The Mind behind the Blue Homeland

Configuration of Cem Gürdeniz's thought

FETÖ'cülerden Cem Gürdeniz'e SaldırıAs a deck officer he served on different destroyers and frigates. He assumed command of the guided missile frigate TCG Gaziantep in 1998 and the Third Destroyer Division in 2002. Promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral (lower-half) in 2004 and upper-half in 2008. He served as Chief of the Strategy Department and then as Chief of the Plans and Policies Division at the Turkish Naval Forces Headquarters. He has served as Commander of the Amphibious Ships and Mining Fleet Group from 2007 to 2009. He retired in 2012. He founded the Istanbul Koç University Maritime Forum in 2015. He still serves as Director of the Maritime Forum. He is a columnist of a newspaper on maritime issues and author of 8 books related to maritime strategy, maritime history and culture.

In addition to service on several warships and a tour at NATO headquarters, he spent long periods of his career working closely with the United States, including two years of residency at the Naval Postgraduate School.

However, he was arrested along with other senior officers three years after reaching the rank of Rear Admiral Upper Half in 2011. This arrest took place in the context that part of the process that received the code name "Ergenekon", and from there came the process that created another Gulenist Conspiracy case The Sledgehammer  (Balyoz). The CIA Funded liberal newspaper, Taraf, published a series of documents that certain sources sent to it, and that documents although they were proven later as totally fake, they were claiming that some cadres plotting against the AKP government, were  aiming to shoot down a Turkish plane as it was shot down by Greeks over the waters of the Aegean, in addition to bombing two mosques in Istanbul, with the aim of sowing confusion and justifying a military coup, within the already mentioned in another article, a long tradition of coups. Some real life war game planning seminar documents which were not fake were added to the scenario in order to elevate the authenticity of the fake documents. According to the Army, these real life documents were part of the simulation exercise based on scenarios within the context of a military seminar. However the Gulenists occupying every corners of the Turkish police and judiciary those days Operation Balyoz involved the indictment of 365 people, starting on 11 February 2011, mostly high-ranking military officers. In this operation, Gürdeniz was arrested and charged.

Blue Homeland: The Heated Politics Behind Turkey's New Maritime Strategy - War on the RocksThe case is an impressive procedural botch that judges an eventual planning of a so called coup d'état in 2003. Just to say that it mentioned license plates of vehicles involved in events in 2003 that were issued three years later, in 2006; and, what was already definitive of the manipulation of evidence was that the drafting of the documents proving the alleged 2003 coup attempt against the AKP of Erdoğan were made in Microsoft Office 2007 format, which they had saved in the 2003 format, but the metadata of the files showed that the original version was Microsoft Office 2007. Such documents were the main evidence of the prosecution. The defendants have shown more than 3000 anachronistic, discrepancies and major faults in the indictment as well as so called evidence files.

Within the 2011 Operation Balyoz trial, Gürdeniz was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in prison, but in the face of such evidence as mentioned in the previous paragraph, he was released in 2014 along all the defendants and acquitted with full reparation and reestablishment of his title and personal rights. The Ergenekon and Balyoz macro-processes were not concluded until 2013, with sentences for most of the defendants, and with some of them dying before the reading of the sentence when they died in custody or committed suicide due to defamation of their honor and person. The center of gravity of these cases were the Navy. Between 2007 and 2014 Navy has lost 40 active duty/retired admirals and 400 best captains and commanders.

Since 2016, four years after his purge/retirement, Gürdeniz has established himself as a recurrent person in the mass media of Turkey, at first, above all, focused on going against the confusing coup of 2016, and claiming that it was a coup d'état driven by the United States and its allies in Europe for the strategic approach of Turkey to Russia to break its geopolitical glass ceiling. To this would be added Turkey's official version, expressed on July 20, 2016, when the then Turkish ambassador to Spain, Ömer Önhon, affirmed that "it does not take a trial to know that Fethullah Gülen is behind the coup. For Gürdeniz, all this would only confirm the Atlanticist hand in the coup d'état on the night of July 15-16, 2016. Same centers aimed Turkish Navy and other services in the plot cases of Ergenekon and Balyoz.

It is interesting to underline how it was not until 2012, when the alliance between Gülen and Erdoğan had already been definitively broken and both were struggling to eliminate each other, that Kemalism was totally defeated from the power structures. It was after this point that the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court began to overturn sentences, step by step. It is interesting to note how all the errors and procedural violations, so crude and evident, served this purpose. In 2016 the Supreme Court concluded that no terrorist or coup organization called Ergenekon had ever existed, and that those convicted in this process and the subsidiary, Balyoz, had been convicted by means of false evidence, illegal wiretapping or witness statements that did not have an identity that could have been established.

Draft parliamentary report finds Gulen behind 2016 Turkey coup attemptAfter the 15 July Gulenist Coup Attempt the first measure, which was also immediate, consisted of the dismissal of 2,745 judges, 5 of the 22 members of the Turkish judiciary and the arrest of 140 Supreme Court judges, all of them accused of collusion with the military... and all of them, as has already been said, members of the "Hizmet" (Service) or the "Cemaat" (Community), the movement that inspired Fethullah Gülen's Opus Dei. In fact, in the process of "demonization" of the former ally against Kemalism in February 2015, the police called them "terrorists", in allusion to the PKK, and went on to call the Cemaat, FETÖ, which is the acronym for Fethullah's Terrorist Organization.

It is in this context that Gürdeniz makes his appearance to the general public in Turkey. When Erdoğan has begun the final phase of the concentration of power, it has removed Davutoğlu from the equation, it is operating in Syria, and with it a new geopolitical line is defined in Syria and Iraq, to control water and hydrocarbon resources... and the defense on the sea is prepared. Because Greek Cypriots were acting unilaterally for issuing drilling licences at the maritime areas they declare as their so called EEZ. After 2015 Coup attempt these actions of Cypriots accelerated and Government took action apart from the Gurdeniz Bluehomeland doctrine.

On the other hand Gurdeniz had started to write weekly column in the newspaper Aydınlık, on 24 March 2013 when he was in Silivri Prison. That was a media outlet of the Vatan Party, in a clear line of Kemalist, nationalist thought (ulusalcı), that is to say, Eurasianist, where the constant argument, in the manner of Cato the Younger of Carthago delenda est, Gürdeniz insists on this question, since Washington's interest is to harm Turkey's ascent to the rank of world power.

Gürdeniz, in his writings and books criticizing Turkey's membership in NATO, he insists that Turkey's future lies in Eurasianism, particularly with rapprochement with Russia and China. Both in his interviews and in his publications, he insists on the construction of deep ties with Russia, as a priority, and also with China, since in this way Turkey will be able to promote its interests, and become a bulwark again, this time against the interests of the "imperialist powers of the West," particularly France, the United States, the United Kingdom ... but also Greece and the Greek Cypriots, as subsidiary elements. He insists that Kemal Ataturk did the same geopolitical maneuver 100 years ago to break the Caucasus Bulwark created by UK and allies.

Gurdeniz was a columnist at Aydınlık newspaper between 2013 March and 2020 June, however he was not a member of Vatan Party nor a follower of Mr. Perinçek. He placed himself distant form all political parties including AKP and CHP. He kept his position as supra politics representing geopolitical level interests of the state.

Turkey launched its largest maritime drill, the Blue HomelandGurdeniz in his writings and speeches he advocated the doctrine of Blue Homeland as a realist defensive doctrine defying the Seville map impositions on Turkey that is to say to lock down Turkey int Anatolian peninsula giving up of his deserved 150 000 sq km from the maritime jurisdiction areas. This doctrine does not allow Athens and Nicoasia to take advantage of the natural gas deposits that are strategic in the waters of the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean, and where the Greeks, the Cypriots and the Egyptians would be the new stake holders, according to the international legal order, which is why Turkey refuses to accept it. Gurdeniz while rejecting the armed conflict option with Greece, he insists that Greece lives in a fantasy world regarding its past, and builds on that basis endless fantasies. Lacking military strength in comparison with Turkey, Gürdeniz continues, Greece acquires the role of a proxy of the West, meaning the United States and the EU, and on this basis, for him illusory, wants to maintain its sovereignty, sovereignty drawn up in accordance with mis interpreted international laws as it has already been marked, in the Aegean, the eastern Mediterranean. He concludes, literally, "They should know their place".

The rise of the Bluehomeland took place during March 2019, when the Turkish Navy conducted large-scale exercises under the name "Mavi Vatan 2019". The official journal of the Turkish Naval War College is called "Mavi Vatan". Several high-ranking officers, such as Rear Admiral Soner Polat, Admiral Özden Örnek and Rear Admiral Mustafa Özbey, have made oral or written statements in newspapers and television programs in positions in favor of the "Blue Homeland". In fact, the presence of Turkey in Libya is subject to the application of this doctrine by Rear Admiral Cihat Yaycı, as mentioned above, and which has been introduced to the public as a triumph in the name of the "Blue Homeland" .

