Balkans and SouthEastern Europe
The Balkans (often referred to as the Balkan Peninsula although the two are not coterminous) is a geographic region of southeastern Europe. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains, which run through the centre of Bulgaria into eastern Serbia. The region has a combined area of 550,000 km2 (212,000 sq mi) and a population of about 55 million people.
“Balkan” comes from a Turkish word meaning “a chain of wooded mountains”. The ancient Greek name for the Balkan Peninsula was the “Peninsula of Haemus” (Χερσόνησος τοῦ Αἵμου, Chersónēsos tou Haímou). The Balkans are also referred to as Southeastern Europe.
Because of the negative connotations of the term ‘Balkan’, writers such as Maria Todorova and Vesna Goldsworthy have suggested the use of the term Southeastern Europe instead. The use of this term is slowly growing; a European Union initiative of 1999 is called the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, and the online newspaper Balkan Times renamed itself Southeast European Times in 2003.
The use of this term to mean the Balkan peninsula (and only that) technically ignores the geographical presence of Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, and Ciscaucasus, which are also located in the southeastern part of the European continent.