A Week in Croatian Politics – Dodik, Storms and Lawsuits

Lauren Simmonds

croatian politics
Screenshot/Facebook/SDP Hrvatske

July the 28th, 2023 – This week in Croatian politics, controversial Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik allegedly arrives on Hvar without anyone even knowing, the president is accused of violating protocols, and ex HDZ boss Tomislav Karamarko is threatening to sue SDP for a Facebook post.

Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik arrives on Hvar in MUP Serbia helicopter. Were protocols not followed?

A helicopter belonging to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia, registration number YU-VIP F-WWOC, with which the President of the Republic of Srpska Milorad Dodik landed on Hvar on Tuesday, allegedly entered Croatian airspace as an ordinary civilian aircraft.

This can be garnered from the reply of the Croatian Air Traffic Control (HKZP) to a question posed by Jutarnji list, which states that: “the flight plan for the aforementioned flight was submitted to the Croatian Air Traffic Control by the ARO (ATS Reporting Office) of Banja Luka Airport” and that “there was no special indication in the flight plan of the flight’s status in the column provided for that”.

If this is true, it would mean that the official bodies of Republika Srpska and Serbia violated all possible applicable diplomatic protocols because they registered the state aircraft as if it was the most ordinary civilian plane there could be. HKZP’s response also states that “the data from the flight plan doesn’t contain information about the identity of the passengers on board, so HKZP had no information about who was in the helicopter”.

Milorad Dodik arrives on Hvar, apparently without anyone even knowing (Screenshot/Nova TV)

“The Interior Ministry knew about Dodik’s arrival and drove him and his escort, and Plenković claims that he had no idea about anything”

The entry of the official Serbian police helicopter carrying Dodik, which was registered as a civilian plane apparently violated all procedures. However, on the other hand, the Croatian security services allegedly knew who was coming to the island of Hvar on this helicopter. As Jutarnji found out, a few days earlier, the President’s Office informed the police that a helicopter carrying five passengers was coming into Croatia, and their names were passed to border control. Allegedly, the police were also informed in advance that Dodik’s security services were to come with him, that they have personal weapons with them, and that this is part of the usual protocol.

The reception of passengers at the heliport on Hvar was taken over by the employees of the Office for Security Affairs of the Ministry of the Interior, who allegedly transported Dodik and his guests to the president’s residence in their cars. Despite all this, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković claims that he didn’t even know that Dodik had come to Hvar until he saw on the Internet that Aleksandar Vučić said that he had come by helicopter from the Republic of Serbia and that “this all seems a little out of line to him.”

It isn’t remotely clear how Plenković somehow didn’t know about the arrival of the President of Republika Srpska on Hvar, since MUP, led by his minister Davor Božinović, apparendly handled the reception of Dodik and his entourage themselves.

The official helicopter of the Serbian Interior Ministry flew over half of Croatia without supervision

The biggest security failure in this case is the entry of the helicopter belonging to the Serbian Interior Ministry into Croatian airspace, which practically flew over half of the country without any supervision. Dodik flew to Croatia in a VIP helicopter of the Super Puma type, which arrived in the ranks of the Serbian police last year.

Gordan Grlić Radman: All of the normal procedures have been violated

Another individual in Croatian politics to speak up is the foreign minister. Gordan Grlić Radman confirmed that all of the normal procedures were violated in this instance, saying that “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had no information about Milorad Dodik’s arrival in Croatia, nor did they know about his meeting with President Zoran Milanović. The usual way of doing this is to notify the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to send us a diplomatic note.”

Defence Minister Mario Banožić discusses storms and the president’s visit from Dodik

As Index vijesti writes, Defence Minister Mario Banožić commented on Milorad Dodik’s recent visit to Croatia, the engagement of Croatian soldiers to clean up the consequences of the storm, and his own request for the title of associate professor for Dnevnik Nova TV. He claims that the Ministry of Defence was not informed about the arrival of the President of Republika Srpska, Milorad Dodik, on Hvar.

“No, we weren’t informed of the visit. The procedure for Croatia is clear. A diplomatic note should have been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the basis of which the Ministry of Defence would give its opinion. In this way, other government bodies would have also been notified, which wasn’t the case here,” he said.

He also referred to President Zoran Milanović’s statement in which he claimed that the MUP (Interior Ministry) was informed about Dodik’s arrival. “Obviously minimal information was given, he wanted to satisfy some procedural requirement, everything leads to the idea that he wanted to cover up this meeting from the public. The fact that this is just another form of disrespect for Croatian institutions, but also for all those people who should have performed their tasks in this regard as well,” Banožić believes.

“Milanović must respect institutions and procedures”

He didn’t want to specify whether a security breach had been made, but he repeated that it can be garnered from Milanović’s statement that minimal information was given. “My assumption is that Air Navigation Control received certain information, so there was no need for any reactions,” he pointed out.

He explained in which cases MIGs are scrambled and how the airspace is controlled. “The moment an object appears that cannot be identified by radar systems, that’s when the MIGs are scrambled,” he noted. He emphasised that “the president must respect institutions and procedures.”

