Balkan Countries/What are the Balkan Countries?

Balkan Countries / What are the Balkan Countries? The name of the region is the Balkan word in Turkish. This is stated by the Turkish Language Association as “the territory of Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Slovenia, Albania, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece, and Thrace”.

In many sources, the list of Balkan Countries differs, but the origin of the word gives us the list of Balkan Countries. The Balkan word has the meaning of “steep and forested mountain range, often covered with forest, reed, swamp”. Balkan Map is as follows.

Balkan Countries Map
Balkan Countries Map (Note: Macedonia is now North Macedonia)

The Balkans or Southeast Europe is a geographical and cultural region in the southeastern part of the European continent, east of the Italian Peninsula, and in the western and north-western part of Anatolia.

Balkan Countries List

The Balkan States are; Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Slovenia, Albania, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece and Turkey (the lands are located in European Continent).

Countries whose entire territory is within the borders of the Balkans;

  1. Albania
  2. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  3. Bulgaria
  4. Montenegro
  5. North Macedonia
  6. Greece
  7. Kosovo

List of Balkan countries whose lands are part of the Balkans; Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, and Turkey. Italy also has land in the Balkan Region, but Italy is not considered a Balkan country because a very small portion of its territory is in the Balkans.

1. Albania


100% of the territory of Albania in Balkans has a surface area of 28,748 square kilometers. The capital of the country is Tirana. The population is 2,934,725 as of 2018. Also, Albania’s currency is the Albanian Lek.

2. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina

100% of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Balkans has a surface area of 51,197 square kilometers. The capital is Sarajevo. Furthermore, the population of the country is 3,503,254 as of 2018. Furthermore, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s currency is Convertible Mark.

3. Bulgaria


100% of their territory is located in the Balkans, and the face of Bulgaria is 110,879 square kilometers. The capital is Sofia. Moreover, the population of the country is 7,032,733 as of 2018. Moreover, Bulgaria’s currency is Bulgaria Lev.

4. Croatia


54.8% of the lands are located in the Balkans. The area of Croatia is 56,594 square kilometers, and the area of the territory within the Balkan Region is 31,009 square kilometers. The capital is Zagreb. The population of the country is 4,162,663 as of 2018. Croatian currency is the Croatian Kuna.

5. Montenegro


100% of the land is in the Balkans. The area of Montenegro is 13,812 square kilometers. The capital is Podgorica. The population of the country is 4,162,663 as of 2018. Montenegro’s currency is the Euro.

6. Kosovo


100% of their land is in the Balkans. Kosovo has a surface area of 10.887 square kilometers. The capital is Pristina. The population of the country is 1,808,828 as of 2018. Kosovo’s currency is the euro.

7. North Macedonia

North Macedonia

100% of the territory of North Macedonia in Balkans has a surface area of 25,713 km². Furthermore, the population of the capital, Skopje, is 2,085,215 as of 2018. North Macedonia’s currency is Macedonia Denar.

8. Romania


Romania has a surface area of 238,392 km², of which 6,5% of its territory is located in Balkans, and 15,570 km² of the territory within the Balkan Region. The population of the capital city Bucharest is 19,572,116 as of 2018. Romania’s currency is Romanian Leu.

9. Serbia


72.2% of the territory of Serbia in Balkans has an area of 77.474 km², and the area of the territory within the Balkan Region is 55.965 km². The population of the capital Belgrade is 8,759,560 by 2018. Also, Romania’s currency is Serbian Dinar.

10. Slovenia


26.7% of the territory of Balkans, Slovenia has an area of 20.273 square kilometers, and the Balkan region has a surface area of 5.421 square kilometers. The population of the capital city of Ljubljana is 2,081,371 as of 2018. Moreover, Slovenia’s currency is the euro.

11. Turkey


3% of the territory of Turkey in Balkans is 783,562 km² in surface area, and the area in the Balkan Region is 23,726 km². The population of Ankara, the capital city of the country, is 82,019,127 as of 2018. Also, Turkey’s currency is the Turkish Lira.

12. Greece


100% of the territory of Greece in Balkans has a surface area of 131,957 km². The population of Athens, the capital city of the country, is 11,140,637 by 2018. Furthermore, Greece’s currency is the Euro.

Balkan Mountains

Balkan Mountains
Balkan Mountains

The Balkans name is taken from the mountain ranges (Balkan Mountains) extending from northwest to east about 600 kilometers dividing Bulgaria into two.

The Balkan Ranges are 600 km long and are headed east and west on the northern edge of the Balkan Peninsula towards the planes of the Danube river. The mountainous mountain constitutes the natural northern boundary of Thrace. With a rounded mountainous view, this mountain descends steeply to the south and has many passages. There are many valleys, and the most magnificent of these valleys is the Iskar valley.

