News / Europe

Turkey: No Time to Waste Fixing Bosnia

Anti-government protesters block Alipasina street holding banner that reads "EU help," Sarajevo, Feb. 11, 2014.
Anti-government protesters block Alipasina street holding banner that reads "EU help," Sarajevo, Feb. 11, 2014.
Reuters
Regional power Turkey called on Wednesday for urgent political and economic reforms in Bosnia after the worst bout of social unrest in the impoverished Balkan country since its 1992-95 war.
 
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davotuglu made his appeal during a visit to Sarajevo as hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets for a second week over unemployment, corruption and political inertia in the former Yugoslav republic.
 
Some members of the European Union, Bosnia's chief sponsor, have said the protests are a wake-up call after years of political stagnation rooted in a labyrinthine power-sharing system created under a 1995 peace deal.
 
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is expected to visit Sarajevo next week amid calls from some in the 28-nation bloc to accelerate Bosnia's integration.
 
"Today is the day to act in Bosnia and we must not wait any longer," Davutoglu said.
 
"Bosnia urgently needs international aid in the form of a new package of political and economic reforms."
 
Bosnia, whose central government has limited powers, is made up of an autonomous Federation dominated by Muslim Bosniaks and Croats and an autonomous Serb Republic. It has a three-member presidency with a representative from each major ethnic group.
 
Turkey is particularly influential among the Bosniaks, who are driving the protests. Much of the Balkans, including Bosnia, spent five centuries under Ottoman Turkish rule.
 
Suspicion and anger
 
Bosnia's Orthodox Christian Serbs and Roman Catholic Croats often view Turkey's role with suspicion, believing it supports Bosniak hopes for a greater centralization of power in Sarajevo, something they oppose.
 
Fueled by anger over factory closures in the former industrial hub of Tuzla, protesters last week set fire to government buildings in the city, in Sarajevo and two other towns, fighting with police in an unprecedented outburst of social unrest.
 
Several hundred people were injured, most of them police.
 
The violence has subsided and, though persistent, the protests are now small.
 
The crisis has already brought down four of 10 cantonal administrations in the Bosniak-Croat Federation and protesters are now calling for the resignation of its government.
 
The turmoil has exposed deep social discontent over the state of the economy, unemployment of more than 27 percent and a broken, unwieldy political system — set down by the 1995 Dayton peace accord — that has served to perpetuate ethnic divisions.
 
"The Dayton peace agreement was of outmost importance for it helped end the war but it is obvious that it now hampers the functioning of the country," Davutoglu said.
 
British Foreign Secretary William Hague also called on Wednesday for a "renewed effort" by the EU to help Bosnia.
 
Bakir Izetbegovic, a Bosniak who shares the country's rotating presidency with a Serb and a Croat, said Ashton was expected to come to Sarajevo with EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fule. Bosnia hopes eventually to join the EU and NATO.
 
Trying to harness what has so far been an apparently spontaneous outpouring of anger, informal protest leaders were due on Wednesday to establish a Citizens' Assembly to channel their demands.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukraine PM Warns Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Popeye
February 15, 2014 4:50 AM
Hmmm, this is a mostly Bosniak protest, not Serb, not Croat. They want to use chaos to achieve their goals of unified Bosnia under their control. That is the main reason behind these protests, you won't see protests in Republic of Srpska or in cities with Croat majority.

In Response

by: Bob
February 18, 2014 7:58 PM
I agree with Popeye 100%. This is a pure Muslim protest that wants to centralize Bosnia. They have been trying to do this from the moment they tried to leave Bosnia without Serb support in the early 90s before the war started. Hell its the reason the war started. I dont believe that we will have another war on our hands, but they muslims (or Bosniaks, what ever they are called now) need to understand that Rep of Srpska is not going anywhere.

In Response

by: Mel from: UK
February 16, 2014 8:41 PM
Popeye, your statement is so wrong and untrue! People have had enough of false promises, poverty and discrimination. Of course there were protests in predominantly Serb and Croat run areas although not as massive and destructive. Why? They live quite good in comparison.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid