Bosniak leader: Ankara has calming, constructive role in region


Bakir Izetbegovic, the Bosniak member of Bosnia-Herzegovina's tripartite presidency, said, "Bosnia-Herzegovina is a friend of Turkey" and praised Ankara's efforts to build better relations with countries in the region, calling its role in the region calming and constructive.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Izetbegovic said Turkey is providing assistance to the region in the peace process and also "making investments in Ottoman heritage in the region and contributing to countries' tourism potential."

He said Turkey has supported all of Bosnia-Herzegovina's priorities, such as its bids to join both the European Union and NATO.

"Peace in the region, better regional relations and economic development are all examples of this," he said.

Last week, Bosnia-Herzegovina abstained from voting on a U.N. General Assembly resolution rejecting the U.S.' recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Noting that foreign policy decisions in Bosnia-Herzegovina were up to the Tripartite Presidency Council, Izetbegovic said these decisions were made by consensus.

"We received a recommendation from our Foreign Ministry that we should not follow the attitude of the EU member countries and other countries in the region," he added.

"So we would either not participate in the vote or abstain, because we can only make decisions by consensus, and if even one member of the council is against it, it is impossible for us to make a decision. Although I personally did not want to, we had to abstain."

Izetbegovic said it was not only Islamic countries who were opposed to the U.S. decision but in fact, all civilized countries of the world.

"Everyone opposed the declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, besides the U.S. and Israel, and perhaps a few small countries that we just heard of for the first time," he said.

The U.N. resolution rejecting the U.S. decision – which the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved – sent "a strong message to both Israeli and U.S. policy," he added.

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