Erdogan and Grabar-Kitarović Discuss Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Total Croatia News

The Turkish and Croatian presidents meet in Ankara.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović visited Turkey on Tuesday afternoon, where she met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the presidential palace in the Turkish capital of Ankara, reports Večernji List on January 9, 2018.

Following the meeting, the two presidents held a press conference. “Croatia is always a very important country for us, and it is in our interest for it to be strong. Our relations are well-developed. Turkey is interested in all platforms for the harmonious development of economic, political and other relations,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“With the development of links within Europe, there are common goals we all strive to, which reflects on our bilateral relations and our economic relations, trade and mutual exchange of investments. We also have a successful co-operation in the energy sector. We are very proud of our investments in Croatia, and we support them as a state because they are of mutual benefit,” said Erdogan.

“We have had very fruitful and useful meetings today. In this very sensitive period, we will strive to resolve all the problems and challenges which are on our path. As far as the fight against terrorism is concerned, we are in the same geopolitical area. It is necessary to have a stronger consultation system due to the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and the relevant ministries will organise a joint meeting,” said the Turkish President.

“Croatia and Turkey have excellent relations, but there is room for improvement, particularly in the field of economy and investment. I still remember your visit to Zagreb in April 2016 when we celebrated the anniversary of the recognition of Islam as a religion in Croatia. The trade exchange last year amounted to only 350 million euros, and I remember you said that we needed to reach a billion euros. I believe that is possible,” said President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.

The President also commented on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “I am grateful for your understanding of the need for Croatia and Turkey to continue to play a role as promoters of the process which will bring BiH closer to the prosperity for all its citizens and enable it to join the EU. Our country supports the membership plan, and we hope that there will be progress. All three peoples in BiH need to be equal, and there is a need to continue with economic reforms that will affect the lives of all three peoples and the future of BiH,” the President said.

The Turkish President was asked whether they discussed the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially regarding possible changes to the electoral law. “Bosnia and Herzegovina and the state of affairs according to the Dayton Agreement is their internal issue. We can help; we have a constant intent and focus to help, but without giving directions that they should do this or that.”

“We will launch a trilateral advisory mechanism with a meeting of our foreign ministers, followed by a meeting of the leaders of the three countries where we will see what steps could be taken,” the Turkish president said, adding that Croatia and Turkey were only mediators in BiH and that it was “too early to comment on the possible outcome.”

The two presidents announced that the foreign ministers of the three countries would meet in January, while the meeting at the highest level should be held in February.

It is believed that the lobbying for changes to the BiH electoral law, which would improve the position of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was the primary goal of the President’s visit to Turkey.


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