Kosovo: Minority MPs Threaten To Quit Government Over ‘Hate Post’


By Die Morina

The parliamentary group of non-Serb ethnic minority MPs warned they will leave the ruling coalition if the deputy foreign minister is not sacked for allegedly “promoting inter-ethnic hatred” in a Facebook post.

Six MPs from the non-Serb ethnic minority parliamentary group 6+ have asked Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj to dismiss deputy foreign minister, Gjergj Dedaj, after he referred to Turkey and Serbia as “cruel rulers” who are seeking to regain their influence in Kosovo, one of then told BIRN on Tuesday.

Fikrim Damka, a lawmaker from the Turkish Democratic Party of Kosovo, KDTP said that 6+, a parliamentary group with six MPs, sent the request to Haradinaj on Monday.

“We will sit with the PM and will talk about the next steps because there cannot be a deputy minister in the government cabinet when he promotes inter-ethnic hatred in Kosovo,” Damka said.

He warned that the 6+ group would leave the government if the request is not acted upon.

“We as a group have given our votes for this government, and this government, which had the support of the six MPs, will come into question [it loses their support], I believe,” Damka said, suggesting that the government could lose its parliamentary majority if the 6+ lawmakers quit.

Deputy foreign minister Dedaj, the leader of the Liberal Party of Kosovo, accused Turkey and Serbia of meddling in Kosovo in a Facebook post on Saturday.

“Turkey and Serbia are aiming for a strategic return to Kosovo, each through their emissaries, who have remained rooted in the centuries-old rule of these cruel rulers, and who must be uprooted from Kosovo and the lands of [15th Century Albanian nobleman] Gjergj Kastrioti [Skanderbeg],” Dedaj wrote.

PM Haradinaj responded on Tuesday by criticising Dedaj’s comment without making a direct reference to the demand for the deputy foreign minister’s dismissal.

“Statements containing insulting language against the Republic of Turkey, by anyone, are unacceptable and do not represent the official policy of the Haradinaj government, not even when they are made by any official of this government or anyone else,” Haradinaj wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.

“These statements do not represent either the desire of the government or the people of Kosovo to preserve the traditionally good relations that the Republic of Kosovo has with the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish people,” he added.

The six votes of the 6+ parliamentary group are important for the ruling coalition because without them it would lose its majority in parliament.

The 6+ group comprises one MP from the Democratic Ashkali Party of Kosovo, PDAK, two MPs from the Turkish Democratic Party of Kosovo, KDTP, two MPs from the Bosniak Coalition Vakat, KV and one MP from the United Roma Party of Kosovo, PREBK.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (formerly the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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