The Blue Homeland: Turkey’s Place in the Aegean Sea

Connie Yap Ai Thong, Vice Secretary (2020/21)


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“We are determined and capable of defending our rights across the ‘Blue Homeland’ as well as Cyprus” - Hulusi Akar, Turkey Defence Minister.

Contributing to the tension between Turkey and Greece, the ‘Blue Homeland’ doctrine plays a large role in the matters of maritime delimitations and jurisdictions of Turkey. The Turkish bases most of its foreign policy on the ‘Blue Homeland’ doctrine. 

What is the ‘Blue Homeland’ Doctrine?

Also known as ‘mavi vatan’, the ‘Blue Homeland’ is the name of Turkey’s zone of interest and jurisdiction over salty and fresh waters located between 25-45 East longitudes and 33-43 North latitudes. Turkey’s “Blue Homeland” extends to 462,000 km2 of their potential maritime territory, which is more than half their land territory of 783,000km2. 

‘Blue Homeland’ as a profound phrase in Turkey: 

  • In February 2019, the Turkish fleet conducted a large naval exercise which was codenamed ‘Blue Homeland 2019’.

  • The official journal sponsored by Turkey’s Naval War College also bears the name Mavi Vatan.

  • This trending phrase could also be found in statements and publications of former admirals, such as Rear Adm. Soner Polat, Adm. Özden Örnek, and Rear Adm. Mustafa Özbey. 

Seeking to achieve maritimisation of their people, Turkey enforced such a concept to establish the supremacy of their strategic maritime rights within the Eastern Mediterranean. Majority of Turkey’s trade depends on the sea, hence freedom of navigation among the waters is what Turkey prioritizes. The rationale behind the ‘Blue Homeland doctrine’ is to ensure that Turkey is not restricted in the context of the country’s trade, defence and security. 

Turkey’s Influence in the Waters

By definition, the maritime homeland that is preserved strongly by the Turkish is non-negotiable. This doctrine is what presents Turkey new opportunities in building up its geopolitical control in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Straits. It is a strong factor that legitimizes Turkey in terms of international law to dominate maritime zones and being able to activate its role in the international political, diplomatic, military and economic capacity.

Following a realist-guided framework, the ‘Blue Homeland’ refrains from adopting permanent alliances and blocs. Instead, it bases itself on the notion that “states do not have permanent enemies and friends, they have interests.” and opens itself to temporary alliances and cooperation for the protection of maritime rights and interests. Maximalist conceptions are not welcomed by the Turkish foreign policies. Greece sought to expand its maritime territories in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean through its islands and this has invoked the tension between Turkey and Greece. 

The maritime jurisdiction zones of Turkey conferred by the ‘Blue Homeland’ offers potential economic wealth and defence buffer as well as geopolitical strengths to Turkey, particularly within the sea. The most evident manifestation of this doctrine could be demonstrated through Turkey’s evolving policy toward Libya. 

  • In December 2019, Turkey had signed an agreement with the Tripoli government which set forth a mutually expansive border between Libya and Turkey. This signals a call of Turkey’s political triumph in the name of the country’s blue homeland.


All in all, it is undeniable that the ‘Blue Homeland’ contributes as a large factor to Turkey’s geopolitical status in the modern world but also poses a challenge in establishing its diplomacy relations. On the other hand, to further strengthen this doctrine, it should be further concluded with endorsement of the military, diplomacy and economy dimensions by the Turkish constitutional institutions in a long-term document.


Gingeras, R. (2020). Blue Homeland: The Heated Politics Behind Turkey’s New Maritime Strategy. Retrieved from: 

Gjevori, E. (2020). Turkey’s ‘Blue Homeland’: striking a balance in the Eastern Mediterranean. Retrieved From: 

Gürdeniz, C. (2020). What is the Blue Homeland in the 21st century?. Retrieved from: 

 Hertoro, A. (2021). Implication of Aegean Sea Conflict between Greece and Turkey on US-Turkey Cooperation. Retrieved from:  

News Room. (2021).  Akar: Turkey determined to defend rights across ‘Blue Homeland. Retrieved from :