The proposed expansion of Turkish influence should rely on three parallel factors

Saturday, May 7th, 2022

In his 2009 book The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century, George Friedman predicted how the geo-political map of the world would look in 2050:

In one of its chapters, the book has published a map of “Turkey’s sphere of influence in 2050.” According to the map, Turkey’s sphere of influence by 2050 will include Greece, Cyprus, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Gulf countries, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Crimea, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. The book was published during a period when Turkey’s foreign policy under former Foreign Minister Ahmad Davutoglu was being shaped based on the so-called “zero-problem” foreign policy which aimed to ease tensions in neighboring countries starting from the signing of the Armenian-Turkish protocols and ending with consolidating “friendly” relations with Arab countries. During this era, many researchers criticized Turkey’s foreign policy and categorized it as “neo-Ottoman.”


It is worth mentioning that when this map was first published, Crimea was not subjected to Russian annexation; part of Nagorno Karabakh and its surrounding areas were not captured by Azerbaijan; and Turkey had not occupied parts of Northern Syria and Iraq; nor had it acquired military bases in Libya and Qatar and extended its influence in Lebanon, Ukraine and Georgia. Now, many Turkish nationalists and government circles believe that such maps are “promising” given the rise of Turkish power in the region.


According to the book, the proposed expansion of Turkish influence should rely on three parallel factors. The first factor is Turkey’s soft power diplomacy characterized by culture and religion aimed to exercise influence over these states. The second is Ankara’s success in employing its economic supremacy in the region. The third factor is the natural weakening, over time, of neighboring states, which were expected to go through political turmoil eventually leading to political divisions or, in severe cases, civil wars and Turkish military adventures in these countries.


  1. Bob Sykes says:

    Erdogan’s highly erratic behavior has put the kibosh on that dream. The current question is whether Turkey, itself, can remain together.

  2. Cecil says:

    By 2050 Turkey will be the most populous country in the region, equalling Russia.

  3. Wang Wei Lin says:

    It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.

  4. Evan says:

    Turkey may be more populous but more than half the population will be older and the youngest part will be largely Kurdish. Kurds have twice the birth rate of ethnic Turks, with all the usual contributions to a strong ethnic identity, especially persecution by a majority.

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