Mineral dust is the most significant source of natural particulate matter. In urban regions, where > 50% of the world population is currently living, local emissions of particulate matter are further aggravated by mineral dust loadings from deserts. The megacity of Istanbul is located in an area sensitive to local pollution due to transportation (i.e., private cars, public transportation, aircrafts, ships, heavy diesel trucks, etc.), industrial emissions, residential heating, and long-range transport from Europe, Asia, and deserts. In this work, the effect of desert dust transport on PM10 concentrations and physical properties was investigated for the period of 2007-2014 in the touristic area of Aksaray, Istanbul. The Dust Regional Atmospheric Model (DREAM8b) was used to predict dust loading in Istanbul during dust transport events. Variations on surface PM10 concentrations were investigated according to seasons and during dust transport events. Cluster analysis of air mass backward trajectories was useful to understand frequency analysis and air mass trajectory dependence of PM10 concentrations on dust loadings. The effect of desert dust transport on aerosol optical depths was also investigated. It was observed that PM10 concentrations exceeded the air quality standard of 50 mu g m(-3) 50% of the time during the study period. The largest number of exceedances in air quality standard occurred during the spring and winter seasons. Approximately 40-60% of the dust loading occurs during the spring. Desert dust and non-desert dust sources contribute to 22-72% and 48-81% of the ground-level PM10 concentrations in Aksaray, Istanbul during the study period. Averaged AOD observed during dust transport events in spring and summer ranged 0.35-0.55. Cluster analysis resolved over 82% the variability of individual air mass backward trajectories into 5 clusters. Overall, air masses arriving to Istanbul at 500 m are equally distributed into northern (52%) and southern (48%). Frequency analysis of PM10 concentrations with mean air mass backward trajectories showed that PM10 from local anthropogenic sources may be enhanced by long-range transport from the African Desert, Asian Desert, Arabian Peninsula, Russia, and Ukraine. The work presented here provides the first integrated assessment for evaluation of occurrence and quantification of the effect of dust transport to ground-level PM10 concentrations in Istanbul, which is helpful for human health prevention and implementation of air quality control measures.