Theoretical considerations of lithosphere deformation across transform plate boundaries predict an expression in terms of distributed deformation. The magnitude of rotation is expected to diminish away from the fault zone in a way which depends on the length of the fault, the amount of displacement, and the ductility of the Lithosphere. Palaeomagnetic studies across the North Anatolian transform fault zone, which separates the Eurasian Plate and Anatolian Block in northern Turkey, show that clockwise rotations predicted from the sense of dextral motion are indeed present and have attained finite rotations of up to 270 degrees during the similar to 5 Ma history of Neotectonic deformation. Such rotations are, however, confined to narrow (similar to 10 km wide) zones between system-bounding faults and appear to have resulted from rotation in ball-bearing fashion of equidimensional blocks a few kilometres in size. Outside of this zone only anticlockwise rotations are observed; these are unrelated to deformation across the fault zone and record regional anticlockwise rotation of Turkey which is complementing clockwise rotation of Greece and accompanying Neogene opening of the Aegean Sea. The observed behaviour of continental lithosphere satisfies no plausible value of power law behaviour. We therefore conclude that relative motion across this transform boundary occurs as a discrete zone of intense deformation within a brittle layer comprising the seismogenic upper crust. This is presumed to be detached from a continuum deformation response to shearing in the lower crust and mantle beneath. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science B.V.