Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that in his heart the Turkish province of Izmir starts in Vienna and extends to the Adriatic Sea, the northern Black Sea and Eastern Turkistan, China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Speaking to his faithful followers in Turkey’s western province of Izmir on Saturday, he said the borders of Izmir province are so vast and deep in his heart that they cannot be restricted by physical borders.
“For us the borders of Izmir province start from Vienna and extend to the Adriatic Sea, north of the Black Sea and Eastern Turkistan,” he said.
“We see Izmir as the heart of not only Turkey but of this geography in our heart,” he emphasized, adding that “the pulse that is being beating in this [convention] hall is the pulse of this geography.”
“The torch that was lit in Izmir illuminates this entire geography,” he said in his address to party members who attended the event to announce the ruling party Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidates in Izmir for local elections in March.
In his speeches, Erdoğan often makes reference to regions beyond Turkish borders in what is seen as his desire to revitalize the Ottoman vision and his bid to represent Muslim communities in other countries as the Islamic leader.
Erdoğan’s Islamist AKP and his coalition partner the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) are attempting to woo supporters with a mix of religious and nationalist enthusiasm.