Turkey’s Balkan Policy: With its crucial role in world history and especially in European politics, the Balkans also enjoys a distinct place in Turkey’s foreign policy. Relations built on mutual respect for independence, sovereignty and freedom in internal affairs, strengthened by historical and cultural ties make the Balkans and Turkey exceptional for one another. In this respect, the preservation of peace and stability in the Balkans is of vital importance for Turkey. Being interested in the developments that may change the future of the region and having given a considerable amount of aid, in the form of finance and in kind, to heal the wounds of the people affected by the war in the Balkans, Turkey took a leading role in international efforts for the prevention of ethnic cleansing in the Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo crisis and continues activities towards protecting civilian lives in many parts of old Yugoslavia.
While trying to develop its bilateral relations in every field with the countries in the region through frequent reciprocal visits, Turkey also exerts efforts on regional platforms to provide peace and stability in the Balkans. Turkey’s role in the implementation of major initiatives such as the Southeastern European Cooperation Process (SEECP) and the Multinational Peacekeeping Force for Southeastern Europe (SEMPKF) is proof of the importance it attaches to further improvement of relations among Balkan countries and to the establishment of sustainable peace. Thus Turkey pursued an active policy in the Southeast European Stability Pact (SEUSP), of which Turkey is a member, to be transformed into the Regional Corporation Council (RCC) and the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI).
Following the developments in the Kosovo crisis very closely, Turkey supports the active efforts of the international community in this issue, including the report and comprehensive suggestions of the UN Kosovo’s special envoy Martti Ahtisaari. In this direction, Turkey was among the first countries to recognize the independence of the Kosovo Republic on February 18th, 2008. Turkey also supports efforts to ensure that Montenegro is represented in international organizations and to strengthen Bosnia Herzegovina state institutions and its uniting with Europe- Atlantic.
In addition, Turkey fully supports the membership of the Adriatic Charter countries (Albania, Macedonia, and Croatia) in NATO and the efforts of South Eastern European Countries, who are at different stages of assension, to join the EU.
Turkey is also a member of the International Orientation Group, formed by the Ahtisaari Proposal.