In Kosovo, Erdogan speaks out against 21st century "clashes of symbols"
On his current visit to Kosovo, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday received an honorary doctorate from Pristina University, in a ceremony also attended by his Kosovar counterpart Hashim Thaci. Addressing the ceremony, Erdogan said, "The hearts of Turks and their cousins in the Balkans beat together." Stressing that there is no place in the 21st century for a clash of symbols or enmity between religions and civilizations, Erdogan said, "The ancient history of humanity is rife with the wreckage left by wars over symbols. In an age of globalization, intolerance or antagonism cannot play a role in shaping the fate of countries." During his speech, Erdogan also read out verses by Mehmet Akif Ersoy, the Kosovar-origin writer of Turkey's national anthem. Turkey was among the first countries three years ago to recognize the independence of Kosovo, which is home to a large population of ethnic Turks, and Erdogan this week said Turkey is ready to mediate reconciliation talks between Kosovo and Serbia, which has refused to recognize the independence of the former autonomous province.