Turkey Turkey Turkey Turkey

Previously in ClimateChangePost


At the end of this century, several heat waves per year will occur in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. The number of heat wave days will increase by 20 - 130 days per year.

The global area of dryland is increasing rapidly. This was shown from data over the period 1948–2005, and seems to proceed towards the end of this century.

Studies have shown that in the eastern Mediterranean, the intensity, length and number of heat waves have increased by a factor of six to eight since the 1960s. Not all studies confirm

Across the Balkan Peninsula and Turkey climate change is particularly rapid, and especially summer temperatures are expected to increase strongly.

The Euphrates–Tigris Basin hosts the two important snow-fed rivers of the Middle East, and its water resources are critical for the hydroelectric power generation, irrigation and ...

Projected warming over Turkey’s climatic regions in 2100 under SRES A2 emission scenario is in the range of 2–5°C ...

Flash floods associated with intense and prolonged rainstorms are a common phenomenon, especially in coastal parts of Turkey ...

The likely effects of climate change on the water resources of Turkey have been investigated for 2040–2069 and 2070–2099 compared with 1961–1990 ...


I recommend

National plans/strategies for Turkey

  • Sixth National Communication of Turkey under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (2014). Download.

Reports/papers that focus on important Turkish topics

  • Climate Change: observations, projections and impacts. Downloads.

Reports/papers that present a sound overview for Europe

  • Eisenreich (2005). Climate change and the European water dimension. A report to the European water directors.
  • European Environment Agency (2005). Vulnerability and adaptation to climate change in Europe. Download.
  • European Environment Agency, JRC and WHO (2008). Impact of Europe’s changing climate – 2008 indicator-based assessment. Download.

Reports/papers that focus on specific topics, relevant for all of Europe

  • Agriculture: Rounsevell et al. (2005). Future scenarios of European agricultural land use II. Projecting changes in cropland and grassland. Download.
  • Agriculture: Fischer et al. (2005). Socio-economic and climate change impacts on agriculture: an integrated assessment, 1990–2080. Download.
  • Biodiversity: Thuiller et al. (2005). Climate change threats to plant diversity in Europe. Download.
  • Coastal erosion: Salman et al. (2004). Living with coastal erosion in Europe: sediment and space for sustainability. Download.
  • Droughts: Blenkinsop and Fowler (2007). Changes in European drought characteristics projected by the PRUDENCE regional climate models. Download.
  • Droughts: European Environment Agency (2009). Water resources across Europe – confronting water scarcity and drought. Download.
  • Forestry: Seppälä et al. (2009). Adaptation of forests and people to climate change. A global assessment report. Download.
  • Health: Kosatsky (2005). The 2003 European heat waves. Download.
  • Health: WHO (2008). Protecting health in Europe from climate change. Download.
  • Insurance and Business: Mills et al. (2005). Availability and affordability of insurance under climate change. A growing challenge for the U.S. Download.
  • Security and Crisis management: German Advisory Council on Global Change (2007). World in transition: Climate change as a security risk. Summary for policy-makers. Download.
  • Storms: Gardiner et al. (2010). Destructive storms in European forests: Past and forthcoming impacts. Download.
  • Storms: Pinto et al. (2007). Changing European storm loss potentials under modified climate conditions according to ensemble simulations of the ECHAM5/MPI-OM1 GCM. Download.
  • Tourism: Deutsche Bank Research (2008). Climate change and tourism: Where will the journey lead? Download.

EU funded Research Projects

Flash floods and Urban flooding Turkey


Floods are the second most destructive type of natural disaster in Turkey, after earthquakes. Nearly 30 % of all the natural disasters in the country consist of flood events. 34 flood events occurred in Turkey between 1950 and 2007 and 1,016 people died, and about 1.5 million people were affected (1). Temporal trends of Turkish flood occurrences do not portray steady increases or decreases rather they fluctuate, but they are on rise since the mid-1990s (2).

Flash floods associated with intense and prolonged rainstorms are a common phenomenon,especially in coastal parts of Turkey. Flood impacts in Turkey are felt more severely in major cities of the country which suffer from frequent floods as a result of combined effects of intense rainfalls, occupation of flood plains by residential and commercial buildings, high coverage of impervious surfaces, and inadequate drainage. A flash flood prevention program, implemented since 1970, has been successful in reducing the number of annual flash floods. However, a lot of structural and mitigation efforts are still needed especially in urban areas of the country to prevent the occurrences of flash floods and to minimize their impacts (3).

Marmara floods (Istanbul), 7–10 September 2009

The Marmara region in north-western Turkey suffered from a series of floods during 7–10 September 2009, with 32 human losses and more than $100 million of economic damage. The flash floods were due to intense rain storms that swept the region, amounting to its heaviest rainfall in decades. The 24-h rainfall amounts varied between 100 and 253 mm during the flooding period. Additional factors such as land use changes, urbanization, poor drainage, and construction and settling in the flood-prone areas worsened consequences of the floods, especially in major urban areas of the region. Istanbul, the largest city of Turkey with 14 million inhabitants, suffered most from the flash floods. The floods submerged some suburban districts of the city and the city’s highways turned into rivers and transportation and communication infrastructures were damaged. A total of 35,000 people were affected by the floods in the Marmara region (3). The 9 September flood event is categorized as an event greater than the 500-year return period (4). 

Istanbul historically has been vulnerable to natural disasters. Since 1967, the city suffered 13 major floods. The city has grown rapidly over the last 40 years due to internal migration. In order to absorb the increasing population, new settlements have been built, mostly illegally on the outskirts of the city. The rapid urbanization led people to occupy flood plains to open up new spaces for development. Natural hydrologic pattern of the city changed considerably due to expansion in the transportation network and more impervious surface were added to the city’s land use. Flood control structures and channel improvements in creeks were not able to accommodate the increasing urban pressure resulted expansion of the settlements and industrial sites due to internal migration. Capacity of the storm sewers and flood detention structures in the city remained inadequate to control a large flood as in case of the September 2009 flood and consequences were devastating. Infrastructure in the newly established residential and commercial areas of the city did not grow in parallel to the population, and therefore, the current infrastructure of the city is not adequate even to accommodate runoff from a moderate rainfall (3).

Adaptation strategies


Disastrous flood events are inevitable in Istanbul in the future unless necessary measures are taken by the local governments and authorities (3):

  • An initial step should be developing a comprehensive flood mitigation plan within a framework of integrated flood plain management. Flood inundations maps should be prepared, based on different recurrence intervals and zones under risk of flooding, before taking any structural measures.
  • Once the risk areas prone to floods are identified, further development in those known flood risk areas should be prevented by enforcing specific building codes. In particular, no construction activities should be allowed in the flood zones of rivers which are exposed to high risk of flooding.
  • Present industrial facilities and residential buildings in flood zones of Ayamama and Kağıthane Rivers should be relocated to other parts of the city where the risk of flooding is lower or non-existent.
  • Some structural measures also should be taken to control the flows in main rivers of the city, especially the Ayamama and Kağıthane Rivers which frequently overflows following intense rainfalls.
  • A more important step would be setting up flash flood early warning system to monitor water levels in the main creeks in and around Istanbul, monitor and assess spatial and temporal distribution of rainfall, and issue warning when necessary to act promptly to evacuate the areas where there is risk of being flooded.

The proposed measures will not be successful unless they are supported by legislative measures including specific building codes for flood-prone areas, political efforts, and public awareness to enhance their effectiveness.


The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Turkey.

  1. EM-DAT (2010)
  2. Kömüşcü and Ceylan (2007)
  3. Kömüşcü and Ҫelik (2012)
  4. Yucil (2015)