News Home » World » Turkey to send commandos to Kosovo in response to Nato peacekeeping call

Around the World

Turkey to send commandos to Kosovo in response to Nato peacekeeping call

Wille Okon 0 Jun 3

Turkey has announced it will be sending commandos to Kosovo on Sunday in response to a Nato request to join the peacekeeping operation after unrest in the north of the country.

In a statement on Saturday, the Turkish defence ministry called for restraint and constructive dialogue to resolve a crisis it said could harm regional security and stability.

The moves comes as the EU called on leaders in Kosovo and Serbia to “immediately and unconditionally” de-escalate tensions and halt “divisive rhetoric”.

“Calm needs to be restored urgently,” the EU high representative for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, said on Saturday. “The European Union condemns in the strongest terms the violent acts against citizens, Kfor [Kosovo Force] troops, law enforcement and media in the north of Kosovo. The violence could have been avoided and must be avoided in the future.”

A political crisis that has spiralled into violence in Kosovo’s north has intensified since ethnic Albanian mayors took office in the region’s Serb-majority area, which led the US and its allies to rebuke Pristina. The majority Serb population had boycotted the April election, allowing ethnic Albanians to be elected.

On Thursday evening the French president, Emmanuel Macron and his German counterpart, Olaf Scholz, called for fresh elections in the north of Kosovo after impromptu talks with the Serbian and Kosovan presidents at the end of a summit of 46 European leaders in Moldova.

On Saturday the EU said it was ready to implement “resolute measures” warning that “failure to de-escalate the tensions will lead to negative consequences”.

It said it expected Kosovo “to act in a non-escalatory way” and to immediately suspend police operations in the vicinity of municipal buildings in the north of the country and allow mayors to “temporarily perform their duties”.

It also expressed concern over Serbia’s decision to put the army on its highest alert status and called on both sides to “act responsibly and engage immediately in the EU-facilitated dialogue”.

In violence on Monday, 30 peacekeepers and 52 Serbs who protested against the installation of the mayors were injured. The violence prompted Nato to announce it would send additional troops on top of 700 already on their way to the Balkan country to boost its 4,000 strong mission.