ZAGREB, May 20, 2018 – Turkey has no hidden intentions towards Bosnia and Herzegovina and it is trying to contribute to Bosnia’s stability, Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan said in Sarajevo on Sunday, adding however that he expected full cooperation for a showdown with the “FETO octopus,” which is how he calls his political opponents whom he holds responsible for last year’s failed coup d’etat.
Erdogan, who arrived in Sarajevo for an working visit but also to hold an election rally for the Turkish diaspora ahead of the presidential and parliamentary election in June, held a joint news conference with the chairman of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency Bakir Izetbegović.
Erdogan expressed hope that a solution would be found soon regarding the amendments to the election legislation. He thanked Bosnia for the solidarity following last year’s attempted coup d’etat, adding that the showdown with political opponents was not yet over.
FETO continues to exists as an octopus which tries to consume all layers of the society, so it is important to continue the battle on that front, Erdogan said using the abbreviation for his opponents who gathered around Fetual Gullen. He asked the authorities in Bosnia to help Turkey in that regard.
Gullen, who lives in exile in the United State, dismisses all accusations for the failed coup d’etat.
Izetbegović told the news conference that relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey were excellent. The other two members of the Bosnian collective Presidency, Croat Dragan Ćović and Serb Mladen Ivanić, were not present.
Even before Erdogan’s arrival, thousands of Turks came to Sarajevo to attend a day long rally, organised by Erdogan’s lobbying organisation, the Union of European Turkish Democrats, UETD. The rally, which is officially being held as an annual assembly, is in fact considered the central election rally for the Turkish diaspora.
The convention takes place in Sarajevo’s reconstructed 20,000-capacity Olympic hall, known as Zetra, where 10,000 to 15,000 people are expected.
Germany, Austria and the Netherlands have all announced that they will not allow Turkish politicians to conduct election campaigning in their territories, citing public order concerns.
Turkey will go to early parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24, a year-and-a-half ahead of schedule.