President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, at the Presidential Palace, at the joint press conference with President of the Presidential Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zeljko Komşic, and Council Members Şefik Caferovic and Milorad Dodik, on the occasion of an official visit to the Council in Ankara on 16 March this year. He reminded that they hosted him on the occasion of the Southeastern Europe Cooperation Process Summit and the Antalya Diplomacy Forum on 17-20 June.
“Daesh is a different organization, the Taliban is a different organization”
Reminding that the terrorist organization DAESH’s “Horsan Branch” took responsibility for the explosions in Afghanistan, and asked how he evaluated the process for DAESH and the Taliban, Erdogan said:
“Of course, DAESH is a different organization, the Taliban is a different organization. What is its difference from the Taliban, what it is not, or what kind of struggle they will enter into a war with the Taliban, I cannot predict right now. But one thing I know is that there is a conflict between terrorist organizations. It is unthinkable that Turkey or another country will profit from the conflict of these terrorist organizations. That is terrorism, that is terrorism, such a situation is obvious. It’s all about the peace of the Afghan people, to see the Afghan people live a peaceful life as soon as possible. If there is anything America can do, it is to provide it.
If there is one step to take, it is to take one step in this field, but America says, ‘I am leaving, I am leaving’, and leaves, then says, ‘See what you have troubles’. What will NATO do now, we are a NATO member, of course we will have talks at that point. What kind of steps we will take, we will plan them, but the whole point is that we have taken the steps in our area of responsibility and as of tonight, we are pulling all our staff there. There will no longer be any of our soldiers or civilians there. There is only one technical committee, a small number of 20-30 people, they will stay. No one else will be left. In this way, we leave from there. I wish you good luck with the result.”
“We agreed that we need to speed up the execution of the peace project”
Noting that this visit constitutes the third meeting of the year, Erdoğan stated that this frequency of contacts is a concrete indication of the value they attach to relations and close dialogue.
Pointing out that Bosnia and Herzegovina has a special place in the hearts of the Turkish nation, Erdoğan said that the messages of solidarity from Bosnia and Herzegovina during the fire and flood disasters in the past weeks are an indication that this love of the Turkish nation is not unrequited.
Thanking all Bosnians in the person of the Council President and members for their solidarity messages, Erdoğan continued his words as follows:
“At the meeting we just concluded with the members of the Presidency Council, we had the opportunity to further develop our cooperation and talk about what we can do for the future on this occasion. Of course, we had the opportunity to discuss what steps we can take both bilaterally, regionally and globally. We also agreed that we need to accelerate the execution of this peace project that will strengthen human ties. The updated Free Trade Agreement, which we signed during the official visit of the Presidential Council to Ankara in May 2019, entered into force as of August 1, 2021. This development has contributed to both our trade and Bosnia and Herzegovina. “We want to further develop our cooperation in the industry, tourism, education, agriculture and livestock sectors. We also attach importance to strengthening our strong ties in the cultural and human fields.”
1 billion euros trade target
Erdogan also expressed that they exchanged views on the current developments in the Balkans.
“Continuing to take steps to increase economic development and welfare for the benefit of the peoples of the region, and especially to achieve the 1 billion Euro target, is of great importance.” Erdogan said, adding that they confirmed their support for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s integration with Euro-Atlantic institutions.
Emphasizing that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s territorial integrity, political unity and sovereignty are the keys to regional peace, Erdoğan stated that they will continue to work together to maintain regional stability.
Evacuation of Turkish soldiers from Afghanistan completed
Stating that they discussed both bilateral, regional and global issues during the meeting, they also talked about Afghanistan within this framework, Erdoğan said:
“Unfortunately, Afghanistan and the world are locked in a separate place again in a very short time here. According to the information I have just received, the death toll in Afghanistan has reached 170. All this shows one thing. It means that countries that say they are the strongest in the world, when they leave the places they entered, Although they should have exited more sensitively and more carefully, these exits did not happen as they said. Unfortunately, leaving these countries by handing over these countries to terrorist organizations has heavy consequences. For example, DEASH undertakes this. So is there a fight you are fighting against DEASH? “But we, as Turkey, fought the strongest fight against DAESH. These things do not happen with words. You have to do whatever is necessary for him. Right now, they say the Taliban. Okay, but you say, ‘Taliban is not the old Taliban right now.’ It’s what he said. It’s not what it’s doing, it’s what it’s doing. It is very important what the Taliban will do in Afghanistan in the next period. We moved our provinces to our country. Currently, we have a limited number of technical personnel there, but apart from that, we have withdrawn all these teams from Afghanistan.
