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Erdogan says Turkey plays constructive role in Balkans

October 7, 2019
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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, looks on as documents are exchanged after the signing of an agreement after talks with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. Erdogan is on a two-day official visit to Serbia. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, looks on as documents are exchanged after the signing of an agreement after talks with his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, Oct. 7, 2019. Erdogan is on a two-day official visit to Serbia. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey wants to continue helping the Balkan countries solve their long-standing problems through dialogue and cooperation.

Erdogan said Monday in Belgrade that Turkey will continue to play a “constructive role” in boosting stability in the Balkans where it maintains historic influence stemming from the centuries-long Ottoman rule.

Erdogan is on a two-day visit to Serbia during which Turkey, Serbia and Bosnia will inaugurate the start of work on a key regional highway linking Belgrade and Bosnia’s capital Sarajevo.

Turkey has close relations with the Bosniaks —who are mainly Muslims — in both Serbia and Bosnia.

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic has described relations with Turkey as “perhaps the best in modern history.”

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