Here is the relevant part of an interview by The Journal of Turkish Weekly, with some Turkish-Albanian intellectual named Erdoan Shipoli, “a teaching assistant at Fatih University, in Istanbul and a senior researcher at “Praxis” think-tank in Kosovo”:

Q: It can be said there is a cultural connection between Turkish people and Kosovo when the history of the country is considered. Moreover, it is observable that Turkish investors have a significant effect on the development of Kosovo. What do you think about for Turkish enterprisers?

Erdoan Shipoli: Turkey and Kosovo were part of the Ottoman Empire, this is crucial when we speak of the relations of these two. So, of course there are historical, cultural, emotional bounds between these two countries. But beside that I think that there is something else that characterizes this part of the world; maybe the temper of the people, the mentality, or something else, but it is a characteristic that makes the people of this region alike. Kosovo is a newborn country, so Turkey has an obligation to help the Kosovo, and Turkish people have an obligation to invest and try to rebuild the country. Turkey is not sufficient for the trade and production capacity it has, so it needs places where to produce goods and services, and market it around the world. Kosovo, on the other hand, has no production, and it needs production. So this is a win-win game.

Despite the economic significance of the Turkish enterprises, in Kosovo and the region, it also owns the significance of breaking the incorrect and constructed myths about the enmity of Turkey and these countries. These investments encourage the people to travel and know the other nations that lived together for more than 500 years. Nevertheless I expect more investments of Turkish businessmen, in Kosovo and the Balkans as a whole. For one reason is that there are good opportunities there, and for the second that the Turkish businessmen are more risk-takers than the westerners, so they are the ones who shall step in the wilds of the Balkan market and production, otherwise no one will.

Q: Recently, Turkey seems to adopt a “Zero-Problem Neighborhood” foreign policy. Within this framework, it is discussed that peace and security should be taken as a basis in the Balkan policy of Turkey. As a strategist, what do you think about the policy of Turkey on Balkans?

Erdoan Shipoli:…What Turkey does in the Middle East is very important, and crucial, for the peace in Middle East. But, I think that it is time for Turkey to focus in Balkans. Having problems in Middle East stays there, whereas the problems, conflicts, in the Balkans defuse, and they affect the whole globe. Recent Turkish focus in Balkans seemed to play a very constructive role. I think that Turkey shall continuously increase this politics of engagement. I don’t recommend that Turkey leaves Middle East, but I suggest that the constructive role of Turkey in the Middle East shall be extended to Balkans also. Turkey has a very strategic importance, as it can be seen in the Middle East, without Turkey solution is difficult. So is the situation in Balkans; with Turkish help the situation there can be improved, without Turkish help the stability initiatives will be unsuccessful in the long term.


Kosovo’s Fatih Mosque, re-constructed by Turkey, opened
World Bulletin, 05 November 2010

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday put Fatih Mosque, re-constructed by Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), into service again in Kosovo.

Fatih Mosque, one of the 800 mosques in Kosovo, was constructed in 1461.

Speaking at the ceremony held to re-open the mosque, Erdogan said the Ottoman heritage only in Kosovo was almost more than the cultural heritage in Anatolia, except Istanbul. “The mosques, bridges, hostels and alms houses are the indelible marks of the interest shown by our ancestors to this region,” he added.

Erdogan said, “such works are the signs of our brotherhood. We will boost together and continue to progress on our path.”

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, who also addressed the opening ceremony, stated that the services strengthened hope, belief and togetherness between the two countries.

He said friendship between the peoples of Turkey and Kosovo would be continuous.

Erdogan later opened Sultan Murat Hudavendigar Tomb Culture and Promotion House into service in Kosovo. “We want to see this tomb as a symbol for peace, justice, brotherhood and solidarity not only for the region but also for the whole world,” Erdogan said speaking at the opening ceremony.

To close, since we’re on the subject again of more Turkeying around in the Balkans:

Turkey says it’s ready to mediate Kosovo-Serbia talks (Nov. 4)

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday that Turkey is ready to mediate Kosovo-Serbian peace talks if his country is invited.

Erdoğan met with Thaci on Wednesday during his two-day visit to Kosovo to discuss bilateral ties and the recent developments in the country.

Thaci said Kosovo will be pleased if Turkey is involved in the process.

Erdoğan stressed the comprehensive, historical, cultural and social relations the two countries enjoy and said ethnic Turkish people living in Kosovo constitute a strong cultural brigade.

Noting that Turkey has been one of the first countries that recognized the independence of Kosovo, Erdoğan said Turkey has always continued to support the nascent country both before and after the independence, adding that Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA) continues to make serious investments in Kosovo, particularly in preserving historical and cultural heritage.

Erdoğan said Turkey wishes for a multicultural, democratic, prosperous and stable Kosovo and that Turkey continues to support Kosovo as much as possible. He added that there are 530 Turkish troops serving in the NATO peacekeeping mission, and he is also considering visiting them.