Croatia's weapons buying spree may stoke arms race in Balkans

The talk of reinstating forced military service and NATO's influence is sparking fierce debate in the country.

Photo by: AP Archive
Photo by: AP Archive

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic speaks to the media during his visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. Tuesday, January 24, 2017.

Updated Mar 29, 2017

The Croatian government's plan to buy new weapons systems by next year is raising concerns of a potential arms race in the Balkans.

Tensions between Croats and ethnic Serbs are rising but some suggest that the country must ensure that it can defend itself from outside threats.

TRT World's Sally Ayhan looks at the dangers these plans present for the region.

Fierce debate

While Serbia is allied with Russia, Croatia is the EU's most recent member and wears the sheen of western privilege.

In parliament, talks of reinstating a military draft and NATO's influence is sparking fierce debate.

Hate speech, threats and violence against Serbs rose in Croatia by almost 60 percent in 2016.

The cauldron of the region's tensions is simmering once again with advanced weapons soon within arm's reach, while many wonder if rising hate speech and crime will once again turn to war.