Erdogan's spokesperson: Vucic was well prepared

Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesperson for the Turkish president, has told a Belgrade daily that Recep Erdogan's visit to Serbia went in "an extraordinary atmosphere."

Source: Blic

Kalin, whom Blic says is the only politician authorized to speak on behalf of Erdogan, assessed that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic was well prepared for the visit of the Turkish delegation and showed warmth and hospitality - pointing out as very important that the two presidents visited Novi Pazar and met with the Muslim community there.

As he pointed out, this shows that attention is being paid to the Muslim community in Serbia. "Serbia is opening up towards its citizens, but also towards the world and Europe. In this context, Serbian-Turkish relations will gain new momentum," said Kalin.

He added that during the visit of the Turkish delegation, they also discussed "the call for a dialogue on Kosovo," and said Turkey "supports and encourages Vucic to continue talks between Belgrade and Pristina."

"Such problems require time, leadership, patience, wisdom... and I see it on both sides, Serbia and Kosovo," Kalin told the newspaper, adding that this was "a regional issue that is important for both Serbia and the region."

According to him, this process is between Belgrade and Pristina - "but if Turkey can do something - it will be happy to do so."

"We fully support the process and hope that it will benefit both communities and the whole region. If we can do something to facilitate or speed it up, we will be happy to do it," Kalin said.

As one of the most important agreements signed during the visit of the Turkish delegation, Kalin singled out a treaty preventing double taxation and improving the business environment for Turkish investors. "It is an incentive to invest more in Serbia," he said.

Asked if Serbia can combine military neutrality with good relations with both NATO and Russian, and when the interviewer observed that Serbia has "bought" Russian MiG warplanes, while Turkey has acquired Russian S-400 air defense missile systems - although that country is a NATO member - Kalin replied by saying that "in today's world it is necessary to expand foreign policy, and not focus on only one partner."

"Just because we are a part of NATO, or because we want to join the EU, does not mean that we should have bad relations with the Russians, that is a Cold War mentality," he said, adding that the acquisition of the S-400s was Turkey's sovereign decision.

As far as Serbia is concerned, he thinks that the country is moving along the right path by having good relations with Europe, the Western bloc on the one hand, and with the Russians on the other.

"If you want the policy of balance, good relations with as many actors as possible to protect your national interests, that requires an open mind and open horizons in foreign policy," Kalin said.


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