Last year, French President Emmanuel Macron said that the European Union should be open to the Balkan countries if they share democratic values. Otherwise, according to Macron, they can turn toward Russia, Turkey or authoritarian states that do not share these values. The president’s remarks were condemned by the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
"The Western states are negatively viewing our activities on the Balkans, initiatives, efforts made by us … We see that someone does not like our close cooperation with Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. They try to deface the essence of our efforts because they are concerned over the outcome of our cooperation. The Turkish efforts are challenging their plans they are going to implement by creating crises and instability," Erdogan said at a press conference with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic.
"For example, Turkey is making efforts to reconstruct historical monuments in the region," Erdogan added.
Vucic called Turkey one of the key actors in the region, which makes a significant contribution to ensuring peace and stability.