Turkey a force for peace in Balkans: deputy PM
SKOPJE - Anatolia News Agency
‘Turkey always assumed a leading role in every initiative for peace,’ deputy PM says. AA photo.
Turkey has long fought for peace and stability throughout the Balkans and elsewhere, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said yesterday during a visit to Macedonia.
“Turkey always assumed a leading role in every initiative for peace,” Arınç said during the Seventh International Atatürk Congress in the country’s capital, Skopje.
Arınç met with Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov before the congress yesterday and was expected to meet Minister without Portfolio Hadi Neziri and members of the Turkish community living in Skopje and Ohrid.
“We were one of the first countries to recognize Macedonia. We keep assisting Macedonia in every area,” Arınç said, adding that there were deep-rooted ties between the two countries.
Turkey will also continue to support Macedonia for NATO membership, the deputy prime minister said.
“[Turkish republican founder Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk became acquainted with European principles while in Macedonia, and he applied these principles in Turkey by establishing a modern republic,” Ivanov said during the congress, adding that Atatürk had returned to the Balkan country a century after he went to an Ottoman military school in the modern-day Macedonian city of Bitola.
Atatürk was a reformist leader who founded a modern republic after the War of Independence following World War I, Arınç said.
Turkey’s founder always referred to peace with his motto “Peace at Home, Peace in the World,” he said, adding that Turkey exerted great efforts for peaceful solutions to issues in the Caucasus, the Middle East, the Balkans and Afghanistan.
“We believe that the world and humanity can become happy by means of dialogue and mutually good relations in the direction set by Atatürk,” he said.
The congress is taking place in Skopje until Oct. 22. Almost 300 academics and historians are participating in the congress, which is being organized by the Atatürk Research Center and the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts.