Turkey’s foreign ministry on Sunday condemned an attack in the north of Kosovo that left one police officer dead and others injured, calling on all parties to “act with restraint.”
The incident occurred on Sept. 24 in the village of Banjska, located in the Serb-majority Zvečan municipality, and involved a clash between a Kosovar police patrol unit and a group of armed ethnic Serbs.
The attack is the latest incident in ongoing tensions between Serbia and Kosovo as Belgrade considers its neighbor to be part of its territory and has obstructed Kosovo’s efforts to join international organizations and gain state recognition.
In a statement released on Sunday Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgiç condemned the attack and expressed condolences to the affected families.
“It is imperative that all parties act with restraint and refrain from violence,” Bilgiç said. He emphasized the need for dialogue as the “only way to achieve lasting peace and stability in Kosovo and the region.”
Leaders from Serbia and Kosovo recently met in Brussels for talks facilitated by the European Union to normalize relations, although implementation of the agreements reached has proven challenging for both sides.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia 15 years ago. However, Serbia, Russia, China and five EU countries, including Spain and Greece, do not recognize Kosovo’s statehood. The majority of Kosovo’s population, over 90 percent, consists of ethnic Albanians, with more than 90 percent of the population identifying as Muslims.
Earlier in July, NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) issued a warning to the Kosovo government over its recent purchase of Bayraktar TB-2 drones from Turkey, emphasizing that KFOR has authority over Kosovo’s airspace. The Bayraktar TB-2 drone has attracted international attention for its role in Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression.