Turkey does not seek for influence in the Balkans - presidential spokesman

Political stability, economic development and cultural flourishing are three main aims of Turkey’s Balkan policy, president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said in his column in Daily Sabah on Saturday. 

According to Kalın, Turkey shares a common geography of mind and heart with the Balkans and the various nations of the Balkans see Turkey and the Ottoman Empire as part of the same geo-political imagination. 

“This may seem too romantic or idealistic to some but the reality is that Turks, Albanians, Bosniaks and others built a culture and civilisation that went beyond the frontier lines of the region.One cannot study and understand Ottoman cultural, religious, artistic and political life without recognising the major contributions of literary, scholarly and political figures of Balkan origin,” Kalın wrote.

Kalın added that Turkey invested in all Balkan states without making any discrimination on the basis of ethnic or religious identity. 

“Turkey has supported all initiatives to keep the Balkans politically calm and safe. The political stability of the region is of extreme importance not just for Europe but for the world,” Kalın said. To realise their true potential, Balkan countries need business opportunities rather than relations of dependence, he noted.

“Turkey's goal in the Balkans is not to seek influence but to ensure political stability, spur economic development and support cultural and educational activities. Turkey opposes micro-nationalisms of all kinds. It also opposes foreign intervention. National and local issues should be led and owned by local people and national authorities. A strong Turkey is good for the Balkans and a stable and prosperous Balkans is good for Turkey and the world,” Kalın concluded.