|Paper title:|| The Maın Structural Factors that Make the Balkans Important for Turkısh Foreıgn Polıcy
|Published in:||Issue 2 (Vol. 25) / 2019
|Author(s):|| Bülent Şener
|Abstract:|| The Balkans, due to its geographical proximity and historical, social and cultural ties, represents one of the regions where Turkey has shown special interest. Throughout history, Turkey has played a decisive role in the Balkans for nearly 550 years, and its policies and actions have been instrumental both in shaping the region and at the same time in determining the course of history. The Balkans – which geographically constitute Turkey’s opening gate to the European continent – is also of importance for its special status in the historical process in which the Turkish nation took shape and for its potential for the future in terms of regional integration and security. As a result, the Balkans have been and remain Turkey's main strategic objective regarding the balance of power in this area and European security. Although relations between Turkey and the Balkan neighbours were severely affected during the Cold War, their historical links have continued, in various ways, to this day. From the ethnic and cultural perspective of Turkey, the Turks living in this region belong to both Turkey and the Balkans, such that their dual belonging is considered as being particularly important. In this respect, the emerging / potential emergence of crises in the region has a major significance for Turkey in terms of the sustainability and stability of peace. The Balkans is therefore much more than a neighbouring region for Turkey as a state that has always advocated stability in the Balkans and supported the state integrity. In this study, the main structural factors (historical ties, Balkan Muslims and Turkish minority, geopolitics, security) that make the Balkans important for Turkey’s Foreign Policy will be addressed.
|Keywords:|| Balkans, The Ottoman Empire, Turkish Foreign Policy, Balkan Muslims minorities, Balkan Turkish minorities.
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