Dear Reader, welcome to the first issue of Contemporary Southeastern Europe! This peer-reviewed journal is published as an open-access academic journal, by the Centre for Southeast European Studies. We are firmly committed to the highest standards of academic publishing, including rigorous, double-blind, peer review and making research available, free of charge, to an interested audience. As subscription costs rise and many libraries have to save resources, we are committed to making high quality research available for researchers without cost.
The extensive pauperisation of the population in Serbia in the early 1990s, caused by the economic crisis and the UN sanctions, had a tremendous impact on the people’s everyday diet. Many basic, locally produced foods became unavailable as food retailers severely limited their stock to save it from depreciation caused by hyperinflation. Following the introduction of the UN embargo, official trade came to a halt and imported foods disappeared from shops. Limited stock of basic foods, such as flour, sugar, cooking oil, white bread and milk, was supplied through state-owned food retailers, but these were rationed and difficult to obtain.
On 20. January 2012, the Parliament of the Republic of Turkey passed a law concerning new rules and procedure by which Turkey’s future head of state would be elected. According to this law, Turkey’s next head of state was to be elected by popular vote, in lieu of the Parliament, for the first time since Republican Turkey was founded. Based on the official election results, the former Prime Minister and head of the ruling party, the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP), Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected in the first round as the 12th President of the Republic of Turkey for a period of five years, wining more than 52% of the votes on 10. August 2014. The other two candidates were Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu and Selahattin Demirtaş, who received 38.44% and 9.76% of the votes respectively.
What does it take to win the Nobel Prize for Peace? Alfred Nobel was quite precise: You have to be "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations“. To the surprise of many it was not only the representatives of the Albanian and Serbian lobbying groups in the US, but also the European Social Democrats which came to the conclusion that EU diplomacy chief Catherine Ashton, Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and his Kosovo counterpart Hashim Thaçi had met Alfred Nobel’s description. Their achievment: The Agreement they signed on April 19th in Brussels. The American lobbyists call it a „key and historic watershed“, the Social democrats more cautious „a window of opportunity“ to substantially advance peace.
When the future or, more specifically, a redirection of South-East European studies is discussed in a series of essays in this journal, one has to have in mind that this is not the first discussion of this kind – and for sure not the concluding one. In an increasingly globalizing world, area studies are under permanent critical observation. What can particular findings related to an area contribute to the understanding of the whole, the global, and how is the global represented in the particularities of an area? However, this kind of critical self-reflection that can sometimes result in self-deprecation was not always the case in the long history of the study of South-East Europe.