International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Turkish Erdoğan arrives in Belgrade, focus of visit on economy

October 07, 2019

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkish President, arrived in Belgrade for the two-day visit on Monday greeted by his Serbia’s counterpart Aleksandar Vucic, with a message that an agreement on the Kosovo issue satisfactory to both sides was of a vital interest for long-term stability and peace in the Balkans, the region “Turkey is a part of,” the Beta news agency reported.

Prior to the visit, he told the Belgrade Politika daily his country supported Serbia’s efforts in economic development and the accession negotiations with the European Union.

“That’s why we support the resumption of the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue (on the normalisation of relations) and the establishment of a long-lasting comprehensive agreement based on free will and consensus of both sides. We are ready to do everything to help solving the problem. Any deal agreed by the two sides will be acceptable to us,” Erdoğan said.

A statement carried by the state RTS TV said the focus of Erdoğan’s visit would be on the trade between the two countries which was over two billion Euros last year, while at the same time, Turkey invested some 200 million Euros in Serbia.

The statement added it was expected that five more Turkish companies open businesses in Serbia during the visit and that Serb start-up and IT companies make first steps towards the Turkish market.

During his stay in Belgrade, Turkish President will meet his Serbia’s counterpart Aleksandar Vucic, take part in the Serbia – Turkey – Bosnia Herzegovina Summit and witness the beginning of the Belgrade – Sarajevo motorway construction.

“Serbia has an important role in preserving regional peace and development,” Erdoğan said, adding that Serbia was strategically situated in the Balkans and that he saw it as a neighbouring country through the two states did not share borders.

Erdoğan added that relations between Ankara and Belgrade were at the highest level ever and that those who “mind Turkish activities” in the Balkans and its strong relations with Serbia were trying to manipulate with Turkish efforts and “present it differently than they are.”

“My advice to them (he did not mention any country in particular) is to think about creating political projects which will contribute to the better future of the Balkans instead of instigating conflicts in the region,” he told the daily.    

Erdoğan was in Serbia in 2017, visiting Belgrade and south-western town of Novi Pazar, mostly populated by local Bosniaks, Vucic was in Turkey three times last year, in May, July and October, and frequently talked to Erdoğan by phone.

Source: http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a532312/Turkey-supports-Serbia-s-EU-integration.html

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