This paper aims to investigate the sectoral energy use in the Turkish economy for the 1980-2000 period when significant changes occurred in the economic and demographic structure of the country. These changes had several impacts on the energy use in the primary sectors such as agriculture, industry and services. Decomposition analysis is conducted on these sectors by using the additive version of the LMDI method due to its advantages over others. Although a close relationship exists between primary energy consumption and GDP, analyses show that significant variations occurred in the sectoral energy use during the 1982, 1988-1989, 1994 and 1998-2000 periods. Such variations are related to the economic policies of the governments. The Turkish economy has undergone a transformation from agricultural to industrial enhanced by rapid urbanization, especially after 1982. However, industrialization has not been completed yet, and the energy demand should be increasing faster than national income until the energy intensity of the country reaches a peak. This study is performed on three basic sectors; however, decomposition into secondary and tertiary sectors will provide detailed information for further investigations. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.