Insight Turkey
Insight Turkey
Challenging ideas
On Turkish politics and International affairs


Murat Yeşiltaş

Social Sciences University of Ankara, Turkey
Murat Yeşiltaş
From Geopolitical Anxiety to Assertive Stance: The Historical Construction and Transformation of Turkish Naval Strategy
October 2, 2023
This article traces the evolution of Türkiye’s naval strategy from a defensive coastal-based concept to an assertive one within a broader geopolitical perspective. The shift began during the Cyprus crisis of the 1960s and was made possible by the Navy’s desire to return to the seas. The “Toward Open Seas” strategy of the 1990s and the development of the Turkish defense industry in the 2000s under the AK Party government further enabled this shift. By 2015, the Navy had become more active and was mobilized under a comprehensive strategic reorientation, reflecting its expanded role beyond coastal defense. It examines the various contextual factors that have influenced the transformation of Türkiye’s naval forces, including the intra-institutional context under the Turkish Armed Forces, the discursive context regarding dominant geopolitical narratives, and the geostrategic context concerning the operationalization of Turkish naval strategy. The article’s main aim is to contribute to the existing literature on Türkiye’s naval strategy by drawing on primary sources that have not yet been fully examined.
Turkey’s Strategic Conduct under the Changing International System
December 14, 2021
This article analyzes how Turkey should adjust its grand strategy under the changing international order. It claims that the international order has undergone a significant transformation that is pushing Turkey to relocate its international position. First, the article examines the characteristic features of the changing dynamics of the international system; it then sheds light on the new aspects of Turkey’s changing strategic landscape. By taking into consideration the transformation in Turkish foreign and security policy since the Arab Uprising, the article argues that Turkey needs a basis for determining what is important and what is not, what the primary threats to the nation’s interests are, and how best to serve those interests in a way that is attentive to the costs and risks it is willing to bear. Our aim in this article is to describe how Turkey can deal with the new reality of the international system and pursue and protect its important interests by developing a comprehensive grand strategy.
Guest Editor's Note | Summer 2020
September 23, 2020
Through a wide range of articles and commentaries, this issue aims to bring to its readers a comprehensive framework on the transformation of Turkey’s Defense Industry and changing patterns of its military strategy.
Deciphering Turkey’s Assertive Military and Defense Strategy: Objectives, Pillars, and Implications*
September 22, 2020
This article argues that the change in Turkey’s defense and military strategy stems both from Turkey’s changing security landscape following the post-Arab spring regional disorder and Turkey’s quest to be an assertive regional player. The reasons behind the change in Turkish defense and military strategy also include a desire to gain political influence in the international arena and improve Turkey’s military capabilities to deter emerging security threats near its borders and abroad. The article seeks to unpack Turkey’s growing assertive military and defense strategy by taking into account its main drivers, primary objectives and essential pillars, as well as its tangible repercussions on the military mindset. The article has two main sections. The first section contextualizes Turkey’s new military and defense strategy by taking into consideration its main drivers, objectives and pillars. The second empirically scrutinizes Turkey’s military strategy by focusing on its military activism in extra-territorial domains. In this section, Turkey’s military interventions in Syria following the failed military coup and its strategy of power projection are examined to explain the question of how Turkey operationalizes its new military and defense strategies.
The New Middle East, ISIL and the 6th Revolt Against the West
July 1, 2015
This paper aims to provide an analysis of the ‘new’ in ‘the new Middle East.’ We argue that what is ‘new’ is the revolt against the West currently underway in the contemporary Middle East, challenging the dominant values of Western statehood and personhood. The paper identifies the novelty in the politics of radical antagonism, apocalyptic geopolitical imagination, the re-birth of extra-territorial subjectivities and the politics of resistance, which together shatter the existing political logos. Two particular empirical cases animate our discussion; namely the Arab Spring and the ISIL. By providing such groundwork, the paper also hopes to point to new avenues for further research that would go beyond the confines of narrow, ethnocentric accounts of ‘the new the Middle East.’
Guest Editor's Note | Summer 2015
July 1, 2015
In a radio broadcast in 1939 Winston Churchill defined Russia in a famous quip as ‘a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.’ The chain of metaphors in Churchill’s famous maxim was to point the difficulty of making sense of the great political transformation Russia had gone through.
The New Era in Turkish Foreign Policy: Critiques and Challenges
July 1, 2014
This article examines the critiques directed at Turkish foreign policy during the AK Party administration. There are three basic critiques leveled at the foreign policy that has been followed by the AK Party: Islamist ideology, geopolitical codes, and lack of capacity in foreign policy. These criticisms will be examined through a multi-layered approach, whereby they will be contextualized in terms of global fragmentation (macro level), regional disorder and fragmentation (meso level), and restoration in domestic politics and the opponents within Turkey towards these policies (micro level). A look at the challenges that Turkish foreign policy faces today and the search for a new foreign policy model will follow.

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