This report examines Turkey’s interests in the Balkans and the resources the country has at its disposal to pursue those interests. The report focuses on three main areas: economic relationships, investment and religious influence. We conclude that while Turkey has an interest in projecting power into the Balkans, its tools for doing so are not particularly effective. Turkey is not currently a major player in the region, either as a trading partner or an investor, and there are limits to how it can use Islam to develop common interests with Balkan countries such as Albania or Bosnia and Herzegovina, which have large Muslim populations.
Turkey is a European power as well as a Middle Eastern power, and it has been a major player in the Balkans for centuries.
Economic struggles have prevented Turkey from developing deep trade relationships with countries in the Balkans.
Turkey has significant trade relationships with only two Balkan countries: Albania and Ko