Turkish FM says Erdogan's statement was "misinterpreted"
ANKARA, BELGRADE -- Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu said on Sunday that the statement made by Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan about Kosovo was "misinterpreted and taken out of context."
"The words were extracted from the context of an entire speech and a meaning was attached to them which we did not intend to convey," Davutoglu told Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) as reported by Hurriyet daily.
Albanian media reported that Erdogan said that “Turkey is Kosovo, and Kosovo is Turkey” during his visit to Prizren, southern Kosovo and Metohija, on October 23 which caused fierce criticism from the Serbian government.
On October 26, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić asked for an apology over the scandal and announced that he would withdraw from the trilateral talks between Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Turkey on the stability in the Balkans.
Davutoglu said that he discussed the situation caused by the statement of the Turkish prime minister during a "lengthy telephone consultations with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkić."
"We aim to maintain good relations with Serbia, and Turkey has the same attitude toward all Balkan countries," Davutoglu said.
"Erdogan also spoke about the joint fate of all Balkan nations, and noted that all Balkan countries should progress toward peace and stability together," the Turkish foreign minister said.
He noted that in his talks with Mrkić, he also backed the Belgrade-Priština dialogue, the Turkish daily reported.
Mrkić confirmed for B92 that Davatoglu had initiated the phone conversation, but that "regardless", the authorities in Belgrade expected to receive the controversial speech in written form.
The state officials said that Serbia's further moves would be known "only after that."