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.
When the words sea, ocean or maritime are considered, one must notice the 70, 80, 90 rule: “Over 70 percent of the world’s surface is composed of water, over 80 percent of the world’s population lives on the seaside and over 90 percent of the world’s trade has been performed over shipping.” As the world’s population and commerce network due to globalization have gradually increased, the dynamism on and around the oceans has likewise increased accordingly, leading to critical problems like resource depletion, marine pollution, etc.