Onshore and offshore seismic and geologic-morphologic evidence from the wider region of the Canakkale Basin indicates that this area has been widely exposed to transpressional tectonism, which already commenced in the Pliocene. During this transpressional tectonism, the Gelibolu Fault and the Anafartalar Shear Zone on the Gelibolu Peninsula, as well as the Bozcaada-Biga Shear Zone on the Biga Peninsula were activated. As a consequence, the northern part of the Gelibolu Peninsula, and a broad zone between Bozcaada Island and the Karaburun Peninsula were uplifted to form the northern and southern boundaries of the Canakkale Basin, respectively. This remained a low-elevation intermontane basin between these two highlands. The original morphology of the Canakkale Basin may have developed as a coastal and shelf section of the large extensional Marmara Sea Basin at the end of the Late Miocene. This tectonic phase was followed in the Pliocene by the transpressional tectonism of the North Anatolian Fault Zone, which destroyed the initial morphology and formed the present V-shaped basin. The activity of the Gelibolu Fault and the Anafartalar Shear Zone along the northern boundary of the Canakkale Basin ended in the late Pleistocene with the initiation of the northern segment of the North Anatolian Fault Zone. The tectonism along the northern boundary of the Canakkale Basin thus shifted from a transpressional to a transtensional regime. Seismic data indicate that the Bozcaada-Biga Shear Zone continues to be active to the present day.