The Dawn of the White Crescent: Prospects of a New Turkish Century in the Balkans
The end of the 20-th century made us witnesses to a radical turn in the global geopolitics. But the first two decades of the 21-st century has made us not only witnesses but also active participants in an impending important both global and regional shift. The end of the Cold War and the fall of the last global empire – the communist USSR led to several historical changes – a new age of power vacuum has begun which was shortly filled in by the only global dominating force – USA and that advantage was wasted by them.
The new age in which after the USA, the world witnessed the rise of several other forces of geopolitical dominance, an age in which the center of the global politics shifted from the Atlantic and West Europe to Central Asia and The Near East. During the first and the beginning of the second decade of the 21-st century even more important changes concerning the future of the world occurred. A new age has begun in which the center of the global politics shifted even further east, in the direction of Central, Southeastern and Southwestern Asia, i.e. in the Asia-Pacific basin. This is the age in which the departure of the Americans from Southeastern Europe in a predetermined destination in Asia caused yet again a power vacuum, which resulted in an imbalance of the forces on the Balkan region and specifically in the area of the West Balkans. Washington’s leap from the Atlantic into the Pacific age of America, in which the USA are committed to building a stable network of Trance-Pacific partnership, which will be the basis of future global system of international relations, has brought fluctuations and disorder on the Balkan peninsula.
The big upsurge of Turkey in the geopolitics after the end of the Cold War has given the country a unique possibility – one Muslim country to become not only the leader in Southeastern Europe but also a considerable factor in the relations of the large Muslim communities in which they are part of. The fall of Josip Broz Tito’s Yugoslavia marked the end of the last trace of the Versailles system. After the dominance and especially after the departure of the United States of America from the Balkan region to Asia and the Far East, the power vacuum occurred again. Turkey took the biggest advantage of this situation, despite the fact the authoritarian Kremlin displayed the same ambitions. Kremlin hopes that the intensifying Muslim element in the global politics will lead to the consolidation of the Cristian peoples and to a closer partnership with Russia – a force, which can ward off the “invading Turks”.
The dilemma that my interlocutors brought up for this big geopolitical change is still current after my visit in Sarajevo twenty-tree years ago. Is it true we wonder that Turkey is seeking to come back to the European part of the former Ottoman Empire? If this statement turns out to be true, then how can we foresee to what consequences considering the region this radical geopolitical change will lead? And the comeback itself, by what means and methods is Turkey intending to accomplish and what will be the reaction of the nations in the area affected by this Turkish geopolitical campaign. These are part of the questions I discuss here. Finding the right answers to these and other similar questions is what this research is about. The changing redistribution of the forces in the global race for establishing global geopolitical influence after the end of the Cold War is a result due to the change which occurs in the system of the international relations and the international politics in general. The reorientation of the US which after the historical success of the Atlantic politics is now emphasizing on the Trance-Pacific partnership. In this context Turkey is also changing and repositioning its global and regional geopolitical interests. This global change also dictates the geopolitical movement of the global players on the Balkans, including Turkey. The present period marks the beginning of the gradual soft and low intensive development of the rivalry between Turkey and Russia. After the end of the Cold War Turkey implies a purposeful strategy for its upward trend on the Balkans.
In the context of this Turkish advance, the role and the function of the Albanians, Bosniaks, Islam and Bektashism is as defining as the role and the function of the Turkish Muslims and the Turkish country as a whole. In order to accomplish that goal Ankara applies a geostrategy which in fact is a synthesis of all the Turkish national and para national doctrine discussing the roots, position, development and the future of the Turkish nation, Turkey and the Turkish Ottoman Empire; including the role and function of the Islam caliphate in the developing of the Turks and the Turkish country as a whole. This synthesis in fact purposefully unites the Ottomanism, Pan-Ottmanism, Islamism and Pan-Islamism as well as Turkism, Pan-Turkism and Turanism. It also includes many principles of the Kemalism. In the present analysis The Dawn of the White Crescent – Views of a New Turkish Century on the Balkans are included answers to the main questions.
Firstly, is Ankara intending to revive an enhanced Ottoman Empire through a specialized for that purpose foreign policy by adapting it through the new circumstances and modern conditions? In other words, is Turkey trying to revive the Ottoman way and establish it in its relations with the countries in the region? Secondly, what is the role and what is Turkey’s position not only in the regional but in the global geopolitics?
Thirdly, what should the approach of the democratic world be towards Turkey, almost a quarter century after the end of the Cold War? Fourthly, what is the current role of Turkey in the Atlantism and what the democratic world expects from Ankara in the common struggle against the authoritarism of Eurasianism and Islamic fundamentalism?