Debating Eurasia: Political Travels of a Geographical Concept in Turkey



Lerna K. YANIK*

This article reviews the ways in which various actors in Turkey have used the terms ‘Eurasia’ and ‘Eurasianism’ since the end of the Cold War. It presents two arguments. First, compared to Russian Eurasianism, it is difficult to talk about the existence of a ‘Turkish Eurasianism’. Yet, the article employs the term Turkish Eurasianism as a shorthand to describe the ways in which Eurasia and Eurasianism are employed in Turkey. Second, Turkish Eurasianism is nothing but the use or instrumentalization of Eurasia to create a geopolitical identity for Turkey that legitimizes its political, economic, and strategic interests primarily in the post-Soviet space, but, from time to time, also in the Balkans and Africa. Various Turkish state and non-state actors have used Eurasia to mean different things and justify different goals: reaching out to Turkic Republics, being pro-Russian, creating a sphere of influence in former Ottoman lands, or, recently, cloaking anti-Western currents.

Keywords: Eurasia, Eurasianism, Turkish Foreign Policy, Turkey, Russia


* Prof. Dr., Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Kadir Has University