Istanbul, Turkey – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has appeared in a photograph with a map that depicts nearly half of the Aegean Sea and an area up to the eastern coast of Crete as belonging to Mavi Vatan (Blue Homeland), Turkey.
The photograph is of President Erdogan signing the visitors’ book at the National Defense University in Istanbul, where he attended an event over the weekend.
The map behind him shows Turkey’s maritime borders stretching across the Greek islands of the eastern and southeastern Aegean and even into the Cyclades, and is titled “Turkey, Blue Homeland,” indicating a 462,000 square kilometer area that Turkey declares as its own.
The Turkish presidency has released a manifestational video promoting the national maritime doctrine known as Blue Homeland, or Mavi Vatan, which aspires to give Turkey control over the waters of the eastern Aegean and the northern Mediterranean.
The video starts with a scene of two children being informed by military officers that their father was “martyred.” It then seeks to narrate Turkey’s naval history, from 16th century Kaptan-i Derya (“Captain of the Seas”) Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha to the modern Turkish Navy.
A video and an anthem were prepared on the occasion of the anniversary of the 1538 naval battle of Preveza in which the Ottoman fleet defeated that of a Christian alliance assembled by Pope Paul III.
The following lines of the anthem were also shared on social media : “Oh world! Listen to me, I am the son of a martyr, of a homeland with the crescent-star, the blood of my ancestors flows through my veins, we die and take lives for the blue homeland.”
In the same video, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan can be heard reciting verses from Arif Nihat Asya’s poem “Bayrak” (Flag).
The 27th September, the anniversary of the Battle of Preveza, is celebrated as the Turkish Naval Forces Day.
On 27th September 1538, a naval battle for the supremacy in the Mediterranean was fought between the Ottoman Navy commandeered by Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha and the fleet of a Christian alliance assembled by Pope Paul III and commandeered by Andrea Doria. With the victory at Preveza and the subsequent victory in the Battle of Djerba in 1560, the Ottoman Empire successfully repulsed the efforts of Venice and Spain, the two principal Mediterranean powers, to stop the Turkish drive to control the Mediterranean.