Democratic Empowerment and Transnational Threats

Money, mosques and concrete: Turkish engagement in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo

The Western Balkans are one of the regions where Turkey tries to increase its influence in order to present itself as a mediator and a stabilising actor on the world stage. Although the Western Balkans lag behind other European regions in terms of economic development, business environment or even political stability,[1] Turkey has been active in the area with key investments in major national projects, so as to achieve the greatest economic and political return.[2] Indeed, Turkish investments have the aim to gain a stronger foothold in the area.

On the one hand, big infrastructural projects can lock in countries to consider Turkey as a relevant interlocutor and as an alternative to Western-driven funding. A symptom of this attempt to be more present in Western Balkans’ economies can be seen by the skyrocketing increase of Turkey’s trade with these countries: from EUR 364 million in 2002, to more than EUR 2,5 billion in 2016.[3] Of course, this has been mainly possible thanks to the incredible economic growth that Turkey has undergone in the past two decades: it went from USD 200 billion in 2001, to USD 850 billion in 2017 (passing from an all-time high of current USD 950 billion in 2013).[4] Another component of Turkey’s greater engagement and rising influence is the will of Turkish companies – unlike Western investors – to invest in small cities, divided markets and underdeveloped areas: rejected by the West, it is the same Western Balkans countries (at different level of the administration) that turn to Turkish companies.[5] When it is not the private companies that do the work, it is the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) – the governmental department under the Prime Minister’s office – that coordinates investments in the area in terms of development assistance, through offices present in every country in the Western Balkans.[6]

On the other hand, there is plenty of room for manoeuvre even for symbolic policies that can boost Turkey’s role as quasi-protector of stability and tradition. These policies are more effective in areas that share a Muslim-majority population – like Albania and Kosovo, or even the Bosniak segment of Bosnian society – connected to the construction of mosques, opening of schools (with related courses of Turkish language), and building of cultural centres.[7] Turkey does not follow a path of investments based solely on ethnicity or religion,[8] however it is easier to engage in areas where Turkish actions are perceived as more acceptable (or even needed). These moves strengthen the role of Turkey as a true investor in the progress of the social fabric of a country, dismissing claims and fears of a restored “Ottoman” rule. In general, it is Turkish national interest and opportunity to gain influence that guide Ankara’s policies, not ideology per se, which is more of an added instrument.[9] 


Since his establishment as the head of government in 2013, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has envisaged a major role for Turkey in Albania’s foreign policy. Indeed Turkey has been considered by the Socialist Government as one of Albania’s “strategic partners”, alongside Italy and Greece.[10] Stronger ties between the two governments were being cultivated even before Rama officially took office: as a PM-elect in the summer of 2013, he visited Istanbul for two days with a delegation of future members of the cabinet, meeting with then Prime Minister Erdoğan and discussing future common agendas and investments.[11] Furthermore, after the failed coup attempt in Turkey, Edi Rama was among the first foreign leaders to express his closeness to Erdoğan and Turkey.[12] It is also interesting to notice that Edi Rama was invited to the wedding of Erdoğan’s daughter.[13] This is only another proof of the close relationship between the two politicians. Thus Turkey’s grip on Albania seems to be really tight.[14]

On the economic side, an important actor in Albania is Çalik Holding, a Turkish company which operates in several sectors: from energy and mining, to construction, up to finance and communication.[15] In 2007 Çalik Holding acquired the majority of ALBtelecom’s shares,[16] Albania’s previously state-owned telecommunication company – with subsidiaries and activities also in Kosovo.[17] In 2008 the same Çalik Holding established the mobile operator Eagle Mobile,[18] which then merged with ALBtelecom in 2012, consolidating its dominant position in the communication market of the country.[19] Moreover the same holding in 2006 bought 60% of shares of Albania’s Banka Kombetare Tregtare (BKT),[20] the biggest commercial bank in the country, with 27 branches operating also in Kosovo.[21] In 2009 Çalik Holding acquired it entirely, and in 2014 became the Turkish bank operating abroad with the largest market share (26%).[22]

