Turkey is a rich country for its fresh water sources, there are many rivers, lakes, lagoons and reservoirs around the country. Especially the Eastern Anatolian region and the north of the Taurus mountains in the Mediterranean region, also known as the "Lakes Region", are very rich for their lakes. The largest natural lake in Turkey is Lake Van, located between Van and Bitlis provinces in the east.
Most of the lakes in Turkey are fresh water lakes, but few of them have bitter waters or salty waters. The biggest salt lake is Lake Tuz, which literally means "Salt Lake" in Turkish language. Tuz Lake and other salty lakes such as Karapinar and Palas are the main centers of salt production in Turkey.
There are also several crater lakes formed by the collection of water in the crater of an ancient volcano, the Nemrut Lake in Bitlis being the biggest example of this. Although it's small in size, another famous crater lake in Turkey is Meke Lake, located at Karapinar in Konya province. There are also Karagöl (Black Lake) crater lake on Yamanlar mountain in Izmir and Gölcük crater lake in Isparta.
Lately, as a result of global warming, some of the lakes in Turkey are diminuishing in size and especially smaller lakes are endangered.
Below you can see a list of the natural and artificial (dam) lakes in Turkey.
|Van Lake||3713||451||Van, Bitlis||Bitter|
|Tuz Lake||1500||171||Konya, Aksaray||Salty|
|Iznik||308||80||Iznik / Bursa, Yalova||Fresh|
|Köycegiz||52||n/a||Köycegiz / Mugla||Fresh|
|Sapanca||47||n/a||Sapanca / Sakarya||Fresh|
|Palas Tuzla||35||15||Palas / Kayseri||Salty|
|Balik||34||n/a||Dogubeyazit / Agri||Fresh|
|Marmara||34||n/a||Salihli / Manisa||Fresh|
|Çöl||32||n/a||Haymana / Ankara||Fresh|
|Durusu||25||n/a||Çatalca / Istanbul||Fresh|
|Karine (Dil)||24||n/a||Söke / Aydin||Fresh|
|Tuzla||23||15||Tuzla / Istanbul||Fresh|
|Küçükçekmece||16||20||Küçükçekmece / Istanbul||Fresh|
|Yarisli||16||9||Yesilova / Burdur||Fresh|
|Nemrut||12||155||Tatvan / Bitlis||Fresh|
|Balik||12||n/a||Dogubeyazit / Agri||Fresh|
|Büyükçekmece||11||n/a||Büyükçekmece / Istanbul||Fresh|
|Akdogan||11||n/a||Varto / Mus||Fresh|
|Düden||8||n/a||Kulu / Konya||Fresh|
|Gala||8||n/a||Ipsala / Edirne||Fresh|
|Mogan||6||n/a||Gölbasi / Ankara||Fresh|
|Abant||1,5||18||Abant / Bolu||Fresh|
|Gölcük||1||n/a||Bozdag / Izmir||Fresh|
Besides these reported in the list above, we can also count many other famous lakes in Turkey, not for their size but for their natural beauties or importance, such as Yedigöller (Seven Lakes) in Bolu province and Uzungöl in Trabzon.
Artificial lakes (reservoirs)
With the construction of various dams during the past thirty years, many new artificial lakes have been shaped around Turkey. Most of these dams are huge projects and their main scope is producing hydroelectric energy, as well as the irrigation of the region for creating much more fertile lands for agriculture thus improving local economy. Recently, more huge dams are under construction so within the next 10 or 20 years new artificial lakes will arise in Anatolia.
Below there is a list of largest dam lakes in Turkey. Their depth varies a lot therefore these figures are not reported on the list, and all of them have fresh water, of course.
|Atatürk dam||817||Sanliurfa, Adiyaman|
|Keban dam||675||Elazig, Tunceli, Erzincan|
|Karakaya dam||298||Malatya, Elazig, Diyarbakir|
|Hirfanli dam||263||Ankara, Kirsehir|
|Sariyar dam||83||Ankara, Eskisehir|
|Kiliçkaya dam||64||Sivas, Giresun|
|Karacaören dam||45||Burdur, Isparta|
Source: General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSI) and Wikipedia.