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National Parks

The first national park in Turkey was established in 1958. Since then their numbers have increased to 41. Some of these parks, which were initially established for archaeological and historical purposes are at the same time rich habitats where biological diversity is being protected. The Olympos – Bey Mountains National Park in the province of Antalya in theMediterranean region, for example, contains a wealth of flora and the fauna, which are either endemic or relic distributions, in addition to important archaeological ruins. The Köprülü Canyon National Park in the same province is the home of Cupressus sempervirens forests. Natural forests of this tree no longer occur elsewhere in the world. In addition to its archaeological and geological treasures, this park also contains a large number of endemic plants and rare animal species.

Although the majority of the national parks are found in forest lands, there are also a number which are established in areas where steppe-type vegetation predominates. Examples are Munzur Valley (Eastern Anatolia), Baskomutan, Göreme, Bogazköy – Alacahöyük (all in Central Anatolia), and Nemrut Mountain (Eastern Anatolia – Adiyaman). Among the national parks, the famed Kus Cenneti (Birds Sanctuary) National Park is characterized by a particularly significant ecological structure. The Kuscenneti National Park is one of the many prime quality wetlands in Turkey and is located in the southern zone of the Marmara region. This area was established as a national park in 1959, was awarded “European Diploma” in 1976 by the Council of Europe, and Diploma was renewed in 1981, 1985 and 1991.