President Milanović Meets with President of the Republic of Turkey Erdoğan

21. September 2021.

In the scope of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the President of the Republic Zoran Milanović held a bilateral meeting with the President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

After his meeting with the Turkish President, President Milanović stated that they had a friendly talk about Bosnia and Herzegovina. “What I say in public, I say at such meetings too. Also attending the meeting on the Turkish side were the Foreign and Defense Ministers, a high-level and powerful delegation. I don’t know of any state that came to New York with a stronger delegation”, President Milanović said, adding that their discussion was quite open and very pleasant.

“I underlined to Mr. Erdoğan that there is absolutely no one in Croatia who will broadcast stories about Mostar and Herzegovina separating, something we hear from others about other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. That isn’t smart or necessary. In Croatia no one advocates such politics and outcomes or thinks in those terms”, President Milanović noted.

President Milanović commented on the arrival of former President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović in New York saying that she didn’t come as part of the Croatian delegation. “She didn’t come with me. She called me about a month ago, and said she would go to New York, and asked if she could be part of our delegation. I said of course, indeed. I am well aware of what she does, it deals a lot with the Olympic Committee and some initiatives, that aren’t irrelevant, she has work. If the Croatian state can provide a platform, why not? That’s all. Later I found out she is not listed in the delegation because of technicalities, precedence, then the Mission registered her separately. That’s that. We have spoken today”, the President said.

Asked why the meeting that was scheduled with the UN Secretary-General was cancelled, President Milanović explained it was not meant to be a meeting just a photo op and a five-minute conversation. “At that moment I felt that I have something else more productive, an informal meeting concerning the region, state business”, the President explained.

Asked if Croatia is jealous of Serbia’s economic success as Serbian President Vučić states, and says that that is why he mentions him in New York, President Milanović replied: “That is a never-ending subject. The role that some people played in our areas in the last thirty years cannot be dismissed. Blood was shed, fires were set, people were killed, and some people encouraged it. Croatia, in the manner of a gentleman, let it pass with reason and for us that’s the end of the story, but will we stick our heads in the sand as some others do, many in Serbia, we will not. I think that Vučić is proud of what he did. This is something that has to be mentioned occasionally for the sake of the Croatian public and their emotions, especially when someone loses one’s cool, and dispatches daily some of their political figures, spokespersons and instigators to say anything that comes to their mind on their behalf. That is dirty, cheap, and we see that”, President Milanović stated.

“As far as jealousy is concerned, Serbia has a higher GDP than Luxembourg. In terms of a general level of development, Serbia isn’t at the level of Croatia, and we are not content with our level. We always want more and in my view we wasted many years and much time”, President Milanović said, wishing Serbia all the best, and added that Serbia is actually at the level of Albania, which is developing and moving forward. “The per capita GDP of Serbia and Albania are very close, Croatia and Serbia are not close at all, according to all parameters we live better and richer in Croatia, yet we are not satisfied”, President Milanović replied.

PHOTO: Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia / Dario Andrišek