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The Evolution Civil-Military Relations and Democratization in the Balkans

Nihat Celik

‚ Kadir Has University, Turkey


Civil control over the military, the principle of non-interference in politics and accountability are generally accepted as universal norms in civil-military relations in democratic regimes. The security culture in a country, which is shaped by the experience of centuries and traditions, affect the nature of civil-military relations. Even though there are widely accepted norms, it is hard to apply one theory to every country. Apart from the security culture and geopolitics, military, constitutional and bureaucratic structure of a given country determines the course of civil-military relations. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, a process of transition from authoritarian regimes to democracy and from command economy to market economy began. As a direct result, the structure of civil-military relations also began to change.  International support like the EU and NATO membership visions and also internal demands for a developed democratic regime were the main stimulants in this transition process. In the former Warsaw Pact or successor states of the former Yugoslavia, due to the varying political, geographical, cultural and structural conditions, the evolution of civil-military relations has followed different paths. Although it is possible to observe some common patterns, it is hard to make reliable generalizations in this regard. This paper mainly aims to combine theoretical and regional knowledge and produce policy relevant results which may be useful for decision-makers. The first aim of this paper is to analyse the evolution of civil-military relations in post-Communist Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Serbia with a focus on successes and failures. After sorting current problems, it will secondly try to address the question what should be done in order to establish a more democratic structure of civil-military relations.


Abouth author:


Nihat Çelik who was born in 1984 is a research assistant and Ph. D. student at Kadir Has University, International Relations Department. He started his university education at Dokuz Eylul University Public Administration Department and graduated in 2006. He obtained his Master’s Degree in 2009 in the National Security Strategies Program at Gebze Institute of High Technology with a thesis titled “Turkey and the Balkans: Turkey’s Middle and Long Term Strategic Priorities”. In 2010 he gained full scholarship for Ph. D. Program in International Relations at Kadir Has University. His main areas of interest are Political History, Balkan History&Politics, Ottoman Diplomacy and Security Studies.