Monday, February 19, 2007

Turkish NGOs slam UN plan for Kosovo

Representatives of Turkish non-governmental organizations in Kosovo believe that a UN plan granting supervised statehood for the contested Kosovo province has lacked fairness with its stance concerning rights granted to Turks.

Although once a strong future and assurance was promised for all of the citizens, it has granted too many rights to Serbs while limiting existing rights for the Turks, said Turkish NGOs, over the weekend near Pristine, where they evaluated chief UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari's plan.

The plan, asserting Albanian and Serbian as official languages of Kosovo, doesn't outline Turkish as an official language although it was recognized before at municipalities where Turks live, NGOs noted."What kind of a democracy declares Serbian as an official language even in places where a single Serb doesn't live while making Turkish language illegal at municipalities where presence of Turks is known since the 16th century?" said NGO representatives as quoted by Anatolia news agency.

Serb and ethnic Albanian negotiators are scheduled to meet for a final round of talks on the plan this week in Vienna, Austria. Ahtisaari has invited both sides to put forward their complaints about the draft before it is submitted to the UN Security Council for a final vote.The Turkish NGOs also called on the parties for having the issue of education in Turkish language on agenda of this week's negotiations, as the UN plan seemed to be vague over the right of education in Turkish language.

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