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Turkey’s Geopolitical Position and its Role as an Energy Corridor

The seaway that goes from the Black Sea to the “warm seas” crosses the Turkish Straits. The control of these straits was always a major foreign policy goal for the Russian Empire after it gained access to the Black Sea in 1711 and signed the Ottoman-Russian Treaty of Prut. One century later, in July 1807, when the Russian Tsar, Alexander I, insisted in Tilsit that he would control the Turkish Straits, Napoleon retorted by saying “Constantinople? Mais Constantinople c’est l’Empire du monde” (Constantinople? But Constantinople is the empire of the world.”) In 1943 at Potsdam, when Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt were negotiating the aftermath of the Second World War, Stalin insisted that Russia should have a say about the Turkish Straits.

II - The present situation The parameters that made this region important in the past continue to prevail today. Every region in the world claims that it is at the epicentre of world events. In a sense, any point on the world map may be regarded as the centre of the globe. However to make a more rational comparison from a geostrategic standpoint, we may draw a circle on the world map with Istanbul at the centre and with its perimeter stretching as far as the United Kingdom (Map-2). Such a circle will cover the majority of the world where history has been shaped. It covers almost all of the European countries, North Africa, the Caucasus and the entire Middle East. Seventy per cent of world gas and oil reserves lie here. Forty per cent of the world’s oil and gas is consumed here. Most of the conflicts that fill the agenda of the international community take place in the areas that are covered by this circle. It is not easy to draw a circle with similar effects if you take as its centre any other major metropolis in the MAP 2: Istanbul as an epicentre

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YASAR YAKIS

Turkey on the European Doorstep  

A Publication based on the International Conference organised at the European Parliament/Brussels by Dr. ELENI THEOCHAROUS, Member of the Eu...

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