Another key actor in Albania is Turkish Airlines, the national flag carrier airline of Turkey. Indeed, Turkish Airlines has 49% of Air Albania, the soon-to-be national flag carrier of Albania.[23] While Air Albania is still completing the process of getting the final necessary licenses, in February 2019 a tripartite agreement between Albcontrol, Turkish Airlines and private actors was officially signed.[24] However, the first inaugural flight has already taken place in September 2018, connecting (of course) Tirana to Istanbul.[25] The presence of Turkey in Albania’s civil aviation sector could have been even stronger. Indeed, the Albanian government is trying to build a new airport near the southern city of Vlora. For its construction, the government was negotiating with a Turkish consortium of three companies, namely Cengis, Kalyon and Kolin Construction.[26] However, the bid seems to have not been accepted and agreed upon by the Albanian government, which has ultimately opened the tender once again.[27]

From a more religious and cultural viewpoint, a striking example of Turkey’s grip on Albania is the construction of a mosque in Tirana by the end of 2019, under the initiative of TIKA. The mosque will be the biggest one in the Balkans, with a capacity of up to 10,000 worshippers.[28] With religion as a penetration tool, the Namazgah Mosque will not only be a major religious centre: it will also comprise a cultural centre, a library, a conference room, and will hold Turkish language lessons.[29] The construction costs amount to around EUR 30 million.[30]

Regarding the education system, Turkey has been one of the most present countries in Albania since the fall of the communist regime. Indeed, a number of private schools opened in Albania – teaching also the Turkish language – with the first one being the “Mehmet Akif” school in Tirana in 1993. Since then other three schools would open in the country: the “Hasan Riza Pasha” school in Shkodra, and the two “Turgut Ozal” schools, one in Tirana and one in Durres.[31] They have since been a synonym of higher quality education – in the elementary and middle school cycles – with a highly competitive admission process. However, the “influences” in the educational system have taken more of a both-ways approach in recent years. Indeed in 2018 a pioneer Albanian class started in a Turkish school: the class started at the “Alija Izetbegovic” Middle School, located in a village near Izmir, where many residents have Balkan origins.[32] However, Albanian presence in Turkey is still far from the Turkish one in Albania. Anyhow, it highlights a stronger commitment from both sides to engage more in discovering each other’s cultures and languages.

Bosnia and Herzegovina  

Turkish diaspora around Europe is really strong and widespread, hitting 1,4 million Turkish citizens in Germany.[33] In Bosnia and Herzegovina the ties between the Turkish government and its diaspora has proved to be even more striking than in other European countries. One proof of that was Erdoğan’s campaign rally last year (on 20 May 2018) in Sarajevo, ahead of the Turkish June elections: it was the only rally that Erdoğan held abroad since other countries refused to hold one, and thousands of participants from all over Europe converged in the chosen venue – that is Zetra, the largest sports’ venue in Bosnia.[34] On that occasion, Erdoğan was accused of interference in domestic political matters, not only of Bosnia but also of all the countries the participants came from. Indeed, the Turkish President requested all participants to be active in politics, possibly playing a role in political parties, and ultimately entering the respective parliaments.[35] Moreover, he stood by defending and cultivating Turkish language, traditions and religion: a direct message to all Turkish diaspora that in the long run could enhance even stronger ties with the Turkish government.[36]

During the rally in Bosnia, it is interesting to notice how it was Bakir Izetbegovic, the then Bosniak member of the presidency – and the son of Bosnia’s first president – to support, accompany and introduce Erdoğan.[37] The two have long been political allies, so Izetbegovic’s endorsement was no surprise: during his speech he pictured Erdoğan as the person sent by God himself to lead the Turkish nation.

Turkey’s and Erdoğan’s attractiveness in Bosnia has been really strong in recent years, at least across certain segments of Bosnian society: that is, Muslim believers, many with Turkish origins. For example, in 2014 supporting prayers for Erdoğan’s government were held in 35 mosques all over Bosnia – including the main mosque in Sarajavo.[38] One of the most striking aspects is that the event was an initiative of the students of the International University of Sarajevo, thus highlighting how the influence and the appeal of Erdoğan (and Turkey overall) can reach up to the youngsters. On a more subtle occasion, Erdoğan’s relevance in Bosnian internal affairs was highlighted with the cancelation of an event in Bosnia to honour author Orhan Pamuk. A Nobel Prize laureate, Orhan Pamuk has been often critical of Erdoğan’s policies, and thus it has possibly been under Turkish pressure that the Bosnian government called off the event.[39]

