While much of the focus (and occasional hand wringing) regarding Turkish foreign policy in recent years has been over Ankara's reengagement with the Middle East, the truth of the matter is that Turkey has been no less active in developing its diplomatic and economic presence in the Balkans. Like in other regions, in the Balkans Turkish diplomacy is working not only to deepen Turkey's political influence there, but also to open new door for Turkish business. (For some background, take a look at this previous post.)
Take a look, for example, at how Turkey is promoting its tea in Macedonia. As an interesting article from SETimes.com makes clear, the effort is about much more than just selling tea. From the article:
Chajkur, the largest producer of tea in Turkey, launched its national drink in several Macedonian cities. The promotional campaign, Friendly Greeting for Friendly Macedonia, offered sample tasting and production presentations.
Abdulkadri Bayraktar, Turkish consul in Macedonia, told SETimes that this investment will bring other Turkish investors to the country....
....Ismail Safi, president of the Turkish group in the parliamentary assembly of the Black Sea Economic Co-operation, told SETimes said that in visiting Macedonia, the goal is not only to offer tea to their Macedonian friends, but also search out for more investment opportunities.
"The main goal was to present the Turkish tea in Macedonia, because we found out that [the product] is not known here enough, and is hard to find. We want Macedonians to get used to it, discover the advantages of tea, and later make some investments … We hope to increase marketing relations in the future," Safi said.
"Macedonia is one of the most important allies and friends of Turkey," Gilaj Daljan, a Turkish MP, said.
Bayraktar expects Macedonia to become a destination from which Turkey will develop its successful regional markets and wider, in Europe.
"In the last few years, the Turkish economy has rapidly developed. Turkey wants to be present in the Balkans. Macedonia is a good place for Turkey to further the sale of its products … Macedonia should use the power of the Turkish economy," Bayraktar said.