In this article, an attempt is made to better understand the contribution of hydropower in meeting electric energy needs of Turkey. Thus, a comparison between Turkey and other countries, which have some similarities with Turkey or which are more developed nations compared to Turkey, for evaluating from different aspects the contribution of hydropower in meeting electric energy needs is performed. The producers of electricity and hydroelectricity in the world, and the electric sectors of all the selected countries are firstly examined. Thereafter, Turkey's water resources and its potential, hydropower potential, and current status of hydropower in Turkey are investigated in detail. A detailed discussion regarding economic and energy indicators, hydroelectricity versus thermal electricity, the contributions of hydroelectricity to the total and renewable electricity generation, and the usage status of hydro potential of each selected nation is also made. Finally, it is found that hydropower is the second largest contributor in meeting Turkey's electric energy needs after thermal, mainly natural gas. It is also estimated that the contribution of hydropower will continue because a vast amount of its economically feasible hydro potential (about 64%) is undeveloped. Besides, it is determined that the contribution of hydropower in the total electricity generation in Turkey is greater than that of China and India, but it is lower than that of Norway, Brazil, and Canada. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.