The Southeast Anatolian orogen is a part of the eastern Mediterranean-Himalayan orogenic belt. Development of the Southeast Anatolian orogen began with the first ophiolite obduction onto the Arabian platform during the Late Cretaceous, and it continued until the Miocene. Its lingering effects continue to be discernible at present. During the Late Cretaceous-Miocene interval, three major deformational phases occurred, related to Late Cretaceous, Eocene, and Miocene nappe emplacements. The Miocene nappes are composed of ophiolites and metamorphic massifs.
For a decade, field studies in the region have shown that strike-slip tectonics played a role complementary to the major horizontal effects of the nappe movement, as indicated by: (1) fault systems active during the Eocene; (2) different Eocene rock units composed of coeval continental and deep-sea deposits and presently tectonically juxtaposed; and (3) other stratigraphic and structural data obtained across the present strike-slip fault zones.
These strike-slip faults possibly resulted from oblique subduction of the mid-oceanic ridge underneath the northerly situated Yuksekova ensimatic island-arc complex, causing a gradual cessation of the island-arc system. The subduction also led to the development of a back-arc pull-apart basin, i.e., the Maden basin, which opened on the upper plate. The geologic history in Southeast Anatolia resembles the development of the San Andreas fault system and subsequent tectonic evolution.