In an exclusive interview with the Anatolia news agency, Tihic said Turkey's friendship was crucial for his country. “Turkey is always with us on all important matters. It is a nice feeling to have such a friend,” Tihic stressed.
While generally giving interviews in the press room of his political party, Tihic greeted the Anatolia correspondent in the room used by late Izetbegovic in the SDA's offices. However, Tihic chose not to sit on the chair that had been used by Izetbegovic.
“Relations between Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina are excellent. Bilateral relations continue to develop each year. There is a continuity in our relations with Turkey. Our relations, and especially economic ones, are rapidly getting better,” he noted.
“The stronger Turkey becomes both politically and economically, the stronger Bosnia-Herzegovina will be in the Balkans. Turkey maintains good relations with not only Bosnia-Herzegovina, but with Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia as well. Turkey's good relations with Russia and the United States are beneficial for Bosnia-Herzegovina,” Tihic added.
The Bosnian politician referred to a visit by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the late Izetbegovic just before the leader passed away. “On that day, Izetbegovic entrusted Bosnia-Herzegovina to Erdoğan,” Tihic stated.
“The friendship of Turkey, President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu are very important for us. Turkey has always stood by us on important matters pertaining to Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is a nice feeling to have a friend like Turkey. We are never alone as long as Turkey is with us,” Tihic underlined.
On the topic of domestic politics, Tihic accused Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Zlatko Lagumdzija for the expulsion of his party from the Bosnian government. He stressed that “if there was a party that should have been expelled from the government due to budgetary reasons, it should have been the SDP.” “The new budget is harmful to Bosnia-Herzegovina. The issue of the budget was used as an excuse to kick our party out of the Bosnian government,” Tihic noted.
“The lack of progress in the coalition has to do with the SDP's wish to control everything. The SDP wants a party that will follow them and not a partner in a coalition. The SDP now wants to place the security apparatus under political control. We were opposed to that. The SDP has no concern for protecting national interests,” Tihic said.
“Another reason for the expulsion of our party from the Bosnian government has to do with the SDP's wish to control public enterprises. Big public companies received individuals who formerly had no managerial experience,” Tihic remarked. “As the SDA, we were opposed to the sale of the BH Telecom. This is one of the reasons that led to the dissolution of the coalition. … This budget does not benefit Bosnia-Herzegovina.”
“I am aware of the fact that the SDA and SDP coalition came at a tough time for Bosnia-Herzegovina,” Tihic noted. “The interests of foreigners are more important for the SDP than the interests of our country. This budget does not benefit Bosnia-Herzegovina. The SDP made a mistake from which our country will suffer for at least three years. It was a great mistake to reduce the budget to 475 million euros from 6 billion.”
“Whatever has been accomplished in Bosnia-Herzegovina was made possible by the SDA. We now have a single army, intelligence and border units,” Tihic underlined.
He described the SDP's decision to dissolve the coalition as “frivolous and irresponsible.” He further asserted that such a decision would lead to negative results for the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina. “We will fight with all our strength and never permit the expulsion of the SDA from the government,” Tihic said.
In response to rumors that the existing political situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina will help the SDA in local elections in October, Tihic stated that he has never made decisions based on winning elections. “I have always worked for the benefit of Bosnia-Herzegovina and will continue to do so,” Tihic said.
SDA, Bosnia-Herzegovina's biggest political party, was pushed out of the Bosnian government after it made it clear that it did not support the 2012 budget. The SDA has been a force in the Bosnian governments and political for 20 years.