Turkey Pledges Military Aid For Kosovo

A senior Turkish General on a visit to Kosovo said Ankara will help strengthen the capacities of the Kosovo Security Forces, the KSF.Turkey has pledged to help Kosovo raise its military capacity, by aiding the Kosovo Security Forces, KSF, to reach its full operational potential.

The Commander of Turkish Ground Forces, General Hayri Kivrikoglu, who is visiting Kosovo, conveyed the message to the KSF Commander, General Kadri Kastrati.

On Wednesday he went to visit the teaching facilities of the KSF in Ferizaj. In a statement after visiting KSF headquarters and the teaching facilities on Wednesday, General Hivrikoglu was quoted as saying that “the Turkish Army will support the further development of Kosovo’s Security Forces”.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008. Since then 89 states, including 22 EU member states and the US, have recognized it.

The Kosovo Security Force is a lightly armed, uniformed force that is subject to democratic, civilian control. Its mission is to conduct crisis response operations in Kosovo and neighbouring countries.

Turkey has recently increased its economic presence in Kosovo, investing in a wide range of concerns.

Turkish companies have bought the power distribution company and the country’s only airport and are currently building the highway from Kosovo to Albania.

Turks are also present in the banking sector. A Turkish firm has also pre-qualified, along with four other companies, to buy 75 per cent of the shares of Kosovo’s state owned post and telecom company, PTK.

By the end of the year, Kosovo expects to hear from the North Atlantic Council whether its security forces have reached their full operational potential.

After that decision, parliament will have to debate the mandate of the force, and whether it wants to transform the security forces into a conventional army.

NATO’s Kosovo Force, KFOR, has supported the creation of KSF, which replaced the former Kosovo Protection Corps, KPC.

The territory’s first quasi-military body was set up after the end of the 1998-99 war between ethnic Albanians and the Serbian police and military, and overwhelmingly comprised ethnic Albanian war veterans.

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