The workshops organized within the scope of “From Balkan Wars to Balkan Peace” project in several Balkan countries have been completed with the last workshop entitled “Deepening the Institutional Architecture of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP). As a Regional Cooperation Scheme EU Integration Process” realized in Belgrad on 20 September 2012. The workshop was organized in cooperation by Center for Strategic Research of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey (SAM) and Institute of International Politics and Economics Institute, Republic of Serbia.
Mr. Ali Rıza ÇOLAK, Ambassador of Turkey to Belgrad, also participated in the conference and made an opening speech. The Turkish delegation was represented by Assoc.Prof. Mesut Ozcan, Vice President of SAM, Kemal Yurtnac, President of Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities, academicians from several universities. Serbian team was represented by Dr. Duško Lopandić, Assistant Foreign Minister, Director General, Directorate General of European Union, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, Dr. Duško Dimitrijević, Director, Institute of International Politics and Economics and academicians.
In the first panel “Hitherto Experiences in Balkan Regional Cooperation”, it was stated that free trade agreement signed between Turkey and Serbia and abolition of visas have a big effect on increasing the political and economic relations between two countries and the forward cooperation should be improved. SEECP was emphasized in terms of peace, democracy and prosperity of the countries in the region. Turkish foreign policy, Neo Ottomanism arguments, the advantages, contributions and implementation steps of the regionalism were among the topics discussed during the first session.
In the second panel entitled “Achievements and Perspectives”, it was expressed that SCEEP, that showed a marked improvement until today and become ‘voice of the region’, must be used effectively by the countries in the region for the achievement of the goals of peace, democracy, prosperity and the integration to the EU. Besides, SCEEP was evaluated as a potential platform for the solution of the regional problems since there is lack of a platform for the solution of the bilateral problems.
Finally, the effect of the common history and the common culture on the relations between Turkey and Serbia, cooperation opportunities, the concept of neo Ottomanism, the role of EU in the Europe and the Balkans, the function of NATO for the Balkans, the effects of Arab Spring to Turkey were discussed during the closing session.
It was stated by the participants that the workshop constituted an important platform for dialogue between the academicians from two countries.