In 2011, a total of 324 beaches in Turkey have been awarded with blue flags. Compared to the year 2002, these are 197 more beaches that received this award. Turkey now ranks on place four just behind Spain, Greece and France.
The Blue Flag is an eco-labeling, which each year is awarded to beaches and marinas with a consistently high standard of bathing water quality in the previous season. The Blue Flag is given out by an independent institution called the Foundation for Environmental Education for beaches in over 40 countries in Europe, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada and the Caribbean. The award of a beach area with a blue flag, points to a very high standard of cleanliness of the sea and surrounding nature.
The province with the highest number of Blue Flags is Antalya with 174 Flags, followed by Mugla (73 flags) and Izmir (28 flags) on the Aegean coast. Close behind is also Mersin with a total of 5 Blue Flags.