Kosova Dışişleri Bakan Yardımcısı Petrit Selimi'nin Today's Zaman'da Yayımlanan "kosovo Thankful To Turkey For Its Path To Independence" Başlıklı Makalesi , 01.11.2012
Kosovo thankful to Turkey for its path to independence
22 October 2012 / LAMIYA ADILGIZI, İSTANBUL
Turkey is an international power to which Kosovo pays special attention, as Ankara played a major role in Kosovo's independence and its acceptance on both an international and regional level, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo Petrit Selimi has said in an interview with Today's Zaman.
“Turkish diplomacy, run by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, has greatly supported Kosovo's recognition internationally and Kosovo's acceptance in regional cooperation,” Selimi said, adding that Kosovo's success is due in part to friendly relations with Turkey, as well as the EU and the US.
Turkey was one of the first countries to officially recognize Kosovo's independence from Serbia in early 2008, and it continues to place special importance on Kosovo, in particular on its stability and border security, through its dynamic foreign policy in the Balkans.
Calling Turkey one of the crucial partners of Kosovo and of all Balkan countries, Selimi stated that Ankara and Prishtine are strategic allies, developing bilateral relations on both an economic and political level. He added that business agreements between the two countries worth 1 billion euros might be the best indication of the relationship between Turkey and Kosovo.
“The economic growth of Kosovo, which has been at 6 percent for five years, is because of cooperation with Turkish businesses,” Selimi said.
“They can definitely play a role in making sure Serbia and Kosovo look at the Turkish model of prosperity, model of growth, model of putting business and action before the words of politics to foster good relations in the future,” Selimi remarked, expressing his gratitude for Turkey's support since the declaration of Kosovo's independence in 2008, which he believes has been instrumental to Kosovo's success worldwide and its inclusion in the international community.
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, although Serbia refused to renounce its claim on the territory. Serbia lost control of Kosovo in 1999 after a NATO military operation against Serbian forces, when Serbia was accused of trying to purge Kosovo of ethnic Albanians to suppress the uprising. After June 1999, when NATO launched an extensive bombing campaign against Serbia, international peacekeepers were allowed into Kosovo and governance was handed over to the United Nations. So far, over 90 countries, including the US, most EU members and Turkey, have recognized Kosovo as an independent sovereign state.
EU-facilitated talks to ease strained relations between Kosovo and Serbia started in March 2011, following a UN resolution, encouraging the two countries to solve the technical issues remaining between them since Kosovo declared independence.
Calling the talks at a technical level positive, and the start of a good phase in the resolution of issues, Selimi said that many issues agreed on both sides are “unfortunately not implemented by Serbia.”
“The European Union in the last reports for both countries told Serbia that if it wants to enter the EU it has to fulfill the Copenhagen criteria of good neighborly relations and implement all of this, which means they have put a condition on Serbia's integration of fulfillment of old agreements and engaging in new talks in more depth,” Selimi said. He further commented that the Republic of Kosovo has been eager to resume negotiations to normalize relations between the peoples and states of Serbia and Kosovo. He says that if both states want to move closer to the EU and to NATO, they first need to normalize relations.
Both sides have been under pressure from Brussels to resume talks, with a new round being launched on Oct. 20 when the prime ministers of Serbia and Kosovo came together in EU-brokered talks in Brussels, for the first time under EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton.
“We agreed to continue the dialogue for the normalization of relations between the two sides, and both committed to working together,” a statement from Ashton said. “We will meet again soon,” Ashton noted, pointing out the importance of dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo in solving outstanding problems, improving the living standards of the people and facilitating Serbia and Kosovo in their EU bids.