Land and Resources, Natural Regions
Cilician Gates, Dicle, Furat, southeastern Anatolia, Taurus Mountains
Turkey can be divided into seven geographic regions: Thrace and the borderlands of the Sea of Marmara; the Aegean and Mediterranean region; the Black Sea region; western Anatolia; the central Anatolian Plateau; the eastern highlands; and southeastern Anatolia.
Thrace and the borderlands of the Sea of Marmara contain a central plain of gently rolling hills. It is a fertile, well-watered area of which slightly more than one-quarter is farmed. The eastern portion of this region rises as high as 2,543 m (8,343 ft) atop Mount Ulu (Olympus). The coastlands of the Aegean and Mediterranean region are narrow and hilly, and only about one-fifth of the land is arable. To the east, much of Turkey’s cotton crop is grown in the Cukurova, a plain connected with the interior through the Taurus Mountains by a pass known since antiquity as the Cilician Gates (Gulek Bogaz?).
The Anatolian coastlands of the Black Sea region rise directly from the water to the heights of the Kuzey Anadolu Daglari (Northern Anatolian Mountains). Slopes are steep, and only about 16 percent of this area is farmed. Western Anatolia consists of irregular ranges and interior valleys separating the Aegean coast from the central Anatolian Plateau; farming here is restricted to less than one-fifth of the total area. The central Anatolian Plateau, the largest geographic region in Turkey, is surrounded on all sides by mountains. The highest point is the summit of Mount Erciyes (3,916 m/12,848 ft). Twenty-eight percent of the region is cultivated.
The eastern highlands region is the most mountainous and rugged portion of Turkey; Mount Ararat (Agr? Dag?), mentioned in the Bible as the place where Noah’s ark came to rest, is the highest peak at 5,165 m (16,945 ft). Less than 10 percent of this area is cultivated. The eastern highlands are the source for both the Tigris (Dicle) and Euphrates (Furat) rivers. Southeastern Anatolia is a rolling plateau enclosed on the north, east, and west by mountains. With about 19 percent of its area farmed, southeastern Anatolia is part of the so-called Fertile Crescent and has been important since antiquity.
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