The offshore Anaximander Mountains are an important link between the Hellenic and Cyprus arcs. They were formed by southeastward rifting from Turkey in post-Miocenc time. Gravity data have shown that the eastern part of the Anaximander Mountains is different from the western part; multibeam mapping seems to confirm that the eastern Anaximander Mountains have affinity with the Florence Rise structure (western Cyprus Arc). Faulting along and across the latter feature is characterized in the seismic data by anastomosing faults and pop-up flower structures. It is likely that progressive adjustment to incipient collision developed into a broad zone of NW-SE transpressive wrenching extending towards south Turkey. In contrast,the western mountains are more directly related to the opening of the Rhodes Basin and the Finike Basin, as transtension may have dominated in southwest Turkey since the Pliocene. The connection with onshore Turkey is still unclear, but could be related to the Fethiye-Burdur Fault Zone that defines the western boundary of the complex Isparta Angle. The Anaximander Mountains and the Isparta Angle form together a tectonic accommodation zone between the active deformation in southwestern Turkey and the Aegean region and the tectonically quieter Cyprus region. © 2003 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.