The favorable Turkish context for environmental legislation is undermined by a lack of public knowledge of the importance of sustainable development, a lack of coordination between experts in different professions and between government institutions, and a lack of the political will to make tough choices such as restricting the freedom of citizens to migrate to cities. This paper examines the specific implications of this context for the Aydin urban area in a rapidly urbanizing part of western Turkey. In the study area, urban and industrial areas both exhibited large proportional increases, largely at the expense of agricultural areas, and agricultural expansion occurred at the expense of natural areas. Compared to other areas of Turkey, the actual area of the increase was small, and the change for the study area as a whole was not striking because of the relatively recent history of urbanization and industrialization in Aydin. Nevertheless, the negative consequences of these changes may accelerate in the future if a strategy to control development and conversion of land use is not developed and implemented.