Interpretation of similar to 1500 km of multi-channel seismic reflection profiles shows that the Rhodes Basin evolved in two distinct tectonic stages. A protracted Miocene convergence (episode P1) resulted in the development of a mainly SSE-verging fold-thrust belt. This period corresponds with the emplacement of the Lycian Nappes to the northeast and fold/thrust complexes on the Island of Rhodes to the west. This phase of deformation ceased in the late Miocene. The absence of evaporites in the Rhodes Basin suggests that this region must have remained above the depositional base of marine evaporite environment during the Messinian. The morphology of the M-reflector, and the architecture of the lowermost Pliocene growth strata in the central portion of the Rhodes Basin demonstrate the existence of rugged paleo-relief over the pre-existing Miocene fold-thrust belt in early Pliocene. The middle Pliocene-Quaternary phase of deformation is characterised by NE-SW sinistral transpression (P2), and rapid regional subsidence. The P2 deformation occurred in response to an actively curving Hellenic Arc and the increasing obliquity of its eastern limb, the Pliny-Strabo Trenches (or fault zones) to the convergence vector of the African Plate. During this time, the PI structures became reactivated as transpressional faults, further facilitating the rapid subsidence.