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Erdogan Attends Commemoration for Srebrenica Victims in Bosnia

Turkey's president Rejep Tayyip Erdogan (C-R) pays his respect as he with others decorate the vehicle carrying the remains of 33 victims of the Srebrenica massacre, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, July 9, 2019.

Thousands of people, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, attended a commemoration ceremony in Sarajevo on Tuesday before the 24th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, the worst mass killing in Europe since World War II.

The ceremony in front of the Bosnian presidency building in the capital honored 33 newly identified victims of the July 11-22, 1995 massacre whose remains will be buried at a memorial site near Srebrenica at a formal ceremony on Thursday.

More than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed in and around the U.N.-protected enclave by Bosnian Serb troops during the civil war in July 1995. Most of the victims' remains have been found in mass graves near Srebrenica, but more than 1,000 are still considered missing.

”Our only mission is to find bodies, bones of our children and that war criminals face justice because of it,” said Munira Subasic, who lost two sons and her husband in the massacre.

Erdogan attended a regional summit in Sarajevo.

Although the massacre was branded genocide by international courts, Serbian and Bosnia Serb officials continue to refuse to refer to it as that.

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, who also was at the summit, said Srebrenica was a “horrible crime,” but again stopped short of calling it “genocide.”

Nine Serbian rights groups said in a statement Tuesday that it is “shameful” that no ruling Serb official has ever called the widely and internationally accepted fact that what happened in Srebrenica was the worst kind of ethnically-inspired crime.