Eastern Anatolia Region

The Eastern Anatolia Region (Turkish: Doğu Anadolu Bölgesi) is a geographical region of Turkey.

The region and the name "Doğu Anadolu Bölgesi" were defined at the First Geography Congress in 1941. It has the highest average altitude, largest geographical area, and lowest population density of all regions of Turkey. Prior to getting its current name from the Turkish state, most of the region was part of the Six Armenian provinces in the region known as the Armenian Highlands.[1][2] After the Armenian Genocide, the geopolitical term "Eastern Anatolia" was coined to replace what had historically been known as Western Armenia.[3][4][5][6][7]

Eastern Anatolia Region

Doğu Anadolu Bölgesi
Region of Turkey
Location of Eastern Anatolia Region
 • Total165,436 km2 (63,875 sq mi)

Substitution with Armenia

Armenian Highlands
Following the Armenian Genocide and establishment of the Republic of Turkey, the Armenian Highlands (or Western Armenia) were renamed "Eastern Anatolia" by the Turkish government.[3][4][5]

Beginning in 1880, the name Armenia was forbidden to be used in official Ottoman documents, in an attempt to censor the history of Armenians in their own homeland.[5][6][7] The government of Sultan Abdul Hamid II replaced the name Armenia with such terms as "Kurdistan" or "Anatolia". The Sublime Porte believed there would be no Armenian Question if there was no Armenia. The process of “nationalization” of toponyms was continued by the Kemalists, who were the ideological successors of the Young Turks, and gained momentum during the Republican period. Starting from 1923 the entire territory of Western Armenia was officially renamed “Eastern Anatolia” (literally The Eastern East).[3][4][5][7]

Rand, McNally & Co.'s new 14 x 21 map of Turkey in Asia, Asia Minor. Copyright 1895, by Rand, McNally & Co. (Chicago, 1897)
1895 map making a clear distinction between Armenia and Anatolia

The word Anatolia means “sunrise” or “east” in Greek. This name was given to the Asia Minor peninsula approximately in the 5th or 4th centuries B.C. During the Ottoman era, the term Anadolou included the north-eastern vilayets of Asia Minor with Kyotahia as its center. The numerous European, Ottoman, Armenian, Russian, Persian, Arabic and other primary sources did not confuse the term Armenia with Anatolia. This testifies, inter alia, to the fact that even after the loss of its statehood the Armenian nation still constituted a majority in its homeland, which was recognized by Ottoman occupiers as well.[3]

Historically the Armenian Highlands have been situated to the east of Anatolia, with the border between them located near Sivas (Sebastia) and Kayseri (Caesarea). Therefore, it is incorrect to refer to Armenia as part of "Eastern Anatolia".[6]

In the 17th century, when the Armenian Question was not yet included into the international diplomacy agenda, the terms "Anatolia" or "Eastern Anatolia" were never used to indicate Armenia. Furthermore, the "Islamic World Map" of the 16th century and other Ottoman maps of the 18th and 19th centuries have clearly indicated Armenia (Ermenistan) on a specific territory as well as its cities.[3]

Armenia, together with its boundaries, was unequivocally mentioned in the works of earlier Ottoman historians and chroniclers until the end of the 19th century. Kâtip Çelebi, a famous Ottoman chronicler of the 17th century, had a special chapter titled “About the Country Called Armenia” in his book Jihan Numa. However, when this book was republished in 1957, its modern Turkish editor H. Selen changed this title into “Eastern Anatolia”. Osman Nuri, a historian of the second half of the 19th century, mentions Armenia repeatedly in his three-volume Abdul Hamid and the Period of His Reign.[3]

In the 1960s, the Swiss airline Swissair removed the nomenclature 'plateau arménien' from the maps provided by their planes at the request of the Turkish ambassador in Bern.[5]


  • Upper Euphrates Section (Turkish: Yukarı Fırat Bölümü)
  • Erzurum - Kars Section (Turkish: Erzurum - Kars Bölümü)
  • Upper Murat - Van Section (Turkish: Yukarı Murat - Van Bölümü)
    • Upper Murat Area (Turkish: Yukarı Murat Yöresi)
    • Van Area (Turkish: Van Yöresi)
  • Hakkari Section (Turkish: Hakkari Bölümü)


