Erdoğan’s bodyguards deserved arrest, says Bosnian border police chief

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This handout photo released and taken on May 20, 2018 by the Turkish presidential press service shows Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C), his wife Emine Erdogan and the chairman of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bakir Izetbegovic (R) during a pre-election rally in Sarajevo on May 20, 2018. President Erdogan arrived in a one-day working visit to Bosnian capital. During the visit, Erdogan will attend convention of Turkish - European Democrats, organized by his party, as a pre-election rally, for all the Turkish nationals who live in Europe, outside Turkey. / AFP PHOTO / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / Kayhan OZER

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s two-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina got off to a rocky start on Monday after a fracas erupted between his security team and local border police, authorities said, according to Deutsche Welle.

Local media reported “pushing” and “verbal exchanges” after the president’s bodyguards refused to hand over their weapons on arrival at Sarajevo airport.

“They were aggressive and behaved as if they were in their own country,” chief of Bosnian border police Zoran Galic told the Dnevni Avaz news website. “They did not respect our laws and deserved to be arrested.”

Border police said the confrontation ended when the Turkish leader stepped off the plane to greet waiting members of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency.

Muslim-majority Bosnia was ruled by the Ottoman Empire for five centuries and shares strong ties with Turkey. 

Shortly after touching down in Sarajevo, Erdoğan visited Turkish soldiers serving in the EU-led peacekeeping mission there. He is also scheduled to attend an economic summit of southeastern European countries where he is expected to have bilateral meetings with members of the presidency.

He is also due to pay his respects to the 8,000 Bosnian Muslims who were killed in the town of Srebrenica in July 1995 ahead of the massacre’s 24th anniversary next week.

“Peace, stability, tranquility and prosperity of the Balkans are extremely important for us. Our country does not have the luxury to watch the developments in this region from a distance,” Erdoğan told a press conference before departing Turkey.

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