The Significance Of The Balkans For Turkey
Throughout history the Balkans has been a turbulent region. Stability and security in the Balkans have been closely associated with stability and peace in continental Europe.
The balkan region occupies a distinctive place in Turkey's foreign policy. This stems from the fact that Turkey, herself, is an integral part of the Balkans. Thus, the preservation of peace and stability in the Balkans is of vital importance for Turkey.
Since the foundation of the republic, Turkey has continued to attribute primary importance to developing closer relations and cooperation with all countries in the Balkans based upon friendship, mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of every state within its internationally recognized borders. These basic principles continue to be the cornerstone of Turkey's foreign policy, to achieve closer cooperation among balkan countries on a bilateral as well as regional basis.
For Turkey, the balkan peninsula offers a natural and physical link to west Europe. There is a strong historical and cultural affinity between Turkey and the balkan states and the peoples in the region, which is a natural result of the coexistence of the peoples for more than five centuries, sharing common bonds, traditions and culture.
In view of all this Turkey deems it both necessary and natural to be closely interested and associated with the Balkans as well as to spend efforts to further her relations and cooperation with the balkan countries for the preservation of peace and stability in the region.
Another reason for Turkey to attach special significance to the Balkans in her foreign policy is the fact that Turkey, herself, is in a position to be gravely affected from instabilities that might arise in the region. Bearing this in mind, the stability of the Balkans has a positive impact on Turkey's own security.
In this context, Turkey has deployed her efforts to contribute to the initiatives for creating proper conditions conducive to achieving closer cooperation on bilateral as well as regional basis in the region.
Thus, Turkey has achieved a remarkable progress in a very short time span with regard to the deepening and broadening as well as enlarging the scope of her bilateral relations as witnessed by the high level visits which represented occasions for concluding cooperation agreements in almost every field.
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