Erdoğan woos voters in Sarajevo
A month before the parliamentary and presidential elections in Turkey President Erdoğan has visited Sarajevo to drum up support for his campaign among Turkish citizens living abroad. He said that terrorist organisations and their foreign henchmen needed "an Ottoman box on the ear". According to the organisers of the event around 10,000 people from all over Europe attended. Commentators who were also present describe their experiences.
Bad memories of the past
Novica Mihajlovič, a journalist with the daily paper Delo, attended Erdoğan's campaign rally in Sarajevo and draws comparisons with the past:
“A sea of Turkish flags, pictures of the great leader, hymns of praise to Erdoğan - an iconography from a different era which we in Sarajevo remember well, even if the symbols were different. ... 'One flag! One people! One leader!' Several thousand people chanted this slogan enthusiastically during the event. It sounds like something we used to hear at least eight decades ago. And it didn't end well back then.”
Strong ties to Ankara
Erdoğan's speech in Sarajevo was a double-pronged campaign event, Večernji list comments:
“While the Serbian and Bosnian governments are sending (dishonest) lover's oaths to Brussels, their hearts are beating for Moscow or Ankara. The clearest example of this was Erdoğan's campaign rally in Sarajevo on Sunday at which he stressed political, cultural, economic and all other ties to Bosnia and Herzegovina. ... Erdoğan sent above all indirect messages. He defied Europe and let it be understood that if he is forbidden from campaigning in the EU he will nonetheless campaign in the EU's front yard (namely in Bosnia). The second unspoken message was his support for Sebija Izetbegović as the SDA [party's ] candidate for the post of Bosnian member of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina [in the run-up to the Bosnian parliamentary elections in October].”