With 635 large dams within its borders, Turkey is one of the world’s most active dam building countries. Many of Turkey’s biggest dams were built in the Euphrates and Tigris basins in the Kurdish areas of Southeastern Anatolia. The Southeastern Anatolia Project (Güneydoğu Anadolu Projesi, GAP) has transformed the economy, society and ecosystem of a vast area with 19 hydropower projects and 17,000 square kilometers of irrigation systems.

Turkey’s government continues to strongly promote the construction of large hydropower and irrigation dams. The government utility DSI currently has 24 hydropower projects under construction. Some of the proposed dams - in particular Ilisu and Yusufeli - have triggered strong opposition.