Hydroelectric energy is one of the major renewable energy resources in Turkey. Turkey's gross hydropower potential is estimated as 433-442 terawatt hours/year; that is equal to 1% of world and 14% of European hydropower potential. This article presents the historical development, potential, and current status of hydropower, and examines the current role hydropower is playing in Turkey, along with some of its inherent benefits and environmental aspects. The article shows that hydropower provides about 25% of Turkey's electricity generation and has the best performance with respect to energy payback ratio. Hydropower is an important renewable energy source for clean, sustainable, and cheap energy compared to some other energy sources used in Turkey, as well as the world. Development studies and investments in this sector should be increasingly supported.