The European Union’s Perennial Turkish Dilemma

Given their geopolitical position and economic interdependence, in all likelihood, Turkey and the European Union (still) have much to offer each other. Going back from the establishment of the modern republic on the ruins of the former Ottoman Empire, throughout the long Cold War years, and then in the post-9/11 era, Turkey’s officially stated position in the liberal world order has been that of an aspiring Western power and European partner, with Islamic characteristics. Read more ...

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The EU Factor: GDP per Capita | #BalkanStats

This is the first material in our Balkan Stats series. Every post will focus on a statistically relevant indicator, briefly showing how the Balkan trends converge or diverge due to the various economic and political allegiances of the constituent states.  Comments are reduced to a bare minimum, letting figures do the talking for themselves. This week, Horia Ciurtin - our Senior Expert - depicts how GDP per capita (PPP) varies in accordance with EU membership. Read more ...

Russia’s Interests in Kosovo’s Election

While the EU waited for the elections in Kosovo and hoped that the process would lead to a more stable government that would tackle the true problems of the former Yugoslav entity, the latest negotiations among the political parties have quickly dashed all of those hopes. The PDK-run PAN coalition’s political tango and the power gained by Vetevendosje alone prove that Kosovo could be heading for a crisis that could easily derail the country from the European path. Read more ...

Geopolitical Influence on Media and Media Freedom in the Western Balkans

In the beginning of the ‘2000s, media in the Western Balkans failed to face problems of corruption, manipulation and political propaganda that – in time – evolved to be an easy target for external actors and open possibilities for increasing their soft power in certain countries and, therefore, in the entire region. This brief aims to analyze how globally (or regionally) relevant powers – US, Russia and Turkey – are using the media in Western Balkan countries and its loopholes to maximize their geopolitical interests. Read more ...

The Kurdish Conundrum

In less the one month from now, the Kurdish Regional Government from Iraq shall hold a referendum for determining the fate of the polity: independence or remaining a part of Iraq. The Kurds' struggle to achieve statehood may seem odd in an age when nation states are regarded as obsolete, but the opportunity that arose with the disintegration of the Iraqi state and army in the heyday of the ISIS expansion could not be overlooked. Read more ...

Seeing Other People: Lukashenko’s Balancing Act

It is a hot (geopolitical) summer. In Asia and in Eastern Europe. Away from the North Korean crisis or the Qatar parading blockade, EU-based delegations are increasingly visiting Minsk these months. In one way or another, the European Union and its member states are looking for a readjustment of their relation with the secluded republic on the Eastern flank. Roughly put, Belarus is tucked in a Russian corner that it can hardly escape even if it wished. And it doesn't. Read more ...