© TÜBİTAK.Background/aim: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common disease characterized by persistent airflow limitation and respiratory symptoms. It is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality all over the world. Our data on COPD in Turkey are limited. This study was intended to examine the epidemiologic characteristics of COPD in the Turkish population, between 2012 and 2016. Materials and methods: This population-based, descriptive, surveillance study examined physician-diagnosed COPD prevalence, incidence, and mortality in Turkey. The database of the Social Security System of Turkey was scanned and ICD-10 J44.0-J44.9 codes for diagnostic and/ or therapeutic purposes were evaluated retrospectively. Results: In 2016, there were 3,434,262 cases of COPD (56.2% men) in Turkey, and the mean age of patients was 61.62 ± 14.76 years. From 2012 to 2016, the annual overall prevalence rates of physician-diagnosed COPD rose from 4.3% to 5.8%, which was a 35.0% relative increase (P < 0.05). In women, this rate rose from 3.7% to 5.1% (38% increase), and in men, it rose from 4.9% to 6.7% (37% increase). During the study period, the overall incidence decreased from 8.5 per 1000 adults in 2012 to 6.3 per 1000 adults in 2016, representing a decrease of 26.6% (P < 0.001). The annual incidence rates of physician-diagnosed COPD decreased 25.4% in women and 27.9% in men. The overall mortality was 4.3% in 2012, and 4.2% in 2016. The mortality rate in women was 3.5% in 2012 and 3.7% in 2016, and 5% in 2012 and 4.7% in 2016 in men. The mean prevalence by region was 5.26% (range 3.79%–7.65%). The Black Sea region had the highest COPD prevalence. Conclusion: COPD is a very common and serious cause of morbidity and mortality in Turkey, as it is worldwide. Current data will contribute to a better understanding of the epidemiologic dimension of COPD in our country.