EUROCENTRIC SUPREMACIST DEPENDENCY AND EURASIA CONCEPT
Commentary No : 2022 / 30
13.09.2022
5 min read

Eurocentric thought essentially reflects the tendency to interpret the world in terms of European or Anglo-American values and experiences and takes these values as a triangulation point for reading and analyzing worldwide developments.[1] This approach accepts European and Anglo-American supremacy without question and tries to carry this supremacy to future generations. According to John Hobson, Eurocentrism is an international theory that "does not so much explain international politics in an objective, positivist and universalist manner but seeks, rather, to parochially celebrate and defend or promote the West as the proactive subject of, and as the highest or ideal normative referent in world politics."[2] Rather than producing value-free and universalist theories of inter-state relations, it furnishes self-oriented analyses that fanatically promote western liberal and currently neo-liberal values, priorities, and interests as the subject of an ideal normative referent in world politics. It primarily prefers Western over non-Western, perceives the non-Western as the "other," and often stigmatizes it.

It should be briefly noted at this point that Eurocentrism, in the framework described above, is closely related to the colonialism that began with the Age of Discovery, the expansion of Christianity, and the Doctrine of Discovery that was promulgated by Christian European monarchies to legitimize the colonization and evangelization of lands outside Europe between the mid-fifteenth century and the mid-twentieth century.[3] It is even connected with White Supremacism, a belief that white people are superior to others.[4] Considering these aspects, it should be noted that Eurocentrism does not have a history that could justify presenting it as a worldview to be proud of, glorified, or eagerly envied by young generations.

As a geographical notion, Eurasia covers a huge landmass from Lisbon to Vladivostok and is considered the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. It is also a geopolitical concept. Zbigniew Brzezinski said, "Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world power. In different ways, at different times, the peoples inhabiting Eurasia—though mostly those from its Western European periphery—penetrated and dominated the world's other regions as individual Eurasian states attained the special status and enjoyed the privileges of being the world's premier powers."[5] As per Brzezinski, Eurasia is "the chessboard on which the struggle for global primacy continues to be played, and that struggle involves geostrategy—the strategic management of geopolitical interests." Some scholars consider Eurasia as "supercontinent" and draw attention to the point that the division of Eurasia as two parts "appeared some four or five hundred years ago... The date of 29 May 1453 may be as good a symbol... The fall of Constantinople and the triumph of the Ottoman Turks marked the end of the last clear line of continuity with the Roman Empire. They set the stage for the definitive establishment of Islam in Europe, lasting until our own time."[6] In fact, according to sociocultural anthropologist Chris Hann "to imagine Europe and Asia as constituting equivalent continents has long been recognized as the ethnocentric cornerstone of a Western, or Euro-American, world view."[7]

This historical background, which is tried to be explained briefly about the concept of Eurasia, clearly reveals the geopolitical importance of Eurasia, where Turkey is located at its center. In this context, we think there should not be an ambivalence in Turkey that would cause discomfort with the word and concept of Eurasia. Despite this, we observe that an approach that evaluates the studies on Eurasia from an entirely Eurocentric perspective unfairly identifies these studies with particular political views and belittles these studies, which has been gaining in intensity recently. More importantly, we observe that this approach resonates with those who should be most familiar with the established foreign policy traditions of the Republic of Turkey.

Hence, we see the need to make a clear distinction to overcome the ambiguity when referring to the concept "Eurasianism". Genuine "Eurasianism" is open to both European and Asian values and serves as a nexus facilitating their healthy interaction. The other "Eurasianism" is actually "Asianism" in disguise that opts for purely Asian values as an alternative to European values.

In its studies on Eurasia, AVİM recognizes "Turkey's sui generis character, not in the sense that it is superior to other countries and must thus exert its will upon them, but in the sense that it is inherently and uniquely positioned geographically, culturally, and politically. Per our understanding, Turkey must not position itself as a purely Western or Eastern, or European or Asian country. On the contrary, Turkey is and must be all of these simultaneously because such a stance reflects Turkey's true and rich nature."[8] In such an understanding, we, as AVİM, diligently keep our distance from the Eurocentric supremacist dependency and follow a path that prioritizes Turkey's objective interests.

 

*Image: Getty Images

 


[1] “Definition of Eurocentric,” Merriam-Webster, 2022, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Eurocentric

[2] John M. Hobson, The Eurocentric Conception of World Politics: Western International Theory, 1760-2010 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 1.

[3] Teoman Ertuğrul Tulun and Mehmet Oğuzhan Tulun, “Canada, The Roman Catholic Church, And The Sins Of The Colonial Past,” Center For Eurasian Studies Analysis Series 2021, no. 23 (May 7, 2021): 9, https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/zm8t6, https://avim.org.tr/en/Analiz/CANADA-THE-ROMAN-CATHOLIC-CHURCH-AND-THE-SINS-OF-THE-COLONIAL-PAST

[4] Teoman Ertuğrul Tulun, “Century Old ‘White Supremacism’ And The Far-Right’s Rise In Sweden: A Credible Challenge To Progressive Values And Policies?”, Center For Eurasian Studies Analysis Series 2018, no. 1 (January 21, 2018): 5, https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/qmk5x, https://avim.org.tr/en/Analiz/CENTURY-OLD-WHITE-SUPREMACISM-AND-THE-FAR-RIGHT-S-RISE-IN-SWEDEN-A-CREDIBLE-CHALLENGE-TO-PROGRESSIVE-VALUES-AND-POLICIES

[5] Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives (Basic Book, 1997).

[6] Bruno Maçães, The Dawn of Eurasia: On the Trail of the New World Order (London: Yale University Press, 2018), 17.

[7] Chris Hann, “A Concept of Eurasia | Current Anthropology: Vol 57, No 1,” Current Anthropology 57, no. 1 (February 2016): 1–27, https://doi.org/10.1086/684625

[8] Teoman Ertuğrul Tulun and Mehmet Oğuzhan Tulun, “Turkey’s Interests And Constructive Eurasianism,” Center For Eurasian Studies Analysis Series 2022, no. 22 (May 5, 2022): 4, https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/72c8d, https://avim.org.tr/en/Yorum/TURKEY-S-INTERESTS-AND-CONSTRUCTIVE-EURASIANISM


© 2009-2021 Center for Eurasian Studies (AVİM) All Rights Reserved

 




No comments yet.