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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid