Destination Guide to Turkey
Flora and Fauna
Turkey’s geographical location, the fact that it is surrounded by four seas and its relatively late development in both industry and agriculture means that the country is extremely rich in flora and fauna. It is thought that Turkey has as many species of flower as the rest of Europe combined, of which more than a third are native to the country.
The most famous of all is the tulip which is Turkey’s national emblem.
Turkey is also the home of over thirty species of wild wheat, along with barley, chickpeas, lentils, apricots, figs, cherries and many types of nuts.
With regard to fauna, it is thought that there are over 80,000 species and Turkey is the original homeland of pheasant, fallow deer and domestic sheep. Today many of the national parks and, of course, the natural mountainous countryside still abound with wildlife such as brown bears, wild boar, lynx, wolves and leopards as well as over 4,000 types of bird.
The Mediterranean Region
Much of the coastal and more temperate areas of Turkey are covered in maquis (dwarf forest) or Red Pines, which require little water to tide them over during the dry summers. In higher areas cedar and fir trees are more common. These dryer parts of the forest are obviously vulnerable to fires and it is thought that each summer approximately 20,000 hectares are destroyed.
The Mediterranean climate also enables more exotic fruit- growing which, in recent years has included the kiwi fruit, bananas and avocados, all of which are readily available at the local markets. The region is also particularly well- known for its olives, grapes, cotton and tobacco.
The coastal areas of both the Mediterranean and the Aegean are well known for providing a safe haven for the endangered monk seal and the logger-head turtle. Within this particular region, the Olympos area, including the beach, is a national park and a breeding ground for the turtles.