Bosniak president-elect: Turkey ties should be improved

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – Bosniak President-elect Sefik Dzaferovic has said Turkey's friendship is important for the country and the relations should be improved.

Three members compose Bosnia and Herzegovina's presidency — one Serb, one Bosniak, and one Croat — through a rotating chairmanship.

Dzaferovic from the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) is to serve a four-year term following Sunday's election as the Bosniak member of the presidency.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Dzaferovic evaluated Bosnia's current political situation and bilateral relations with Turkey.

"Turkey is a very important partner of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Turkey supports our NATO and EU membership bids, it does not interfere in our affairs. Turkey is a disinterested friend of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our relations with Turkey should be improved," said Dzaferovic.

Speaking about the Sarajevo-Belgrade highway, Dzaferovic said that the project will get Bosnia closer to east.

"Turkey is running very favorable conditions for Bosnia and Herzegovina and this project. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan," said Dzaferovic.

Dzaferovic, who currently serves as deputy chairman of the House of Representatives, said the first steps he will take after officially taking over his duties in the presidential council will be focused on stability, economic development and integration.

He pointed out that Bosnia and Herzegovina would achieve many political, economic and social goals with an EU membership.

"EU membership has a special importance for this part of the world. If the Western Balkan countries are all EU members, relations in the region will improve, border problems will be solved and people living in the region will have a brighter future," said Dzaferovi.

Dzaferovic said NATO membership would contribute significantly to security in the region, as well as achieve political stability and the development of the economy.

"NATO is not just a defense unit. The sphere of influence is much broader. I believe that the perspective for the Western Balkan countries is NATO membership. We are in the NATO region," said Dzaferovic.

Dzaferovic pointed out that the role of the presidential council in the process of forming the new cabinet is of great importance.

"Considering the current situation of Bosnia, it needs a broad coalition and a strong majority in parliament," said Dzaferovic.

Referring to the relations between Bosnia and neighboring countries, Dzaferovic said regional cooperation was of great importance.

"The more our neighbors respect us, the more we respect them. Their duty is to respect Bosnia-Herzegovina's sovereignty, territorial integrity and not take steps to harm our country's values," Dzaferovic said.

In the elections held in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday, Dzaferovic was elected with 37.1 percent of the vote to the Bosniak membership of the Presidency Council,while Milorad Dodik declared victory for the Serb seat with 53.8 percent of the votes tallied, and Zeljko Komsic won 53 percent of the vote for Croat membership of the Presidency Council.

According to election authorities, 53.35 percent of voters — or 1.73 million people — cast ballots at 5,794 polling stations.