Türkiye's geopolitcal importance and our region - SELÇUK TÜRKYILMAZ

Türkiye's geopolitcal importance and our region

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s speech at the 2021-2022 academic year commissioned and noncommissioned officers’ graduation ceremony contained critical messages both nationally and internationally. This article will focus on one part of the speech only, in which President Erdogan not only reveals Türkiye’s position regarding our region in general but also openly states the reasons underlying this stance. 

 President Erdogan primarily specifies a region that is identified through the broadest frame based on a certain center. In this context, starting from Afghanistan’ he mentions Libya, Yemen, Syria, the Balkans, Africa, and the Caucasus, directly associating Türkiye with this vast region. Türkiye is specified in this speech as the country that is most affected by the adverse reflections of the crises in this vast geography, starting from its neighbors. Türkiye’s base is thus openly revealed. The emphasis that Türkiye does not have the luxury to turn its back on this vast region due to its geographical position, as well as its cultural and anthropic ties, is also extremely important. Explaining Türkiye’s viewpoint with geographical broadness is significant, as these are reasons, and they point to a new center of understanding. We can also reach a conclusion from this about what needs to be done and with whom. He continued his speech, openly stating that Türkiye’s interest in Jerusalem, Palestine, Iraq, and Turkistan is the result of history and values. President Erdogan illustrated this picture at the commissioned and noncommissioned officers’ graduation ceremony in the most explicit manner - thus answering other likely questions.  

Türkiye is at the center of its region, and it is only natural that it is affected by the positive and adverse developments in this region. Besides being at the center of its own region, Türkiye is closely concerned with the events that take place on the East and West axis as well. In the new era that started with the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 1991, Türkiye was directly affected by West European countries’ colonialist expansionist policies, which were thought to be history. If the threats of the new era that started in 2013, post-Arab Spring, were not seen on time, they could have led to irrevocable problems. The same can be said for the Ukraine war. These show that Türkiye is directly affected by both regional and global developments. 

 Türkiye’s central position should not be limited to adverse developments. We can give rise to opportunities as well. Considering this in terms of our language alone, Türkiye’s geopolitical value stands out. There is no other language that has connections with the Chinese, Indians, Persians, Arabs, Latins, Germans, Slavs, and Mongolians. This applies to religion, culture, civilization, as well as continents. Hence, the fact that we don’t have the luxury to turn our back on the region should not be limited to the context of problems only. In one of the previous articles, I tried to draw attention to the term “social union,” which was first coined by Sehbenderzade Filibeli Ahmed Hilmi. Surely, when considered in the context of this term, it would be wrong to limit President Erdogan’s position to an ideological group – like the “foreign powers, and the local powers under their control.” President Erdogan underscores that Türkiye needs to take an active position in order to solve the crises that arise from the outside and inside interventions in the region he explains in the broadest sense. 

 However, we need to focus on an important matter here. The region mentioned above, and the region the Ottoman Empire was concerned with before World War I overlap. It took on a much more active attitude after the 1870s. However, it was impossible to stop colonialist expansionism. It was an invasion period based on territory. They wanted to expand both in terms of population, and take over resources. The similarities and differences between colony and mandate administrations are essential in terms of understanding the forms of hegemony. In the hegemony that applied post-World War II, the sovereignty over economic instruments and resources was clearer. A century later, we are back at the start of a territory-based expansionism period. This will help us understand why Türkiye needs to change its attitude. 

 We need to analyze Erdogan a lot better in order to see the permanent results of global and regional changes. 

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