Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ultra-nationalist coalition partner, National Movement Party (NHP) leader Devlet Bahceli, posed today before a map of the “Turkish world”, claiming for Ankara all territories of other countries that have Turkish-speaking or ethnic Turkish and Muslim minorities.

The map, which depicts Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman ideations and foreign interventions presents as “Turkish territories” a long list of countries from the Balkans and Central Asia and Russia all the way to China with its Muslim Uyghur minority. Bahceli presented it as a gift to the Turkish president.

Erdogan has for years been working to manipulate ethnic Turks and Muslims in the Balkans, most notably in Bulgaria and Albania.

Turkish ‘global map’

The photograph in which the map was displayed was taken at the presidential palace in Ankara, where Erdogan and Bahceli held a 45-minute meeting on political developments and the workings of their coalition.

The author of Erdogan’s brand of expansionist neo-Ottomanism and of pan-Islamism in the Middle East was his former foreign minister and prime minister, Mevlut Davutoglu, a noted professor of international relations who laid out the theories in his seminal work Strategic Depth. Davutoglu has since turned against Erdogan, criticising his autocratic regime.

Erdogan has often depicted himself and Turkey as the protector of the Muslim world in a broader region once under Ottoman rule.

“President Erdogan and MHP president Bahceli pose with a Turkish world map” was the daily Yeni Safak’s title for the story.