INTERVIEW WITH THE AMBASSADOR OF KOSOVO TO TURKEY H.E. ILIR DUGOLLI


17/02/2021




Kosovo Ambassador to Turkey H.E. Ilir Dugolli: “I believe that Turkey’s rightful and speedy decision to recognize Kosovo’s independence has been to our mutual benefit”

Based on the common historical and friendly ties between them, the friendship of Turkey and Kosovo, whose bilateral relations are at an excellent level, is strengthening and progressing.

To discuss the history of these good relations, the effects of the coronavirus epidemic, the natural disasters affecting both countries and the current activities related to the promotion of Kosovo culture in Turkey, our guest in this issue of our magazine was the Ambassador of Kosovo to Turkey, H.E. Ilir Dugolli.

We leave you alone with the ambassador's detailed answers to all our questions.

Diplomatic Observer: Mr. Ambassador, first of all, I would like to congratulate all the people of Kosovo on the 13th National Day of Kosovo, which you will be celebrating soon. Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Kosovo's independence in 2008. As this beautiful day approaches, will you have a message you want to share for our readers?

Ambassador Ilir Dugolli: Thank you very much on your kind words. It matters a lot to us when the most important day in the history of our country is respected by others, having in mind that our Declaration of Independence was a coronation of a long and painful struggle for our freedom and independence. It was also a result of enormous sacrifices made for our liberty.

Unfortunately, there are still circles working to undermine our statehood since our existence is a reminder of their failed genocidal policies. That is yet another reason why we are greatly appreciative of every act of solidarity, whether symbolical on our Independence Day or substantial throughout the year. So, we thank your readers and everyone who stood by us in difficult times, be it during the war, or our struggle for freedom and building an independent country.

Diplomatic Observer: It is not wrong to say that relations between Turkey and Kosovo continue perfectly on the basis of common historical and friendly ties. I would like to ask you for your comments on the current state of relations between the two countries.  

Ambassador Ilir Dugolli: Turkey was one of the first countries that recognized Kosovo's independence. Turkey’s decision was not only well-grounded, but also important to us and for that reason we are grateful. The decision of Turkish authorities was vindicated by subsequent developments, including the ruling of the International Court of Justice. As a reminder, since some countries were sceptical about the legality of Kosovo’s declaration of independence, the issue was referred to the International Court of Justice, which in turn confirmed that any such arguments are baseless.

I believe that Turkey’s rightful and speedy decision to recognize Kosovo’s independence has been to our mutual benefit, as it enabled an intensification of our relations, including political, economic and many other fields. Both countries have a lot to offer and recognition is the first official step which paves the way for deeper cooperation.

I hope that Kosovo and Turkey can continue to work together, as two independent countries, on all areas that are important to both sides and that we can open new prospects of mutual collaboration.

Photo Credits: Agon Nimani

Diplomatic Observer: Mr. Ambassador, as of December 2019, our world has been under the influence of a new virus epidemic and we have had to adapt to a new social order for about a year. Vaccines developed in various countries have now become a beacon of hope for the whole world. If we as humanity skip this epidemic, what kind of world do you think is waiting for us, both socially and politically? After the outbreak is over, 2ill world leaders understand that we need each other to overcome the challenges; or will current tensions continue?

Ambassador Ilir Dugolli: We have very strong relations that span across many fields. On the political level we have solid cooperation, which understandingly requires significant work, regular contacts and communication in order to be maintained and enhanced.

On the economic front we seek to further boost the ample potential that exists. Our goal in this regard is to encourage more investments from Turkey to Kosovo, to have a higher level of exports from Kosovo to Turkey and thus reach a more balanced trade. Overall, we aspire a higher level of economic cooperation between the two countries.

There are a number of ongoing projects or initiatives in other fields as well, such as health, culture, education, defense, tourism etc.

Of course, these multi-layered relations between our countries rest on strong links between our citizens, which represent the greatest asset that we have. For us diplomats, and I believe also for politicians, entrepreneurs, academics and others, it helps a lot having strong bonds between our societies.

