TURKEY’S SOFT POWER POLICY TOWARDS THE BALKANS: CHALLENGES AND PERSPECTIVES
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The Balkans is considered a vital area in international relations. It has always attracted and is still attracting the interest of global and regional powers and factors on the international stage, including Turkey. Besides the political, economic, and defense aspects, the soft power of Turkish multidimensional diplomacy represents one of the most important segments of the relations between Turkey and the Balkan countries. Turkish government institutions like the Diyanet (Presidency of Religious Affairs), Yunus Emre, Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB), TIKA, Turkish State Media, Maarif education institutions, and various non-governmental organizations represent some of the most vital segments of the cultural, religious and educational expansion of the Turkish state in the Balkan countries. This paper is mainly based on the following research methods: historical, descriptive, and in-depth analysis. This study aims to answer the main question of this research - Do the above-mentioned soft power policy tools play a vital role in the further development of Turkey-Balkan countries relations? This paper concludes that the Turkish soft power policy in the Balkans faces a series of challenges that affect its expansion's functionality and success.
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