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Turkey called on Turks in Kosovo to unite

Turkish Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek on Monday called on the Turks in Kosovo to act in unity and solidarity and said, "If you demand everything from Turkey and but not implement Turkey's demand of unity and solidarity, this fellowship will remain unfulfilled." Cicek received Arif Butuc, Mayor of Mamusha town of Kosovo in Ankara. Touching on the situation of Turks in Kosovo, Cicek said, "There are around 18 thousand Turks in Kosovo. If you divide up in two or three you will not have political effect. Do whatever you can and unite. If you demand everything from Turkey and but not implement Turkey's demand of unity and solidarity, this fellowship will remain unfulfilled. We go through similar things in Macedonia, Bulgaria, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and this exhausts us. While Turkey supports all at equal distance, if you disintegrate in Kosovo, you will be responsible."      

Serbia does not recognise Kosovo's 2008 secession, but is under pressure from the European Union to improve ties and help overcome a split between Kosovo's Albanians and a Serb enclave in the north over which Belgrade retained de facto control.

The status of the enclave is at the heart of EU-mediated talks aimed at "normalising ties" between the two countries.

Now, in the low-key talks, Serbia and Kosovo appear to be on the cusp of a deal to end the partition, at least on paper, Reuters reports.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton wants an accord struck on Tuesday, during a meeting between Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and his Kosovan counterpart, Hashim Thaci.

That would open the door to EU membership talks with Serbia.

For Kosovo, it is about ending a process that began in 1999, when NATO went to war to halt the massacre of ethnic Albanian civilians by Serbian forces under late strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

"Kosovo will no longer be identified as a problem, but as a functional state within its entire territory," said Kosovo's Deputy Prime Minister, Hajredin Kuci. "This is a big victory."

On the table in Brussels is a possible deal for Serbia to recognise the authority of Kosovo over the north, in return for some form of self-rule for the Serbs living there.

Serbia says it will never accept Kosovo as an independent state, but its offer to cede control over the north to Pristina is a dramatic shift in official policy as Belgrade seeks the economic boost of closer ties to the European Union.

The EU-led talks have already yielded deals on management of the Kosovo-Serbia border, recognition of vehicle licence plates and university diplomas, trade relations and other practical problems arising from Serbia's refusal to recognise Kosovo.

But the key to lasting stability is the ethnic dividing line that runs through Mitrovica and is the focus of a 6,000-strong NATO peacekeeping force.

The European Union is using the carrot of integration with the bloc to tease Serbia and Kosovo to within a whisker of a deal. It is aided by an economic slump that has left both sides desperate for stability and investment.

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