Turkish President Erdogan (Again) Coming to Croatia?

By 31 October 2016

Erdogan might attend a ceremony marking the beginning of construction of a mosque in Sisak.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could be among guests at the ceremony which will mark the beginning of construction of a mosque and Islamic cultural centre in Sisak. It would be his second visit to Croatia in just a year, after the Turkish President in April attended the ceremony marking the centenary of the official recognition of Islam in Croatia, reports Večernji List on October 31, 2016.

Information on Erdogan's possible arrival in Croatia has been unofficially confirmed by his advisor for Balkan countries Sabri Demir. “I have received a call from the Office of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović informing me that President Erdoğan had been invited to participate in the ceremony for the Islamic centre in Sisak on 12 November”, said the adviser, noting that the President immediately accepted the invitation saying that Croatia was a great friend of Turkey and that the construction of the Islamic centre in Sisak was a historical event.

“Since I am in charge of all visits connected with Balkan countries, he immediately asked me to arrange the details of his visit to Croatia and the ceremony, which will be one of the most important events not only for Muslims in Sisak, but in whole Croatia. I can tell you that President Erdogan is looking forward to coming to your country and I am sure he will soon be in Croatia”, said Demir.

However, Office of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović could not confirm that the visit will take place. President’s spokesman Luka Đurić said that, to his knowledge, such an invitation had not been sent and that the date of the reported visit did not correspond with the activities of the President. “I have checked with an adviser who confirmed it. The construction of the centre was discussed during Erdogan’s visit to Zagreb, but there has been no official invitation. However, if there are any news, I will let you know”, said Đurić.

Erdogan’s visit to Croatia in April was also held in strict secrecy until just a few days before the scheduled date, due to security reasons. His visit drew small-scale protests from NGOs due to human rights violations in Turkey. Given the recent events in the country, it could be expected that protests this time would be larger.