Turkey, with a total surface area of 780,576 km2, is located in both Asia and Europe and lies in the north on the Black Sea, in the west on the Aegean and in the south on the Mediterranean. Its neighbours are Bulgaria and Greece in the west, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran in the east, and Irak and Syria in the south.
Turkey has very varied relief. The average altitude is 1,130 m (over 2,000 m in eastern Anatolia), and 55% of the land surface lies above 1,000 m. The country is surrounded to the north by the Anatolian mountains parallel to the Black Sea coast, to the north-west by the Yildiz mountains, to the south by the Tauro range parallel to the Mediterranean coast, to the west by the mountains of western Anatolia perpendicular to the Aegean coastline. The highest mountain in Turkey is the Büyük Denizl, at 5,137 m.
Turkey can also be considered to have many rivers and lakes – 33 rivers, 200 natural lakes, 159 reservoirs and 750 artificial lakes.
Turkey’s varied relief is one of the main reasons for the diversity of its climates. In the Mediterranean climate which prevails in the south and west of the country, the summers are hot and dry and the winters mild and rainy. In the dominant climate along the Black Sea, the summers are not very hot and the winters not very cold. In the centre, the predominant climate is continental steppe. Although annual average rainfall in Turkey is about 640 mm, it varies in different years, seasons and regions. Total annual rainfall in the different regions varies between 200 and 3,000 mm. In terms of average and extreme temperatures, there are large differences among different parts of the same region. There are often years when the lowest winter temperature is below -20ºC in Central Anatolia and -30ºC in eastern Anatolia. The region with the highest summer temperatures (about 35-40ºC) is south-east Anatolia, which generally has mild winters. 52.8% of Turkey’s surface area is agricultural, with 34.1% and 18.7% being used for grazing and pastures and 27.2% being forests. Erosion is a threat for 14% of the country’s soils.