Bosnian tension risk for Europe: Turkish FM Davutoğlu

Bosnian tension risk for Europe: Turkish FM Davutoğlu

Bosnian tension risk for Europe: Turkish FM Davutoğlu

Foreign Minister Davutoğlu shakes hand with Bosnian member of the tripartite presidency of Bakir Izetbegovic during his visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina. AA Photo

A resurgence of political and religious tension in Bosnia and Herzegovina would pose a risk for Europe and the international community, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on Feb. 12 as he visited the country following protests against corruption and unemployment.

“A resurgence of political and religious violence would bring a risk to the Europe and the international community,” he said in Sarajevo following a series of meetings with his counterpart, Zlatko Lagumciya, and members of the tripartite presidency, Zeljko Komsic, Bosnian member Bakir Izetbegovic and Serbian member Nebojsa Radmanovic.

“Turkey is and will be on the side of our Bosnian brothers at any time for its stability, peace, political and territorial integrity,” Davutoğlu said.

The foreign minister called on the international community to show support for Bosnia. “It is the international community’s responsibility to help Bosnia and Herzegovina. I made a call from Brussels and I will continue to emphasize this. We will invite the entire world to act to support Bosnia,” Davutoğlu said.

Thousands of Bosnians have been rallying in several towns to demand the resignation of a regional government, continuing protests against corruption and unemployment that have plunged the country into crisis. Nermin Niksic, prime minister of the Bosniak-Croat Federation, which together with Republika Srpska makes up post-war Bosnia, dismissed the demands made in protests, but proposed early polls. The peaceful protests have been contained to the Muslim Bosniak-dominated parts of the country’s autonomous Bosniak-Croat Federation but were slowly starting to spread to other parts as well.

Davutoğlu said he underlined the importance of stability, the country’s territorial integrity and economic reforms during his talks. “Everyone should stand behind Bosnia without any hesitations over the country’s security, stability and territorial integrity. It is positive that the demonstrations did not turn into an ethnic or a religious clash. Everyone should take care on this,” Davutoğlu said, striking a cautious tone.

The Bosniak and Croat leaders also called on citizens to make sure the protests did not grow into inter-ethnic clashes in the country in which 100,000 were killed during the 1992-95 war among its Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks. Top EU officials are expected to visit Bosnia next week to discuss possible measures for its speedier accession to the bloc. Davutoğlu said paving Bosnia’s way to NATO and the European Union would contribute to regional stability.