A FAIT ACCOMPLI
The Mavi Vatan (Blue Homeland) doctrine of Türkiye is a fait accompli and no one can deny it. Ramazan Cem Gürdeniz, a Turkish admiral laid it out in a conference in 2006 as a concept. Cihat Yaycı, another Turkish admiral published the concept as a book in 2010.
In February 2019, Türkiye conducted a four-day naval exercise called Mavi Vatan with more than 100 warships. Three months later there was another Turkish naval exercise with nearly 150 warships. Ever since, Mavi Vatan became a forlorn conclusion: An integral part of Türkiye proper in the surrounding seas.
Türkiye, basically, declared sovereignty over a maritime area of 462.000 sq km. Roughly, it is half of the Black Sea in the north and Aegean Sea in the west. It is also more than half of eastern Mediterranean Sea in the south.
After that, Türkiye concluded a Maritime Deal with Libya. The deal effectively made the eastern Mediterranean Sea, a closed sea for non-coastal navies. In other words, Mavi Vatan doctrine also ensured that the coastal countries would share the spoils of the riches next to Mavi Vatan, equitably.
Mavi Vatan Doctrine of Türkiye
The Mavi Vatan doctrine of Türkiye presents a conundrum for the Western powers. They simply do not know how to counter this brilliant diplomatic and strategic move by Türkiye. The doctrine fully supports the norms and rules of international law.
However, it also puts light on violations by Greece which is the proxy of the Western powers at best or treated like a stooge most other times. Greece militarized 12 islands on the shore of Turkish mainland against Lausanne and Paris treaties. Hence, Türkiye now rightly demands rectifications under the pretext of Mavi Vatan doctrine of all things.
Western powers imposed the 1923 Lausanne and 1947 Paris peace treaties on Türkiye. Then, Türkiye was a fledgling republic that inherited the mess that was left behind by the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. Now, by far, economically and militarily domineering power of the region, Türkiye arrived in a position to make things right.
France and the US
Ever since the Turkish navy began enforcing the Mavi Vatan doctrine, France and the US have been at a loss. They simply do not know how to proceed effectively against Türkiye. Their ineptitude becomes more apparent every time they take initiative. France, for example, decided to test the legitimacy of Mavi Vatan. It sent one of its most advanced frigates to the eastern Mediterranean Sea. No sooner, the warship went dead in the water.
Superior Turkish electronic warfare made the warship useless like a fishing boat. It went to Italy, limping. The US did not want to miss the opportunity to show bravado and leadership. The electronic warfare ship that it sent, sailed into oblivion. Mavi Vatan was all quiet. There was nothing to hear or document. Türkiye simply let the American intelligence ship wander in futility in the region.
Only then, the 46th Administration in Wash DC decided to increase listening posts all throughout the Greek islands in the Aegean. To date, nothing came of this massive effort either, except the fact that Türkiye began to question the presence of the military deployments on the demilitarized islands. Now, the US, much like Greece, was in violation of international treaties signed in Lausanne and Paris.
Greece, meanwhile, was a helpless state, all throughout. On one hand, the ever growing nemesis Türkiye was getting more and more powerful. On the other hand, initially it had to deal with Germans and Chinese. Dire economic conditions were making the country go broke and surrender to them economically. Now, Americans were in charge in the name of providing military security.
As a result, Greece did not have any choice but to follow the orders on Ukraine. Consequently, it also fell at odds with long time brethren Russia. At this time, Greece has no allies left to brag about except France and America. Once, it also had Israel, UAE, S. Arabia, and Egypt to rely on. Since the arrival of the Joe Biden Administration, they also withered away.
In fact, Israel and Türkiye recently appointed ambassadors again after years of severed relationship. UAE on the other hand now competes with Qatar and S. Arabia on investments in Türkiye. Egypt, on the other hand, much like Israel, is the beneficiary of Mavi Vatan which demonstrated that Southern Cyprus was unfairly taking away marine land both from Israel and Egypt.
In that regard, the Mavi Vatan doctrine became a GameChanger for everyone involved in the region and beyond. Coastal countries benefited from it equitably. Foreign powers to the region were now at the mercy of the coastal countries. They had no choice but to offer fair and competitive deals to survive.
All the while, Türkiye looks more and more as if it is the legal arbiter of the region. After all, it has economic means and military muscle. The Turkish navy already demonstrated its will and capacity, coupled with its drone power and electronic warfare superiority. So, it is able to give assurances to everyone involved that there is a “New Sheriff in Town”.
Mavi Vatan Doctrine of Türkiye
More Than What It is
The Mavi Vatan doctrine of Türkiye is in fact a lot more than what the eye can see. It is not only an attempt to legitimize access to the natural riches in the seas surrounding Türkiye. It is also a security issue. Finally, it is history repeating itself as it often does.
From the Turkish perspective, the history of Turks in these waters did not start in 1081. Turks believe they have roots dating back to Attila the Hun that lived and devoured entire Europe until 453 AD. Even though Mavi Vatan has nothing to do with that, nonetheless, the Turkish vigor is no different when it comes to the application of the doctrine.
In that regard, much like I mentioned in my book “GameChanger”, published in 2020, Turkiye will play Zero Sum Game when it comes to claiming and defending Mavi Vatan. Whether admirals Gürdeniz and Yaycı ever mentioned it or not, the 12 islands and the rest of the archipelago will be the reason for playing the game, first and foremost.
On that note, what President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on more than one occasion is a warning. Türkiye may take an unannounced military action against Greece and its cohorts to correct history. Unless of course what is violated so far is fixed at a negotiation table sooner than later. Otherwise, dragging it will surely repeat what transpired in Cyprus in 1974. Another version of the “Turkish Peace Operation” will resolve the dispute once and for all.
Türkiye Today Is More Than
What It Was A Century Ago
As far as Türkiye is concerned, Mavi Vatan is already a fait accompli. It is there to transform Lausanne and Paris “peace treaties” into modern arrangements suitable for everyone’s interests. In other words, Mavi Vatan is there to serve the common interest, much like the Liberation War of 1922 replaced the Sevres Treaty in 1923 to make it fair for Türkiye little bit then.
However, for Greece to join naval exercises in the northern Aegean with France, at this time, does not promise a smooth transition into modernity in the region. In fact, surrendering to the unending military deployment demands of America is also making it impossible for Greece not to get hurt during the transformation period.
In Layman’s terms, under the circumstances, it is more likely to have another Greek Tragedy, in the books. It will simply be known with its pseudonym, Mavi Vatan. For some it may seem like nothing close to calling it Attila The Hun, however, it will still be very destructive for Greece.