1. The Euphrates Softshell Turtle (Rafetus euphraticus) is the most threatened chelonian species in the Middle East, where it is endemic of the Tigris and Euphrates basins. Since this species is ecologically little known it is difficult to plan any reliable action for its correct management and conservation.
2. In order to enhance the scientific knowledge on R. euphraticus, and to establish a science-based management strategy, a detailed investigation on the distribution, habitat, activity and home range of R. euphraticus individuals in Turkey was carried out. The previous distribution records in Turkey belonged to the 1990s. Thus, this study is the first comprehensive field research on the species after nearly three decades.
3. There was a significant sexual size dimorphism in the Turkish population, with males larger than females.
4. Four individuals were radiotracked for one year. The mean home range was highly variable depending on how it was calculated, but that of males was considerably greater than that of females by all methods employed.
5. A quantitative evaluation of habitat change throughout time was made. For the Euphrates River, the land cover classes potentially available to turtles increased over 100% between 1990s and 2018: 92% of this enhancement derived from water bodies and coastal lands.
6. Fifteen dams have been built in the lower part of the basins for 30 years. In addition, ongoing human interactions have caused the fragmentation and/or destruction of suitable habitats for the Euphrates Softshell Turtle.
7. The factors threatening the Euphrates Softshell Turtle were determined and a conservation action plan was developed. Some objectives such as monitoring and creating awareness of this action plan have been reached while others are still waiting to be achieved.