Because of its geographical proximity and historical, social, and cultural ties, the Balkans is a region of particular interest to Turkey. During the last decades, in parallel to its economic growth and foreign policy activism, Turkey has intensified economic relations, public diplomacy, and cultural activities with this region. In the late 2000s, Ankara began to play an active role in regional politics. Although its political initiatives have slowed down in the Arab spring, Turkey's bilateral relations with the Balkan governments have remained unchanged.
Turkey's engagement with the Balkans has led to different reactions. Every once in a while, skeptical views regarding Turkey's intentions in the Balkans are expressed in the international media. The skeptics 'most-voiced claim is that Turkey is undermining the Balkans' stability and Euro-Atlantic integration. Yet Turkey's approach to the region does not provide a justifiable basis for these claims.