More recently, Erdoğan has even called for a need to revise the 1995 Dayton peace agreement that ended the war in Bosnia. According to the Turkish President, the need stems from the failure of the agreement to avoid present deadlocks and to address future challenges.[40] The statement was delivered in Ankara alongside Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the Croatian President, who was in Turkey for an official visit and for the signing of several bilateral agreements on religion, culture, etc.[41] Many of Erdoğan’s statements regarding the Balkans have raised criticisms and concerns, not only among EU Member States, but also among other Balkan countries. In the case of Bosnia, an alleged statement made in 2014 by the then Turkish Prime Minister – who said that anyone upsetting Bosniaks would in turn have to face 100 million Turks – provoked the prompt reaction and criticism of then Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić.[42]

Ahead of and during the 2018 rally in Bosnia, Erdoğan pledged for Turkish investment in the country and signed a letter of intent for the construction of the highway connecting Sarajevo and Belgrade, for a total estimated cost of nearly EUR 3 billion.[43] The plan of building the highway could become one of the biggest investments of Turkey in the Balkans – if not the biggest one. Some hurdles for the project were encountered when deciding about the route of the highway: if it should pass in the north-east through Tuzla-Brčko-Bijeljina, or if it should pass east through Višegrad. In order to overcome the impasse, Erdoğan offered to build them both in a trilateral meeting on January 2018 in Istanbul with Serbian President Vučić and the then Bosniak member of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bakir Izetbegović.[44]

One of the dissenting voices to the project seemed to Milorad Dodik, president of the Republika Srpska and chairman of the Bosnia Herzegovina Presidency. However, the same Dodik declared last February that a final deal was reached for the construction of the highway and that works are going to start soon.[45] Moreover, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Ankara and Bosnia in early May for the construction of the highway. Attending the meeting there were Turksh President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and two member of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Presidency, the Serbian Milorad Dodik and the Bosniak Sefik Dzaferovic.[46] The overall project is thought to bring an increase in economic relations between the two countries. During the same meeting, Turkey and Bosnia signed also a revised Free Trade Agreement, which is supposed to make the two countries reach a trade volume of about USD 1 billion.[47]

Moreover, Erdoğan announced that Turkey would provide support and push in order for the TurkStream gas pipeline to pass through Bosnia and Herzegovina.[48] The TurkStream project is planned to transport Russian natural gas under the Black Sea, in this way bypassing Ukraine. While one pipeline should serve for the Turkish market, the other one will pass through Bulgari, Serbia and Hungary, before reaching Western Europe. It is in this second route that Bosnia could play a role.


Turkey was one of the first countries to recognise Kosovo’s independence on 18 February 2008, the following day of the declaration of independence by the latter. The same year the former Cooperation Bureau of Turkey in Pristina – operating from 2009 – was transformed to an Embassy. Moreover, a Consulate General opened on 1 September 2015 in the city of Prizren, where is mainly condensed the Turkish community in the country.[49] The Turkish community has a strong presence in Kosovo compared to other minority ethnic groups, with the 2011 census counting as much as 18.738 Turkish inhabitants in Kosovo (nearly 1,08% of the total). On the other hand an estimation approximates the number of Kosovars that speak Turkish at around 300,000.[50]

A noteworthy example of the engagement of the Turkish community in Kosovar public sphere comes from Mahir Yagcilar. Born in Prizren with Turkish origin, he has been the President of the Turkish Democratic Party of Kosovo (KDTP) since 2000. He has been elected Member of the Parliament since 2001, while also serving as Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning from 2007 to 2011, and since then as Minister of Public Administration.[51] The city of Prizren thus plays a key role not only for the Turkish diaspora in Kosovo, but also for the overall relations between the two countries. Indeed, in his last visit in Kosovo, the then Prime Minister Erdoğan visited the city and delivered a highly criticised speech during which he said: “We all belong to a common history, common culture, common civilization. We are the people who are brethren of that structure. Do not forget, Turkey is Kosovo, Kosovo is Turkey!”:[52] the expression raised concerns and criticism especially in Serbia, with Serbian officials claiming that it could damage the relations of the two countries if Turkey puts into doubt Serbia’s sovereignty over Kosovo.[53]

