Turkey Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

Turkey: population, cities



According to Countryaah website, Turkey has about 80 million residents.

Ethnic composition

Mainly Turks (approx. 80%) live in Turkey, besides Kurds, Zaza, Arabs, Circassians, Georgians, Lasen, Armenians, Abkhazians, Chechens, Yezidi, Ubyches, Greeks, Bulgarians, Albanians, Jews and other ethnic groups.


About 99% of the Turkish population belong to Islam.

National languages

The national language is Turkish. In addition, numerous dialects such as Kurdish are also spoken.

Capital, other cities

The capital of Turkey is Ankara with a population of around 4.4 million. According to Abbreviation Finder, TUR stands for Turkey in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym.

Other cities are:

  • Istanbul with around 8,800,000 residents
  • Izmir with around 2,500,000 residents
  • Bursa with around 1,500,000 residents
  • Adana with around 1,250,000 residents
  • Gaziantep with around 1,050,000 residents
  • Konya with around 880,000 residents
  • Antalya with around 750,000 residents

Turkey: geography, general map

Turkey has a common border with the following eight countries:

  • Bulgaria with a length of about 240 km
  • Greece with a length of about 206 km
  • Syria with a length of about 822 km
  • Iran with a length of about 499 km
  • Iraq with a length of about 352 km
  • Georgia with a length of about 252 km
  • Armenia with a length of about 268 km
  • Azerbaijan with a length of about 9 km

The country has a coast to the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, the Marmara Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The total length of the Turkish coast is around 8,335 km. Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of Turkey.


Turkey is about twice the size of Germany and extends over the European (approx. 3%) and the Asian (approx. 97%) continent. The west-east axis is about 1,570 km long, the north-south extension is between 450 and 660 km.

About 2/3 of the country’s border is made up of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. The country lies on the border of continental plates, which is what causes the frequent earthquakes in Turkey. Turkey is divided into the following 7 regions:

  • Maramara area
  • Area
  • Mediterranean area
  • Black Sea area
  • Inner Anatolia
  • Southeast Anatolia
  • Eastern Anatolia

Area and land use

Turkey covers an area of 814,578 km².


  • ForestAround 26% of the country is forested.
  • Arable land and fieldsAbout 30% of the land area of Turkey is arable land.
  • SteppeMost of Turkey is covered by a barren steppe landscape. It extends at a height of 1,000 m over the Central Anatolian plateau and is bordered in the north by the Pontic Mountains and in the south by the Taurus Mountains.
  • MountainsAround 90% of Turkey is covered by mountains. The mountain ranges in the north of the country are called the North Anatolian Mountains or Pontus Mountains, while the Taurus Mountains extend in the south. In addition to Mount Ararat, there are a few large volcanoes in Turkey, but none of them are active anymore.

Tidal range

In Antalya on the Mediterranean Sea the mean tidal range is only a few decimeters and in Samsun on the Black Sea it is the same. For detailed explanations of ebb and flow, see Tides, Ebb and Flow.


The world’s highest tidal range can be found in the Bay of Fundy in Canada, where it is up to 16 m, and at spring tide even over 20 m. The Bay of Fundy is located on the Atlantic between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which is called Nova Scotia in German and whose capital is Halifax. On the German North Sea coast it varies between 1 m and 3 m. In the western Baltic Sea, on the other hand, the tidal range is only 0.3 m, while it is barely noticeable in the eastern Baltic Sea.

Longitude and latitude

Turkey extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from 35 ° 51 to 42 ° 06 north latitude Δλ = from 25 ° 40 to 44 ° 48 east longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Legal time

In Turkey, the following applies to Central European Time (CET) or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT):

Δt (CET) = + 2 h
Δt (GMT) = + 3 h

The time zone Turkey is in is known as Arabia Standard Time (AST), Eastern European Time (EET). The country left the Eastern European Time Zone on October 29, 2016.

For more detailed explanations of the time, see Time zones, time.

