The land border of Turkey is 1,632 miles in length. Turkey shares its land border with eight countries: Iraq, Bulgaria, Georgia, Iran, Greece, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Syria. The Turkey-Syria border is the longest, stretching a total of 511 miles, while the Turkey-Azerbaijan border is the shortest, at 6 miles in length. The country’s border was established after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, in the aftermath of the First World War, which also resulted in the establishment of some of Turkey’s bordering countries.
The border with Greece is located in the westernmost part of Turkey. The European country shares a 128-mile border with Turkey. The Turkey-Greece boundary was established in the Treaty of Lausanne. Signed in 1923, the treaty came in the backdrop of the Turkish Independence War and aimed at seeking a diplomatic solution to the conflict. The region in question was Thrace where Greek-speaking people inhabited alongside their Turkish counterparts. During its implementation, the Treaty of Lausanne saw the Greek-speaking Thracians being relocated to Greece, while Turkish-speaking Thracians were moved to Turkey.
Also bordering Turkey’s westernmost region is Bulgaria, a country which shares a 149-mile border with Turkey. Turkey’s border with Bulgaria was also established after the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia
Formerly part of the Soviet Union, the border between the three countries and Turkey stretched 311 miles, a border that had been demarcated as part of the Treaty of Moscow. However, the establishment of the Transcaucasian republics via the 1921 Treaty of Kars, saw the delineation of the new borders. Currently, Georgia shares a 157-mile border with Turkey, while the Armenia-Turkey border is 167 miles in length. Azerbaijan has the shortest border of all Turkey’s neighboring countries, with a length of 6 miles.
Syria borders Turkey in the southeastern part of the country, with the two countries sharing a 511-mile long border, the longest of any of Turkey’s neighboring countries. Syria has however never accepted the border, feeling short-changed by the Treaty of Lausanne. The area of contention between Syria and Turkey is the Hatay Province, which was initially part of the Ottoman Empire and attained independence in 1939. But Hatay’s legislature chose to merge into Turkey, becoming a province in the country. Ever since Syria gained independence in 1946, the country has always criticized Turkey’s claim to Hatay.
Iran shares a 310-mile border with Turkey. The border was established after the signing of the Treaty of Zuhab in May 1639 by the Ottoman and Safavid Empires. Before the treaty, the two empires had been at war for 16 years fighting over territorial rights. Even after the signing of the treaty, the two empires did not cease confrontations over the border, with at least 18 accords being subsequently signed between the two Empires.
Iraq lies on the southeastern part of Turkey and shares a 206-mile long border with the country. The Treaty of Ankara of 1926 saw the demarcation of the Iraq-Turkey border. Turkey (the then Ottoman Empire) had already ceded the territory in line with the Treaty of Lausanne, which resulted in the establishment of a new country, Iraq.