However Turkey’s weight in Kosovo’s internal affairs has been stressed even more after the 2018 Kosovar extradition to Turkey of six men alleged to have links with the movement of Fethullah Gulen.[54] The enigmatic preacher and spiritual leader,[55] living in self-imposed exile from Turkey since 1998, is the head of a network of millions of (Turkish) followers around the globe. This opaque movement has been very active in the education sector, financing schools and charities across 90 countries: in the list there is also Kosovo with significant contributions from the movement.[56] While Fethullah Gulen is known to have endorsed the first three elections of Erdoğan,[57] in the past few years the “coalition” started fading and ultimately turned into open hostility. Indeed, the Gulenist movement is now called Fethullahist Terror Organisation (FETO) by Turkish authorities, which blame it for the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016.[58] Kosovo’s Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said that he was not informed in any way about the extradition operation, adding that it was carried out by the police and by the secret services. If this is really the case, Turkish pervasiveness in Kosovo’s internal affairs is even more striking since it is inserted deeply even in the country’s intelligence apparatus. Over the extradition PM Haradinaj fired the country’s head of intelligence and the Minister of Interior, raising criticism by Erdoğan and accusations of protection of terrorists.[59] So, if on the one hand Turkish political influence is subtle, on a more official level it appears to be in open friction with the current administration.

The events connected to the extradition raise more than one doubt about Kosovo being somehow just “Turkey’s puppet” in the Balkans.[60] However we should not forget the role that Turkey has inside NATO’s KFOR (Kosovo Force) mission aiming at the stabilisation of the country. Indeed Turkey contributes to the mission with 248 troops.[61]

Regarding economic relations, Turkey has in force Free Trade Agreements with all Western Balkans countries but Kosovo, whose FTA is currently under the process of ratification by Kosovo, although it was signed on 27 September 2013 and it represented Kosovo’s first ever signing of a Free Trade Agreement with another country.[62] The trade volume between the countries has been considerable, with figures such as around USD 290 millions of trade worth in 2013 and 2014, and around USD 250 million in 2015. Although the vast proportion of such bilateral trade was covered by Turkish exports to Kosovo – such as textile and metal products, devices and machineries, plastic, and paper – rather than Kosovar exports to Turkey – such as metal ore, rubber, textile fibre: in figures, Turkish exports for the same years amounted to USD 279 million, USD 276 million, and USD 240 million.[63]

Moreover, Turkey has been the third country after Germany and the UK for FDI in Kosovo in the 2007-2013 timespan. Until 2016 the combined Turkish investment in the country reached around EUR 1 billion, with an approximate of 500 Turkish companies operating in Kosovar territory.[64] Turkey’s involvement in the Kosovar economy permeates many sections: ranging from infrastructure, to extracting companies and facilities, to the banking system. For example, Ziraat Bank – one of the biggest[65] Turkish banks – opened its Kosovo branch in Pristina in 2015.[66]

The only civil operating airport in Kosovo is the one located near the capital city of Pristina. When the government opened a bid to give the “Adem Jashari” airport in concession, it was won by a Turkish-French consortium named Limak&Lyon in 2010.[67] Limak is the Turkish component of this consortium and it has a truly global and cross-sectoral outreach.[68] According to the agreement between the consortium and the Kosovar government, the airport will be operated by the former for 20 years with an estimated investment of EUR 80 million, with the aim of modernising the airport while also expanding its activities and capacities.[69] The concession of the airport was not only one of the first big privatisation activities in Kosovo, but also one of the biggest investments of a Turkish company in the country to date.

Another important bid won by a Turkish company in 2010 was concerning the construction of the “Ibrahim Rugova” highway from Merdare to Morina that would connect Kosovo to Albania. Even though the details have never been made public, the American-Turkish joint venture Bechtel-ENKA is supposed to have had an initial cost of EUR 700 million.[70] ENKA represents the largest construction company in Turkey.[71] The project employed nearly 2600 local people and also a significant number of workers from Turkey. It represents one of the largest projects in Kosovo, once again given to a Turkish company.[72]

Turkish companies are also engaged in the extracting sector, with Esan[73] investing EUR 40 million in Kosovo in exploring and extracting plans of several mineral, such as lead, silver, gold, and zinc.[74] The company has been present in Kosovo since 2010 with drillings in Prapashtica (in the north-east) and Bellanica (in the centre), while trying to extend its activities in Karaqa and Gumnishta (in the north), as well as in Bresalci (in the east). 

