The Golden Horn estuary has been one of the worst-affected coastal areas of Istanbul (Turkey) as a result of heavy and unplanned commercial and industrial activities along the shoreline, in particular, since the early 1950s. The estuary is an internal port, heavily polluted by creek discharges conveying domestic and industrial loads. It has also been affected by the implementation of ill-adapted coastal structures and upstream activities. Increased sediment deposition coupled with weakened water circulation has hindered the self-purification capacity of the estuary owing to its particular oceanographic features.
In view of the amount of work already undertaken and valuable information already available, and on the basis of our observations related to the water mass structure and circulation of the Golden Horn, it has been demonstrated that the estuarine waterbody is governed by the hydrodynamic conditions of the Strait of Istanbul that are dependent on atmospheric factors, water budget, and nonlinear transient variances such as temporary blocking of the lower or upper layers of flow. The primary objectives set forth are, as a first step, to understand what problems this estuary faces and to suggest a comprehensive management and research program in which scientists, relevant organizations, local communities, and individuals with diverse expertise could collaborate in a partnership approach to promote and ensure the rational and efficient management of the Golden Horn estuarine system as a whole.