Associations covering Turkey

Hi All,

I am planning to visit Turkey in Spring/Summer of 2024 and wondering if there are any associations covering some parts of Turkey so that I may be able to activate some summits.

Have a blessed New Year,

If you didn’t know, the summits site lists all the SOTA associations. There’s a link to it on the top of most of the SOTA websites.

Click that and look at the list of associations. Most associations have an association code that is very close to their ham prefix. You can see that there is none for Turkey from the list.

Will there be a Turkish association? We’d like there to be one but there are no maps available at present.

Hi Andy,
I think it would be more accurate to say that maps approved by the Turkish government are not available to the public. I can imagine it is a security measure

There are free World Wide maps based on satellite scanning but they are of limited resolution and some are not very helpful for wilderness walkers. SOTA mapping HQ insists on government maps

Having said that, as an incremental who believes in using what is available I think SOTA could be expanded using one of these satellite based maps.

Yes, in the future, with the availability of better maps there would deletions, promotions and demotions, but in the meantime a lot of fun could be had by all.

Even in the UK summits that have been mapped many times are still subject to amended heights.

I have done a comparison of half a dozen mapping sources for a bunch of SOTA peaks, for my own interest, and I believe the inaccuracies could be managed.

I know my idea will be dismissed and hence some associations will never make it into SOTA.

That is a pity.


1 Like

I should have said there are no suitable maps.

It is worth mentioning that over the last five years there have been several requests for a Turkish Association and the MT has spent some time looking into the available mapping. The public maps are not suitable for precision work and there are unexpected difficulties in using satellite maps. Turkey is a large and mountainous country and even if there was suitable mapping available it would take months of intricate and time-consuming work to develop a summit list, the procedures are described in the blog section of the SOTA home website. At any time the team working on new Associations has a waiting list of proposed Associations, it makes little sense to spend months working on an Association using poor and imprecise data when other Associations on the waiting list offer good data and a good summit list can be produced that won’t need a complete re-working at a later date.


Ron knows well enough that it takes a fair bit of effort to work up an association. Turkey has thousands of candidate summits so for sure running a major revision after you found the initial job hadn’t gone so well would be no fun at all.

Currently what we have for free at global scale is based on space-based SAR or photogrammetry. Both do a pretty good job most of the time, but within a few constraints. The most obvious is that they give a surface model not a terrain model. Actually if what you want to do is program your cruise missiles and whatnot that’s probably just fine, as you want steer around the trees, so it seems a bit last-century for some states to be so coy about their mapping.

Anyway, I’m caught between sometimes people saying our “computer analysis” is no good and the undoubted problems with e.g. SRTM, GLO30 (which is better), Google (probably largely photogrammetric), &c, at the necessary precision. It (let’s say GLO30) is in fact pretty good. But for thousands of summits a few percent not good is a big deal. I for sure don’t want to be checking them all repeatedly.

The gold standard is LIDAR, which can shoot through the vegetation. Actually there’s a platinum standard even above that, which is visiting the summits/cols with surveyor-grade GNSS. That lets you inspect and determine the actual ground level which even LIDAR can get wrong (e.g. ideally we’d not count a summit cairn but even a top notch LIDAR DEM at 1-m resolution would give us an artificially high pixel). Those site visits do indeed result in updates to the UK Marilyn lists, but if we were starting from SRTM rather than OSGB maps there’d be an awful lot more of them!

Space-based LIDAR isn’t a new thing. For instance the old Soviet mapping used it I believe (shame it’s generally not a great source). There are loads of satellites up there constantly zapping us with LASERs and RADARs, so we can be sure the resources available to us will improve. Eventually I expect we will have something that gives us the confidence to proceed with associations in most parts of the world.


If that is indeed the case, I can think of safer tourist activites than wandering around with portable spy oops, I meant ham radio, equipment :disguised_face:


Very true. I imagine trigger fingers will be very itchy after nearly four decades of insurgency from Kurdish militants.

