Assessing Turkey’s Blue Homeland Geostrategic Concept


Assessing Turkey’s Blue Homeland Geostrategic Concept

Sine Özkaraşahin, Researcher

  • Between February 27 and March 8, 2019, Turkey carried out a series of naval drills under the operational name ‘Mavi Vatan / the Blue Homeland’. More than 100 pieces of platforms participated in the exercise[1], marking Turkey’s first synchronized ‘sparring’ in its entire surrounding waters. Yet, the Blue Homeland is, by all means, more than a military designation for a large-scale drill. Seemingly, it looms large as Turkey’s new compass in the high-seas, an ambitious one with rewarding opportunities and hard to tackle challenges at the same time.


What is the Blue Homeland?


  • The Blue Homeland, an aspirant geostrategic concept developed by Ankara, refers to extending Turkey’s political-military grip towards surrounding waters and high-seas around the Anatolian Peninsula[2]. Specifically, it aims projecting Turkey’s national capacity through its overseas areas of strategic interest. Inevitably, such a concept comes into focus with maritime delineation disputes across the spectrum which recently surfaced with the hydrocarbon bonanza in the Mediterranean.
  • At present, ‘the Blue Homeland’ remains one of the primary political-military pillars that dominate the Turkish naval warfare agenda as well as Turkey’s expeditionary ambitions[3]. As the Blue Homeland unfolds, the Turkish Navy has expanded its role and has already transformed into an active player in energy geopolitics competition[4].


Naval Modernization Trends and Turkey’s Blue-Water Navy in the Making


  • Due to its pivotal significance in the Blue Homeland, Ankara strives to equip the Turkish Navy with new capabilities and sophisticated equipment. Air-independent propulsion submarines, advanced unmanned naval aviation systems for conducting anti-submarine warfare tasks, electronic & signals intelligence vessels, anti-air warfare frigates, and an amphibious assault vessel – which can be followed by her sister combatants in kind –, TCG Anadolu, are critical examples in this regard.
  • Should everything goes according to the Erdogan administration’s plans, Turkey’s Blue Water Navy can make a significant gunboat diplomacy asset within the 2020s. Current efforts for establishing a naval base in Misrata is another trend to monitor in this respect.
  • Yet, Turkey’s shrinking economy in the age of Coronavirus Pandemic is likely to drag the nation’s defense economics into a downtrend. Besides, Turkey’s expeditionary military posture faces the risk of being overstretched in multiple-front wars ranging from the Levant to North Africa. These factors, together, pose grave challenges to the success of Turkey’s Blue Homeland concept and its strategic naval transformation aspect.


[1] Daily Sabah, “Modernized navy adds further muscle to Turkey’s aspiration to protect national interests”. February 9, 2020. Accessed on 1 September 2020 at

[2] Anadolu Agency, “The Blue Homeland: Turkey’s largest naval drill”, February 27, 2019. Accessed on 1 September 2020 at

[3] Uzgel, Ilhan, “The Blue Homeland and Turkey’s new forward defence doctrine”, June 25 2020. Accessed on 1 September 2020 at

[4] Anadolu Agency, “The Blue Homeland: Turkey’s largest naval drill”, 27 February 2019. Accessed on 1 September 2020 at