Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina are constantly working to improve already strong relations, Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic said before Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu sets off to Sarajevo for an official visit.
Turkovic told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Çavuşoğlu’s visit is proof of cooperation and good relations between the two countries.
“We mutually nourish our relations strongly. We are constantly working to improve our relations. We have many agreements signed with Turkey and we are very pleased with it,” she said, adding that an agreement will be signed during the visit.
Turkovic expressed concerns about the crisis in Ukraine spreading to the western Balkans, saying that the war in Ukraine affected Bosnia and countries in the region.
”Most of the region is not a member of the EU or NATO. Bosnia and Herzegovina will never be destroyed despite separatist rhetoric,” she said.
Bosnian leaders are set to accept an agreement Sunday that ensures the country’s functionality and European Union path.
The document, “Political agreement on principles for ensuring a functional Bosnia and Herzegovina that advances on the European path,” was accepted by 12 participants in a meeting, while two refrained.
“The step taken is very important for Bosnia and Herzegovina to get candidate status. Considering the situation in Ukraine spreading to the western Balkans, the EU membership path is a key factor for the stability and security of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Turkovic.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is currently embroiled in a political conflict between Bosniaks and Bosnian Serbs living in the country.
The dispute erupted after Valentin Inzko, then-high representative, amended the criminal code in July to ban the denial of genocide and the glorification of war criminals.
Bosnian Serb lawmakers in response said they would boycott the country’s institutions.
Milorad Dodik denounced the amendments and pushed for controversial separatist moves in the Republika Srpska Parliament.
The steps have been criticized internationally for violating the 1995 Dayton Accords and undermining the country’s constitution.
Serbia visit in coming weeks
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit later in the year to Belgrade is extremely important for Serbia, the Serbian deputy foreign minister said Friday.
“It’s a very important symbolism and it’s a visit we are looking forward to. Personal relations and trust established between the two leaders, Aleksandar Vucic and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are a special quality to the relations of Turkey and Serbia,” Nemanja Starovic said on Radio Serbian Television. “President Vucic and the President of Turkey Erdoğan represent the most important and significant statesmen of the Balkan peninsula with the strongest authority in the wider European and international framework, just as they were King Alexander a hundred years ago, the first Karadjordjevic and Kemal pasha Atatürk This is a special quality that exists in our relationships,” Starovic added.
Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu announced Thursday that Erdoğan is preparing for an official visit to Serbia in the coming weeks.
Starovic said Erdoğan could be the first head of state to visit Belgrade in Vucic’s second presidential term.
He said Çavuşoğlu’s visit Thursday was very significant and stressed that it is important to maintain a continuous dialogue with Turkey.
“It is impossible to secure lasting peace, stability and prosperity of the Balkan peninsula without good and meaningful relations on the Ankara-Belgrade relationship, and this represents a good basis for the political dialogue that is being held and intensified,” said Starovic.
As a result of the friendly relations that Türkiye and Serbia enjoy, tourists and businesspeople frequently travel between the two countries.
Turkey’s AnadoluJet recently began flights from Ankara to the Serbian capital Belgrade, while Turkish Airlines (THY) increased flights from Istanbul to the Balkan city to three per day.
Serbia and Turkey have signed numerous agreements to further develop relations from defense to the economy.
Belgrade also reaffirmed its intention to purchase Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 combat drones.