Turkey has been one of the major sheep and goat producers of Europe and the West Asia and North Africa (WANA) region in the 20th century. Sheep and goats followed a declining trend since the early 1980s and are no longer the major meat and milk supplying species. Many factors have contributed to this situation among which are the high population growth rate, low genetic potential of the indigenous breeds, inappropriate breeding strategies, decrease in the area covered by pastures and rangelands, intensification of agriculture and livestock production, better education and demand for high status jobs, support regimes favouring poultry and dairy production, unfavourable market conditions for sheep and goat production. Small ruminant production is extensively and traditionally practiced and is characterised by low inputs and low outputs. In addition, sheep and goat farmers generally are reluctant to adopt novel husbandry methods to improve their income. Under these conditions, the declining trend is going to continue. Unfortunately, no serious efforts are made by the state authorities to introduce support for sheep and goat production under liberal market conditions. (c) 2005 Published by Elsevier B.V.