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News 16 Jul 16

Balkan Leaders Praise Erdogan for Defeating Coup

Balkan leaders have expressed support for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after he defeated an attempted military coup.

BIRN team
Photo: BETA/AP

Leaders from the Balkans greeted President Erdogan's restoration of control in Turkey after the failed attempt at a coup by part of the armed forces.

Forces loyal to President Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday crushed the remnants of the coup attempt, which crumbled after crowds answered his call to take to the streets and dozens of rebels abandoned their tanks, Reuters reported. According to Reuters, more than 90 people were killed in violence that erupted late on Friday.

"Happy for the brotherly Turkish people and our valuable friend, President Erdogan for going out - with full success - from a very difficult night," Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama wrote on twitter.

The Democratic Party, the main opposition party, on Saturday expressed concern over the last developments.

The party "expresses its support for the elected democratic authorities in Turkey, for democracy and the rule of law. Saving the constitutional order and restoring peace and public security is in the interest of Turkish citizens and the country's friends and partners," the party said.

The Bulgarian authorities also condemned the coup attempt in Turkey and said that they were monitoring developments.

Following an extraordinary meeting with the security agencies and the ministers of exterior and defence early on Saturday, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov expressed hope that the situation would be regulated in a legal and democratic way.

“We have always been for respect of the constitution and the laws in any country. There are ways to remove [a government] from power – through elections,” Borissov said, adding that “peace cannot be achieved through war”.

President Rossen Plevneliev said in a statement that the Republic of Turkey was a good neighbour and a strategic partner of Bulgaria.

“For us, the stability and peace in Turkey are of primary importance, as well as respect for human rights,” the President said.

Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry advised all Bulgarian citizens to cancel their trips to Turkey. Those already there are advised not to leave their hotels or apartments.

The three border checkpoints between Bulgaria and Turkey were closed from the Turkish side all night, but by midday on Saturday they had reopened.

Kosovo's Foreign Ministry also called on Kosovo citizens in Turkey to stay in their homes or hotels. It established two phone numbers in case of emergencies, as many Kosovo families spend their holidays on the Turkey coast.

Kosovo Prime Minister Isa Mustafa also expressed support for Erdogan.

“These are challenging moments for Turkey… I hope the situation will stabilise soon without innocent victims,” Mustafa wrote on Facebook.

The Macedonian Embassy in Turkey has advised its citizens, many of whom are on holiday there, to remain in safe locations, not to leave the hotels and resorts where they are staying and to avoid mass gatherings.

Turkey is one of the most popular summer holiday destinations for Macedonians.

Reactions to the coup attempt came also from Bosnia, where Erdogan is popular among the country's Bosniak [Muslim] population.

The Bosniak member of the Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, expressed support to the Turkish President immediately after the news of the coup came.

“We are surprised and all this is very unpleasant. This is a menace to interrupt the path of the democratic development of Turkey, something that unfortunately we have often seen in the past. I hope and I am confident that this will not have success this time,” Izetbegovic said.

“My message to my brother Erdogan is that he has strong support here, amongst us in Bosnia. My message to the Turkish people is that they defend their freedom, democracy, their right to choice … and that they will stay by their President … that in the next hours or days they will defend freedom in Turkey,” Izetbegovic said.

Several Turkish citizens gathered on the main square of Sarajevo old town to express their support for Erdogan on Friday night. Another meeting of support for Turkey has been called for Saturday in Sarajevo, regional TV N1 reported.

Croatia's foreign ministry urged Croatian citizens currently in Turkey to stay in their hotels and homes until the situation stabilises.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic also called on Serbian citizens not to travel to Turkey. He said that Serbia "could not guarantee the security of its citizens" in Turkey.

Vucic told reporters on Saturday that Serbia would send a plane Istanbul to get its citizens back home.

Romania fully supports Turkey’s democratically elected government, leaders said. President Klaus Iohannis on Saturday said Turkey remained a strategic partner for Romania and also a trusted partner inside NATO.

"Turkey’s stability, based on respect for the institutions of the country and the rule of law, is also a key factor for regional and European stability,” Iohannis said.

Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos said Romania, together with the other EU member states, sought a swift return to Turkey's constitutional order.

Bucharest is following closely developments, as many Romanians tourists are now in Turkey.

The Turkish Embassy in Montenegro said the military coup was an attempt to overthrow the democratically elected government, but it was "thwarted by the Turkish people who were joined in unity and solidarity."

The Foreign Ministry called on Montenegrin citizens in Turkey to stay in their homes avoid public places and mass gatherings.

For more background on Turkey-Balkan relations, visit our focus page.  

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