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Turkey - Enviornment

Turkey Environment

Turkey's no footbridge between Europe and Asia. It's a 1700km (1050mi) drive from Edirne on the Bulgarian border to Kars on the Armenian border and a 1000km (620mi) hike from the Black Sea in the north to the Mediterranean in the south. Ticking clockwise from the northwest, Turkey shares borders with Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq and Syria. The country is no desert-and-palm-tree album either: mountains, rolling steppe, meandering rivers, rich agricultural valleys and a craggy, beachy 8400km (5200mi) coastline all muck in to keep Turkey interesting.

There are still considerable forests in northeastern Anatolia, the Black Sea area and along the Mediterranean coast, west of Antalya. Great swaths of wild flowers cover the steppes in spring making fine splashes of colour. Turkey has similar animal life to that in the Balkans and much of Europe: bears, deer, jackals, lynx, wild boars, wolves and rare leopards. The beautiful Van cat is a native: it has pure white fur and different-coloured eyes - one blue, one green. You're more likely to see cattle, horses, donkey, goats and sheep though. Turkish shepherds are proud of their powerful, fierce, Kangal sheep dogs which guard the flocks from wolves. Bird life is exceptionally rich, with a squawking mess of eagles, vultures and storks staking out airspace, as well as rare species such as the bald ibis.

The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts have mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. In Istanbul, summer temperatures average around 28-30°C (82-86°F); the winters are chilly but usually above freezing, with rain and perhaps a dusting of snow. The Anatolian plateau is cooler in summer and quite cold in winter. The Black Sea coast is mild and rainy in summer, and chilly and rainy in winter. Mountainous eastern Turkey is very cold and snowy in winter and only pleasantly warm in high summer. The southeast is dry and mild in winter and very hot in summer, with temperatures above 45° C (113° F) not unusual.

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