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Analysis: Post “Zero Problems with Neighbours” in the Western Balkans - A View from Serbia

As the EU’s focus has shifted away from the region, the situation in the Western Balkans has deteriorated. In addition to Russia and China, the Western press has frequently highlighted Turkey being particularly interested in exerting its influence, which could potentially disrupt the EU’s approach in the region. But how much, in reality, is Turkey willing, ready and able to influence the countries of the Western Balkans? This paper will try to provide a summary of relevant issues regarding Turkey’s position in the Western Balkans as a baseline for discussion at the upcoming November 6th roundtable in Belgrade.

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Introduction 3
Results of Davutoglu’s era in the Western Balkans 5
Enter Erdoganism and post 2016 shift – prosecution of Gülenists 9
What about the EU and NATO? 14
The EU 14
NATO and defense cooperation 16
Third states’ engagement in the Western Balkans and Turkey 18
Russia 18
China 17
Gulf States 20
Other elements of Turkey’s influence in the Western Balkans 22
Economy and Trade 22
Soft Power 24
Conclusion 27