Turkey's Strategic Geographical Location In The World of Geo-Politics
The country of Turkey, slightly larger than Texas in size (780,580 sq km), lies on the southeastern side of Europe and the southwestern side of Asia.? It borders the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea.? Land wise, Turkey is bordered to the northwest by Bulgaria and Greece, to the east by Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia (all three part of the former USSR) and Iran, and to the south by Iraq and Syria.? Strategically located, Turkey controls the Turkish straights including the Bosphorus, Sea of Marmara, and Dardanelles.? Because Turkey is positioned on an area where Europe meets Asia and is very close geographically to Africa, the country provides a link between these three continents. The European part of the country is named Thrace, while the Asian part is known as Anatolia.? Throughout history, Turkey, especially Anatolia, has been a prominent center of commerce because of its land connections to three continents and the sea surrounding it on three sides (?Turkey at a Glance?).? Additionally, Turkey?s geographical location plays an important role in the geo-politics of Europe and Asia not just as a crucial land bridge between Europe and Asia but as an integral part of the prosperous Mediterranean economy, a center for trade, and a critical link to the sea for Russia and the Ukraine.? In the past, Turkey?s geographic location has been the center of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires and has acted as a fortress against an expanding Soviet Union and more recently an expanding Iraq (Larson).
Turkey?s Role in ?Operation Iraqi Freedom?
Within the past year, Turkey has played a vital role in ?Operation Iraqi Freedom.?? The United States offered cash and soft loans to the Turkish government in order for the permission of the American army to pass through Turkey to get to Baghdad. The 68,109,469 citizens of Turkey and the Turkish Parliament did not agree, however, and thus the United States army was not allowed to pass through Turkey.? Later, Turkey announced it would send a large detachment of troops into Iraq to handle the Turcoman minority which, due to its hostility to the Kurdish majority supported by the United States, had united itself with Iraqi resistance. The Turkish political opinion, on the other hand, was adamantly opposed to this plan so the project was abandoned (Gorce).? Fortunately for the United States a compromise was achieved.? Turkey, home to Incirlik Air Base, allowed the United States and British planes to fly from Turkey to monitor Iraq?s northern no-fly zone (Bender).
Turkey?s Economic Future with its Neighboring Countries
Turkey, a republican parliamentary democracy, in the past has suffered economic harm from having Iraq as a neighbor (through international embargoes) (?Turkey, Iraq, Sign Protocol to Boost Trade?) but can now play an important role in the rebuilding of Iraq (Larson). In fact, the Turkish Daily...