The Republic of Turkey is a transcontinental country in Eurasia whose primary region is located in Anatolia in the Western part of Asia and some portion of the country is on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeastern Europe. Turkey borders eight countries which include Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Armenia, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. The country also borders water bodies including the Aegean Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and the Turkish Straits. Turkey has an extraordinary ecosystem and habitat diversity and has a broad range species. Ranging from the ancient Trojan ruins to snow-capped mountains and to Mediterranean coastlines Turkey’s National Parks protect some of the country's significant flora and fauna species.
Turkey's National Parks
Lake Beysehir National Park
The national park is located in the province of Konya in central Turkey and was established in 1993. The park has an elevation of 1,100 meters with Lake Beysehir being the third largest lake and Turkey’s largest freshwater lake. The park is a natural habitat to 85 families, 305 genera, 545 species, 54 subspecies, and 149 varieties with 88 of the 560 taxa in the park being endemic. Some of the common plants in the park include Fir, poppy, snowdrop, the walnut tree, the Turkish cedar, and Phoenician Juniper among others. The lake is also habitat for 16 species of freshwater fish including zarte, zandar, and carp. The lake is vital to water birds and has 153 species of birds such as heron, mallard, pelican, Grebe and little grebe among others. Areas around the lake are also home to 34 mammals, 14 reptiles, and three amphibian species. Activities carried out in the park are hiking, camping, mountain biking and trekking making May to October as the best time for recreational activities. Lake Beysehir national park was the largest national park in Turkey covering an area of 335 square miles until Mount Ararat national park was established in 2004.
Munzur Valley National Park
The Munzur Valley National Park is the most diverse and largest national park in Turkey located at the Munzur Valley of Munzur Mountain Range in the Tunceli Province of Eastern Anatolia. The geological structure of Munzur Valley consists of intrusive and sedimentary volcanic rocks, several unexplored caves, travertines and hot springs, canyons and waterfalls and glacial lakes. The ecosystem of the Munzur Valley includes 1,518 registered species of plants with 43 of them being endemic to the park and 227 endemic to Turkey. The environment within the Munzur Valley offers adequate natural habitat for wildlife, and there is a protected region in the Munzur River valley that is reserved for breeding various game animals. The Munzur experiences harsh climate with extreme winters making mid-June to late August the best time to visit the park for activities such as hiking, camping rafting, mountaineering, and sport fishing. The Munzur Valley is one of the richest floristic regions of Anatolia and was established to protect the scenic beauty and wildlife of the region covering an area of 165 square miles. The biggest threat to the Munzur Valley is the illegal construction of dams which will flood the park.
Aladaglar National Park
The Aladaglar National park is located in southern Turkey and was established on April 21, 1995. The Aladaglar National Park is a mountainous range of Anti-Taurus Mountains, and it stretches over Aladag in Adana Province, Çamardi in Nigde Province and Yahyali in Kayseri Province. Aladaglar has am the average elevation of 3,500 meters above sea level and covers an area of 213 square miles.
Kaçkar Mountains National Park
Kaçkar Mountains National Park is a group of mountain range located in Eastern Turkey that rises above the coast of the Black Sea. The national park's highest peak is the Kaçkar Dagi with a height of 3,937 meters and mountain plateaus with 3,000 meters in height is the top peak part of the Pontic Mountains. The Kaçkar are glaciated mountains that are Alpine in character and have steep rocky peaks and many mountain lakes. The Kaçkar was declared a national park in 1994 and covers an area of about 205 square miles. Tourism is the primary activity in the park including mountaineering, camping, hiking and trekking.
Other National Parks In Turkey
Turkey has a total of 40 national parks which are located the five protected areas in Turkey. 1% of the total population of Turkey consists of national parks. Turkey has a varied landscape which makes it possible for the diversity of flora and fauna.