From: Alice Taylor
Press Conference: Vucic and Erdogan will Solve Bosnian Crisis

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that he, along with Serbian President Aleksander Vuciv will solve the crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina during a press conference held after the two met in Ankara on Tuesday (18 January).

“We have agreed to bring together Serb, Croat and Bosnian leaders to solve the crisis…our aim is to bring an end to tensions in Bosnia using a positive approach,” Erdogan said. He added he respects Bosnia’s territorial integrity and emphasized the dangers of ethnic divide.

“I have told Mr. Vucic that Turkey fully respects Bosnia and Herzegovina’s territorial integrity,” he said. Vucic reportedly reiterated this respect for territorial integrity.

Erdogan also explained that the two countries have increased their trade volume to $2 billion and aimed to reach $5 billion.

In December, Turkish defence minister Hulusi Akar said Turkey was willing to act as a mediator in the BiH crisis.

“We view Bosnia-Herzegovina as a whole. We have done all we can for its unity and stability, and we will continue to do so,” Akar told reporters after his talks, referring to its Bosniak, Croat and Serb peoples making up one nation.

“If requested, Turkey can work as a mediator in Bosnia-Herzegovina,” Akar said.

The visit took place at the same time as the Turkey-Serbia High-Level Cooperation Council meeting in the capital. Ministers discussed bilateral relations and steps to be taken to deepen them.

“Opinions will be exchanged on regional and international developments, primarily in the Balkans, on the basis of the understanding of maintaining peace and stability,” a statement from Ankara also said Monday.

According to Turkish media, the two countries are set to agree on passport-free travel between them. Further agreements include those on culture, tourism, education, and economy.