According to the preliminary results of 1985 census, the population of Turkey is 51.4 millions. Annual rate of population increase during the period from 1980 to 1985 was 2.8 percent (SIS, 1985). It is estimated that, in 1983, 50.1 percent of economically active population was occupied in agriculture (FAO, 1984).
The country has a total area of 78.1 million hectares and a land area of 77.1 million hectares. The land area consists of 27.3 million hectares of arable and permanent crop area (35.4 percent), 9.4 million hectares of permanent pastures (12.2 percent), 20.2 million hectares of forests and woodland (26.2 percent) and 20.2 million hectares of other land (26.2 percent) (FAO, 1984).
There are approximately 3.6 million agricultural holdings in the country; of these holdings, 11 percent are angaged only in crop production, 86 percent in both crop and animal production and 3 percent only in animal production (SIS, 1981). It is estimated that, in about 0.8 – 1.0 million holdings, animal production contributes more than half of the income of the holding; thus about 25 percent of the 4 million rural families angaged in agriculture depend for their livelihood mainly on animal production (Aral, 1984).
The area of Turkey consists of two main parts, the Anatolian peninsula and the Thrace. The Anatolian peninsula, the Asian part, is bounded in the north by the Black Sea, in the west by the Aegean Sea and in the south by the Mediterranean Sea. The Thrace, the European part, lies to the north of Marmara Sea and in the west it extends to Greek and Bulgarian borders. The Anatolian peninsula itself consists of several agricultural regions, each having different topography and climate.
Central Anatolia is the largest agricultural region of Turkey. High mountain ranges along the Black Sea and tne Mediterranean separate this region fromthe sea; to the west it merges into the Aegean and Marmara Regions and to the east into the mountainous Eastern Anatolia. Tne climate is semi-arid. Average temparatures are 21–23°C during the hottest month and 0 - (-3)°C during the coldest month. Annual precipitation averages around 400 mm and decreases towards the interior to less than 300 mm. Summer is hot and dry, winter cold, and spring short but wet. The majority of the region consists of treeless steppe, with an average altitude of about 900 m.
Eastern Anatolia is a mountainous region with lofty ranges rising above the high broad plateau. Having an average altitude of more than 1500 m and being away from the moderating effects of the sea breezes, this region is-subject to cold winters. In different provinces, average temparatures in the coldest month vary from (-11) to (-4)°C and those in the hottest month from 17 to 23°C . The winters are usually dry and rainfall occurs in spring and beginning of summer. The wide expenses of range lands, meadows and pastures make this region more suited to animal production. However, as the region has the longest and severest winters in Turkey, feed shortages frequently occur in winter months.
The agricultural region of Black Sea strip is narrowest in the east where mountain ranges sharply isolate it from the interior; in the hinterland of Samsun, where the mountain ranges are lower, and towards Kocaeli, where the mountains are interrupted, it widens as a resuit of marine influence. Precipitation is heavy in the eastern part of the region (annual precipitation in Rize being 2323 mm) but decreases westwards (annual precipitation in Samsun bering 735 mm). Average temparatures are 20 – 23°C during the warmest month and 0–7°C during the coldest month. The climate enables the region to support natural forest. The steepness of the mountains, in many places reaching 40° , makes use of plough difficult, especially in the east. Theretore, the area of arable land is limited. Corn is the dominant crop of the region.
The Mediterranean coastal strip is very narrow in the west and centre where the Taurus Mountains, rising to 3000 metres and more, reach almost to the coast. Arable lands are few and dispersed, confined for the most part to the smali alluvial plains and to sorne valley bottoms. Soil erosion is active and accelerated by the steepness of the slopes and intensity of the rainfall. During the long hot summers, on the other hand, deficiency of water is the main problem in agriculture. The coastal strip widens in the east towards the alluvial Çukurova plain, one of the most intensively cultivated regions of Turkey, producing cotton, cereals, corn, citrus and vegetables. Mean annual temparatures in the coldest and hottest months are 9°C and 28°C, respectively. In different provinces, annual precipitation varies from 600 mm to 1100 mm; maximum rainfali is in the winter.
On the Aegean coast, mountain ranges are transverse to the coast and broad plains extend between the mountain ranges to the Central Anatolian Plateau; thus marine influence can penetrate fairly deeply inland. Annual precipitation, its distribution and annual temperatures are similar in the coastal provinces to those in the Mediterraneen region; precipitation decreases gradually eastwards.
The Marmara Region is transitional between the Black Sea and Aegean Regions. The climate is predominantly Mediterranean; however, dry-season aridity is not as great as along the Mediterranean coast. Temparature and rainfall wary markedly within relatively short distances. In the Anatolian part of the region, along the south and east of Marmara Sea, fertile plains and lakes lie between east-west mountain ranges. The Thracian part of the region, lying to the north of Marmara Sea, is exposed in the winter to cola northerly wings blowing from the Black Sea. Interior Thrace, bouned by -mountain ranges on the north and south, is semi-arid and steppe in character; in natural vegetation and climate it reserves to Central Anatolia. Nevertheless the relatively more favourable topography and denser population have contributed to make the region one of the most intensively cultivated in the country. Average temparatures of these regions are 23–27°C in the warmest month and 1–8°C in the coldest month, with annual precipitations of 590 – 810 mm.
Southeastern Anatolia is the foreland of the Taurus Mountains, a region of extensive limestone plateaux, 500 to 600 metres high, dissected by a network of valleys. The region is divided into two drainage basins, that of Tigris in the east and of Eufrates in the west. Southwards becoming gradually lower, it extends to Syria and Iraq. The climiate is continental; summer temparatures are as high as in tropical deserts and winter temparatures close to zero. Aridity is severe. The maximum precipitation falIs in winter and spring. The annual rainfall is insufficient and highly variable (350–700 mm). The principal crops of the region are wheat and barley. An extensive irrigation project, Southeastern Anatolian Project, to be completed in the near future, is likely to change the agricultural picture of the region.