The Cankiri Basin straddles the Izmir-Ankara-Erzincan Suture Zone which demarcates the former position of the northern branch of the Neotethys. It includes more than 3 km of pre-Middle Miocene in-fill related to late Cretaceous to pre-Middle Miocene evolution of the region. The basin has developed on the upper Cretaceous subduction complex and arc related basins of the Neotethys Ocean. The basin fill includes an upper Cretaceous forearc sequence overlain by Paleocene with a local unconformity. The upper Cretaceous configuration of the Cankiri basin is interpreted as a part of a forearc basin. The Paleocene and younger history is interpreted as a foreland sequence dominated by progressively southwards migrated depocenters in front of southward migrating thrust faults upon which a series of piggy-back basins were developed. Termination of the forearc setting and beginning of foreland basin conditions indicates complete subduction of the Neotethyan oceanic crust and onset of collision between the Pontides (Laurasia) and the Taurides (Gondwana) in the Paleocene. Thrusting and related sedimentation continued until the Aquitanian (Early Miocene).