Turkey’s Geopolitical Position and its Role as an Energy Corridor YASAR YAKIS* In this article, Turkey’s geopolitical position and its importance as an energy corridor will be discussed in four sections: 1) historical background; 2) the present situation; 3) Turkey’s multiple identities; and 4) Turkey’s importance as an energy corridor.
I - Historical background Turkey is located at the intersection of two important axes: 1) the EastWest axis stretching from the Middle East, overland through the Anatolian peninsula, to the Balkans; and 2) the North-South axis extending from the Black Sea through the Turkish Straits to the Mediterranean.
A. The East-West axis (Anatolia) The East-West axis, that is to say the land mass called Anatolia, served as a cradle to many civilisations, one following another: Hittites began to arrive in Anatolia at the turn of the second millennium BC and established their empire around 1750 BC in Hattussas in Central Anatolia. Babylonians formed their trade colonies in the capital city of the Hittite empire at the centre of Anatolia; thirty-five hundred years old cuneiform tablets reflect a sophisticated urban and commercial life in the middle of the second millennium BC in Anatolia; and the Trojan Wars were fought at the western coasts of Anatolia. Hittites were succeeded by the Phrygians, Bythinians, Lydians, Persians (led by Alexander the Great) Byzance, the Seljuks, the Ottomans and, finally, by Republican Turkey. This multitude of successive civilisations is an indication that the history of the Asia Minor, which constitutes most of Turkey’s present territory, was not calm. Indeed, areas with no geopolitical importance remain relatively calm; and their history is much less disturbed than the history of areas of geopolitical importance. The turbulent history of Anatolia is telling evidence of its geopolitical importance. * Chairman, EU Committee in the Turkish Parliament. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey.
Published on Feb 16, 2012
A Publication based on the International Conference organised at the European Parliament/Brussels by Dr. ELENI THEOCHAROUS, Member of the Eu...