Turkish president meets with representatives of Bosnian NGOs
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met on Nov. 7 with representatives of Bosnian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Istanbul.
The closed-door meeting started at 15.20 local time (1220GMT) at the Huber Mansion.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın were also present.
"We have provided support without any discrimination for the preservation and stabilization of Bosnia and Herzegovina's multicultural and ethnic identity,” Erdoğan said, thanking each representative for their “kind visit.”
Highlighting that Turkey mobilized all its resources in support of Muslims during the Bosnian War, in which massacres and crimes against humanity took place, Erdoğan said his country will continue to stand by the Bosnian people “in a much stronger and different way.”
Regarding Turkey’s projects and development aid in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said not only Bosnians but also Serbs and Croats benefited from these investments.
Underlining that Turkey is closely following developments in the Balkan region, he said it considers every development in the Balkans its own internal matter.
“We are taking the necessary steps to resolve the problems in the region,” he said, adding Turkey will continue to work for the well-being of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the entire Balkans.
Turkey will certainly not allow Bosnia and Herzegovina to experience the suffering it did in the 1990s again, he noted.
Regarding Turkey’s direct investments in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said the amount currently exceeds $250 million.
“We aim to increase our bilateral trade, which was $650 million last year despite the pandemic, to over $1 billion in a short time,” he added.
"Our work on the Belgrade-Sarajevo-Bosnia Highway, which will make a great contribution to the economy of the region, is progressing as planned. In my opinion, this is not only a road project, but also a peace project in all aspects,” he added.
He also expressed hope to accelerate Turkey’s projects in every field, from air transportation to trade and from transportation to industry and education.
More than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed when Bosnian Serb forces attacked Srebrenica in July 1995, despite the presence of Dutch peacekeeping troops.
Serb forces were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form a state.
The U.N. Security Council declared Srebrenica a “safe area” in the spring of 1993. But troops led by Gen. Ratko Mladic overran the U.N. zone. Mladic was later found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing 2,000 men and boys on July 11, 1995 alone.
About 15,000 residents of Srebrenica fled to the surrounding mountains, but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 more people.
Bodies of victims have been found in 570 areas across the country.
In 2007, the International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled that genocide had been committed in Srebrenica.
On June 8, UN tribunal judges upheld in a second-instance trial a verdict sentencing Mladic to life in prison for the genocide, persecution, crimes against humanity, extermination and other war crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.