2005-10-24

Balkanize it and relativize it

I suffer from the great personal misfortune not to read Turkish, so I am taking Index.hr's word on this. Apparently the Turkish diplomatic publication Diplomatik Gözlem has an interesting article on the EU integration process, compaining about what their writer sees as the rush to admit Croatia and SCG while Turkey is having "the brakes put on." To translate directly from Index:

"Diplomatik Gözlem argues that it was Croatia and SCG which played a key role in the 1990s, in which they 'helped' to transform the Balkans into a 'slaughterhouse.' The term 'Balkanization,' which the magazine defines as 'the bankruptcy of international diplomacy,' came into usage for the first time in the nineties to indicate the catastrophe and human tragedy that shook the Balkan region.
[...]
Diplomatik Gözlem offers numerous cases of murders of Bosnian Muslims in the nineties which were committed by Croatian and Serbian forces, and mention is also made of the 'heirs to the Ottoman Empire' who were killed in Bosnia in the nineties."

I haven't found the article on the magazine's site, but then it may not have appeared in English. I can also vouch for my translation of Index, but not for Index's translation of Diplomatik Gözlem (they consistently misrender the publication's title, this much I can tell). It is also not clear how major or marginal a publication this is. If they do actually have an article which says what Index says it does, however, this would certainly raise any number of questions, in a lot of directions. For me the account of "Balkanization" is especially interesting.

2 comments:

sylvieladilettante said...

I started reading books/articles that might contain this word at the same time as the war in Yugoslavia erupted, but it seems to me that this word is much older and refers to the process of destruction of the Ottoman power in SE Europe and the fact that instaed of a unified area you have many smaller political unit (sorry for the awful way to put it, I'm pressed by time).
Ah yes, this is what the French version of Wikipedia has to say:
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balkanisation

Eric Gordy said...

Absolutely, the definition in this piece is completely new. It is also very tendentious, though you could say the same about the original definition too (as people like Vesna Goldsworthy, Maria Todorova and Larry Wolff have). And then, with the new definition coming from a Turkish publication ... is this an effort to separate the "European" identity of Turkey from its "Balkan" identity?