Highest level of the sun in Ankara

Ankara lies at a northern latitude of around φ = 40 °

If the sun is at the tropic, i.e. at δ = 23.5 °, summer begins in Ankara, this is June 21. Then, for the highest position of the sun at noon, according to Eq. 1 (see position of the sun):

40 ° = (90 ° – h) + 23.5 °


H = 73.5 °

This is the highest level above the horizon (exactly: above the chimney) that the sun takes within the year in Ankara.

Mountains, Ararat

Büyük Ağrı Dağı (Ararat)

The highest mountain in the country is the Büyük Ağrı Dağı (Great Ararat) with a height of 5,137 m. According to legend, Noah’s Ark was stranded here after the end of the flood.

The mountain is a stratovolcano that probably last erupted 4,000 to 5,000 years ago. What is known, however, is the great earthquake of 1840, which resulted in a mud and debris avalanche that destroyed an entire village. Although the mountain is entirely on the territory of Turkey, there is a symbolic representation of it in the national coat of arms of Armenia. The mountain was climbed for the first time in 1829 under the direction of Johann Jakob Friedrich Wilhelm Parrot – Rector of the University of Tartu (Estonia) from 1831 to 1834.

Other mountains with a height of over 3,500 m are:

Surname Height Location Particularities
Uludoruk Tepe (Cilo Sat) 4,135 m In the Taurus Mountainsin Eastern Anatolia
Cilo Dağı 4,116 m In the Taurus Mountainsin Eastern Anatolia
Süphan Dağı 4,058 m Eastern Anatoliaon the north bank of Lake Van Stratovolcano
Kaçkar Dağı 3,933 m Inthe east Pontic mountains in the northeast of the country
Erciyes Dağı 3,917 m In the province of Kayseriin Central Anatolia Stratovolcano, winter sports area
Little Ararat 3,897 m Neighbor of the Great Ararat Together with the Great Araratpart of the Ararat National Park
Mor Dağı 3,807 m In the province of Hakkari
Demirkazık Dağı 3,756 m In the Niğde Provincein Central Anatolia
Karadağ 3,752 m In the province of Hakkari
Emler Zirvesi 3,723 m In the Niğde Provincein Central Anatolia
Gökdağ 3,604 m In the province of Hakkari
Kepce Dağı 3,550 m In the province of Vanin the vicinity of Lake Van
Dilek Dağı 3,550 m In the Eastern Pontic Mountainsin the provinces of Rize and Erzurum
Keşiş Tepesi 3,548 m In the province of Erzincan
Tendürek Dağı 3,533 m In the province of Kayserinear the Iranian border Shield volcanolast erupted in 1855
Medetsiz Zirvesi 3,525 m In the Niğde Provincein Central Anatolia
Hüdavendigâr Dağı 3,510 m In the provinces of Ağrı and Van

Rivers, Euphrates, Tigis


The longest river in the country – which flows exclusively in Turkey – is the Kizilirmak with a length of around 1,355 km. The river has its origin east of the provincial capital Sivas on the slopes of the Kızıl- and Kumanlı Dag – about 150 km west of the headwaters of the Euphrates. The Kizilirmak flows into the Black Sea north of the village of Bafra in the province of Samsun. According to the Ramsar Convention, the delta of the river’s mouth is a particularly protected wetland area.

The Ramsar Convention is a treaty under international law, the conclusion of which was initiated by UNESCO. It protects wetlands, especially as a habitat for waterbirds and waders.

The convention was concluded on February 2, 1971 and entered into force in 1975. The treaty is named after the Iranian city of Ramsar, where the negotiations took place

Euphrates, Firat

Euphrates and Tigris are considered to be one of the cradles of human culture. In Turkish the Euphrates is called Firat. The river has a length of 2,735 km – but together with its source river, the Murat, it has a length of 3,455 km. The other source river of the Euphrates is the Karasu (black water). Both have their source in Eastern Anatolia in Turkey. Initially, the two rivers flow roughly parallel in a westerly direction and then merge near the city of Malatya to form the Euphrates. At the end of its journey, it joins the Tigris at Al Qurnah in Iraq to form the approximately 195 km long Shatt al-Arab, which then flows into the Persian Gulf after Basra in Iraq.