The mountainous area is divided into three parts from west to east: Western Balkan, Central Balkan (High Balkan) and Eastern Balkan (Small Balkan); similarly, three sections are separated from north to south on the right; The front Balkan (Pred-Balkan), the main comb (Back) and the Lower Balkan (Pod-Balkan). The Western Balkans, rising to 2,169 meters in the West, form the natural border between Serbia and Bulgaria. The eastern border of the Balkans is marked by Iskar or Botewrad Gates and begins at the East (Small) Wratnik Pass.

History of the Balkans

Balkan Countries/What are the Balkan Countries? 1

It is known that people have lived in the region since 6000 BC. During the second century BC, until the Roman Empire was ruled by the Balkans, various tribes from outside came to dominate the local people and set up various parts of the region. Between 2000-1200 BC, the Akhaids and then the Dorians in 1100 forced the Thracians to migrate to the east, the Illyrians to westward, and settled on the seashores in the south of the peninsula.

At the same time, nomadic Scythians began to settle on the banks of the Danube, and Epir, North Macedonia and Thracian kingdoms were established in the north. In the 4th century BC the Celts declared their activities in the region and when Alexander the Great died in 323 BC, they plundered many important settlements.

Between the 2nd BC and 2nd centuries AD, the Roman Empire became dominant. In the 2nd century AD, the Germans and Goths destroyed the region and destroyed it. When the Roman Empire was divided in 395, the region remained under Byzantine rule. In the first half of the 5th century AD, the area was again attacked by the Goths. Meanwhile, the Huns seized the northern part of the peninsula.

The Lombardians, who settled in the same sect in the 6th century, were forced to migrate to Italy at the end of the intensive and effective Avar raids in 567. The Avar were dominant until the second half of the 8th century.

The Ottomans and the Balkans

The Ottomans first stepped into the Balkans in 1321. After the passing of Suleiman the Magnificent to Rumeli in 1354, the Ottoman conquests, which lasted for 375 years uninterrupted until 1699, began. The Ottomans captured Edirne in 1361 and Plovdiv in 1363. In order to stop the progress of the Ottomans, the troops of Bulgarian, Serbian, Bosnian and Wallachians, under the rule of Hungarian King I. Lajos, suffered a heavy defeat in the War of Serbian War in 1364. Visa and Kirklareli joined the Ottoman lands in 1368.

At the same year, Edirne became the capital. In 1371, Lala Sahin Pasha again defeated the Serbian and Bulgarian armies against the Ottomans in the Battle of Maritsa. In 1373, the Ottomans started the conquest of North Macedonia. Niche in 1375 and a large part of Sofia and Bulgaria in 1386 were included in the Ottoman borders. Furthermore, in 1389, the Ottoman Army under the command of Murat I underwent a heavy defeat of the allied Balkan armies in Kosovo; Ottoman Empire took over Serbia. In 1393, the Bulgarian Kingdom was abolished by defeating Tirnova.

Rapid Growing of Ottomans in Europe

Due to the rapid progress of the Ottomans through the Balkans towards Europe, the Hungarian King Sigismund, who had feared, created a Crusader Army against the Turks by asking for help from the Pope and other European countries. In 1396, the Ottoman Army under the command of Bayezid I corrupted this army in Nicopolis. The Turks have progressed in Greece and Albania.

In 1430 Thessaloniki joined the Ottoman lands. In 1443, George Castriot, with some Albanian commanders, went through resistance in the country against the Ottomans. Meanwhile, the Hungarian Commander achieved some small successes in Nis. The European states, believing that the Turks had fallen into a weak state, came back to the Ottomans with an army under the command of Hungarian King Ladislas I. In 1444, the Turkish Army broke down the Crusaders in Varna. In 1448 a second Crusader army again suffered a heavy defeat for the Ottoman Army.

Treaty of Karlowitz (1699)

After the conquest of Istanbul in 1453, the Ottomans continued their conquest of the Balkans. After the capture of Belgrade in 1521, the entire Balkan Peninsula outside the coastal areas of Dalmatia and Montenegro was under the Ottoman rule in the Balkans. Moreover, the Balkan peoples of Serb, Croat, Slovenian, Bulgarian, North Macedonia, Albanian, Turkish, Germanic, Jewish and Gypsy minorities, many of whom are Slavic, have lived under the Ottoman rule for many years. Finally, in the late 17th century, the progress and spread of the Turks in the Balkans ceased.

