International Analysis

Modern Turkey and its 'neo-Ottoman' dreams in the Balkans

The recent decision by France to bolster its naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean because of controversial Turkish oil and gas exploration in disputed waters is a reminder of how Ankara has been starting to flex its muscles outside its borders. Meanwhile Turkey has been quietly extending its economic influence in the Balkans, an area it once controlled under the Ottoman Empire but where it lost power after wars in 1912 and 1913 and then World War I. Jean-Arnault Dérens looks at Turkey's growing influence in the region a century after the end of its empire.

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It remains a celebrated remark. In September 2012 Turkey's prime minister, as he then was, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina and declared: “Sarajevo matters as much to me as Trabzon or Diyarbakır.”

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