Aseismic creep is observed at surface along several segments of the North Anatolian right-lateral active fault in Turkey, a major plate boundary between Eurasia and Anatolia. Identifying the mechanisms that control creep and their temporal and spatial change represents a major challenge for predicting the mechanical evolution of active faults, the interplay between creep and earthquakes, and the link between short-term observations from geodesy and the long-term fault zone evolution. We combine geological observations, laboratory analyses, and imaging techniques, shedding new light on the mechanism of fault creep along the North Anatolian Fault (NAF) and its time-dependent change. A clear correlation is shown between shallow creep and near-surface fault gouge composition: locked segments of the NAF are mostly composed of massive limestones without clay gouges, whereas creeping segments comprise clay gouges that contain low-friction minerals. Such fault gouges appear to result from a progressive change of initial volcanic host rocks during their deformation. Anastomosing cleavage develops during the first stage of displacement, leading to layering, oblique at first and then subparallel to the fault, which accommodates part of the aseismic creep by pressure solution. Soluble minerals are dissolved, leading to passive concentration of phyllosilicates in the gouges where alteration transformations by fluid flow produce low friction minerals. At the same time damage zones are fractured and fractures are sealed by carbonates. As a result, these mineralogical and structural transformations weaken the gouge and strengthen the damage zone leading to the change from diffuse to localized seismic-aseismic zones.