Anatolia (from Ἀνατολή Anatolḗ; Turkish: Anadolu "east" or "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, 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.
Traditionally, Anatolia is considered to extend in the east to a line between the Gulf of Alexandretta and the Black Sea to the Armenian Highlands (Armenia Major). This region is now named and largely situated in the Eastern Anatolia Region of the far north east of Turkey and converges with the Lesser Caucasus – an area that was incorporated in the Russian Empire region of Transcaucasia in the 19th century. Thus, traditionally Anatolia is the territory that comprises approximately the western two-thirds of the Asian part of Turkey.
Anatolia is often considered to be synonymous with Asian Turkey, which comprises almost the entire country; its eastern and southeastern borders are widely taken to be the Turkish borders with neighboring Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, in clockwise direction.
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 early 14th 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.
The Anatolian peninsula, also called Asia Minor, is bounded by the Black Sea to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, the Aegean Sea to the west, and the Sea of Marmara to the northwest, which separates Anatolia from Thrace in Europe.
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, as well as the archeological community. 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 and establishment of the Republic of Turkey, the Armenian Highlands (or Western Armenia) were renamed "Eastern Anatolia" (literally The Eastern East) by the Turkish government, being effectively co-terminous with Asian Turkey. Turkey's First Geography Congress in 1941 created two regions to the east of the Gulf of Iskenderun-Black Sea line named the Eastern Anatolia Region and the Southeastern Anatolia Region, the former largely corresponding to the western part of the Armenian Highland, the latter to the northern part of the Mesopotamian plain. This wider definition of Anatolia has gained widespread currency outside of Turkey and has, for instance, been adopted by Encyclopædia Britannica and other encyclopedic and general reference publications. Vazken Davidian terms the expanded use of "Anatolia" to apply to territory formerly referred to as Armenia as "an historical imposition", and notes that a growing body of literature is uncomfortable with referring to the Ottoman East as "Eastern Anatolia".