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Title:Turkey's role in interethnic relations in the Western Balkans. Implementation of the Strategic Depth Doctrine in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Macedonia (2009-2014)
Author(s):Alexiev, Hristo
Advisor(s):Leff, Carol S.
Department / Program:Russian,E European,Eurasn Ctr
Discipline:Russian, E Eur, Eurasian St
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Turkish Foreign Policy
Western Balkans
Interethnic Relations
Strategic Depth
Trilateral Consultations Mechanisms
Mediation, Turkey
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Stratejik Derinlik
Ahmet Davutoglu
Zero Problems with Neighbors
Abstract:The coming to power of the Justice and Development Party has marked the start of a more pro-active Turkish foreign policy which implied a dynamic engagement in the Balkans, an area that had been dominated roughly for five centuries by the Ottoman Empire. Turkey’s new strategy of involvement in the Balkans is largely based on scholar and current Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s work Strategic Depth, published in 2001, eight years prior to his assuming office in 2009. During Davutoğlu’s energetic diplomacy in the years 2009-2014 Turkey made clear its ambitions to emerge as a new regional leader in the Balkans. I examine the theoretical concepts of Strategic Depth and their actual implementation in diplomatic and soft-power engagement in three former Yugoslav states in the Western Balkans: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Macedonia. My case studies demonstrate that Turkey’s engagement and Balkan policies are led by a pragmatic and positive agenda including intense regional cooperation and reconciliation initiatives, in addition to more active economic cooperation. The main downside to Turkish strategic thought and engagement is a tendency to idealize the legacy of the Ottoman past of the region. I argue that Turkey remains an important strategic ally for the US and the European Union and should be assisted in its efforts to strengthen regional cooperation. The future of Turkish engagement in the Western Balkans will depend on the ability of Turkish politicians to dismiss the all too common for the region idealization of the past and place an even stronger accent on dialogue and regional cooperation that would include all ethnicities and adherents to all religions in the larger Balkan region.
Issue Date:2014-05-30
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Hristo Hrabrov Alexiev
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-30
Date Deposited:2014-05

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