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Eastern Europe Geopolitical Watch – From July 9 to July 15, 2022

The Eastern Europe Geopolitical Watch team: Olga Chekhurska, Amandine Paillette, supervised by Clelia Frouté.

07/11/2022: For the 27th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, the Turkish president brings his support to the Bosnian people by qualifying the event as genocide – Amandine Paillette –

On July 11, a commemoration of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre took place at the Potocari Memorial Cemetery in northeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. During this event, more than 8000 men and boys of Muslim faith from the town of Srebrenica were killed by Serbian forces led at the time by General Mladic. The latter, who had taken the enclave by force, had since been sentenced by international justice to life imprisonment, as had Radovan Karadzic, the former political leader of the Bosnian Serbs. Although the Serbian authorities have never recognized this massacre during the intercommunal war as genocide, the International Court of Justice in The Hague qualified it as such in 2007. 

On the occasion of this 27th commemoration, 50 new victims were identified and buried, the youngest being only 16 years old at the time of the massacre. The number of missing people buried in the Potocari cemetery now stands at 6,721. Joseph Borell, head of European diplomacy, and Oliver Varhelyi, Commissioner for Enlargement, went to the site to participate in the commemorative ceremony. The European representatives paid tribute to the victims, saying “It is more than ever our duty to remember the genocide in Srebrenica […] the need to defend peace, human dignity and universal values”. Before finally adding “In Srebrenica, Europe failed and we are facing our shame“. 

While Türkiye denies the existence of the Armenian genocide, committed by the Ottoman Empire from April 1915 to July 1916, Recep Tayyip Erdogan shared his support for the Bosnian people through a video message broadcast during the commemoration ceremony. He said, “We reject moves to minimize the crime of genocide, ignore the suffering of our Bosnian brothers and insult the memory of our martyrs“. “Ensuring the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a strong and prosperous country is our duty to the martyrs we lost in Srebrenica and other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There is no doubt that generations of young people are the guarantee of a peaceful and prosperous Bosnia and Herzegovina” he added. For his part, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, referred to the Srebrenica massacre as a “black mark” in the history of humanity.

07/13/2022: The meeting on the export of Ukrainian grain took place on July 13 between the delegations of Russia, Ukraine, Türkiye, and the UN. -Olga Chekhurska-

According to Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, the meeting in Istanbul on Wednesday July 13 is an important step that will help resolve the food crisis. The Turkish Defence Minister added that the parties discussed joint control at exit and arrival ports, and also studied “details regarding the security of ships carrying grain“. A coordination centre for the export of cereals by sea will be created in Turkey.

Next week, the Ukrainian and Russian delegations will meet again in Turkey to review all the details and sign the final document.

For his part, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres thanked Moscow and Kiev for their willingness to negotiate on the “grain issue” and described today’s meeting as “a ray of hope” to solve the problem of grain deliveries from Ukrainian Black Sea ports. He also hopes that a “comprehensive agreement” could be reached.

Today is an important and substantive step. A step on the way to a comprehensive agreement. We must also do more for struggling people and developing countries getting pummeled by a food, energy and financial crises not of their making”, he said.

The main objective of this meeting was the unblocking of Ukrainian ports for ships exporting grain. According to various estimates, since the beginning of the war, from 4.5 million to 20 million tons of grain had accumulated in Ukraine, due to the impossibility of exporting.

The UN says that sending these food products will help to prevent a massive global famine.

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