Turkey Country Programme

Together with Turkish BirdLife International Partner Doga Dernegi, the RSPB is tackling key nature conservation issues in Turkey to protect sites & save species

Bald ibis, single bird flying in to roost at sunset, Soussmassa Nation Park, Morocco


As part of our ongoing support for BirdLife International, we are supporting the Turkish BirdLife International Partner, Doga Dernegi, to become a stronger, more effective and a self-sustaining organisation. Together with them, the RSPB is tackling key nature conservation issues in Turkey, to protect sites and save species, while building the internal mechanisms and processes that will make Doga Dernegi a solid, professional, NGO, and a leader in nature conservation in Turkey.
RSPB was influential in the setting up of the Turkish BirdLife partner in 2002, when Doga Dernegi started. Turkey is especially important because it is one of the most important countries in Europe for biodiversity. Turkey supports many species from the European, Central Asian and the Africa-Middle East biological regions. Many bird species in the European range is limited to Turkey and this country holds a significant percentage of the world population of several species: 30 per cent of global population of the critically endangered northern bald ibis, 25per cent of the European breeding population of the endangered white-headed duck, more than 10 per cent of the global population of the endangered Egyptian vulture, more than 30 per cent of global population of rollers, more than 70 per cent of global population of the near Turkish endemic krueper's nuthatch and more than 90 per cent of global population of the cinereous bunting.
Turkey also includes magnificent natural sites and habitats, including internationally important marshlands, rangelands and steppe, and high nature value farmland and forests across large parts of the country.

Species affected (not UK birds)

  • Northern bald ibis
  • Flamingo
  • Sociable plover


  • Build a strong and effective BirdLife Partner organisation in Turkey
  • Identify, protect and manage Important Bird Areas in Turkey
  • Save national populations of globally threatened species from extinction, like the eastern population of the northern bald ibis
  • Monitor the population trends of common and rare breeding birds and the bird populations in IBAs in order to identify, and act, on threats early
  • Lobby for the protection of rare and common bird species in the wider countryside, such as by influencing agriculture and forestry policies at a national level
  • Promote bird and nature conservation among the Turkish society and build wide public support for Doga Dernegi


Planned Work

Our support to DD is based on annual funding contributions to DD's core organisational costs, and on targeted and intensive technical help.


  • In only seven years, Doga Dernegi (DD) has grown to be an efficient, professional nature conservation organisation with 25 full-time staff, and an impressive portfolio of conservation and public outreach work. It is the leading organisation in Turkey on bird conservation
  • In only organisation with 25 full-time staff, and an impressive portfolio of conservation and public outreach work. It is the leading organisation in Turkey on bird conservation.
  • DD has a few active volunteers and 300 paid-up members. A campaign is underway to increase membership in the next few years.
  • DD has identified and is monitoring 255 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Turkey. Thanks partly to pressure they have applied, 25 per cent of these are already included in Turkish protected areas network. Our partner is working and developing dedicated caretaker on IBAs, and is actively working on a few to secure their proper management and/or effective protection.
  • DD is running campaigns to save the most important natural sites from destruction and/or degradation, like the Tigris River Valley at Ilisu, the Burdur Lake and the Gediz Delta.
  • DD is running successful monitoring programmes, with the help of numerous volunteers: The Common Breeding Bird Monitoring, currently reaching 15 squares and as many volunteers, the mid-winter counts, with 50 volunteers, the IBA monitoring scheme, with 50 volunteers for as many sites, for example.
  • DD is developing a conservation programme for several globally threatened or rare species, including the northern bald ibis, or the sociable lapwing.
  • DD has recently opened it’s first information centre in Beypazari, west of Ankara, and every year runs successful environmental education programmes which attract several thousand people.
  • DD is implementing projects to develop and promote birdwatching tourism in Turkey.
  • DD is leading cross-border conservation projects with partners in Georgia and Syria.
  • DD is implementing projects on irrigation and rational water usage with farmers, to help address the single most important problem affecting Turkish nature - unsustainable water management
  • DD runs the oldest version of the ‘WorldBirds’ Internet based system. The system currently holds more than 15,000 day lists, and has the most data of any comparable system in the world



Doga Dernegi (BirdLife Turkey)
Kennedy Cad. Boylu Apt. 50/19
Kavaklidere / Ankara
Telephone (0 312) 448 05 37 - 448 09 56


This programme is not externally funded.


Coast on a stormy day

Mark Day

Head of Partner Development Unit, Europe, Middle East and Central Asia


Further reading

Tagged with: Country: International Country: Turkey Project status: Project types: Advocacy Project types: Education Project types: Organisation development Project types: Research Project types: Site protection Project types: Species protection