Provinces that are entirely in the Eastern Anatolia Region:

Provinces that are mostly in the Eastern Anatolia Region:

Location and borders

The Eastern Anatolia Region is located in the easternmost part of Turkey. It is bounded by Turkey's Central Anatolia Region to the west; Turkey's Black Sea Region to the north; Turkey's Southeast Anatolia Region and Iraq to the south; and Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia to the east, where Eastern Anatolia overlaps and converges with the South Caucasus region and Lesser Caucasus mountain plateau.

The area of the region is 146,330 km², which comprises 18.7% of the total area of Turkey.


The total population of the region is 6,100,000 (2000 census) and 5,906,565 (2014 estimate). The region has the second most rural population of Turkey after the Black Sea region. The migration level (to the other regions, especially to Marmara Region) is high and population density (40 person/km²) is lower than the average for Turkey (98 person/km²). The migration toward other Turkey's regions and toward foreign countries is higher than the natural population increase, a fact which is leading to a slight decline of the Region's population.


The average altitude is 2,200 m. Major geographic features include plains, plateaus and massifs. There is some volcanic activity today.

Massifs and mountains

Plateaus and plains



Climate and nature

Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Turkish State Meteorology[8]

Since most of the region is far from the sea, and has high altitude, it has a harsh continental climate with long winters and short summers. During the winter, it is very cold and snowy, during summer the weather is cool in the highlands and warm in the lowlands. The region has the lowest average temperature of all Turkish regions, with -25 °C. Although it can get below -40 °C. The summer average is about 20 °C.

The region's annual temperature difference is the highest in Turkey. Some areas in the region have different microclimates. As an example, Iğdır (near Mount Ararat) has a milder climate.

The region contains 11% percent of the total forested area of Turkey, and it is rich in native plants and animals. Oak and yellow pine trees form the majority of the forests.

The region has high potential for hydroelectric power.


Iğdırdan Ağrı Dağı

View of Mount Ararat from Iğdır

Erzurum Cumhuriyet Caddesi3

Cumhuriyet Avenue, Erzurum.

Çifte Minareli Medrese

Çifte Minareli Medrese is an architectural monument of the late Seljuk period in the city of Erzurum


Monument of the Nene Hatun in the city of Erzurum

Io panoramic1 (Large)

Panoramic view of the city of Bingöl

Kars Panorama

Panoramic view of the city of Kars

Akhtamar Island on Lake Van with the Armenian Cathedral of the Holy Cross

Akdamar Island and the Armenian Cathedral of the Holy Cross, a 10th-century Armenian church and monastic complex


Kars city centre


  1. ^ Lynch, H.F.B., "Armenia, Travels and Studies" London, 1901, vol2 p391. "The natural boundary between Armenia and Asia Minor is the course of the Western Euphrates between the town of Kemah, and its passage through Taurus below Keban-Maden."
  2. ^ Oswald, Felix "A Treatise on the Geology of Armenia", London, 1906.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Sahakyan, Lusine (2010). Turkification of the Toponyms in the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey. Montreal: Arod Books. ISBN 978-0969987970.
  4. ^ a b c Hovannisian, Richard (2007). The Armenian Genocide: Cultural and Ethical Legacies. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers. p. 3. ISBN 1412835925.
  5. ^ a b c d e Cheterian, Vicken (2015). Open Wounds: Armenians, Turks and a Century of Genocide. Oxford and New York City: Oxford University Press. p. 65. ISBN 1849044589. As a result of policies such as these, the expression Armenian Plateau, which had been used for centuries to denote the mountainous highlands around Lake Van and Lake Sevan, was eliminated and replaced by the expression 'eastern Anatolia'.
  6. ^ a b c Galichian, Rouben (2004). Historic Maps of Armenia: The Cartographic Heritage. London and New York City: I.B. Tauris. p. 8-9. ISBN 1860649793.
  7. ^ a b c Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies. 14-16. Los Angeles. 2005. p. 55. Most of historical Armenia presently constitutes a part of Turkey (renamed "Eastern Anatolia"), which conducts a policy of minimizing the role of the Armenians in history
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-20. Retrieved 2011-05-31.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

Altıntepe (Turkish for "golden hill") or Yerez (Armenian: Երեզ) is an Urartian fortress and temple site dating from the 9th to 7th century BCE. It is located on a small hill overlooking the Euphrates River in the Üzümlü district of Erzincan Province, Turkey.

