Turkey and the Western Balkans: Between Soft Security and the Ottoman Legacy
The European Union (EU) perceives the Western Balkans as its own internal affair. Indeed, the EU is the main centre of gravity for the region, without a serious long term alternative such as Turkey, Russia or China. On the other hand, the region is—excluding post-Soviet space—the most multipolar part of Europe. Moreover, the influence of above mentioned states in the region has risen substantially in the recent years. Last but not least, the EU leverage in the region is pluralistic, namely without one key stakeholder such as Germany in case of the previous enlargement (Central Europe). In consequence, the EU’s magnetism in the short and medium term perspective can be contested by above mentioned players, particularly in case of permanent stalemate or substantial slowdown of the accession process. From the perspective of the EU interests in the region the most challenging is Russia’s way of doing business. On the other hand, the largest overlapping occurs between the EU’s agenda and the priorities of Turkey and the United States.
“Turkey and the Western Balkans: Between Soft Security and the Ottoman Legacy” by Adam Balcer was prepared for the Atlantic Council’s workshop on “Moving the Balkans and Bosnia Forward: A Post-Dayton Roadmap” on 13-14 November 2012. Done in conjunction with the US Army War College, the workshop brought together forty top US and European experts and policymakers to identify regional and national initiatives that could encourage the Balkans region to continue on the path toward euro-Atlantic integration.