Turkey hopes for strong government in Bosnia: envoy

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – Turkey's Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Haldun Koc has expressed hope that Sunday's elections will bring about a strong government in the country.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is going to polls to pick a national parliament, three members of the national presidency, the parliaments of the country’s two entities and other assemblies on Oct. 7.

"The outcome of the elections will be a result that everyone will accept and respect as a result of a fair and transparent election where the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina will demonstrate their political will. Turkey desires the formation of the most powerful government on these results," Koc told Anadolu Agency.

"We are already advancing our relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina on a very strong basis at all levels, regardless of the election period. This high level of relations before and after the elections will continue without changing its course," he added.

Koc expressed hope that the results from the elections consolidate unity and integrity in the country at the economic, social, cultural and political levels.

"We believe that upward trend in our trade and investment figures will continue after the elections and that a new political will shall contribute to a further increase by a renewed strong will," said Koc.

– Sarajevo-Belgrade Highway Project

Koc said that the project for the construction of a highway connecting Sarajevo to Serbia's capital Belgrade, which is supported by Turkey, will make significant contributions to the regional development.

"We are determined that this project is important, because it is a project that covers all Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia in a regional sense, and has an economic value," Koc said.

"Therefore, we hope that this project, which will be in the best interest of everyone, will continue to contribute to the development of the whole region after the elections. We care about this project both in terms of its political and economic meaning and as a fusion and unification," said Koc.

The project will reportedly cost around 1.8 billion euros ($2.24 billion).

Speaking about a revised Free Trade Agreement between Turkey and Bosnia, Koc said the agreement was near completion.

Koc said the agreement provided some additional facilities related to agricultural and meat products, adding that the deal was re-worked with an eye to increase trade figures.

Speaking about the election atmosphere in the country, Koc said that it was quite normal to see some tension considering the political context of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"The positive point here is that there are no excessive acts in the period so far, no physical action and no violence. When you look at the streets, you see a very calm and reasonable process. What is important is that the process of unity of the country is respected in a way that respects the sovereignty of the country," said Koc.

"We believe that the country will achieve positive and prosperous results in terms of unity and solidarity. Our desire is that the results of these elections contribute to the unity, integrity, economy, and prosperity of Bosnia," he said.