Kosovo shares "excellent interstate relations" with Turkey, its President Vjosa Osmani said Sunday after a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
According to a statement released by the presidency in the capital Pristina, Osmani and Çavuşoğlu discussed bilateral cooperation in foreign policy, defense, trade, and other fields, as well as current developments in the region and Europe.
Osmani stressed that integrating the Western Balkans into the Euro-Atlantic structures restricts Russia's influence and destabilizing tendency in the region, the statement said.
"I appreciate President (Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan's clear support for Kosovo's membership in NATO and other international institutions. We need such support from Turkey for Kosovo's candidacy to the Council of Europe," the president said.
She emphasized that Turkey is one of their important NATO partners and that the Turkish community in Kosovo, as well as the large Albanian diaspora in Turkey, serves as a strong bridge between the two countries.
The two countries' relations have the potential to deepen, especially in the fields of investment and Kosovo's exports to Turkey.
During his visit to Kosovo, Çavuşoğlu also met with Prime Minister Albin Kurti.
"We discussed the possibilities of improving our cooperation with Kosovo Prime Minister Kurti. We emphasized the threat posed by the presence of FETÖ (Gülenist Terror Group) for Kosovo," said Çavuşoğlu on social media.
After his official meetings in the capital, Çavuşoğlu visited Prizren, where he met with the Turkish community, and also visited the Turkish battalion and the city of Mamusa, where the majority of the population is ethnic Turks.
The Turkish foreign minister is currently on a tour of the Balkans and has so far visited Serbia, North Macedonia, Croatia and Kosovo.
Earlier in the day, Turkey and Kosovo signed a civil aviation memorandum of understanding to increase the number of flights.
Speaking to the ethnic Turks in Mamusa, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey is currently stronger than ever.
"We know that your hearts beat with Turkey. We know that you rejoice with the joy of Turkey and are saddened by its sadness. Praise be to you, your homeland is stronger than ever and stands by you with all its might. Together with all our institutions, we support your effort to keep your identity, language, religion, and culture alive. Our goal should be to raise a generation that adheres to its identity and values," said Çavuşoğlu.
is the only municipality with a Turkish majority in the country.
Visiting the Kosovo Democratic Turkish Party (KDTP) as part of his visit to Prizren, Çavuşoğlu met with Fikrim Damka, the minister of Regional Development of Kosovo and the head of the KDTP.
Çavuşoğlu also visited the Turkish Representative Delegation Headquarters, located in the "Sultan Murat Barracks" and serving as part of the NATO Peacekeeping Force in the country.
He also said on Sunday that the presence of the FETÖ in Kosovo would adversely affect the bilateral ties between Pristina and Ankara.
"We can say that FETÖ is the only test ... We have no other concerns," Çavuşoğlu told a news conference in Kosovo's capital Pristina, his last stop on the Balkan tour.
FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, in Turkey, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured. FETÖ was also behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state by infiltrating Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
The presence of FETÖ in Kosovo has severely upset the Turkish people, and if it continues, it would have a negative impact on bilateral relations, said Çavuşoğlu, who was flanked by his Kosovar counterpart Donika Gervalla-Schwarz.
"Their (the terrorist group's) efforts to infiltrate state institutions continue in the same way. In other words, they are doing what they have done in Turkey and other countries," Çavuşoğlu said, citing the same strategy FETÖ has implemented in Kosovo.
"On the one hand, it continues to poison the youth (through educational institutions), while on the other, it increases investments in the media," he said.
"Turkey is saddened to see them (network) in friendly and brotherly Kosovo," the minister said, warning the host country of the threat to its security and future.
FETÖ's presence outside of Turkey includes private educational institutions that serve as a source of revenue for the terrorist organization.
Turkey has strategic and cultural ties with Kosovo. In response to recent regional developments, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey would not allow the Western Balkans to return to the dark days of the 1990s.
"The latest developments in the region and the war in Ukraine have negative reflections on the region," he said, adding: "There are lessons to be learned."
"We have witnessed an uptick in tension in the region. Turkey has often stated that we will not allow this region to return to the dark days of the 1990s," he vowed.
"As a country with good connections with all countries in the region and the ability to communicate with everyone, we will continue our efforts in this direction. We will bring diplomacy to the forefront," he added, and noted: "Dialogue is therefore extremely important for lasting peace and stability in the region."