Turkish Defence Minister says separatist statements in BiH must end

NEWS 27.12.2021 19:27
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Source: N1

The political crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina must end as soon as possible, as well as calls to break-up the country’s Armed Forces and other separatist statements, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said Monday, speaking in front of students of the International University in Sarajevo.

“Since the 1990s we’ve been interested in the ongoing issues related to Bosnia and the surrounding area as well as those related to Bosniaks and all the people in Bosnia. Good education is one of the most important factors in building a future. We wholeheartedly believe you can believe a more peaceful and prosperous world,” Minister Akar said in his opening remarks.

He noted that Turkey and Bosnia have a special relationship based on friendship and fraternity, common historical and cultural values.

“Our cooperation and bilateral relations are strengthening in every field including trade, education, defence etc. Turkey attaches great importance to the stability of the whole Balkans and always plays a constructive role between all sides. We all know the strategic importance of BiH in the Balkans. I know this from my personal experience, proudly serving as a brigade commander in BiH, like all other Turkish soldiers,” Akar said. “BiH unity and stability has an impact not just on the region, but also the entire world. Therefore, BiH stability, territorial integrity and political unity, development and EU integration and the establishment and maintenance of the constructive and good neighbourly relations in this region is very important for Turkey as well.”

That is why, he said, Turkey is doing their best to contribute to these efforts.

“As you know the Dayton Peace Agreement is still functional. Turkey and our president Erdogan made a great effort and contribution to this. Today we are witnessing a certain crisis due to a political blockage in BiH. This situation must end as soon as possible. Statements calling for the break up of the armed forces of BiH along with separatist statements must also end. If all sides are willing, Turkey is willing to provide every sort of mediation, as underlined by our president Erdogan,” Akar pointed out.

He then touched upon Turkey’s relations with NATO, regional conflicts and various terrorist threats the country faces.

“As a trusted NATO ally, Turkey has always carried a fair share of the burden if not more, in the face of new risks and threats. In addition to global challenges, Turkey is faced with various terrorist threats and regional conflicts,” Akar pointed out.

The Minister stressed that Turkey has no problem with Kurds as a people, but with terrorists. “Just as ISIS does not represent Islam, the PKK does not represent the Kurdish people,” Akar said.

Another threat he mentioned was the FETO organisation. Their disciples, he said, used lethal force against innocent civilians during the failed coup of 2016 and it still represents a threat to Turkey.

Speaking about Ukraine and the situation to the country’s east, he stressed that “Turkey does not accept the illegal annexation of Crimea and it supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine. We are closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine, and share the concerns of our allies.”

Despite all constructive efforts, Turkey has a range of problems with Greece, the Minister said.

Their message to their neighbour, Greece, is that Turkey is not a threat to Greece or any other country. They have no aspirations over anyone’s lands or rights. On the contrary, Turkey is a strong, credible and reliable ally, the Minister said, urging Greece to turn to constructive cooperation with them.

He then recalled the late President of the Republic of BiH Alija Izetbegovic and others who have lost their lives during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia. The Minister also remembered the living former members of the Army of the Republic of BiH.

In the end, Turkish Defence Minister Akar wished Bosnia a bright future.

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