Home Page
 
News 19 Jul 16

Bosnia's Muslims Keep Worried Eye on Turkey

Bosniaks - Bosnian Muslims - many of them admirers of President Erdogan, are keenly following latest developments in Turkey, where a military coup was quashed at the weekend.

Rodolfo Toe
BIRN
Sarajevo
 
 A group of Bosnian residents protesting in support of Erdogan on Saturday in the capital, Sarajevo. Photo: Anadolu.

Bosnians are closely following political developments in Turkey, where President Recep Erdogan succeeded in crushing an attempted military coup on Friday night.

“Turkey is really important for Bosnia, so what happens in Ankara or Istanbul has a big impact on our country," Sead Murtic, a 59-year-old resident from Sarajevo, told BIRN.

“The Turkish government and citizens have helped our country a lot in the past … of course, we were deeply concerned after we found out what was happening on Friday," Samir Zubovic, a 20-year-old student from Sarajevo, added.

Interest about what happens in Turkey is huge in Bosnia for both political and historical reasons, observed Boro Kontic, the director of Mediacenter in Sarajevo, a network dealing with freedom of the press and promoting independent journalism.

“In Bosnia, or at least in some regions, there is some kind of historical sentiment [of attachment] towards Turkey, which is also reflected in the attitude of some of the media," Kontic noted.

In divided Bosnia, this warm attitude is not spread all over the country, however, and is largely restricted to Bosniaks [Bosnian Muslims].

Newspapers and media targeting Bosnian Croats, like the Mostar-based Dnevni List, or the Bosnian Serbs, like the Banja Luka-based paper Nezavisne Novine, show far less interest in the topic, Kontic noted.

“The Party of Democratic Action, [the SDA - the biggest Bosniak party] based part of its election campaign in 2014 by reaffirming a kind of connection with Turkey and with President Erdogan,” Kontic recalled.

In recent years, Turkish influence in Bosnia has grown. Commercial exchanges between the two countries and investments from Turkey in Bosnia have all increased.

Ankara has also cemented cultural ties with Muslim Bosnia, partly by funding the restoration of the country's old Ottoman-era heritage, as BIRN reported.

Bosnia formed part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries until Austria-Hungary occupied it in 1878 and annexed in 1908.

After news of the failed coup broke, Bosniak politicians rushed to express solidarity with Erdogan.

The Bosniak member of the Bosnian Presidency, SDA leader Bakir Izetbegovic, called the attempted coup "a menace" which might interrupt "the development of democracy in Turkey.

“Erdogan ... has strong support here, amongst us in Bosnia," Izetbegovic told Turkish Anadolu news agency.

A small rally in support of President Erdogan was organised in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, on Saturday.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Headlines:

obscure-croatian-ngo-announces-ustasa-commander-plaque-06-26-2017
26 Jun 17

Far-Right Croatian NGO to Honour Ustasa Commander

A marginal far-right NGO announced it will put up a plaque honouring Jure Francetic, the commander of a Croatian World War II fascist Ustasa unit responsible for large-scale crimes against Serbs and Jews.

26 Jun 17

The Balkans Today: 26th June - 30th June 2017

26 Jun 17

Macedonia in Line for Busy Political Week

25 Jun 17

Albania Awaits General Elections Results

25 Jun 17

LIVE: Albanian General Elections 2017

Premium Selection

bosnia-s-ex-refugees-use-language-skills-in-call-centres-06-25-2017
26 Jun 17

Bosnia’s Ex-Refugees Use Language Skills in Call Centres

When German-speaking clients get through to a call centre, there is a good chance that the operator on the other end of the line is a Bosnian who found refuge in Germany during the 1992-5 war.

serbia-s-new-pm-likely-to-stay-in-vucic-s-shadow-06-26-2017
26 Jun 17

Serbia’s New PM Likely to Stay in Vucic’s Shadow

While Ana Brnabic awaits confirmation in parliament as Serbia’s new Prime Minister, experts say the real decisions will continue to be taken by her patron, President Aleksandar Vucic.

23 Jun 17

Albania Enjoys Calmest Ever Election Campaign

23 Jun 17

Romanian Top Filmmakers Fight for Reform

Latest News from the Balkans

26 Jun 17

Macedonia in Line for Busy Political Week

25 Jun 17

Albania Awaits General Elections Results