The Tigris is a 1,900 km long river in the Middle East. Its origin lies in the eastern part of the Taurus in eastern Turkey. Later a sückweit depicts the border with Syria. Then it flows through Iraq. At the end of its journey, it joins the Euphrates at Al Qurnah in Iraq to form the approximately 195 km long Shatt al-Arab, which then flows into the Persian Gulf after Basra in Iraq. The Euphrates and Tigris together form the Mesopotamia – one of the cradles of human culture.


The Aksu has a length of 162 km. Its source is in the western Taurus Mountains and it flows east of Antalya into the Gulf of Antalya.


The Afrin has a length of around 150 km. It rises west of Gaziantep in the Kartal Mountains, flows through the northwest of Syria and flows into the Nahr al-Asi (Orontes) near Antakya in the Turkish province of Hatay.


The Botan is a km long river. It rises in the mountains west of the Nordüz plateau. This plateau forms the border between the provinces of Siirt, Hakkari and Van. It flows into the Tigris near Çattepe in the province of Siirt.


The Ceyhan with a length of around 510 km arises near the city of Elbistan in the province of Kahramanmaraş in the Taurus Mountains. It forms a large delta in the Çukurova lowland, over which it flows into the Iskenderun Gulf near the city of Karataş in the Adana province. The Gulf of Iskenderun is located in the extreme southeast of Turkey and is a bulge of the Mediterranean Sea. A little to the west is the city of Issus (Issus), where Alexander the Great against the Persians under their King Dareios III in 333. won. It should be mentioned that the Ceyhan flows partly underground.


The 320 km long Chabur is fed by several sources. Some tributaries have their source in the limestone mountains near the Turkish city of Tur Abdin. But the largest tributaries come from several sources in the area of the Turkish-Syrian border at Ra’s al-‘Ayn. It flows into the Euphrates at Busayra. Busayra is located in Syria in the Dair az-Zaur governorate.


The Çoruh (also: Ch’orokhi) has a length of 375 km. Its source is in the 3,000 m high Mescite Mountains in the Turkish province of Erzurum – in northeastern Turkey. It flows into the Black Sea in Georgia south of Batumi.


The Gediz – in antiquity the Hermos – has a length of 405 km. The source of the river is located in the Lydian mountains between the city of Gediz and Murat Dağı (2,310 m). The river flows over an extensive Delte, the southern part of which is swamped, about 30 km northwest of İzmir into the Gulf of İzmir.


Today’s Göksu was called Kalykadnos in antiquity and Saleph in the Middle Ages. The river has a length of around 260 km and flows through the Turkish provinces of Antalya, Konya, Karaman and Mersin. The river has two headwaters, the northern one being the Gökçay (Blue River) and the southern one being the Gökdere (Blue Stream). Both source rivers have their origin in the Taurus Mountains. Its confluence with the Göksu is located south of the city of Mut in the Mersin province. The river then flows into the Mediterranean between the two cities of Taşucu and Silifke in the province of Mersin. For those interested in history, it should be mentioned that in this river Emperor Friedrich I “Barbarossa” (1122-1190) drowned on June 10, 1190 on the Third Crusade near the city of Seleucia – in today’s province of Mersin.

Large meander

The large meander has a length of 550 km and is called the “large meander” to distinguish it from the “small meander”. Since the river is very winding (meandering) one gave it this name.

The river has its origin in the two source rivers Banaz and the Kufi in the Phrygia mountains – between the provincial capitals of Uşak (province: Uşak) and Afyonkarahisar (province: Afyonkarahisar). Their confluence is north of the city of Denizli in Eastern Anatolia. The river then flows into the Aegean near the ancient city of Milet – the mathematician “Thales von Milet” is known. On the site of the old city of Miletus you can see the remains of the old temples, a bathhouse and other remains of buildings.

Little Meander

The 200 km long Little Meander, in ancient times the Kaystros, rises between İzmir and the district town of Denizli east of the 2,200 m high Bozdağ.

It has its course in a valley about 30 km to the north – roughly parallel to the lower reaches of the Great Meander. The river flows into the Aegean Sea near ancient Ephesus – at today’s Selçuk. The ruins of ancient Ephesus have been partially rebuilt and are definitely worth a visit.