It is our hope that we will give all kinds of support to the future of peace. For 20 years, we have had great efforts in Afghanistan with its infrastructure and superstructure, and these have continued until now. The developments in the future will be the determinants of these.”
Relations between Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina
Upon a question, President Erdoğan stated that a determined effort should be continued in order to increase the bilateral trade volume to 1 billion Euros in line with the target set between Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“As you know, there are important companies such as Hayat and Şişecam here. Some deficiencies of these companies need to be corrected here. By increasing their capital, Ziraat Bank will provide very serious support to both Bosnia and Herzegovina and those who are trying to develop trade from here. But on the other hand. We focused on these steps, especially in terms of making Bosnia and Herzegovina much stronger, this could be military, political, commercial and cultural, in terms of tourism and education, and we said that we believe that we need to develop them rapidly. Bosnia and Herzegovina can take very serious steps both in investment, employment, production and exports, and we can provide them.”
“Turkey and Erdogan are true friends of Bosnia and Herzegovina”
Pointing out that they are very pleased with the meeting with Erdogan, Komsic said that Turkey and Erdogan have proven many times that they are true friends of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Stating that they also touched on regional and global issues in addition to bilateral relations, Komsic said, “We have agreed to hold the next Turkey-Bosnia-Herzegovina-Serbia trilateral meeting in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These meetings are the continuation of a series and in our common opinion, these meetings will contribute to the stability in this region. enabling and developing relationships. he said.
Stating that concrete projects were discussed in the said meetings, Komsic said, “Perhaps the most important of these is the Sarajevo-Belgrade highway project.” said.
Noting that Turkish investments in Bosnia and Herzegovina were also discussed during the meeting, Komsic said, “Concrete steps should be taken to bring Turkish investors and companies operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina on an equal footing with domestic companies.” said.
“Turkey and Erdogan are an important element of stability in the Western Balkans”
Dzaferovic underlined that the relations between Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina are friendly and brotherly relations, adding, “Turkey does not want anything from Bosnia and Herzegovina. It only offers help. We are grateful to Turkey for this attitude.” made its assessment.
Reminding that the Presidency Council held many high-level meetings with Turkey during its three-year mandate, Dzaferovic said, “Turkey and Erdogan are important stability elements in the Western Balkans and follow a policy of stabilization in the Western Balkans. Turkey-Bosnia-Herzegovina-Serbia. and Turkey-Bosnia-Herzegovina-Croatia trilateral meetings are also of great importance at this point.” he said.
Reminding that Bosnia and Herzegovina needs cooperation with Turkey on its way to NATO and European Union (EU) membership, Dzaferovic drew attention to the fact that the opportunities are not used adequately in economic relations with Turkey.
Pointing out that the Sarajevo-Belgrade Highway Project is also a stabilization project, Dzaferovic said, “I believe that this project should be started simultaneously from many points in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It would be in the interest of all parties to do so.” said.
Dzaferovic added that Bosnia and Herzegovina needs peace, stability and functional state institutions for a good future.
“Afghanistan is the best example of how foreigners can restore order in a country”
Expressing that Erdogan’s visit, the president of a great state, made him happy, Dodik said, “Turkey is constantly trying to help with projects in the economy, infrastructure and other areas.” said.
Describing the Sarajevo-Belgrade Highway project as a “historical infrastructure project”, Dodik said, “I hope that we will resolve the details that pose problems in the highway project in the near future.” he said.
Dodik said that he informed President Erdogan about Bosnia and Herzegovina’s domestic political issues and said, “Afghanistan is the best example of how foreigners can restore order in a country. We trust our cooperation with Erdogan more than the cooperation with parties with collapsed ideals about Bosnia and Herzegovina. Turkey a little more. If he had taken an active role, we would not have had problems with the High Representative.” he said.
Noting that Erdogan thinks he understands everyone by listening to all sides, Dodik said, “I think it is uncivilized for the High Representative to come here as a foreigner and impose the laws he wants on us. This is unacceptable.” used the phrases.