Svistunova Irina
Turkey’s Policy in the Balkans: The Role of Ethnic and Religious Minorities
Publication Type:

ISSN 0201-7083

DOI 10.15211/soveurope420206171

The article deals with the Turkish policy towards Turks and Muslims in the Balkan countries. Under the Justice and Development Party leadership in Turkey, this policy intensified significantly both at theoretical and practical levels. Ankara’s pragmatic approaches to the Balkan countries are combined with the Turkish people’s historical perceptions of their role and place in the region and in the international arena. Turkey’s policy in the Balkans reflects the conceptions of the “Ottoman heritage” and Ankara’s special responsibility for the minorities as a part of the Muslim world and as the communities sharing a common culture with the Turks. Growing Turkish diaspora in the region has become an electoral base during the elections in Turkey. Family ties connecting many Turkish citizens with the Turkish diaspora in the Balkans increases the domestic impact of Ankara’s Balkan policy. Growing support for the Muslim minorities in the region originates from the religious identity of the Turkish government and the aspiration to enhance the prestige of the country in the Islamic World. A number of cultural and educational institutions promote the influence of Turkey in the Balkans, turning relations with ethnic and religious minorities into a long-term factor of the Turkish strategy. The significance of this factor will keep growing.

Keywords: Turkey | Balkans | Turkish foreign policy | ethnic minorities | muslims in the Balkans |

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