Geographical Regions of Turkey: Southeastern Anatolia Region

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Southeastern Anatolia Region is the smallest in Turkey out of seven geographical regions. This region has an area of 59,176 square kilometers and makes 7,5% of Turkey. With its low population, Southeastern has the lowest population density for each km2 compared to Turkey's other regions. It physically contains lands that stretch from the Southeastern Taurus Mountains to the northern borders of Syria. This region is neighbor to Eastern Anatolia Region to the north, Mediterranean Region to the west, Syria and Iraq to the south. Even though this region is surrounded by mountains and extinct volcanos, its geographical structure is mostly made out of plains and plateaus with median altitudes. These plains make husbandry a big part of Southeastern Anatolia's economy. Due to its easy access to Arabian and Indian spices, it has a famous cuisine filled with spicy-meat-based products. Southeastern Anatolia Region is also known for its hot and dry long summers. It has nine cities: Gaziantep, Diyarbakır, Şanlıurfa, Batman, Adıyaman, Siirt, Mardin, Kilis, Şırnak.


Due to its long distance to any body of water, it has a continental climate. Winters are extremely cold and snowy, while summers are quite hot and dry due to its plain lands and desert winds that come from the south. Southeastern Anatolia Region faces immense levels of evaporation during its long and dry summer and is considered the aridest part of Turkey. The annual amount of rainfall that Southeastern Anatolia receives is between 300mm and 750mm.


This region's vegetation is almost entirely made out of steppe-based plants/shrubs. Its biodiversity is lower when compared to the Anatolian steppes. Since Southeastern Anatolia Region receives a low amount of rainfall during the year, it has the lowest number of forests in the country.

Agriculture and Husbandry

Farming is the primary income source for the people that live in the Southeastern Anatolia Region. Even though it has many large areas suitable for agriculture, the lack of water supply was a major problem. After the Turkish government project named Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP), this problem was solved with the construction of Atatürk Dam, Turkey's biggest dam, and improved irrigation systems. As of our day, Southeastern Anatolia Region supplies Turkey and foreign countries with many farming goods and continues to increase its effectiveness with the help of GAP. More than half of the agricultural land in the region is harvested for wheat. Products such as almond, cotton, chickpea, fig, olive, and watermelon are greatly farmed each year. Also, Southeastern Anatolia Region has its own unique and famous pistachio that is special for the Gaziantep city called "Antepfıstığı." 

Husbandry holds the utmost importance in the Southeastern Anatolian Region's economy and is commonly performed by the community. Region's vegetation and traditions led to improvements in husbandry and this contributed to the Turkish economy considerably. Even though cattle farms are common, the most bred animal in this region is sheep.


Even though Southeastern Anatolian Region has a rich history filled with ancient civilizations and many natural wonders, the tourism industry is not as developed comparing to its potential. There are many famous sites to see in Southeastern Anatolia such as Nemrut Mountain and ruins of Commagene Civilization in Adıyaman, Pool of Abraham in Şanlıurfa, Diyarbakır Fortress in Diyarbakır, and many more ancient landmarks creating an incredible value for the region's tourism industry.

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