By Hamdi Fırat Büyük
Serbia pulls out of tripartite talks with Bosnia and Turkey. A couple days ago, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said he won’t take part in a Balkan initiative with Turkey in reaction to reported remarks by Turkish PM Erdogan in Kosovo.
Serbia’s media have quoted a part of Erdogan’s speech in Kosovo on Wednesday that “Turkey is Kosovo and Kosovo is Turkey.” The comment has been widely criticized in Serbia which is very sensitive to past Ottoman rule in the Balkans and to any consent of Kosovar independence.
Kosovo was an autonomous region in Serbia that declared its independence in 2008. Serbia claims that Kosovo is still a part of Serbia and denies the independence of Kosovo despite of recognition decisions of 106 countries.
President Tomislav Nikolic on Saturday expects an apology for the “scandal” that he defines. He is pulling out of the initiative which led by Turkey with Bosnia and Turkey on post-war Balkan stability.
On last Sunday morning, Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Davutoglu called his Serbian counterpart Ivan Mrkic and they made a long diplomatic phone call. According to officials from Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry, Davutoglu and Mrkic talked about Serbian-Turkish relations as well as Erdogan’s speech in Kosovo. Davutoglu claims that Serbia’s Media focuses on just one sentences of Erdogan and he stated that Erdogan’s Kosovo remarks misunderstood in Serbia.
Furthermore, Davutoglu emphasized that the importance of tripartite talks between Bosnia, Serbia and Turkey in the phone call. Davutoglu indicates in his press statement that Turkey is not going to apologize because he says there is nothing serious for an apology.
About the author: JTW
JTW - the Journal of Turkish Weekly - is a respected Turkish news source in English language on international politics. Established in 2004, JTW is published by Ankara-based Turkish think tank International Strategic Research Organization (USAK).