By Milos Mitrovic – Belgrade
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic has canceled trilateral meeting with Turkey and Bosnia that was going to be held in Belgrade this month, source from Serbian Presidency confirmed to IBNA. Earlier this week, Turkish media reported that “Serbia has postponed indefinitely the trilateral meeting with Turkey… after Turkey failed to mend ties with Serbs by expressing regret for the “misinterpretation” of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks on Kosovo”.
Today’s Zaman has learned that “Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s attempt to mend ties with Serbia fell short of Serbian’s expectations”.
“Kosovo is Turkey and Turkey is Kosovo”, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said during his visit to this disputed territory on 23 October. Erdoğan has been accompanied by Albanian PM Edi Rama and Kosovo PM Hashim Thaçi.
On 24 October Serbian Foreign Ministry issued press release stating that Erdoğan`s speech “has not been friendly one”. Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkic has summoned Turkish Ambassador Mehmet Kemal Bozay on 25 October.
At the same time, Deputy PM Aleksandar Vucic – who is perceived as “the most powerful man in Serbia” – has said that Erdoğan “made big scandal”. He requested “an urgent apologize from both Turkey and its prime minister”.
PM Dacic rendered that “it turns out that it is normal Erdoğan to say “Kosovo is Turkey”, but it is abnormal for us to say “Kosovo is Serbia”. “One cannot act like that in the modern Europe”, Dacic said.
On 26 October President Tomislav Nikolic has announced that he had “frozen” his participation in trilateral cooperation between Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia because of Erdoğan`s speech.
On 1 November Serbian government withdrawn draft law of the accords with Turkey from the Parliament. Agreements with Turkey are on mutual legal assistance in civil and commercial matters, and on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and extradition.
The symbolical heyday of Serbian reaction to Erdoğan`s statement occurred at the reception organized by Turkish ambassador on 29 October. The reception which was held on the occasion of 90 anniversary of the Republic of Turkey has been boycotted by the top Serbian officials and the lower state representatives as well.
The tripartite consultation mechanism among Turkey, Serbia and Bosnia was established in October of 2009 as part of a Turkish initiative, in order to assess developments related to the Balkan territories, Today’s Zaman recalled. The last trilateral meeting among foreign ministers was held in New York on 24 September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and it was agreed that the mechanism would be deepened and extended through new cooperation fields, such as parliaments, diplomatic academies and universities.
When asked about the postponement of the trilateral meetings, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official told Today’s Zaman that “the trilateral mechanism is in its place and working.”