Turkey’s Neo-Ottomanism is knocking on the door


Turkey’s resurgence as a center of Islamic values and its strategy of drifting away from Western influenced society is in the making.  The neo-Ottomanism’s ideology is focused on the revival of the Islamic glory and Islamic state running procedures. It also refers to the aims of Turkey’s of reclaiming the territories that were held by the ottomans before its collapse. Turkey is all eyes on the revival of the greater Turkey and the Islamic ideological models. Turkey is aimed at the rival of the classic civilization of the Ottoman Empire. It is obvious that in the contemporary world and the international law no state can acquire and annex lands that are declared states but Turkey aims to have ideological and economic influence on the territories that were part of the greater Turkey.

Turkey was the center of the trade and Islamic civilization before its collapse and became a secular Turkey Republic in 1923. Under Kemal Attaturk, Turkey flourished and adopted western way of life. Under Recep Tayyab Erdogan, Turkey is going back to its roots and days of glory by adopting “Neo-Ottomanism” as its political ideology and Pan-Islamism. The Erdogan administration is more focused on pulling Turkey out of Western existence and the western political orientation. Turkey is following its strategy quite carefully but still they are indulged in tensions with its neighbours such as Kurds and the Northern Syria.

The neo-ottomanism is turning into a reality and after Hagia Sophia Mosque the world can visibly see the changing doctrine of Turkey and adoption neo-ottomanism. It indicated the rise of Islamic consciousness in the region especially in the Turkish leadership. The imam Hatip schools are purely religious school that is operating throughout Turkey and its induction are increasing with every year. The solidified ties of Turkey with Muslim Brotherhood and increased military, economic, social assistance for the African region is currently the priority of Turkey. Recep Tayyab Erdogan has repeatedly criticized West and its economic expansion policies towards the world particularly the African region. Turkey has established strong ties with many African states and most importantly with Somalia and Sudan. Along with this, Turkey has also established its military bases in the Mogadishu, Somalia, and Africa. Turkey is aiming to expand its reach and improve its global standing that will eventually pave way for increased regional dominance. For the fulfillment of these aims, Turkey is including soft power tool in its neo-Ottomanism ideology. They have been performing huge humanitarian programs and rebuilding of the poverty ridden areas of the Muslim African communities. These policies are taking Turkey close to the status of the global power by adopting and promoting Pan-Islamism and Neo-Ottomanism.

The political ideology of Neo-Ottomanism includes the strategy of occupying and increasing economic and military influence in the former areas that were under the control of Ottomans. This is evident from the fact that Turkey Sudanese relationship is deepening with time are the Sudanese government has issues a decree of lending the “Suakin Islands” to Turkey for restoration of the Ottoman ruins. According to some scholars, Turkey has built its largest military base in Suakin Islands and these islands are strategically important for the Middle East. As it serves as crossroads between the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia and East Africa. Also these islands are Sudan’s largest ports for trade with the world; Turkey’s increased presence in the Horn of Africa making Egypt and Saudi Arabia uncomfortable. It seems like Turkey is focused on establishing its foothold on the energy corridors such as Suakin Islands.

Along with this, Turkey has propagated its policy of giving to the people of Africa, a policy based on economic cooperation instead of economic expansionist policies of West. On the other hand, Turkey is expanding its territory by pushing into the northern Syria with the aim of reclaiming the territories of the former Ottoman Empire, depicts a notion of the neo-Ottomanism. Currently Turkey has already reclaimed the province of Idlib and the province of Afrin of Syria. If the whole scenario is analyzed deeply it can be concluded that Turkey in its true sense is following the ideology of neo-Ottomanism by creating its influence over the strategically important locations. Turkey is not stopping here; it has increased its number of troops in the Northern Cyprus by around 30,000. It also has made maritime territorial claims off the coast of Cyprus over new gas discoveries. In addition, Turkey has also increased its presence in the Central Asia by establishing economic ties with the nation. The depth of relations is evident from the making of TAKM (Turkic military force). It is perceived as the Turk version of NATO. This force includes the states of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia.

Recep Tayyab Erdogan has questioned the working and progress of the western influenced international institutions. The Erdogan administration has repeatedly gave signals of withdrawing from UN treaties and has criticized the treaties made by the major powers. They have termed them as policy of keeping the developing states handicapped and dependent on the West and posing no challenge to their supreme power. The administration has also been criticizing the treaty of Lausanne of 1923, this treaty set the territorial boundaries of the modern Turkey that the modern Turkey under Erdogan is rejecting and is demanding the return of territories that were unlawfully snatched from them. Turkey is demanding the return of the lands as planned under the “Misak-e-Milli” plan.

In addition, Turkey is posing the demand of reclaiming the lands of former Ottoman Empire and these territories stretch from parts of northern Syria, northern Iraq, entire modern day Armenia, some parts of Georgia and Eastern Thrace that is now part of Greece. After China’s annexation of Ladakh, India’s illegal annexation of occupied Kashmir and illegal occupation of the Palestinian lands by the narcissi Israel it is not beyond possibility for Turkey to annex the areas bordering it. These standards and strategies of increasing power are established by the international community itself. The illegal annexation of the Palestinian lands with the Israeli claim of reclaiming the lands of their forefather back gives a smooth way to Turkey of reclaiming the lands of the Ottoman Empire. The Western world shouldn’t be threatened by the neo-Ottomanism as the broken Western version of Ottomanism is being witnessed by the Israel’s. I will conclude my argument with this quote and a hope for a peaceful world.

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Sojla Sahar
Sojla Sahar
The writer is a student of Peace and Conflict Studies at NDU Islamabad. She has been writing for various newspapers and has keen interests in Middle East affairs, Afghanistan, religious and ethnic conflicts, Foreign policy of Pakistan and Conflict resolution/ Management.


Israel-Hamas War Resumes After Weeklong Ceasefire: Evaluating Hopes against Realities

The War Resumes: Humanitarian Crisis Deepens The fragile weeklong truce...

Philippines joins Blue Carbon Action Partnership to Strengthen Coastal Ecosystems

The Government of the Philippines’ Department of Environment and...

Brazil gears up to become fourth largest oil producer

Brazil's National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels...