Croatia celebrates Operation Storm while Serbs grieve

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published

Croatia celebrated the 22nd anniversary of the controversial Operation Storm while Serbia mourned the victims of the tragic event.

Operation Storm, which began on Aug. 4, 1995 by the Croatian military, led to the displacement of around 200,000 Serbs and killed thousands of people. While Croatia has been marking the blitzkrieg as a victory for decades, Serbs still mourn the victims.

The Croatian government considers Operation Storm a military triumph that liberated its territory from Serbian aggression.

The military offensive lasted slightly longer than three days and became the broadest European land operation since World War II. Ante Gotovina, the commanding general in the operation, was later found guilty of committing war crimes and crossing beyond the customs of war to "forcibly and permanently remove the Serb population" from Krajina.

Regarding Operation Storm, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic questioned Croatia's celebrations. Speaking at the remembrance ceremony last year, Vucic said: "People were killed just because they were Serbs. They celebrate victory, but what is their victory? They are rejoicing in our sorrow. I want to tell you that there will be no more ‘Storms.' Serbia cannot boast about its own power, but it is strong enough to take care of its people, and no one will allow such pogroms again."

On the other hand, Croatians mark the victory by attending the military parade and taking part in other events.

Today's Serbian government believes that "the policy pursued by modern-day Croatia has led to an increased number of ethnically motivated incidents targeting members of the Serbian people, and aiming to create an atmosphere that it is permissible to commit crimes against the Serbs and go unpunished."

Instead of military celebrations and triumphant rhetoric, Serbia expects "the condemnation of the escalation of ethnically motivated incidents against persons belonging to the Serbian community as well as of acts endangering the security and rights of Serbs being committed with impunity, calling on the Croatian authorities to take steps aiming to put an end to these worrying trends."

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