Even in the circumstances of the probably biggest health challenge for Bosnia and Herzegovina, local politicians cannot refrain from provoking tensions.
Relatively quickly, three members of the BiH Presidency, as a measure to prevent the import of coronavirus cases from abroad, have signed a decree so that the BiH Armed Forces can set up large tents on border crossings to be used to place under quarantine all those who want to enter the country. In these facilities, everyone, including BiH citizens who want to enter the country, must spend 14-days in isolation. If a quarantined person is not infected, then a license for entrance would be issued. The Armed Forces of BiH have already set up the tents, awaiting their first “inhabitants”.
But an issue arose when Serb member of the Presidency, Milorad Dodik, said that Republika Srpska, the entity in BiH with Serb majority, will set up RS Police checkpoints near the border and even on the “inter-entity boundary line”. BiH Minister of Security, Fahrudin Radončić, said that the RS Police will not be setting up any kind of checkpoints on any border.
As if this was not enough, the state had to be ridiculed internationally as well. Namely, shortly after 8 pm on Thursday, media reports said that Dodik, in his capacity as a BiH Presidency member, had a telephone conversation with Turkey President, Recep Tayyip Ergodan.
According to an announced from Dodik’s office, the conversation was focused on the current situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Turkish president promised the Serb member of the BiH Presidency that Turkey would provide aid to BiH in the medical equipment necessary to fight against the coronavirus disease and promised a free export to BiH of medical supplies used in such epidemics. Dodik and Erdogan agreed that a global problem such as a pandemic requires a wide array of measures and global response”, reads a statement from the office of the Serb member of the BiH Presidency.
Just an hour later, Erdogan spoke again with BiH officials, this time with, Bakir Izetbegović, SDA President and Deputy Speaker of the House of Peoples of the BiH Parliament. Bakir is the son of the first BiH President, late Alija Izetbegović, who was a good friend of Erdogan.
It comes as no surprise that the two spoke about the situation caused by coronavirus pandemic.
According to the statement, the officials exchanged information on the current situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey regarding the fight against the spread of coronavirus. Erdogan reiterated that Turkey will help Bosnia and Herzegovina to acquire medical equipment.
“Last week, based on the needs of our expert medical teams, my Office made a specification and sent a request for assistance to the Turkish Ministry of Health. I thanked the Turkish people and the President personally on behalf of all the citizens of our country”, Izetbegović told FENA Agency.
Izetbegović claimed that Erdogan called him, but many believe that he simply could not stand the fact that the Serb member of the BiH Presidency communicated with Erdogan and would take the credit for providing the medical equipment.
In fact, many citizens, in both BiH entities, agree that politicians should not take advantage of these hard times for self-promotion and to avoid creating internal conflicts./ibna