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  • Author: Mehmet Ugur Ekinci
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article provides a general overview of Turkey's relations with the Western Balkans during the AK Party government. Although the Western Balkans has always been of primary interest for Turkey, the relations with this region had progressed only slowly and partially until the mid-2000s. From that time onwards, the convergence of a number of factors, including Turkey's economic progress, the AK Party's active foreign policy vision, the growth of civil society and the business sector, and favorable international political and economic conditions created new opportunities for Turkey in the Western Balkans. Consequently, the relations between Turkey and the Western Balkans has developed rapidly, especially in the economic and social spheres. Meanwhile, Turkey still has to deal with certain challenges and shortcomings for further deepening of these relations and their translation into political influence.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Cold War, Economics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Balkans
  • Author: Dimitar Bechev
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey's activism in former Yugoslavia is a continuation of the country's post-Cold War strategy in the broader context of South East Europe. It is driven largely by structural shifts related to the spread of democracy, Europeanization and globalization, rather than by ideology or Ottoman nostalgia. Despite its vanishing appeal, the EU remains essential in understanding Turkey's place in regional politics. The Union's expansion has deepened interdependence across South East Europe and transformed the Turkish approach: from power politics to a multidimensional policy reliant on trade, cross-border investment, and projection of soft power. Although Ankara is acting in a growingly unilateralist manner and could be viewed as a competitor in some Western capitals, Turkish policies are benefiting from Brussels and Washington's investment in the stabilisation and integration of the Western Balkans.
  • Topic: Cold War
  • Political Geography: Europe, Washington, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Balkans, Brussels
  • Author: Žarko Petrović, Dušan Reljic
  • Publication Date: 07-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The vigor which has characterized the Turkish approach to the Western Balkans since the end of the Cold War has transformed the country into an important regional actor from its previous position as a distant neighbor that showed little interest. Although Turkey and the Western Balkan countries have in the meanwhile achieved the most intensive relationship since the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey has not yet displayed the economic capacity and political weight that could make it compete with the magnetism of the European Union for Western Balkan countries. Turkish cultural influence, although significantly widened in the last few years, particularly through investments in educational institutions, is mostly limited to the Muslim population in the region. While potential EU membership remains the most important driver for the political elites in the region, the stalled EU membership prospects of both Turkey and the countries of the region might change this in the future.
  • Topic: Cold War, Economics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Balkans