Turkey won't apologize for PM's controversial statement

Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoglu has said that his country will not apologize to Serbia over a statement made by its Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Source: Blic, Tanjug

Erdgoan was in Kosovo last year when he said that that "Turkey is Kosovo and Kosovo is Turkey."

Davutoglu said that there would be no apology as the statement "contained no insults, but only positive sentiments."

In an interview for the Belgrade-based daily Blic, he also noted that "Serbian-Turkish ties have become the backbone of stability in the Balkans."

The interview, which Tanjug said was "scheduled at Ankara's initiative" to clarify Erdogan's controversial statement made in Prizren last year, Davutoglu said that the Turkish prime minister's reference to Kosovo was "not political, nor a demonstration of an expansionist policy."

"It is a cultural definition - when you say in Turkish that Kosovo is someone's other country, it is an indication of close cultural ties," Davutoglu said.

"I sincerely hope that this should be enough to show our good intentions towards the Serbian government and the Serbian people. A small sentence should not be quoted out of the context of the entire speech," said he.

Erdogan's statement that Turkey was "equally close to all Balkan nations" was a much more important part of the speech, Davutoglu said.

He added that "the territories of Serbia, Kosovo or Bosnia" are not part of Turkey, and that Ankara has made no such statements.

"What we are saying is that there are only joint emotions, and only a positive attitude towards Serbia," Davutoglu said.

"If Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić came to Istanbul and said that it is his city, we would applaud, and would not even think that any expansionist intentions are being shown towards Turkey," the Turkish foreign minister continued.

The daily noted in its report that "Turkish-Serbian ties have worsened after Erdogan's statement on Kosovo, which Nikolić slammed as war-mongering and an aggression without weapons, demanding an apology."

Davutoglu described the ties with the Serbian government and Nikolić - as well as those with Nikolić's predecessor Boris Tadic - as "excellent," noting that "improved and developed relations with Serbia have been the chief success of Turkey's foreign policy."

"Overcoming the events of the 1990s, resulting from the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, has been a huge success," Davutoglu said.

"Many believed that the two governments are on opposing sides, but, as opposed to the situation in the 1990s, the relations between Serbia and Turkey have become the backbone of stability in the Balkans," he said.


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