Thirty-seven young people from across the Balkans gathered in Turkey last month to participate in a youth conference in order to boost interaction between Turkey and the Balkan countries. The new project, organised by the Prime Ministry's Office of Public Diplomacy, invited young people from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Bulgaria, Kosovo and Macedonia.

Although high-level diplomatic activities dominate the news, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Serbia are also strengthening their relations through literature and cinema. In recent years, 48 Turkish books have been translated into Bosnian, with works by writers like Orhan Pamuk and Nedim Gursel becoming best-sellers. For the first time, Bosnian publishing houses displayed Turkish books at the country's 15th International Book Fair earlier this year.

It will be the 28th member state, the first since Bulgaria and Romania back in 2007, and will open the door for much-needed investment in a country facing its fifth year of recession, and 40 percent of youth unemployment. The problem is that the EU is not a model of stability itself these days, leading us to a question, who exactly is getting the better deal here?

Turkish municipalities are developing sister city relations with their counterparts in Balkans, as the two sides aim to boost economic, cultural, educational and people-to-people contacts to foster mutual understanding and co-operation.

The Turkish International Co-operation and Development Agency (TIKA) has been conducting important restoration projects throughout the Balkan countries, which were under Ottoman rule from the 15th to the 19th century, to preserve cultural and historical heritage.

However, the EU video So Similar, So Different, So European is slightly, well, different. It doesn’t originate from the global province towards the center, not even the other way round. It is a narrative the EU is telling to itself.

Turkey’s geopolitical importance enables Turkey to use its soft power to establish prosperity in neighbouring regions and to create win-win situations. Aside from actively engaging in international organizations, Turkey has also promoted its “conservative democracy” as a model for transforming Arab societies throughout the Middle East.

Turkey’s public diplomacy has gained increasing prominence in the news over the past month, even in the weeks prior to the earthquake that hit Eastern Turkey. Changes in the political landscape have resulted in significant changes to Turkey’s international standing in the world. The theme that dominated news from Turkey’s Today’s Zaman throughout the month of October was this Muslim-majority nation with a secular democratic government and a vibrant Islamic culture.