Großer Zab

The Große Zab has a length of about 430 km. It rises in southeastern Turkey and flows into the Tigris in Iraq south of Mosul. It roughly forms the border to the Kurdish part of Iraq.

The Little Zab does not flow in Turkey!


The Kura – called Cyrus in ancient times – has a length of 1,364 km long Kura, making it the longest river in the Caucasus. The river has its origin in the province of Ardahan in northeastern Turkey. The river then flows through Georgia and there the capital Tbilisi and then Azerbaijan, where it flows into the Caspian Sea.


The 505 km long Mariza (Maritza) flows through the region of Thrace in Southeastern Europe, with its lower course forming the border between Greece and Turkey and partly that between Greece and Bulgaria.

The river has its origin in the Rila Mountains in Bulgaria. Its mouth is near the Greek city at Alexandroupolis in the Aegean Sea.


The Murat with a length of 720 km is the eastern source river of the Euphrates. It rises near Mount Ararat north of Lake Van near the city of Doğubeyazıt in the province of Ağrı – in the far east of Turkey. Near the city of Malatya in the province of the same name, it unites with the Karasu to form the Euphrates.

Nahr al-Asi, Asi Nehri

The Nahr al-Asi – in Turkish Asi Nehri – has a length of 570 km and rises in Lebanon from a karst spring in the Bekaa plain – north of the city of Baalbek. In addition to Lebanon, it flows through Syria and flows into the Mediterranean Sea in Turkey near the city of Samandağ in the Hatay province.

Sakarya Nehri

With a length of around 825 km, the Sakarya Nehri is a river that only flows through Turkey. Its source is in the eastern Taurus Mountains in the Afyon province. It flows into the Black Sea in the southwest. In the province of Eskisehir, the river forms the Gökçekaya dam, which is around 21 km² in size.


The Seyhan has a length of around 560 km. It consists of two main arms: the Göksu, which rises in the Tahtalı Mountains in the Kayseri province, and the Zamantı, which rises in the central Tarsus Mountains in the north of the Tahtalı Mountains in the Sivas province. Both rivers converge near the city of Aladağ. The Seyhan flows into the Mediterranean about 20 km south of the old port city of Tarsus – in the province of Mersin. Incidentally, the river crosses the city of Adana, which has a population of around 2 million. In Adana, by the way, the stone bridge built under the Roman Emperor Hadrian, the world’s oldest bridge still in use, spans the river.


The approximately 350 km long Tundscha is a river that flows through Bulgaria and Turkey. It rises in Bulgaria in the High Balkans near the 2,376 m high Botew summit. The Tundscha is the largest tributary of the Mariza, into which it flows at Edirne – in the European part of Turkey.


The approximately km long Skamandros rises in the Ida Mountains and flows north of Kumkale into the Dardanelles. The river is worth mentioning because the Troy, excavated by Heinrich Schliemann, lies on its bank.

In Greek mythology, the river also plays an important role because it is personified by the river god of the same name. The river god is a son of Zeus and the husband of the nymph Idaia. He is considered to be the progenitor of the Trojans.


Although the Xanthos is only about 40 km long, it is the most important river in the beautiful region of Lycia in the province of Antalya in Turkey. He also plays an important role in Greek mythology. Its source is in the Taurus Mountains on the 3,025 m high mountain “Kizilca Dağ”, from where it flows into the Lycian plain and then flows north of Gelemiş (in ancient times: Patara) into the Mediterranean Sea.

According to Greek mythology, Leto is said to have immersed her twins Artemis and Apollon in the holy water of the river while fleeing from Zeus’ wife Hera. Leto is the daughter of the titans Koios and Phoibe and later the lover of Zeus, who with her fathered the twins Artemis and Apollon. As a reminder, the Letoon temple complex is located on the river.


The Yeşilırmak (Green River) has a length of around 420 km. The river has its origin in the province of Sivas, most of which is in central Anatolia. It flows into the Çarşamba Delta in the province of Samsun in the Black Sea. Samsun is located in the south of the Black Sea, not quite in the middle between the eastern and western parts.


