ANKARA (AA) – The foreign minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina has warned that the radicalized rhetoric recently used by Serb leader Milorad Dodik has revived the fear of political turmoil in the Muslim Balkan republic.
On her country being granted European Union membership candidacy and the January 9 celebration of the anniversary of Republika Srpska’s founding in defiance of Bosnia’s Constitutional Court ruling, Turkovic said: “We are very concerned. Particularly the citizens of (the capital) Sarajevo are very concerned.
“It’s not good at a time when the new government is being formed when everybody is talking about finding the lowest possible denominator to go ahead,” she said.
Bosnian Serbs who do not share their ethnic and religious identity with the majority Bosniak Muslims consider January 9 to be their state’s most important holiday. In 2015, however, Bosnia’s Constitutional Court ruled that celebrating Republika Srpska Statehood Day could be discriminatory to other ethnic groups in the country.
Dodik took a radical approach, Turkovic said, adding: “All those signs in rhetoric coming are showing that he’s not changing, and that actually he is becoming more and more radical and whatever you try, whatever concession you give him, he does not respect it. He wants more.”
Criticizing the international community’s lack of a serious response to this situation, she said: “We all are preaching about equality. We all are preaching about the protection of human rights, but… the reaction is missing. And it is very dangerous.”
Stressing the difficulties of this situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, she said: “I think that we are entering into a very dangerous fear, and the more you let Dodik do what he wants, he’s not correcting his attitude. He’s going further and further.”
Candidate status for EU membership
Candidate status presents a “very important step forward” in Bosnia’s recent history, Turkovic said, adding it would be “much better if that happened before the election because it will give the signal to people where they see their destiny and where they are heading to.”
EU leaders approved the decision at a summit in Brussels following a recommendation by the European Commission in October last year and voting in the European Council and General Affairs Council in December.
Expressing her gratefulness to all countries that contributed to her country’s candidate status, she noted “however, it is just the beginning. We have 14 preconditions to fulfill.”
The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina was established by the Dayton Peace Agreement that ended the long and brutal Bosnian War in 1995. Its panel consists of two Bosniaks, two Serbs, two Croats and three foreign judges and its decisions are legally binding.