FM Davutoğlu’s criticism prompts İhsanoğlu to expose contribution to Bosnia
BURSA / SAMARKAND
İhsanoğlu speaks during an event in Bursa, July 12. AA PhotoPresidential candidate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu has touched a raw nerve with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu while responding to criticism of his stance in regard to foreign policy issues.
In response to Davutoğlu’s criticism based on the Palestinian cause, İhsanoğlu exposed and highlighted his contributions during and after the war in Bosnia, a matter which has sentimental value for Davutoğlu and his government, in addition to being a top foreign policy priority, similar to the Palestine-Israel dispute.
“I’m proud of myself on my services in Bosnia and Palestine,” İhsanoğlu said at a press conference on July 12, when he visited the province of Bursa in the Marmara region as part of his presidential campaign.
“One of the most brutal and cruelest massacres of the 20th century took place 19 years ago in Srebrenica,” said İhsanoğlu, a senior diplomat and academic nominated as the presidential candidate by two major opposition parties, as well as five minor parties that are not represent at Parliament.
“I want to remind those who want to cover up my success in foreign policy during the war in Bosnia, along with then-President of Bosnia and Herzegovina Alija Izetbegovic, foreign ministers, leaders and the people, we organized assistance. I have provided solidarity for the Bosnian cause among international diplomatic circles. I have travelled to Sarajevo and been in solidarity with our fraternal nation,” İhsanoğlu said.
“I studied for 10 years with experts from all sides. We rescued bridges and mosques. I did all of these things silently. Self-praise doesn’t befit my manners and is not my practice. I’m talking about these services for the first time,” he said, underlining he was explaining his contributions because of the circumstances.
İhsanoğlu’s remarks in Bursa came within hours after Davutoğlu argued that İhsanoğlu would not have been elected secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in 2004 if the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had not been in power at the time.
“Well, relations between which country and Turkey were strained due to some of Mr. İhsanoğlu’s stances and which Arab country appealed to us to remove İhsanoğlu?” Davutoğlu asked in an interview with state-broadcaster TRT held during an official visit to Samarkand late on July 11, without giving the answer to his own questions. “At the time, there was [presidential hopeful Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan behind İhsanoğlu. Otherwise, İhsanoğlu might have had a hard time in completing his term.”
Earlier on July 11, Davutoğlu posted messages on his Twitter account on the occasion of the 19th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre of some 8,000 Muslim males by ethnic Serbian forces, Europe’s worst atrocity since World War II.
“I commemorate all martyrs of the inhumane massacre in the 20th century at Srebrenica on its anniversary. We will not forget Srebrenica and will not let it be forgotten even if everybody else forgets. Learning lessons from the mistakes of the international community in the past, we will continue to work for peace and stability in the Balkans,” Davutoğlu said.