ZAGREB, February 19, 2019 – MP Tulio Demetlika of the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) on Tuesday accused President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović of degrading the office of President of the Republic over her statement about the Ustasha salute “For the Homeland Ready”.
Demetlika recalled that Grabar-Kitarović had said two years ago that “For the Homeland Ready” was an old Croatian greeting, that she had referred to members of the Nazi-allied Ustasha movement who had fled to Argentina after World War II as “patriots who have found freedom there”, and that during her visits to Istria she spoke of her grandparents as Partisans who had participated in the WWII anti-fascist movement.
“The president adapts her statements and views depending on the occasion and the audience she is addressing,” Demetlika said in parliament, adding that such behaviour lacked credibility.
He wondered “how a person who doesn’t know basic historical facts or who deliberately distorts them depending on the occasion, can hold the office of President?”
“The President of Croatia represents the country at home and abroad. Unfortunately, we can say that the current President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is degrading the office of President at home and abroad,” the IDS lawmaker said.
On Saturday, President Grabar-Kitarović admitted that she was wrong to say that the salute “For the Homeland Ready”, used by the pro-Nazi Ustasha regime in Croatia during World War II, was a Croatian historical greeting, adding that her point was that the salute as such was “compromised and unacceptable”.
Grabar-Kitarović made the statement while responding to questions from the press after recapitulating the four years of her term in office so far. She said she was wrong about the controversial salute because her advisers had told her that it was a historical greeting.
“I accept what historians have said, that it is not a historical Croatian greeting. But the point of my statement was not that part of the sentence, but that it is compromised and unacceptable,” the president said.
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