Serbia’s Ambassador to UNESCO Darko Tanaskovic says Turkey is “one of the most active countries lobbying for Kosovo’s UNESCO membership.”

He attributed this to Turkey’s “strategy of Neo-Ottomanism.”

“All this is not happening by coincidence because, over the past years, Serbia has been the most stable country in the region and the territory of the former Yugoslavia. To many, that is not a normal situation so, due to political agendas, problems or opposition in their own countries, they are trying to create instability in the region,” Tanaskovic told Kosovo-based Radio KiM.

He added that it is theoretically possible – though he “doesn’t believe it” – that Kosovo’s membership would be put forward once again at the UNESCO Executive Council’s session in April.

“Even if this membership were to happen, the Serbian Orthodox Church, its shrines, monasteries, cemeteries would find themselves in a big problem, becazse they would be exposed to a silent and inivisible pressure,” he has been quoted as saying, and adding, “that’s worse than having your church destroyed, something that the world sees, then criticizes and condemns.”

Speaking about the role of the Vatican “in the whole story around Kosovo,” Tanaskovic said: “There are many reasons why the Vatican has not recognized Kosovo.” According to him, the Catholic Church “doesn’t think UNESCO is the place where somebody’s independence should be affirmed, the UN or the EU are there for that.”

Pristina’s original attempt to join UNESCO over Belgrade’s objections failed in 2015.