From a feature in Anadolu Agency.
President Erdogan’s visit to Albania of strategic importance
….It is estimated that more Albanians and Bosnians live in Turkiye than in Albania and Bosnia. Most emigrated to Turkiye after the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923 and during Yugoslavian rule in the 50s and 80s to escape systematic repression. They are organized in various Balkan and Rumelian associations and actively try to influence Turkiye’s policies towards the Balkans. Therefore, whatever happens in the Balkans has a direct impact on Turkiye as well….Turkiye itself is an inseparable part of the Balkans….Turkiye has done its best to promote…relations with all Balkan countries, wherein Albania sits at the center of this perspective.
Albania is…a full member of NATO since 2013….It has the potential to directly influence the events in Kosovo, as the second independent Albanian country; in North Macedonia, where Albanians consist 1/3rd of the country; and Montenegro where the government directly depends on the Albanian minority. The country strongly supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina and opposes the nationalistic claims of Serbia to create Greater Serbia at the expense of Bosnia, Kosovo, and Montenegro….[Kosovo is only Kosovo because of pan-Albanianism.]
The agreements signed during the visit of Prime Minister Edi Rama in Turkiye on Jan. 6, 2021, were a new and historical starting point. As a result of that visit, the Joint Political Declaration on the establishment of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council was signed between Turkiye and Albania, which has been on the agenda for years, and relations between the two countries were raised to the level of Strategic Partnership….
….Cooperation between Albania and Turkiye is built by NATO….Turkiye has continuously provided military education to Albanian military personnel in various areas related to security, including logistics, modernization of the armed forces, and infrastructure of the Albanian army. Albania has signed a contract for the purchase of surveillance drones as well. Albania and Turkiye also held many joint military exercises.
Turkish policymakers have always stated that Ankara supports the membership of the Western Balkan countries in transatlantic institutions. Many studies have shown that Turkiye and the EU are not competitors in the Balkans but complementary actors….