In search of greatness lost from Ottoman Turkey
This saying about Turks is very popular in Türkiye. Erdoğan made it his own from an early age. His vision of the world is that of a Turkey with secure borders, to which he would give back, and his past greatness, that of the time of the Ottoman Empire. For this ultimate goal, his geopolitical strategy is simple: a mixture of pragmatism, balance of power, and provocation of his counterparts. Erdogan tried to reconnect with this geopolitical power on two occasions, first relying on the European Union, the first failure, then playing on the context of the Arab Spring, the second failure.
It must be said that more than a century after the Treaty of Sèvres, signed in 1920 which sanctioned the dismantling of
the Ottoman empire by the victorious allied powers of the First World War, still inhabits Erdoğan’s geopolitical imagination. He intends to preserve Turkey’s borders at all costs, and make it the regional leader.
Two major geopolitical issues: Europe and the Arab Spring
We will first see how, during the first decade of his power (2003-2010), the failure of negotiations regarding the integration of Turkey into
the European Unionaligned with the geopolitical logics of
NATO, represented such disappointment in the mind of the Turkish president, that he radically changed his international priority: to make Turkey once again a regional power that could recall past neo-Ottoman greatness, by favoring a soft power within the world Arab-Muslim. A balance of power that he tries to impose in favor of the
arab revoltsbut which also turned against him.
Ahmet Inselpolitical scientist
Soli Ozellecturer in political science at Kadir Has University
Berk Esenpolitical scientist at Sabanci University