Banožić believes that Croatian airspace is secure. He also answered as to whether there was any violation of procedure in this case. “He needs to provide information and details about that event here, why he gave minimal information and who he actually did inform about it. These are actually all questions for the Office of the Republic of Croatia,” he said.

“I enjoy working with students”

The Defence Minister also commented on the army’s involvement in repairing the damage left in the wake of last week’s violent storm. He confirmed that everything will be paid out to the army, i.e. that their compensation will be doubled. “It all happened on July the 19th, and the army was already out in the field on July the 20th,” he said, claiming that the Croatian Army reacted immediately.

croatian trees
Copyright Lauren Simmonds

He also spoke about the criticism of the Civil Protection Directorate, which, according to many, did not react quickly enough in Slavonia and Moslavina. “The opposition is frustrated that it sat in the Parliament for three days, instead of being out in Slavonia. Now that they’ve seen that they wasted the weekend, now they want the media space to show that they’re still on the political scene,” he pointed out.

He also referred to his own plans, namely his attempt to obtain the title of associate professor at the Faculty of Economics in Osijek. “This has been my life for the last fifteen years. I’ve been in this profession for many years. It’s one procedure I’m currently going through. I have the legal right to try to obtain the title. I also have an opinion from the Commission from back in July 2019,” he said.

“Article 13, paragraph 3, clearly states how it can be done and I respect that. I also respect all of the decisions of the Commission. I think that I can be a minister in Croatian politics and work as a professor at the same time. The point here is that you fulfill your obligations with quality. I’m happy to work with students. I enjoy it and working with them recharges the batteries,” he concluded.

Tomislav Karamarko says he’s suing SDP for their post about him on Facebook

Tomislav Karamarko is a name from the weird world of Croatian politics that doesn’t pop up all that often anymore, but whenever it does, people tend to take a deeper breath before they read what’s next. He is now allegedly suing SDP for a post about him on social media.

Ex HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko has said that he has decided to sue SDP for posting about him on Facebook, Novi list has learned. In a Facebook post from Monday, Karamarko is mentioned in the negative context of former HDZ leaders. The current Prime Minister and the head of HDZ is also mentioned in the same post.

“The HEP affair shows us the continuous robbery being carried out by this government. Ivo Sanader – the gas affair, he ended up in prison. Tomislav Karamarko – he was also caught messing around with gas. Andrej Plenković – a billion in INA, and now the same scenario is unfolding with HEP. What response did the government give to this? The draft Law on Media, which represents the legalisation of censorship,” reads SDP’s Facebook post, which has resulted in Tomislav Karamarko announcing a lawsuit. You can read more details about the HEP scandal here.

Karamarko announced his intention to file a lawsuit in a text message to SDP leader Peđa Grbin

On Monday evening, the former president of HDZ sent a text to the head of SDP, Peđa Grbin, informing him of his intentions, according to Novi list.

“Dear Mr. Grbin. On your party’s Facebook page, the wording that “I messed around with gas” was published. As this is an insinuation and isn’t true, I’d ask you to instruct your colleagues to remove it. I understand that you’re in a continuous process of political struggle. But despite that, some sense of dignity and honesty should be preserved. I certainly expect that you will respect my complaint and request. Otherwise, I’ll file a lawsuit tomorrow for this dirty lie that has been published. Best wishes, Tomislav Karamarko,” Karamarko wrote to the SDP president in the text message. Karamarko later confirmed for Novi list that he plans to sue SDP if the post is not removed today. He says that he has consulted with a lawyer on the matter.

“When did I mess around with gas? In what way did I do that? They might as well have written that I was messing around with cocaine. They’re incorrect and infantile, they don’t know how to position themselves politically and so they resort to publishing such poor comments,” said Karamarko.

“I don’t intend to put up with SDP’s nonsense”

Back in 2016, the commission for deciding on conflicts of interest concluded that Tomislav Karamarko had violated the principle of holding office because his wife had a business relationship with Hungarian MOL consultant Josip Petrović. However, the High Administrative Court later annulled the Commission’s decision.

“I wasn’t in any conflict of interest. I don’t want to go into the details of what SDP claims about Sanader and Plenković, but I’m simply saying that I didn’t mess with any gas. That’s why I’m not going to allow my name and surname to be played around with, especially since I’m no longer actively engaged in Croatian politics.

I don’t intend to put up with their nonsense. They’re incompetent and use things like this to get ahead, so maybe next year their election campaign will coincide with the hearings in the lawsuit with me. They will have to prove my alleged “messing around with gas” in court. They asked for it, so they’ll get it,” warned Karamarko.

SDP: We’re not going to delete the Facebook post

SDP doesn’t believe it wrote or posted anything incorrect and say that they don’t intend remove the post from Facebook. Grbin clarified for Novi list what they wanted to say by claiming that Karamarko messed around with gas.

“During the mandate of Tomislav Karamarko as president of HDZ and deputy prime minister, there was a series of incidents in which gas was messed around with. From the dispute with the arbitration with MOL, through the Konsultantica affair to, in the end, his support for those who blocked Savska with gas cylinders during the veterans’ protest. We can safely say that Karamarko’s political career was largely marked by gas,” said the SDP president.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment