THE BALKANS - CAN TURKEY LONG ABIDE ERDOGAN? "*** Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogans proclamation last week that Bosnia-Herzegovina is now in the care of his country generated much public controversy in the Balkan states of Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Bosnia and Herzegovina is entrusted to us, Erdogan told a meeting of the provincial heads of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara last week. He recalled a statement made by the former Alija Izetbegovic, Bosnia and Herzegovinas first president, when Erdogan visited him on his deathbed in 2003. He (Izetbegovic) whispered in my ear these phrases: Bosnia (and Herzegovina) is entrusted to you (Turkey). These places are what remain of the Ottoman Empire, he said. Izetbegovic, who led Bosnia into the war of independence in 1992 and subsequently became the countrys first president, died of a heart disease in 2003. The thought of being passed off as a trust to any country is enough to spark intense opposition but the statement is made worse by the fact that Bosnia is home to a highly diverse population comprising various ethno-religious communities including Bosniak Muslims, Catholic Bosnian Croats and Orthodox Serbs as well. The latter two groups make up more than half of Bosnias population of four million. For them, the 500 years of Turkish-Ottoman rule that ended only with the collapse of the empire at the end of World War I are remembered almost exclusively as a period of severe oppression. ***" ===================================================== Incompetency and insanity are two different things. Erdogan, however, has mastered both.