Altıntepe is located at the 12th kilometre on the highway from Erzincan to Erzurum. The site was discovered in 1938 during the construction of a nearby railway line. The remains are situated on a volcanic hill 60 m high. During excavations undertaken between 1959 and 1968 and led by Professor Dr. Tahsin Özgüç, a fortified settlement from the Urartian period was found. In the excavated area a temple or palace, a great hall, a warehouse, city walls, various rooms, and three subterranean chamber tombs on the south side of the hill were found. After a long gap, excavations were restarted in 2003 by the decision of the Council of Ministers, under the leadership of Professor Dr. Mehmet Karaosmanoğlu.

The hill was a significant center for the Byzantine Empire and has a church with three naves and mosaic floors. The church was built on a natural terrace and has a rectangular floor plan. The colorful mosaic floors with various geometric shapes and figures of plants and animals are unique to the region.

Bingöl Province

Bingöl Province (Turkish: Bingöl ili; Kurdish: Parêzgeha Bîngolê‎, Zazaki: Çewlîg, Northern Kurdish: Çewlîg; Armenian: Ճապաղջուր Chapaghjur) is a province of Turkey in Eastern Anatolia. The province was created in 1946 out of parts of Elazığ and Erzincan. The new province was known as Çapakçur Province until 1950. Its neighbouring provinces are Tunceli, Erzurum, Muş, Diyarbakır, Erzincan and Elazığ. The province covers an area of 8,125 km2 and has a population of 255,170. The main spoken languages are Turkish and Zazaki/Kurdish. The capital is Bingöl. The majority of the province's population is Kurdish.

Bitlis Province

Bitlis Province (Turkish: Bitlis ili and Kurdish: Parêzgeha Peniyan‎) is a province of eastern Turkey, located to the west of Lake Van. The majority of the province's population is Kurdish.

Central East Anatolia Region (statistical)

The Central East Anatolia Region (Turkish: Ortadoğu Anadolu Bölgesi) (TRB) is a statistical region in Turkey.

Elazığ Airport

Elazığ Airport (IATA: EZS, ICAO: LTCA) is an airport in Elazığ, Turkey. First opened to air traffic in 1940, Elazig Airport is one of the oldest airports still in use in Turkey. The old runway 09/27 had been closed and has been removed. New 13/31 runway is installed. A new terminal building has also been built in 2012.

Elazığ Province

Elâzığ Province (Turkish: Elâzığ ili) is a province of Turkey with its seat in the city of Elâzığ. The source of the Euphrates river is located in this province.

The province had a population of 568,753 in 2014. The population of the province was 569,616 in 2000 and 498,225 in 1990.

The total area of the province is 8,455 square kilometres (3,264 sq mi), 826 km2 (319 sq mi) of which is covered by reservoirs and natural lakes.

The current governor of the province is Muammer Erol (since 2006). Turks, Zazas and Kurds are the majority in the province.

Erzincan Province

Erzincan Province (Turkish: Erzincan ili) is a province in the eastern region of Anatolia, Turkey, and home to Erzincan, a city which was destroyed and rebuilt after an earthquake of magnitude 7.9 on December 27, 1939. The population was 224,949 in 2010.

Hakkâri Province

Hakkâri Province (Turkish: Hakkâri ili, Arabic: هكاري‎), is a province in the south east corner of Turkey. The administrative centre is located in the city of Hakkâri (Kurdish: Colemêrg‎). The province covers an area of 7,121 km² and has a population of 251,302 (2010 est). The province had a population of 236,581 in 2000. The province was created in 1936 out of part of Van Province. Its adjacent provinces are Şırnak to the west and Van to the north. The majority of the province's population is Kurdish.


