|Native name: |
The traditional definition of Anatolia within modern Turkey
|Coordinates||39°N 35°E / 39°N 35°E / 39; 35|
|Area||756,000 km2 (292,000 sq mi)|
|Largest City||Istanbul (pop. 15,067,724)|
|Languages||Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Greek, Arabic, Kabardian, various others|
|Ethnic groups||Turks, Kurds, Armenians, Greeks, Arabs, Laz, various others|
Anatolia (from Greek: Ἀνατολή, Anatolḗ; Turkish: Anadolu, "east" or "[sun]rise"), also known as Asia Minor (Medieval and Modern Greek: Μικρά Ἀσία, Mikrá Asía, "small Asia"; Turkish: Küçük Asya), Asian Turkey, the Anatolian peninsula or the Anatolian plateau, is the westernmost protrusion of Asia, which makes up the majority of modern-day Turkey. The region is bounded by the Black Sea to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, the Armenian Highlands to the east and the Aegean Sea to the west. The Sea of Marmara forms a connection between the Black and Aegean seas through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits and separates Anatolia from Thrace on the European mainland.
The eastern border of Anatolia is traditionally held to be a line between the Gulf of Alexandretta and the Black Sea, bounded by the Armenian Highland to the east and Mesopotamia to the southeast. Thus, traditionally Anatolia is the territory that comprises approximately the western two-thirds of the Asian part of Turkey. Today, Anatolia is also often considered to be synonymous with Asian Turkey, which comprises almost the entire country; its eastern and southeastern borders are widely taken to be Turkey's eastern border. By some definitions, the area called the Armenian highlands lies beyond the boundary of the Anatolian plateau. The official name of this inland region is the Eastern Anatolia Region.
The ancient inhabitants of Anatolia spoke the now-extinct Anatolian languages, which were largely replaced by the Greek language starting from classical antiquity and during the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. Major Anatolian languages included Hittite, Luwian, and Lydian, among other more poorly attested relatives. The Turkification of Anatolia began under the Seljuk Empire in the late 11th century and continued under the Ottoman Empire between the late 13th and early 20th centuries. However, various non-Turkic languages continue to be spoken by minorities in Anatolia today, including Kurdish, Neo-Aramaic, Armenian, Arabic, Laz, Georgian and Greek. Other ancient peoples in the region included Galatians, Hurrians, Assyrians, Hattians, Cimmerians, as well as Ionian, Dorian and Aeolian Greeks.
Traditionally, Anatolia is considered to extend in the east to an indefinite line running from the Gulf of Alexandretta to the Black Sea, coterminous with the Anatolian Plateau. This traditional geographical definition is used, for example, in the latest edition of Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary, Under this definition, Anatolia is bounded to the east by the Armenian Highlands, and the Euphrates before that river bends to the southeast to enter Mesopotamia. To the southeast, it is bounded by the ranges that separate it from the Orontes valley in Syria (region) and the Mesopotamian plain.
Following the Armenian genocide, Ottoman Armenia was renamed "Eastern Anatolia" by the newly established Turkish government. Vazken Davidian terms the expanded use of "Anatolia" to apply to territory formerly referred to as Armenia an "ahistorical imposition", and notes that a growing body of literature is uncomfortable with referring to the Ottoman East as "Eastern Anatolia". Most archeological sources consider the boundary of Anatolia to be Turkey's eastern border.
The highest mountains in "Eastern Anatolia" (in Armenian Plateau) are Mount Süphan (4058 m) and Mount Ararat (5123 m). The Euphrates, Araxes, Karasu and Murat rivers connect the Armenian plateau to the South Caucasus and the
Upper Euphrates Valley. Along with the Çoruh, these rivers are the longest in "Eastern Anatolia".