The paper discusses the recent rise of the Japanese “free and open Indo-Pacific” strategy of alliances and partnerships between Asia and the West in the context of Turkey’s current debate over its membership in the Western alliance of NATO versus the new Eurasianist turn toward Russia and China. The particular geographic focus of the paper is from Istanbul “between Europe and Asia,” looking at Japan’s “free and open Indo-Pacific” strategy from a historian’s perspective by making an analogy with Japan’s prewar foreign policy and global strategy with Britain. The paper argues that the Russian aggression that erupted with the Ukrainian crisis has been quickening the visibility of this emerging grand strategy of Japan, which has been in the making for some time. But the future of the global order is still unclear in view of the ongoing war in Ukraine and Russian and Chinese challenges to the international system. The situation also negatively impacts the global relations of the United States with regional powers, relations that were formed during the Cold War. Japan has more than a century of friendly relations with Turkey, a relationship that is still carried out in an Asianist discourse of shared cultural values, mutual help in times of dire crisis, and Turkish admiration for Japan’s modernity that has retained tradition. The question is whether, in this fluid global situation, this historically friendly context can help Japan be a “pivot” for Turkey in taking steps toward a proactive free and open Indo-Pacific partnership. The prospect might have political implications for Turkey’s future in the making of a new global order by offering an incentive for staying on the Western front.

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