E. S.Arlyapova

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  • № 2, 2023

    • Ankara’s Activation in the Western Balkans (Approaches, Tools, and Components)

      In recent years, Turkey has increasingly moved away from the affiliation with the powers of the transatlantic bloc and seeks to play its own game. There are several reasons why Ankara has a special interest in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, and the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo): historical, socio-cultural, religious and geographical proximity; the absence of strict institutional restrictions due to the stalling of the process of the inclusion of the Western Balkans into the EU; the complex history of the relations between Turkey itself and Brussels, as well as Turkey’s political ambitions and claims for regional leadership. All these factors increase the chances of the Republic of Turkey to gain a foothold in the Balkans as a serious player. The fact that the region is formally outside the EU expands the opportunities for political maneuvering both for Ankara and for the Western Balkan capitals.

      The article focuses on four analytical blocks: the evolution of Turkey’s foreign policy strategy; its integration proposals for the countries in the region as an attempt to replace Brussels’ initiatives; ethno-religious and migration components of the Turkish influence; tools of socio-cultural penetration. The analysis carried out by the authors shows that, despite Turkey’s well-thoughtout strategy, the resources involved, the political will and perseverance, in the medium term the country is unlikely to become an alternative to the EU for the Western Balkan countries, or even an influential economic player in the region. Ankara will have to continue to weight its goals against the actions of the geopolitical grandees. At the same time, since the struggle for influence in southern Europe is only going to intensify in the face of the deepening international conflict, the corridor of opportunities for Ankara remains open.

      DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2023-109-2-130-150

      Pages: 130-150