Nikola Kalinic who plays for the Serbian national basketball team and also for BC Fenerbahçe has defended the recent comments he made in an interview. In Serbia, Kalinic was faced with insults due to his allegedly “unpatriotic” remarks.
“Some of my compatriots live in the past. They are still in the Ottoman Empire and remember everything what Ottoman Empire did in both Serbia and Balkans. I tried to explain this in an interview which has been wrongly understood, or they understood it in the way they like it”, Kalinic told Trendbasket. “I don’t care about what has happened before 10 or 20 years, and I especially don’t care about what happened 500, 600 years ago, including the Battle of Kosovo”, he went on.
“If somebody is good to me, I will return it in the same way. If somebody is bad, I will not pay attention. There are some people who didn’t understand me and said that I should become a Turk. That’s rubbish. I love Turkey. I also love Serbia. Serbia is my country, I was born there, I grew up there, my family is there. Why one cannot choose both countries at the same time”, Kalinic said.
“When I started to travel throughout Europe, not just because of basketball, but also with my friends, we have expected what we have been reading in the newspapers or watched in TV. And that is: ‘Serbs are the best nation in the world, the whole world is against us, and they hate us because we are the best’. During that journeys I have been asked people which I have met what they think about my country. They did not know what to say. ‘You mean Siberia’, they asked. ‘No I mean Serbia and Balkans, you must know, everybody knows about Serbia’”, Kalinic paraphrased.
He said that he thought this “cases” have been the exceptions. “However, it happened few more times and I realized that what I have watched on TV or read in the newspapers was, maybe, not right. I tell the people: ‘go to Turkey, to Istanbul’. There are cheap flights. ‘Talk to people and you will see that nobody is interested in the Ottoman Empire or in what occurred five centuries ago’”.
Kalinic has been playing for Fenerbahçe since 2015./IBNA