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Turkey, Bosnia, and Serbia: A Balkans Breakthrough?

Fulya Inci writes for EA:

Could this be a Balkans breakthrough? Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced that Bosnia will open an embassy in Belgrade as the result of a trilateral meeting held in Turkey this week.

Serbian, Bosnian, and Turkish foreign ministers gathered for the fifth time since October, with Turkey mediating to repair the diplomatic ties between two Balkan countries. There have been diplomatic relations between Serbia and Bosnia, but they were frozen for three years after Belgrade rejected Bosnia's ambassador. While low-level diplomacy had been conducted, the restoration of full relations is crucial for bilateral ties. Bosnian Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj said, “The appointment of the ambassador is a concrete result. We’re looking for this achievement to continue. This is very important for prosperity and stability in the Balkans.”

Davutoglu said the meetings will continue, with discussions in Sarajevo next month and in Belgrade in April. He added that the aim is to make the Balkans the center of cooperation and stability: “Balkanization will mean stabilization in the future.”

Although leaders are showing willingness for a solution, overcoming the confusion in the Balkans, especially in Bosnia, will be difficult. The country is already facing a constitutional crisis, as the political system formed by the Dayton Peace Agreement in 1995 is on the brink of collapse. Bosnia’s two autonomous entities,the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska and the Croat-Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) federation, have each demanded more authority and the system is deadlocked as a result of different interests. Recently, Bosnian Serbs pledged to hold a referendum abaut Dayton, but it is being interpreted as a threat of independence from the international community. Answering a question abaut the issue in the Ankara meeting, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic emphasized his country's policy of respecting territorial integrity, “The solution in Bosnia should be found through dialogue. We’re not going to change our policy.”

Meanwhile, the international community, including the European Union and the United States have been silent abaut the current developments. According to some Turkish journalists, EU officials are plagued by Turkey’s mediation in the region.

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Reader Comments (4)

It will be interesting to see what happens once Radovan Karadzic's trial is over. If convicted of all charges, claims of illegitimacy could be made on the Republika Srpska -- and with it -- calls for stripping it of its autonomy. It's scary.

February 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDave

...nullify and do away with it.

February 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Dave.. the Republika Srpska we know today is far different from Karadzic's RS. This entity we know today is with different borders and legitimized and internally established in the Serbian part of Bosnia to ever strip its autonomy. Republika Srpska will only cease to exist when it joins the rest of Serbia. Until then, RS lives on.

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNikola

Nikola, RS will dissapear, the serbs wil never be awarded for their entity. Entity that is created with genicide. Bosnians will fight again, this time they will not be surprised and weaponless.

February 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaradjordjevic

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