One of the leading newspapers in Greece, Kathimerini, states that Albanian nationalism is the only tool to stop the ambition of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, In the Balkans.
Through an editorial entitled 'Albanian nationalism is an obstacle against Erdogan's ambitions in the Balkans', in fact, the newspaper writes that the Albanians are the only Balkan nation that can prevent the Turkish president from extending the influence in the area.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has opened several military fronts in the Middle East and is also threatening the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean. This, however, does not mean that the Balkans ended up on its radar.
The goal of the Turkish president, in fact, is to uproot the affiliates of the exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen in the region, especially in private schools and other institutions related to the cleric movement. The latter, until recently, would have led governments to close schools and surrender to the alleged 'terrorists'. Just last month, six Turkish citizens were abducted by officers from the Ankara intelligence service operating in Kosovo.
In this context, Erdogan launched a propaganda campaign aimed at intimidating the Albanians by claiming that the Gulenists are apparently orchestrating a series of coups d'etat.
Albanian faith is Albanianity
The efforts of the Turkish president to manipulate ethnic Albanian populations in the Balkans through their religious radicalization, however, seem to have gone too far in the eyes of the Albanian population. The reason is simple: it has hit a very delicate area, namely nationalism. Their national poet, Pashko Vasa , he wrote that "Albanian faith is Albanianity"("Feja and shqiptarit eshte shqiptaria") Intended as an Albanian.
The Albanians can accept Turkish investments or money for the construction of mosques, but almost nobody wants to live under a democracy along the lines of the one Erdogan established in his homeland. The vast majority have their eyes fixed on Western Europe, where they see a future for themselves and, above all, for their children. In particular, they know that radical Islam undermines their national identity. After all, they know from their school history books that their ancestors fought to free themselves from Ottoman rule and to emancipate themselves as a nation.
Erdogan could consider himself the leader of the Muslims living in the Balkans, but when he recently visited Macedonia, the leader of the largest ethnic Albanian political party, Ali Ahmeti , refused to escort him on a tour of ethnic Albanian villages and forbade his ministers to join in his action.
This article was originally published on Ekathimerini.com entitled "Albanian nationalism a bulwark against Erdogan's Balkan ambitions"
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