Turkey reiterates support for Bosnia's EU, NATO bids
BANJA LUKA, Bosnia
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu delivers a speech in Banja Luka. AFP photoTurkey will continue to support Bosnia's EU and NATO membership bids, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on May 7.
Speaking in Bosnia's second biggest city, Banja Luka, where he was attending the opening of a renovated 16th century mosque, Davutoğlu said he had discussed the country's applications with Bakir Izetbegovic, the Muslim member of Bosnia's three-way presidency, according to Anadolu Agency.
“Turkey will continue to support Bosnia-Herzegovina in all the processes related to NATO and the European Union,” Davutoğlu said.
Earlier on May 7, Prime Minister Davutoğlu said that the reopened historic Ferhadija Mosque sends a message of peace to all people in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well all citizens of the world.
Davutoğlu made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the renovated 16th century Ferhadija Mosque.
The mosque is considered a cultural symbol of the country but suffered extensive damage by dynamite in May 1993 during the Bosnian War.
In his speech, Davutoğlu highlighted three significant aspects of the mosque's reopening.
"The first is in terms of humanity's conscience,” he said. “Those who bombed and destroyed Ferhadija Mosque 23 years ago not only destroyed a mosque, they also destroyed humanity's conscience. Today by rebuilding this mosque, we are in fact rebuilding the conscıence of humanity. Let it be known that as long as this mosque is here, payers voicing humanity's conscience will speak to the skies in Banja Luka."
Davutoğlu continued: "The second aspect is our common cultural heritage. Bosnia Herzegovina's common cultural heritage is under our auspices. We were together at the opening ceremony of the [rebuilt] Mostar Bridge, now at the opening of Ferhadija, and insallah we will also be together at the opening of Alaca Mosque in Foça."
Davutoglu also promised further support for restoring destroyed heritage in the area.
"I promise on behalf of Turkey: Every single destroyed common object of our cultural heritage will be reviewed so it can reach its historical value.
“We are here for fellowship, for humanity, for multicultural Bosnia-Herzegovina. We were here, we are here, we will be here for eternity."
Davutoğlu also stressed the importance of unity between people of different faiths in Bosnia.
"The third aspect is about the future of Bosnia. Bosnia is a whole with Muslims, Orthodox, Jews, and Catholics. Whoever wants to separate Bosnia, in fact wants to separate the people's heart. Banja Luka can never be separated from Sarajevo, Sarajevo can never be separated from Mostar," he said.