Further to my posts about Turkey’s reclaiming the Balkans:

Izetbegovic asks Turkey to continue its role in Balkans (Oct. 6)

Calling Turkey a “powerful and wise big brother” of his nation, Bakir Izetbegovic, the son of Bosnia’s wartime president, applauded Turkey’s constructive policy in the Balkans.

According to the election results, the late wartime President Alija Izetbegovic’s son, Bakir, is set to become one of three presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bakir Izetbegovic led the race for the presidency’s Muslim seat with more than 80 percent of Sunday’s votes counted.

Turkey’s role in the Balkans is growing each day, Izetbegovic told the Anatolia news agency on Tuesday, describing Turkey’s policy in the region as “very powerful and persuasive.” He said: “Turkey has a positive role in the region. It is soothing and introducing appropriate solutions. Turkey is not someone who came to the region by force or without being invited. It [Turkey] is displaying a significant policy both for us and for all countries in the Balkans. I hope that this policy will continue in a more expanded way.”

The president-elect indicated trilateral meetings held among foreign ministers of Turkey, Serbia and Bosnia had yielded significant fruits and that his country would continue to engage in this trilateral process. The meetings were initiated by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in October 2009. In effect, diplomatic relations have improved between the Balkan countries.

“Turkey has already helped us to smooth our relations with Serbia. These meetings should continue,” Izetbegovic said. In Ankara, the Turkish Foreign Ministry was pleased that Sunday’s elections in Bosnia were conducted in conformity with international norms and in a peaceful and orderly manner.

“These elections mark a new era for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The expectation of the people of Bosnia as well as of the international community in this new period is that Bosnia will rapidly and resolutely implement the necessary reforms in line with the European and Euro-Atlantic integration objective,” the ministry said in a written statement released on Tuesday.

Which in the Balkans especially happens to be strikingly similar to the Muslim objective.


While we’re on the subject of Turkey in the Balkans, it’s worth noting the affinity that the “non-Muslimy” Albanians demonstrated for Muslim Turkey’s basketball victory over the Serbs last month. While one imagines that anyone’s victory over the Serbian team would have been a cause for Albanian celebration, this victory was greeted with particular animation:

Basketball Match Leads To Violence In Kosovo

Three international peace-keepers and six locals were wounded in Sunday’s violent clashes in Kosovo’s divided town of Mitrovica following Serbia’s loss in a World Basketball Championship match in the Turkish city of Istanbul the previous night, officials said.

The clashes began after hundreds of people from the ethnic Albanian-dominated Muslim southern part of Mitrovica gathered at a bridge on the Ibar river, which separates the two communities, to celebrate Turkey’s semi-final victory over Serbia.

Christian Serbs from the north and Albanians from the south started pelting stones and hurling Molotov cocktails at one another, forcing Kosovo police and European Union security forces to close the bridge to separate the two warring groups.

A spokesman for KFOR [Nato’s peace-keeping mission in Kosovo] strongly condemned the violence, and said two NATO soldiers were wounded in the clashes. Police said that five civilians, a local police officer and a French police officer serving with European Union’s security and justice mission (Eulex) were also injured.

Denouncing the violence, Major-General Erhard Buhler, heading the mission, said Sunday that KFOR would not tolerate any violence in Kosovo and sought the help of Kosovo residents in arresting the trouble-makers.

The violence came just days after Belgrade supported a compromise U.N. resolution on Kosovo, and agreed to a E.U.-backed dialogue with Kosovo to promote reconciliation between the divided communities.

Kosovo, with its 90 per cent ethnic-Albanian majority declared independence from Belgrade in 2008, following nine years of United Nations administration. However, violent ethnic strife, particularly in Kosovo’s Serb-dominated north, continues unabated.

That last sentence of this report — written by “staff” at something called RTT Global Financial Newswires — requires translation: it says that the ethnic strife is particularly in the Serb-dominated north. In other words, the past decade of Serbs getting picked off by Albanians throughout Kosovo one by one and ten by ten — that’s not ethnic strife. In fact, it hasn’t even been worthy of reporting by RTT. Ethnic strife, apparently, only happens in the last place in Kosovo where Serbs haven’t been disarmed to helplessness and reduced to wire-surrounded enclaves, and where they might actually hurl a stone back at the rabid Albanians who have been cleansing them from the province for a century by all means necessary. And, of course, the use of the term “Serb-dominated” is meant to leave the reader with the timeless impression that problems happen where Serbs start them — and that it’s the Albanians being abused by Serbs rather than the other way around.

Finally, the sentence also reveals what we could have assumed: like so many of their clones, the folks at this news outfit only discovered the region in 2008, when Kosovo was back in the headlines upon Albanian secession and laypeople and novices learned the name Northern Mitrovica, the area that needs to be brought to heel, as our bureaucrats briefed them.