Lakes and Reservoirs in Turkey

Tuz Lake with salt surfaceTurkey 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.

Natural lakes
Name Surface
Location Water
Van Lake 3713 451 Van, Bitlis Bitter
Tuz Lake 1500 171 Konya, Aksaray Salty
Beysehir 656 10 Konya, Isparta Fresh
Egirdir 482 14 Isparta Fresh
Iznik 308 80 Iznik / Bursa, Yalova Fresh
Burdur 200 110 Burdur, Isparta Bitter
Manyas 166 4 Balikesir Fresh
Acigöl 153 38 Afyon, Denizli Bitter
Uluabat 134 2 Bursa Fresh
Çildir 115 42 Ardahan, Kars Fresh
Eber 104 n/a Afyon Fresh
Erçek 98 n/a Van Fresh
Hazar 86 n/a Elazig Fresh
Bafa 60 21 Aydin, Mugla Fresh
Köycegiz 52 n/a Köycegiz / Mugla Fresh
Isikli 49 n/a Denizli Fresh
Nazik 48 50 Bitlis Fresh
Sapanca 47 n/a Sapanca / Sakarya Fresh
Salda 45 184 Burdur Fresh
Yay 37 n/a Kayseri Fresh
Akyatan 35 n/a Adana 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
Haçli 16 n/a Mus Fresh
Seyfe 15 n/a Kirsehir Fresh
Akyayan 15 3 Adana Fresh
Hozapin (Aktas) 14 n/a Ardahan Fresh
Arin 13 n/a Van Fresh
Nemrut 12 155 Tatvan / Bitlis Fresh
Balik 12 n/a Dogubeyazit / Agri Fresh
Büyükçekmece 11 n/a Büyükçekmece / Istanbul Fresh
Boluk 11 n/a Konya Fresh
Akdogan 11 n/a Varto / Mus Fresh
Çavuslu 9 n/a Konya Fresh
Düden 8 n/a Kulu / Konya Fresh
Gala 8 n/a Ipsala / Edirne Fresh
Karatas 6 n/a Burdur Fresh
Mogan 6 n/a Gölbasi / Ankara Fresh
Abant 1,5 18 Abant / Bolu Fresh
Eymir 1 n/a Ankara 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.

Name Surface
Atatürk dam 817 Sanliurfa, Adiyaman
Keban dam 675 Elazig, Tunceli, Erzincan
Karakaya dam 298 Malatya, Elazig, Diyarbakir
Hirfanli dam 263 Ankara, Kirsehir
Altinkaya dam 118 Samsun
Sariyar dam 83 Ankara, Eskisehir
Seyhan dam 67 Adana
Kiliçkaya dam 64 Sivas, Giresun
Aslantas dam 49 Adana
Demirköprü dam 47 Manisa
Karacaören dam 45 Burdur, Isparta
Büyükçekmece dam 43 Istanbul
Menzelet dam 42 Kahramanmaras
Arpaçay dam 41 Kars

Besides these on the list, there are smaller dam lakes all around Turkey, such as Ömerli, Terkos and Darlik in Istanbul province.

Source: General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSI) and Wikipedia.