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News 10 Oct 17

Tight Security Surrounds Turkey's Erdogan in Serbia

Serbian and Turkish police are pulling out all the stops for the high-profile visit to Serbia of Turkey's head of state.

Maja Zivanovic

Serbian city Novi Pazar ahead of the visit of Turkish President, October 10. Photo: Betaphoto/Ishak Slezovic/MO

The visit to Serbia of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been accompanied by even tighter security measures than those surrounding the visits of Russian President Vladimir Putin or former US Vice President Joe Biden, according to the Serbian media.

President Erdogan's suite arrived in Serbia on Monday along with several planes bringing 185 businessmen and eight ministers in total.

According to Serbia's Vecernje novosti newspaper, 50 personal body guards, as well as 3,000 Serbian policemen and members of special forces will guard the President on his stay.

Turkey's Anadoly news agency reported on Sunday that Turkish and Serbian business communities expected amendments to a free trade deal to be made official during the visit, which was agreed during a meeting of the two countries' presidents in New York in May.

“Given that political opponents tried to liquidate him last year, it is not at all surprising that the absolute leader of Turkey gives so much attention to his personal security,” Vecernje novosti said.

Another Serbian media outlet, Srpski telegraf, reported on Monday that ten days ago Ankara sent security teams to check all the locations and routes that the Turkish President will use.

Traffic in the Serbian capital will be under the special regime used when high-ranking officials are visiting the country.

It has been announced that Erdogan will also visit Novi Pazar, the largest city in the mainly Bosniak [Muslim] Sandzak region in southwest Serbia. Ahead of his visit, billboards with his picture and Turkish flags were put up all over Novi Pazar.

However, economic ties between the two countries, alongside other topics, will provide the main focus for the visit.

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