Some nations have histories, cultures, civilizations, and great empires. And it is believed that over time these empires and administrative cultures had disappeared. If you look at the world in the 14th century, from Central Asia to Europe, there was almost Turkish rule: the Great Timurid Empire in Transoxania, the Mughal Shah who ruled India for many years, the Golden Horde who ruled modern-day Russia from a End to the other, the Ottoman Empire from the Middle East to the Balkans, the Shah of Iran in Iran and Egypt. The Mamluks of the Middle East were also empires under Turkish rule.
When the age of empires came to an end, particularly in a world war that began with competition from England, France and Germany, one end of the Ottoman Empire’s frontier was still in Galicia, one end in Yemen, the other in Libya, in Chad and Saudi Arabia. It was on the Peninsula and in the Caucasus. In the Balkans, what is now Macedonia and Thessaloniki were still Ottoman territories. When World War I ended and empires disappeared from the scene, so did the last empire of the Turks, the Ottoman Empire.
After the war, while almost half of the world was colonized by England, France or western states, the War of Independence in Anatolia began and Turkey was restored as a nation state by declaring its independence. When the Republic of Turkey was established and its mission as a nation-state emerged, the dominant states of the world were convinced that Turkey would never regain its former mission, or struggled not to identify Turkey as a nation with a clear roadmap.
It is important to use the expression “not a destroyed civilization but a frozen civilization” for the Ottoman heritage. In fact, we can have a very good discussion of Freeze Theory in this explanation. In other words, we can negotiate with some situations that one day it can come alive, the ice block will be dissolved and will complete its mission in the story.
When the Cold War ended, many countries in the east and west of Turkey declared their independence. Turgut Özal, the late Prime Minister of Turkey, was one of the leaders who first saw this emptiness in the world, and he used the expression “Turkish world from the Adriatic Sea to the Great Wall of China” because states like today’s Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan had successively declared their independence from Russia. They soon established direct political and diplomatic relations with Turkey. Today, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Ukraine in the Balkans partly resemble Bulgaria’s relations with Turkey a hundred years ago. We saw how valuable Turkey’s balanced stance was to Ukrainians in the Russia-Ukraine war.
Although Turkey’s economic growth over the past 20 years has not been strong enough to support a regional power’s foreign policy mission, Turkey’s mission is naturally expanding due to the new strategic balances in the world and the vacuum created by global powers.
If a problem arises in Afghanistan today, Turkey is in the position of the cornerstone of the negotiations. Turkey is a direct party to Libyan stability. Turkey is a part of the process in Azerbaijan-Armenia relations in Karabakh. It maintained the same position during the war between Ukraine and Russia. Starting today, Syria, Russia and Turkey are negotiating on Syria’s security to end the suffering of the Syrian people. Relations conducted in the Middle East, the realignment of relations with Israel-Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Turkey’s natural gas exploration in the Mediterranean, and Turkey-Greece relations are all signs of expanding Turkey’s mission. Although Turkey’s power rests on its historical potential and mission, the government that has prepared Turkey according to its future formation is also an influential factor.
When there is a leadership crisis in the world and many European countries lack charismatic leaders, it is important to have a leader like President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who is experienced, knows what he is doing, has a deep knowledge of foreign policy and can be with all the leaders of the world sit down and negotiate on equal terms. In addition, people’s expectations of the future and identification of the leader’s identity are among the factors influencing the expansion of Turkey’s mission.