Turkish foreign policy in the Balkans amidst 'soft power' and 'de-Europeanisation'

Alpan B. Z., Ozturk A. E.

SOUTHEAST EUROPEAN AND BLACK SEA STUDIES, vol.22, no.1, pp.45-63, 2022 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 22 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14683857.2022.2034370
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Historical Abstracts, Humanities Abstracts, Index Islamicus, Political Science Complete, Public Affairs Index, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.45-63
  • Keywords: Turkey, Balkans, de-Europeanization, soft power, Turkish foreign policy, WESTERN BALKANS, TURKEY, DEMOCRACY, CONFLICT
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Since the beginning of the 2000s, extensive academic research has echoed one popular opinion, 'Turkey is back to the Balkans'. These studies have been scrutinizing the complicated role of Turkey in the Balkans, usually drawing upon the use of soft power by the former. This impact in the region remained intact during the 2010s, although the overall Turkish foreign policy in the 2010s has been highly securitized and de-Europeanized, losing its soft power character that had been its trademark starting from the early 2000s. In this regard, this paper aims to decipher different dimensions of Turkey's foreign policy in the Balkans through a more general exploration of the de-Europeanization of Turkish foreign policy in the 2010s. Through more than 80 semi-structured interviews, which were conducted between 2016-2020, with political actors, diplomats, religious leaders, scholars and journalists in Turkey and the Balkans, we address the question of whether the divergence of Turkish foreign policy from a soft power perspective and its concomitant de-Europeanization tendency had been crystallized in its policy towards the Balkans within the context of the 2010s.