Gul calls for unity among Bosnia-Herzegovina's three ethnic communities
Beginning an official visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina, President Abdullah Gul yesterday was welcomed with full military honors in Sarajevo by Haris Siladzic, the Bosnian Muslim member of the country's tripartite presidency council. Later addressing deputies at the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Gul urged unity among the country's Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian groups, saying, "Nothing is gained by division." On Turkey's Balkans policy, Gul said, "We want to see a Balkan region which is at the center of Europe, not the periphery of the continent, is not associated with conflict and enmity but rather with friendship, harmony and cooperation, one that has internalized cultural pluralism and an atmosphere of tolerance, and where the best examples of living together in peace are found." Gul also addressed a meeting of the Turkey-Bosnia Herzegovina Business Council, and along his wife Hayrunnisa visited Bas Carsi, a historic bazaar, and spoke with shopkeepers there. Speaking to Turkish and Bosnian businesspeople at the meeting, Gul said, "We're very close to each other. This closeness should be translated into economic and trade cooperation between our countries as well." Gul also stressed the untapped business opportunities in the Bosnian energy sector. First lady Hayrunnisa Gul also visited an orphanage and a university hospital. Accompanying Gul are Industry and Trade Ministry Nihat Ergun, nearly 70 businesspeople, and many academics and journalists. Speaking to reporters in Ankara before his departure, Gul said that during his visit, which comes in the runup to Oct. 3 general elections, he would encourage all sectors of the country to act in solidarity and mutual understanding.