Turkey’s Soft Power in the Balkans Reaching its Limits (1.7.2021)

My second policy paper for Eliamep, this time on Turkey’s Balkans policies …


With the EU putting the Western Balkan countries in an undefined waiting room, there was more room for maneuver for non-EU players. Turkey among others used this space to broaden its influence in the Balkans from politics to the economy, from culture to military cooperation, albeit from a very low starting point. The bilateral relations with all countries of the region are rather good, President Erdogan enjoys the recognition he is often lacking in other parts of the world. While the pandemic further harmed the EU’s image, it was mostly China and Russia who could fill the void with their own vaccines. Lacking its own vaccine so far, Turkey was much less visible. However, in the long-run, Turkey is not interested in an EU-Turkey confrontation over the Western Balkans, but that these countries join the EU. Through this, Turkey would increase the number of allies in a bloc where friends have become few.

Read the full paper: https://www.eliamep.gr/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Policy-paper-75-Guzeldere-.pdf