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Turkey’s Geopolitical Position and its Role as an Energy Corridor

It contributes police and military contingents to international peace efforts in Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Kosovo. More recently, it has started to use its soft power to broker normalization of relations between Serbia and BosniaHerzegovina. The existence of ethnic Turks in many Balkan countries affects the relations between Turkey and these countries in a manner that varies from one country to the other. Every effort should be made to transform the existence of such communities and create a bridge that could help strengthen bilateral relations and make their presence an asset rather than a liability. Turkey’s relations with Greece have to be considered from a wider perspective, because these two countries are NATO allies; democratic institutions have been in place for a relatively longer time in both countries and they are neighbours. None of the disputes between Turkey and Greece are insurmountable, although some are hostage to strong nationalistic feelings that are exploited for domestic political purposes. School curricula continue to depict a negative image of the other side. However larger groups and important economic actors fewer problems understanding and appreciating each other; and a strong political will could pave the way for the gradual elimination of existing disputes. Steps have been made recently in this direction. It remains to be seen whether these overtures will succeed this time. If they do, tremendous potential will be released for cooperation on bilateral, regional, and global issues. Transforming the Aegean into a sea of peace will not only increase the welfare of the people of both countries, but it will also have spill-over effects in the entire Eastern Mediterranean and perhaps the Middle East. Turkey’s relations with Bulgaria have unfolded in an exemplary manner. In the 1980s the Jivkov regime instituted a very harsh assimilation policy that forced ethnic Turks living in Bulgaria, at gunpoint, to change their Muslim names into Christian names. However this policy was soon abandoned and ethnic Turks have now begun to build a strong bridge of friendship between Turkey and Bulgaria.

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YASAR YAKIS

Turkey on the European Doorstep  

A Publication based on the International Conference organised at the European Parliament/Brussels by Dr. ELENI THEOCHAROUS, Member of the Eu...

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