Diplomatic Observer: Mr. Ambassador, as of December 2019, our world has been under the influence of a new virus epidemic and we have had to adapt to a new social order for about a year. Vaccines developed in various countries have now become a beacon of hope for the whole world. If we as humanity skip this epidemic, what kind of world do you think is waiting for us, both socially and politically? After the outbreak is over, 2ill world leaders understand that we need each other to overcome the challenges; or will current tensions continue?

Ambassador Ilir Dugolli: The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed how a much closer cooperation is needed, at intra-state lever, but also inter-state and multilateral platforms.. With the way the pandemic has affected the world, enormous consequences inflicted to our societies and economies so far, it should serve as a wake-up call for more solidarity. It would be good, if not too optimistic, to see in the post-Covid world an outlook of international institutions that is more results-oriented and less politicized, more inclusive and less divisive and with more attention to the needs of smaller and less affluent countries.

But, we have yet to draw as profound lessons from this situation as the pandemics has affected the world. I would guess that this entire situation will have a major impact, but with few exceptions the tendency seems to be that of a deeper isolation, building more walls and more geopolitical manoeuvres.

When it comes to cooperation, we are grateful to Turkey for the generous assistance provided in dealing with the pandemics.

Photo Credits: Ilir Dugolli

Diplomatic Observer: Mr. Ambassador, we have just discussed the common cultural background between our countries. What is your embassy's promotional work on Kosovo's rich culture? Do you have any plans for this in the near future?

Ambassador Ilir Dugolli:  Culture is very important to us and we are proud of so many brilliant artists that Kosovo has. Bearing in mind our unique language and thriving cultural scene we aspire to continuously share with the wider audience different facets of our cultural treasure, while also adapting to the new circumstances. At the overall framework of cooperation between our countries there are a few initiatives in the field of culture. One of them was concluded a few months with the agreement on cinematographic cooperation between Kosovo and Turkey. Kosovo has a thriving scene of movie directors, actors and artist in general, and I am confident that one more window of opportunities, in this case with Turkey, will help to further unleash the tremendous talent of our artists.

There are a number of projects of collaboration between the theatres also. Earlier last year we finalized several exhibitions, yet following the outbreak of pandemic we were compelled to shift focus. We hope to revisit some of the projects as soon as conditions permit. Of course, we have a very good collaboration with Albanian Cultural Center, which was established by the Embassies of Kosovo and Albania and with the support from the municipality of Altindag.

Photo Credits: Egzon Bytygi

Diplomatic Observer: Recently, your country experienced the worst flooding in 40 years. I would like to say once again that our heart go down with Kosovo. This would not have been the subject of an interview with a diplomat some time ago, but I think we can now say that global warming is affecting in every aspect of our lives. Our country also suffers a lot of material and spiritual losses due to natural disasters, and the damage caused by climate change is increasing every day. What is Kosovo's attitude and policy towards combating climate change?

Ambassador Ilir Dugolli: Global warming is affecting us as human beings, thus I believe that this topic should also affect priorities of each country, or in other words it should be reflected in public policies and practices. The impact of global warming that we can see with the naked eye and is are backed by a vast amount of scientific evidence represents an alarming reminder about the need for joint action. These changes are also a reminder that everyone has a role to play.

A plethora of instruments are employed by Kosovo institutions in trying to address the challenge and to mediate the impact of climate change. Overall objectives are outlined in our national strategy for climate change, whereas detailed action plans which are reviewed on regular basis, specify a number of tasks. So from this point of view, there is a fine foundation.

This issue certainly requires more efforts from everyone, from raising the awareness, stimulating renewable energy use, environment protection and forestation, and also providing incentives for more environment friendly means of transportation. This matter is very close to my heart, thus I constantly feel that there is more that can be done by everyone, as individuals, states, companies, international organizations and so on.


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