Nobel laureate Peter Handke banned from entering Kosovo

Nobel laureate Peter Handke banned from entering Kosovo

Many Balkans are outraged by the Nobel Prize being awarded to a writer who denies war crimes committed by Serbs

The Kosovo authorities declared Austrian writer Peter Handke persona non grata, barring the Nobel Prize laureate in literature from entering the country that Handke himself had visited several times in the past..

Handke was declared a Nobel Prize in Literature by the Swedish Academy on Tuesday, which offended many in the Balkans who believe the writer is trying to justify the war crimes committed by the Serbs during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia..

The presentation of the Handke Prize led to the resignation of one of the members of the Nobel Committee. In addition, the ceremony was boycotted by representatives of the embassies of Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Turkey..

“Today I decided to announce that Peter Handke has been banned from entering Kosovo. From today on, he is persona non grata. Denying crimes and supporting criminals is a terrible crime, ”wrote Behjet Pacolli, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo on Facebook..

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Nobel laureate Peter Handke banned from entering Kosovo

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Handke has received particularly harsh criticism for speaking at the funeral of Slobodan Milosevic, the former leader of Serbia, who died in 2006 during a trial in which he was accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. During the war with Belgrade for the independence of Kosovo in 1998-1999, 13 thousand people died.

Handke was a frequent visitor to the Serbian enclave of Velika Hocha, one of several Serbian settlements in Kosovo. The writer visited Velika-Hochu at least 5 times, the last visit took place in 2014. In addition, he donated almost 100,000 euros to the inhabitants of the village, which is home to 500 people..

On Wednesday, Handke was also barred from entering Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the regional government believes his appearance could “provoke anger and humiliation” of war victims. Handke’s nomination for the Nobel Prize was painfully perceived by many Bosnian Muslims, as the writer questioned the reality of the events that took place in Srebrenica. In 1995, the Bosnian Serbs killed about 8 thousand Muslims in this city..

In 1997, Peter Handke was accused of denying the war crimes of the Serbs in a book he wrote entitled “A Winter Trip on the Danube, Sava, Morava and Drina, or Justice in Serbia.”.

At the same time, Handke can still visit the Republika Srpska, which is part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On Tuesday, Handke said in an interview with a Serbian TV channel in Bosnia that he would like to visit the region next spring. Handke is popular among Serbs due to the fact that in his books he questioned claims that Serbs were the only aggressors during the wars in the Balkans.

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