1 Like

Thank you all for your informative comments. Now I am aware of the reasons behind the delay of establishing SOTA Association in Turkey.

As ethnically Kurd and later on becoming Christian, I had my double share of persecution by the government of the past and Islamic culture. I do understand the politics, religion backgrounds etc. If I did not become Christian later on, I would have been in the same mire of politics, religion etc. Having these struggles aside, I recommend the following:

  1. I recommend that you do no wait for Turkish government to provide maps as mentioned by others, due to security reasons the government most likely would not release those good quality maps. The way things work in Turkey is you inform the government of SOTA activities officially so that they are aware of it. SOTA activators such as myself may invite government to join on some of the activations so that they clearly see what’s happening, but that’s local activator’s responsibility and not yours. They will know how to handle the government. Providing confidence to them takes some time, but with transparency, honesty and perseverance, it is possible to establish a SOTA activities in the Western side of Turkey.

  2. There is no terrorism in the Western parts of Turkey including Aegean region. Only in the Eastern and Southern parts, you may find some insurgency activities of Kurdish militants.

  3. I suggest choose one of the Western provinces as a pilot project and use the best available maps outside of T. government supplied maps. Being born in the Aegean region and biased towards it, I recommend focusing only Agean region.

  4. This approach will use less of resources (manpower, time, etc) and also initiate spur of SOTA activities in the region. Turkish government may even consider this as a tourism activity to invite foreigners. There are already thousands foreigners live in Aegean region as it is a great touristic destination and many Brits have retirement condos there. It would not be a surprising to find Fish & Chips catering Europeans primarily British in many of the cities in Aegean region.

  5. A small success/win is better than waiting for decades and not achieving anything.



There are no suitable maps.

1 Like

Thank you, I understand.

Just a thought: Western local municipalities, governments tend to be progressive and secular unlike current T. government. Hence, they tend to be open to new ideas and activities. If you have local ham contacts in Aegean region with interest in SOTA, they may be able to obtain necessary local / regional maps from local governments. An option to be explored. When I visit the region in 2024, I will put an effort to meet few hams to see what they recommend or can do.

1 Like


For anything to happen in Turkey a local group has to select an area and do a survey based on the best available maps. An area easily accessed by tourists might be suitable.

At the very least it will produce a list of candidate summits and train the mappers. It might then be possible to get better data from the authorities once they know an effort has been made and the need is benign.

SOTA mapping HQ needs to determine an acceptable uncertainty in height and prominence and disseminate that. AFAICT most SOTA summits have uncertainties more than 1.5 m in height and prominence (1%}. OSM Toppo, for example, mostly won’t achieve 5 m and depending on the terrain can be ten times worse. This is why SOTA mapping HQ won’t accept it. A prominence of 160 m +/- 50 m might cause some fretting.

However if a summit is announced as a qualifying peak based on the best available date even if the numbers are wrong, it does not harm to leave it for a decade as a defined summit imo.

I am confident there are good Toppo maps in the hands of the Turkish Military. They need to know which way their tanks and APCs can go. Even before 1914 they knew the value of occupying the high ground and having a safe supply route.

So Andy there are “suitable” maps but getting access is not as easy as going on line.

Anyway I’m off to do some gardening.

Best wishes for 2024 to all.



If there is a group of local Turkish ham radio operators that would be able to support the SOTA program organizationally, the lack of sufficiently accurate maps does not have to be an obstacle.
Since there are no adequately precise maps available, it can be initially assumed that only summits with, for example, a prominence of 200-220 m would qualify for the program. There are likely hundreds of such summits in Turkey. This would help avoid the subsequent removal of a summit, as it might be revealed that a p150 was incorrectly determined (+/-10m … as is the case in other “old” Associations). Once more detailed maps become available, supplementing the database with summits that meet the p150 criteria should not violate the current arrangements.
Turkey is a highly popular holiday destination, boasting a vast wealth of well-preserved historical monuments.
Turkey’s presence in the SOTA program would enrich the program and contribute to its development.

Jacek SQ9MDN