From myth to reality: How to understand Turkey’s role in the Western Balkans

Source:European Council on Foreign Relations Date:14Mar2019

For those who care about Turkey’s diplomatic focus:  Turkey and Balkans, a sober assessment



  • European fears of Turkish expansionism in the Western Balkans have no basis in reality.
  • Turkey spots opportunity in the region – yet it actually wants the Western Balkans inside the EU and NATO.
  • The AKP’s approach once deserved a ‘neo-Ottoman’ tag, but Erdogan has since refocused on personalised diplomacy and pragmatic relations.
  • Western Balkans governments remain reluctant to act on Turkey’s behalf by pursuing Gulenists, despite overall warm ties.
  • Europeans should cease questioning Ankara’s motives and work on shared goals instead – hugging Turkey close and keeping it out of Russia’s embrace.