Balkan – Turkey trilateral on hold due to Erdogan statements in Kosovo

trilateralaSerbian President Tomislav Nikolić decided to freeze his attendance on trilateral meetings between Serbia, Bosnia and Turkey. Main reason for his decision not to attend any future meetings between leaders of three countries is Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during his recent visit to the city of Prizren in Kosovo. According to media reports PM Erdogan said “Kosovo is Turkey, Turkey is Kosovo”. 

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip ErdoganTrilateral meetings between Turkey, Serbia and Bosnia are established few years ago in effort to help mend all open questions, improve cooperation and to help each other on the international political or economical scene. In the past three years each country host leaders and ministers of foreign affairs, leaders met on three summits and ministers on eight meetings, achieving agreements on economic, agriculture and tourism cooperation.

New development happened last week when Turkish PM Erdogan visited Kosovo, Turkey sees it as independent country, where passionately declared that “Kosovo is Turkey, Turkey is Kosovo”. This statement offended Serbian President Nikolić who already pleaded Turkey to stop lobbying other countries to recognize Kosovo as independent state. As you probably know official Belgrade continues to consider Kosovo as part of Serbia. In his statement President Nikolić said:

Catherine Ashton, Vice-President of the EC, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy receives Tomislav Nikolic, President of Serbia.“The scandal made by the Turkish Prime Minister in Prizren town is a flagrant and brutal violation of the good and friendly relations, by disregarding and encroaching upon the soveregnty of Serbia and by revising history. The ideas of Kemal Ataturk are no longer the ideas of the leadership of Turkey. I expect the common sense to prevail in Turkey and that Turkey makes an apology to Serbia for this armless aggression. Until such time, I as President of Serbia freeze my attendance of trilateral meetings between Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey, because these meetings are not the meetngs of warmongering countries but of democratic countries guided by stately wisdom bringing about peace in the Balkans“.

President of Bosnian Presidency, Željko Komšić, issued short statement declaring both Turkey and Serbia as important bilateral partners referring to current dispute as bilateral problem between Serbia and Turkey. Turkish Ambassador to Belgrade, Mehmet Kemal Bozaj, decline to comment President Nikolić statement adding that official Ankara is informed about his decision to freeze attendance.

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