Country Listing

Turkey Table of Contents



Turkey's diverse regions have different climates, with the weather system on the coasts contrasting with that prevailing in the interior. The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts have cool, rainy winters and hot, moderately dry summers. Annual precipitation in those areas varies from 580 to 1,300 millimeters, depending on location. Generally, rainfall is less to the east. The Black Sea coast receives the greatest amount of rainfall. The eastern part of that coast averages 1,400 millimeters annually and is the only region of Turkey that receives rainfall throughout the year.

Mountains close to the coast prevent Mediterranean influences from extending inland, giving the interior of Turkey a continental climate with distinct seasons. The Anatolian Plateau is much more subject to extremes than are the coastal areas. Winters on the plateau are especially severe. Temperatures of -30°C to -40°C can occur in the mountainous areas in the east, and snow may lie on the ground 120 days of the year. In the west, winter temperatures average below 1°C. Summers are hot and dry, with temperatures above 30°C. Annual precipitation averages about 400 millimeters, with actual amounts determined by elevation. The driest regions are the Konya Ovasi and the Malatya Ovasi, where annual rainfall frequently is less than 300 millimeters. May is generally the wettest month and July and August the driest.

The climate of the Anti-Taurus Mountain region of eastern Turkey can be inhospitable. Summers tend to be hot and extremely dry. Winters are bitterly cold with frequent, heavy snowfall. Villages can be isolated for several days during winter storms. Spring and autumn are generally mild, but during both seasons sudden hot and cold spells frequently occur.


Turkey's population at the end of 1994 was estimated at 61.2 million. This number represented an 8.4 percent increase over the 56.5 million enumerated in the twelfth quinquennial census, conducted in October 1990. The State Institute of Statistics (SIS) has estimated that since 1990 the country's population has been growing at an average annual rate of 2.1 percent, a decrease from the 2.5 percent average annual rate recorded during the 1980s. Turkey's population in 1985 was about 50.7 million, and in 1980 about 44.7 million. In the fourteen years from 1980 to 1994, the population increased nearly 37 percent.

Turkey's first census of the republican era was taken in 1927 and counted a total population of about 13.6 million. Less than seventy years later, the country's population had more than quadrupled. Between 1927 and 1945, growth was slow; in certain years during the 1930s, the population actually declined. Significant growth occurred between 1945 and 1980, when the population increased almost 2.5 times. Although the rate of growth has been slowing gradually since 1980, Turkey's average annual population increase is relatively high in comparison to that of European countries. In fact, member states of the European Union (EU--see Glossary) have cited this high population growth rate as justification for delaying a decision on Turkey's long-pending application to join the EU.

The 1990 census is the most recent one for which detailed statistical data are available. That census revealed the relative youth of the population, with 20 percent being ten years of age or under (see table 4, Appendix A). About 50.5 percent of the population was male, and 49.5 percent female. The average life expectancy for females of seventy-two years was greater than the corresponding figure for men of sixty-eight years. The birth rate was twenty-eight per 1,000 population; the death rate was six per 1,000.

Data as of January 1995