As Turkey’s President Erdogan runs out of money, he is now, more than any time before, using religion to exploit the Balkans, especially the states that are more susceptible to Islamic influence. Bosnia is at the fore of Erdogan’s ambitious Islamic agenda, where he is sparing no political capital or financial resources, even under his current economic hardship, to assert his influence and distance the country away from the EU’s reach. Obviously, the Bosnians cannot survive simply on being devout Muslims, with the youth unemployment rate at almost 60 percent. Turkey is unlikely to economically recover anytime soon, and Erdogan’s promises to provide financial aid and investments will ring hollow in the face of his deepening financial crisis.
The war of words, hyperinflation, US sanctions, and reckless investments on borrowed money have steadily been chipping away at the value of the Turkish Lira. Five years ago, $1 was worth 2 lira; today, six liras are exchanged for a dollar, but that has not discouraged Bosnian leaders from seeking closer association with Erdogan.
Bakir Izetbegovic, the Bosnian Muslim leader and the chairman of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency, said last May (in front of thousands of Turkish expatriates and Bosnian supporters of Erdogan who travelled from all over Europe to Sarajevo) that
“God has sent [our] nations one person to return them to their religion… He is Recep Tayyip Erdogan. We remain standing with God’s help.”
The crowd cheered when a leader of diaspora Turks equated and idealized Sarajevo as “the Jerusalem at the heart of Europe”.
Bosnia was more than willing to open the door for the Turkish president to organize an election rally in Sarajevo, especially following the EU’s refusal to allow him to campaign in its member states. For Erdogan, the Balkans is the region that can put him in a position to realize his political goal of reviving some semblance of the Ottoman Empire while undermining the EU’s influence in these countries.
Bosnia consists of two entities: The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose population is made up of Muslim Bosnians and Catholic Croats; and Republika Srpska, where Orthodox Serbs are a majority. About half of Bosnia’s 3.8 million citizens are Muslims, many of whom consider Erdogan their trusted leader, if not their savior.
For more than a decade, Erdogan has invested heavily in spreading his influence among Balkan states, and Bosnia was and still is one of his main targets. He pledged a multi-billion dollar investment in a key motorway connecting Serbia and Bosnia. Turkey and Bosnia signed a letter of intent for the construction of a highway connecting the two Balkan capitals, a project estimated to cost $3.5 billion, which has not yet started because of lack of financial resources.
Meanwhile, the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA)—a vehicle through which Turkey spreads its Islamic agenda in the Balkans—has completed more than 800 small projects in Bosnia, mostly related to religious institutions.
European leaders have already been voicing concerns over Turkey’s influence in the Balkans. Only a few months ago, French President Emmanuel Macron declared
“I don’t want a Balkans that turns toward Turkey or Russia”.
During his May speech in Sarajevo, Erdogan urged supporters to actively participate in European politics to counter anti-Turkish sentiment.
“You need to be in those parliaments instead of the ones who betray our country,” he said, referring to European lawmakers with Turkish roots.
In a conversation with us, Orhan Hadzagic, a political analyst from Bosnia, said that Erdogan is adulated by Bosnians as more than just a foreign leader. He rhetorically asks,
“From Erdogan’s last visit to Bosnia, what was the benefit for Bosnian citizens from that rally, an event featuring the heads of two parties who support one other?”
Hadzagic is convinced that his country is risking its accession to the EU by opening its doors to Erdogan, from where he is challenging Brussels directly.
“Many NGOs”, he said, “are close to Turkey; they receive financial support to change the negative image and the perception about the rising authoritarian rule in Turkey, among Bosnians.”
Although a large majority of Bosnians do not see any alternative to the European Union, they are passionate in their support of Erdogan. In a poll conducted by the International Republican Institute and released in March of this year, 76 percent of Bosnians said they had positive views about Turkey’s role in their country.
For Erdogan, Bosnia occupies a special place and he will endeavor to maintain his image both as a religious leader and economic savior. That said,
“Erdogan’s list of priorities is growing, so Bosnia is inevitably descending on that list,” said Hadzagic, “which will reduce [Erdogan’s influence on] the state, NGO, and media organizations here in Bosnia. Consequently, it will lead to the reduction of Ankara’s influence.”
As such, Erdogan is increasing his focus on the local media outlets and non-governmental institutions in Bosnia by providing them with some financial aid to support his political agenda. But even that is becoming financially burdensome, making it more difficult to continue with his media campaign.
