Turkey is a transcontinental Eurasian country. Asian Turkey, which includes 97 percent of the country, is separated from European Turkey by the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles. European Turkey comprises 3 percent of the country. The territory of Turkey is more than 1,600 kilometres (990 miles) long and 800 kilometres (500 miles) wide, with a roughly rectangular shape. It lies between latitudes 35° and 43° N, and longitudes 25° and 45° E. Turkey's land area, including lakes, occupies 783,562 square kilometres (302,535 square miles), of which 755,688 square kilometres (291,773 square miles) are in Southwest Asia and 23,764 square kilometres (9,175 square miles) in Europe. Turkey is the world's 37th-largest country in terms of area. The country is encircled by seas on three sides: the Aegean Sea to the west, the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean to the south. Turkey also contains the Sea of Marmara in the northwest.
The European section of Turkey, East Thrace (the easternmost region of the Balkan peninsula), forms the borders of Turkey with Greece and Bulgaria. The Asian part of the country is comprised mostly by the peninsula of Anatolia, which consists of a high central plateau with narrow coastal plains, between the Köroğlu and Pontic mountain ranges to the north and the Taurus Mountains to the south. Eastern Turkey, located within the western plateau of the Armenian Highlands, has a more mountainous landscape and is home to the sources of rivers such as the Euphrates, Tigris and Aras, and contains Mount Ararat, Turkey's highest point at 5,137 metres (16,854 feet), and Lake Van, the largest lake in the country. Southeastern Turkey is located within the northern plains of Upper Mesopotamia.
Turkey is divided into seven geographical regions: Marmara, Aegean, Black Sea, Central Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia, Southeastern Anatolia and the Mediterranean. The uneven north Anatolian terrain running along the Black Sea resembles a long, narrow belt. This region comprises approximately one-sixth of Turkey's total land area. As a general trend, the inland Anatolian plateau becomes increasingly rugged as it progresses eastward.
Turkey's varied landscapes are the product of complex earth movements that have shaped the region over thousands of years and still manifest themselves in fairly frequent earthquakes and occasional volcanic eruptions. The Bosphorus and the Dardanelles owe their existence to the fault lines running through Turkey that led to the creation of the Black Sea. The North Anatolian Fault Line runs across the north of the country from west to east, along which major earthquakes took place in history. The latest of those big earthquakes was the 1999 İzmit earthquake.
Turkey's extraordinary ecosystem and habitat diversity has produced considerable species diversity. Anatolia is the homeland of many plants that have been cultivated for food since the advent of agriculture, and the wild ancestors of many plants that now provide staples for humankind still grow in Turkey. The diversity of Turkey's fauna is even greater than that of its flora. The number of animal species in the whole of Europe is around 60,000, while in Turkey there are over 80,000 (over 100,000 counting the subspecies).
The Northern Anatolian conifer and deciduous forests is an ecoregion which covers most of the Pontic Mountains in northern Turkey, while the Caucasus mixed forests extend across the eastern end of the range. The region is home to Eurasian wildlife such as the Eurasian sparrowhawk, golden eagle, eastern imperial eagle, lesser spotted eagle, Caucasian black grouse, red-fronted serin, and wallcreeper. The narrow coastal strip between the Pontic Mountains and the Black Sea is home to the Euxine-Colchic deciduous forests, which contain some of the world's few temperate rainforests. The Turkish pine is mostly found in Turkey and other east Mediterranean countries. Several wild species of tulip are native to Anatolia, and the flower was first introduced to Western Europe with species taken from the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century.
There are 40 national parks, 189 nature parks, 31 nature preserve areas, 80 wildlife protection areas and 109 nature monuments in Turkey such as Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park, Mount Nemrut National Park, Ancient Troya National Park, Ölüdeniz Nature Park and Polonezköy Nature Park.
Ankara, the capital of Turkey, is renowned for the Angora cat, Angora rabbit and Angora goat. Another national cat breed of Turkey is the Van cat. The national dog breeds are the Anatolian Shepherd, Kangal, Malaklı and Akbaş.
The last confirmed death of an Anatolian leopard, closely related to the Persian (Caucasian) leopard and native to the western regions of Anatolia, took place in the Bağözü village of the Beypazarı district in Ankara Province on 17 January 1974. The Persian (Caucasian) leopard is still found in very small numbers in the northeastern and southeastern regions of Turkey. The Caspian tiger is an extinct tiger subspecies (closely related to the Siberian tiger) which lived in the easternmost regions of Turkey until the latter half of the 20th century, with the last confirmed death in Uludere, February 1970. The Eurasian lynx and the European wildcat are other felid species which are currently found in the forests of Turkey.
The coastal areas of Turkey bordering the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas have a temperate Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters. The coastal areas bordering the Black Sea have a temperate oceanic climate with warm, wet summers and cool to cold, wet winters. The Turkish Black Sea coast receives the greatest amount of precipitation and is the only region of Turkey that receives high precipitation throughout the year. The eastern part of that coast averages 2,200 millimetres (87 in) annually which is the highest precipitation in the country.
The coastal areas bordering the Sea of Marmara, which connects the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea, have a transitional climate between a temperate Mediterranean climate and a temperate oceanic climate with warm to hot, moderately dry summers and cool to cold, wet winters. Snow falls on the coastal areas of the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea almost every winter, but usually melts in no more than a few days. However snow is rare in the coastal areas of the Aegean Sea and very rare in the coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea.
Mountains close to the coast prevent Mediterranean influences from extending inland, giving the central Anatolian plateau of the interior of Turkey a continental climate with sharply contrasting seasons.
Winters on the eastern part of the plateau are especially severe. Temperatures of −30 to −40 °C (−22 to −40 °F) can occur in eastern Anatolia. Snow may remain at least 120 days of the year. In the west, winter temperatures average below 1 °C (34 °F). Summers are hot and dry, with temperatures often above 30 °C (86 °F) in the day. Annual precipitation averages about 400 millimetres (16 inches), with actual amounts determined by elevation. The driest regions are the Konya Plain and the Malatya Plain, where annual rainfall is often less than 300 millimetres (12 inches). May is generally the wettest month, whereas July and August are the driest.