Afro-Eurasian Perspective: Turkey’s New Geopolitical Identity:

Afro-Eurasian Perspective

Turkey has long been at the center of global power struggles due to its unique geopolitical, historical, and geographical characteristics. Recent statements by Yaşar Güler, the Minister of National Defense, and Hakan Fidan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, illustrate Turkey’s efforts to balance its affiliations with both Atlantic and Eurasian power centers. This analysis employs the theoretical frameworks of Lev Nikolayevich Gumilev and Alfred Thayer Mahan to reassess Turkey’s geopolitical identity within the Afro-Eurasian concept.

Afro-Eurasia: Turkey’s Strategic Position

Afro-Eurasia encompasses the continents of Africa, Europe, and Asia as a single landmass, often referred to as the “Old World.” Turkey’s central location within Afro-Eurasia places it at a strategically critical point: the easternmost part of Europe, the westernmost part of Asia, and the northernmost part of Africa. This strategic positioning is crucial to understanding Turkey through Lev Nikolayevich Gumilev’s theory of “ethnogenesis,” which posits that a nation’s character and historical development are significantly influenced by its geographical and environmental factors. Turkey’s central position in Afro-Eurasia has thus been pivotal in shaping its ethnogenetic identity and strategic priorities.

Historical Positioning of Turkey Afro-Eurasian Perspective

Before 1071, Turks were primarily settled in Central Asia. Following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, Turks became a significant part of Anatolia. Under the Ottoman Empire, Turkey evolved into a Balkan and even European empire, reaching the gates of Vienna and conquering parts of Otranto in Italy. The Ottomans expanded their rule to include Malta, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, and parts of Hungary. Additionally, the Ottoman Empire extended its control over Crimea, Georgia, and reached the Don River. In North Africa, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt became integral parts of the empire. These extensive conquests underscore Turkey’s historical influence over both European and African territories.

The Role of the Ottoman Empire in Ethnogenesis

The vast expanse of the Ottoman Empire, spanning three continents, profoundly influenced Turkey’s ethnogenesis. The diverse cultural, ethnic, and geographical interactions within this empire have left an indelible mark on Turkey’s national character and historical development. The Ottoman legacy is a testament to Turkey’s strategic depth and ability to integrate various regions into a cohesive state structure, influencing its contemporary geopolitical strategies.

Alfred Thayer Mahan and Turkey’s Sea Power

Alfred Thayer Mahan‘s theory of maritime dominance is a crucial lens for understanding Turkey’s geopolitical strategy. Mahan argued that a nation’s sea power is a fundamental determinant of its global status. Evaluating Turkey’s maritime connections and the strategic importance of its surrounding seas through Mahan’s theory, it is evident that bolstering its naval power and controlling sea lanes will enhance Turkey’s global influence. Thus, naval power and control over maritime routes are critical in Turkey’s relations with both Atlantic and Eurasian power centers.

Current Strategic Explanations and Geopolitical Identity

Minister of National Defense Yaşar Güler’s assertion that Turkey can contribute to Europe’s security architecture and its desire to be part of such an army indicates strengthening ties with Atlantic structures. Conversely, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan’s statement about Turkey’s interest in joining BRICS, positioning it as a viable alternative to the EU, reflects an effort to deepen relations with the Eurasian power center. These statements underscore the ambiguity in Turkey’s geopolitical identity and its quest for a balanced foreign policy.


Situated at the heart of Afro-Eurasia with significant historical ties, Turkey faces the challenge of redefining its geopolitical identity in the 21st century. The ethnogenesis theory of Lev Nikolayevich Gumilev and Alfred Thayer Mahan’s maritime dominance framework offers valuable insights into Turkey’s strategic priorities and decisions. Turkey’s pursuit of balanced relations with both Atlantic and Eurasian power centers will be a key factor shaping its future geopolitical identity. Consequently, Turkey’s self-positioning as an “Island Country” within Afro-Eurasia will likely reinforce its role in the global and regional power dynamics.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hakan Arıdemir 


Sosyal Medyada Paylaş


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