Bosnia-Herzegovina commemorates 1st president's death

By Talha Ozturk

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – Bosnia and Herzegovina on Friday held a ceremony to commemorate the 15th death anniversary of the country's first president Alija Izetbegovic.

The state-level commemoration — attended by Izetbegovic's relatives and Bosnian state officials as well as Turkey's Ambassador in Sarajevo Haldun Koc and President of the Turkish Constitutional Court Zuhtu Arslan — was held at the Kovaci Cemetery in capital Sarajevo, where Izetbegovic's grave stands.

Denis Zvizdic, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina said that Izetbegovic was a helpful man of the state and a philosopher.

Prayers were held and flowers were laid at the tomb of Izetbegovic.

"Alija was a warrior fighting for an independent and sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina," said Zvizdic.

A conference called "Aliya Izetbegovic and his understanding of law and state" was also held in the capital.

The conference was carried out in cooperation with Turkey's Yildirim Beyazit University and the University of Sarajevo, and with the support of Turkey's Ziraat Bank and the Turkish Embassy in Sarajevo.

Meanwhile, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu commemorated Izetbegovic's death anniversary via his twitter account.

"I commemorate the wise King of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Alija Izetbegovic with respect and mercy at the 15th anniversary," said the tweet.

Friday marks the 15th death anniversary of Alija Izetbegovic, independent Bosnia’s first president and a pivotal figure in the troubled history of the Balkans.

Izetbegovic — a politician, writer and lawyer who came to international prominence during the country’s bitter 1992-1995 war — is commemorated every year on his death anniversary.

Often dubbed the "Wise King", Izetbegovic managed to gain independence for his country on March 1, 1992 — months after Slovenia and Croatia broke away from the former Yugoslavia.

Izetbegovic died in Sarajevo on Oct. 19, 2003 of natural causes, having served as president of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1992 to 1996 and as chairman of the Bosnian presidency until October 2000.