The first national park in Turkey was established in 1958. Since then their numbers have increased to 39. Some of these parks, which were initially established for archaeological and historical purposes, are at the same time rich habitats where biological diversity is being protected. The Olympos – Bey Mountains National Park in the province of Antalya in the Mediterranean region, for example, contains a wealth of flora and fauna, which are either endemic or relic distributions, in addition to important archaeological ruins. The Kِprülü Canyon National Park in the same province is the home of Cupressus sempervirens forests. Natural forests of this tree no longer occur elsewhere in the world. In addition to its rchaeological and geological treasures, this park also contains a large number of endemic plants and rare animal species. Although the majority of the national parks are found in forest lands, there are also a number which are established in areas where steppe-type vegetation predominates. Examples are Munzur Valley (eastern Anatolia), Baş komutan, Gِreme, Bogazkِy - Alacahِyük (all in Central Anatolia), and Nemrut Mountain (Eastern Anatolia -Adiyaman). Among the national parks, the famed Kus Cenneti National Park is characterized by a particularly significant ecological structure. The Kus Cenneti National Park is one of the many prime quality wetlands in Turkey and is located in the southern zone of the Marmara region. As of 2008, there are 39 National Parks all around Turkey, and their total surface reaches 877.771 hectares (2.169.011 acres).
In addition to National Parks, there are 35 areas that have been specifically preserved in order to protect endangered species of flora and fauna. Some of them are used for scientific research and educational studies.