From a more cultural viewpoint, Turkey has also been engaged in the building of new mosques or in the restoration of mosques dating back to the Ottoman rule, mainly through the instruments of TIKA. In this framework TIKA has signed a memorandum with the Kosovo government for the restoration of the Carshia Mosque in Pristina and the Mosque of Sultan Mehmet in Prizren, which are among the oldest in the country.[75] Furthermore, a new central mosque in Pristina is set to begin construction soon with Turkish funding.[76]

Turkey has also financed Islam-preaching programs for certain segments of Kosovo’s society, such as women.[77] Moreover, Turkey has had an important impact also in education by building private schools and dormitories, various cultural centres, and with plans of opening also Turkish private universities.[78] TIKA plays a role even in this sector: an example is the renovation of a school in Pristina which dates back to early XX century with its Austro-Hungarian architecture.[79]

[1] Francesco Ventura, La nuova geopolitica turca e il caso del controllo del bacino idrico del Tigri e dell’Eufrate, LEG edizioni,2014, p. 101.

[2] Alon Ben-Meir and Arbana Xharra, “Serbia, Turkey, and Russia – alarm bells for Europe”, TransConflict, 23 May 2018, available at:

[3] Zia Weise, “Turkey’s Balkan comeback”, Politico Europe, 15 May 2018, available at:

[4] Refer to World Bank Data at:
. Figures are expressed in current USD.

[5] Ivana Sekularac, “Spurned by EU investors, Balkans looks to eager Turkey”, Reuters, 18 May 2018, available at:

[6] Refer to TIKA’s official website, avalable at:

[7] Zia Weise, op. cit., 2018.

[8] Ahval, “Turkey does not seek for influence in the Balkans – presidential spokesman”, 02 June 2018, available:

[9] Burhanettin Duran, “Turkey’s foreign policy shaped by interests, not ideology”, Daily Sabah, 11 April 2018, available at:

[10] Anadolu Agency, “Rama: Turqia së bashku me Greqinë dhe Italinë janë partnerë strategjikë”, 26 August 2014, available at:

[11] Ferikan Iljazi, “Rama: Erdogani dhe Turqia, partnerë strategjik”, Alsat, 04 August 2013, available at: https://

[12]I am happy with our brethren people of Turkey and dear friend President Erdoğan for escaping with success from a really difficult night.”, as posted on social media by Edi Rama, quoted in Klan Kosova, “Grushti i shtetit në Turqi, Rama: I lumtur për mikun Erdogan”, 16 July 2016, available at:

[13] Bota Sot, “Martohet vajza e Erdoganit- Edi Rama në mesin e 6 mijë dasmorëve”, 14 May 2016, available at:

[14]After the Albanian government, Erdogan is the one who has the maximum power over Albania.” as quoted in Alon Ben-Meir and Albana Xharra, “Albania must choose between the EU and Turkey”, TransConflict, 09 May 2018, available at:

[15] Refer to the “About us” section on Çalik Holding’s website, available at:

[16] In order to get a picture of the company’s shareholders refer to:

[17] Francesco Ventura, op. cit., 2014, p. 102.

[18] Ibidem.

[19] Refer to the dedicated page on Çalik Holding’s website, available at:

[20] Refer to the dedicated page on Çalik Holding’s website, available at:

[21]Asset size of BKT reaching to 29.4% [in 2019] is even higher than the total size of 2nd and 3rd bank (taken together) of the banking sector. […] Established in 1925 BKT is the largest and the oldest commercial Bank in Albania. With a total asset value of 3.9 billion USD and total deposits of 3.1 billion USD, BKT serves its customers through a network of 94 branches, out of which 67 are located in Albania and 27 in Kosovo.” as written in “About us” section of BKT’s website, available at:

[22] Refer to the dedicated page on Çalik Holding’s website, available at: Moreover, BKT’s “Shareholders” section on its website is just a copy-paste of Çalik Holding’s “About us” website’s section:

[23] World Bulletin, “Air Albania to launch flights in September”, 24 August 2018, available at:

[24] Turkish Radio Television, “”Air Albania”, së shpejti në qiell”, 16 February 2019, available at: https://