Sead Numanovic, a well-known journalist from Bosnia, told us that
“The EU and US are still (and I fear they will continue to be) very passive in the Balkans, this environment gives an additional space for Erdogan to work easily on his anti-Western agenda.”
This explains why Erdogan’s AK Party has recently opened an office in Sarajevo, its first official branch in the Balkans.
A spokesperson from the Turkish Embassy in Sarajevo told Foreign Policy that Turkey firmly supports the NATO and EU membership process of Bosnia and Herzegovina—“Turkey is not [in Bosnia] to seek influence, but to encourage political stability for the sake of the entire region.” There is nothing further from the truth.
Xhemal Ahmeti, a historian and expert on Southeast European issues, said that Bosnia’s Muslims currently are most loyal to the Turkish autocrat.
“Bosnian Muslims have lost their hopes that their Trinitarian state will become an EU member. That’s why they rely on Turkey to survive, given that they are sandwiched between Catholics, conservative Croats, and Orthodox jurisdictions”, said Ahmeti. “Paradoxically, though, while the Bosnians Muslims seek Erdogan’s protection from the Orthodox (Serbs and Russians), Erdogan’s close allies are Putin and [Serbia’s Prime Minister] Vucic.”
Bosnian leaders and citizens must realize that Erdogan is moving ever closer to Russia and Iran. The EU has already made it clear that since full adherence to its charter, especially regarding human rights, freedom, and democracy, are prerequisites to EU membership, Bosnia must not cozy up to Erdogan because he has flagrantly abandoned the EU’s founding principles, and the development of a full-fledged democracy in Bosnia does not serve his interest.
It is now up to the Bosnian leaders to determine their own destiny, which must inexorably be linked to full membership with the EU if they want to grow and prosper while embracing full democracy.
This does not suggest that they should sever relations with Turkey as a regional power, with which they will need to intensify the development of a mutually gainful relationship once Erdogan departs the political scene.
In the interim, they must be cautious in their dealings with Erdogan, who manipulates them by using Islam to pursue his sinister political agenda.
Originally published on 2018-09-14
About the author: Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Source: Global Research
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]
When the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created 70 years ago in 1949 it was formed as a blatant military instrument for waging the Cold War, a war that the US, Britain and other European allies had newly embarked on. NATO’s public relations cant about “peace and security” is but Orwellian rhetoric.The supposed allies of the Soviet Union hastily went from an ostensible joint purpose of defeating Nazi Germany during the Second World War to initiating hostility towards Moscow. Already in 1946, British war-time leader Winston Churchill was fulminating about “an Iron Curtain” descending across Europe, in language adapted from ...
Hiding Genocide in Kosovo: A Crime against God and Humanity is not a typical book of the current events or international affairs genre. Nor is it a journalistic exposé. It is simply a book of stories, true stories of what has taken place in Kosovo since the end of the 1999 war: shooting, beheading, burning, bomb attack, maiming, rape, abduction, torture, desecration, theft, mutilation, and harassment. While Western policymakers (the U.S., EU, UN, NATO, OSCE, etc.) delude themselves that they are buying the goodwill of the Muslim world by the sacrifice of a small Christian community in Kosovo, the perpetrators ...
Hardly any knowledgeable person doubts that Zionist ideology is the purest form of racism. Zionism is Jewish disguised racism as a raison d’etat. Israel comes right after the U. S., as far as racism is concerned. That is why the U. S. donates to this racist regime $ 3.8 bn per year in order to keep this occupation regime going. Should anybody doubt the racism of the Israeli leadership, read the following article.Racism among the Israeli leadership is legendary. It started out with the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, saying: “Spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it ...
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), established in 1949 on the pretext of “containing Soviet influence”, has almost doubled in size within the past two decades alone. In 1998, NATO comprised 16 member states, but with repeated expansions up to Russia’s very borders, it now contains almost 30 countries.Though seldom mentioned in mainstream discourse, NATO is a US-dominated organization, whose orders are issued from Washington and customarily obeyed. The US is by far the largest contributor to the alliance, spending more than all other member nations put together.One of the critical reasons behind NATO’s formation almost 70 years ago, was ...
The mugshots show Ivo Goldstein, a Jewish librarian and book dealer, looking bright-eyed and calm — even after nine days of confinement in a Croatian police cell. One of the prints bears the number 28888 and a date: April 21, 1941.
Seventy-six years after they were taken by a police photographer, the photos hang as a triptych on the bedroom wall of Goldstein’s son, Daniel, in a drab apartment block in Zagreb’s Zaprudje neighborhood.
Daniel, 85, is a historian and human rights activist. He was nine when his childhood was shattered by his father’s arrest in the newly created Independent State of ...
