State minister Rasim Demiri believes Turkey will provide support for creation of national army
Kosovo State Minister Rasim Demiri said he expected Turkey would support the creation of a national army in the country.
"We believe that Turkey will give support for the creation of armed forces," Rasim Demiri told Anadolu Agency during his visit to Ankara.
A draft law was filed in the southeastern European state in January to convert the country's armed security forces into a national army -- a move that increased tensions with neighboring Serbia.
President Hashim Thaci sees the transformation of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) as a normal step for an independent state. But Serbia reportedly believes the move will destabilize the region.
Kosovo is sure it will "get support from both NATO and other foundations," Demiri said.
Kosovo is a former Serbian province with nearly 1.8 million people, over 90 percent of whom are Kosovar Albanians.
The country declared independence from Serbia in 2008 but Belgrade insists the country remains part of Serbia.
Since then tensions have remained by between Kosovo's ethnic-Albanian majority and a small Serb minority in the north.
Meanwhile, the southeastern state is recognized by over 100 countries, including the U.S., Britain, France, Germany and Turkey.
Serbia, Russia and China are among the countries that have not yet recognized the country's independence.
In January, tensions flared up again between Serbia and Kosovo after a train bearing pro-Serb slogans tried to enter Kosovo.
"It was an incitement made by Serbs," he said. "The real reason of the tension is the [upcoming] election in Serbia."
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic had said he gave an order to stop the train before the border in order to save the lives of citizens and prevent a large-scale conflict.
He also claimed Albanian special forces tried to blow up the train tracks and that Albanians living in Kosovo had tried to lay mines on the route, which was later denied by Kosovar police.
The train was supposed to travel from the Serbian capital of Belgrade to Kosovo's northern Mitrovica district before it was stopped by authorities in the Serbian border city of Raska.
"The Serbian administration is using the tension with Kosovo as a tool to get [more] votes," the minister added.
Serbia will hold a presidential election on April 2.