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Introducing Turkey

Turkey is a country located between Asia and Europe as well as in close proximity to Africa. It has an area of 814,578 km2 and a total coastline of 8333 km along the Black Sea in the north, the Mediterranean Sea in the south, the Sea of Marmara in the northwest, and the Aegean in the west. Turkey shares borders with Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Greece, and Bulgaria and has a population of over 70 million people.

The territory of Turkey is part of the Alpine-Himalayan orogenic belt. The complex geology of Turkey is a product of the collision of two continents, Gondwanaland in the south and Eurasia in the north, and so provides a unique natural laboratory to study the geology of the country (Angus et al. 2006). Due to the disappearing of an ocean located between these plates around 65 million years ago, the main geological features of Turkey were established. Two mountain ranges lie on the northern and the southern parts of Anatolia reflecting the tectonic and stratigraphic features of the country: Northern Anatolian Mountains and Taurus Mountains. Besides these, fault-block mountains with uplifted blocks along the normal faults are found in the western part of Anatolia (Atalay 2002). Volcanic mountains are located in various regions of the country, with “isolated volcanic cones higher than 3000 m in altitude found in the central and eastern part of Anatolia” (Atalay and Efe 2010: 61).

Three main climate types prevail in Turkey due to topography, geographic position, and altitude. In the northern part of Anatolia, the climate tends to be cool and humid, whereas the Mediterranean climate prevails in the western and southern parts of Turkey. A continental climate is prevailing in the central and eastern parts of Anatolia (Atalay and Efe 2010). Turkey also has a rich biodiversity as a result of various topographic forms and climatic types. As a consequence, the northern part of Anatolia is covered by forest, while in the central and eastern parts of Anatolia the steppe prevails.

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