BTD Projekt: A Political Romance: Relations between Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bilateral relations between Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina have in recent years been marked by frequent exchange of formal visits and are thus mostly seen as friendly, even brotherly or outstanding. Think tank Populari's report questions the image of this bond and looks at its concrete results.

Source: Populari - Report's Cover by Nina Hadžić

The project examines this relatively recently re-discovered mutual affection and results of it. It also considers the influence that Turkey spreads in BiH through the cultural and educational activities and the impact of it, onto Bosnian lifestyle.


On the economic front, this study shows that affection does not bring money. The unemployment figures and an economy on the brink of collapse is in need of investments in the real, job-creating sector and Turkey plays no leading part there. It is at the bottom of either top trade partners or top investors in BiH, and in this sense is positioned worse than some other countries with no specific cultural, historical or religious bonds to BiH. Emotional rhetoric and Bosniaks’ taking friendly relations with Turkey for granted and relying on brotherhood to prosper economically certainly did not bring about serious attempts to introduce mutually beneficial economic cooperation and partnership among the two countries.


Lastly, this study provides set of recommendations that both Bosnian policy-makers and their Turkish counterparts, but also businesspersons, should take with lot of consideration, in order to contribute towards the future building of a relationship of equal partners. The following chapters pave a way forwards by looking at and drawing lessons from culture, politics and economy of bilateral relations between Turkey and BiH.


This project has been supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States.