDSW, today GDRS), 1978. Turkey Land Resources, Ankara.
  • General Directorate of Rural Services (GDRS), 1987. The General Soil Management Planning of Turkey, Ankara.
  • General Directorate of Rural Services (GDRS), 1997. The General Soil Management Planning of Turkey, Ankara.
  • International Conference on Land Degradation, , 1996. University of Çukurova, Adana.
  • Kalınbacak, K., 2000., Country Report for Soil Fertility Management Problems in Turkey. Soil and Fertilizer Research Institute, Ankara.
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), 2000. Strategy for National Agricultural Development-Horizon 2010. Ankara.
  • Muthoo, M. K., 1996. Agriculture in Turkey. ISBN 975-8153-00-5, FAO, Ankara.
  • Sayın, S., 1996. Report for Irrigation Water Management in Turkey and The GAP Region, Ankara University Agriculture Faculty, Ankara.
  • Soil Science Society of Turkey, Selçuk University and General Directorate of Rural Services, 2000. Proceedings of International Symposium on Desertification, Konya.
  • Prime Ministry State Planning Organization (SPO), 2001. Main Economic Indicators, Ankara.
  • State Institute of Statistics (SIS), 2000. Statistical Yearbook of Turkey 1999, Ankara.
  • Piroğlu, K., 1998. Country Report for the Group Training Course in Waterworks Engineering for Cold Regions (J-98-03252). General Directorate of Rural Services, Ankara.
  • Yavuz, H., Çakmak, E., 1995. Water Policy Reform in Turkey Report. State Hydraulic Works and Department of Economics Bilkent University, Ankara.
  • Soil Science Society of Turkey, General Directorate of Rural Services and Çukurova University, 1998. M. Şefik Yeşilsoy International Symposium on Arid Region Soil, İzmir.
  • Soil and Water Resources National Information Center (NIC), 2000. Turkey Soil and Water Resources Database Formation Project. General Directorate of Rural Services, Ankara.
  • Soil and Water Resources National Information Center (NIC), 1999. According to FAO-UNESCO and New Soil Taxonomy the GDRS Turkey General Soil Maps and Report Updating Project. General Directorate of Rural Services, Ankara.


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8.2  Related internet links

Country in General

Land, Water, and Plant Nutrition



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last updated: 28 June 2001