PM Erdoğan’s words on Kosovo misunderstood by Serbia, says Turkish FM
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu speaks during a press conference in Ankara on Oct 7, 2013. AFP PHOTO
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent words on Kosovo have been misunderstood, Turkey’s foreign minister said after Serbia declared it would not take part in a Balkan initiative with Turkey and would also seek an apology.
Erdoğan gave a speech this week during a visit to Prizren, Kosovo, saying, “Kosovo is Turkey, and Turkey is Kosovo.”
The comment was widely criticized in Serbia, which is sensitive about the Ottoman past in the Balkans and to any acknowledgement of Kosovo’s independence.
“Those words were misunderstood. Remarks which have been cut out from the whole speech were taken to grounds we don’t want. We also aim to have good relations with Serbia. Turkey maintains an equal distance to all Balkan countries,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told state-run TRT television today. “Prime Minister Erdoğan talked about the common fate of Balkan nations. All Balkan countries should move all together for peace and stability,” he said.
The foreign minister said he had a lengthy telephone conversation with his Serbian counterpart, Ivan Mrkic, over the situation, adding that they supported Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic on Oct. 26 sought an apology for the “scandal,” saying he would pull out of talks with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey on post-war Balkan stability.