In 1699, after the Treaty of Karlowitz, the Ottomans began to lose land in the peninsula. With this treaty, the northern part of Little Wallachia, Timişoara, Banat, Belgrade, Smederevo and Bosnia passed to Austria. While the Korafu and Dalmatian borders were left to the Venetians, Morea passed the Ottomans.

The subsequent policy of Tsarist Russia and Austria followed by the gradual weakening of the Ottoman Empire and the development of nationalist movements in Europe, the Balkan nations began to emerge as independent states.

As a result, Greece and Serbia in 1830; In 1856 Wallachia and Bogdan Principals became independent in 1878 and Bulgaria became independent in 1878.

Balkan Wars

Balkan Countries/What are the Balkan Countries? 2

The Balkan Peninsula, one of the five major peninsulas of Europe, has important features with its geostrategic position extending to Central Europe and the Mediterranean.

Aside from ancient times, the central position of the Balkan Peninsula and the Ottoman Empire in the time of the Ottomans, which had a great place in the history of the Balkans, brought this critical geographical region to a region where the interests of England, Russia, Habsburg Empire, France, numerous interventions, rebellions and wars.

The Balkan Wars are wars of the Ottoman Empire against the four Balkan states in 1912-1913 (October 8, 1912 – August 10, 1913). The main reason for the conflict is the accelerated growing activities of the Kingdom of Bulgaria and the Kingdom of Serbia in the Balkans.

Behind the Scenes of War

Bulgaria, which did not find what it hoped for in the Treaty of Berlin in 1878, began to pursue an effective policy in the Balkans after gaining its independence in 1908. Also, the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina again in 1908 led Serbia to follow a policy in the same direction.

In 1912, Russia began to mediate and regulate between Bulgaria and Serbia to ensure that the interests of these two states would not conflict. The Kingdom of Greece and the Kingdom of Montenegro also attended the alliance against the Ottoman Empire.

The treaty of Russia with the Balkan States Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Montenegro, who wanted to put an end to the existence of the Ottoman Empire in the Balkans, agreed to intervene between Russia and Ottoman and to remove the Turks from the Balkans. Battle of Tripoli also encouraged them.

First Balkan War

Balkan Countries/What are the Balkan Countries? 3

Balkan Union, consisting of the Kingdom of Bulgaria, Kingdom of Greece, Kingdom of Serbia and Kingdom of Montenegro, took the majority of the Ottoman Empire’s land in the Balkans from October 8, 1912, to May 30, 1913. Albania has also gained its independence.

The Bulgarian army began to threaten Istanbul, moving up to Catalca. The armies of Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece have completely occupied North Macedonia. Also, seeing other Balkan countries as a threat to itself, Albania has declared its independence.

Furthermore, Greece occupied the Aegean islands outside Gökceada (Imbros) and Tenedos. Moreover, the agreement, which ended the war between the parties, was signed in London in May 1913.

According to the Treaty of London: Albania won its independence. Greece took Crete Island. The Ottoman Empire’s Thrace border had been the Mussel-Enez line, leaving out Edirne and Kirklareli illusions.

Second Balkan War

Balkan Countries/What are the Balkan Countries? 4

Greece, Montenegro, Serbia, and Bulgaria, which do not agree to take more territory of Bulgaria, and the Kingdom of Romania, which did not participate in the First Balkan War, united and fought against Bulgaria.

Moreover, the Ottoman Army, taking advantage of the fact that the Bulgarians were overthrown and shifted the Eastern Thrace troops to the west, crossed the Mireya-Enez line and took Edirne and Kirklareli back.

The 2nd Balkan War ended with the Treaty of Bucharest dated August 1913. Bulgaria with this treaty; gave Dobruja to Romania, Kavala to Greece and a small piece of land from North Macedonia.

Following this agreement, the Ottoman Empire again built the Treaty of Istanbul in 1913. Furthermore, Kırklareli and Didymoteicho returned to the Ottoman Empire. Western Thrace and Alexandroupoli stayed in Bulgaria. At the end of the war, the Ottoman Empire made the Treaty of Athens with Greece.

Also, Crete and the Aegean Islands joined into Greece lands. This agreement also regulated the situation of the Turks who remained in Greece. Serbia and Montenegro did not sign a treaty because they did not have a border with the Ottoman Empire.

Conference of the Ambassadors

There is no provision in these agreements concerning the Aegean Islands, which had been invaded by Italy and Greece and legally Ottoman land. With this subject, the “Embassy Conference” was held in London.

Furthermore, the conference took the decision to leave the island of Italy occupied by Italy except for Kastellorizo in February 1914, the island which Greece occupied by Greece except for Imroz and Tenedos. However, according to the conference, it was necessary for Italy and Greece to make a treaty separately with the Ottoman State in order that this decision could gain legal value. World War I started before they sign these treaties.