Seminar held - The Humanitarian Development Policies of the Republic of Turkey
On February, 27, 2021 the Balkan Youth School opened the program with three-hour lecture entitled The Humanitarian Development Policies of the Republic of Turkey which was delivered by Dr. Jahja Muhasilović who is a Head of the International Relations Department at the International University of Sarajevo. Dr. Muhasilović pursued his academic and research interests in the field of geopolitics and Turkish foreign policy in the Balkans. He has few published works on Turkish influence in the Balkans that covers soft power, public diplomacy and many other aspects of Ankara’s foreign policy. He is very fluent in Turkish and that fact has allowed him to have an access to various sources and archives in Turkey. Spending many years in Turkey and finishing his MA and PhD studies in that country has provided him a good understanding of Turkey. Also work experience that he had in Turkey for more than a decade has created him a network in economic, business and political circles that are of great benefit when it comes to analyzing Turkey’s foreign policy in the Balkans.
The seminar was opened with open-ended discussion on the issues of humanitarian activities that Turkey has in the Balkans. Primary focus was on Ankara’s activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but other countries in the Balkans were also covered. Dr. Muhasilović gave an insight of Turkish official development assistance and humanitarian flow that goes in the region through official public diplomacy institutions like TIKA, Kizilay, Yesilay, Diyanet and etc. He also focused on humanitarian policies of Turkish military in the region. Beside state-sponsored activities work of Turkish non-state sector in terms of humanitarian help was also covered in the lecture. Students had a chance to actively participate in the discussions, share their opinions and ask questions. What is encouraging was the fact that students were asking very sophisticated questions which raises hopes that among some of them there might be good geopolitical analysts in the future. Students were especially interested about the future perspective of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Balkan region in the future.