[25] Refer to the video-news (in Albanian) of two Albanian national broadcasters, that is Ora News (available at:, and Top Channel (available at:

[26] Tirana Times, “Turkish consortium bids to build Vlora airport as Albania prepares to launch national carrier”, 17 january 2018, available at:

[27] Albania News, “Albania: falliti i negoziati con il consorzio turco, gara internazionale per l’aeroporto di Valona”, 22 April 2019, available at:

[28] Esik Isik, “Turkey builds biggest mosque of Balkans in Albania”, Anadolu Agency, 18 January 2019, available at:

[29] Tom Ellis, “Erdogan’s mosques in the Balkans”, Ekathimerini, 22 January 2019, available at: http://

[30] Michael Colborne and Maxim Edwards, “In Albania, new Turkish mosque stirs old resentments”, The Christian Science Monitor, 12 September 2018, available at:

[31] Refer to the “About us” section (in Albanian) of the Turgut Ozal schools’ network website, available at:

[32] Hamdi Firat Buyuk, “Pioneer Albanian Class Starts in Turkish School”, Balkan Insight, 18 April 2018, available at:

[33] EurActiv, “Erdogan holds controversial election rally in Bosnia”, 22 May 2018, available at:

[34] Ibidem.

[35] Deutsche Welle, “Turkey’s Erdogan rallies supporters in Bosnia-Herzegovina ahead of elections”, 20 May 2018, available at:

[36] Ahmed Burić, “Erdoğan a Sarajevo: a pagarne le spese saranno i bosniaci”, Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso, 23 May 2018, available at:

[37] Michael Colborne and Maxim Edwards, “Erdogan Is Making the Ottoman Empire Great Again”, Foreign Policy, 22 June 2018, available at:

[38] Anadolu Agency, “Bosnia to pray for Erdogan on Friday”, 02 January 2014, available at:

[39] Doga Ulas Eralp, “Erdoğan’s Sarajevo rally and his relations with the West”, Ahval, 18 May 2018, available at:

[40] Ahval, “Erdoğan calls for revision of Bosnia peace accords”, 16 January 2019, available at:

[41] Anja Vladisavljevic and Hamdi Firat Buyuk, “Turkey’s Erdogan Wants Bosnia’s Dayton Deal Changed”, Balkan Insight, 17 January 2019, available at:

[42] Balkan Insight, “Serbia Rattled by Turkish PM’s Bosnia ‘Threat’”, 14 July 2014, available at: https://

[43] Daria Sito-Sucic, “Turkey’s Erdogan pledges investment in Bosnia ahead of rally”, Reuters, 20 May 2018, available at:

[44] Alfredo Sasso, “La Sarajevo-Belgrado passa per Ankara”, Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso, 14 February 2018, available at:

[45] Anadolu Agency, “Bosnia: Route set for new Sarajevo-Belgrade highway”, 26 February 2019, available at:

[46] Daily Sabah, “Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina ink deal for Sarajevo-Belgrade highway”, 03 May 2019, available at:

[47] Beyza Binnur Dönmez, “Turkey, Bosnia sign revised free trade agreement”, Anadolu Agency, 02 May 2019, available at:

[48] Center for Eurasian Studies, “Erdogan hopes to extend TurkStream through Bosnia”, 03 May 2019, available at:

[49] Refer to the webpage of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs dedicated to relations with Kosovo, available at:

[50] Ibidem.

[51] Refer to the bio of Mahir Yagcilar on the webpage of the Ministry of Public Administration, available at:,6.

[52] World Bulletin, “PM Erdogan: Turkey is Kosovo and Kosovo is Turkey”, 24 October 2013, available at:

[53] Balkan Insight, “Erdogan ‘Misunderstood’ Over ‘Turkey is Kosovo’ Claim”, 28 October 2013, available at:

[54] Fatos Bytyci, “Six Turks arrested in Kosovo over Gulen links extradited to Turkey: Anadolu”, Reuters, 29 March 2018, available at:

[55] For a rare interview released by Gulen refer to Jamie Tarabay, “A Rare Meeting With Reclusive Turkish Spiritual Leader Fethullah Gulen”, The Atlantic, 14 August 2013, available at:

[56] Jeton Mehmeti, “The Economic and Social Investment of Turkey in Kosovo”, Adam Akademì, 2012, Issue No. 1, p. 103.

