The number of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) actively used and registered with the Transportation Ministry has reached 8,349 as of the end of last year, with Turks using drones for innumerable purposes, including search and rescue operations, surveillance and yes, even to catch those pesky runaway sacrificial lambs.
The most popular use is for security, with the police and military among the principal handlers of drones. Authorities have succeeded in preventing various crimes, including tracking fleeing criminals and terrorist attacks, thanks to the UAVs patrolling key junctions.
In addition, drones are used for search and rescue operations at scenes of natural and manmade disasters. One example where the drone was put to work was the mine collapse in Şirvan, Siirt in mid-November that killed more than a dozen miners.
Electricity distribution companies use drones to quickly check where lines are cut, significantly reducing the time spent to identify and fix problems.
Another significant use is for lifeguards all along Turkey's coasts who use drones to better track swimmers.
Still, it is the way ordinary professionals utilize the UAVs that is truly surprising. Realtors are said to be among the earliest adopters of the new technology. Using drones, realtors are able to show prospective customers the view from the 25th floor apartment they are interested in even before the building's construction begins.
Some villagers are said to have purchased drones to monitor wildlife to better protect their flocks and produce.
In eastern Bitlis province, reports said village guards standing watch were sent sweets via drones. During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, runaway sacrificial animals were caught by teams with the help of drones.
Moreover, advertisers use the devices in various promotional activities.
One man with a strong imagination even used a drone to deliver a ring to his fiance in an unusual marriage proposal.
According to regulations, all users of UAVs weighing more than 25 kilograms or used for commercial purposes need to attend classes. Currently there are six companies in the country that provide UAV training.