1 December 2010
ESI in Amsterdam: Turkey and the Balkans
View of the panel (Minna Jarvenpaa, Rory Stewart, Gerald Knaus, and Miroslav Lajcak. Photo: ERSTE Stiftung
Ahmet Davutoğlu and Erik-Jan Zürcher

ESI's Gerald Knaus was invited by the Turkije Instituut in Amsterdam to speak about current developments between Turkey and the Balkans. Erik-Jan Zürcher, director International Institute of Social History, gave a short introduction on the historical background of relations between Turkey and the Balkan region.

Turkey is asserting itself ever more prominently on the international stage. Ankara is reinforcing its ties with Turkey's neighbours and the wider region, including the southern Balkans – largely part of the Ottoman Empire until the early twentieth century. Turkey has acted as mediator between Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was one of the prominent guests attending the commemoration of the Srebrenica massacre last July. The countries share a common history and, partly, culture and religion.

Which role do the Balkans play in Turkey's foreign policy, now and in the past? How does Turkey, a rising regional and economic force, relate to the small and sometimes messy states on the southern Balkans?  – some in the same waiting room for EU membership as Turkey. Does the shared Ottoman legacy play a role in generating support for an active Turkish Balkans policy?

About us
Photo credits
Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com