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The Asian region of Turkey, called Anadolu in Turkish.

Anatolia, also known as Asia Minor, is a large, mountainous peninsula of approximately 755,000 square kilometers (291,500 square miles) that extends from the Caucasus and Zagros mountains in the east and is bordered by the Black Sea on the north, the Aegean Sea on the west, and the Mediterranean Sea on the south. It comprises more than 95 percent of Turkey's total land area.

Central Anatolia consists of a series of semiarid basins, with average elevations of 600 to 1,200 meters (1,970 to 3,900 feet), surrounded by higher
mountains. This region is called the Anatolian Plateau and generally is considered to be the heart-land of Turkey; it was here that the major events associated with the creation of the Republic of Turkey took place between 1919 and 1924. The Pontus Mountains separate the plateau from the Black Sea to the north, and the Taurus Mountains separate it from the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Although the plateau receives an average of only 200 to 300 millimeters of precipitation per year, most of this falls in the winter months and seeps into the soil as groundwater. Consequently, the Anatolian Plateau has sufficient water to support both rain-fed and irrigated agriculture. The most important urban center on the plateau is Ankara, historically a significant regional market town (ancient Angora) and since 1923 the capital of Turkey. Other large cities include Kayseri, Konya, Sivas, and Yozgut.

Western Anatolia has many bays and coves along the Aegean Sea and broad, fertile inland valleys that produce an extensive variety of crops. Izmir, Turkey's third largest city, is a major port, while the equally ancient inland city of Bursa is a major manufacturing center. Southern Anatolia, in contrast, has narrow coastal plains along the Mediterranean, with the Taurus Mountains coming right to the sea in some places. The major population centers of this area are Antalya in the west and Adana in the east.

Eastern Anatolia is not properly a peninsula because to its south is the landmass that forms part of Syria and Iraq. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers originate in the high mountains of eastern Anatolia. Other significant natural features include Mount Ararat, which at 5,166 meters (17,000 feet) in elevation is the highest point in Turkey, and Lake Van. The people, especially in the southeast, are predominantly Kurds.

see also adana; ankara; bursa; İzmir; kurds; ottoman empire; taurus mountains; tigris and euphrates rivers.


Hooglund, Eric J. "The Society and Its Environment." In Turkey: A Country Study, 5th edition, edited by Helen Chapin Metz. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1996.

Eric Hooglund


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Anatolia See Asia Minor