Turkey’s activism in former Yugoslavia is a continuation of the country’s post-Cold War strategy in the broader context of South East Europe. It is driven largely by structural shifts related to the spread of democracy, Europeanization and globalization, rather than by ideology or Ottoman nostalgia. Despite its vanishing appeal, the EU remains essential in understanding Turkey’s place in regional politics. The Union’s expansion has deepened interdependence across South East Europe and transformed the Turkish approach: from power politics to a multidimensional policy reliant on trade, cross-border investment, and projection of soft power. Although Ankara is acting in a growingly unilateralist manner and could be viewed as a competitor in some Western capitals, Turkish policies are benefiting from Brussels and Washington’s investment in the stabilisation and integration of the Western Balkans.