Karakoyunlu (Azerbaijani: Qaraqoyunlu) is a town and district of Iğdır Province in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey. Part of the district forms the international border between Turkey and Armenia.

Kuş Island

Kuş Island (Turkish: Kuş Adası, literally "Bird Island"), also called Arter Island (Armenian: Առտեր կղզի), is a small island in Lake Van, Turkey. It is now uninhabited but formerly contained a small monastery, the ruins of which can still be seen.

Malatya Province

Malatya Province (Turkish: Malatya ili) is a province of Turkey. It is part of a larger mountainous area. The capital of the province is Malatya (in Hittite: Milid or Maldi, meaning "city of honey"). Malatya is famous for its apricots. The area of Malatya province is 12,313 km². Malatya Province had a population of 853,658 according to the results of 2000 census, whereas in 2010 it had a population of 740,643. The provincial center, the city of Malatya, has a population of 426,381 (2010).

Muş Province

Muş Province (Turkish: Muş ili), (Kurdish: Mûş) is a province in eastern Turkey. It is 8,196 km2 in area and has a population of 406,886 according to a 2010 estimate, down from 453,654 in 2000. The provincial capital is the city of Muş. Another town in Muş province, Malazgirt (Manzikert), is famous for the Battle of Manzikert of 1071. The majority of the province's population is Kurdish.

Patara (Cappadocia)

Patara (Ancient Greek: Πάταρα) was a small ancient city in ancient Cappadocia or Lesser Armenia, (Tab. Peut.), later in Pontus. The city lay on the major trade road from Trapezus on the Black Sea to Satala, and thence to Lake Van.

Its site is located near Madenhanları, Asiatic Turkey.


Pütürge (Kurdish: Şêro or Mirûn, is a district of Malatya Province of Turkey. The mayor is Mehmet Polat (AKP).

Southeastern Anatolia Region

The Southeastern Anatolia Region (Turkish: Güneydoğu Anadolu Bölgesi) is a geographical region of Turkey.

It is bordered by the Mediterranean Region to the west, the Eastern Anatolia Region to the north, Syria to the south, and Iraq to the southeast.


Tatvan (Armenian: Դատվան Datvan, Kurdish: Têtwan) is a city on the western shore of Lake Van. It is the chief city of Tatvan District within Bitlis Province in eastern Turkey, and has about 96,000 inhabitants. The mayor is Fettah Aksoy (AKP).


Tercan (formerly Mama Hatun, and Derzene in the Byzantine era) is a town and district of Erzincan Province in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey. The district covers an area of 1,592 km2 (615 sq mi) and its total population is 20,072 of which 6,646 live in the town of Tercan.

The town is especially notable for the 12th century complex of buildings built by the Saltukid female ruler Melike Mama Hatun, which comprises her tomb, a mosque, a hammam and an impressive caravanserai which was heavily restored in recent years.

The 17th century Ottoman traveller Evliya Celebi visited the place in 1647, calling it Mamahatun. He wrote about the Saltukid complex and described the town as "a Muslim village containing two hundred houses".

Van Ferit Melen Airport

Van Ferit Melen Airport (IATA: VAN, ICAO: LTCI) is an airport in Van, the city in eastern region of Turkey. It is named after the Turkish politician and former prime minister Ferit Melen (1906–1988).


Çemişgezek (Armenian: Չմշկածագ Čmškacag), Ottoman Turkish: چمشکزک‎, Kurdish: Melkişî‎, Medieval Greek: Chosomachon) is a small Turkish city and its surrounding district in Tunceli Province of Turkey. The city has a population of 2,819, while whole district has a population of 7,929. The mayor is Ahmet Şadan Ersoy (CHP).

The name Çemişgezek (in Armenian Չմշկածագ = ուր որ Չմշկիկը ծագեցաւ, where Tzimiskes was born) is related to the Armenian general of the Eastern Roman forces John Tzimiskes, who defeated the Arabs in Mesopotamia, returned to Constantinople and usurped the imperial throne, reigning as emperor from December 11, 969, to January 10, 976.

Imperial conversion
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches


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