T- BosniaWar92-95

Turkey on war in Bosnia (1992-5)

Suggested Citation: Neophytos G. Loizides, Greek-Turkish Negotiations and Crises 1983-2003 Dataset , Queen's University Belfast (available online at http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentrefortheStudyofEthnicConflict/TeachingResearch/Datasets/Greek-TurkishNegotiationsandCrises1983-2003/#d.en.173636)

Case Summary:

During the civil war in Bosnia, the local Muslim (Bosniaks) population asks repeatedly Turkey to intervene on its side. This case study examines Turkey’s response to the April 1992-November 1995 war in Bosnia. Several events during this period can prompt Turkey’s reaction. For the period 7/1/1995 – 8/1/1995 (during the time of the Srebrenica massacre), Lexis/Nexis provides 86 results for the terms “Srebrenica,” “Bosnia,” and “Turkey” (full text search under European News Sources).

Case Study Features

Effectiveness of Offensive Policies: 0

In early 1992, Turkey does not seem to support the independence of Bosnia, fearing that a similar example might be replicated in its own Kurdish regions; nevertheless, a few months later Ankara follows the rest of Europe in recognizing the Yugoslav republics. [i] It is highly unlikely that Turkey can afford a major unilateral expedition in the Balkans. Bosnia is simply too far from Turkey, and neighbors between are too hostile to Turkey’s intentions.

Offensive vs. Defensive Signals Indistinguishable: 1

Minority issues often contain this element of indistinguishability. Policies aiming to defend the Bosniaks can be perceived as threatening to other countries in the region. Apart from Serbia, Greece as well as Bulgaria will reject any Turkish move in the region.[ii] International observers suggest that Turkey is under pressure to support the 8-10 million Muslims in the Balkans.[iii]

Enduring Ethnic Rivalries: 1

There are enduring rivalries, resulting from several moves to expel ethnic Turks from the Balkans in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Domestic Challenges: 1

During this period, there are a number of elections that give different groups (primarily pro-Islamist groups) the opportunity to attract public attention to the plight of the Bosniaks.

Confrontational Policies (dependent variable): 0

Turkey aligns its efforts with those of Western governments in taking multilateral actions to stop the war. Apart from some limited military assistance to Bosniaks, Turkey does not take a confrontational stance in this crisis.



[i]Lan Cowell, “Turkey Faces Moral Crisis Over Bosnia,”  The New York Times, July 11, 1992, p.4.

[ii]Bulgarian Radio, Sofia, in Bulgarian 1700 gmt 16 Feb 94, “President Zhelev writes to Turkey's Demirel explaining position on Bosnia”,  BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, February 18, 1994; Greek Radio, Athens 1130 gmt 17 Apr 93, “International Intervention; Greece rejects Turkey’s Request to use Greek Airspace for Operation Deny Flight”, BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, April 19, 1993.

[iii] Charles Miller, “Turkey ‘could intervene’ if Balkan Conflict Spreads” Press Association, September 20, 1993.