[57] Adam Taylor, “The Political Future Of Turkey May Be Decided On This Quiet Road In Rural Pennsylvania”, Business Insider, 18 December 2013, available at:

[58] Die Morina and Arta Sopi, “Former Kosovo Intelligence Chief ‘Observed’ Turks Being Deported”, Balkan Insight, 08 March 2019, available at:

[59] Balkan Insight, “Erdogan Accuses Kosovo PM of ’Protecting Terrorists’”, 02 April 2018, available at:

[60] Aj Naddaff, “‘Turkey’s Puppet’: How Erdogan’s Anti-Gulenist Campaign Is Roiling Kosovo”, Pulitzer Center, 12 September 2018, available at:

[61] Find the figures for all participating countries here:

[62] Refer to the Ministry of Trade website, available at:

[63] Refer to the webpage of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs dedicated to relations with Kosovo, available at:

[64] Ibidem.

[65]Established in 1863, Ziraat Bank is Turkey’s most deeply rooted bank, and offers the widest range of banking services in Turkey and is one of the country’s biggest banks with a 12% market share in total assets. The Bank also stands as a national and regional power with the capability to provide integrated financial services.” as written in the “About us” section of Ziraat Bank – Kosovo’s website, available at:

[66] Refer to the webpage of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs dedicated to relations with Kosovo, available at:

[67] Jeton Mehmeti, op.cit., 2012, p. 100.

[68]Limak Group of Companies, the foundations of which have been laid with Limak Construction in 1976, continues its operations in the construction, tourism, cement, infrastructure, superstructure and energy investments, energy contracting, aviation and food sectors.” as written in the “About us” section of Limak Holding’s website, available at:

[69] Jeton Mehmeti, op. cit., 2012, p. 100.

[70] Ivi, pp. 101-102.

[71]ENKA İnşaat ve Sanayi A.Ş. (ENKA) is a global engineering and construction firm headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey.  ENKA provides services through its subsidiaries in the following areas: engineering and construction, power generation, real estate, and trade. ENKA is the largest construction company in Turkey and ranked among the ENR’s Top International Contractors since 1982.” as written in the “About us” section of ENKA’s website, available at:

[72] Jeton Mehmeti, op. cit., 2012, p. 102.

[73]Esan, established in 1978 to produce high quality raw materials for the ceramics sector, became one of Turkey’s foremost industrial mineral and metallic mineral producers and exporters of Turkey since its establishment. […] Esan creates more than 2500 employment volume today and is in action with 40 pits. Minerals that are hoisted from these pits are processed in 8 different plants which are stated in Aydın, Balıkesir, Bilecik, Çanakkale, Eskişehir Konya, and Muğla.” as written in the “About us” section of Esan’s website, available at:

[74] Marina Mikhaylova, “Turkey’s Esan plans $43 million investment in Kosovo’s mining sector – econ min”, SeeNews, 05 April 2017.

[75] Die Morina, “Turkey Funds Renovation Projects in Kosovo”, Balkan Insight, 04 July 2018, available at:

[76] Maxim Edwards and Michael Colborne. “Turkey’s gift of a mosque sparks fears of ‘neo-Ottomanism’ in Kosovo”, The Guardian, 02 January 2019, available at:

[77] Serbeze Haxhiaj, “Turkey Funds Revival of Female Islamic Preachers in Kosovo”, Balkan Insight, 13 September 2018.

[78] Jeton Mehmeti, op. cit., 2012, p. 102.

[79] Die Morina, op. cit., 04 July 2018.

By Fabio Seferi

Fabio holds a Master's Degree in International Relations and European Studies from the University of Florence, Italy. His Master's thesis focused on the role and influence of Russia, Turkey and China in the Western Balkans. He has been Programme Assistant Intern at the European Policy Centre, a Brussels-based think tank, and Ad-Hoc Research Assistant for The Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime. Fabio’s main research interests focus on conflicts, political violence, hybrid warfare, intelligence analysis and organised crime.

2 replies on “Money, mosques and concrete: Turkish engagement in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo”

What about northern macedonia with Albanian, Muslim macedonian and Turkısh minority where Macedonians stay among eu member Bulgaria and former yugoslav brother Serbia.


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