******SEE UPDATE AT BOTTOM******

Yes, that’s really the title.

In Bosnia, Turkey brings back a gentle version of the Ottoman Empire (Washington Post, March 24, By Michael Birnbaum)

SARAJEVO, BOSNIA — Turkey conquered the Balkans five centuries ago. Now Turkish power is making inroads through friendlier means. [Yayyyyyyyyy!]

Two Turkish-run universities have opened in Bosnia’s Ottoman-influenced capital in recent years, bringing an influx of Turkish students and culture to a predominantly Muslim country still reeling from a brutal ethnic war almost two decades ago.

[As Jim Jatras pointed out when this was circulated: You’d never know Bosnia has a Christian majority. Of course, it had a Christian majority the first time Turkey conquered it too.]

Turkish investment has expanded across the Balkans….Turkey also has helped broker talks between formerly bitter enemies in the Balkans. This growing presence has given Turkey an expanding field of influence in Europe at a time when the country’s prospects of joining the European Union appear dubious.

[i.e. Like we’ve been saying: Bosnia is Turkey’s backdoor into the EU. And like I’ve been saying: we gave Turkey the Balkans back in exchange for keeping it out of the EU.]

“Turkish leaders are working at a new Ottoman empire, a gentle one,” said Amir Zukic, the bureau chief of the Turkish Anadolu news agency’s Sarajevo office, which has expanded in recent months…

…[D]uring the mid-1990s, as Yugoslavia fell apart, Turkish aid started flowing to the Muslims who make up about half of Bosnia…

Now Turkey’s cultural influence is hard to miss. Turkish dignitaries are frequent visitors to Sarajevo. A grand new Turkish embassy is being built near “sniper alley” …Billboards advertise round-trip flights to Istanbul for the equivalent of $74. And this year, a baroque soap opera based on the life of Suleiman the Magnificent, a 16th-century ruler of the Ottoman Empire, has mesmerized couch potatoes amid Bosnia’s dreary winter.

The biggest outposts in Bosnia have been the two Turkish-backed universities, which have mostly Turkish students.

At the International University of Sarajevo, students who enter the main door of the sunny building that opened two years ago have to pass under the watchful eye of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, the Ottoman ruler who introduced Islam to Bosnia in 1463. The private university is backed by Turkish businessmen who are close to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political party…

Administrators are transparent about the school’s ambitions.

“The Turks are attracted to come here because they believe that Bosnia, for all its problems, will be in the E.U. before Turkey is. And they see this as a bridge between two countries,” said Muhamed Hadziabdic, the vice rector of the school, who is a Bosnian Muslim.

Turkish people “like Bosnia,” he said. “It’s European, but it still feels like home. The smell, the culture, it’s recognizably Turkish.”

…The other Turkish school in Sarajevo, the International Burch University, opened in 2008 and has connections to Fethullah Gulen, an influential Turkish Muslim preacher who runs an international religious and educational movement from Pennsylvania…[There was quite an eye-opener on the Gulen movement, especially vis-a-vis the Balkans, in Chris Deliso’s book The Coming Balkan Caliphate.]

Turkey’s expansion into the region comes as the country’s long-held dream of joining the European Union seems remote

But Bosnia is firmly within Europe — even though Sarajevo’s old city is a dense warren of shops and centuries-old storefronts that is reminiscent of Istanbul. Turkey’s growing presence in European regions that were once part of its empire is one way of making up for being excluded from the E.U., some analysts say.

Turkey’s increasing influence has upset some Bosnian Serbs, who maintain a parallel government [???] in Bosnia under the complicated system dictated by 1995 peace agreements. Officials from the parallel government [???] have complained that the Bosnian Muslim part of the country is falling under the influence of a former imperial power.

“For Islamists, a return of Turkey back to the Balkans is a fulfillment of ambitions. But for many Serbs and also for many Croats, their national struggle in the 19th century is still in their minds,” said Esad Hecimovic, the editor of news programs on OMT, the private television station that has been airing the soap opera based on Suleiman’s life.

Many in the Balkans think they are merely a way point on the route to Turkey’s broader goals.

“They are a big regional power,” said Hayruddin Somun, a former Bosnian ambassador to Turkey. “The Balkans was always their path to conquering Europe. They had to come through here.”

******UPDATE******

The Jewish reporter of the article above, written in a voice that almost applauds a Turkish caliphate, made me think of the Jewish man that comedian Bill Maher recently debated on his HBO show “Real Time.” One also needs to emphasize that even the ever-slow-in-coming-around-to-the-obvious, Maher, finally gets it re Islam:

Maher To Defender Of Islam: Equating Christianity And Islam “Liberal Bullshit”

Video at link.

HBO host Bill Maher debates guest Brian Levy, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University in San Bernardino, about the Boston Marathon Bombers’ Muslim faith playing a role in their terrorism.

BILL MAHER, HOST: So you’re obviously the perfect person to have here today. You study this all the time, the mind of crazy people who do horrible things. I’m always interested to know how people like the people we caught today up in Boston can have two minds going at the same time.

I mean, if you read what the older brother wrote on his –on the internet, he said his world view [is] Islam; personal priorities: career and money. And we see this a lot. I mean, the 9/11 hijackers went to strip clubs the night before they got on the plane.

BRIAN LEVIN: But could I just interject? Look, it’s not like people who are Muslim who do wacky things have a monopoly on it. We have hypocrites across faiths, Jewish, Christian who say they’re out for God and end up doing not so nice things.

MAHER: You know what? Yeah, yeah. You know what? That’s liberal bullshit right there. I mean, yes, all faiths –

LEVIN: Are there no Christian hypocrites?

MAHER: No, there are. They’re just –

LEVIN: You make a career on that.

MAHER: They’re not as dangerous. I mean, there’s only one faith, for example, that kills you or wants to kill you if you draw a bad cartoon of the prophet. There’s only one faith that kills you or wants to kill you if you renounce the faith. An ex-Muslim is a very dangerous thing. Talk to Salman Rushdie after the show about Christian versus Islam. So, you know, I’m just saying, let’s keep it real. (Real Time, April 19, 2013)