Turkey - About the Country

Turkey is located at the border between orient and occident, between Europe and Middle East. In the geographic sense in belongs to Asia, in the cultural there are European roots, and the urgent wish to join tthe European Community. However, Europe has some problems with the country joining the EU, especially because of the frequent Human Rights violations. There are several problematic topics, the biggest is obviously the relation to the Kurdish minority. Most of the differences are based on the Medieval structures in culture, politics and legal system, which have a direct connection with the Islamic religion.

Turkeys borders are generally well-defined natural borders, as it is surrounded by water on three sides and protected by high mountains along its eastern border. Its demarcated land frontiers to eight neighbour countries were settled by treaty early in the twentieth century. The borders are stable since the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 which solved the conflict with Greece (except Cyprus). However, the border to the former Soviet Union is now the border to the independent countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.

Turkey is really a huge country. Densely populated, often mountaneous and most of it arid. And many huge karst areas all over the country, but the most important are the Taurus Mountains in the south, around the tourist centers of the Turkish Riviera.

Turkish speleology started very late, in the mid 1960s, and with a single man, Temuçín Aygen. He was aware of the potential of Turkey and invited cavers to explore the caves of Anatolia. In 1964 the Turkish Speleological Society was established, but there was still not very much interest in caving. In 1973 students of Temuçín Aygen founded a caving club at the Bogazici University. They soon explored more than 350 formerly unexplored caves.

Today there are more than ten caving clubs in Turkey, which is still an oddly low number. But the number of members and clubs, and their results, continually increase. Eight of the ten deepest caves of Turkey have been explored by locals.

International caving expeditions to Turkey are still an important part of the Turkish cave exploration. Today they are organized by the Turkish Cavers Union, which was formed on the second speleological symposium of Turkish cavers in November 1994 in Ankara.

Turkiye'nin Uzun Magaralan        Turkiye'nin Derin Magaralan
Long caves in Turkey Deep caves in Turkey
1. Pinargözü Isparta 16,000m Peynirlikönü Mersin -1,428m
2. Kizilelma Zongüldak 6,630m Kuzgun Magarasi Kayseri -1,398m
3. Mencilis Karabuk 5,330m Cukurpinar Mersin -1,190m
4. Ayvaini Bursa 4,866m Kuzukulagi Isparta -832m
5. Ikigöz Istanbul 4,816m Pinargözü Isparta +660m
6. Altmbesjk Antalya 4,500m Subatani Kayseri -643m
7. Maraspoli Karaman 3,750m Sütlük Adana -640m
8. Cukurpmar Mersin 3,500m Kuzgun Kayseri -450m
9. Gökgöl Zonguldak 3,350m Düdenyayla Konya -416m
10. Camiliköy Adana -379m