Ahead of his arrival in Belgrade, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with Politika that Turkey was ready to do its best to solve Kosovo’s problem.
Erdoğan pointed out that an agreement that would be acceptable to both parties would also be acceptable to Turkey.
In an interview for today’s edition of Belgrade based daily Politika, Erdoğan says that reaching an agreement on a Kosovo issue that satisfies all stakeholders is vital to achieving long-term stability and peace in the Balkans, which is why Turkey supports the resumption of Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and reaching a lasting and comprehensive agreement.
He stresses that relations between Turkey and Serbia are based on mutual understanding and respect.
“We want to strengthen our relations and cooperation with the region in every field. Serbia has a central and strategic position in the Balkans. We have deeply rooted historical and cultural ties with Serbia and we see it as a neighbouring country, although we have no common borders,” Erdoğan said.
He adds that he is pleased to see that bilateral cooperation has been improved since his last visit to Serbia, that the investments of Turkish businessmen have increased, but also that interest in Turkish culture and language is on the rise in Serbia and vice versa. “To witness the results of all the projects we have implemented together with my dear friend (President Aleksandar) Vucic makes me particularly happy and shows that we are on the right track. I have no doubt that with this strong political will on both sides, we will raise our cooperation to a much higher level”, Turkish President said. He added that his country attaches great importance to maintaining stability in Serbia and that it supports Serbia’s efforts towards economic development and the EU accession process.
“If prosperity and peace continue to move forward in Serbia, we believe it will have a positive impact on the entire region. Serbia plays an important role in maintaining regional peace and regional development. Every time I visit Belgrade, I have the opportunity to make sure of that,” the President of Turkey concluded.
Asked to comment on the Green Transversal project, supported by some Bosniak politicians in Serbia and the region, aiming to uniting parts of Serbia with a Muslim minority within Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, Erdoğan says Turkey does not pursue its Balkan policy based on religions and therefore, it makes no difference between Serbs, Bosniaks, Albanians and Croats.
“We want Serbia to show unity, solidarity and peace, to successfully complete European integration and become a prosperous country. However, some are bothered by our country’s activities in the Balkans and strong co-operation with Serbia,” Erdoğan said.
As he says, these circles are trying to manipulate Turkey’s efforts and portray it differently.
“Fortunately, thanks to joint efforts put with my esteemed friend Vucic, every day, by improving our relations, we thwart the plans of these circles. My advice to everyone is that instead of fostering conflicts in the Balkans, they should think in terms of creating political projects that will contribute to a better future for the Balkans”, he said.
Talking about the declaration announced by the Party for Democratic Action, which envisions restructuring of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Erdoğan said that Turkey supports the Dayton Agreement as a minimum compromise that currently exists for Bosnia, despite the fact that there are some shortcomings and the fact that no one in Bosnia-Herzegovina is fully satisfied with it.
“However, I have already stated that if interested parties want to improve this agreement, it should be done under UN supervision”, Turkish President concluded.