Lake Van

The country includes numerous smaller and larger lakes, which together cover an area of 9,200 km². The largest lake is the Vansee with an area of about 3,525 km². In the lake are the uninhabited smaller islands Arter, Akdamar and Çarpanak Adası.

Tuz Gölü

The Tuz Gölü is a 1,665 km² salt lake, which is the second largest lake in the country after Lake Van (3,525 km²). In addition, with a salt content of around 33%, the lake is one of the most salty lakes in the world.

The lake is located in the dry highlands between Ankara, Konya and Aksaray. The lake is only about 2 m deep and has no runoff – hence the high salt content – and gets its water from the precipitation and the groundwater. Three salt mining factories are located on the lake, producing around 70% of the country’s salt consumed. Most of the Turkish greater flamingos nests here and the second largest colony of Armenian gulls is located on the lake with around 500 breeding pairs.

Beysehir Gölü

The Beyşehir Gölü (Beyşehir Lake) is the third largest lake in Turkey with an area of around 650 km². Its maximum depth is around 10 m.

It is a fresh water lake. The lake is located on the western edge of Central Anatolia in the provinces of Isparta and Konya – at an altitude of 1,115 m. It gets its water from precipitation. The following islands are located in the lake: İğdeli, Akburun, Kızkulesi, Mada, Yılanlı and Külbent.

It is worth mentioning the large fish population in the lake. The Hittite spring sanctuary Eflatun Pınar located east of the lake and the Hittite relief Fasıllar located in the southeast are worth seeing.

In the southwest of the lake are the remains of the Kubadabad Palace, which was built by the Seljuk Sultan Kai Kobad I (d. 1237).

Egirdir Gölü

The Eğirdir Gölü (Gölü = lake) is the fourth largest lake in the country and the second largest freshwater lake with an area of around 485 km².

The lake is located in the province of Isparta, about 190 km north of Antalya. It is divided into two parts by the 1.6 km wide Hoyran Strait – the smaller northern part and the larger southern part.

The town of Eğirdir with around 18,000 residents is located on the lake, after which the lake was named. The lake is connected to the 11 km² Kovada Gölü via an approximately 20 km long canal


The following islands are offshore or belong to the Black Sea or the Sea of Marmara


This island covers an area of around 287 km², with a population of around 7,500. The island is located in the Aegean Sea, near the entrance to the Dardanelles.

Marmara Island (Marmara Adasi)

The island – also known as the marble island – is located in the Marmara Sea and covers an area of 130 km². It is known for its white marble, along with wine, grain and olive supplies.


Bozcaada is located in the Northeast Aegean Sea and covers an area of 45 km²


The island covers an area of around 25 km² and is located in the Sea of Marmara. The island was named in honor of the Ottoman admiral and the conqueror of the island – Emir Ali. Abdullah Öcalan, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1999, is serving his sentence on the island – the former chairman of the (illegal) Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK).


The island belongs to the archipelago of the “Prince Islands” (Adalar) and is the largest of these islands with an area of km². It is located in the Marmara Sea off Istanbul. Private cars and taxis are prohibited on the island; horse-drawn carriages or bicycles are used to get around. But you can also rent riding donkeys.

It should be noted that from 1929 onwards Leon Trotsky spent several years of his exile here.


This island is located in the Aegean Sea, near the town of Turgutreis west of Bodrum – in the south-western part of Turkey. The island is a good tip for divers.

Aegean, Mediterranean and Black Sea

Aegean Sea

In the west, Turkey borders on the Aegean Sea, which is a marginal sea of the Mediterranean Sea.

Mediterranean Sea

And in the south the country has a long coast to the Mediterranean Sea.

Black Sea

Turkey borders the Black Sea in the north.

Bosperus, Sea of Marmara, Dardanelles

If you want to take a ship from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, you first pass the Bosphorus, then the Marmara Sea and after passing the Dardanelles, you get to the Aegean Sea. Bosperus The Bosperus is a km long strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea. It separates the European part of Istanbul from the Asian part.

Marmara Sea

The Marmara Sea is completely surrounded by the Turkish Marmara region.

Turkey Population