Shepherd Ibrahim Koc recalls his youth with fondness as he grazes cattle on a barren field that was once lush with vegetation on the edge of Turkey’s largest lake. An occasional shrub marks the spots from where Lake Van has retreated over years of global heating and drought. “The animals are thirsty,” the 65-year-old lamented. “There is no water,” Koc said, echoing sentiments expressed by a growing number of Turks who have watched their mountains lose ice caps and their water reservoirs dry up. A weather map of Turkey — an agricultural superpower stretching from Bulgaria in the west to Iran in the east — shows much of the country suffering from a prolonged drought. Shrinking shorelines are exposing lakebeds that pollute the air with a salty dust. Scientists fear the problems could grow only worse. “I think these are our good days,” Faruk Alaeddinoglu, a professor at Van Yuzuncu Yil University, told AFP. “We will witness the lake continuing to shrink in the coming years.” Lake Van covers approximately 3,700 square kilometres (1,400 square miles), reaching a maximum depth of 450 metres (1,475 feet). Its surface area has shrunk by around 1.5 percent in recent years, according to measurements Alaeddinoglu carried out last autumn. “That is a terribly large amount of water for a 3,700 square kilometre area,” he said.