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Turkey and Germany in the Balkans: Competing with Each Other?

This paper aims to see whether there is a commercial and financial rivalry between Turkey and Germany in the Balkans by examining the export volumes, exported items, and foreign direct investments of these two countries to five Balkan countries. Our findings show that the commercial competition between Turkey and Germany in the Balkans is not serious. However, as the export growth of Turkey in the region continues to increase as it has done in the last two decades, Turkey has the potential to be a serious competitor to Germany in electrical goods and appliances, motor vehicles parts and components, power generating machinery and vehicles, metal articles, specific and general industrial machines, and plastics.

Turkey and Germany in the Balkans Competing with Each Other
Kosovo Prime Minister Haradinaj met with the representatives of Turkish companies in Kosovo, in October 2017. PETRIT RRAHMANI / AA Photo
 

Introduction

It is claimed in academic circles and in the media that there is a conflict of interest in the Balkans between Turkey and the EU in general, but Germany in particular.1 Many countries such as Russia, China, India, the EU, and the U.S. vie to expand their economic, cultural, and political influence in the Balkans. Germany has many advantages in this competition as a main trade partner and creditor of the Balkan countries.2

The Balkans is an important element in the foreign policy of Turkey, which has deep historical and cultural ties with the region. One of the basic principles of this policy has been designated as maximum economic integration. Western countries, on the other hand, aim to guarantee their energy supply and achieve their strategic goals under the stance of bringing stability to the Balkans.3

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