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“Croatia as a bridge between Central Europe, the Mediterranean and South East Europe” 19th Diplomacy and Peace Seminar
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13/12/2019 - Viewed 287 times

 

 

ANKARA – 19th Diplomacy and Peace Seminar was cordially held by TEPAV, TOBB-ETU and the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Ankara on December 11th, 2019, Wednesday at TEPAV. National and international non-governmental organizations, representatives of public institutions, representatives of foreign missions as well as faculty members and students attended the Seminar.

The meeting began with welcoming remarks by the Director of EU Studies Center at TEPAV, Nilgün Arısan Eralp. Stating Croatia has always been a great partner to Turkey, Arısan Eralp also informed how two countries began their EU accession negotiations together and how they cooperated throughout the process. Arısan Eralp noted that after fulfilling the membership conditions, Croatia became a member in 2013 whereas Turkey confronted a number of problems with the EU. Besides, Croatia being a bridge between Central Europe, the Mediterranean and South East Europe; Arısan Eralp also said that during the Presidency of the EU, she hopes Croatia to play a major role in overcoming the problems between Turkey and the EU.

The Seminar continued with the speech of Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Republic of Croatia, H.E. Gordan Grlić Radman. He began with sharing that this is his first official visit to Turkey as a Minister. Describing Turkish and Croatian ties as strong, he also underlined how these ties date back a long time. He reminded how Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Republic of Croatia following its declaration of independence. Giving another example of the favorable relations, His Excellency cited Demirel, who was the President of Turkey at the time, being the only President of a country to attend Croatia’s first president Franjo Tudman’s funeral. Following this, His Excellency stated Turkey and Croatia’s cultural, lingual as well as culinary similarities. His Excellency also mentioned how both countries serve as a bridge to different regions due to their significant geostrategic positions and support the stability of the region South East Europe. After listing Croatia’s primary objectives during the Presidency of the EU in the first half of 2020, His Excellency ended his speech by quoting the former President of Turkey, Turgut Özal.

Following Croatia’s Minister of Foreign and European Affairs His Excellency Radman, the President of Islamic Community in Croatia Mufti Aziz Hasanovic gave a speech on the multireligious and multicultural society of Croatia. Hasanovic explained how Croatia is positioned at the junction where the East meets the West and expressed his belief that multiculturalism is essential to the development of societies. Drawing attention to the conflicts among different religious groups in the past, Hasanovic stated these conflicts did not harm today’s multicultural composition of Croatia. On that note, Hasanovic asserted that a law was passed in 1906 guaranteeing the equal treatment of all religions in Croatia so as to prevent favoritism. In Croatia, Hasanovic emphasized, the current situation is peaceful between different religious groups today. Hasanovic also claimed that it is highly difficult, almost impossible, to resist multiculturalism and cited that even though a mere 1.5% of Croatian population is Muslim, the community is still represented in the State Committee and therefore help enhance the bilateral relations between Turkey and Croatia.

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