Many parts of the Turkish coastline are important nesting grounds for sea turtles. The aim of this study was to assess the present state of sea turtle populations along the coastline of Turkey, by evaluating research conducted at various nesting grounds from 1979 to 2000. The results of the evaluation indicate that the Turkish coastline is the most important nesting area for Chelonia mydas, and the third most important nesting area for Caretta caretta after Greece and Libya (if nesting estimates for Libya are correct) in the entire Mediterranean. The most important C. caretta nesting beaches in Turkey are Dalyan (11.9%), Kumluca (11.3%), Belek (27.9%), Kizilot, (8.9%) and Anamur (8.8%), while those for C. mydas are Kazanfi (24.1%) and Akyatan (54.4%). These sites are classified as "Nesting Areas of 1st Degree Importance". Annual mean nest numbers along the coastline of Turkey are estimated to be ca. 2000 for C. caretta and 650 for C. mydas. Assuming that each adult female sea turtle nests three times per season, the annual numbers of nesting females along the beaches of Turkey range between about 500 and 800 for C. caretta and 130 and 300 for C. mydas. Annual nesting densities along the 204 km beach strip, which includes 17 important nesting grounds in Turkey, were 11.3 nests/km for C. caretta and 19.2 nests/km for C. mydas. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.