The Balkans becoming ‘Erdoğanised’ - Die Welt
Turkey is increasing its influence in the Balkans through moves such as transferring money to the region to promote Islam and investing in various fields such as telecommunicaitons, German Die Welt reported, in a analysis titled ‘’The Erdoğanisation of the Balkans.’’
Ankara is looking to make changes in Bosnia and Herzegovina where there is generally a ‘’liberal’’ interpretation of Islam, Die Welt wrote, as it simultaneously exerts efforts to preserve its Ottoman culture.
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have been vocal about Ankara’s dream of expanding the country’s influence across states that were formerly Ottoman territories, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Turkish president held an election rally in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo prior to the June presidential and parliamentary elections.
Noting that Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) has made investments totalling 70 million Euro in the country, the article stressed that Ankara is looking to finance not only mosques, but also invest in the fields of energy, infrastructure, banking and telecommunications.
Both Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Bosniak member of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bakir İzetbegovic, who refer to each other as ‘’brother,’’ are influenced the by the Islamic Brotherhood, according to Die Welt.
Turkey’s trade with the western Balkans increased exponentially since Erdoğan came into power - from $435 million (€364 million) in 2002 to $3 billion (€2.5 billion) in 2016 - according to Murat Uğur Ekinci, a Balkans analyst at pro-government think tank SETA.