Turkey in the throes of a devastating drought, once again

The General Directorate of Meteorology has warned against a “severe drought” that enveloped much of Türkiye in July, analysis and a precipitation report stated, according to daily SABAH.

Turkiye is  marked as one of the worst countries to bet hit by global warming.  The droughts which have become more common over the last 10 years thwart the growth of Turkish agricultural produce, while population growth increases demand.  Coupled with the recent spike in global food prices, citizens of Turkey are facing another harsh winter of three-digit food inflation.


The findings unveil a troubling pattern: A decline in precipitation throughout the country, with only the Black Sea region bucking the trend. This revelation comes alongside notable rainfall, including the highest recorded July precipitation in 63 years in the Black Sea coastal cities Düzce and Zonguldak.


The Percent of Normal Index (PNI), a monthly publication by the General Directorate of Meteorology dedicated to drought assessments, presented an unsettling picture in its July 2023 Meteorological Drought Status map. The map paints most of the nation with shades of “severe drought,” with a significant impact on regions spanning Thrace, the Mediterranean, the Aegean, central Anatolia and southeastern Anatolia. The Black Sea region, on the other hand, emerges as a pocket of relief, designated as “normal and above” in terms of drought conditions.

The report further underscores the concern as it reveals a notable 18% increase in precipitation compared to the average for July (1991-2020), as well as a staggering 100% surge from July of the previous year. Nonetheless, the data highlights a disturbing trend: a reduction in precipitation levels across the country, excluding the Black Sea region.


Precipitation by region

The Marmara region registered 19.9 millimeters (0.78 inches) of precipitation, against a normal of 22.5 millimeters, and 16.9 millimeters in July 2022 signifies an 11% drop compared to the normal, yet an encouraging 18% rise from July 2022.


The Aegean region recorded 7.8 millimeters of precipitation in July, while the normal stands at 10.7 millimeters. In July 2022, precipitation amounted to 4.3 millimeters. This marks a 27% decrease from the average, but an impressive 81% increase over the prior year.


The Mediterranean region recorded 4.1 millimeters of precipitation in July; the region fell short of its 8.2 millimeters normal. July 2022 reported 2.3 millimeters of rainfall. The decline hits 50% compared to the normal, while the increase from July 2022 stands at 78%.


Central Anatolia saw 7.4 millimeters of precipitation in July, compared to a normal of 10.2 millimeters. The previous year reported 7.6 millimeters. This represents a 28% drop from the average, while precipitation closely matched that of July 2022.


The Black Sea region received 64.1 millimeters of precipitation in July, against an average of 35.5 millimeters. July 2022 witnessed 25.4 millimeters. Here, precipitation surged by an impressive 81% compared to the normal and well over 100% compared to July 2022.


Eastern Anatolia saw 13.9 millimeters of precipitation, slightly below the normal of 15.4 millimeters, but a considerable leap from July 2022’s 2.8 millimeters. The 10% dip from the average contrasts with the remarkable increase of over 100% from the prior year.

Southeast Anatolia region struggled with a mere 0.7 millimeters of precipitation in July, a fraction of the 1.5 millimeters normal and the 0.5 millimeters of July 2022. This translates to a 53% dip from the average but a 40% increase from the prior year.



Turkey’s wheat production is projected at 18.7 mn tons this year, far short of the past records of 22 mn tons and certainly insufficient to meet the needs of a growing population The price of the main stable for the poor, bread has increased two to three fold over the last year, depending on the municipality.


The outlook for global agricultural commodity prices is murky, given El Nino’s  uncertain impact of Lat Am summer crop, but the strict embargo of Russia on Ukrainian grain shipments, with Ukraine starting to harass Black Sea going cargoes of Russia, threaten an escalation in the crucial winter months.


Food has 22% share in the official CPI.  In addition to food, experts predict natural gas and electricity prices must be raised by around 40% in the winter to restore profitability to state-owned natural gas distributor Botas and TEIAS.


A winter spike in food and energy would immensely complicate the task of Mehmet Simsek and Gaye Erkan to restore normalcy to the economy, and would probably reduce AKP candidates’ electability in March 2024 local elections.


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.