Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is on an official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where during the day he will meet with numerous BiH officials. In the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in front of the Presidency building, a ceremonial welcome ceremony was held with the highest military honors.
Erdogan was welcomed at the solemn ceremony by the Chairman of the BiH Presidency Šefik Džaferović and the member of the Presidency Željko Komšić, which was followed by a meeting of officials, to which the member of the Presidency Milorad Dodik also arrived.
The Turkish president is coming to BiH a few days after the start of the campaign for the general elections in BiH, scheduled for October 2.
When it comes to economic cooperation between BiH and Turkey, Turkey is not among the top ten countries in terms of direct investments.
According to data from the Central Bank and the Agency for the Promotion of Foreign Investments, from the end of the war in 1995 to the end of 2021, Turkish companies invested around 347.5 million euros.
According to data from the Chamber of Foreign Trade, Bosnia and Herzegovina has exported goods worth slightly more than 900 million euros to Turkey in the last six years. Sunflower oil, iron scrap, seats, beef, cardboard, and weapons and detonators were mostly exported.
In the same period, goods worth close to 1.9 billion euros were imported from Turkey to Bosnia and Herzegovina, i.e. one billion euros more than what was exported.
Speaking about the latest political news, although Bakir Izetbegović, the leader of the Bosniaks, denies that it was agreed upon at the initiative of Croatian President Zoran Milanović, and after the meeting between Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, that the mentioned countries would act as mediators in the talks between Bosnia and Herzegovina national leaders on the improvement of political relations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, accurately translated statements after the meeting between Vučić and Erdogan clearly deny it.
Namely, after the Vučić-Erdogan meeting, Izetbegović said that “there is no agreement on holding a meeting between the leaders of the three nations in BiH with the presidents of Turkey and Serbia (and Croatia)”, stressing that this is a misinterpretation.
“It is, in fact, a long-agreed trilateral between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Turkey. Bosnia and Herzegovina will be represented by institutions, not by representatives of parties or nations,” said Izetbegović.
According to him, such a trilateral meeting should take place soon, and BiH will be represented by the BiH Presidency, in which the Croatian people are not represented.
However, the statements after the meeting between Vučić and Erdogan deny Izetbegović.
According to a Reuters report, after meeting with Vučić, Erdogan said the following:
“After these (Serbian) elections, we want to gather the leaders of the three nations and hold a meeting with them. With this meeting, we would take steps towards preserving the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We want to gather the three leaders – Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs – and achieve this goal. The talks could be held in Istanbul or Belgrade”.
Svetlana Cenić, said that it has already become a regular occurrence that Erdoğan comes, or goes to see him during the elections, such as a regular occurrence, a meeting with Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, on the other sides.
“We are already used to that. I don’t know what should be interpreted except that it goes to the opening of the mosque in Sisak and that there will be a delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina. So there will be a lot of pictures, a lot of everything, a lot of emotional and dramatic moments, and all of that is targeted for the campaign. And that is more common knowledge, I don’t know who is surprised,” said Cenić.
She added that she would be surprised if it were otherwise.
“I would be shocked if that didn’t happen. This has been a well-established thing for years,” said Cenić.
The last time Erdoğan visited Bosnia and Herzegovina was in August last year. Back then, in addition to state duties, he was best man at the wedding of Jasmina Izetbegović, the daughter of the president of the Democratic Action Party (SDA), Bakir Izetbegović.