The seismic zoning map of Turkey that is used in connection with the national seismic design code (versions issued both in 1997 and 2007) is based on a probabilistic seismic hazard assessment study conducted more than 20 years ago (Gulkan et al. in En son verilere gore hazA +/- rlanan Turkiye deprem bolgeleri haritasA +/-, Report No: METU/EERC 93-1, 1993). In line with the efforts for the update of the seismic design code, the need aroused for an updated seismic hazard map, incorporating recent data and state-of-the-art methodologies and providing ground motion parameters required for the construction of the design spectra stipulated by the new Turkish Earthquake Design Code. Supported by AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Authority of Turkey), a project has been conducted for the country scale assessment of the seismic hazard by probabilistic methods. The present paper describes the probabilistic seismic hazard assessment study conducted in connection with this project, incorporating in an area source model, all recently compiled data on seismicity and active faulting, and using a set of recently developed ground motion prediction equations, for both active shallow crustal and subduction regimes, evaluated as adequately representing the ground motion characteristics in the region. The area sources delineated in the model are fully parameterized in terms of maximum magnitude, depth distribution, predominant strike and dip angles and mechanism of possible ruptures. Resulting ground motion distributions are quantified and presented for PGA and 5 % damped spectral accelerations at T = 0.2 and 1.0 s, associated with return periods of 475 and 2475 years. The full set of seismic hazard curves was also made available for the hazard computation sites. The second part of the study, which is based on a fault source and smoothed seismicity model is covered in Demircioglu et al. in Bull Earthq Eng, (2016).