Thursday, March 28, 2013

More Turkish Countryside

These are photos I took in 2008.

Turkey has some of the best roads in the world.  In the past 10 years they have rebuilt or resurfaced 70% of them.  The main highways have not so much as a ripple on the surface.  Railways have been neglected to the point that a smelter on the coast could bring ore from Ukraine cheaper than from a mine within Turkey according to one report I saw.  New high-speed rail links are now being built between major centres such as Istanbul to Ankara and Ankara to Izmir.

Tertiary road to a village
Secondary highway

From a distance the farm villages of the Turkish countryside look enticing.  Every village has its mosque and the red tile roofs and white or pastel stucco houses look quite pretty.  But when you get into the villages you can see the poverty.  Farms are small, in Usak averaging about 7 hectares ( 17.5 acres), flocks about 20 to 25 sheep and goats and herds about 4 or 5 head of cattle

Typical Turkish village
Farm house and sheep pen
 Summers are hot and dry, with very little rain from June through September.  Irrigation is a must for any kind of productivity with summer crops such as corn, sugar beets, vegetables, and forages.  Turkey has water but accessing and managing it is the problem and takes money.  Usak province has increased its irrigated land every year.  The old systems were concrete channels such as the picture below, which with flood irrigation, were highly inefficient.  New systems are pipeline and trickle Israeli type systems.

Typical old irrigation water channel.
 Over grazing has been a problem in Turkey for millennia. As the number of people increases so do the number of animals.  Shortage of grazing land is a major problem as is the fact it is mostly common lands owned by Forestry or Treasury Ministries and therefor not managed in any way.  Turkey is working very hard to address these issues but is making less progress than one would like to see for reasons I could rant about but won't.

Heavily over grazed pasture area
 Most of the agricultural land I have seen in Turkey has been relatively poor quality, low in organic matter.  Partly due to use of crop residues for livestock feed but mostly because that is just how it is.  The mountains in behind Kisladag mountain in the background are home to the largest gold mine in Turkey.

Light brown soil,  Kisladag mountain in the background


  1. I like this kind of post, too, Pop. It's neat to get these peeks into places I don't know about and have never been to.

    1. Thank you, Ky. I am fortunate to be able to see a little of the world. You have been to places I never have - Great Britain and Ireland, soon Italy, too. It is a big beautiful world.

  2. Thanks Al. I too like to read about these places. Your writing helps me understand how government policies (or lack thereof) and/or cultural norms and/or local knowledge come together in parts of the world I may never see. I thought of you when reading this article in the Globe and Mail this week: I know you are backing off rants but perhaps you'll make an exception....


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