Apart from Thrace, a small portion (23,764 km²) of the Balkan Peninsula, of which it represents the extreme south-eastern point and which constitutes a depressed basin of tectonic origin, closed between the reliefs, of ancient age and subjected to long erosive processes, of the Yıldız dağları (1030 m) to the N and Ganos dağları (945 m) to the S, Turkey forms a vast peninsular appendage of Asia: hence the name, once widely used, of Asia Minor, which in practice coincides with that of Anatolia, “land of the east” for the Greeks, and a more common term today. The territory is structurally the continuation of the Dinaric system through the archipelagos of the Aegean, emerged parts of an ancient plate (Egeide), which reappears in Anatolia. This territory is at the same time young and ancient: it is ancient in the central plateau and it is young in the two mountain ranges that border it on the sides, developing in the direction of the parallels, i.e. the Taurus in the S, the Monti del Ponto in N. The two alignments peripheral mountains arose in the Cenozoic, in the context of the important orogenetic movements that most affect the Caucasus, Elbrus and Zagros to the east, while the plateau is an ancient raised plate, affected by fractures and deformations, but substantially remained rigid between the two lateral corrugations. Morphologically it is a penepiano of paleozoic rocksand prepaleozoic, metamorphic, sometimes emerging on the surface. Some ridges and depressions break the monotony of the landscape. The penepian depressions are filled with Cenozoic sediments and more recent coulters of lacustrine and alluvial origin. Towards the west, the plateau slopes towards the Aegean Sea with a series of valleys dominated by granite and volcanic massifs such as Uludağ, Akdağ and Bozdağ, which exceed 2000 m in height.
According to thenailmythology, these valleys give rise to the sinuous articulations of the Aegean coast, consisting of a series of promontories and recesses (gulfs of Edremit, Smyrna, Mandalya, etc.) between which various delta expansions stand in the way, such as those of Gediz and Meander (in Turkish Büyük Menderes). Of the two chains that border Anatolia on the southern (or Mediterranean) and northern (or Pontic, this name derives from the Latin name of the Black Sea, i.e. Pontus Euxinus) sides, the most imposing and massive is the southern one, the Taurus, placed at an average height of 2000 m. The highest section of this mountainous alignment is the central one, which reaches 3585 m in Bolkar dağları and 3726 m in Ala dağları. The tauric relief has a complex structure, very faulty, with blocks of sedimentary rocks that surmount metamorphic and crystalline paleozoic formations. The chain is poor in gates (the only easy one are the Cilicia Gates o Gülek Pass, at 1050 m, between Bolkar dağları and Ala dağları, traditional, historic passage towards Syria) and overlooks the Mediterranean coast, determining its profile and littoral character, usually steep and rocky; only in correspondence with the gulfs of Antalya (Antalya) and Alexandretta (İskenderun) did the contributions of sedimentary materials from the various rivers that flow into them create the coastal plains of Pamphylia, on the Gulf of Adalia (Antalya), and of Adana, on that of İskenderun. The Taurus continues towards the E with double alignment (Eastern External Taurus and Eastern Internal Taurus), arching to the N of the plains of northern Syria and Mesopotamia. The mountainous alignment of the Pontus or northern, to which the formation of the straits (Bosphorus and Dardanelles) connects the Black Sea with the Aegean, is more discontinuous. This mountainous alignment constitutes a single tectonic element and is separated from the Anatolian plateau by a fault line which can be traced back to the frequent and disastrous earthquakes of the region and which cause an ongoing rejuvenation of the relief. The Pontic Mountains appear as a succession of chains (Köroğlu dağları, Doğu Karadeniz dağları etc.) separated by some well-marked passage, such as that of the Kızılırmak, through which the river basin flows into the Black Sea.
This chain rises and becomes an imposing mountainous bulwark in the easternmost section, where it exceeds 3000 m in several points (maximum peak is the Kaçkar daği, 3937 m), dominating from near the Black Sea coast. In the eastern part, moreover, the main chain is flanked inwards by numerous secondary mountain alignments that flank those coming from the Eastern Taurus, to form an elevated region, with acrocoro (it is located at an average altitude of 1800 m), which historically corresponds to Armenia. This is a tectonically and morphologically very lively region, an orographic and geographical node at the meeting between Anatolia and Asia proper. The region is crossed by a series of chains that are almost parallel to each other, exceeding 3000 m (Bingöl dağları, 3250 m), separated by valleys and even large depressions, such as the one that hosts Lake Van. At the edge of these depressions there are imposing volcanic buildings attesting, once again, to the strong structural oppositions of the territory and the orogenetic tension lines; the most impressive are the Süphan daği (4434 m), near the northern shore of Lake Van, and further to the N, dominating the valley of the, Büyük Ağrı dağı, the famous Mount Ararat, the highest peak in Turkey and one of the most impressive in Western Asia, culminating at 5165m with a vast ice-covered crater shelf. The extremely tormented tectonics and the strong volcanicity mean that this is also one of the areas of the most intense seismicity on the continent, as evidenced by earthquakes, sometimes even large ones, which can, not infrequently, cause thousands of victims. In addition to the Armenian ones, various other volcanic buildings dominate the Anatolian plateau, such as the aforementioned Uludağ (2543 m), not far from the Sea of Marmara, and the Erciyas dağı, the Aegean of the ancients, a mighty relief (3916 m) between the high valleys of the Kızılırmak and Seyhanrivers. Finally, the Turkish section of Kurdistan is also highly mountainous, corresponding to the extreme southeastern part of the country. Structurally similar to the Outer Eastern Taurus and the Zagros system (which mainly affects Iran), it includes a series of massifs often with alpine morphology, rough and impervious, which reach 4168 m in the Cilo daği.