Turkey is one of the world’s most vigorous dam construction countries in the world, boasting 635 mega-dam projects within its borders. The Turkish government continues to strongly promote the construction of dams particularly along the Euphrates and Tigris basins for hydroelectric power generation and irrigation. The Southeastern Anatolia Project, which is the largest project in the region has transformed Turkey’s economy with a 19 hydropower project 17,000 square miles of irrigated land.
Tallest Dams in Turkey
Deriner Dam - 817 feet
Deriner Dam is located in Artvin Province along the Çoruh River. Named after the chief Engineer Ibrahim Deriner, the dam is classified as the tallest in Turkey. The dam measures 2,360 feet in length and 200 feet in width with a double curved arc. Construction of the barrier began in January 1998 and was completed in February 2012. The main purpose of water in the reservoir is hydroelectric power generation and flood control.
Ermenek Dam - 690 feet
The Ermenek Dam ranks as the second tallest dam in Turkey constructed along the Göksu River in the Karaman province. Completed in 2009, the dam measures 433 feet in length. The arc, double curved dam was constructed purposely for hydroelectric power generation.
Keban Dam - 690 feet
The Keban Dam located along the Euphrates River in Elazığ province is the third tallest dam in Turkey. The dam was built for hydroelectric power generation but is currently used for agricultural purposes. The reservoir created by the dam has a surface area of 675 square kilometers.
Berke Dam - 659 feet
Berke Dam is a concrete rockfill arch-gravity dam located along the Ceyhan River between the Kahramanmaraş and Osmaniye provinces. Constructed to enhance hydroelectric production, the dam is ranked as the fourth tallest dam. The reservoir can store up to 427,000,000 cubic meters of water when full.
Altinkaya Dam - 640 feet
Altinkaya dam is a rock fill type of dam located along the Kizil Irmak River in Samsun province. The dam was constructed mainly to support agriculture and for hydropower generation purposes. Altinkaya has a capacity volume of approximately 15,920,000 square meters and a storage volume of 5,763 billion cubic meters.
Future of Dam Construction in Turkey
Although there are frequent conflicts with Syria and Iraq concerning water resources, Turkey has put enough investment in construction and maintenance of dams. Even as the government invests heavily in dam construction, the civil society has called for new water policies in Turkey to curb the ongoing crisis with Syria and Iraq.