However, Rear Admiral Cihat Yaycı, which was officially downgraded pursuant to a presidential decree on May 16, 2020, invites one to think that the doctrine has its clear limits to the personal agenda of Erdoğan. Within the Turkish Armed Forces, Rear Admiral Yaycı is, in general terms, a strategic visionary who was on the rise and who defended the line proposed by Gürdeniz, going so far as to question the Greek sovereignty of the Aegean islands in his recent bibliography. The honorable action of Yaycı to resign rather than accept the degradation by Erdoğan is interpreted by analysts as an open power struggle within the Armed Forces. For the Turkish press this has been due to the fact that Defense Minister Hulusi Akar saw Yaycı as a competitor for his post and that Erdoğan saw him with very good eyes, which is strange with the personal control of Erdoğan in all possible aspects. For others, the hand of Fethullah Gülen would be behind it, who would have influenced Akar and Erdoğan through crypto gulenists. For others, Erdoğan and Akar were forced out of office by pressure from the United States and the EU. I believe that it would simply be a matter of controlling the rise of this potential power group. In other words, supervised by Erdoğan and for their purposes, great. But to lose the game between Iran, the US, the EU and Russia, that's out of the question.

For Gürdeniz, Rear Admiral Yaycı has been the victim of the Gülenist plot of the day, backed by Greece and the broad-spectrum "Atlantic front", however, he stated his hope that the State will continue to "make the best use of the advanced knowledge and experience of Admiral Yaycı". Instead, and this is relevant, Vatan Party Leader Perinçek issued a harsh public criticism to Yaycı for its refusal to accept its degradation, since "At a time when our navy is facing threats in the eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus, and the army is at war from within and without, one does not resign.

These statements by Perinçek have had consequences, as Cem Gürdeniz has announced that he is no longer collaborating with Aydınlık newspaper and will continue his work in another fervent Kemalist media, VeryansınTV. An internet news portal founded in 2019, one of the most followed news portals in Turkey founded by Nihat Genc, a Kemalist journalist and thinker.

Geopolitical Doctrine

The first time Cem Gürdeniz proposed it was in 2006. It consists of the domain and control of Turkish maritime jurisdiction areas in "Three Seas", the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The sea will be the main source of economy in the 21st century with the growth of its population currently around 82 million inhabitants and it is estimated that in 2030 will consolidate the 90 million inhabitants, make the lack of energy in their soil must be mitigated for energy security applied to industrial development and needs of the population through the main energy suppliers of Turkey, which are Russia, Iran, Iraq and Libya. Of these countries, Turkey imported more than one million barrels of oil per day and more than 51 billion cubic meters of gas in 2018.

The Duke's tweet - "Left : official map of Greece as accepted from the UN and all countries in the world. Right : Mavi Vatan. Erdogan's dream of the "blue homeland". -IncludingAccording to Gurdeniz the Bluehomeland is a roadmap aimed to protect rights and interests in seas surrounding Anatolia as well as seas and oceans beyond its periphery. Thereby, with their unique features, maritime principles and thoughts would be transformed into an illuminating roadmap and define our future on the axis of geopolitical zones of influence and defense. It may present new opportunities within the global process at a time of transition from unipolarity to multipolarity, from Atlantic age to Asian age, to strengthen Turkey’s geopolitical control over the Eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and the Straits. It may open unprecedented windows for change in Turkey’s dossier of global, continental, and regional relations. Naturally, this doctrine necessitates Turkey's legitimacy with international law to dominate maritime zones as well as capabilities and volition to trigger events over political, diplomatic, military, and economic dimensions in surrounding seas and its periphery i.e. The Red Sea, Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf, Eastern Atlantic Ocean.

Biographical note.

Born March 24, 1958 in the province of Istanbul


  • Elementary school Sarıyer İlkokulu,
  • Secondary School Haydarpaşa Lisesi, a public "Anatolian" secondary school, admits students with the highest scores on the nationally standardized tests (TEOG).
  • High School education: Turkish Naval High School Deniz Lisesi, located on the island of Heybeliada in the Marmara Sea, southeast of Istanbul. Graduation 1975.
  • Naval Academy, located on the island of Heybeliada. Graduated in 1979.
  • Between 1983 and 1985 he attended a graduate program at the US Naval Postgraduate School, in Monterey California
  • Turkish Naval War College (1989)
  • School of the Armed Forces (2002).
  • Master's degree in personnel management and foreign policy from the Université Libre de Brussels (ULB). (1993)
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