On September 10th, 2015 a City Council of Croatia’s capital Zagreb decided to promote a war criminal General Ante Gotovina to “honorable citizen of the City of Zagreb” for his “contribution to the defending of Croatia’s independence and territorial integrity”. The General, however, as a Commander-in-Chief of Croatia’s army, is directly responsible for a brutal ethnic cleansing and war crimes committed by Croatia’s army, police forces and state authorities over the Serbs during the SS-punishment-style military-police operation “Storm” (Oluja) in August 1995 when around 3000 ethnic Serbs in the Krajina region were killed and 250.000 expelled from their homes. That ...
What must the world think watching the US presidential campaign? Over time US political campaigns have become more unreal and less related to voters’ concerns, but the current one is so unreal as to be absurd.The offshoring of American jobs by global corporations and the deregulation of the US financial system have resulted in American economic failure. One might think that this would be an issue in a presidential campaign.The neoconservative ideology of US world hegemony is driving the US and its vassals into conflict with Russia and China. The risks of nuclear war are higher than at any previous ...
As was expected, President Trump has decertified Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal or, to give it its full name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), despite the fact that he certified it twice before. As recently as 14 September 2017, Trump also waived certain sanctions against Iran as required under the terms of the deal. Yet, in an extremely belligerent and hostile speech, he put out his new policy towards Iran.The certification of the deal is not part of the agreement, but as anti-Iranian hawks in both parties wanted to undermine President Barrack Obama and create obstacles on ...
If you reside in a parallel universe then welcome to Kosovo, the land of Albanianization and Islamization and all in the name of democracy. A flick back into history tells us that the Serbs were 98% of the population of Kosovo 600 years ago but today the Orthodox Christian Serbs are between 6% and 8% depending on various figures.
Of course, the Kosovo Serbs became a minority because of the ravages of the Ottoman Empire, dhimmitude, Islamization, and Albanian support of fascism during the German Nazi period. Communism in the old Yugoslavia was the final nail in the coffin because Albanian long-term objectives ...
Mirė vienas didžiausių pasaulyje tarptautinių karo nusikaltėlių JAV senatorius Džonas Makeinas. Jis , kaip ir kitas JAV karo nusikaltėlių gaujos sėbras Zbignevas Bzežinskis, darė karo nusikaltimus visame pasaulyje, žudė civilius gyventojus, moteris, vaikus, senelius Vietname, Irake, Jugoslavijoje, Libijoje, Sirijoje, Jemene, Somalyje, Nigerijoje, Gruzijoje, Ukrainoje, kišosi į visų pasaulio šalių vidaus reikalus, dalyvavo vykdant spalvotas revoliucijas visose Rusijos pasienyje esančiose buvusiose tarybinėse valstybėse, Vidurio ir Rytų Europoje, Pabaltijo respublikose, Šiaurės Afrikoje, Artimuosiuose ir Vidurio Rytuose, rėmė nusikalstamus fašistinius režimus, nacionalistines chuntas, islamo teroristines organizacijas minėtose šalyse, yra tiesiogiai atsakingas už jo remtų partijų – konservatorių, liberalų, socdemų, nacistų, nacionalistų, fašistų, islamo teroristų ...
Stalinist “Land of Eagles” As in neighboring Yugoslavia, the communist revolutionary guerrilla forces, established by the aid and crucially supported by the Yugoslav communists led by local Albanian communist leader Enver Hoxha, took over the power in Albania in 1944. From 1945 to 1948 Albania was under the strong influence of Titoist Yugoslavia and both counties being under the hand of J. V. Stalin. Yugoslavia lavishly supplied Albania with deficient material, mainly nutritious ones, like wheat, etc. As testified by the Montenegrin zealot communist and revolutionist Milovan Đilas, one of the leading Yugoslav politicians at the time, and a member ...
Seventeen years ago today, on March 24, 1999, NATO began a 78-day deadly and devastating U.S.-backed intervention of Yugoslavia. It was the first time in history that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization decided they would attack a country without the approval of the U.N. Security Council.Nineteen countries took part in the aggression led by the United States that was supposed to stop the repressive activities of the Slobodan Milosevic government and to establish a framework for its Southern province, Kosovo, under international law. Milosevic was president of Serbia from 1989 to 1997, and of Yugoslavia from 1997 to 2000.The attack was ...
