The Multilateralist

Turkey talks EU in the Balkans

Turkey’s president visited Serbia this week and emphasized his desire to see the Balkans placed under the European Union and NATO umbrellas. Per the Associated Press: "It is our desire to have the whole region united under a wider umbrella of the European Union and NATO," Abdullah Gul said after talks with Serbia’s President Boris ...

Turkey’s president visited Serbia this week and emphasized his desire to see the Balkans placed under the European Union and NATO umbrellas. Per the Associated Press:

"It is our desire to have the whole region united under a wider umbrella of the European Union and NATO," Abdullah Gul said after talks with Serbia’s President Boris Tadic and the three members of Bosnia’s multiethnic presidency.

"We believe that the Balkans is not at the end of Europe, but that it is the heart of Europe," Gul said. "We want to … strengthen cooperation and move jointly toward solving burning issues."

Serbia’s president also reportedly said this during the meeting: "Turkey has its historic reasons and … legitimate interests for its presence in the Balkans." Given the region’s recent past, that sentiment is notable, as is the overall stability of the region.  The European Union and NATO were both dreadfully slow in reacting to the Balkans conflict, but once they finally put the their weight behind the stabilization effort, they’ve been remarkably successful. That precedent is worth keeping in mind as NATO and the EU stumble forward in Libya. Because they are comprised of liberal democracies, these organizations wear their divisions and frictions on their sleeves, and it’s easy to forget how much strength is lurking underneath.

 Twitter: @multilateralist

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