LETTER TO THE EDITOR REGARDING A SCANDAL CONFERENCE
On 20th, November was the twentieth anniversary of the Dayton Peace Agreement. This peace agreement, which is still in power introduced the obscure political system in Bosnia and Herzegovina and nowadays disables country’s every improvement and prosperity as well as its prospective EU membership. Still, this agreement and what it brought to my country are the realities we have to accept and live with. As a Ph.D. candidate at the international relations department, I am totally aware that such anniversary is a moment when it is needed to make a review of the past twenty years and of course, give some comments and suggestions about possible future developments of the country.
But this did not make my shock less when I learned that in Istanbul there was to be held a conference which is the reason I had to write this. The conference was to be organized by TUİÇ (Türkiye Uluslararası İlişkiler Çalışmaları - International Relations Studies Turkey), known as an association founded by students at the international relations at the universities in Turkey. The title of the conference was “20 Years with Dayton and Economic and Political Prospects of Republika Srpska”. The only speaker at the Conference was supposed to be Prof. Dr. Miloš Šolaja from the University of Banja Luka. The conference was to be held in partnership with Yıldız Teknik Üniversitesi and its Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies.
If such conference would be held in Banja Luka it would be just a part of our bitter reality. I am not sure if it would be possible that such conference is held even in Belgrade because current Serbian Prime Minister is trying to keep good relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina in general. Furthermore, he tries to have especially good relations with Bosniak member of the presidency, showing his readiness for reconciliation. Then how is it possible that such a conference was about to held in Istanbul, in Turkey, in the country known for its traditionally good relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and unmeasurable love and compassion its people have for our country. Turkey's foreign policy towards Balkan countries is known for its emphasis on state-building and strengthening the central states' institutions in order to achieve a stability in the region. The policy towards Bosnia and Herzegovina is marked with strong support to the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina and not its entities separately.
If conference about Dayton's 20th anniversary was to be held, against what I have nothing to say, it should have a different title, with emphasis on Bosnia and Herzegovina and entities and its future could be discussed as a secondary topic. Because Dayton Agreement itself gives priority to state and not to entities, entities are not the real subject of international relations.
I am not sure if the organizers of this conference are aware of all the facts I mentioned above, but I doubt that someone could not be if they are about to organize some event like this. I have no other option but to conclude that this was either a provocation and mocking with the official foreign policy of the Republic of Turkey or just a high level of ignorance. At the same time, this is disrespect to all suffering people in Bosnia and Herzegovina went through and are even going through nowadays. Anyway, thanks to the prompt reactions of Bosnian students in Turkey the event was canceled. In case it was held I am sure it would at least cause a diplomatic scandal if not even more serious consequences for two countries relations.
At the end, what to say but, dear Turkish friends, if you really love us, Bosnians or Bosniacs, as you wish, as much as you claim, first try to know more about us, who we are indeed and what is our history and current state like and then show your love through appropriate actions.