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]SaveSave
Since NATO’s intervention in 1999, Kosovo has been the subject of an unprecedented degree of international supervision. UNMIK, EULEX and K-FOR were afforded extensive, and essentially unaccountable, powers to maintain law and order and regulate Kosovo’s economy, judiciary and political system. In per capita terms, Kosovo has received the largest flow of aid ever distributed to a developing country: the international community put twenty-five times more money and fifty times more troops on a per capita basis into post-conflict Kosovo than into post-conflict Afghanistan.Regularly heralded as a success story, Kosovo is championed by some as proof that not all projects ...
Because the request for its membership is a serious breach of the international law, the Constitution of UNESCO, the legally binding UN Security Council resolution 1244 (1999) and the Charter of the UN whose Article 25 says that „The Members of the UN agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter”.Because according to the UN Security Council resolution 1244, which reaffirms the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (now Serbia), Kosovo and Metohija is an integral part of the Republic of Serbia, under the administration of ...
“We could become the first country to go fascist through free elections.” — William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third ReichGenerally, we avoid using the word “fascism” in polite company, and until recently, a person pointing out parallels between Nazi Germany and the current United States would invite elevated eyelids along with the outworn charge of sounding like a “conspiracy theorist“. The current electoral cycle seems to be changing that, so I will trust that now is the right time to convey some ideas I’ve been marinating regarding fascism in my US Homeland. The ruling plutocrats are clearly ferrying the ...
They could be found on the outskirts of Sirte, Libya, supporting local militia fighters, and in Mukalla, Yemen, backing troops from the United Arab Emirates. At Saakow, a remote outpost in southern Somalia, they assisted local commandos in killing several members of the terror group al-Shabab. Around the cities of Jarabulus and Al-Rai in northern Syria, they partnered with both Turkish soldiers and Syrian militias, while also embedding with Kurdish YPG fighters and the Syrian Democratic Forces. Across the border in Iraq, still others joined the fight to liberate the city of Mosul. And in Afghanistan, they assisted indigenous forces in various missions, just as they have ...
Hypocrisy may be the only consistent guiding principle of US foreign policy. Here's a prime example of the "do as we say, not as we do" that is the core of how Washington does business overseas: In the same week that the the US Justice Department demanded that the Russian-backed RT America network register as a foreign propaganda entity or face arrest, the US State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DNL) has announced that it is launching a program to massively interfere in NATO-partner Hungary's internal media.So the US Justice Department is cracking down on RT America for what ...
In the period before the 1999 NATO attack on Yugoslavia, the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) waged a campaign to secede and establish an independent Kosovo dominated by Albanians and purged of every other ethnic group. In October 1998, KLA spokesman Bardhyl Mahmuti spelled the KLA’s vision:“We will never change our position. The independence of Kosovo is the only solution…We cannot live together [with Serbs]. That is excluded.”Once NATO’s war came to an end, the KLA set about driving out of Kosovo every non-Albanian and every pro-Yugoslav Albanian it could lay its hands on. The KLA left in its wake thousands ...
The German occupation forces were those who have been the first to create and recognize a short-lived state’s independence of Ukraine in January 1918 during the time of their-own inspired and supported anti-Russian Bolshevik Revolution of 1917−1921. As reoccupied by the Bolshevik Red Army, the eastern and southern parts of the present-day territory of (a Greater) Ukraine joined in 1922 the USSR as a separate Soviet Socialist Republic (without Crimea). According to the 1926 Soviet census of Crimea, the majority of its population were the Russians (382.645). The second-largest ethnic group were the Tartars (179.094). Therefore, a Jew V. I. ...
NATO 70 Years Old… Still Vigorous in Aggression
Kosovo – Mafia – Fascism – Jihad
For Decades Russia Has Been Forced to Respond to NATO Expansion
Selective Amnesia: Croatia’s Holocaust Deniers
The “Serb Question” and its “Final Solution” in Euro-Croatia
Washington Leads the World to War
Europe Must Stop Trump from Starting Another War in the Middle East
Orthodox Christian Ghettoization and Anti-Serb Clampdown in Kosovo
The Post-WWII Albania and Kosovo
“Humanitarian Imperialism”: US, NATO Lie to Justify Genocide and Destruction in Yugoslavia
How the West Built a Failed State in Kosovo
Why Kosovo is Ineligible for the Membership in UNESCO?
A Brief History of Fascism in the United States
U.S. Special Operations Forces Deploy to 138 Nations, 70% of the World’s Countries
Manipulation: The US State Department’s New Program to Take On Hungarian Media
NATO’s War on Yugoslavia and the Expulsion of Serbs from Kosovo
On Which Principle Ukraine’s Borders are Formed?
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS