Croatia Protests against Controversial Serbian Monument

Total Croatia News

Serbia has declared Milan Tepić a national hero.

Serbian Ambassador to Croatia Mira Nikolić has been recently invited to the Croatia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she received “a sharp verbal protest” over the decision of the Serbian government to erect a monument to Serbia’s national hero Milan Tepić, announced Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić, reports N1 on March 9, 2017.

Dačić said that Croatia stated that it was unacceptable and harmful for bilateral relations “to erect a monument to a man whose suicidal actions caused the death of 11 Croatian soldiers and an unknown number of recruits of the Yugoslav National Army”. “This act of the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs demonstrates that they are absolutely not able to look in their own yard”, said Dačić at a news conference, adding that the Ambassador “absolutely rejected the criticism”.

Recalling that the Yugoslav Presidency had declared Tepić as a national hero, Dačić said that the move of the Croatian government was “tragicomic” and showed that Croatia was not capable of seeking, in international relations and especially in bilateral relations with Serbia, issues which unite rather than which divide. “We are ready to develop cooperation and good neighbourly relations, but, on the other hand, there is no condemnation of attempted rehabilitation of fascist past” in Croatia, said Dačić.

The Serbian government decided last week that a monument to Tepić would be erected in Belgrade on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his death.

Milan Tepić was a major of Yugoslav National Army (JNA). During the attack on the JNA barracks in Bjelovar in September 1991, in an attempt to prevent Croatian forces from seizing weapons, Tepić blew up a military warehouse, killing himself and 11 Croatian soldiers. The tragedy would be even worse if Tepić was not prevented in blowing up several other nearby warehouses.

Documenta – Centre for Dealing with the Past condemned the decision of the Serbian government to erect the monument, because it believes that the person who killed 11 Croatian soldiers and placed at risk many residents of Bjelovar in no way deserves such a memorial. By choosing people to commemorate, we are sending a message to younger generations, and messages of destruction and killing are certainly not a good basis for further development of sustainable peace in our societies, said Documenta in a statement, adding that “our societies would make a major civilizing step if governments were to first of all pay their respect to people who in similar situations reacted differently, trying to avoid the suffering of people”.


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