Every country claims that it possesses a unique geography and Turkey is certainly no exception. There are, however, some specific reasons behind Turkey’s claim to uniqueness. Is Turkey in Europe or Asia? Is it part of the Islamic or Western world? Should it pursue policies to become a member of the European Union or should it turn back to its Ottoman heritage? The answers to these questions are contested and uncertainty about Turkey’s identity and its place in the European state-system is pervasive. Turkey’s unique geography has been shaping its historical role and relative political importance in international relations.1 Turkey has borders with Bulgaria and Greece in the Balkans; Iran, Iraq and Syria in the Middle East; and the new republics of the former Soviet Union, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in the Caucasus. Turkey is a peninsula surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea. It has historical and cultural connections with the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East. This location has played a determining role in its strategic importance international relations.
|Published - 2003